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Sunday, January 27, 2008

Viktor Schreckengost, the father of industrial design and creator of the Jazz Bowl, an iconic piece of Jazz Age art designed for Eleanor Roosevelt during his association with Cowan Pottery died yesterday. He was 101.

Schreckengost was born on June 26, 1906 in Sebring, Ohio, United States.

Schreckengost’s peers included the far more famous designers Raymond Loewy and Norman Bel Geddes.

In 2000, the Cleveland Museum of Art curated the first ever retrospective of Schreckengost’s work. Stunning in scope, the exhibition included sculpture, pottery, dinnerware, drawings, and paintings.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina —This weekend is the kick-off for two motorcycle rallies held annually in the U.S. eastern seacoast town of Myrtle Beach. Enthusiasts this year are expected to meet or exceed the 170,000 bikers that arrived last year in droves to the small resort town of 23,000. Festivities span two weeks, and extend again this year into the Memorial Day.

Leading off is the week-long Harley rally, followed by the next week’s BikeFest. In and around town, both day and night are punctured by the sounds of bike engines gunned and revved at stop lights and in parking lots. Groups of cycle riders dominate the streets.

“By Friday night, the front parking lot will be a full line of motorcycles to the corner.” said motel owner Ranjan Patel. The Super 8 motel takes up half a block at its location in the heart of the downtown motel strip. “Both sides [of Ocean Blvd] are nothing but bikes.” Both she and her co-owner husband agree, the influx of bikers dwarf in size the numbers of tourists who visit during regular summer months for ocean-side and family amusement park attractions.

The highly accesorised bikes, decked with chrome and polished to show it, flashed the townscape. Choppers made a showing, but road hogs dominated the ridership, often going twosome. Many rally goers arrived on the scene with SUV’s or big pickup trucks towing cargo trailers loaded with cycles.

Growth in the sheer size of the two rallies led police to make changes in the handling of traffic flow. During BikeFest last year, the mostly black crowd that came in on the heels of the largely white Harley rally the week earlier, were faced with confusion when the two-lane Ocean Blvd was made one-way.

A branch of the NAACP in Conway, the next town over from Myrtle Beach, alleged discrimination by Horry County and Myrtle Beach Police. They claimed authorities and police used an overwhelming and aggressive police presence, combined with a restrictive one-way traffic pattern, to intimidate and discourage the participants in the rally.

An injunction was issued earlier this week by U.S. District Judge Terry Wooten, who ruled that bikers at both rallies be treated the same. Myrtle Beach city lawyers immediately filed an appeal to the ruling at the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, saying “the trial court erroneously determined that the plaintiffs would likely succeed on the merits; that is, that the city of Myrtle Beach intentionally treats Memorial Day weekend tourists differently from others similarly situated because of their race.”

A plan to submit an opposition to the notice has already been announced by Michael Navarre, an attorney for Steptoe & Johnson, who represents the NAACP civil rights group. “We certainly don’t think the judge has ruled erroneously,” Navarre said, according to The Sun News.

Traffic control and safety measures were in full swing Friday morning on US-17. Both directions of the 4-lane divided highway south of Myrtle Beach had traffic cones and parking barriers set up to control traffic. Large flashing road signs on each side of the highway warned cars to use the passing lane. The warning sign flashed a message that the right lane was for motorcycle use only. Police monitored the pull-offs near a Harley dealer’s lot where popular attractions were set-up in the immediate vicinity.

This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.
This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

A criminal investigation has begun in Edinburgh after three children were killed in a fire at a three storey house just before 3pm yesterday.

Firefighters were called to the house on Slateford Road in Scotland’s capital city, for a reported gas explosion, and they put out a small fire in an upstairs room. However, there was no evidence of an explosion and none of the surrounding houses were damaged. Three young children, two boys and a girl, were found to have died at the scene. Police are treating the deaths as suspicious.

A woman, believed to be the children’s mother, was found injured on the ground in front of the house and there are reports that witnesses saw her jump from a third floor balcony. She was taken for treatment at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.

In a statement the Lothian and Borders Police said: “The investigation into the cause of this tragedy is in its early stages.” However, the police have also said that there was no fault with the gas supply.

Post-mortem examinations are due to be carried out on the children’s bodies. Police said no identities would be released until these were completed.

A police spokesperson said: “A criminal investigation is currently under way and nothing more can be said at this time into the circumstances which led to their deaths.”

The mother of the three children, now named as eight year olds Gianluca and Augustino and five year old Cecilia Riggi, is to be questioned by police after details emerged that suggest it is unlikely the children died in the fire.

Neighbours have reported that they heard screaming from inside the house and one source said that when they found the victims lying dead in the living room it was “a horrific scene.” However reports that the children died before the fire broke out have not been confirmed by official sources and only reports by neighbours and others at the scene have indicated this.

Police refused to confirm reports that the children had died before the fire broke out, and say that the results of the post-mortems would help them decide whether to launch a murder inquiry into the incident.

According to Detective Superintendent Allan Jones the mother, Theresa Riggi, and her three children had been living in Edinburgh for little over a month since they were reported missing from their home in Skene, Aberdeenshire last month. Mrs Riggi is currently in a stable condition in hospital and Det Supt Jones said they are hoping to speak to her on Thursday. He said: “She’s not in a position to speak to us at the moment.”

The children were reportedly at the centre of a custody battle between Mrs Riggi and the children’s father, Pasquale Riggi. He has been informed and is helping police to determine the last movements of the family. He is not a suspect in the investigation. Det Supt Jones reported: “He’s heartbroken but he’s very composed. He realizes he holds a lot of central information that we need. We’re conscious of the trauma he’s gone through.”

Theresa Riggi and her husband were going through divorce proceedings and she was due to appear at the Court of Session in Edinburgh on Tuesday. She apparently did not attend the hearing. At that time the judge was told that her whereabouts were once again unknown.

The Judge, Lady Clark, granted a search warrant for Mrs Riggi and said that social workers should supervise the children, applying for child protection orders if necessary, after Mr Riggi’s counsel asked for an order to safeguard the children’s interests.

The children were allegedly educated at home so the Social Work Department had had no contact with the family since they moved to Scotland from the US.

It is believed that Mrs Riggi may have turned on the gas, and that a neighbour smelled the fumes and called the emergency services, which may have led to the original report of a gas explosion.

Tributes of flowers have been left close to the scene with cards of sympathy and condolences.

Lothian and Borders Police have released a statement confirming that the post mortems of Gianluca, Augustino and Cecilia have been concluded. Following this statement a warrant was issued and Theresa Riggi was charged with murder.

A spokesman for Lothian and Borders Police said: “A 46-year-old woman has been arrested and charged with murder in connection with the petition warrant which was granted earlier today,”

“Due to the medical condition of the accused, it is not at this time known when she will appear in court.”

In an earlier statement Mr. Riggi released a statement saying: “Our family is struggling to come to terms with the immense and tragic loss of three beautiful children.

‘Thanks to all who have offered such great comfort and support.

‘We request that the media respect our privacy at this difficult time.”

Friday, April 7, 2006Legislators in the Massachusetts General Court, their name for the state legislature, approved legislation on Tuesday, April 4, that would make it the first state in the United States to require all residents to have health insurance and impose penalties for non-compliance. Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, a Republican who is expected to run for U.S. President in 2008, is expected to sign the bill.

The bill passed the lower house, the Massachusetts House of Representatives by a vote of 155-2, and unanimously by the state senate. The Democratic Party holds supermajorities in both houses of the legislature.

Among the bill’s provisions are these:

  1. Businesses that employ more than 10 people are required to provide health insurance for all staff or face fines of $295 per year per uninsured worker.
  2. Individuals will be required to enroll in a health plan by July 1, 2007, or face tax penalties.
  3. Health insurers will provide partially to fully subsidized coverage for low-income residents.

At least one other state (Hawaii) requires employers to provide employee health insurance, but no other state holds individuals accountable for coverage.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

The 1999 and 2000 year model Honda Civic SiR tops the list of Canada’s most stolen cars.

Consumer popularity also assures the cars will be popular with thieves. Its the second year in a row the Honda SiR has topped the list.

Rick Dubin Vice President of Investigations for the Insurance Bureau of Canada said “The Civics are easy targets.”

Dubin said that once stolen, the cars are most often sold to “chop shops” where thieves completely dismantle the vehicles. The automobile’s individual parts are worth more than the entire car.

The sheer numbers of the cars and their lack of theft deterrent systems make them thieves’ preferred choices.

1999 and 2000 Honda Civics do not come with an electronic immobilizer, however all Hondas from 2001 and onward are equipped with an immobilizer. Immobilizers will be mandatory on all new cars sold beginning September 2007. The devices enable an engine computer to recognize an electronic code in the key. If the code in the key and the engine don’t match exactly, the vehicle can’t be started.

In third place was the 2004 Subaru Impreza, while the 1999 Acura Integra came in fourth, with the 1994 Honda Civic rounding out the top five.

In sixth place, the 1998 Acura Integra, and the 1993 Dodge Shadow completed seventh.

When asked why early model vehicles are selected, he said that, “auto thieves continue to find it easier to steal older vehicles lacking an IBC-approved immobilizer. We’ve seen this trend developing for several years, and these results confirm it.”

Another Honda automobile, the 1996 year model Civic filled eighth place, with the 2000 German Audi TT Quattro in ninth.

The American 1996 Chevrolet/GMC Blazer rounded out the top ten.

None of the above cars had an electronic immobilizer.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick and three other men were indicted on Tuesday by a federal grand jury on charges of conspiracy related to a dog fighting operation. The charges included buying, breeding and training pit bull dogs, transporting the dogs across state lines to illegally participate in fights, and gambling on the fights.

The indictments stemmed from a search of Vick’s Smithfield, Virginia home in April, in which 54 pit bulls were removed, along with equipment used in dog fighting.

The indictment said that Vick had bought the property in Smithfield for US$34,000 to run the dog fighting under the name “Bad Newz Kennels” with two other people named in the indictment. Purnell Peace, Quanis Phillips, and Tony Taylor were all named in the indictment along with Vick.

The indictment stated that Vick took part in the killing of eight dogs that didn’t pass test fights, called “rolling”. The pit bulls were allegedly killed by hanging, drowning and slamming at least one dog onto the ground.

If convicted of both portions of the conspiracy charge, Vick could face six years in prison and a $350,000 fine. His property, located in Surry County, would be subject to forfeiture under U.S. laws dealing with illegal activities that are carried out at an interstate level. The indictment alleges that the dog fighting operation, involving American Pit Bull Terriers, spilled over into Alabama, North Carolina and New York.

Vick has a court date on July 26 for a bond hearing and to hear the charges. Vick has said that he had a kennel operation on the property, but had no involvement or knowledge of a dog fighting ring.

Monday, June 5, 2006

Wikinews Australia has in-depth coverage of this issue: Australian nuclear debate

Australian media reports that Prime Minister John Howard is expected to push a nuclear energy inquiry through federal cabinet this week. Meanwhile, a list of possible sites for nuclear reactors has been leaked by the Opposition to media. The locations, listed in 1997, include Adelaide, Darwin, Perth, Lucas Heights, Goulburn, Holsworthy, and Broken Hill in New South Wales and other sites.

West Australian (WA) premier Alan Carpenter says the list of fourteen potential sites were a “facade to soften up Western Australians into accepting a nuclear waste dump.” The WA Premier said people would not only be surprised but “stunned to learn that the federal cabinet considered possible sites… without disclosing them to any state government.”

Mr Carpenter said in a media release that the document mentions a site near Perth airport. “People should wake up to what’s happening around Australia, particularly in WA,” said Mr. Carpenter. “Only a few weeks ago, we had three prominent WA Liberal MPs supporting a nuclear waste dump in WA,” he said. “This is all a facade in the Howard Government’s push to soften up West Australians for a nuclear waste dump.”

Premier Carpenter, whose Labor government stridently opposes uranium mining in WA, stated his opposition to a nuclear waste dump: “I vehemently oppose the prospect of our State becoming the dumping ground for the world’s nuclear waste and that is what will happen if we allow uranium mining in WA. The evidence is mounting and indisputable.”

The South Australian Government has ruled out any possible nuclear power plant in SA. “A nuclear power plant would bankrupt our state,” SA Premier Mike Rann said. “It would not be commercially viable and would not, in my view, be acceptable to the public. Nuclear power plants need giant populations to sustain them, there is no-one coming to me from the commercial sector or the mining industry or anywhere else, suggesting a nuclear power plant.”

Earlier, Foreign Affairs Minister Alexander Downer said South Australia should build a nuclear power station to run a desalination plant. Premier Rann dismissed the idea as ridiculous and said comments by Mr Downer highlight divisions within Federal Cabinet. He said Mr Downer is at odds with the Federal Finance Minister Nick Minchin, who says the high costs of nuclear power would rule it out.

Mr Rann says South Australia will not allow nuclear power. “For once I’m agreeing with Nick Minchin,” he said. “I think Nick Minchin is right that a nuclear power plant isn’t necessary and won’t happen and I think that Alexander Downer is having a bit of a lend of him.”

Victoria’s Energy Minister Theo Theophanous said nuclear energy in Australia did not make sense when the cost and problems of waste disposal were considered. Mr Theophanous has rejected a report that found nuclear power could be competitive with conventional energy generation if it was subsided with help from a taxpayer subsidy.

A recent report found nuclear power could compete with gas or coal-fired electricity if taxpayers helped to pay for it or shouldered the risk of its production. The ANSTO report found nuclear plants could be built in the next 10 to 15 years and an Australian version would cost about $2.5 billion to establish. To make it viable, taxpayers would pay hundreds of million towards start-up costs, said the report.

But Mr Theophanous said Victoria had already had concluded the nuclear proposal did not add up. “I had my department look at this and provide a report to me more than a year ago in relation to the prospect of nuclear power,” he said. “The problem is a commercial one as much as anything else. It costs roughly double the price to produce power out of nuclear energy. If you’re going to pay double the price, why not put in wind farms? Why not use renewable energy, which is even cheaper than nuclear energy?” said Mr Theophanous .

The Victoria Government urges householders to reduce greenhouse emissions by reducing daily energy consumption. A new campaign identifies simple measures residents can adopt to cut power bills and greenhouse emissions, including turning the heating thermostat to no more than 20C, washing clothes in cold water and turning appliances off at the switch when they are not being used.

New South Wales Premier Morris Iemma has also declared his opposition to nuclear power. He said no nuclear power stations would be built in NSW as long as he is premier. Mr Iemma urged state opposition leader Peter Debnam to join him in opposing the construction of nuclear power plants in NSW. “While ever I’m premier of NSW there won’t be any nuclear power plants in NSW,” he told reporters.

Queensland Premier Peter Beattie says he “would not jeopardize the state’s coal industry by supporting a nuclear power plant.” Mr. Beattie has ruled out uranium mining in Queensland to protect the state’s huge coal industry. He said he would not support a nuclear power plant. “The State Government would not support it,” Mr. Beattie said.

“We have the power to block them and we would block them, we would not support nuclear power. Why would we have a nuclear reactor in competition with the coal industry?” Mr. Beattie told media.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

A building being prepared for demolition collapsed this morning in New York‘s Upper West Side around 9 a.m. EDT. Five people are known to be injured from the accident, as well as one rescue worker who was injured in the aftermath. None of the injuries were life-threatening.

The building was a supermarket, which was being taken down to make room for a high-rise building, something that residents took issue with. The roof, front wall, and scaffolding all fell to the ground, as stated by Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta.

Soon after the incident at least 100 police and fire department personnel combed the wreckage for more victims, using search and rescue dogs to find people by scent. They quickly accounted for the twenty-five construction workers who were working on the supermarket. Most of the victims’ injuries were broken bones, including one person who broke all four extremities.

Subway lines 1, 2, and 3 have been closed or redirected in response, along with the M104 bus.

Friday, January 13, 2006

In a recent ZNet Commentary, Howard Zinn wrote that a group of people, including Gino Strada, Paul Farmer, Kurt Vonnegut, Nadine Gordimer, and Eduardo Galeano, are promoting the creation of worldwide gatherings to renounce war. Their intention, according to Zinn, is to make worldwide renunciation of war so popular that halting existing wars and preventing the beginning of new wars is politically irresistible.

In his article, After This War, Zinn asks, “should we not think beyond this war? Should we begin to think, even before this shameful war is over, about ending our addiction to massive violence, and using the enormous wealth of our country for human needs?” He goes on to talk of ending not just “this war or that war but war itself. Perhaps the time has come to bring an end to war, and turn the human race onto a path of health and healing.”

The five people have been actively involved in global issues for many years and have a solid track record of accomplishments on the world stage.

Dr. Gino Strada is a war surgeon and the founder of Emergency, a nonprofit, humanitarian organization dedicated to providing assistance to civilian victims of war. His recent book Green Parrots: A War Surgeon’s Diary helped persuade Italy to abandon the use and manufacture of a flying anti-personnel mine.

Dr. Paul Farmer is a Harvard professor and practicing physician. In 1987, he helped found the worldwide health organization Partners in Health, which treats some of the poorest people on Earth. Dr. Paul Farmer has received a “genius” award from the MacArthur Foundation.

Kurt Vonnegut is an American writer and humanist, currently serving as Honorary President of the American Humanist Association. As a WWII prisoner of war in Dresden, Germany, Kurt witnessed the fire bombing of Dresden. This event formed the core of his book Slaughterhouse-Five. In a column for In These Times, he began “… our leaders are power-drunk chimpanzees … the morale of our soldiers fighting and dying in the Middle East … like so many bodies, is already shot to pieces. They are being treated, as I never was, like toys a rich kid got for Christmas.”

Nadine Gordimer from South Africa received the 1991 Nobel Prize in literature and 1974 Booker Prize. She received worldwide praise for her leadership for South Africa to re-examine and replace its long held racist policy of apartheid.

Eduardo Galeano’s books combine history, political analysis, journalism and fiction. “I’m a writer obsessed with remembering, with remembering the past of America … condemned to amnesia. The Open Veins of Latin America is one of Galeano’s works covering the exploitation of Latin America by foreign powers from the 15th century onwards.

Both Nadine and Eduardo’s books are recognized by the Great Books Foundation as among the top 40 books in Citizens of the World: Readings in Human Rights. We Say No by Eduardo Galeano and Comrades by Nadine Gordimer are listed there along with the Emancipation Proclamation of Abraham Lincoln, Independence by Mahatma Gandhi, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and Letter from Birmingham Jail by Martin Luther King Jr.

Howard Zinn is a U.S. historian, political scientist and author of fifteen books. Howard writes, “In a world of clashing interests—war against peace, nationalism against internationalism, equality against greed, and democracy against elitism—- it seems to me both impossible and undesirable to be neutral in those conflicts. I do not claim to be neutral, nor do I want to be… . I will try to be fair to opposing ideas by accurately representing them.”

Thursday, February 24, 2005

A paste containing synthetic tooth enamel can seal small cavities without drilling. Kazue Yamagishi and colleagues at the FAP Dental Institute in Tokyo say that the paste can repair small cavities in 15 minutes.

Currently, fillers don’t stick to such small cavities so dentists must drill bigger holes. Hydroxyapatite crystals, of which natural enamel is made, bond with teeth to repair tiny areas of damage.

Yamagishi and colleagues have tested their paste on a lower premolar tooth that showed early signs of decay. They found that the synthetic enamel merged with the natural enamel. The synthetic enamel also appears to make teeth stronger which will improve resistance to future decay. As with drilling, however, there is still the potential for pain: The paste is strongly acidic to encourage crystal growth and causes inflammation if it touches the gums.

The paste is reported in the journal Nature.