Obama lessens US ban on offshore drilling

Thursday, April 1, 2010

US President Barack Obama has announced that he will ease the country’s ban on offshore oil drilling, which has been in place since the 1980s.

According to the plan, offshore drilling would now be allowed in parts of the Atlantic, from Delaware down to 125 miles beyond the shoreline of Florida, in the eastern Gulf of Mexico.

The move, however, does have some restrictions; drilling further northeast or along the West Coast is still prohibited. Contracts in Bristol Bay, Alaska were also suggested, but were scrapped due to environmental concerns.

The president remarked that he decided the move was needed to lessen the country’s need for additional energy, adding that he had studied the issue for over a year. “This is not a decision that I’ve made lightly,” he said.

“We’re announcing the expansion of offshore oil and gas exploration but in ways that balance the need to harness domestic energy resources and the need to protect America’s natural resources,” Obama continued, speaking at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland. “My administration will consider potential new areas for development in the mid and south Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico.”

“Drilling alone can’t come close to meeting our long-term energy needs, and for the sake of our planet and our energy independence, we need to begin the transition to cleaner fuels now. I know that we can come together to pass comprehensive energy and climate legislation that’s going to foster new energy — new industries, create millions of new jobs, protect our planet, and help us become more energy independent.”

Obama said that the plan was partially intended to garner support from Republicans in Congress for a climate-change bill to lower greenhouse gas emissions, which has been languishing for months due to lack of support from Republicans.

Some environmental groups, however, condemned Obama’s move. Phil Radford, who is with the Greenpeace group, said that “[e]xpanding offshore drilling in areas that have been protected for decades threatens our oceans and the coastal communities that depend on them with devastating oil spills, more pollution and climate change.” Greenpeace also said that lifting the ban fuelled the US’ “addiction to oil”.

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Republican leader for the House of Representatives John Boehner, meanwhile, said he agreed with lifting the ban in the Atlantic, but remarked that it “makes no sense” not to have lifted it in other areas as well. “Opening up areas off the Virginia coast to offshore production is a positive step, but keeping much of the Pacific Coast and Alaska, as well as the most promising resources off the Gulf of Mexico, under lock and key makes no sense at a time when gasoline prices are rising and Americans are asking ‘Where are the jobs?'”, he said.

“Today’s announcement is a step in the right direction, but a small one that leaves enormous amounts of American energy off limits,” said the Senate Minority leader, Republican Mitch McConnell.

According to the US Minerals Management Service, the eastern Gulf of Mexico and parts of the Atlantic south and east of the continent could contain up to 5.8 billion barrels of oil and 40.5 trillion cubic feet of gas. The West Coast, meanwhile, which remains off limits for drilling, contains 10.5 billion barrels of oil with 18 trillion cubic feet of gas.

December 19, 2018 in Uncategorized

US unemployment rate reaches 9.8%

Friday, October 2, 2009

Companies in the United States are shedding more jobs, pushing the country’s unemployment rate to a 26-year high of 9.8%.

The US Labor Department said on Friday that employers cut 263,000 jobs in September, with companies in the service industries — including banks, restaurants and retailers — hit especially hard. This is the 21st consecutive month of job losses in the country.

The United States has now lost 7.2 million jobs since the recession officially began in December 2007. The new data has sparked fears that unemployment could threaten an economic recovery. Top US officials have warned that any recovery would be slow and uneven, and some have predicted the unemployment rate will top 10% before the situation improves.

“Continued household deleveraging and rising unemployment may weigh more on consumption than forecast, and accelerating corporate and commercial property defaults could slow the improvement in financial conditions,” read a report by the International Monetary Fund’s World Economic Outlook, predicting that unemployment will average 10.1% by next year and not go back down to five percent until 2014.

Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Economy.com, said that “it’s a very fragile and tentative recovery. Policy makers need to do more.”

“The number came in weaker than expected. We saw a lot of artificial involvement by the government to prop up the markets, and now that that is starting to end, the private sector isn’t yet showing signs of life,” said Kevin Caron, a market strategist for Stifel, Nicolaus & Co.

Also on Thursday, the US Commerce Department said factory orders fell for the first time in five months, dropping eight-tenths of a percent in August. Orders for durable goods — items intended to last several years (including everything from appliances to airliners) — fell 2.6%, the largest drop since January of this year.

The US government has been spending billions of dollars — part of a $787 billion stimulus package — to help spark economic growth. There have been some signs the economy is improving.

The Commerce Department said on Thursday that spending on home construction jumped in August for its biggest increase in 16 years. A real estate trade group, the National Association of Realtors, said pending sales of previously owned homes rose more than 12 percent in August, compared to August 2008.

A separate Commerce Department report said that consumer spending, which accounts for more than two-thirds of US economic activity, rose at its fastest pace in nearly eight years, jumping 1.3 percent in August.

Other reports have provided cause for concern. A banking industry trade group said Thursday the number of US consumers making late payments, or failing to make payments, on loans and credit cards is on the rise. A survey by a business group, the Institute for Supply Management, Thursday showed US manufacturing grew in September, but at a slower pace than in August when manufacturing increased for the first time in a year and a half.

Stock markets reacted negatively to the reports. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 41 points in early trading, reaching a level of 9467. This follows a drop of 203 points on Thursday, its largest loss in a single day since July. The London FTSE index fell 55 points, or 1.1%, to reach 4993 points by 15.00 local time.

December 19, 2018 in Uncategorized

Ben Shephard announces departure from GMTV

Friday, April 23, 2010

Ben Shephard has announced his departure from GMTV, the current television breakfast programme on ITV in the United Kingdom, having been a presenter on the programme for ten years. His current contract ends in April 2010, but he is expected to leave by the end of the Summer of 2010, according to the Press Association.

Initially, Shephard only presented an entertainment section of the television programme before being given a promotion to the sofa in 2005. He is the third presenter to leave GMTV within the last year, after the departures of Fiona Phillips and Penny Smith.

According to a statement released from Ben Shephard’s agent: “Ben’s two-year contract with GMTV is up at the end of April. Earlier this year, his management made it clear that he would not be renewing it, but would be happy to stay on temporarily during this transitional period. Ben is excited about moving on after 10 incredible years and will be focusing on a number of new projects with ITV and other channels.”

Adrian Chiles, who recently announced his departure from the BBC after modifications were made to The One Show — a show that he presented with Christine Bleakley — was recently reported to be appearing as a presenter on GMTV in the future.

December 18, 2018 in Uncategorized

Canada’s Parkdale—High Park (Ward 13) city council candidates speak

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

Monday, October 30, 2006

On November 13, Torontoians will be heading to the polls to vote for their ward’s councillor and for mayor. Among Toronto’s ridings is Parkdale—High Park (Ward 13). Two candidates responded to Wikinews’ requests for an interview. This ward’s candidates include Linda Coltman, David Garrick, Greg Hamara, Aleksander Oniszczak, Bill Saundercook (incumbent), and Frances Wdowczyk.

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

December 18, 2018 in Uncategorized

US fans turn out for 2012 Phoenix Comicon

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Phoenix, Arizona — Last weekend, Phoenix fans of comics, science fiction, horror, fantasy, cos-play, anime and manga, Society for Creative Anachronism, and more, marked a milestone as the city held its tenth annual Phoenix Comicon at the Phoenix Convention Center. The event — which is entirely the work of more than 700 volunteers according to coordinator Colin Aprill — generated around US$5 million for the “Valley of the Sun” during its four-day run. Wikinews was there.

As one unknown source from the crowd was overheard saying, “It’s all about the fans.” Descending into the hall by escalator gave a sense of the scale to the creativity in the center. Fans could be seen scattering about in a flurry of motion on their way from one event to another and producing their own spectacle, most in costume, on their way.

This year the four-day convention in the Valley was estimated to set a new attendance record as 30,000 visitors showed. Most were clothed in costumes that transformed themselves into Batmans, creeper box heads, furries, Lady and Knight couple, pirates, pixies, Star Trek officers, Star Wars’ Empire troopers, Superwomen, and zombies. One of the most common activities at Comicon was people taking photos of each other while they took turns posing or snapping shots.

The Camp family stopped intermittently to have their photos taken by others. The Camps were led by eldest brother Jim “Batman” Camp. He attended Comicon with his sister Tina “Good Witch” Camp, who brought her daughter Katie “Super Woman.” Sibling Tony Camp, who attended with his daughter Stella “Bat Girl,” was said to be “the instigator” behind the family’s turnout at Comicon. “You get to be dressed up and can act goofy, and you don’t feel weird because everybody is dressing up, too,” said Tony about the family-friendly event.

The exhibit hall was filled with artists and merchants selling comic books, trinkets, memorabilia, wares and keepsakes. Amidst the shoppers, the photo opportunities continued to attract the most attention. For all the star-studded autograph booths and an artist alley with famed comic book artists, the most fun was simply enjoying the presence of other fans in costume.

The Thirteenth Floor Haunted House took advantage of the photo-op activity by supplying monsters “Nemesis” and “Collosus” for more of this activity. Manager Tim Pugsley says the company owns five out of the top 1300 haunted houses in the United States. The monsters’ human counterparts remained anonymous on purpose. “The characters don’t get ruined that way,” said a handler.

Montana E. had his picture taken with “Nemesis” by friend Joey Deihl, while Eddie Deleon and young Raquel Munguia posed with “Collosus.”

Fans also gathered Saturday for a flash mob event, in which people danced or acted to Michael Jackson’s mega-hit song “Thriller”. An entertainment group calling themselves “The Zombie Chicks” attended the flash mob and then later drifted in trance through the exhibitor hall of the convention center. “We’re here for the performance, not for the stuff,” said Tori Hoganson, who pointed like a bored consumer at the trinkets in a stall. She was careful to use as few words as possible to speak her mind out of character before going back mindfully to her mindless performance. She was accompanied by her friends, who in human form are known as Emmalaine Wright and Lyle Yanak. The group was watched closely and held at bay by “The Keeper” Ben Fondren, who lurked nearby as a faceless shadow.

The fans also turned out to see big stars, like William Shatner, who portrayed Captain Kirk in the original Star Trek series; LeVar Burton, who is synonymous with the ship’s engineer Geordi La Forge in Star Trek: The Next Generation; or Jon Bernthal, who was the sometimes hero and sometimes anti-hero Shane Walsh in the TV series The Waking Dead.

Father and son John and David Phelps, who are both Star Trek fans, attended the event together and were excited to see Shatner. “He can be funny, but he’s also fun to laugh at,” said John Phelps with a smile. His son David liked to laugh at Shatner when the artist attempted to sing. Shatner has had an alternative “tongue-in-cheek” career singing hits such as “Common People” on the 2004 album Has Been.

Hunter Lewis got Jon Bernthal’s autograph, which came penned with the message, “I F@&#’in hate Zombies.” Zombies were the main source of the angst that bedeviled characters in his hit TV show. Hunter’s friends Justin Rose, Ryan Scola and Taylor Fagen also met with Bernthal in the autograph line. This was just one of many examples of how friends and family were bonding and sharing together in the spectacle throughout the convention center.

There were also breakout sessions for classes, performances, gaming, and crafts. Nyki Robertson Crosby, a.k.a. “Lady Thunder,” who is the matriarch of one of the largest houses for the Society for Creative Anachronism in the Phoenix area, sponsored a class on creating a “Basic T-shirt Tunic” so that anyone who wanted to attend an S.C.A. event in costume could fit in with a minimal investment in time, effort and money. She said the secret is to create a costume that could be one someone would wear between 600–1600 A.D. “We’re the Society of Creative Anachronism and not the Society of Creative Accuracy,” Robertson Crosby said.

The Phoenix Comicon was carnivalesque in its look and feel. And it spread well beyond the convention center as knights and Wonderland characters and more walked the streets of Phoenix and lunched and dined with the “civilians”. The civilians were the ones who kept asking, “What’s going on?”

They may have been “out of towners” visiting the “Valley of the Sun” between May 24–27, because after ten years, Phoenix now has an established tradition.

This year’s largest Comicon is to be Comic-Con International San Diego 2012, July 12–15 in California.

December 18, 2018 in Uncategorized

Bülent Ecevit, former prime minister of Turkey and poet, has died at 81

Tuesday, November 7, 2006

Bülent Ecevit, former prime minister of Turkey and poet, has died at 81. Ecevit was in a coma for nearly six months following a stroke.

Ecevit was the prime minister of the government ordering a military intervention on July 20, 1974, to prevent a coup in Cyprus by Greek forces, dividing the island and setting the stage for the foundation of the breakaway Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.

Following the September 12, 1980, military coup led by General Kenan Evren, Ecevit was incarcerated and was suspended from active politics for life. A referendum in 1987 lifted his ban from politics, and he became the chairman of the Demokratik Sol Parti (Democratic Left Party) in 1989, inheriting the position from his wife, Rah?an Ecevit.

He was a deputy prime minister under the last government of Mesut Y?lmaz and then was briefly caretaker Prime Minister in the run-up to the 1999 general elections. In those elections, Ecevit’s party gained the largest number of seats, leading to Ecevit’s final stint as Prime Minister in a coalition with the Anavatan Partisi (Motherland Party) of Mesut Yilmaz and the Milliyetçi Hareket Partisi (Nationalist Movement Party).

The short-term economic pain caused rifts within his coalition and party, and eventually forced new elections in 2002. Ecevit, at this time visibly frail, was unsuccessful in leading his party back into the National Assembly. Ecevit subsequently retired from active politics in 2004.

Bülent Ecevit was not only a politician but a poet and writer. He studied Sanskrit, Bengali, and English and translated works by Rabindranath Tagore, T. S. Eliot, and Bernard Lewis into Turkish.

Ecevit was hospitalized at the Gülhane Military Hospital in Ankara and placed in a medically induced coma after suffering a stroke on May 19, 2006. He died on November 5 without regaining consciousness.

December 17, 2018 in Uncategorized

Congressman Cunningham admits taking bribes

Monday, November 28, 2005

U.S. Representative Randy “Duke” Cunningham (RCA) pled guilty today to conspiring to take bribes in exchange for using his influence as a member of the House Appropriations Committee to help a defense contractor get business. In total he pled guilty to one count of income tax evasion and four counts of conspiracy, namely mail fraud, wire fraud, bribery of public official and accepting bribes. U.S. District judge Larry A. Burns scheduled Cunnigham to be sentenced on February 27. He is facing up to 10 years in prison and nearly $500,000 in fines, as well as forfeiture of unspecified amounts of cash and property.

In the court hearing, Cunningham admitted to accepting “bribes in exchange for performance of official duties” between “the year 2000 and June of 2005”, taking “both cash payments and payments in kind” and following up by “trying to influence the Defense Department”.

The federal investigation against Cunningham was triggered by his sale of his California residence to defense contractor Mitchell Wade in late 2003. However, Wade never moved in and sold the house at a $700,000 loss three quarters of a year later. At the same time Wade’s company MZM won tens of millions of dollars in defense contracts. Subsequent investigations discovered more questionable business transactions, including interactions with the defense contractor ADCS. In his plea agreement he testified that, among other charges, he “demanded, sought and received at least $2.4 million in illicit payments and benefits from his co-conspirators in various forms, including cash, checks, meals, travel, lodging, furnishings, antiques, rugs, yacht club fees, boat repairs and improvements, moving expenses, cars and boats.”

Cunningham announced his resignation after the hearing. In a written statement released by his law firm O’Melveny & Myers LLP he declared “The truth is — I broke the law, concealed my conduct, and disgraced my high office. I know that I will forfeit my freedom, my reputation, my worldly possessions, and most importantly, the trust of my friends and family.”

December 17, 2018 in Uncategorized

Gay Talese on the state of journalism, Iraq and his life

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Gay Talese wants to go to Iraq. “It so happens there is someone that’s working on such a thing right now for me,” the 75-year-old legendary journalist and author told David Shankbone. “Even if I was on Al-Jazeera with a gun to my head, I wouldn’t be pleading with those bastards! I’d say, ‘Go ahead. Make my day.'”

Few reporters will ever reach the stature of Talese. His 1966 profile of Frank Sinatra, Frank Sinatra Has a Cold, was not only cited by The Economist as the greatest profile of Sinatra ever written, but is considered the greatest of any celebrity profile ever written. In the 70th anniversary issue of Esquire in October 2003, the editors declared the piece the “Best Story Esquire Ever Published.”

Talese helped create and define a new style of literary reporting called New Journalism. Talese himself told National Public Radio he rejects this label (“The term new journalism became very fashionable on college campuses in the 1970s and some of its practitioners tended to be a little loose with the facts. And that’s where I wanted to part company.”)

He is not bothered by the Bancrofts selling The Wall Street Journal—”It’s not like we should lament the passing of some noble dynasty!”—to Rupert Murdoch, but he is bothered by how the press supported and sold the Iraq War to the American people. “The press in Washington got us into this war as much as the people that are controlling it,” said Talese. “They took information that was second-hand information, and they went along with it.” He wants to see the Washington press corp disbanded and sent around the country to get back in touch with the people it covers; that the press should not be so focused on–and in bed with–the federal government.

Augusten Burroughs once said that writers are experience junkies, and Talese fits the bill. Talese–who has been married to Nan Talese (she edited James Frey‘s Million Little Piece) for fifty years–can be found at baseball games in Cuba or the gay bars of Beijing, wanting to see humanity in all its experience.

Below is Wikinews reporter David Shankbone’s interview with Gay Talese.

Contents

  • 1 On Gay Talese
  • 2 On a higher power and how he’d like to die
  • 3 On the media and Iraq
  • 4 On the Iraq War
  • 5 State of Journalism
  • 6 On travel to Cuba
  • 7 On Chinese gay bars
  • 8 On the literary canon
  • 9 Sources
December 16, 2018 in Uncategorized

New York City Subway’s skip-stop 9 service to make its last run May 27

Friday, May 6, 2005

On Friday, May 27, 2005, 9 trains on the New York City Subway will make their final run, ending rush-hour skip-stop service on the IRT Broadway-Seventh Avenue Line north of 137th Street-City College. During rush hours, the 9 is a skip-stop supplement to the 1, running the same route but skipping some stops in Upper Manhattan and the Bronx. At the same time, the 1 skips other stops, which are only served by the 9 at rush hours; some stops are served by all trains. This service pattern results in slightly faster trains, but longer waits for those going to or from skipped stations.

9 service was started on December 12, 1988, at first running during rush hours and middays. In the mid-1990s, midday 9 service was dropped.

The J-Z skip-stop services on the BMT Jamaica Line will not be affected, as many passengers ride straight through the skip-stop portion, making the faster service more worthwhile.

December 15, 2018 in Uncategorized

National Hockey League news: February 17, 2008

Sunday, February 17, 2008

There were 10 games played in the National Hockey League on February 16, 2008, including the New York Rangers, who hadn’t played since the afternoon of February 10, taking on the Buffalo Sabres.

Contents

  • 1 Game summaries
    • 1.1 Buffalo Sabres @ New York Rangers
    • 1.2 Boston Bruins @ Toronto Maple Leafs
    • 1.3 Philadelphia Flyers @ Montreal Canadiens
    • 1.4 New Jersey Devils @ Ottawa Senators
    • 1.5 Atlanta Thrashers @ New York Islanders
    • 1.6 Florida Panthers @ Carolina Hurricanes
    • 1.7 Washington Capitals @ Tampa Bay Lightning
    • 1.8 St. Louis Blues @ Nashville Predators
    • 1.9 Los Angeles Kings @ Phoenix Coyotes
    • 1.10 Edmonton Oilers @ Vancouver Canucks
  • 2 Sources
December 14, 2018 in Uncategorized