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Darling announces UK budget for 2009

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The United Kingdom Chancellor of the Exchequer, Alistair Darling, yesterday announced the 2009 budget. The budget is an annual audit of the nation’s finances, and decides what should be done with taxpayers’ money.

The chancellor fell under scorn for his GDP growth forecasts, which are considered to be too optimistic in predicting that Britain will bounce back from its weakest economic performance since the end of the second world war. Darling forecast GDP growth of 3.5% in 2011, even after he was made to downgrade his predictions. He expects a record expansion of 1.25% next year, but chief UK economist Howard Archer disagrees, calling Darling’s predictions “mildly optimistic in the near term and much more optimistic in the long term.”

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His plans for savers and pensioners, however, were commended by many, though was also criticised by a large portion of the populace. In the budget, Darling increased the amount that savers can put into an Individual Savings Account (ISA) from £7,200 to £10,200, of which £5,100 can be saved in cash. These increased limits will be available only to people aged over 50 from 6 October this year, and will not be available to everyone until 6 April next year. A number of financial experts described the move as being “too little, too late”, and Rumina Hassam, of price comparison website uSwitch.com, said: “The government’s decision to increase the cash ISA limit by £1,500 to £5,100 for the over 50’s is a just another kick in the teeth for the majority of savers as they will have to wait even longer to benefit. There is no doubt that savers have been sacrificed as a result of the plummeting base rate, bringing savings rates to an all time low.”

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US astronaut Neil Armstrong dies

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Former American astronaut Neil Armstrong has died at the age of 82, due to complications following heart bypass surgery earlier this month. He is known as the first person to walk on the moon when commander of Apollo 11, the first manned mission to land on the moon.

Armstrong was born on August 5, 1930 in Wapakoneta, Ohio. On March 16, 1966, he became the first American civilian to orbit Earth whilst onboard Gemini VIII with crewmate Davis R. Scott. Following Gemini VIII’s docking with another spacecraft in orbit, it began tumbling out of control due to a faulty thruster. Armstrong used an emergency set of thrusters to regain control; Gemini VIII then landed in the Pacific Ocean after ten hours of flight.

Apollo 11 launched on July 16, 1969, with Armstrong and crewmates Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins. Whilst Collins stayed in lunar orbit, Armstrong and Aldrin landed on the moon on July 20; On touchdown, Armstrong said: “Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed”. Upon stepping on to the surface of the Moon on July 20, 1969, he famously said, “That’s one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind.” The landing, and subsequent moonwalk, was watched by half a billion people around the world. Armstrong and Aldrin spent approximately two hours walking on the lunar surface before lifting off for Apollo 11’s return to Earth on July 24.

Armstrong later spent a few years as a NASA manager. Also teaching engineering at the University of Cincinnati, he was appointed to panels investigating the Apollo 13 and Challenger disasters. His first wife, Jan, divorced him in 1995; he married Carol Knight in 1999, and lived in Cincinnati.

After Armstrong’s death, his family released a statement saying, “While we mourn the loss of a very good man, we also celebrate his remarkable life and hope that it serves as an example to young people around the world to work hard to make their dreams come true, to be willing to explore and push the limits, and to selflessly serve a cause greater than themselves.”

Buzz Aldrin released a statement on his website paying tribute to Armstrong: “I will miss my friend Neil as I know our fellow citizens and people around world will miss this foremost aviation and space pioneer.”

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Fitzpatrick family offers reward in search for missing Mijas teenager

Monday, February 18, 2008

The family of Amy Fitzpatrick, an Irish expat who disappeared from Mijas, Spain on New Year’s Night, has announced a reward for reliable information which could lead to finding the missing teenager. The news came in a statement from Dave Mahon, the partner of Amy’s mother, Audrey, who said all information would be treated in the strictest confidence, and calling on anyone who may have a possible lead to contact either the family or the Civil Guard. In the statement Mahon said that “a substantial reward is on offer to anyone who can provide reliable information on Amy’s whereabouts. Any information received will be treated within the strictest confidence.”

There has been no news on whether detectives have managed to locate a vehicle which they believe Amy may have taken, a British-registered white Ford Fiesta, with the registration number C955 SLK. Anyone who may see the vehicle is asked not to touch it to avoid destroying any evidence, and to call 062 urgently.

Amy disappeared when she was walking home to the Riviera del Sol Urbanisation from the Calypso area at around 10 p.m. on New Year’s Night, and was wearing black track suit bottoms and a T-shirt with the word ‘Diesel’ when she was last seen. She has black hair, and is 1.65 m tall. The contact telephone numbers for any information on her whereabouts are 112, 952 487 036, 062, 686 044 181 and 952 474 030.


This article is based on Fitzpatrick family offers reward in search for missing Mijas teenager by TypicallySpanish.com which has a copyright policy compatible with our CC-BY 2.5. Specifically “CC-BY-3.0

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Glasgow cannabis enthusiasts celebrate ‘green’ on city green

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Coinciding with Easter Sunday, Glasgow Cannabis Social Club’s annual 420 event was held on Glasgow Green, under sunny blue skies, and overlooking the river Clyde. Despite the city’s council attempting to revoke permission for the gathering at the last minute, police were happy for it to go-ahead with approximately a dozen officers attending in high-visibility vests.

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The Daily Record reported five arrests were made for minor offences, likely smoking and possession of small quantities of cannabis. Taking a less-sensational — and more accurate — line of reporting, the Monday edition of Glasgow’s Evening News stated five were referred to the Procurator Fiscal who is responsible for deciding if charges should be brought.

Official figures provided by the police were that 150 attended. With people coming and going, Wikinews reporters estimated upwards of 200 attended, compared to nearly 700 who had signed up for the event on Facebook. Hemp goods were advertised and on sale at the event, and some attendees were seen drinking cannabis-themed energy drinks.

“I was searched and charged under the Misuse of Drugs Act (which is a lot of bollocks)” one attendee noted online, adding “not fair to happen on a brilliant day like it was, other than that I had a great day!” A second said they were openly smoking and ignored by police, who “were only really focusing on people who looked particularly young”.

Cannabis seeds were openly and legally sold at the event and a hydroponics supplier brought a motortrike towing an advertising trailer. Actually growing cannabis is, however, illegal in the UK.

With the event openly advocating the legalisation of cannabis, speakers put their arguments for this to a receptive crowd. Retired police officer James Duffy, of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, spoke of the failed United States alcohol prohibition policy; stressing such policies needlessly bring people into contact with criminal elements. Highlighting other countries where legalisation has been implemented, he pointed out such led to lower crime, and lower drug use overall.

One speaker, who produced a bottle of cannabis oil he had received through the post, asserted this cured his prostate cancer. Others highlighted the current use of Sativex by the National Health Service, with a cost in-excess of £150 for a single bottle of GW Pharmaceuticals patented spray — as-compared to the oil shown to the crowd, with a manufacturing cost of approximately £10.

Similar ‘420’ pro-cannabis events were held globally.

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Left-wing EU parliament candidates debate in Cardiff

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Cardiff, Wales —Labour, Plaid Cymru, and No2EU candidates for the Wales seats in the European Parliament met at Cardiff‘s Sandringham Hotel last night for the second of two pre-election hustings debates hosted by Cardiff Trades Union Congress. Cardiff TUC president Katrine Williams moderated as Derek Vaughan of the Labour Party, Jill Evans MEP of Plaid Cymru, and Rob Griffiths of the No2EU coalition, the tops of their respective lists, took questions from an audience of 22 composed largely of socialist activists and trade union members.

Candidates from the Tories, Liberal Democrats, and Green Party were not invited to the evening debate, although the Liberal Democrats did take part in the TUC’s debate earlier in the day. Ms Williams explained that the Liberal Democrats and Tories had been excluded because “we wanted to have candidates more representative of trade unions” but that not inviting the Greens had been “an oversight” due to the less prominent tradition of green politics in Wales. The BNP, UKIP and some minor parties also did not take part.

In opening statements, the three candidates discussed their records and their goals for the European Parliament. Mr Vaughan, leader of Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council, asserted the pro-organised labour credentials of the Labour Party, which has been under fire for several years from the left, and noted that Labour, which currently controls two of Wales’s four seats in the EU Parliament, has brought £1.5 billion to Wales, with a comparable amount to come in the future. Calling the BNP “Nazis” and comparing the British political situation to that in Germany in the 1930s, Vaughan called for the parties of the left to rally behind Labour in order to ensure that the BNP did not obtain any seats in Wales; but he expressed resignation to the likelihood that the BNP would earn a seat in North West England.

Ms Evans, meanwhile, who has been an MEP for ten years, announced her opposition to the pro-privatisation current in the EU and pledged that Plaid would support a new program of public investment and pro-organised labour revisions of EU directives, particularly the Posted Workers Directive.

Mr Griffiths, meanwhile, who is General Secretary of the Communist Party of Britain, took a position urging radical reform of the European Union. The Lisbon Treaty, which he characterised as a re-branding of the European Constitution, would, he argued, enshrine neo-liberal policies in Europe and impose them on its member states in a way that was irreversible — “at least by any constitutional means”. Calling for a “social Europe” as opposed to a “United States of Europe“, Griffiths suggested that the creation of a European Defence Agency and the actions of the European Court of Justice were being used to turn the European Union into a capitalist “empire” akin to the United States.

Discussion of the ongoing UK parliamentary expenses scandal and its implications for MEPs, who draw salaries and expenses considerably higher than Westminster MPs do, dominated the early discussion. The Labour candidate expressed the position that the problems in accountability leading to the scandal had been fixed; his opponents noted that of the parties currently representing Britain in Brussels, only Labour has not yet disclosed their expenses (although Mr Vaughan states that the party will begin to do so soon) and Mr Griffiths furthermore declared that the scandal was part of a wider problem: the corruption of the political system by big business.

On the subject of a common European defence policy the three candidates supported widely differing views. The No2EU candidate stated plainly that he considers Europe not to be threatened, and said that a European defence force would be used for foreign adventures in Afghanistan, Africa, and elsewhere in the developing world while at the same time building up the armaments industry in Europe. Ms Evans, meanwhile, argued that the proper role of a common EU force would be as a “civil force” supporting conflict prevention and conflict resolution operations, and also called for the abolition of NATO. Mr Vaughan finished the second round of questioning arguing that a common European armed force should be an alternative to the “US-dominated” NATO, but also stated the importance of bilateral alliances in building up a common European defence force, citing the Franco-German Brigade of the Eurocorps as an example.

Debate ended on the contentious question of MEP salaries, with one member of the audience challenging the three candidates to pledge to accept a wage, if they won, equal to the average wage of their constituents. Ms Evans agreed that the set wage, currently £63,000 rising to £73,000 in 2010, was “too high”, but would not commit to a so-called “worker’s wage”, under heavy criticism from the audience. Mr Vaughan, following, called it “not fair” to ask MEPs to take such a pledge but asserted “I have never been motivated by money” and finished his part in the debate with a call to elect more left-wing socialist MEPs. Mr Griffiths, whose No2EU coalition has made a worker’s wage for MEPs part of their election manifesto, readily pledged to hold to a living wage, albeit not necessarily one equal to the average wage of his constituents, and described some of the difficulties associated with refusing an EU salary, noting that initially No2EU had proposed that its MEPs should draw no salary and claim no expenses from Europe but the coalition’s legal advisors had said that to do so would endanger the status of any of its members as MEPs.

Voting for the European Parliament elections in the United Kingdom takes place June 4.

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Canada’s Don Valley West (Ward 26) city council candidates speak

This exclusive interview features first-hand journalism by a Wikinews reporter. See the collaboration page for more details.

Friday, November 3, 2006

On November 13, Torontonians will be heading to the polls to vote for their ward’s councillor and for mayor. Among Toronto’s ridings is Don Valley West (Ward 26). Four candidates responded to Wikinews’ requests for an interview. This ward’s candidates include Muhammad Alam, Bahar Aminvaziri, Orhan Aybars, Michele Carroll-Smith, Mohamed Dhanani, Abdul Ingar, Geoff Kettel, Debbie Lechter, Natalie Maniates, John Masterson, John Parker, David Thomas, Csaba Vegh, and Fred Williams.

For more information on the election, read Toronto municipal election, 2006.

Contents

  • 1 Geoff Kettel
  • 2 Natalie Maniates
  • 3 John Parker
  • 4 Csaba Vegh
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NFL: Cowboys cornerback Pacman Jones can’t discuss police incident

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Dallas Cowboys cornerback Adam “Pacman” Jones was not available to speak with reporters Thursday after a Tuesday night incident involving Jones and a bodyguard in a hotel bathroom in the south-Central American city of Dallas, Texas. Officials are calling the incident private and said charges are not likely to be filed. As of Thursday, the Cowboys have not disciplined Jones.

Police were notified by hotel staff after workers heard a disturbance in the hotel lobby men’s bathroom where Jones and his bodyguard arguing. Jones and his bodyguard told police everything was fine and were driven away by a friend.

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones spoke with members of the media on Thursday, saying that he was “very disappointed in that we’re having to deal with this,” saying that the altercation was not a big deal.

“They were literally kidding each other,” Jerry Jones told the Associated Press on Thursday. “They were jiving around … and all of a sudden one of them starting saying some things, and here you go.”

Cowboys nose tackle Tank Johnson said everything was overblown and shouldn’t distract the team.

“This is not that big of a deal,” Johnson told the Associated Press. “Nobody’s in jail, nobody’s in trouble, nobody’s hurt. We’re all here ready to practice, ready to work.”

National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell told ESPN radio that he was frustrated that the league was even discussing the incident involving Jones and his bodyguard. Goodell also said the NFL league is investigating the matter.

Jones has already been in police trouble in connection with a shooting at a Las Vegas strip club and other incidents which have led to his arrest six times since he was drafted in 2005 by the Tennessee Titans. Jones was suspended in April 2007 by Goodell and allowed to return to play in August.

Jones said this after his reinstatement: “I know my responsibilities to the NFL and I’m going to hold my own and do what I need to do to make sure I stay where I am right now, which is reinstated. I work hard every day to make sure I don’t make the same mistakes. Can I say I would never ever make the same mistakes? No, I can’t say that. I’ll make sure I put myself in way better situations than I have put myself in the past.”

The Dallas Cowboys are a professional American football team in the Eastern Division of the National Football Conference (NFC) in the NFL. They are based in the Dallas suburb of Irving.

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The Importance Of Repairing Water Damage In Wichita

byAlma Abell

Water damage can be one of the most destructive types of damage you will ever experience in your home. Water damage can occur during a fire, flood, damaged roof or burst pipe. When your home is flooded with massive amounts of water, it can damage every surface it touches. How your proceed in the water restoration after you experience damage is crucial to how much of your belongings you will be able to recover. When you experience Water Damage in Wichita, you need to contact a water restoration company, so they can come out and take care of the water damages as soon as possible.

What Should You Do When You Experience Water Damage in Your Home?

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You first need to make sure you turn off your electricity in the affected area. Water and electricity should never mix and cause electrical shock that could lead to death. Making sure your electricity is turned off should be your first goal.

If the water in your home is caused by a leak, it is imperative you turn off your water supply to your home, so the flow of water can be stopped. This will prevent more water from entering your home and causing further damages.

You will next need to remove all of your valuable and sentimental items, like photographs. These should be moved to a safe area so they do not experience any damage. If any of these items has been damaged by water, leaving them in an area to dry can help stop further damage.

Your furniture and all removable rugs should also be removed from the area. This will assist the restoration company when they come in to begin cleanup. This allows them full access to your flooring so all water can be removed.

If you have experienced Water Damage in Wichita, you need to act as quickly as possible. Contact ACT Emergency Clean up and allow them to get started on restoring your home from the devastating effects of water damage. They will work with you and your insurance agency, to make sure you receive compensation for your damages and for the cost of restoration.

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Mongolia’s ruling party wins elections as rioting subsides

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Mongolia’s ruling People’s Revolutionary Party (MPRP) has been declared winners of the country’s legislative elections, two days after allegations of vote-rigging leveled against the ruling party sparked violent protests in the capital of Ulaanbaatar.

Preliminary results show the MPRP with 47 seats out of 76 in the State Great Khural, General Election Committee spokesman Nergui reported. The opposing Democratic Party won 26 seats, Nergui said, with the remaining seats divided between minor parties. The official results are expected to be revealed tomorrow. Nevertheless, the preliminary results indicate a decisive victory for the former communist party.

International observers say the vote was largely fair. There were some irregularities reported, but according to William Ifante, Mongolia director of The Asia Foundation, “they were in no way widespread” and the election “appeared to have been transparent and free throughout.”

This did not stop Democratic Party supporters from taking to the streets on Tuesday in protest of alleged election fraud. Rioters clashed with police, setting fire to the MPRP headquarters and a cultural center. Five people were killed in the violence, over 300 were injured, and around 700 protesters were detained. President Nambaryn Enkhbayar declared a four-day state of emergency in the capital, which will stay in effect until Saturday.

Calm has since been restored in Ulaanbaatar, although a heavy police presence remains in the city. “Life is steadily coming back to normal. Military equipment has been moved from the city and traffic restrictions have been lifted,” said Justic Minister Monkh-Orgil. Protests have been banned during the state of emergency, but Democratic Party leader Tsakhiagiyn Elbegdorj does not expect a recurrence of the violence.

However, Elbegdorj still asserts that the elections were marred by fraud, and he is demanding a recount. “I am deeply saddened that this vote was stolen,” he said. “It was stolen and there needs to be a recount. The result is false.”

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Bratz picture filmed at high school in rough area of Los Angeles, while in session

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Described in press materials as a “low budget” production, the crew of Bratz: The Movie turned to a busy LA high school to film the picture’s main scenes.

Shot in 30 days, during February and March 2007, the film had to work around the roughly 3,500 students at Santee Educational Complex in South Los Angeles, California. Most productions, like High School Musical and Degrassi: The Next Generation, do principal photography shoots during the summer. Since the Bratz film had a summer release, and the Santee school goes year-round, such a pattern was impossible.

Director Sean McNamara “was adamant about using this school”, named in the film as “Carry Nation High”, said production designer Rusty Smith. “We knew it was going to be complicated, and it was, but we pulled it off. I’m sure it was a big distraction for us to be there and it’s really a compliment to the principal and the students’ cooperation because we couldn’t have done it without them.”

One of the stars, Chelsea Staub, agreed. “I was amazed at how orderly and respectful the students at Santee High were during our invasion.” She admits that she “would have had issues walking by our heavenly omelet station every morning,” if she were a Santee student.

Such good behavior could be deemed extra surprising considering the school, which opened in 2005, is located in an area known for its amount of gangs. Some students walk through 50 different gang “territories” on the way to school, 18 of which have documented members enrolled as students. Students have brought AK-47s to class, and jumped police officers for their guns. A two day melee at the school, whose principal is a former cop, resulted in 34 arrests and 10 hospitalizations, mostly for pepper-spray-related injuries. Half of the instructors, as of March 2006, were in their first year of teaching.

The school board superintendent and Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa rode the bus to the first day the bus was routed through the neighbourhood; a photographer for the Los Angeles Times caught a 10th grader tagging a window. The first gun shots rang out the second day the school was open.

Bratz: The Movie is a story based on an internationally successful line of dolls. Three “best friends forever” are forced by the queen bee of the high school to separate into various existing cliques. Growing lonely, they rebel by choosing to be true to themselves.

“Filming at a real high school was interesting because you could see real cliques and compare them to the simulated cliques in the movie,” commented Logan Browning, one of the movie’s stars, herself a senior in high school.

Staub, who plays the antagonist Meredith, also felt the real-life location was beneficial to the movie. “All the sounds and background images helped make it real for me. The shifting echoes of students on the bleachers and school bells that released the chaos of kids changing classes made me feel like I was truly a part of the high school experience as opposed to doing a scene on a soundstage.”

“The presence of that school and the way it’s laid out, almost like a prison, became a major character in the film,” said production designer Rusty Smith. (Interestingly, Meredith’s mantra in the movie is “take no prisoners”.) The school, devoid of color, easily contrasted against the vibrant and unique bedrooms of the Bratz girls. “We knew it was going to be complicated and it was but we pulled it off. I’m sure it was a big distraction for us to be there and it’s really a compliment to the principal and the students’ cooperation because we couldn’t have done it without them.”

A 16-foot high sculpture was added to the school courtyard, to help transform it into Carry Nation. The sculpture was of Nation, the most infamous and formidable member of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union in pre-prohibition America, wielding her hatchet in one hand and Bible in the other.

The production also filmed in the residential neighborhood of Studio City, and The Grove, a popular shopping centre at the heart of West Hollywood, both areas of Los Angeles.

The film opens in theaters across the United States and Canada on August 3, in the United Kingdom on August 17, in Spain on August 24, and Australia and New Zealand September 20.

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