Jun 07

Canada posts record $14 billion budget surplus

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Canada has a budget surplus of CA$13.8 billion for the 2006–2007 fiscal year, totaling 1% of Canada’s gross domestic product (GDP), Finance Minister Jim Flaherty announced today. The record surplus was boosted by revenue from government corporations to $14.2 billion, far exceeding the government’s projections of $9.2 billion and surpassing the record set by the previous year’s $13.2 billion surplus.

By federal law, all surplus must be used to pay down Canada’s debt, and is not available for spending. $90 billion in debt payments over the last ten years have reduced its debt to $467 billion or 32.3% of national GDP, its lowest level in a quarter century. The announced debt payment is the largest in Canadian history.

The payment also reduced Canada’s annual interest payments by $725 million, which the government pledged to pass on to taxpayers through tax returns and reduced income taxes. The Conservative’s “Tax Back Guarantee”, proposed in the March budget, promises that money saved on interest payments will be deducted from Canadians’ taxes. The Globe and Mail predicts the tax returns will be 30–40 dollars per taxpayer.

Canada has posted ten consecutive budget surpluses in the last decade. The Canadian economy, the 8th largest in the world, has benefited from rising global demand for its export commodities, particularly oil and copper, as well as record corporate profits. This surplus was further increased by a $700 million drop from expected government spending.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper cautioned that the Canadian economy is still facing “tough times” in its forestry, manufacturing, and some export industries. Critics point out that the Conservative government had said Canadians were overtaxed when they took office, and had vowed to eliminate “surplus surprises”.

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Jun 03

Asbestos controversy aboard Scientology ship Freewinds

Friday, May 16, 2008

Controversy has arisen over the reported presence of blue asbestos on the MV Freewinds, a cruise ship owned by the Church of Scientology. According to the Saint Martin newspaper The Daily Herald and the shipping news journal Lloyd’s List, the Freewinds was sealed in April and local public health officials on the Caribbean island of Curaçao where the ship is docked began an investigation into the presence of asbestos dust on the ship. Former Scientologist Lawrence Woodcraft supervised work on the ship in 1987, and attested to the presence of blue asbestos on the Freewinds in an affidavit posted to the Internet in 2001. Woodcraft, a licensed architect by profession, gave a statement to Wikinews and commented on the recent events.

According to The Daily Herald, the Freewinds was in the process of being renovated by the Curaçao Drydock Company. The article states that samples taken from paneling in the ship were sent to the Netherlands, where an analysis revealed that they “contained significant levels of blue asbestos”. An employee of the Curaçao Drydock Company told Radar Online in an April 30 article that the Freewinds has been docked and sealed, and confirmed that an article about asbestos ran in the local paper.

Lloyd’s List reported that work on the interior of the Freewinds was suspended on April 27 after health inspectors found traces of blue asbestos on the ship. According to Lloyd’s List, Frank Esser, Curaçao Drydock Company’s interim director, joined Curaçao’s head of the department of labor affairs Christiene van der Biezen along with the head of the local health department Tico Ras and two inspectors in an April 25 inspection of the ship. “We are sending someone so that they can tell us what happened, where it came from, since when it has been there,” said Panama Maritime Authority’s director of merchant marine Alfonso Castillero in a statement to Lloyd’s List.

The Church of Scientology purchased the ship, then known as the Bohème, in 1987, through an organization called Flag Ship Trust. After being renovated and refitted, it was put into service in June 1988. The ship is used by the Church of Scientology for advanced Scientology training in “Operating Thetan” levels, as well as for spiritual retreats for its members. Curaçao has been the ship’s homeport since it was purchased by the Church of Scientology.

According to his 2001 statement, Lawrence Woodcraft had been an architect in London, England since 1975, and joined Scientology’s elite “Sea Organization” (Sea Org) in 1986. He wrote that he was asked by the Sea Org to work on the Freewinds in 1987, and during his work on the ship “noticed a powdery blue fibrous substance approximately 1 ½” thick between the paint and the steel wall,” which he believed to be asbestos. He also discovered what he thought was blue asbestos in other parts of the ship, and reported his findings to Church of Scientology executives. Woodcraft discussed his experiences in a 2001 interview published online by the Lisa McPherson Trust, a now-defunct organization which was critical of the Church of Scientology.

The Freewinds regularly inspects the air quality on board and always meets or exceeds US standards.

Church of Scientology spokeswoman Karin Pouw responded to Radar Online about the asbestos reports, in an email published in an article in Radar on May 1. “The Freewinds regularly inspects the air quality on board and always meets or exceeds US standards,” said Pouw. She stated that two inspections performed in April “confirmed that the air quality is safe,” and asserted that the inspections revealed the Freewinds satisfies standards set by the United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the U.S. Clean Air Act.

Pouw told Radar that “The Freewinds will be completing its refit on schedule.” The Church of Scientology-affiliated organization Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) had been planning a cruise aboard the Freewinds scheduled for May 8, but according to Radar an individual who called the booking number for the cruise received a message that the cruise had been delayed due to ongoing work on the ship. Citing an article in the Netherlands Antilles newspaper Amigoe, Radar reported on May 6 that a team from the United States and supervised by an independent bureau from the Netherlands traveled to Curaçao in order to remove asbestos from the Freewinds.

…if the Church of Scientology claims to have removed the blue asbestos, I just don’t see how, it’s everywhere. You would first have to remove all the pipes, plumbing, a/c ducts, electrical wiring etc. etc. just a maze of stuff.

“I stand by everything I wrote in my 2001 affidavit,” said Lawrence Woodcraft in an exclusive statement given to Wikinews. Woodcraft went on to state: “I would also comment that if the Church of Scientology claims to have removed the blue asbestos, I just don’t see how, it’s everywhere. You would first have to remove all the pipes, plumbing, a/c ducts, electrical wiring etc. etc. just a maze of stuff. Also panelling as well, basically strip the ship back to a steel hull. Also blue asbestos is sprayed onto the outer walls and then covered in paint. It’s in every nook and cranny.”

Many Scientologist celebrities have spent time aboard the Freewinds, including Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes, John Travolta, Kelly Preston, Chick Corea, Lisa Marie Presley, Catherine Bell, Kate Ceberano, and Juliette Lewis. Now magazine reported that Tom Cruise has been urged to seek medical attention regarding potential asbestos exposure, however a representative for Cruise stated he has “absolutely no knowledge” of the recent asbestos controversy. Cruise, Holmes, Travolta and Preston have celebrated birthdays and other events on the Freewinds.

There is not now and never has been a situation of asbestos exposure on the Freewinds.

In a May 15 statement to the United Kingdom daily newspaper Metro, a representative for the Church of Scientology said that “There is not now and never has been a situation of asbestos exposure on the Freewinds.” The Asbestos and Mesothelioma Center notes that agencies have recommended anyone who has spent time on the Freewinds consult with their physician to determine if possible asbestos exposure may have affected their health.

Raw blue asbestos is the most hazardous form of asbestos, and has been banned in the United Kingdom since 1970. Blue asbestos fibers are very narrow and thus easily inhaled, and are a major cause of mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is a form of cancer which can develop in the lining of the lungs and chest cavity, the lining of the abdominal cavity, or the pericardium sac surrounding the heart. The cancer is incurable, and can manifest over 40 years after the initial exposure to asbestos.

“This is the most dangerous type of asbestos because the fibres are smaller than the white asbestos and can penetrate the lung more easily,” said toxicologist Dr. Chris Coggins in a statement published in OK! Magazine. Dr. Coggins went on to note that “Once diagnosed with mesothelioma, the victim has six months to a year to live. It gradually reduces lung function until the victim is no longer able to breathe and dies.”

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Jun 03

O.J. Simpson returns home; girlfriend says he’s “fine”

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Former National Football League star O.J. Simpson returned to his home in Florida this morning after being released on a $125,000 bond. While Simpson is not talking to the media, his girlfriend, Christine Prody, said that he is “fine.”

Simpson left the Fort Lauderdale airport in a SUV without talking to any reporters.

Simpson is being accused of armed robbery of sports memorabilia and faces 11 charges, 10 of which are felonies.

While aboard his US Airways flight from Las Vegas, Simpson nodded and smiled at the other passengers in the economy class section of the plane. He also signed a few autographs.

New York Post reporter Steve Dunleavy, who was aboard the same airplane as Simpson said, “between dozing and watching the movie ‘Oceans 13,’ [Simpson] didn’t look the least stressed. In fact, he was rather relaxed.”

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Jun 02

How To Know When You Need Transmission Repair

byAlma Abell

Transmission repair can be costly and you will need to have your transmission fixed as soon as possible at the first sign of trouble. This will avoid exacerbating the issue by continuing to drive a car that has a faulty transmission. However you may be wondering how to tell whether or not the transmission in your car needs to be replaced. By understanding and recognizing the first signs of transmission trouble, you should be able to fix your car in time and ensure its optimal performance.

A leaky car

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Is there a wet spot in your driveway after your car has been idling? Does your car seem to leak everywhere you go? A leaking car is never a good sign and in fact this could mean there is trouble with the transmission. The first step to take at the sign of a visible leak is to contact your mechanic right away. Although it may be possible to drive the car in that condition, the vehicle may break down on you at the worst possible time. To avoid this major inconvenience, it is best to seek the services of a mechanic for your transmission at the first sign of any leaks.

Trouble shifting gears

If you notice your car is having trouble shifting gears, this is also an indicator that you may have a faulty transmission. If you can’t shift into first gear to get your car started and you need to start it up in second, third, or even fourth gear instead, then you will want to have your vehicle looked at by a competent professional who can accurately diagnose the source of the transmission trouble. Waiting too long to take your car in for repairs could damage your care severely. Even if you depend heavily on your car to get back and forth to work, you will need to find a way to get it to the shop at some point. Some repair shops will offer you free transportation to and from their location for your convenience.

Strange Noises

In the event that your vehicle is emitting strange noises, there could be a variety of things wrong. Some cars make different sounds but you can tell at a moment’s notice when something sounds really off. There is no real way to determine just by listening whether or not the reason for the sound is that the transmission is at fault. However a thorough inspection performed by a mechanic will yield the best outcome.

Hogan and Sons is the leading auto repair shop providing outstanding services to all of their clients. For more information about their services, please visit us online at Hoganandsonsinc.com.

May 27

Creator of website satirizing Glenn Beck on winning domain name case

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Wikinews interviewed the creator of a parody website satirizing American political commentator Glenn Beck, about his thoughts after prevailing in a domain name dispute brought by Beck before the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in Geneva, Switzerland. Florida resident Isaac Eiland-Hall created the website in September, and it asserts Beck uses questionable tactics “to spread lies and misinformation”. Eiland-Hall was represented in the case by free speech lawyer Marc Randazza.

Wikinews interviewed Randazza for the article “US free speech lawyer Marc Randazza discusses Glenn Beck parody”, and previously reported on the Beck v. Eiland-Hall case in articles, “US free speech lawyer defends satire of Glenn Beck”, “Satirical website criticizes Glenn Beck for ‘hypocritical’ attempts to silence free speech”, and “Glenn Beck loses domain name case over parody website”.

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May 24

On the campaign trail in the USA, May 2016

Monday, June 13, 2016

The following is the first edition of a monthly series chronicling the U.S. 2016 presidential election. It features original material compiled throughout the previous month after an overview of the month’s biggest stories.

In this month’s edition on the campaign trail: a former Republican congressman briefly joins the Libertarian Party and runs for vice president; the Democratic Party names its National Convention Platform Drafting Committee amid controversy; and Wikinews interviews a candidate who had a surprisingly strong performance in the West Virginia Democratic presidential primary.

Contents

  • 1 Summary
  • 2 Ex GOP congressman joins LP, seeks VP, then leaves
  • 3 DNC aims for unity with Platform Drafting Committee picks; controversy ensues
  • 4 Interview with overachieving West Virginia Democratic protest candidate
  • 5 Related articles
  • 6 Sources
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May 24

Ontario Votes 2007: Interview with Green candidate Marion Schaffer, Oakville

Monday, September 24, 2007

Marion Schaffer is running for the Green Party of Ontario in the Ontario provincial election, in the Oakville riding. Wikinews’ Nick Moreau interviewed her regarding her values, her experience, and her campaign.

Stay tuned for further interviews; every candidate from every party is eligible, and will be contacted. Expect interviews from Liberals, Progressive Conservatives, New Democratic Party members, Ontario Greens, as well as members from the Family Coalition, Freedom, Communist, Libertarian, and Confederation of Regions parties, as well as independents.

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May 23

Woman returns home with Christmas turkey, a month after setting out

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A Scottish woman who set out before Christmas to purchase a turkey finally made it home on Monday, after being cut off by snow for a month. Kay Ure left the Lighthouse Keeper’s cottage on Cape Wrath, at the very northwest tip of Great Britain, in December. She was heading to Inverness on a shopping trip.

However on her return journey heavy snow and ice prevented her husband, John, from travelling the last 11 miles to pick her up. She was forced to wait a month in a friend’s caravan, before the weather improved and the couple could finally be reunited.

They were separated not just for Christmas and New Year, but also for Mr Ure’s 58th birthday. With no fresh supplies, he was reduced to celebrating with a tin of baked beans. He also ran out of coal, and had to feed the couple’s six springer spaniels on emergency army rations.

“It’s the first time we’ve been separated”, said Mr Ure in December. “We’ve been snowed in here for three weeks before, so we are well used to it and it’s quite nice to get a bit of peace and quiet.”

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May 23

Wikinews interviews Buddy Roemer, U.S. Republican Party presidential candidate

Sunday, October 30, 2011

U.S. Republican Party presidential candidate and former Governor Buddy Roemer of Louisiana took some time to answer a few questions from Wikinews reporter William S. Saturn.

Roemer served four terms in the U.S. House of Representatives in the 1980s as a member of the Democratic Party. He was elected governor as a Democrat in 1987 before switching to the Republican Party ahead of the 1991 election for governor. That year, he lost the party’s primary to state legislator David Duke. After his governorship, Roemer worked as CEO of Business First Bank in Baton Rouge.

Roemer announced his candidacy for president back in July after exploring a bid for several months. He has focused his campaign on the issue of campaign finance reform, refusing to accept money from political action committees (PACs) and limiting individual campaign contributions to $100. He raised a total of $126,500 in the third quarter of 2011, far short of the $14.2 million raised by former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney.

For his campaign, Roemer has adopted the slogan ‘Free to Lead’. He rails against corruption, special interests, and money in politics, and has expressed support for the Occupy Wall Street protests. Furthermore, he has taken issue positions in favor of fair trade, a balanced federal budget, and a strengthened national defense.

Roemer has not been invited to any national presidential debates. He has focused largely on the first-in-the-nation primary state of New Hampshire, and recently signed up to appear on the state’s primary ballot. However, a recent University of New Hampshire Survey Center poll shows him with less than one percent support in the state. Pearson Cross of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette commented, “If Buddy can exceed expectations in New Hampshire or even sneak in and steal third — that would give a boost that he could build on”.

Contents

  • 1 Interview
  • 2 Related news
  • 3 Sources
  • 4 External links
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