Manitoba volunteers go to war against Red River flooding

Monday, April 6, 2009

Over 1,600 volunteers registered to help build approximately 65,000 of the 500,000 sandbags to create dikes 20.5 feet (6.2 meters) high to protect the City of Winnipeg, Manitoba in the war against the Red River of the North flood.

700 volunteers answered at the rural municipality of St. Andrews alone. Once sandbags are filled for West St. Paul, St. Andrews, and Selkirk, then frozen culverts must be cleared.

The height of the river is expected to be Thursday, and predictions are that it will be less than Flood of the Century of 1997. There is no precipitation in the forecast, and snow in the province should be melted by the end of the week.

“The fear right now is we have to get that ice out of the river. The Amphibex [Excavators] are still working and breaking the ice apart, and everyday we buy with the warm weather and the current, it is thinning the ice down a bit, so when it does start to move, the better chance it’ll move right out into the lake,” said Paul Guyder, the emergency coordinator for the RMs of St. Andrews and St. Clements.

“I feel that we’ve done everything humanly possible to get ready,” said Gary Doer, Premier of Manitoba, “But … there are fallibilities with human behaviour. We can take every preventative measure as human beings possible and we can still get Mother Nature proving again she is superior.”

Communities with ring diking will partially or fully close their dikes at the beginning of the week. Provincial officials are considering opening the Red River Floodway gates around mid-week before ice is fully melted.

Ice jams could cause flooding within the city, however opening the gates could spare neighbourhood flooding when the river rises to the estimated 6.3 meters (20.7 feet) height. The province does have back up plans for dealing with ice jams within the city if they do occur. The unpredictability of ice jams and the ensuing water level rise may cause neighbourhood flooding. The city is raising dikes where the river has jammed with ice in the past such as on tight curves and past bridges. Likewise there are excavators and backhoes positioned at these points.

Vulnerable neighbourhoods on the river banks have been reinforced with sandbag dikes at vulnerable areas from the massive volunteer effort over the weekend. Guyader feels no more extra volunteers are needed, however volunteers are still being asked to leave their names and number in case of unpredicted need. Existing personnel will assess roads, and help with clean up.

Approximately 400 of the 800 people who evacuated the Roseau River Anishinabe First Nation have returned to their homes.

Former Premier, Dufferin Roblin, brought forward the floodway as a protection for Winnipeg residents and economy following the 1950 Red River Flood. The Red River floodway, “Duff’s Ditch” was finally finished in 1968, and its floodway gates have been opened 20 times saving Winnipeg from an estimated CA$10 billion in damages. The floodway expansion began in 2005 at a price of $665 million.

Polish and Chinese experts have come to survey the Red River Floodway, and Dennis Walaker, mayor of Fargo, North Dakota recognises the need for Red River flood defences down river. “Every town that you drive by from the Canadian line up to Winnipeg is either elevated or ring-diked,” said Walaker.

March 22, 2019 in Uncategorized

Apple introduces iPhone and Apple TV

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Apple Inc. today has introduced the much-anticipated iPhone at the Macworld Conference in San Francisco.

The iPhone is claimed to be “a revolutionary mobile phone” as stated on the Apple website. The device appears to be running a mobile version of the Apple operating system Mac OSX. It is approximately the same size as a 5th generation iPod, it has a 3.5-inch LCD touchscreen display that is used to access all features of the phone including number dial, as well as making phone calls. The iPhone plays music, movies, displays pictures and is able to connect to a wireless network.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveiled the device by walking onto the stage and taking the iPhone out of his jeans pocket. During his 2 hour speech he stated that “Today Apple is going to reinvent the phone, We are going to make history today”.

Today Apple also released their Media Center device – Apple TV. It will directly compete with Microsoft’s Media Center operating system. Apple has taken a different approach to the media center market; rather than storing content (such as movies, music and photos) on the device, Apple TV connects to a computer (Mac and Windows) over a wirless network connection and plays all content stored on that computer. This makes it substantially easier for users to organize their media content.

March 21, 2019 in Uncategorized

Wikinews’ overview of the year 2007

Monday, December 31, 2007

What would you tell your grandchildren about 2007 if they asked you about it in, let’s say, 20 year’s time? If the answer to a quiz question was 2007, what would the question be? The year that you first signed on to Facebook? The year Britney Spears and Amy Winehouse fell apart? The year author Kurt Vonnegut or mime Marcel Marceau died, both at 84?

Let’s take a look at some of the international stories of 2007. Links to the original Wikinews articles are in bold.

March 21, 2019 in Uncategorized

Too Grimm? Mother Goose cartoonist sued by Colombian coffee growers

Sunday, January 11, 2009

While it was just a joke, the Federación Nacional de Cafeteros de Colombia doesn’t find a recent “Mother Goose and Grimm” comic terribly funny.

In what the coffee growers association calls “an attack on national dignity and the reputation of Colombian coffee,” the characters in a comic strip by Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Mike Peters call into question the relationship of Colombian coffee growers and the crime syndicates of Columbia.

The cartoonist is being sued not only for “damages [to] the intellectual heritage” of the coffee, but also “moral compensation. A public manifestation,” to the tune of $20 million.

At the start of a week-long series of strips, a dog character named “Ralph” finds out that part of chemist and food storage technician Fred Baur‘s remains was buried in a Pringles can, upon his last wishes. Baur’s best known innovation, among multiple, was the patented can and packing method for the Pringles potato chip. The character theorizes what other remains might be interred in their food packaging. Eventually, the dog states that “when they say there’s a little bit of Juan Valdez in every can, maybe they’re not kidding.”This play on an old advertising slogan refers to fictional character Juan Valdez, created by the Federación Nacional.

In a statement Peters says:

I had no more thought to insult Colombia and Juan Valdez than I did Pringles, Betty Crocker, Col. Sanders, Dr. Pepper and Bartles & Jaymes. The cartoon is meant to be read along with the rest of the week as a series of which the theme is based on the fact that the inventor of the Pringles can had his ashes buried in one.

I thought this was a humorous subject and all of my Mother Goose & Grimm cartoons are meant to make people laugh. I truly intended no insult.

Julio Cesar Gonzalez, El Tiempo newspaper’s famous cartoonist, told the BBC that the lawsuit is “a real waste of time.”

In 2006, the Federación Nacional sued Café Britt over their advertising campaign titled “Juan Valdez drinks Costa Rican coffee. In a counter-suit, Britt presented an affidavit from a Costa Rican man named “Juan Valdez”, acknowledging that he drinks Costa Rican coffee, and that the name is too generic to be exclusive. A variety of legal challenges and charges from both sides were eventually dropped. The phrase was actually first used in a 1999 speech by Jaime Daremblum, then-Costa Rican ambassador to the United States.

Mother Goose and Grimm appears in over 800 newspapers worldwide; Peters has won the Pulitzer for his editorial cartoons for the Dayton Daily News. Thirty years ago, his editorial cartoon about electricity prices featured Reddy Kilowatt, an electricity generation spokescharacter. The Daily News defended that comic image in the United States Supreme Court, winning on the basis that “the symbol was not selling a product”, and thus the satire was legally permissible.

Peters drinks Colombian coffee.

March 21, 2019 in Uncategorized

Feared toll of Indonesian floods, landslides up to 130; dozens missing as bridge swept away

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Heavy rains in Indonesia yesterday triggered widespread flooding and landslides across the nation. It has emerged that last night a bridge was swept away by the swollen river it stretched across, leaving around 40 to 50 people missing in Madiun, East Java. Meanwhile, the total toll of those known or feared to be dead has reached 130.

According to local police chief Supardi in a telephone conversation with Xinhua the flood waters weakened a foundation, resulting in the collapse. At least twenty motorcyclists, car drivers and passengers are thought to be dead, but as of midnight, no bodies had been recovered. However, three bikes have been retrieved. 100 rescuers have been dispatched to the scene. Continuing heavy rain forced the search to be abandoned temporarily.

Java as a whole is the worst affected island; in addition to the bridge collapse most of the landslides occurred in two Central Java districts. Health ministry official Rustam Pakaya told reporters that at least 28,000 people have been forced to abandon their homes in central Java, although exact figures are not yet available. The Red Cross commented that 45,000 East Javanese people have been similarly displaced. Thousands are seeking shelter in mosques and other public buildings.

Landslides buried houses and made roads impassable, while hundreds police officers, military personnel, local officials and volunteers have been digging with farm tools and even their hands to search for survivors. Heavy machinery is available but the road conditions have prevented it arriving at the areas where it is required. Jakarta has dispatched aid in the form of five tonnes of biscuits and instant meals, ten tonnes of baby food and multiple boats.

Heru Aji Pratomo, head of the disaster management centre in the worst-hit district of Karanganyar has confirmed the recovery of twelve more bodies. This brings the total confirmed death toll in the area to 48. He said that most bodies were recovered from three metre deep mud and required heavy digging machinery to retrieve. 28 remain missing.

Local resident Siswo told AFP “Suddenly I felt my house shaking, and I thought it was an earthquake. When I got outside, I saw that the houses next to mine were already covered by earth,” and that it struck twelve neighbouring houses.

In the next district, Wonogiri, disaster management centre head Sri Mubadi told reporters they had retrieved two more bodies, reaching a total of six, with eleven more missing. He also confirmed that they currently have no access to heavy equipment.

In Tawangmangu about 1,000 rescuers were also searching for bodies and survivors without the aid of heavy machinery. Three more bodies were retrieved today.

Islamic cleric Abu Bakar Bashir toured a Karanganyar village, at which time he commented that he felt the disaster had been caused as a form of divine revenge, saying “This was likely caused by immoral acts going on here,” and “This could be a lesson to be learned.” The 69-year-old served two years after being linked to the 2002 Bali bombings, before having his conviction overturned last year.

Chalid Muhammad, director of Walhi, an Indonesian environmental group, had a different opinion. “For five consecutive years landslides and floods have occurred in Java, claiming many lives. The main trigger is ecological destruction caused by deforestation, forest conversions and chaotic spatial planning,” Chalid told Reuters.

“There have been no adequate efforts by the government to protect the people from disasters. When the landslides happened officials were on holiday and there was no access of heavy equipment to the affected areas.”

March 20, 2019 in Uncategorized

Massachusetts lawmakers enact plan for universal health coverage

Friday, April 7, 2006Legislators in the Massachusetts General Court, their name for the state legislature, approved legislation on Tuesday, April 4, that would make it the first state in the United States to require all residents to have health insurance and impose penalties for non-compliance. Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, a Republican who is expected to run for U.S. President in 2008, is expected to sign the bill.

The bill passed the lower house, the Massachusetts House of Representatives by a vote of 155-2, and unanimously by the state senate. The Democratic Party holds supermajorities in both houses of the legislature.

Among the bill’s provisions are these:

  1. Businesses that employ more than 10 people are required to provide health insurance for all staff or face fines of $295 per year per uninsured worker.
  2. Individuals will be required to enroll in a health plan by July 1, 2007, or face tax penalties.
  3. Health insurers will provide partially to fully subsidized coverage for low-income residents.

At least one other state (Hawaii) requires employers to provide employee health insurance, but no other state holds individuals accountable for coverage.

March 19, 2019 in Uncategorized

Kennedy Center names 2007 honors recipients

Friday, September 14, 2007

The Kennedy Center announced that its 30th presentation of the Kennedy Center Honors would go to pianist Leon Fleisher, comedian Steve Martin, singer Diana Ross, director Martin Scorsese and musician Brian Wilson. The Center was opened to the public in 1971 and was envisioned as part of the National Cultural Center Act, which mandated that the independent, privately-funded institution would present a wide variety of both classical and contemporary performances, commission the creation of new artistic works, and undertake a variety of educational missions to increase awareness of the arts.

In a statement, Kennedy Center Chairman Stephen A. Schwarzman said that “with their extraordinary talent, creativity and perseverance, the five 2007 honorees have transformed the way we, as Americans, see, hear and feel the performing arts.”

Fleisher, 79, a member of the Peabody Institute‘s music faculty, is a pianist who lost use of his right hand in 1965 due to a neurological condition. He became an accomplished musician and conductor through the use of his left hand. At 67, he regained the use of his right hand. With the advent of Botox therapy, he was once more able to undertake two-hand performances in 2004, his first in four decades. “I’m very gratified by the fact that it’s an apolitical honor,” Fleisher said. “It is given by colleagues and professional people who are aware of what [an artist] has done, so it really is apolitical — and that much more of an honor.”

Martin, 62, a comedian who has written books and essays in addition to his acting and stand-up comedy career, rose to fame during his work on the American television program Saturday Night Live in the 1970’s. Schwarzman praised his work as that of a “renaissance comic whose talents wipe out the boundaries between artistic disciplines.” Martin responded to the honor saying, “I am grateful to the Kennedy Center for finally alleviating in me years of covetousness and trophy envy.”

Ross, 63, was a product of Detroit‘s Brewster-Douglass Projects when as a teeager she and friends Mary Wilson and Florence Ballardis formed The Supremes, a ground-breaking Motown act. She portrayed singer Billie Holiday in the 1972 film Lady Sings the Blues, which earned her an Oscar nomination and a Golden Globe award. “Diana Ross’ singular, instantly recognizable voice has spread romance and joy throughout the world,” said Schwarzman. Ross said she was “taken aback. It is a huge, huge honor and I am excited to be in this class of people.”

Scorsese, 64, is one of the most accomplished directors the United States ever produced, whose work includes Mean Streets, Taxi Driver, GoodFellas, Cape Fear, The Last Temptation of Christ and The Departed, for which he won a 2006 Academy Award for Best Director after being nominated eight times. Scorsese said, “I’m very honored to be receiving this recognition from the Kennedy Center and proud to be joining the company of the very distinguished individuals who have received this honor in years past.”

Wilson, 65, along with his brothers Dennis and Carl, formed the Beach Boys in 1961. They had a series of hits that included “Surfin’ U.S.A.” and “Wouldn’t It Be Nice.” Their 1966 album Pet Sounds is considered one of the most influential recordings in American music. “This is something so unexpected and I feel extremely fortunate to be in the company of such great artists,” said Wilson, who is currently on tour.

The Kennedy Center’s board of trustees is responsible for selecting honorees for “lifetime contributions to American culture through the performing arts.” Previous honorees, including Elton John and Steven Spielberg, also submitted recommendations. A wide variety of people were under consideration, including Emanuel Ax, Evgeny Kissin, Renee Fleming, Laurence Fishburne, Francis Ford Coppola, Melissa Etheridge and Kenny Chesney.

President Bush and first lady Laura Bush will attend the center’s presentation at its opera house on December 2, 2007, which will broadcast on December 26 on CBS.

March 18, 2019 in Uncategorized

National Hockey League news: March 28, 2008

Friday, March 28, 2008

There were 8 games played in the National Hockey League on March 27, 2008.

March 17, 2019 in Uncategorized

Residents and business owners attend “private” meeting on Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Buffalo, N.Y. Hotel Proposal Controversy
Recent Developments
  • “120 year-old documents threaten development on site of Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal” — Wikinews, November 21, 2006
  • “Proposal for Buffalo, N.Y. hotel reportedly dead: parcels for sale “by owner”” — Wikinews, November 16, 2006
  • “Contract to buy properties on site of Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal extended” — Wikinews, October 2, 2006
  • “Court date “as needed” for lawsuit against Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal” — Wikinews, August 14, 2006
  • “Preliminary hearing for lawsuit against Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal rescheduled” — Wikinews, July 26, 2006
  • “Elmwood Village Hotel proposal in Buffalo, N.Y. withdrawn” — Wikinews, July 13, 2006
  • “Preliminary hearing against Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal delayed” — Wikinews, June 2, 2006
Original Story
  • “Hotel development proposal could displace Buffalo, NY business owners” — Wikinews, February 17, 2006

Residents, business owners and developers attended a low profile, “private” neighborhood meeting about the Elmwood Village Hotel proposal and redesign in Buffalo, New York last night. At least 50 people from the Penhurst block, the Claremont block, the Granger block and various other locations attended. A representative from Forever Elmwood was also at the meeting. Joel Golombeck, City Councilman for the Elmwood area, was also among the attendees.

The Elmwood Village Hotel is a seven million dollar proposal by Savarino Construction Services Corp. The hotel would be built on the intersection of Elmwood and Forest Aves. in Buffalo. In order for the hotel to be built, the demolition of at least five currently occupied buildings will be required.

Golombeck found out about the proposal just three weeks ago when Sam Savarino of Savarino Construction Services Corp. called Golombeck.

Golombeck said that he was asked, by the City of Buffalo to “approve” the proposal “tomorrow”, (February 28, 2006). When asked to do so Golombeck replied, “That is just not possible. I did not realize how fast tracked this plan was. My first question to Savarino was, did you talk to the neighborhood?”

Golombeck also stated that he would not approve or deny the proposal until a reasonable amount of time was given to the community to make a judgment on the new design.

Golombeck also stated that the City of Buffalo wanted Savarino to obtain both 605 Forest and 607 Forest for the proposal, but, according to Golombeck, Savarino “does not want to do that.” In order for the two buildings to be included in the development, Savarino will have to apply for a C-2 zoning permit. It is unknown if an attempt will be made to obtain those properties or make the zoning changes.

Wendy Pierce of Forever Elmwood stated that she had found out about the proposal only “two weeks ago from today.” She also stated that the original design “felt too massive.” Pierce also stated that she wanted to “speak more with the block clubs and residents” around the area.

Ms. pierce also stated that “other options” for parking will be looked into “if possible.”

The new design will have less retail space and now has at lease three conference rooms. Parking has been increased to a total of fifty-five spaces, both underground and above.

Rocco Termini, a Buffalo developer also attended the meeting still stating that the hotel would “destroy Elmwood’s urban streetscape.” Mr. Termini has proposed a second development that would not include a hotel, but increase retail shops to at least seven.

The City of Buffalo Planning Board is still scheduled to meet at 8:00a.m Tuesday. The Common Council is still expected to meet at 2:00p.m. on the same day.

Joel Golombeck is expected to attend both meetings.

March 16, 2019 in Uncategorized

Medal-seeking Spanish men arrive at 2014 Goalball World Championships

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Spain’s men’s national goalball team arrived in Espoo, Finland Friday for the start of the 2014 IBSA Goalball World Championships. The team comes into the tournament with the goal of securing a medal, which would qualify them for the 2016 Summer Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro. The team missed the 2012 Summer Paralympics.

Head coach Francisco Monreal said, “The objective is to reach the medal round, and qualify directly for the 2016 Games, but we need to be realistic and not think game by game, we can get a surprise. […] The competition will be decided in one game, head or tails, where it doesn’t matter what happened before. ((es))Spanish language: ?el objetivo previsto es alcanzar las medallas y clasificarnos directamente para los Juegos de 2016, pero hay que ser realistas y como no vayamos pensando partido a partido, nos podemos llevar una sorpresa. […] La competición se decidirá en un partido a cara o cruz, como son los cruces de cuartos, y donde no sirve de nada lo realizado en la primera fase

Coming into the competition, the team was ranked eleventh in the world based on the IBSA Unofficial rankings published late last month, down one spot from the April rankings. The team is scheduled to play their first game against the ninth ranked United States men’s team on Monday morning, before playing twenty-first ranked Germany later in the afternoon. Their other scheduled competitors in pool play are top ranked Iran, third ranked Algeria, seventh ranked Finland, twelfth ranked Czech Republic and twentieth ranked Ukraine. The team needs to finish in the top four in their group to advance to the second round.

The team’s roster includes Jose Daniel Fernández, Cristian Santamaria, Félix Vargas, Roman Martínez, Jesús Santana, and Javier Serrato. They are led by head coach Monreal, with assistant coach Carles Estrany and physiotherapist José Bravo. The team is drawn from around the country, with Santana playing for a club in the Canary Islands, Serrato playing for Valencia, Fernández for Madrid area Chamartín, Santamaría for Cantabria, Vargas coming from Barcelona and Martínez from Aragón.

Absent from the 2012 Summer Paralympics, the last major international competition the team competed in was the 2010 Goalball World Championships in Sheffield, England where the team finished fifth. In last year’s IBSA European Goalball Championships in Turkey, the team finished second, behind World Championship hosts and Paralympic gold medalists Finland.

Goalball was created in 1946, exclusively for people with a visual disability and designed to help with the rehabilitation of veterans returning from World War II. Play in the Paralympics consists of two twelve-minute periods, with a three minute break between halves. Players are blindfolded to ensure all are equally visually handicapped on-court, and the game can be stopped to ensure goggles are properly fitted. Standing in front of a long goal, they throw the ball at the opposition team’s net who in turn try to block it by listening to the ball, which contains a bell, and using their bodies to prevent the ball from going in. The audience is asked to remain silent during play.

March 16, 2019 in Uncategorized