British Airways to fly to Iceland

Friday, August 5, 2005

The airline British Airways have reported that they will start flying between Iceland and Gatwick airport, London. British Airways said they will provide the service five times a week; the first flight is scheduled March 26, 2006.

Until now, only two airlines have been flying between the UK and Iceland with passengers: Icelandair, the oldest and biggest airline in Iceland, and Iceland Express, a recent low-fare airline and the competition between them has been fierce.

Icelandair’s PR, Guðjón Arngrímsson, said that Icelandair welcomes the competition and believes Icelandair can compete with BA: “This market has been growing rapidly. Iceland has been well marketed in London and Britain as a whole so number of passenger has been rising fast. We’re always ready for more competition on every route between Iceland and other countries. We’re ready and willing to compete here as we are on other routes” Arngrímsson said.

Birgir Jónsson at Iceland Express agrees. “Iceland Express welcomes the competition without a doubt.” He then added, “The competition will benefit us all”.

British Airways have reported the tickets will cost about €291.

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NFL: Ricky Williams applies for reinstatement

Friday, April 6, 2007

Miami Dolphins running back Ricky Williams, who has applied for reinstatement to the NFL, told ESPN Radio’s Dan Patrick on Friday that he hasn’t gotten high on drugs “in maybe three years.” Williams credited yoga with replacing drugs to ease stress.

Williams was suspended in April 2006 for violating the NFL’s Substance Abuse Policy. Reinstatement to the league requires clinical evaluation and sending a hand-written letter to Roger Goodell, commissioner of the NFL. Williams stated: For the most part, as long as you follow the rules, you have a pretty good shot to be reinstated. Half of it is testing and the other half is you have to talk to someone on a weekly basis.

During the radio broadcast, Patrick asked Williams when the last time he had been drug tested. Williams’ anwser was Two minutes ago. and that he had passed.

Williams blamed the high levels of stress involved in playing football with his use of Marijuana. He said the only way to deal with it was “to go home, relax on the couch, roll up a joint and take a couple of puffs.”

Williams told Patrick during the interview that he hadn’t spoken with new Dolphins head coach Cam Cameron yet. Addressing what the Dolphins may or may not choose to do with him, Williams said that he would be “fine with whatever happens.”

Williams said, when asked why he wants to return to the NFL: “For me, it’s a test to see if all this work I’ve done is really worth something. If I can go to the NFL and have success, that would speak a lot for yoga and what I’ve learned and offer a lot of people who have dealt with the same issues I have a way out.”

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Errant monkeys draw the ire of Delhi court

Thursday, January 19, 2006

The Delhi High Court expressed its displeasure to the civic authorities on their continued failure to resolve the problem of marauding monkeys in the court premises. The court was in session when the public interest litigation filed by a Supreme Court lawyer was brought to its attention.

The petitioner Mr.Nirmal Chopra argued the case and explained how the simians showed up during work hours and attacked people and snatched food from them. The rhesus monkeys have also been blamed for damaging furniture belonging to the lawyers and courtroom fixtures such as electrical fittings. According to Mr.Chopra India‘s Wildlife Act of 1972 empowers civic authorities to kill or hunt animals when they endanger human life. He said that the lawyers from the Tis Hazari court had requested the state government and the municipality to tackle the situation but no action had resulted.

The lawyer for the civic authority was quoted by the Press Trust of India as saying that catching monkeys was no longer its responsibility. The court was informed that a monkey catcher hired by the municipality had required 72 stitches after being mauled during an operation. After this incident the work had to be halted because other monkey catchers refused to take up the job.

The court gave the civic authority four more weeks to catch the monkeys that are disrupting work at the Tis Hazari courts. “If you cannot perform your statutory duty, then close down your institution” the court is reported to have told the counsel.

Delhi is known to suffer from trouble brought on by monkeys. The animals are reported to invade homes, schools and government offices in the city. Scores of animals have moved in as the city expands into surrounding forests. In an effort to control the problem, the Delhi administration captured about 500 monkeys and took them to the outskirts of the city last year.

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Thaksin ordered back to Thailand on stock-sale charges

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Ousted and living in exile, with assets frozen in Thailand, former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra was ordered today by the Royal Thai Police to appear on charges related to the sale of some of his family’s stock holdings.

The order adds to mounting, increasingly complex legal troubles for Thaksin, the telecommunications billionaire who led Thailand until he was unseated in a coup last year.

Thaksin and his wife, Potjaman Shinawatra, who are both outside of Thailand, were both ordered to present themselves to the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) by June 29 at the latest. A relative of Potjaman’s, Busaba Damapong, was also ordered to appear.

“If they intentionally fail to appear, we must issue an arrest warrant,” DSI chief Sunai Manomai-udom was quoted as saying by Agence France Presse.

Noppadol Pattama, Thaksin’s lawyer and spokesman in Thailand, could not say when his client would return.

“We will have to seek legal consultations among the lawyers. His security is only one factor. We will have to see what our options are and consult with him as well,” Noppadol was quoted as saying by Associated Press.

Last week, interim Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont and the junta’s leader, General Sonthi Boonyaratglin, both said Thaksin could return to Thailand of his own free will, in order to appeal the seizure of his assets. But later, Sonthi said Thaksin might face harm if he returned too soon.

The latest charges relate to the transfer of shares in 2000 in a real-estate company called SC Asset to a British Virgin Islands-owned company called Win Mark. Police say the Shinwatras’ controlling ownership of SC Asset was illegally concealed through nominees. Potjaman’s relative, Busaba Damapong, served as executive director of SC Asset.

Through nominee companies and disclosed shares, Sunai said, the Shinawatra family owned 79.87 percent of SC Asset. “Not only did they have control of a majority stake but also control over board decisions,” Sunai told Associated Press.

They broke the law in failing to report their ownership in SC Asset and failing to report the transfer of the shares, Sunai said. They could face five years in prison and fined at least 500,000 baht (about US$15,000), Sunai added.

Thaksin is also supected of violating the prohibition on Cabinet members holding shares in publicly traded companies, and could face up to ten years in prison and a 1 million baht fine for that.

Potjaman and Thaksin were also charged yesterday over the purchase of a 13-acre tract of land along Ratchadaphisek Road near the Thailand Cultural Centre in Bangkok.

The Office of the Attorney General says Potjaman purchased the land in an auction that was possibly rigged. Valued at 2.1 billion baht before the 1997 Asian financial crisis, and 870 million baht after, Potjaman purchased the land in 2003 for 772 million baht.

The Attorney General’s office is recommending to the Supreme Court that the land be confiscated by the government.

Potjaman is also sought in Thailand to testify before the Assets Examination Committee (AEC) on the sales of her family’s Shin Corporation stock to Singapore-owned Temasek Holdings.

She sent word today that she is seeking medical treatment for headache and irregular heartbeat in Raffles Hospital in Singapore, and that she asked the AEC to delay the hearing.

Potjaman appeared in court last month to plead not guilty to charges of tax evasion in the sale of Shin Corp. stock to Temasek.

The AEC yesterday ordered an additional seven bank accounts seized after it was discovered that the accounts are controlled by the Shinawatra and Damapong families. The accounts contain 8 million baht that was feared missing last week after the AEC ordered 21 of Thaksin’s bank accounts frozen. The 8 million baht had been transferred just before the AEC’s order, to the other seven accounts.

Authorities have frozen a total of 52 billion baht, or about US$1.6 billion, frozen, money they say came from the Shinawatra family’s sale of Shin Corp. stock to Temasek. The stock sale prompted mass protests against Thaksin last year and was one of the factors in the coup that overthrew his government. The authorities also believe that the Shinawatras and the Damapongs have 73 billion baht from the stock sale remaining in Thailand, and officials are still hunting for another 21 billion baht to seize.

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2008 Young Designers’ Exhibition to interact with the world

Friday, May 16, 2008

2008 The 27th Young Designers’ Exhibition, opened on May 15 at the Taipei World Trade Center and closes Sunday May 18. It features participation by 87 academic groups in Taiwan and 20 groups from United States, United Kingdom, Italy, Netherlands, New Zealand, and Australia to showcase various achievements in industrial design. It is recognized by the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design (ICSID) as the largest show of student creations.

Besides the several design competitions, sponsors like International Forum Design (iF), EPSON, MUJI (in Japanese: ????, Mujirushi Ry?hin), Tsann Kuen Trans-nation Group will showcase different solutions for the design, creative, and cultural industries. The show’s organizer, Taiwan Design Center, also designed several on-site events like “On-line Graduate Season Show”, “Career Match-up”, “Creative and Cultural Showcase and Performance”, “Seminars of YODEX 2008” to link the actual exhibition with the on-line exhibition.

Besides of the previously announced “Wow! Taiwan Design Award”, winners from “2008 Young Designers’ Competition” and “2008 YODEX Interior Design Competition” were announced on Saturday, May 17.

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Questions raised over Mosquito device ahead of New South Wales trial

Sunday, June 23, 2013

A device known as the Mosquito, set to be trialed in New South Wales (NSW), Australia by RailCorp in a bid to deter vandals from areas frequently the target of graffiti, is attracting criticism. Wikinews reached out to several people about the trials.

The units work by emitting a high-pitched buzz, similar to that of a mosquito, which is generally only audible to those under the age of about 24. The aim is to repel young people who become irritated by the noise, as a prevention method against graffiti, loitering, and other crimes like theft.

The initiative was announced last month, but RailCorp has not revealed when it intends to test the technology to crack down on graffiti.

In an interview with Wikinews, President of the NSW Council for Civil Liberties Cameron Murphy this week labeled the strategy “ridiculous”. “All they’re going to do is wear headphones and these [devices] will make no difference at all.”

Thousands of units have been set up in the UK since they first became available about seven years ago, where they’re used to stop youths gathering near public areas like shops and train stations. The technology has a high usage rate in the UK, and the Council of Europe has called for a ban on grounds it violates human rights, calling it “highly offensive”.

A RailCorp spokesperson confirmed to Wikinews the devices would only be situated on railway land away from public areas.

Mr Murphy maintains the NSW government’s policy is “based upon discrimination” and it assumes the youth affected by the noise are those doing graffiti, without solid evidence to prove this.

NSW Liberal MP Gareth Ward told Wikinews, “very few crime fighting techniques are fool-proof,” and as people have found ways to get around CCTV, they’re like to do the same with this, which is why it’s only being trialed at this stage. He acknowledged the devices will be situated in areas where the general public shouldn’t be hanging around. “There are certain areas in the network where trains may not be travelling at a particular time and that’s when those devices will be turned on […] and I think that’s perfectly reasonable.” He remarked, “any young person who feels they’ve been aggrieved […] should feel free to contact the Minster for Transport.”

A mobile phone message tone based on the same mosquito sound has been touted as teacher-proof because teens should be the only ones able to hear it if it goes off during class.

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Australian Parliament hears reply to Budget

Thursday, May 11, 2006

The Australian House of Representatives heard the traditional right-of-reply to the Budget released May 9, from the Australian Labor Party, led by Kim Beazley (Labor, Brand), plus Budget replies from minor parties in the Australian Senate.

While the Budget is politically popular, having as one of its main features significant tax reform, Beazley focused on the omissions in the Budget, such as the failure to address a skills shortage.

Contents

  • 1 Opposition reply
  • 2 Minor parties
    • 2.1 Australian Democrats
  • 3 Australian Greens
  • 4 Family First
  • 5 Sources
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Death toll from Borneo bridge collapse reaches eleven

Monday, November 28, 2011

The death toll from the weekend suspension bridge collapse on the Indonesian island of Borneo has risen from four to eleven. Search and rescue teams continue to look for bodies in the Mahakam River.

The number of wounded is currently 39 injured; reports from locals suggest 33 people remain missing at the scene in East Kalimantan’s Kutai Kartanegara district, where “Kalimantan’s Golden Gate Bridge” linked the towns of Tenggarong and the regional capital, Samarinda. A six-month-old baby is among the dead.

Cars, motorbikes, and buses all fell into the Mahakam River when the bridge came down during repairs. Another car was left overturned and balanced upon wreckage over the water. State-owned builders PT Hutama Karya completed the bridge about a decade ago in the image of California’s Golden Gate Bridge. A cable on the 720-metre structure is thought to have failed as workers dealt with it; six of the repair crew were reported missing yesterday. It had been the longest suspension bridge in Borneo.

Eyewitnesses described heavy traffic at the time of the collapse, and one survivor said he left his truck to investigate a traffic jam. Some people were left trapped by debris as the bridge came down. “It happened so fast, only about 30 seconds,” according to National Disaster Management Agency spokesman Sutopo Nugoroho.

National search and rescue head Daryatmo said yesterday cranes will attempt to move debris today, with new reports saying echo-sounding equipment will be used to check it is safe to begin lifting. It is believed the bodies of more victims will be found trapped in vehicles beneath the water, which is 35-40 metres deep. Visibility is poor, and one official explained authorities are still unsure how many vehicles are on the riverbed.

“The above-water search is continuing, but underwater operations have not been carried out because we’re worried that the bridge’s pylons are unstable and could collapse any time,” said Nugoroho today. He explained that bodies had washed onto the riverbanks overnight and were recovered today.

The president, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, has sent three ministers to the site to investigate the accident, while Bambang Widaryatmo, head of East Kalimantan’s police, promised “parties found to be negligent will be prosecuted”. The government has promised a replacement ferry service. The river is closed to boats as rescue operations continue, and a 22-strong team has been dispatched from the national police, comprising six forensics experts, five disaster victim identification specialists, and eleven investigators. They are there to augment the East Kalimantan Police. Health Minister Endang Rahayu Sedyaningsih yesterday visited survivors in Parikesit Hospital and promised them medical treatment at government expense.

Some people swam ashore after falling, with the aftermath filled with screams. Survivor Syakrani, 24, yesterday asserted “The authorities should have closed the bridge if it was under repair.” His words were followed by a Jakarta Globe editorial declaring the accident “unacceptable”.

The Globe went on to comment upon suggestions corruption may have played a role; “It is too early to point fingers and look to place blame, but if shoddy materials were used in the building of the bridge, those responsible must answer to the public.” Another suggestion is coal barges striking the bridge may have weakened it. Local coal company Harum Energy lost five percent of its share value today amid fears the river blockage will hamper their ability to ship coal.

Samarinda’s seen a population and construction boom lately. A few years have seen the population triple and the construction of a large mosque, and a sports stadium; an airport and port are set to follow. However, the Corruption Eradication Commission warns 70% of the corruption it investigates concerns government contracts and up to 40% of money earmarked for infrastructure ends up stolen.

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US Supreme Court overturns ban on videos depicting animal cruelty

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The US Supreme Court yesterday overturned an eleven-year-old law banning videos that depicted animal cruelty, ruling that such a law violated free speech rights under the First Amendment to the US Constitution.

The court’s 8-1 ruling overturns a law enacted in 1999 that banned the trade of “depictions of animal cruelty,” including “conduct in which a living animal is intentionally maimed, mutilated, tortured, wounded or killed.” The case was prompted by the prosecution of Robert J. Stevens, who had filmed and sold videos of dogfights, and subsequently was sentenced in 2005 to 37 months in prison, although he has yet to begin his sentence; his case has remained on appeal.

According to Chief Justice John Roberts Jr, the law overturned by the court had been “a criminal prohibition of alarming breadth.” The law had been defended by the US government, which had argued that videos of cruelty to animals had no value, and should therefore receive no protection by the First Amendment. Roberts argued the point in his written statement on the ruling, saying that “The First Amendment means that government has no power to restrict expression because of its message, its ideas, its subject matter or its content.” According to Roberts, the law had been too broad, and the court was therefore unwilling to place it outside the protection of the First Amendment.

Reactions to the ruling were mixed. A group called the Media Coalition supported the ruling, saying that “If the court were to rewrite the First Amendment every time an unpopular or distasteful subject was at issue, we wouldn’t have any free speech left.” The US Humane Society called for a new law to be written by Congress, this one more narrow in scope. The society’s president, Wayne Pacelle, said that “Congress should act swiftly to make sure the First Amendment is not used as a shield for those committing barbaric acts of cruelty, and then peddling their videos on the Internet.”

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News briefs:August 6, 2010

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