Oct 28

Coordinated terrorist attack hits London

Thursday, July 7, 2005

Three bomb explosions have hit London Underground trains, and a further bomb destroyed a bus in the city centre. The Metropolitan Police Service has initially confirmed that 33 people have been killed in the four explosions on London‘s transport system this morning, and said the overall number of wounded was as high as 700, in what are believed to be terrorist attacks. (See later reports in the box at the side for later announcements made on following days.)

The first reports were of an explosion at 08:49 BST (UTC+1) on the Hammersmith & City Line between Liverpool Street station and Aldgate East. Explosions also occurred on a train between King’s Cross and Russell Square and another at Edgware Road. The explosions are currently being reported, and described by Prime Minister Tony Blair, as being “terrorist attacks.” Traces of explosives were found at two of the sites according to the BBC.

Scotland Yard has confirmed one explosion onboard a double decker red London bus travelling south outside the British Medical Association on Tavistock Square. Police cannot confirm whether this bomb was intended for another train and accidentally detonated aboard the bus instead.

Pundits are speculating the attack was co-ordinated by al-Qaeda. Dr. Shane Brighton, an intelligence expert at the Royal United Services Institute for Defence, claims that, “If what we are looking at is a simultaneous bombing — and it does look like that — it would very certainly fit the classic al Qaeda methodology.” Two militant Islamist groups are reported to have claimed responsibility for the blasts.

In a special news conference at 15:30 BST, July 7, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Brian Paddick of the Metropolitan Police confirmed 33 fatalities so far, 45 critical/serious injuries and approximately 300 minor injuries.

At 08:51 BST a bomb exploded on a Circle Line Underground train 91 metres/100 yards into the tunnel from Liverpool Street. Seven are known to be dead.

At 08:56 BST a bomb detonated on a Piccadilly Line train between King’s Cross and Russell Square. Twenty-one are dead; it is believed more bodies remain in the tunnel, which is one of the deepest on the Underground network.

At 09:17 BST a bomb exploded on another Circle Line train between Edgware Road Station and Paddington. The blast blew a hole in a wall, and another train was hit by debris from it. A third train is also involved. Five are known to be dead.

At 09:47 BST a No. 30 bus (Hackney – Marble Arch) blew up at the junction between Tavistock Square and Woburn Place outside the BMA building. It has been estimated that thirteen people died.

Earlier, quoting the Associated Press, Yahoo News had reported “at least 40 people were killed and more than 350 wounded”. Also, the same report says “two U.S. law enforcement officials said at least 40 people were killed”.

Several hotlines have been set up for those concerned about friends or relatives. A list of these numbers are below. The agencies setting up these hotlines stress that callers should try to reach their friends or relatives first before contacting the hotline. In addition, to prevent swamping, they also have asked that only genuine callers use the hotlines.

The first reports that came in were from London’s Liverpool Street station talking of an explosion on the Metropolitan Underground line and the station being evacuated. Later a BBC and a Wikinews reporter spoke of a bus being destroyed by a bomb blast in Tavistock Square outside the British Medical Association offices.

The initial reports of explosions were believed to have been the result of power surges. This was because the first indication of any disturbance was the opening of circuit breakers in the Underground, which was observed in the control room. This is usually due to a power surge, but in this case the actual cause was damage to the track circuits by bombs.

At approximately 10:50 BST reports were made that there was an additional, as yet unidentified explosion along Houndsditch, near Liverpool Street Station. Police were also warning pedestrians at Russell Square that a series of controlled explosions would be made shortly.

BBC News 24 has reported additional unspecified incidents at Brighton, Luton, and Swindon. These stations have been closed and there has been no official confirmation of the nature of the incidents, if any actually occurred.

The Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Sir Ian Blair told London Live that there have been “events” at Edgware Road, Kings Cross, Liverpool Street, Russell Square, Aldgate East and Moorgate.

At 11:30 BST (UTC+1) St. Mary’s Hospital released a statement that they have admitted 4 critical, 8 severe and several minor injures. Injuries are limb damage, cuts, burns, head injuries and chest problems.

The exact causes of the explosions are still unknown. Initially, it was thought that it was some technical fault. However, the police later suspected terrorist attacks. Police are still unsure if the bombs were simply left in packages or whether there were some sort of suicide attacks.

According to the Associated Press, a senior Israeli official said Scotland Yard told Israel minutes before the explosions that it had received warnings of possible “terror attacks”. Sky News says this has been denied by Scotland Yard. Sir Ian during his interview with Sky stated that there had been no specific intelligence.

German news magazine Der Spiegel (as well as unconfirmed information from CIA) has reported that a letter from an organization calling itself “Secret organization – Al Qaeda in Europe” has appeared, claiming responsibility for the bombings. See our related story for more details.

A broadcast interruption on MTV Thursday at 16:00 UTC said a group naming itself “Al Jihad Network in Europe” claimed responsibility for the bombings.

A police spokeswoman has confirmed two deaths at Aldgate station. Television and radio reports are now saying there have been four separate incidents with up to 150 casualties, speculating that the blasts may be related to terrorist activity.

The Associated Press is reporting that a US law enforcement official has put the toll at 40 killed.

Emergency Services press conference at around 15:15 BST (UTC+1) confirms at least 33 fatalities, not including those resulting from the incident on the number 30 bus.

The CBC reports at least 52 fatalities, including 17 from the incident on the number 30 bus according to media reports.

It has been reported that in the early stages of the attack, information was only distributed to civilians within the center of London, and authorities had a specific policy of not providing information to the global media, in case any information provided to the media could be used by additional terrorists to target vulnerable locations during an evacuation procedure. This was probably partly to blame for the early confusion amongst the media.

Emergency services are also attending King’s Cross and Liverpool Street Station.

The entire tube network and all buses within zone 1 have been suspended and many buses are now being used to ferry the ‘walking wounded’ to the hospitals. The underground will be closed for an indefinite period of time, but according to Fox News Channel United States, the closure will last at least for all of today.

All emergency services are responding en-masse to a “major incident” and are responding only to life-threatening emergency calls. Patients are being turned away at hospitals to free room for those injured by the attacks.

The London Congestion Charge has been suspended for the 7th and 8th of July.

The Jerusalem Post reports that the Army was dispatched to seal off the Israeli Embassy as Israel’s Finance Minister is present for a conference. The army have reportedly been involved with rescues at Covent Garden. Police have denied this report (originally made on Sky News).

The police have cordoned off roads around Upper Woburn Place following a massive explosion on a bus in the vicinity. Traffic is at a standstill in many places in the capital. Defra‘s security branch are reporting that police are advising everyone in London not to use any public transport and the Cabinet Office are advising staff to remain in offices until further notice. A further email sent to all staff by Defra’s permanent secretary indicates that Charing Cross and Waterloo mainline railway stations have been closed down for police searches, and that other stations could close for similar reasons later today.

As at 09.30 BST, Kings Cross Thameslink was experiencing delays and overcrowding but no serious difficulties.

Businesses have been hit by the uncertainty of the events – the FTSE had fallen almost 3.5% by 11.47UTC ([1]), but started to recover a little by early afternoon. The value of the pound has dipped, and the London crude oil price has dropped. International markets are also suffering, with falls in share indexes felt as far as South Africa. See our related story for more details.

According to Fox News Channel United States, all London schools are in lockdown and students are being kept in schools.

The Authorities are asking people in London to stay where they are, indoors if possible. Take inside any bins or bags of rubbish they have left out for collection, providing they check their contents first. Arrangements are also being made for when schools finish as schools have been asked to keep pupils safe inside until the usual school closing time.

The UK Highways Agency has stated that at the request of the police, the message “Avoid London – Turn on Radio” is being displayed on electronic motorway message signs on the M25 and other major routes approaching London.

The US Homeland Security Department asked authorities in major cities for heightened vigilance of major transportation systems. Department spokesman Roehrkasse indicated that the department had not received any indications of plans that this type of attack is planned in the United States. Later, the department raised the terror alert level to orange. See our related story for more details.

A joint statement of the G8 leaders was made by Tony Blair at a press conference, also attended by US President George Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin. See our related story for more details.

The Queen and many other world leaders have also issued statements. See our related story for more details.

Mayor Ken Livingstone’s full statement on the London bombings 07-07-2005:

Posted in Uncategorized
Oct 27

Cold as ice: Wikinews interviews Marymegan Daly on unusual new sea anemone

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

In late 2010 a geological expedition to Antarctica drilled through the Ross Ice Shelf so they could send an ROV under it. What they found was unexpected: Sea anemones. In their thousands they were doing what no other species of sea anemone is known to do — they were living in the ice itself.

Discovered by the ANDRILL [Antarctic Drilling] project, the team was so unprepared for biological discoveries they did not have suitable preservatives and the only chemicals available obliterated the creature’s DNA. Nonetheless Marymegan Daly of Ohio State University confirmed the animals were a new species. Named Edwardsiella andrillae after the drilling project that found it, the anemone was finally described in a PLOS ONE paper last month.

ANDRILL lowered their cylindrical camera ROV down a freshly-bored 270m (890ft) hole, enabling it to reach seawater below the ice. The device was merely being tested ahead of its planned mission retrieving data on ocean currents and the sub-ice environment. Instead it found what ANDRILL director Frank Rack of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, a co-author of the paper describing the find, called the “total serendipity” of “a whole new ecosystem that no one had ever seen before”.

The discovery raises many questions. Burrowing sea anemones worm their way into substrates or use their tentacles to dig, but it’s unclear how E. andrillae enters the hard ice. With only their tentacles protruding into the water from the underneath of the ice shelf questions also revolve around how the animals avoid freezing, how they reproduce, and how they cope with the continuously melting nature of their home. Their diet is also a mystery.

What fascinates me about sea anemones is that they’re able to do things that seem impossible

E. andrillae is an opaque white, with an inner ring of eight tentacles and twelve-to-sixteen tentacles in an outer ring. The ROV’s lights produced an orange glow from the creatures, although this may be produced by their food. It measures 16–20mm (0.6–0.8in) but when fully relaxed can extend to triple that.

Genetic analysis being impossible, Daly turned to dissection of the specimens but could find nothing out of the ordinary. Scientists hope to send a biological mission to explore the area under the massive ice sheet, which is in excess of 600 miles (970km) wide. The cameras also observed worms, fish that swim inverted as if the icy roof was the sea floor, crustaceans and a cylindrical creature that used appendages on its ends to move and to grab hold of the anemones.

NASA is providing funding to aid further research, owing to possible similarities between this icy realm and Europa, a moon of Jupiter. Biological research is planned for 2015. An application for funding to the U.S. National Science Foundation, which funds ANDRILL, is also pending.

The ANDRILL team almost failed to get any samples at all. Designed to examine the seafloor, the ROV had to be inverted to examine the roof of ice. Weather conditions prevented biological sampling equipment being delivered from McMurdo Station, but the scientists retrieved 20–30 anemones by using hot water to stun them before sucking them from their burrows with an improvised device fashioned from a coffee filter and a spare ROV thruster. Preserved on-site in ethanol, they were taken to McMurdo station where some were further preserved with formaldehyde.

((Wikinews)) How did you come to be involved with this discovery?

Marymegan Daly: Frank Rack got in touch after they returned from Antarctica in hopes that I could help with an identification on the anemone.

((Wikinews)) What was your first reaction upon learning there was an undiscovered ecosystem under the ice in the Ross Sea?

MD I was amazed and really excited. I think to say it was unexpected is inaccurate, because it implies that there was a well-founded expectation of something. The technology that Frank and his colleagues are using to explore the ice is so important because, given our lack of data, we have no reasonable expectation of what it should be like, or what it shouldn’t be like.

((Wikinews)) There’s a return trip planned hopefully for 2015, with both biologists and ANDRILL geologists. Are you intending to go there yourself?

MD I would love to. But I am also happy to not go, as long as someone collects more animals on my behalf! What I want to do with the animals requires new material preserved in diverse ways, but it doesn’t require me to be there. Although I am sure that being there would enhance my understanding of the animals and the system in which they live, and would help me formulate more and better questions about the anemones, ship time is expensive, especially in Antarctica, and if there are biologists whose contribution is predicated on being there, they should have priority to be there.

((Wikinews)) These animals are shrouded in mystery. Some of the most intriguing questions are chemical; do they produce some kind of antifreeze, and is that orange glow in the ROV lights their own? Talk us through the difficulties encountered when trying to find answers with the specimens on hand.

MD The samples we have are small in terms of numbers and they are all preserved in formalin (a kind of formaldehyde solution). The formalin is great for preserving structures, but for anemones, it prevents study of DNA or of the chemistry of the body. This means we can’t look at the issue you raise with these animals. What we could do, however, was to study anatomy and figure out what it is, so that when we have samples preserved for studying e.g., the genome, transcriptome, or metabolome, or conduct tests of the fluid in the burrows or in the animals themselves, we can make precise comparisons, and figure out what these animals have or do (metabolically or chemically) that lets them live where they live.
Just knowing a whole lot about a single species isn’t very useful, even if that animal is as special as these clearly are — we need to know what about them is different and thus related to living in this strange way. The only way to get at what’s different is to make comparisons with close relatives. We can start that side of the work now, anticipating having more beasts in the future.
In terms of their glow, I suspect that it’s not theirs — although luminescence is common in anemone relatives, they don’t usually make light themselves. They do make a host of florescent proteins, and these may interact with the light of the ROV to give that gorgeous glow.

((Wikinews)) What analysis did you perform on the specimens and what equipment was used?

MD I used a dissecting scope to look at the animal’s external anatomy and overall body organization (magnification of 60X). I embedded a few of the animals in wax and then cut them into very thin slices using a microtome, mounted the slices on microscope slides, stained the slices to enhance contrast, and then looked at those slides under a compound microscope (that’s how I got the pictures of the muscles etc in the paper). I used that same compound scope to look at squashed bits of tissue to see the stinging capsules (=nematocysts).
I compared the things I saw under the ‘scopes to what had been published on other species in this group. This step seems trivial, but it is really the most important part! By comparing my observations to what my colleagues and predecessors had found, I figured out what group it belongs to, and was able to determine that within that group, it was a new species.

((Wikinews)) It was three years between recovery of specimens and final publication, why did it take so long?

MD You mean, how did we manage to make it all happen so quickly, right? 🙂 It was about two years from when Frank sent me specimens to when we got the paper out. Some of that time was just lost time — I had other projects in the queue that I needed to finish. Once we figured out what it was, we played a lot of manuscript email tag, which can be challenging and time consuming given the differing schedules that folks keep in terms of travel, field work, etc. Manuscript review and processing took about four months.

((Wikinews)) What sort of difficulties were posed by the unorthodox preservatives used, and what additional work might be possible on a specimen with intact DNA?

MD The preservation was not unorthodox — they followed best practices for anatomical preservation. Having DNA-suitable material will let us see whether there are new genes, or genes turned on in different ways and at different times that help explain how these animals burrow into hard ice and then survive in the cold. I am curious about the population structure of the “fields” of anemones — the group to which Edwardsiella andrillae belongs includes many species that reproduce asexually, and it’s possible that the fields are “clones” produced asexually rather than the result of sexual reproduction. DNA is the only way to test this.

((Wikinews)) Do you have any theories about the strategies employed to cope with the harsh environment of burrowing inside an ice shelf?

MD I think there must be some kind of antifreeze produced — the cells in contact with ice would otherwise freeze.

((Wikinews)) How has such an apparently large population of clearly unusual sea anemones, not to mention the other creatures caught on camera, gone undetected for so long?

MD I think this reflects how difficult it is to get under the ice and to collect specimens. That being said, since the paper came out, I have been pointed towards two other reports that are probably records of these species: one from Japanese scientists who looked at footage from cameras attached to seals and one from Americans who dove under ice. In both of these cases, the anemone (if that’s what they saw) was seen at a distance, and no specimens were collected. Without the animals in hand, or the capability of a ROV to get close up for pictures, it is hard to know what has been seen, and lacking a definitive ID, hard to have the finding appropriately indexed or contextualized.

((Wikinews)) Would it be fair to say this suggests there may be other undiscovered species of sea anemone that burrow into hard substrates such as ice?

MD I hope so! What fascinates me about sea anemones is that they’re able to do things that seem impossible given their seemingly limited toolkit. This finding certainly expands the realm of possible.

Posted in Uncategorized
Oct 27

Bank of America leads Consumer Financial Protection Bureau complaints about mortgages

Thursday, October 3, 2013

A review this week by Wikinews of US Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) complaints about mortgages in the United States shows Bank of America leads all lending institutions in complaints.

Since mortgages complaints were recorded in December 2011, 77,622 total have been added to CFPB’s database. 29.2% of these complaints involved Bank of America, with the second most received by Wells Fargo, accounting for 15.5% of all complaints. JPMorgan Chase ranked third by volume of complaints with 9.8%. Ocwen was fourth with 8.7% and Citibank was fifth with 4.8%. Nationstar Mortgage; Green Tree Servicing, LLC; HSBC; PNC Bank; U.S. Bancorp; OneWest Bank; SunTrust Bank; Flagstar Bank; and Select Portfolio Servicing, Inc. each had between 1.0 and 3.8% of total complaints. The remaining 14.4% of all complaints about consumer mortgages were divided between about 530 other lending institutions.

The Motley Fool reported last month that for the past fiscal quarter, the biggest US based mortgage lenders were from first to fifth Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Quicken Loans and U.S. Bancorp.

According to the US Federal Reserve, debt for family residences stands at US$10.706 trillion for the second quarter of 2013. As of the end of June of this year, Bank of America is the United States’s second largest commercial bank with US$1.343 trillion in domestic assets. Wells Fargo is the fourth largest commercial bank with US$1.251 trillion in domestic assets. JPMorgan Chase is the largest US commercial bank with US$1.329 trillion in domestic assets and US$1.947 trillion in total assets.

The mortgage complaints in the CFPB report include several subproducts. Conventional fixed mortgages account for 27.1% of all complaints. Conventional adjustable mortgages account for 10.0%. FHA mortgages account for 7.7% of all complaints. Home equity loans or lines of credit account for 3.8% of all complaints. VA mortgages are 1.4% of all complaints. Second mortgages and reverse mortgages each account for 0.6% of complaints. The remaining 48.7% of complaints are about other mortgages or other mortgage issues. A few years ago, FHA loans accounted for about 10% of all US mortgages while VA loans accounted for about 3%. Prime loans accounted for over 75% of the market and the rest were subprime mortgages.

California leads all states by volume of complaints with 14768. It is followed by Florida, New York, Georgia and Texas. When complaints are divided by a state’s total population, New Hampshire leads. The state is followed by Washington D.C., Maryland, Georgia and Florida. Complaints do not correlate with national rankings for August’s foreclosure rate by state where Nevada topped the list, followed by Florida, Ohio, Maryland and Delaware.

Two zip codes account for over 1,000 total complaints between them. 565 complaints originated in the 48382 zip code, which is in Commerce Township, Michigan, located in suburban Detroit. 553 complaints originated in the 33071 zip code, in Coral Springs, Florida. According to real estate website Zillow, there are currently 1,033 properties in foreclosure in Coral Springs while Commerce Township only has 131 properties currently in foreclosure. Four other zip codes have 100 plus complaints originating from them. 91730, in Rancho Cucamonga, California, had 158 complaints. 33409, in West Palm Beach, Florida, had 132. 92626, in Costa Mesa, California, had 125 complaints. 92660, in Newport Beach, California, had 122 complaints. Respectively, the towns had 534, 1,068, 153, and 134 properties currently in foreclosure. These numbers are higher than for the cities of a few sampled zip codes where there was only one complaint, such as Gold Hill, Oregon which has 4 properties in foreclosure, and Decatur, Illinois which has 6 properties in foreclosure.

The CFPB categorizes complaints into six categories: “Loan modification, collection,foreclosure” or problems when a person is unable to pay; “Loan servicing, payments, escrow account” or problems with making a payment; “Application, originator, mortgage broker”; “Credit decision / Underwriting”; “Settlement process and costs”, and “Other”. The CFPB says the complaint types indicate consumers “appear to be driven by a desire to seek agreement with their companies on foreclosure alternatives. The complaints indicate that consumer confusion persists around the process and requirements for obtaining loan modifications and refinancing, especially regarding document submission timeframes, payment trial periods, allocation of payments, treatment of income in eligibility calculations, and credit bureau reporting during the evaluation period.” Currently, 59.6% of all complaints against lenders deal with being unable to pay. 25.1% deal with problems in making a payment. 7.0% have to do with the application process.

Of the complaint-heavy zip codes, for 48382 in Commerce Township, Michigan, 98.9% of all complaints have to deal with being unable to pay. Accounting for 23.4% of all mortgage complaints in Commerce Township, 132 of the complaints for being unable to pay were made regarding Bank of America, accounting for 97.8% or all but 3 complaints against them from the zip. 121 of the Bank of America responses in Commerce Township were closed with explanation and 12 were closed with non-monetary relief. 33071 in Coral Springs is different, with 537 of the 553 complaints being categorized under other. Only 11 complaints relate to foreclosure and issues with being able to pay. 92626 in Costa Mesa, where 32% of the mortgage complaints were about Bank of America and 26.4% were about Wells Fargo, had 93.6% of its complaints dealing with being unable to pay. 5 total complaints dealt with payment issues and 3 dealt with applications.

Beyond regional variance in complaint types lodged, the top five mortgage lenders by volume of complaints all had being unable to pay as their top complaint category, ranging between 55.8% for Citibank and 69.4% for Bank of America. Problems with payment accounted for the second largest area of complaints, with Ocwen having the largest percentage of complaints at 31.9% and Bank of America having the smallest at 18.8%. Foreclosure was the top area of complaints for a number of other lending institutions including 1st Alliance Lending, OneWest Bank, Ally Bank, Banco Popular de Puerto Rico, Bank of the West, BMO Harris, BOK Financial Corp, Caliber Home Loans, Inc, Capital One, Deutsche Bank and EverBank.

Nationally, complaints reached a high of 5,840 for January 2013, 1,107 more than the next highest month of April 2013. The total emerging for September is the second lowest since records were first kept in December 2011. On a state by state level, this pattern largely repeats with a major exception for Florida which saw a peak of 849 complaints in June 2012. Then, as now, Florida was one of the top five states in the nation in its foreclosure rate. The national January spike came as the Qualified Mortgage standard required by the The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 came into play. It required mortgage lenders to take steps to insure borrowers could repay their mortgages.

Bank of America’s complaint volume follows the national trend, with a spike in January 2013 with 1,925 total complaints. Unlike nationally, the next month by volume of complaints was February of this year with 1,598 complaints. Prior to that, the highest month was May 2012 with 1,418 complaints. The lowest volume of complaints is September this year with 334.

Wells Fargo matched national trends for volume of complaints by month, with the exception of the current month being the lowest on record for number of complaints with 197 compared to the next lowest month, December 2011, when they had 221. JPMorgan’s complaint volume by month spiked in January and March of this year with 504 complaints. April of this year was the next highest month with 493 complaints, edging out May of last year with 488 complaints. September this year is on track to be the lowest month by complaint volume.

The federal government shutdown is unlikely to impact the current mortgage situation in the United States directly for most consumers, though mortgage processing by the Federal Housing Administration could be slower, resulting in fewer mortgages processed.

Posted in Uncategorized
Oct 26

South Korea: Fire in hospital housing elderly people kills at least 37

Friday, January 26, 2018

Fire broke out on Friday morning and destroyed the bottom two floors of a six-story hospital in Miryang, South Korea, killing at least 37 people, most of them elderly. More than a hundred injuries were reported, with eighteen people in critical condition. This is the highest death toll from fire in South Korea in almost a decade.

The fire is believed to have started at about 7:30 local time, according to fire chief Choi Man-woo. It originated on the ground floor in the emergency room as per various officials. The hospital has 98 beds and a medical staff of about 35, and specializes in long-term care of elderly patients. It adjoins a nursing home, all of whose 94 residents were evacuated. Staff carried some patients out of the hospital on their backs.

One patient, Jang Yeong-jae, who told his story to JoongAng Ilbo, said he escaped by removing a screen from a window to get to a ladder placed by firefighters. He described people “running around in panic, falling over and screaming as smoke filled the rooms”. The majority of the victims died from smoke inhalation and are believed to be elderly, said the head of the city’s public hospital, Chun Jae-kyung. A doctor, a nurse, and a nursing assistant have died, according to the fire service; it took three hours to put out the fire.

In a press briefing, Seok Gyeong-sik, the director of the hospital, apologized to patients and their families. Son Kyung-chul, its chairman, stated that there were no sprinklers because the facility was small. Sprinklers are being installed in the nursing home, where a new law requires them by June 30.

Last month, 29 people died in a fire in a gym in Jecheon; the owner and the manager were arrested for safety violations. In 2014, a blaze in a nursing home in Jangseong left 21 dead. The President of South Korea, Moon Jae-in, responded to the Friday fire by calling an emergency meeting of his staff, and promised that the cause would be found rapidly “to prevent the recurrence of the fire in the future”.

Posted in Uncategorized
Oct 26

Ten April Fool’s pranks of 2009

Friday, April 3, 2009

April Fools’ Day pranks harmlessly pervaded worldwide again this year. Media outlets and internet sites have joined family, office workers, and friends to provide a wide variety of practical jokes. Ireland, France, and the United States celebrate April Fools all day, whereas a few countries celebrate jokes only until noon such as the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and South Africa.

Car and Driver claimed that GM and Chrysler were ordered out of NASCAR by the White House by the end of 2009 in order to receive any more government loans. There are press releases about this short-lived prank which received controversial feedback.

The Swiss Tourism Board has announced that volunteers were desperately needed, The Association of Mountain Cleaners “makes sure that our holiday guests can always enjoy perfect mountains. Using brooms, brushes, water and muscle power, they clean the rocks of any bird droppings.”

This year Gmail produced a new autopilot feature for April 1, 2009 which can read your email and automatically respond to every message.

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BMW released its new Magnetic Tow Technology which allows your BMW to magnetically attach to the vehicle ahead of you. This enhanced technology allows the driver to remove their foot from the gas pedal and turn off the motor.

The Guardian proposed its move to Twitter, which would allow the newspaper to fit its article content into 140 character messages or “tweets”. Included in this venture was the archiving of past events reported by The Guardian, such as, “1927 OMG first successful transatlantic air flight wow, pretty cool! Boring day otherwise *sigh*”

Google’s technological break through for April Fool’s Day was CADIE, (Cognitive Autoheuristic Distributed-Intelligence Entity). By extracting internet search patterns combined with Brain Search, a part of CADIE technology, Google can now search your thoughts and memories.

Wikipedia even fooled Fox News who claimed that “every item on the home page of the user-generated site Wikipedia is fake. The featured Wikipedia article regaled the “Museum of Bad Art” in Boston.” However, each item on the main page was based on reality — even news articles such as NASA reports a shower of diamonds over the Republic of Sudan, which was based on a meteorite which passed over Sudan whose fragments did reveal diamonds upon discovery.

The Conficker Internet worm had been in the news warning of a worst case scenario when computers worldwide would be affected by the virus. Even the chief security adviser for Microsoft, Ed Gibson, didn’t want to make any predictions about what would happen. Experts just knew that it was set to go off on April 1. Several anomalous happenings were attributed to Conficker including Leroy “Mac” MacElrie who claimed to be the programmer of the Conficker worm and turned himself in to police.

Hotels.com ran an advertisement offering hotel room bookings on the moon which would be offered on European websites starting at £800 a night.

Qualcomm ingeniously revealed a new wireless networking technology called wireless convergence. Making use of the flight patterns of pigeons. They then use innovative solutions to converge the birds with wolves to protect the internal improvements.

Media outlets were not the only ones pulling pranks. Gaming websites across the internet Blizzard, Joystiq, and affiliates posted reviews and announcements of games with tongue in cheek. YouTube offered viewers a unique April Fool’s experience as videos were offered upside down. In Ireland, U2 fans received a U2opia concert on a shopping centre roof top concert rather than the real thing.

Posted in Uncategorized
Oct 26

Podolski plays his last international match; scores the winner

Friday, March 24, 2017

On Wednesday, Poland-born German football player Lukas Podolski played his last international game, a friendly match, against England at Signal Iduna Park in Dortmund. 31-year-old Podolski, who announced retirement in August, scored the only goal of the match.

Before the match started, Podolski received a bouquet from Deutscher Fußball-Bund (DFB — German Football Association) president Reinhard Grindel. Podolski netted his 49th international goal in the 69th minute — a 25-yard screamer from Toni Kroos’ assist. In this match, Timo Werner became the 87th player to debut under Germany’s manager Joachim Löw. The Germans also set a new team record of most consecutive clean sheets, seven, as FC Barcelona’s Marc-André ter Stegen was guarding the German net. Mesut Özil received Germany’s player of the Year for 2016 recognition.

Before the match, Podolski said, “Thank you for thirteen years of having the eagle on the chest. Thank you to everyone. Thank you to my family and my parents. Thank you Dortmund. Thank Köln and thank you Germany!” Podolski immigrated to Germany at the age of two “with basically only a football under my arm”, as he put it in August. He earned his 130th international cap on Wednesday. Podolski is Germany’s third all time most capped player after Lothar Matthäus and Miroslav Klose and is the third top-scorer for Germany.

Podolski debuted for Die Mannschaft thirteen years ago in 2004. Since then, the forward has made appearance in seven major tournaments, and won the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. Podolski was the fifth player to retire from Germany’s 2014 World Cup squad. Before him, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Philipp Lahm, Miroslav Klose, and Per Mertesacker hung up international boots.

Posted in Uncategorized
Oct 26

New Zealand’s South Island and southern North Island struck by storms

Monday, January 2, 2006

New Zealand’s warm sunny New Year’s weather has come to a sudden end as gale force winds and rain assault southern New Zealand.

In parts of the South Island New Year campers have finished their holiday early as winds averaging 120km/h (75 m/h), gusting at times up to 180km/h (112 m/h), have blown in.

Power went out to 1300 homes in the capital city Wellington; flights were grounded at the airport, with incoming flights diverted to Palmerston North airport.

“The North Island will also be affected by the low,” says MetService forecaster Michael Short, “with heavy rain around the Tararua Ranges and Mt Taranaki.”

The MetService has issued severe weather warnings for most of the South Island and the southern portion of the North Island; bad weather is also forecasted throughout the rest of the country.

The MetService says to expect bad weather for the next 10 days as a deepening low moves south of Stewart Island, but a flow of westerly winds is expected to stay put all week.

Holiday makers have been asked by MetService to review their holiday plans and keep up to date with the latest weather.

Posted in Uncategorized
Oct 25

Wikinews Shorts: August 18, 2010

A compilation of brief news reports for Wednesday, August 18, 2010.

An unemployed, single mother from South Carolina has confessed to suffocating her two toddler children with her bare hands. After suffocating her one year-old and two year-old sons, 29 year-old Shaquan Duley drove her car into a river. Police have identified the suffocated children as Ja’van T. Duley and Devean C. Duley. She faces two murder charges and is scheduled to appear in court on Wednesday.

Duley had apparently argued with her mother the night before the murder. Orangeburg County Sheriff Larry Williams has stated that “We believe this is a direct response [to the argument] from Ms. Duley. I believe she was just fed up with her mother telling her she couldn’t take care of the children and she wasn’t taking care of her children and she just wanted to be free.” Williams also said that Shaquan’s mother “was a very, I guess, firm individual. … She often talked with her daughter about, I guess, maybe being more of a mother or being more reliable.”

Sources


US officials said Monday that an American, Aijalon Mahli Gomes, sentenced to hard labor in North Korea was visited by a US consular official and two American doctors.

“We requested permission to visit Mr. Gomes. That permission from the North Korean government was granted,” said U.S. State Department spokesman Philip Crowley. Crowley also said that “We requested permission to bring Mr. Gomes home. Unfortunately, he remains in North Korea.”

North Korea said that Gomes was hospitalized after attempting suicide. Gomes was arrested by North Korean authorities and sentenced to eight years of hard labor in January after the 31 year-old man alledgedly attempted to cross the border with China.

Sources

Related news


American car company General Motors (GM) said Tuesday that it will recall 243,000 crossover vehicles due to faulty seat belts. The crossovers recalled include the Saturn Outlook, Buick Enclave, GMC Acadia and Chevrolet Traverse. The damage to the seat belts could happen after the second row seats in the car-based SUVs are returned to a upright position after being folded. The damage causes the seat belt to feel correctly latched when it is possibly not.

Sources

Posted in Uncategorized
Oct 25

Canada’s St. Paul’s West (Ward 21) city council candidates speak

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 St. Paul’s West (Ward 21). One candidate responded to Wikinews’ requests for an interview. This ward’s candidates include John Adams, Tony Corpuz, Joe Mihevc (incumbent), and John Sewell.

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

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