Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch to be auctioned off

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Neverland Valley Ranch, owned by Michael Jackson, is to be sold at auction on March 19, 2008, unless Jackson pays over US$24 million.

Financial Title Company, the trustee of his Santa Barbara County, California, home and amusement park, has foreclosed on the property. They notified Jackson of the foreclosure and sale on Monday. Jackson had only just recently paid an overdue property tax bill of $600,000.

The court filing, addressed to Jackson, says, “You are in default of a deed of trust … Unless you take action to protect your property it may be sold at a public sale.” Fox News published the filing.

The foreclosure includes the ranch and all possessions on the property, inside or out.

The foreclosure auction will take place in front of the Santa Barbara County Courthouse in Santa Barbara. Jackson has until then to pay $24,525,906.61 he owes the title company.

In 2006, Jackson refinanced previous loans that had been bought up by Fortress Investment Group. The $300-million loan was secured with the aid of Sony Music Entertainment. However, the Neverland property was not part of that deal.

Jackson has not lived at Neverland since June 30, 2005, when he moved to Bahrain after a rape charge and subsequent acquittal.

February 22, 2019 in Uncategorized

CanadaVOTES: NDP candidate Michael McMahon running in Prince Edward—Hastings

Friday, September 26, 2008

On October 14, 2008, Canadians will be heading to the polls for the federal election. New Democratic Party candidate Michael McMahon is standing for election in the riding of Prince Edward—Hastings. McMahon moved to Windsor in 1951, getting a degree in education, teaching locally and in Papua New Guinea. He served as Branch President of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF), served on multiple of their major committees, and recently retired from the Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board.

Wikinews contacted Michael McMahon, to talk about the issues facing Canadians, and what they and their party would do to address them. Wikinews is in the process of contacting every candidate, in every riding across the country, no matter their political stripe. All interviews are conducted over e-mail, and interviews are published unedited, allowing candidates to impart their full message to our readers, uninterrupted.

Since being redefined in 2003, the riding includes the County of Prince Edward and the County of Hastings (except the City of Quinte West). Conservative Party member Daryl Kramp currently represents the riding, after beating a Liberal in 2004. Ken Cole of the Liberals and Alan Coxwell of the Greens are also running in the riding.

For more information, visit the campaign’s official website, listed below.

February 22, 2019 in Uncategorized

Ethiopia plans to expand country’s Internet access

Thursday, April 7, 2005

At an information technology conference in Addis Ababa, Prime Minister Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia vowed to offer universal Internet connectivity in the country within three years. The government is working with a United States technology company Cisco Systems to fulfill this promise.

The government will invest US$40 million in the venture, which will lay nearly 10,000 km of fibre optic cable. Ethiopia currently ranks low in Internet penetration, with just 30,000 connections available for its 71 million inhabitants. Part of the program is the installation of Internet access at 450 secondary schools throughout the country.

Zenawi explained the change of heart that led to the decision to invest in this infrastructure project. “Not long ago many of us felt that we were too poor to seriously invest in information and communication technology,” he said at the conference. “We were convinced that we should invest every penny we have on securing the next meal for our people. We did not believe serious investment in ICT had anything to do with facing the challenges of poverty that kills. Now I think we know better,” he explained to the delegates.

Not everyone thinks that the government knows better. Giovani Peri, Assistant Professor of Economics at University of California, Davis, specializes in macroeconomics and growth theory. Peri believes that the Ethiopian government may be misguided in its direct investment in the build-up of information technology, and should instead create incentives for the private sector to build such infrastructure.

Professor Peri likened the Internet access project to previous failed attempts by African governments to stimulate growth via large-scale projects. “[African governments] in the past tried to build airports … in the middle of desolation.” — but people need to know that the environment is right for business, he said, not just a good airport. He said that the investment in Internet access might be too early for that country, and that before it is built, the country needs a good educational system to get the scientific community involved in the process of building technology infrastructure.

Ethiopia’s population is mostly rural, and over half of the population is illiterate. The country’s GDP per capita is US$560.

February 22, 2019 in Uncategorized

Hillary Clinton’s song contest reaches final round

Friday, June 1, 2007

U.S. Democratic Party presidential candidate Senator Hillary Clinton has been asking webizens to vote on her official campaign song. Campaign Manager Patti Solis Doyle sent an email today to previous voters, urging them to choose a song in the second and final round of voting.

Clinton, as many of the other candidates, have been using “Web 2.0” applications like YouTube, Flickr, MySpace, Facebook, and blogs to try and engage young voters.

The top five songs in Round One were “Suddenly I See” by KT Tunstall, “Rock This Country!” by Shania Twain, “Beautiful Day” by U2, “Get Ready” by The Temptations, and “I’m a Believer” by Smash Mouth. Five top write-ins were also added to the list of round 2 nominees: “Are You Gonna Go My Way” by Lenny Kravitz, “Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now” by McFadden & Whitehead, “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic” by The Police, “You and I” by Celine Dion, and “The Best” by Tina Turner.

Many of the nominated songs are from international artists; Tunstall is Scottish, Twain is Canadian, and U2 are Irish.

February 22, 2019 in Uncategorized

China’s ‘Bandit King’ given life term in ‘massive’ bribery case

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Lai Changxing, dubbed the Bandit King, has been given a life sentence for years of smuggling and corruption that added up to billions of US dollars or Pounds sterling. The Chinese court described the values as “massive”.

Lai smuggled goods worth more than £2 billion into Xiamen, bypassing more than £1 billion in import duty. He paid 64 local officials a total of almost £4 million in bribes, giving him effective control of the city from 1995 to 1999. He fled China after becoming a wanted man in 1999 and went to Canada via Hong Kong; the following year, Premier Zhu Rongji said “If Lai was executed three times over, it would not be too much”.

As head of the Yuanhua Group, Lai smuggled in cars, chemicals, oil, cigarettes, and other goods. He distributed bundles of cash to the poor, owned and played for his local football team, built stadia, owned a bulletproof Mercedes that once belonged to President Jiang Zemin, and attempted to construct a tower that would have been the nation’s tallest building. He attained local popularity for funding construction projects including schools, hundreds of tower blocks, and the local airport.

As well as money, officials were offered alcohol and prostitutes. Many were offered time at Lai’s seven-storey brothel, the Red Mansion, and feasted at a replica of the Forbidden City.

State TV has broadcast footage depicting a banquet table with a tiger skin laid upon it, cars given to officials, a young woman alleged to have been donated as a lover, and a sackful of gold rings. The case’s prominence was such that Liu Liying, boss of the national Central Discipline Inspection Committee, took charge of bringing Lai down.

Subsequent investigations have examined more than 1,000 suspects with police at one stage turning over an entire hotel to the probe, filling rooms with suspects. National newspaper The People’s Daily has suggested it is the most serious economic crime in modern Chinese history. He was the nation’s top car importer and one of the main traders in oil and imported cigarettes.

Hundreds of officials have been convicted and it is estimated hundreds more remain. Fellow life-sentence prisoners from the case include the city’s deputy mayor and its head of customs. The nation’s former vice-minister for security, Li Jizhou, has a suspended death sentence. Other suspects have killed themselves.

The sums involved are unusually large, and the details are extraordinarily serious

Upon his escape from the nation Lai became China’s most-wanted fugitive. Twelve years of negotiations ended with a Chinese promise Lai would be spared the death penalty, and Canada extradited him last year. Numerous lower-ranking members of Lai’s empire have already been given life imprisonment or death sentences. With execution off the table, the court gave Lai the highest sentence possible: in addition to the life term, he received fifteen years for bribery and had all his possessions confiscated.

The court justified the “double sentence” on the grounds “the sums involved are unusually large, and the details are extraordinarily serious”. “The crimes involve massive sums and particularly serious circumstances,” court officials told Xinhua. Lai had denied corruption at his trial, although he accepted exploiting loopholes to avoid import duty.

“I don’t have a good family background,” Lai said previously in a press interview. “I have to do things step by step by myself. That’s how people came to respect me. I never fussed about big money.” Lai was born as one of eight siblings in the midst of famine.

February 22, 2019 in Uncategorized

Business Brief for December 14, 2005

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

These are short blurbs about current events in the business world.

Contents

  • 1 A World Bank lead economist speaks on Bird Flu
    • 1.1 Sources
  • 2 Gold prices drop
    • 2.1 Sources
February 20, 2019 in Uncategorized

G20 protests: Inside a labour march

Wikinews accredited reporter Killing Vector traveled to the G-20 2009 summit protests in London with a group of protesters. This is his personal account.

Friday, April 3, 2009

London – “Protest”, says Ross Saunders, “is basically theatre”.

It’s seven a.m. and I’m on a mini-bus heading east on the M4 motorway from Cardiff toward London. I’m riding with seventeen members of the Cardiff Socialist Party, of which Saunders is branch secretary for the Cardiff West branch; they’re going to participate in a march that’s part of the protests against the G-20 meeting.

Before we boarded the minibus Saunders made a speech outlining the reasons for the march. He said they were “fighting for jobs for young people, fighting for free education, fighting for our share of the wealth, which we create.” His anger is directed at the government’s response to the economic downturn: “Now that the recession is underway, they’ve been trying to shoulder more of the burden onto the people, and onto the young people…they’re expecting us to pay for it.” He compared the protest to the Jarrow March and to the miners’ strikes which were hugely influential in the history of the British labour movement. The people assembled, though, aren’t miners or industrial workers — they’re university students or recent graduates, and the march they’re going to participate in is the Youth Fight For Jobs.

The Socialist Party was formerly part of the Labour Party, which has ruled the United Kingdom since 1997 and remains a member of the Socialist International. On the bus, Saunders and some of his cohorts — they occasionally, especially the older members, address each other as “comrade” — explains their view on how the split with Labour came about. As the Third Way became the dominant voice in the Labour Party, culminating with the replacement of Neil Kinnock with Tony Blair as party leader, the Socialist cadre became increasingly disaffected. “There used to be democratic structures, political meetings” within the party, they say. The branch meetings still exist but “now, they passed a resolution calling for renationalisation of the railways, and they [the party leadership] just ignored it.” They claim that the disaffection with New Labour has caused the party to lose “half its membership” and that people are seeking alternatives. Since the economic crisis began, Cardiff West’s membership has doubled, to 25 members, and the RMT has organized itself as a political movement running candidates in the 2009 EU Parliament election. The right-wing British National Party or BNP is making gains as well, though.

Talk on the bus is mostly political and the news of yesterday’s violence at the G-20 demonstrations, where a bank was stormed by protesters and 87 were arrested, is thick in the air. One member comments on the invasion of a RBS building in which phone lines were cut and furniture was destroyed: “It’s not very constructive but it does make you smile.” Another, reading about developments at the conference which have set France and Germany opposing the UK and the United States, says sardonically, “we’re going to stop all the squabbles — they’re going to unite against us. That’s what happens.” She recounts how, in her native Sweden during the Second World War, a national unity government was formed among all major parties, and Swedish communists were interned in camps, while Nazi-leaning parties were left unmolested.

In London around 11am the march assembles on Camberwell Green. About 250 people are here, from many parts of Britain; I meet marchers from Newcastle, Manchester, Leicester, and especially organized-labor stronghold Sheffield. The sky is grey but the atmosphere is convivial; five members of London’s Metropolitan Police are present, and they’re all smiling. Most marchers are young, some as young as high school age, but a few are older; some teachers, including members of the Lewisham and Sheffield chapters of the National Union of Teachers, are carrying banners in support of their students.

Gordon Brown’s a Tory/He wears a Tory hat/And when he saw our uni fees/He said ‘I’ll double that!’

Stewards hand out sheets of paper with the words to call-and-response chants on them. Some are youth-oriented and education-oriented, like the jaunty “Gordon Brown‘s a Tory/He wears a Tory hat/And when he saw our uni fees/He said ‘I’ll double that!'” (sung to the tune of the Lonnie Donegan song “My Old Man’s a Dustman“); but many are standbys of organized labour, including the infamous “workers of the world, unite!“. It also outlines the goals of the protest, as “demands”: “The right to a decent job for all, with a living wage of at least £8 and hour. No to cheap labour apprenticeships! for all apprenticeships to pay at least the minimum wage, with a job guaranteed at the end. No to university fees. support the campaign to defeat fees.” Another steward with a megaphone and a bright red t-shirt talks the assembled protesters through the basics of call-and-response chanting.

Finally the march gets underway, traveling through the London boroughs of Camberwell and Southwark. Along the route of the march more police follow along, escorting and guiding the march and watching it carefully, while a police van with flashing lights clears the route in front of it. On the surface the atmosphere is enthusiastic, but everyone freezes for a second as a siren is heard behind them; it turns out to be a passing ambulance.

Crossing Southwark Bridge, the march enters the City of London, the comparably small but dense area containing London’s financial and economic heart. Although one recipient of the protesters’ anger is the Bank of England, the march does not stop in the City, only passing through the streets by the London Exchange. Tourists on buses and businessmen in pinstripe suits record snippets of the march on their mobile phones as it passes them; as it goes past a branch of HSBC the employees gather at the glass store front and watch nervously. The time in the City is brief; rather than continue into the very centre of London the march turns east and, passing the Tower of London, proceeds into the poor, largely immigrant neighbourhoods of the Tower Hamlets.

The sun has come out, and the spirits of the protesters have remained high. But few people, only occasional faces at windows in the blocks of apartments, are here to see the march and it is in Wapping High Street that I hear my first complaint from the marchers. Peter, a steward, complains that the police have taken the march off its original route and onto back streets where “there’s nobody to protest to”. I ask how he feels about the possibility of violence, noting the incidents the day before, and he replies that it was “justified aggression”. “We don’t condone it but people have only got certain limitations.”

There’s nobody to protest to!

A policeman I ask is very polite but noncommittal about the change in route. “The students are getting the message out”, he says, so there’s no problem. “Everyone’s very well behaved” in his assessment and the atmosphere is “very positive”. Another protestor, a sign-carrying university student from Sheffield, half-heartedly returns the compliment: today, she says, “the police have been surprisingly unridiculous.”

The march pauses just before it enters Cable Street. Here, in 1936, was the site of the Battle of Cable Street, and the march leader, addressing the protesters through her megaphone, marks the moment. She draws a parallel between the British Union of Fascists of the 1930s and the much smaller BNP today, and as the protesters follow the East London street their chant becomes “The BNP tell racist lies/We fight back and organise!”

In Victoria Park — “The People’s Park” as it was sometimes known — the march stops for lunch. The trade unions of East London have organized and paid for a lunch of hamburgers, hot dogs, french fries and tea, and, picnic-style, the marchers enjoy their meals as organized labor veterans give brief speeches about industrial actions from a small raised platform.

A demonstration is always a means to and end.

During the rally I have the opportunity to speak with Neil Cafferky, a Galway-born Londoner and the London organizer of the Youth Fight For Jobs march. I ask him first about why, despite being surrounded by red banners and quotes from Karl Marx, I haven’t once heard the word “communism” used all day. He explains that, while he considers himself a Marxist and a Trotskyist, the word communism has negative connotations that would “act as a barrier” to getting people involved: the Socialist Party wants to avoid the discussion of its position on the USSR and disassociate itself from Stalinism. What the Socialists favor, he says, is “democratic planned production” with “the working class, the youths brought into the heart of decision making.”

On the subject of the police’s re-routing of the march, he says the new route is actually the synthesis of two proposals. Originally the march was to have gone from Camberwell Green to the Houses of Parliament, then across the sites of the 2012 Olympics and finally to the ExCel Centre. The police, meanwhile, wanted there to be no march at all.

The Metropolitan Police had argued that, with only 650 trained traffic officers on the force and most of those providing security at the ExCel Centre itself, there simply wasn’t the manpower available to close main streets, so a route along back streets was necessary if the march was to go ahead at all. Cafferky is sceptical of the police explanation. “It’s all very well having concern for health and safety,” he responds. “Our concern is using planning to block protest.”

He accuses the police and the government of having used legal, bureaucratic and even violent means to block protests. Talking about marches having to defend themselves, he says “if the police set out with the intention of assaulting marches then violence is unavoidable.” He says the police have been known to insert “provocateurs” into marches, which have to be isolated. He also asserts the right of marches to defend themselves when attacked, although this “must be done in a disciplined manner”.

He says he wasn’t present at yesterday’s demonstrations and so can’t comment on the accusations of violence against police. But, he says, there is often provocative behavior on both sides. Rather than reject violence outright, Cafferky argues that there needs to be “clear political understanding of the role of violence” and calls it “counter-productive”.

Demonstration overall, though, he says, is always a useful tool, although “a demonstration is always a means to an end” rather than an end in itself. He mentions other ongoing industrial actions such as the occupation of the Visteon plant in Enfield; 200 fired workers at the factory have been occupying the plant since April 1, and states the solidarity between the youth marchers and the industrial workers.

I also speak briefly with members of the International Bolshevik Tendency, a small group of left-wing activists who have brought some signs to the rally. The Bolsheviks say that, like the Socialists, they’re Trotskyists, but have differences with them on the idea of organization; the International Bolshevik Tendency believes that control of the party representing the working class should be less democratic and instead be in the hands of a team of experts in history and politics. Relations between the two groups are “chilly”, says one.

At 2:30 the march resumes. Rather than proceeding to the ExCel Centre itself, though, it makes its way to a station of London’s Docklands Light Railway; on the way, several of East London’s school-aged youths join the march, and on reaching Canning Town the group is some 300 strong. Proceeding on foot through the borough, the Youth Fight For Jobs reaches the protest site outside the G-20 meeting.

It’s impossible to legally get too close to the conference itself. Police are guarding every approach, and have formed a double cordon between the protest area and the route that motorcades take into and out of the conference venue. Most are un-armed, in the tradition of London police; only a few even carry truncheons. Closer to the building, though, a few machine gun-armed riot police are present, standing out sharply in their black uniforms against the high-visibility yellow vests of the Metropolitan Police. The G-20 conference itself, which started a few hours before the march began, is already winding down, and about a thousand protesters are present.

I see three large groups: the Youth Fight For Jobs avoids going into the center of the protest area, instead staying in their own group at the admonition of the stewards and listening to a series of guest speakers who tell them about current industrial actions and the organization of the Youth Fight’s upcoming rally at UCL. A second group carries the Ogaden National Liberation Front‘s flag and is campaigning for recognition of an autonomous homeland in eastern Ethiopia. Others protesting the Ethiopian government make up the third group; waving old Ethiopian flags, including the Lion of Judah standard of emperor Haile Selassie, they demand that foreign aid to Ethiopia be tied to democratization in that country: “No recovery without democracy”.

A set of abandoned signs tied to bollards indicate that the CND has been here, but has already gone home; they were demanding the abandonment of nuclear weapons. But apart from a handful of individuals with handmade, cardboard signs I see no groups addressing the G-20 meeting itself, other than the Youth Fight For Jobs’ slogans concerning the bailout. But when a motorcade passes, catcalls and jeers are heard.

It’s now 5pm and, after four hours of driving, five hours marching and one hour at the G-20, Cardiff’s Socialists are returning home. I board the bus with them and, navigating slowly through the snarled London traffic, we listen to BBC Radio 4. The news is reporting on the closure of the G-20 conference; while they take time out to mention that Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper delayed the traditional group photograph of the G-20’s world leaders because “he was on the loo“, no mention is made of today’s protests. Those listening in the bus are disappointed by the lack of coverage.

Most people on the return trip are tired. Many sleep. Others read the latest issue of The Socialist, the Socialist Party’s newspaper. Mia quietly sings “The Internationale” in Swedish.

Due to the traffic, the journey back to Cardiff will be even longer than the journey to London. Over the objections of a few of its members, the South Welsh participants in the Youth Fight For Jobs stop at a McDonald’s before returning to the M4 and home.

February 20, 2019 in Uncategorized

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.”

February 18, 2019 in Uncategorized

Wikinews interviews former Salt Lake City mayor and 2012 presidential candidate Rocky Anderson

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Former Salt Lake City mayor and human rights activist Rocky Anderson took some time to discuss his 2012 U.S. presidential campaign and the newly-created Justice Party with Wikinews reporter William S. Saturn.

Anderson served as mayor of Salt Lake City for eight years (2000–2008) as a member of the Democratic Party. During his tenure, he enacted proposals to reduce the city’s carbon emissions, reformed its criminal justice system, and positioned it as a leading sanctuary for refugees. After leaving office, Anderson grew critical of the Democratic Party’s failure to push for impeachment against President George W. Bush, and for not reversing policies on torture, taxes, and defense spending. He left the party earlier this year and announced that he would form a Third party.

Anderson officially established the Justice Party last week during a press conference in Washington D.C.. He proclaimed “We the people are powerful enough to end the perverse government-to-the-highest-bidder system sustained by the two dominant parties…We are here today for the sake of justice — social justice, environmental justice and economic justice.” The party promotes campaign finance reform and is attempting to appeal to the Occupy Wall Street movement. It is currently working on ballot access efforts, and will hold a Founding Convention in February 2012 in Salt Lake City.

Among other issues, Anderson discussed climate change, health care, education, and civil liberties. He detailed his successes as mayor of Salt Lake City, stressed the importance of executive experience, and expressed his views on President Barack Obama and some of the Republican Party presidential candidates. He spoke in depth about former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, with whom he worked during the 2002 Winter Olympics, and fellow Utahan, former governor and U.S. ambassador to China Jon Huntsman, Jr..

Contents

  • 1 Background
  • 2 The Justice Party and opposition
  • 3 The GOP race
  • 4 Public policy and the state of democracy
  • 5 Related articles
  • 6 Sources
February 18, 2019 in Uncategorized

Wikinews investigates the reconstruction of Pichilemu, Chile after February earthquake

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Left: A recently constructed kiosk with the new design. Image: Diego Grez.Right: The original design of the kiosk, as shown in the plans by the Municipality. Image: Ilustre Municipalidad de Pichilemu.

Eight months after a catastrophic earthquake, Wikinews has investigated the devastation caused in February and the reconstruction of Pichilemu, Chile. The February 27 earthquake and a subsequent tsunami completely destroyed Pichilemu’s most coastal street and its oldest villages. Wikinews has also had access to the original design plans of the new kiosks in Pichilemu, and conducted an interview with merchant Alejandro Mella, known locally as the King of the Cochayuyo (“El Rey del Cochayuyo”), who lost his kiosk after the earthquake.

Pichilemu is a coastal city in the O’Higgins Region of Chile, known as one of the “best surfing spots” in South America. Its current Mayor is Roberto Córdova Carreño, who was elected internally by the Councillors of the city in September 2009, after several political controversies that ended with three Mayors being displaced.

The territory of Pichilemu has a surface of 7,491 square kilometers, and comprises at least 24 villages, such as Ciruelos, Rodeíllo and Espinillo (the latter two also severely damaged by the March 11 earthquake). Pichilemu is the most popular beach in O’Higgins Region, and many tourists visit it every summer.

The earthquake took place in what is considered the “last weekend in the summer;” on Saturday, February 27, 2010 at 03:34 local time (06:34 UTC), while almost all Chileans were sleeping. Hours earlier, on Friday, thousands of people had arrived at Pichilemu. “The house moved from side to side. I really thought it was going to fall. It was 3 or 4 minutes long,” Diego Grez, a Chilean student who was in Pichilemu at the time of the quake, told Wikinews in an interview.

A concert was being held at the One Discotheque when the earthquake occurred. It is said that the audience panicked and fled outside the discothèque, and then to the La Cruz Hill. Most tourists fled outside the city right after the earthquake occurred, but many others opted to stay in the La Cruz Hill or the village of Pueblo de Viudas, which are the higher points in the city.

“Pichilemu is the symbolic beach resort in the Sixth Region [of O’Higgins], so it was not strange to even think that [during] the last weekend before the entrance to school, many people would be going to take advantage of it to take a vacation; and that’s what happened,” reported El Rancagüino, the most important newspaper in O’Higgins Region, on February 28.

The only radio broadcasting in the area was Entre Olas, directed by Jorge Nasser, which also helped Pichileminians know what happened in other affected places by the earthquake, as they re-broadcasted the audio of Televisión Nacional de Chile (National Television of Chile). On the day of the earthquake, the station reported that a local police truck had crashed near La Cruz Hill. There was no tsunami warning, and Mayor Córdova was away on holiday when the earthquake struck.

“Those who live in Pichilemu, and those who were visiting it, were surprised by the giant waves that annihilated its beach and reached the city’s square, destroying everything on their way,” reported El Morrocotudo on February 28. “The most tough thing occurred when the firefighters’ alarms sounded twice, and the people in the hill began to yell ‘tsunami!’,” journalist Tania Arce told the newspaper.

The earthquake destroyed one of Pichilemu’s oldest and iconic buildings, the post office, which was demolished in July. The urban centre of Pichilemu was not severely damaged by the earthquake, but its subsequent tsunami caused most of the destruction. The Agustín Ross architecture in the city (three of his buildings are National Monuments of Chile) was damaged. Agustín Ross Balcony was completely destroyed.

According to SHOA, the Hydrographic and Oceanographic Service of the Chilean Navy, the tsunami triggered by the earthquake first reached Pichilemu, at 03:48 (06:48 UTC). A second wave came at 04:15 (07:15 UTC).

Policeman José Arévalo was the only person to warn residents that a tsunami was approaching. Arévalo was patrolling the Las Terrazas beach, when the earthquake occurred. He told El Rancahuaso there were around 25 people in the beach. “Right after the quake, he noticed the sea had shrank around 500 meters inside. He took his megaphone, and shouted people should leave the place instantly.” “The sea is coming out! The sea is coming out!,” he shouted. “The warning was also preceived by nightclubs and pubs surrounding the costanera. Then, the tragedy occurred. The sea destroyed everything on its way,” El Rancahuaso reported. “It all was really quick. Everyone is safe, luckily [..] It’s something unforgettable to me, I’m proud I saved all of those lives,” Arévalo added.

The tsunami destroyed restaurants, hotels, kiosks, the Fishermen Store (Caleta de Pescadores), surf schools, the Agustín Ross Balcony (located right in front of the Las Terrazas beach) and houses near the costanera (the nearest street to the beach), and flooded the building of the Government of Cardenal Caro Province, the boarding school of Pichilemu, the city square (Arturo Prat Square), and the Supermarket El 9.

A local worker, Ricardo Vivanco, also known as “El Gordo” (“The Fat one”), almost was killed by a tsunami, ignoring warnings by the Police and the Fire Bureau. Vivanco was drunk, and went down to the Las Terrazas beach with his friends. The wave washed him away, and was hit on the Agustín Ross Balcony’s wall. His friends recorded a video and uploaded it to YouTube.

It was reported by Radio Entre Olas on February 27, that the tsunami had provoked massive damage in Punta de Lobos, Pichilemu’s most popular beach. The owner of Entre Mar, an hotel and restaurant in that beach, said the tsunami had destroyed all of his buildings there.

The village of Espinillo was badly damaged, and approximately 600 people were made homeless by the earthquake, Teletrece reported on March 16. “We are keeping the government informed, we’re also organized with some churches [sic, religious organizations] that are working voluntarily in Espinillo, Los Boldos, Alto Ramírez […] We thank a lot their work, that is not to give them mediaguas [temporary tenements], but something definitive, but I also think they need resources to do it,” Mayor Córdova said.

On March 11, Chile was hit by a second earthquake, that reached a magnitude of 6.9, and that occurred 40 kilometers southwest of Pichilemu. It occurred at 11:39 local time (14:39 UTC), while the new President Sebastián Piñera was sworn in.

A tsunami warning was issued by SHOA, between Coquimbo and Los Lagos regions. People in Pichilemu fled again to La Cruz Hill. Military authorities assured people in the hill they were going to be safe there, and that it was unlikely a tsunami was going to hit again Chile’s coast. The tsunami warning was lifted at 15:50 local time (18:50 UTC).

People stayed in La Cruz Hill for a longer time than after the previous earthquake, and several activities were made there, such as a concert by Chilean-Brazilian singer Joe Vasconcellos. People were also given food, wood (mostly remains from the destroyed kiosks), and electricity.

“We are here because we fear about our safety. We don’t want it [a possible tsunami] to catch us. We have to settle down here and to accommodate,” Edith Larraín told to Wikinews. Mayor Córdova estimated that at least 2,000 people were staying at La Cruz Hill. Militaries and provincial authorities asked them to leave the hill on March 15, but most refused the deal. People eventually left the hill, due to complaints by the Mayor.

On March 20, in collaboration with the Governor of Cardenal Caro Julio Ibarra, Colonel Raúl Melo, and the Mayor of Litueche Bernardo Cornejo, Mayor of Pichilemu Roberto Córdova announced a “tourism revival campaign” of Pichilemu, promoting the surf practice, whose goal was “to make the city go back to the normality.”

On April 4, the first monument was erected in memory of the earthquake and tsunami victims. The monument was created by local artisans, with rocks from several places of the Cardenal Caro Province. “We wanted to create this monument so we don’t forget it [the earthquake] […] This is the beginning of the reconstruction,” said Julio Ibarra. The monument was placed in front of the beach, near the building of the Cardenal Caro Government. Mayor Roberto Córdova said that “it definitely will help us reconstruct [ourselves] espiritually, [and that] is essential.”

On October 20, with the help of the Government, SERCOTEC (Technical Cooperation Service, Servicio de Cooperación Técnica) and FOSIS (Solidarity and Social Investment, Fondo de Solidaridad e Inversión Social), the Fishermen Store (Caleta de Pescadores) began to be reconstructed. Caleta de Pescadores is administered by the Independent Labour Union of Fishermen of Pichilemu (Sindicato de Trabajo Independientes de Pescadores Artesanales), which has twenty-three members.

“The Government of President Sebastián Piñera has been worried about the fishing area, carrying out several actions in help of them, after all that they’ve suffered after the earthquake and tsunami that hit them […] This area is working normally again,” Governor Ibarra said.

On October 6, the Municipality of Pichilemu published the design of kiosks that were going to be constructed, as replacement of those destroyed by the earthquake. As of October 23, four kiosks have been constructed in Pichilemu, specifically on Las Terrazas beach, and two more are being constructed. According to Mauricio Grez, a construction engineer, the construction of one kiosk would cost up to US$ 2,500 (CLP 1,000,000).

Alejandro Mella, locally known as “el Rey del Cochayuyo” (“the King of the Cochayuyo”), is a merchant of Pichilemu, who promotes the cochayuyo (durvillaea antarctica), and lost his kiosk after the February earthquake and tsunami. “I was given my [former] kiosk by the Mayor Orlando Cornejo, back in 1993. It was right in front of us [in front of Las Terrazas beach, near “the grotto of the Virgin”], and was made smithereens by the tsunami,” he told Wikinews.

“I have always worked on selling cochayuyo here, and the terrain where my kiosk was located before has been disputed by private people, and the municipality approved that. I talked with the Mayor and he said ‘I don’t know what’s going on the beach’; that left me perplexed. […] I like the new design of the kiosks, they are larger, and we can do more things with it, but they are way too expensive,” he added. Mr. Mella also gave Wikinews a sample of his work as “the King of the Cochayuyo”, an essay called “El cochayuyo es una mina repleta de nutrientes y sales minerales” (“Cochayuyo is a mine full of nutrients and mineral salts”, pictured below), which he sells for 200 Chilean pesos (0.41 US$), and that contains “tips and information about the plant, and some recipes.”

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A kiosk in Pichilemu, in 2007. The design is considerably different to the recently published one. Image: Diego Grez.

Isometrical view of the new Pichilemu kiosks. Image: Ilustre Municipalidad de Pichilemu.

Construction of kiosks in Las Terrazas Beach, on October 22. Image: Diego Grez.

Front page of Alejandro Mella’s essay “El cochayuyo es una mina repleta de nutrientes y sales minerales” (“Cochayuyo is a mine full of nutrients and mineral salts”), which he published under the nickname of “the king of the Cochayuyo of Pichilemu”. Image: Alejandro Mella/Diego Grez.

February 14, 2019 in Uncategorized