Rebels blow up oil pipelines in Assam

Saturday, June 10, 2006Normal life in the Asom continued to be disturbed for third day in a row on Saturday following the series of subversive activities engineered by the banned United Liberation Front of Asom(ULFA). In the latest incident, Police on Saturday morning sounded red alert in the Guwahati city as an explosive timer device found in front of Kamrup SP office in Panbazar.

“The recovered device was kept in a Tiffin box, which was programmed to explode at 6:15 [IST] in the evening,” said police sources adding that the hand of ULFA was suspected. The passengers of Delhi-bound Rajdhani Express had a miraculous escape as a bomb planted on the tracks near Naharkatia in the Dibrugarh district detonated just before the superfast train was to pass last night, said official sources. On Friday night, at least six persons injured in the state, following five powerful blasts that was suspected to be triggered by the banned outfit.

These blasts came barely hours after a powerful bomb explosion that killed five people and injured over 15 at a busy vegetable market in the Guwahati city on Friday evening. According to police, at least six persons injured when a bomb exploded in the house of one Milan Deori in Rupaisiding- Tapoban-Tiniali area in the Tinsukia district allegedly planted by ULFA militants. Besides this the outfit reportedly blew off four Oil pipelines belonging to Assam Gas Company Limited and Oil India Limited (OIL) successively at two places in the Dibrugarh district last night.

Police source said that two blasts occurred at 10:25 IST and 25 minutes later damaged pipeline used for electricity generation at Namrup Thermal Power plant at a place under Naharkatia police station. Later two more explosions severely damaged two crude oil pipelines belonging to OIL, nearby Bhadoipanchali. In another incident, at least three army personnel injured when militants hurled grenade at an army truck at Doomdooma in Tinsukia district at around 8 p.m. IST yesterday. On Thursday, there were four separate explosions that left 34 people injured in the districts of Dhubri, Mangaldoi and Nagaon.

March 14, 2019 in Uncategorized

John Vanderslice plays New York City: Wikinews interview

Thursday, September 27, 2007

John Vanderslice has recently learned to enjoy America again. The singer-songwriter, who National Public Radio called “one of the most imaginative, prolific and consistently rewarding artists making music today,” found it through an unlikely source: his French girlfriend. “For the first time in my life I wouldn’t say I was defending the country but I was in this very strange position…”

Since breaking off from San Francisco local legends, mk Ultra, Vanderslice has produced six critically-acclaimed albums. His most recent, Emerald City, was released July 24th. Titled after the nickname given to the American-occupied Green Zone in Baghdad, it chronicles a world on the verge of imminent collapse under the weight of its own paranoia and loneliness. David Shankbone recently went to the Bowery Ballroom and spoke with Vanderslice about music, photography, touring and what makes a depressed liberal angry.


DS: How is the tour going?

JV: Great! I was just on the Wiki page for Inland Empire, and there is a great synopsis on the film. What’s on there is the best thing I have read about that film. The tour has been great. The thing with touring: say you are on vacation…let’s say you are doing an intense vacation. I went to Thailand alone, and there’s a part of you that just wants to go home. I don’t know what it is. I like to be home, but on tour there is a free floating anxiety that says: Go Home. Go Home.

DS: Anywhere, or just outside of the country?

JV: Anywhere. I want to be home in San Francisco, and I really do love being on tour, but there is almost like a homing beacon inside of me that is beeping and it creates a certain amount of anxiety.

DS: I can relate: You and I have moved around a lot, and we have a lot in common. Pranks, for one. David Bowie is another.

JV: Yeah, I saw that you like David Bowie on your MySpace.

DS: When I was in college I listened to him nonstop. Do you have a favorite album of his?

JV: I loved all the things from early to late seventies. Hunky Dory to Low to “Heroes” to Lodger. Low changed my life. The second I got was Hunky Dory, and the third was Diamond Dogs, which is a very underrated album. Then I got Ziggy Stardust and I was like, wow, this is important…this means something. There was tons of music I discovered in the seventh and eighth grade that I discovered, but I don’t love, respect and relate to it as much as I do Bowie. Especially Low…I was just on a panel with Steve Albini about how it has had a lot of impact.

DS: You said seventh and eighth grade. Were you always listening to people like Bowie or bands like the Velvets, or did you have an Eddie Murphy My Girl Wants to Party All the Time phase?

JV: The thing for me that was the uncool music, I had an older brother who was really into prog music, so it was like Gentle Giant and Yes and King Crimson and Genesis. All the new Genesis that was happening at the time was mind-blowing. Phil Collins‘s solo record…we had every single solo record, like the Mike Rutherford solo record.

DS: Do you shun that music now or is it still a part of you?

JV: Oh no, I appreciate all music. I’m an anti-snob. Last night when I was going to sleep I was watching Ocean’s Thirteen on my computer. It’s not like I always need to watch some super-fragmented, fucked-up art movie like Inland Empire. It’s part of how I relate to the audience. We end every night by going out into the audience and playing acoustically, directly, right in front of the audience, six inches away—that is part of my philosophy.

DS: Do you think New York or San Francisco suffers from artistic elitism more?

JV: I think because of the Internet that there is less and less elitism; everyone is into some little superstar on YouTube and everyone can now appreciate now Justin Timberlake. There is no need for factions. There is too much information, and I think the idea has broken down that some people…I mean, when was the last time you met someone who was into ska, or into punk, and they dressed the part? I don’t meet those people anymore.

DS: Everything is fusion now, like cuisine. It’s hard to find a purely French or purely Vietnamese restaurant.

JV: Exactly! When I was in high school there were factions. I remember the guys who listened to Black Flag. They looked the part! Like they were in theater.

DS: You still find some emos.

JV: Yes, I believe it. But even emo kids, compared to their older brethren, are so open-minded. I opened up for Sunny Day Real Estate and Pedro the Lion, and I did not find their fans to be the cliquish people that I feared, because I was never playing or marketed in the emo genre. I would say it’s because of the Internet.

DS: You could clearly create music that is more mainstream pop and be successful with it, but you choose a lot of very personal and political themes for your music. Are you ever tempted to put out a studio album geared toward the charts just to make some cash?

JV: I would say no. I’m definitely a capitalist, I was an econ major and I have no problem with making money, but I made a pact with myself very early on that I was only going to release music that was true to the voices and harmonic things I heard inside of me—that were honestly inside me—and I have never broken that pact. We just pulled two new songs from Emerald City because I didn’t feel they were exactly what I wanted to have on a record. Maybe I’m too stubborn or not capable of it, but I don’t think…part of the equation for me: this is a low stakes game, making indie music. Relative to the world, with the people I grew up with and where they are now and how much money they make. The money in indie music is a low stakes game from a financial perspective. So the one thing you can have as an indie artist is credibility, and when you burn your credibility, you are done, man. You can not recover from that. These years I have been true to myself, that’s all I have.

DS: Do you think Spoon burned their indie credibility for allowing their music to be used in commercials and by making more studio-oriented albums? They are one of my favorite bands, but they have come a long way from A Series of Sneaks and Girls Can Tell.

JV: They have, but no, I don’t think they’ve lost their credibility at all. I know those guys so well, and Brit and Jim are doing exactly the music they want to do. Brit owns his own studio, and they completely control their means of production, and they are very insulated by being on Merge, and I think their new album—and I bought Telephono when it came out—is as good as anything they have done.

DS: Do you think letting your music be used on commercials does not bring the credibility problem it once did? That used to be the line of demarcation–the whole Sting thing–that if you did commercials you sold out.

JV: Five years ago I would have said that it would have bothered me. It doesn’t bother me anymore. The thing is that bands have shrinking options for revenue streams, and sync deals and licensing, it’s like, man, you better be open to that idea. I remember when Spike Lee said, ‘Yeah, I did these Nike commercials, but it allowed me to do these other films that I wanted to make,’ and in some ways there is an article that Of Montreal and Spoon and other bands that have done sync deals have actually insulated themselves further from the difficulties of being a successful independent band, because they have had some income come in that have allowed them to stay put on labels where they are not being pushed around by anyone.
The ultimate problem—sort of like the only philosophical problem is suicide—the only philosophical problem is whether to be assigned to a major label because you are then going to have so much editorial input that it is probably going to really hurt what you are doing.

DS: Do you believe the only philosophical question is whether to commit suicide?

JV: Absolutely. I think the rest is internal chatter and if I logged and tried to counter the internal chatter I have inside my own brain there is no way I could match that.

DS: When you see artists like Pete Doherty or Amy Winehouse out on suicidal binges of drug use, what do you think as a musician? What do you get from what you see them go through in their personal lives and their music?

JV: The thing for me is they are profound iconic figures for me, and I don’t even know their music. I don’t know Winehouse or Doherty’s music, I just know that they are acting a very crucial, mythic part in our culture, and they might be doing it unknowingly.

DS: Glorification of drugs? The rock lifestyle?

JV: More like an out-of-control Id, completely unregulated personal relationships to the world in general. It’s not just drugs, it’s everything. It’s arguing and scratching people’s faces and driving on the wrong side of the road. Those are just the infractions that land them in jail. I think it might be unknowing, but in some ways they are beautiful figures for going that far off the deep end.

DS: As tragic figures?

JV: Yeah, as totally tragic figures. I appreciate that. I take no pleasure in saying that, but I also believe they are important. The figures that go outside—let’s say GG Allin or Penderetsky in the world of classical music—people who are so far outside of the normal boundaries of behavior and communication, it in some way enlarges the size of your landscape, and it’s beautiful. I know it sounds weird to say that, but it is.

DS: They are examples, as well. I recently covered for Wikinews the Iranian President speaking at Columbia and a student named Matt Glick told me that he supported the Iranian President speaking so that he could protest him, that if we don’t give a platform and voice for people, how can we say that they are wrong? I think it’s almost the same thing; they are beautiful as examples of how living a certain way can destroy you, and to look at them and say, “Don’t be that.”

JV: Absolutely, and let me tell you where I’m coming from. I don’t do drugs, I drink maybe three or four times a year. I don’t have any problematic relationship to drugs because there has been a history around me, like probably any musician or creative person, of just blinding array of drug abuse and problems. For me, I am a little bit of a control freak and I don’t have those issues. I just shut those doors. But I also understand and I am very sympathetic to someone who does not shut that door, but goes into that room and stays.

DS: Is it a problem for you to work with people who are using drugs?

JV: I would never work with them. It is a very selfish decision to make and usually those people are total energy vampires and they will take everything they can get from you. Again, this is all in theory…I love that stuff in theory. If Amy Winehouse was my girlfriend, I would probably not be very happy.

DS: Your latest CD is Emerald City and that is an allusion to the compound that we created in Baghdad. How has the current political client affected you in terms of your music?

JV: In some ways, both Pixel Revolt and Emerald City were born out of a recharged and re-energized position of my being….I was so beaten down after the 2000 election and after 9/11 and then the invasion of Iraq, Afghanistan; I was so depleted as a person after all that stuff happened, that I had to write my way out of it. I really had to write political songs because for me it is a way of making sense and processing what is going on. The question I’m asked all the time is do I think is a responsibility of people to write politically and I always say, My God, no. if you’re Morrissey, then you write Morrissey stuff. If you are Dan Bejar and Destroyer, then you are Dan Bejar and you are a fucking genius. Write about whatever it is you want to write about. But to get out of that hole I had to write about that.

DS: There are two times I felt deeply connected to New York City, and that was 9/11 and the re-election of George Bush. The depression of the city was palpable during both. I was in law school during the Iraq War, and then when Hurricane Katrina hit, we watched our countrymen debate the logic of rebuilding one of our most culturally significant cities, as we were funding almost without question the destruction of another country to then rebuild it, which seems less and less likely. Do you find it is difficult to enjoy living in America when you see all of these sorts of things going on, and the sort of arguments we have amongst ourselves as a people?

JV: I would say yes, absolutely, but one thing changed that was very strange: I fell in love with a French girl and the genesis of Emerald City was going through this visa process to get her into the country, which was through the State Department. In the middle of process we had her visa reviewed and everything shifted over to Homeland Security. All of my complicated feelings about this country became even more dour and complicated, because here was Homeland Security mailing me letters and all involved in my love life, and they were grilling my girlfriend in Paris and they were grilling me, and we couldn’t travel because she had a pending visa. In some strange ways the thing that changed everything was that we finally got the visa accepted and she came here. Now she is a Parisian girl, and it goes without saying that she despises America, and she would never have considered moving to America. So she moves here and is asking me almost breathlessly, How can you allow this to happen

DS: –you, John Vanderslice, how can you allow this—

JV: –Me! Yes! So for the first time in my life I wouldn’t say I was defending the country but I was in this very strange position of saying, Listen, not that many people vote and the churches run fucking everything here, man. It’s like if you take out the evangelical Christian you have basically a progressive western European country. That’s all there is to it. But these people don’t vote, poor people don’t vote, there’s a complicated equation of extreme corruption and voter fraud here, and I found myself trying to rattle of all the reasons to her why I am personally not responsible, and it put me in a very interesting position. And then Sarkozy got elected in France and I watched her go through the same horrific thing that we’ve gone through here, and Sarkozy is a nut, man. This guy is a nut.

DS: But he doesn’t compare to George Bush or Dick Cheney. He’s almost a liberal by American standards.

JV: No, because their President doesn’t have much power. It’s interesting because he is a WAPO right-wing and he was very close to Le Pen and he was a card-carrying straight-up Nazi. I view Sarkozy as somewhat of a far-right candidate, especially in the context of French politics. He is dismantling everything. It’s all changing. The school system, the remnants of the socialized medical care system. The thing is he doesn’t have the foreign policy power that Bush does. Bush and Cheney have unprecedented amounts of power, and black budgets…I mean, come on, we’re spending half a trillion dollars in Iraq, and that’s just the money accounted for.

DS: What’s the reaction to you and your music when you play off the coasts?

JV: I would say good…

DS: Have you ever been Dixiechicked?

JV: No! I want to be! I would love to be, because then that means I’m really part of some fiery debate, but I would say there’s a lot of depressed in every single town. You can say Salt Lake City, you can look at what we consider to be conservative cities, and when you play those towns, man, the kids that come out are more or less on the same page and politically active because they are fish out of water.

DS: Depression breeds apathy, and your music seems geared toward anger, trying to wake people from their apathy. Your music is not maudlin and sad, but seems to be an attempt to awaken a spirit, with a self-reflective bent.

JV: That’s the trick. I would say that honestly, when Katrina happened, I thought, “okay, this is a trick to make people so crazy and so angry that they can’t even think. If you were in a community and basically were in a more or less quasi-police state surveillance society with no accountability, where we are pouring untold billions into our infrastructure to protect outside threats against via terrorism, or whatever, and then a natural disaster happens and there is no response. There is an empty response. There is all these ships off the shore that were just out there, just waiting, and nobody came. Michael Brown. It is one of the most insane things I have ever seen in my life.

DS: Is there a feeling in San Francisco that if an earthquake struck, you all would be on your own?

JV: Yes, of course. Part of what happened in New Orleans is that it was a Catholic city, it was a city of sin, it was a black city. And San Francisco? Bush wouldn’t even visit California in the beginning because his numbers were so low. Before Schwarzenegger definitely. I’m totally afraid of the earthquake, and I think everyone is out there. America is in the worst of both worlds: a laissez-fare economy and then the Grover Norquist anti-tax, starve the government until it turns into nothing more than a Argentinian-style government where there are these super rich invisible elite who own everything and there’s no distribution of wealth and nothing that resembles the New Deal, twentieth century embracing of human rights and equality, war against poverty, all of these things. They are trying to kill all that stuff. So, in some ways, it is the worst of both worlds because they are pushing us towards that, and on the same side they have put in a Supreme Court that is so right wing and so fanatically opposed to upholding civil rights, whether it be for foreign fighters…I mean, we are going to see movement with abortion, Miranda rights and stuff that is going to come up on the Court. We’ve tortured so many people who have had no intelligence value that you have to start to look at torture as a symbolic and almost ritualized behavior; you have this…

DS: Organ failure. That’s our baseline…

JV: Yeah, and you have to wonder about how we were torturing people to do nothing more than to send the darkest signal to the world to say, Listen, we are so fucking weird that if you cross the line with us, we are going to be at war with your religion, with your government, and we are going to destroy you.

DS: I interviewed Congressman Tom Tancredo, who is running for President, and he feels we should use as a deterrent against Islam the bombing of the Muslim holy cities of Mecca and Medina.

JV: You would radicalize the very few people who have not been radicalized, yet, by our actions and beliefs. We know what we’ve done out there, and we are going to paying for this for a long time. When Hezbollah was bombing Israel in that border excursion last year, the Hezbollah fighters were writing the names of battles they fought with the Jews in the Seventh Century on their helmets. This shit is never forgotten.

DS: You read a lot of the stuff that is written about you on blogs and on the Internet. Do you ever respond?

JV: No, and I would say that I read stuff that tends to be . I’ve done interviews that have been solely about film and photography. For some reason hearing myself talk about music, and maybe because I have been talking about it for so long, it’s snoozeville. Most interviews I do are very regimented and they tend to follow a certain line. I understand. If I was them, it’s a 200 word piece and I may have never played that town, in Des Moines or something. But, in general, it’s like…my band mates ask why don’t I read the weeklies when I’m in town, and Google my name. It would be really like looking yourself in the mirror. When you look at yourself in the mirror you are just error-correcting. There must be some sort of hall of mirrors thing that happens when you are completely involved in the Internet conversation about your music, and in some ways I think that I’m very innocently making music, because I don’t make music in any way that has to do with the response to that music. I don’t believe that the response to the music has anything to do with it. This is something I got from John Cage and Marcel Duchamp, I think the perception of the artwork, in some ways, has nothing to do with the artwork, and I think that is a beautiful, glorious and flattering thing to say to the perceiver, the viewer of that artwork. I’ve spent a lot of time looking at Paul Klee‘s drawings, lithographs, watercolors and paintings and when I read his diaries I’m not sure how much of a correlation there is between what his color schemes are denoting and what he is saying and what I am getting out of it. I’m not sure that it matters. Inland Empire is a great example. Lynch basically says, I don’t want to talk about it because I’m going to close doors for the viewer. It’s up to you. It’s not that it’s a riddle or a puzzle. You know how much of your own experience you are putting into the digestion of your own art. That’s not to say that that guy arranges notes in an interesting way, and sings in an interesting way and arranges words in an interesting way, but often, if someone says they really like my music, what I want to say is, That’s cool you focused your attention on that thing, but it does not make me go home and say, Wow, you’re great. My ego is not involved in it.

DS: Often people assume an artist makes an achievement, say wins a Tony or a Grammy or even a Cable Ace Award and people think the artist must feel this lasting sense of accomplishment, but it doesn’t typically happen that way, does it? Often there is some time of elation and satisfaction, but almost immediately the artist is being asked, “Okay, what’s the next thing? What’s next?” and there is an internal pressure to move beyond that achievement and not focus on it.

JV: Oh yeah, exactly. There’s a moment of relief when a mastered record gets back, and then I swear to you that ten minutes after that point I feel there are bigger fish to fry. I grew up listening to classical music, and there is something inside of me that says, Okay, I’ve made six records. Whoop-dee-doo. I grew up listening to Gustav Mahler, and I will never, ever approach what he did.

DS: Do you try?

JV: I love Mahler, but no, his music is too expansive and intellectual, and it’s realized harmonically and compositionally in a way that is five languages beyond me. And that’s okay. I’m very happy to do what I do. How can anyone be so jazzed about making a record when you are up against, shit, five thousand records a week—

DS: —but a lot of it’s crap—

JV: —a lot of it’s crap, but a lot of it is really, really good and doesn’t get the attention it deserves. A lot of it is very good. I’m shocked at some of the stuff I hear. I listen to a lot of music and I am mailed a lot of CDs, and I’m on the web all the time.

DS: I’ve done a lot of photography for Wikipedia and the genesis of it was an attempt to pin down reality, to try to understand a world that I felt had fallen out of my grasp of understanding, because I felt I had no sense of what this world was about anymore. For that, my work is very encyclopedic, and it fit well with Wikipedia. What was the reason you began investing time and effort into photography?

JV: It came from trying to making sense of touring. Touring is incredibly fast and there is so much compressed imagery that comes to you, whether it is the window in the van, or like now, when we are whisking through the Northeast in seven days. Let me tell you, I see a lot of really close people in those seven days. We move a lot, and there is a lot of input coming in. The shows are tremendous and, it is emotionally so overwhelming that you can not log it. You can not keep a file of it. It’s almost like if I take photos while I am doing this, it slows it down or stops it momentarily and orders it. It has made touring less of a blur; concretizes these times. I go back and develop the film, and when I look at the tour I remember things in a very different way. It coalesces. Let’s say I take on fucking photo in Athens, Georgia. That’s really intense. And I tend to take a photo of someone I like, or photos of people I really admire and like.

DS: What bands are working with your studio, Tiny Telephone?

JV: Death Cab for Cutie is going to come back and track their next record there. Right now there is a band called Hello Central that is in there, and they are really good. They’re from L.A. Maids of State was just in there and w:Deerhoof was just in there. Book of Knotts is coming in soon. That will be cool because I think they are going to have Beck sing on a tune. That will be really cool. There’s this band called Jordan from Paris that is starting this week.

DS: Do they approach you, or do you approach them?

JV I would say they approach me. It’s generally word of mouth. We never advertise and it’s very cheap, below market. It’s analog. There’s this self-fulfilling thing that when you’re booked, you stay booked. More bands come in, and they know about it and they keep the business going that way. But it’s totally word of mouth.

March 14, 2019 in Uncategorized

Andrea Muizelaar on fashion, anorexia, and life after ‘Top Model’

Monday, November 26, 2007

In the 18 months since Andrea Muizelaar was crowned winner of the reality TV series Canada’s Next Top Model, her life has been a complete whirlwind. From working in a dollar store in her hometown of Whitby, Ontario, to modeling haute couture in Toronto, she had reached her dream of becoming a true Top Model.

But at what cost? Unknown to casual television viewers, Muizelaar had been enveloped in the eating disorder anorexia nervosa, which inevitably became too much for her to bear. She gave up modeling and moved back to Whitby, where she sought treatment for her disorder, re-entered college, and now works at a bank. Where is she now? Happy and healthy, she says.

Recently Andrea Muizelaar sat down with Wikinews reporter Mike Halterman in a candid interview that stretched to nearly two hours, as she told all about her hopes and aspirations, her battle with anorexia, and just what really happened on Canada’s Next Top Model.

Contents

  • 1 Andrea’s beginnings
  • 2 Andrea on her road to modeling, and America’s Next Top Model
  • 3 Experience on Canada’s Next Top Model
  • 4 The message she wrote to her fans on her facebook group
  • 5 Her brief modeling career
  • 6 “Happy and healthy”
  • 7 Source
March 14, 2019 in Uncategorized

Java creator criticizes .Net

Saturday, February 5, 2005

AustraliaJames Gosling, the creator of the Java programming language, said last week that he believes Microsoft is wrong in its decision to support C and C++ programming languages in the common language runtime in Microsoft .NET. According to him, this decision may lead to severe security flaws in .NET. Gosling is currently in Australia, giving talks and visiting friends.

According to Gosling, the problem lies with the programming languages and some of their characteristics: “C++ allowed you to do arbitrary casting, arbitrary adding of images and pointers, and converting them back and forth between pointers in a very, very unstructured way.”

The Java language was developed due to limitations of C++. Gosling began using C++ for the former Sun Microsystems‘s star-seven project. At that time Gosling concluded C++ was inadequate and created the Oak language. The Oak language would become the language known today as Java. The former star-seven project shares its defining characteristics with networked software applications today: safety and portability.

Gosling continues: “If you look at the security model in Java and the reliability model, and a lot of things in the exception handling, they depend really critically on the fact that there is some integrity to the properties of objects. So if somebody gives you an object and says ‘This is an image’, then it is an image. It’s not like a pointer to a stream, where it just casts an image.”

Charles Sterling, a Microsoft developer and product manager of the .NET framework, didn’t entirely disagree with Gosling’s thoughts. But he said that .NET defines different types of code. And there is the code which is managed by the .NET framework. All new Microsoft languages, such as C# and Visual Basic.NET, produce only code managed by the .NET framework, so they are safe.

A key idea that has not shown up in Gosling’s talk is that Java itself allows a very similar process to occur. Java’s JNI (Java Native Interface) allows the integration of the same unsafe code that prompted Gosling’s central thesis.

However, Gosling says languages like C and C++ can still produce unsafe code which would not follow the rules of safety of .NET. This sort of code, usually found in old software applications, requires additional .NET permissions to execute. Sterling says it is up to developers to decide whether or not to use unsafe code in their .NET applications.

March 14, 2019 in Uncategorized

Poland’s Makowska takes category B wheelchair fencing bronze at the London Paralympics

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

London, England— Marta Makowska of Poland narrowly defeated Jingjing Zhou of China with a score of 15 to 14 in the women’s individual foil category B bronze medal bout Tuesday night at London’s ExCeL North Arena 2. This was amongst the first wheelchair fencing medal matches of the games.

The match was last of the four concurrent wheelchair fencing medals decided, with the crowd shouting in support of the Makowska fencer after the previous matches were concluded. Zhou had limited crowd support, with only one large Chinese flag visible in the spectator area. Makowska’s win came in a very closely-contested match; The score was first tied on eleven points, and again on 12, 13, and 14 points before the Pole finally won.

Following the match, Makowska raised her hands above her head in celebration before her coach ran up and gave the fencer a hug.

At the London Games, Paralympic wheelchair fencing features five medal events for women and seven for men, involving several weapons including the foil, epee and sabre. Wheelchairs used in competition are held in place using medal plates, with the fencer with shorter reach choosing the distance between the chairs. B-classified wheelchair fencers have, according to the International Paralympic Committee, “fair sitting balance and their fencing arm not or only minimally affected.”

London Paralympic fencing ends Saturday with medal bouts every day until then.

March 12, 2019 in Uncategorized

Details emerge in Haiti earthquake; thousands feared dead

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

A massive earthquake, registering 7.0 on the moment magnitude scale, struck Haiti yesterday, destroying many buildings, disrupting communications, and burying an unknown number of people underneath rubble. Thousands of people are feared to have been killed by the tremors, which were felt as far away as Venezuela.

Witnesses say bodies were lining the streets of the capital, Port-au-Prince, after the quake struck on Tuesday afternoon, sending a cloud of dust from falling buildings into the sky. The quake was centered about sixteen kilometers from the capital, and struck at a depth of just ten kilometers, exacerbating the damage. At least 27 aftershocks were also recorded, the strongest of which came in at 5.5 and 5.9 magnitude. A tsunami alert was initially issued following the tremor, but it was retracted shortly afterwards.

Buildings across the capital have collapsed, including the presidential palace and the headquarters of the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Haiti. However, the president, René Préval, and his wife reportedly survived the collapse of the building. The country’s envoy to the United States believed damage costs could reach billions of dollars.

UN peacekeeping chief Alain Le Roy said many people were in the UN building when it went down and they remain unaccounted for. A Brazilian military official later said four Brazilian soldiers who were part of the UN mission were killed.

UN Peacekeeping Chief Alain LeRoy said the organisation is working to learn the fate of its personnel. “As we speak there are still over 100 people unaccounted for under the rubble. We do not know about their fate […] some people have been extracted out of the building – but only less than 10 for the time being. Some dead, some alive. So we do not know for the time being the fate of the others. But of course, we are extremely, extremely concerned.”

The Notre Dame of the Assumption Cathedral in Port-au-Prince was also destroyed, killing Joseph Serge Miot, the Archbishop of Port-au-Prince.

“[…] It would appear that all those who were in the building, including my friend [UN mission head] Hedi Annabi […] and all those who were with him and around him are dead,” said French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner. In a statement released yesterday, the UN remarked that “[f]or the moment, a large number of personnel remain unaccounted for.”

Hospitals in Port-au-Prince were reported to have collapsed, raising fears that the injured would not be able to receive treatment easily. “We have reports of some of the most important hospitals in Port-au-Prince have been severely impacted by the earthquake,” said Paul Conneally, the Head of Media for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

“I saw dead bodies, people are screaming, they are on the street panicking, people are hurt. There are a lot of wounded, broken heads, broken arms,” recounted Raphaelle Chenet, the administrator of the Mercy and Sharing charity, in a telephone interview with the Wall Street Journal from the Haitian capital.

UN officials reported that communications and power are out across the city, making it difficult to get accurate details regarding the full extent of casualties and damage.

The UN also noted that the main prison in Port-au-Prince collapsed, and there were reports of inmates escaping. Spokeswoman Elisabeth Byrs, however, said she had no further details about that.

Efstathios Daras, the Greek ambassador to Venezuela who also represents Greece in Haiti, described the situation. “We fear major loss of life, maybe in the thousands or tens of thousands. Survivors are using their hands to help get trapped people out. There are fears of big aftershocks which could make the situation even worse. There is huge damage to the infrastructure. We can’t get through anymore. All phone lines are down.”

The world is coming to an end.

Joseph Guyler Delva, a reporter for Reuters, was in the area when the tremors struck. “Everything started shaking, people were screaming, houses started collapsing. It’s total chaos.”

Rachmani Domersant, an employee for Food for the Poor charity described the conditions on Port-au-Prince’s streets. “The whole city is in darkness, you have thousands of people sitting in the streets, with nowhere to go. I’ve seen seven to eight buildings, from office buildings to hotels and shopping stores, collapsed […] I think hundreds of casualties would be a serious understatement.”

President Rene Preval told the Miami Herald today that the aftermath of the disaster was “unimaginable”. “Parliament has collapsed. The tax office has collapsed. Schools have collapsed. Hospitals have collapsed […] There are a lot of schools that have a lot of dead people in them,” he said, adding that he believes thousands of people died.

The Red Cross in Geneva says that up to 3 million people have been affected. The international aid agency added that there is an urgent need for search and rescue volunteers as well as field hospitals, emergency health, water purification and telecommunications.

The World Food Program (WFP), which has a large staff on the ground, says the level of destruction indicates many of these people have been affected and will require help. The Director of the WFP office in Geneva, Charles Vincent, remarked that the first priority is to save lives. “To rescue people that are buried, that are trapped, etc. […] followed very rapidly by a big problem of water, sanitation, epidemic-problems of diseases that might be bred in that kind of situation,” he noted.

The Haitian ambassador to the United States, Raymond Joseph, told CNN the Caribbean nation is seeking US assistance, and called the quake a catastrophe of major proportions. “I’m quite sure we’re going to face a disaster of major proportion,” he said.

Separately, the Inter-American Development Bank said it will immediately approve a $200,000 grant for emergency assistance to Haiti. The funds will be used to provide food, water, medicine and temporary shelter for victims of the massive quake.

The US Agency for International Development is dispatching a disaster assistance response team to Haiti and commented that it will continue to provide additional support as needed.

I’m quite sure we’re going to face a disaster of major proportion

The UN, meanwhile, dispatched approximately 37 search and rescue teams to assist Haitians from a global network. UN General Secretary Ban Ki-moon said that US$10 million worth of emergency funds would be used. “I have spoken with Mr. Clinton and we have agreed to mobilize our best assistance and rescue teams and try to reconstruct the Haitian economy. The UN will do whatever possible to help the Haitian people to overcome these difficulties,” Ban stated.

Ban noted that 3,000 UN peacekeepers were in Haiti, and that they secured the seaport and airport. They are trying to rescue people buried underneath rubble, he said, but were severely hampered by lack of heavy equipment. “Brazilian forces have been working through the night to rescue but because of the darkness and destruction of infrastructure not much progress has been made. We hope it will be better this morning,” Ban said.

The aid group Oxfam added that its emergency response team for Latin America is based in Haiti and is well prepared, with a public health, water and sanitation team in Port-au-Prince. Oxfam says it is preparing to send in emergency supplies as soon as possible from Panama.

The American Red Cross pledged US$500,000 to help the country, and would send out people to assess damage. “As with most earthquakes, we expect to see immediate needs for food, water, temporary shelter, medical services and emotional support,” it said yesterday evening in a statement.

A number of other nations, including the UK and Venezuela, are also planning to send aid.

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A reporter for the Al Jazeera news agency, however, said there might be difficulties delivering aid. “We are about 300km from the epicentre of the earthquake, and we know that the UN agencies and the humanitarian groups here are trying to get together some kind of strategy to get aid over to Haiti. We know that there are trucks loaded with supplies ready to go but the difficulty is that no-one really knows how to get that aid to the people [effectively].”

This quake is said to have been the strongest in Haiti in over two hundred years; the last time an earthquake of comparable magnitude was recorded was in 1770.

Haiti is the Western Hemisphere’s poorest country. Recent development efforts have suffered severe setbacks because of political violence, crime, corruption and natural disasters. Seventy percent of the population lives on the equivalent of less than US$2 per day.

March 12, 2019 in Uncategorized

Valuable paintings stolen from Greek gallery

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Art thieves in Greece broke into the Athens National Gallery on Monday and stole three valuable works of art.

Among them was a painting by famous Spanish painter Pablo Picasso, dated 1939, called Woman’s Head which was a gift to the Greek people for their resistance to the Nazis during World War 2. The other two works were Mill by Piet Mondrian and a sketch of St. Diego de Alcala by Guglielmo Caccia. A fourth painting, Landscape, also by Piet Mondrian was dropped by the thieves when pursued by security. All three works stolen were stripped from their frames.

The police stated multiple alarms during the evening of the heist in other parts of the building had distracted the gallery guard. Investigating yet another alarm, he saw the shadow of a fleeing individual. Citizen’s Protection Minister Christos Papoutsis apologized for the loss, citing that the security at the gallery was “non-existent”.

The value of the works stolen was not yet determined by gallery officials. The artwork in question was on display at the gallery as part of an exhibition called “Unknown Treasures”, including works of Albrecht Durer and Rembrandt.

March 11, 2019 in Uncategorized

Cars big winner as 34th Annual Annie Awards handed out

Monday, February 12, 2007

Cars drove home the big prize last night, from the 34th Annual Annie Awards. The animation industry’s highest honor, ASIFA-Hollywood’s Annies recognise contributions to animation, writing, directing, storyboarding, voice acting, composing, and much more.

As mentioned, Pixar took home the big prize last night, after facing stiff competition from four other Happy Feet, Monster House, Open Season, and Over the Hedge.

But the biggest winner of the night didn’t get a “Best Animated Feature” nod at all. Flushed Away won five feature animation categories including Animated Effects (Scott Cegielski), Character Animation (Gabe Hordos), Production Design (Pierre-Olivier Vincent), Voice Acting (Sir Ian McKellan as Toad), Writing (Dick Clement, Ian La Frenais, Chris Lloyd, Joe Keenan, and Will Davies).

Over The Hedge won awards for Directing (Tim Johnson and Karey Kirkpatrick), Storyboarding (Gary Graham), and Character Design (Nicolas Marlet).

Of little surprise, Randy Newman won an Annie for Cars in the “Music in an Animated Feature Production” category. Newman has won many Oscars for his movie music, and has a nomination this year for the song “Our Town”. Newman didn’t attend the Annies, instead picking up a Grammy for “Best Song Written For Motion Picture, Television Or Other Visual Media”.

DisneyToon Studios’ Bambi II won “Best Home Entertainment Production”, while “Best Animated Short Subject” went to Blue Sky Studios’ No Time For Nuts, which is based on Ice Age.

“Best Animated Video Game” went to Flushed Away The Game, while a United Airlines ad named “Dragon” won a “Best Animated Television Commercial” Annie for DUCK Studios.

Contents

  • 1 Foster an Annie fav on TV
  • 2 Wikinews was there
  • 3 Related news
  • 4 Sources
March 10, 2019 in Uncategorized

Refurbished cafeteria opens in Romanian parliament

Wednesday, May 4, 2005

A new, refurbished cafeteria at the Romanian Palace of the Parliament in Bucharest has opened for the use of parliamentarians. The new cafeteria, which has mahogany furniture and leather draped armchairs, was officially opened yesterday, and is situated at the entrance to the Senate headquarters in the Palace of the Parliament.

Members of Parliament said they were not satisfied with the former cafeteria in the Palace, saying that it didn’t have proper tables and chairs to sit on. Many parliamentarians expressed their satisfaction at the opening of the refurbished dining venue, saying that they can now drink a cup of coffee “in a civilised manner” before sessions.

Bucharest’s Palace of the Parliament (Palatul Parlamentului in Romanian) is the largest building in Europe and the third largest building in the world, with an area of approximately 350,000 m². It contains both houses of the Romanian Parliament (the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate), as well as the National Museum of Contemporary Art (MNAC). It is also frequently used as a function centre.

March 10, 2019 in Uncategorized

UN inquiry finds mismanagement and failure of oversight

Thursday, September 8, 2005

The Independent Inquiry Committee’s report on the overall management and oversight of the UN’s Oil-for-Food Programme has concluded that the United Nations requires stronger executive leadership, thorough administrative reform, and more reliable controls and auditing.

The Programme included more than $103 billion in transactions (over $64 billion in oil sales and almost $39 billion for food).

Responsibility for what went wrong with the Programme is assigned to the UN Secretariat, members of the Security Council, its 661 Committee, and the Iraqi regime. In a change from past practice, the Security Council had retained substantial elements of administrative control through its 661 Committee. This caused neither the Secretariat leadership nor the Security Council to be in overall control.

There was reluctance of both the Secretary-General and the Deputy Secretary-General to recognize their own responsibility for the Programme’s shortcomings and they failed to ensure that critical evidence was brought to the attention of the Security Council and the 661 Committee. They only made minimal efforts to address sanctions violations with Iraqi officials, and both failed to provide oversight of the Programme’s Executive Director, Benon Sevan.

As the Programme expanded and continued, Saddam Hussein found ways and means of turning it to his own advantage, primarily through demands for surcharges and kickbacks from companies doing business with the Programme. For UN agencies, the work went beyond their core competencies of overseeing the distribution of humanitarian goods—from monitoring, planning, and consulting—to infrastructure rebuilding, thus multiplying problems. Nor was there much success in coordinating so large a program among UN Agencies accustomed to zealously defending their institutional autonomy.

There were Iraqi attempts to pass money to former Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali, principally through an Iraqi-American businessman, Samir Vincent, and a Korean lobbyist, Tongsun Park. The Committee has determined that well over $1 million was paid to Mr. Vincent and Mr. Park. However, the Committee has not found evidence that Secretary-General Boutros-Ghali received or agreed to receive monies from Mr. Park and Mr. Vincent.

The report recommended better oversight and management, financial disclosure by more UN staff, and that UN agencies should return up to $50 million in excess compensation secured as a result of work performed under Security Council Resolution 1483.

The Committee’s Chairman, Paul A Volcker, stated, “The inescapable conclusion from the Committee’s work is that the United Nations Organization needs thoroughgoing reform—and it needs it urgently. What is important—what has been recognized by one investigation after another—is that real change must take place, and change over a wide area. Clear benchmarks for measuring progress must be set. The General Assembly should insist, in its forthcoming meeting, that key reforms be put in place no later than the time of its regular meeting in 2006. To settle for less, to permit delay and dilution, would be to invite failure. It would, in reality, further erode public support, undercut effectiveness, and dishonor the ideals upon which the United Nations is built.”

He added, “Before concluding its work, the Committee also intends a more comprehensive listing of firms participating in the Programme, either in the purchase of oil or the sale of humanitarian goods, as well as a more detailed analysis of the manner in which Iraq and its vendors and oil purchasers unlawfully manipulated the Programme.”

March 8, 2019 in Uncategorized