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News Briefs: January 13, 2005

Thursday, January 13, 2005

The following stories made international headlines Thurssday:


  • 1 Mars rover Opportunity finds odd rock
  • 2 UK prince in Nazi uniform causes stir
  • 3 New wave of mad-cow panic hits Canada
  • 4 U.S. calls off hunt for Hussein-era WMDs in Iraq

One of the two NASA’s rovers roaming on planet Mars for over a year has stumbled upon a rock unlike any other previously seen: according to the machine’s instruments, the rock may be made out of metal. Scientists on the project suspect that the object is a meteorite, and are continuing to examine it with the rover’s other analysis and imaging tools.

Sources: MSNBC

Britain’s Prince Harry was photographed wearing a Nazi uniform, complete with swastika armband, while puffing on a cigarette at a costume party. The picture made the front page of London’s The Sun newspaper. The Prince’s father, Prince Charles, ordered Harry to visit Auschwitz to learn more about the Holocaust.

Sources: BBC News, Reuters

With two new cases of bovine spongiform encephalopathy confirmed over the past two weeks, Canada’s beef industry is reeling.

Source: Toronto Star

The White House admits that its two-year search for Iraqi weapons of mass destruction has ended. U.S. investigators came up empty handed in their search for WMDs, a main reason cited by the administration for the invasion of the Middle East country.

Source: Los Angeles Times
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Broken pipes cause flood in Darwin D. Martin House in Buffalo, New York
 Correction — February 13, 2008 The break was a broken sprinkler head in a crawl space above the shop, according to Jeffrey A. Salmon Facilities Manager of the Martin House Restoration Corporation. Not a pipe. 

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Buffalo, New York —According to radio communications by the Buffalo, New York Fire Department, at approximately 10:15 p.m. EST two water pipes inside the Darwin D. Martin House, a National Historical Landmark, broke causing several rooms to flood.

The breaks were discovered in the gift shop area of the house but quickly began to flood other areas near the shop as firefighters had a difficult time locating the main shut off valves.

At 10:50 p.m., firefighters reported to have shut off “several main valves” stopping the flow of water. The cost of the water damage is not known, but covered several rooms. Recent sub-zero temperatures in the city is said to be the cause of the break. At the time of the call, the temperature was only 10°F with a wind chill of 4°F above zero. On Sunday the temperature was only 3°F with a wind chill of -23°F.

The house, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, has seen rough times over the years, experiencing problems such as vandalism. The first half of the complex was built in 1903 and finished in 1905. After the pergola, conservatory, and carriage were demolished, restoration and rebuild began in 1992 and is scheduled for completion in 2008 or 2009.

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New fossils from 10 million year old ape found in Ethiopia

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Researchers say that new, ten million-year-old fossils found in Ethiopia, prove that the theory that humans may have evolved from a species of great apes eight million years ago, may not be true, but that humans may have split from apes as long as 10.5 million years ago.

At least nine fossilized teeth, one canine tooth and eight molars, of a previously unknown species of apes found in Africa were discovered by a team of researchers from Ethiopia and Japan who then compared the 3-D make up of the teeth to other fossils that date back as far as 8 million years and found that the fossils are likely a “direct ancestor” of apes currently living in Africa and that the new ape fossils were that of a species of gorilla who ate mostly plants high in fiber.

Current fossils and research say that the evolutionary split from apes to humans occurred at least eight million years ago. The new fossils say that the split may have happened as long as 10.5 million years ago.

“Based on this fossil, that means the split is much earlier than has been anticipated by the molecular evidence. That means everything has to be put back,” said researcher at the Rift Valley Research Service in Ethiopia and a co-author of the study, Berhane Asfaw.

Despite the finds, other researchers are not convinced that the findings are correct.

“It is stretching the evidence to base a time scale for the evolution of the great apes on this new fossil. These structures appear on at least three independent lineages of apes, including gorillas, and they could relate to a dietary shift rather than indicating a new genetic trait,” said a Professor at the London Natural History Museum in the United Kingdom, Peter Andrews who also added, “but the fossil evidence for the evolution of our closest living relatives, the great apes, is almost non-existent.

Researchers have named the newly discovered species Cororapithecus abyssinicus whose remains were found in the Afar Region of Ethiopia, the same place where the remains of Lucy were discovered in 1974.

News briefs:June 8, 2010

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News briefs:June 8, 2010
Author: RdBXvzh4

14 Dec

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Satanism: An interview with Church of Satan High Priest Peter Gilmore

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Satanism: An interview with Church of Satan High Priest Peter Gilmore
Author: RdBXvzh4

14 Dec

Monday, November 5, 2007

In the 1980’s and the 1990’s there were multiple allegations of sexual abuse of children or non-consenting adults in the context of Satanic rituals that has come to be known as The Satanic Panic. In the United States, the Kern County child abuse cases, McMartin preschool trial and the West Memphis 3 cases garnered worldwide media coverage. One case took place in Jordan, Minnesota, when children made allegations of manufacturing child pornography, ritualistic animal sacrifice, coprophagia, urophagia and infanticide, at which point the Federal Bureau of Investigation was alerted. Twenty-four adults were arrested and charged with acts of sexual abuse, child pornography and other crimes related to satanic ritual abuse; only three went to trial with two acquittals and one conviction. Supreme Court Justice Scalia noted in a discussion of the case, “[t]here is no doubt that some sexual abuse took place in Jordan; but there is no reason to believe it was as widespread as charged,” and cited the repeated, coercive techniques used by the investigators as damaging to the investigation.

One of the most visible Satanic organizations—though one that was never a suspect or charged in any of the Satanic Panic cases—is the Church of Satan, founded by Anton LaVey. Members of the Church, such as Peter H. Gilmore, Peggy Nadramia, Boyd Rice, Adam Parfrey, Diabolos Rex, and musician King Diamond, were active in media appearances to refute allegations of criminal activity and the FBI would later issue an official report debunking the criminal conspiracy theories of this time.

Gilmore feels Satanists are often misunderstood or misrepresented. LaVey’s teachings are based on individualism, self-indulgence, and “eye for an eye” morality, with influence from Friedrich Nietzsche and Ayn Rand; while its rituals and magic draw heavily from occultists such as Aleister Crowley. They do not worship—nor believe in—the Devil or a Christian notion of Satan. The word “Satan” comes from the Hebrew word for “adversary” and originated from the Abrahamic faiths, being traditionally applied to an angel. Church of Satan adherents see themselves as truth-seekers, adversaries and skeptics of the religious world around them.

On a windy October day in Central Park, Wikinews reporter David Shankbone sat down with the High Priest of the Church, Peter H. Gilmore, who has led LaVey’s congregation of Satanists since his passing in 1997 (he became the High Priest in 2001). They discussed the beliefs of the Church, current events, LaVey’s children and how Satanism applies to life and the world.


  • 1 Theistic Satanism (‘devil worship’)
  • 2 Church of Satan 101
  • 3 On current events and politics
  • 4 Religious and Satanic symbols
  • 5 The Iraq War: A Satanic perspective
  • 6 On New York City
  • 7 Marilyn Manson
  • 8 On the church after Anton LaVey
  • 9 Anton LaVey’s children and estate
  • 10 Sources

Wikinews interviews Amber Merritt Australian Paralympic wheelchair basketballer

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Wikinews interviews Amber Merritt Australian Paralympic wheelchair basketballer
Author: RdBXvzh4

12 Dec

Thursday, September 6, 2012

London, England— Tuesday, following her team’s 62–37 win over Mexico in the quarter-finals at the North Greewich Arena, Wikinews interviewed Amber Merrit of the Australian women’s national wheelchair basketball team.

In their next match, the Gliders will face the victors from the United States versus Canada, having suffered their first loss of this year’s Games to Canada on Sunday night by seven points.

((Laura Hale)) I’m excited to see you in London, because you were so fantastic in that interview.

[Wikinews previously interviewed Merrit, and teammates in July. —Ed.]

Amber Merrit: Thank you.

((WN)) Which state are you from?

AM: I’m from WA. [Western Australia —Ed.]

((WN)) You wheel change! What was wrong with your wheel?

AM: I smashed out three spokes. Someone hit me, and I lost three spokes in my chair.

((WN)) was that because you were playing really aggressively against Mexico?

AM: Yeah, or they were playing really aggressive against us.

((WN)) Watching that game it didn’t seem that they were playing that aggressive, in terms of they came in with set pieces; they weren’t doing the full-court press; they didn’t seem prepared for your offensive and defensive tenacity. ((Hawkeye7)) You kept on all holding them out, where they weren’t even getting across the centre line

AM: I think we have a really physical style of basketball where we’re going to press, and when we press we try to stop chairs and make sure they don’t get over that halfway line. They’re going to come out and play as hard as they can against us and sometimes there is that odd mishap where they might smash a few spokes cause they hit us. It happens.

((WN)) You tipped a lot in previous games. You haven’t tipped so much in this series.

AM: No, I’ve managed to keep my balance this time. Or maybe they haven’t hit me hard enough to put me down on the floor.

((WN)) Part of the appeal of wheelchair basketball, and I feel guilty admitting it, it watching you guys tip.

AM: And fall out. It’s embarrassing but I like it.

((WN)) You’ve got your next game coming up, which is going to be against the winner of the United States or Canada later today

AM: We’re not 100% sure yet who that’s going to be.

((WN)) Looking forward to meeting them?

AM: Yeah! Looking forward to coming up against them.

((WN)) Who would you prefer?

AM: I don’t know if I have a preference, to be honest. Whoever its going to be, we’re still going to go out there and play as hard as we can and take it to them as a team.

((WN)) Do you think you’ve been adequately prepared coming in to this, with your tournament in Sydney, your tournament in the Netherlands?

AM: Yeah, I think we’ve come in very well prepared for this tournament. We’ve been together for a while now as a team. Of course we had the Gliders and Rollers world challenge. We also went to Arnheim in the Netherlands for a pre-tournament, and we’ve trained together in Cardiff. And then after Cardiff we came in to London; so we’ve had that time together as a team and we’re doing really well.

((WN)) Does that give you an advantage over other teams?

AM: I’m not sure, because I don’t know what other teams have been doing behind the scenes as their training.

((WN)) Thank you very much.

AM: No worries!

Trial ‘soon’ for aid worker who facilitated release of Italian journalist in Afghanistan

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Trial ‘soon’ for aid worker who facilitated release of Italian journalist in Afghanistan
Author: RdBXvzh4

11 Dec

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

An Afghan doctor, Rahmatullah Hanefi, who works for the Italian non-governmental organization (NGO), Emergency, will go on trial in Afghanistan for his alleged role in the March, 2007 slaying of Afghan interpreter and reporter, Adjmal Nashbandi.

Italian journalist, Daniele Mastrogiacomo, his driver and interpreter were kidnapped by the Taliban in Helmond Province, Afghanistan on March 5, 2007. During the ensuing negotiations for Mastrogiacomo’s release, his driver, Sayed Agha, was killed by their Taliban captors. Mastrogiacomo’s interpreter, Adjmal Nashbandi, was later executed by the Taliban. The release of Mastrogiacomo was controversial and criticized at the time for the exchange of five Taliban prisoners in return. Hanefi mediated negotiations, reportedly, with the Taliban for the release of Mastrogiacomo.

Afghanistan’s ambassador in Rome said Tuesday that Hanefi would be put on trial “soon”. It was not revealed what the specific charges against Hanefi are, but it has been suggested that the offence may be accessory to murder in the death of Nashbandi. “Hanefi’s case will come to trial soon, maybe in a week, and a lawyer will be nominated to assist him,” said Musa Maroufi, Afghanistan’s ambassador to Italy. He added that “no execution will be carried out” against Hanefi.

In April, Emergency closed the three hospitals it operates in Afghanistan. The NGO has denied that Hanefi had anything to do with Nashbandi’s death. In a news update on its U.S. website Monday, Emergency suggested that their international staff were forcibly removed from the hospitals by Afghan authorities.

“Continuing under a pretense of normalcy in this situation would provide services so inadequate as to endanger our patients,” said Emergency in the news update. They have decided “to suspend all activity until conditions allowed for the return of… international staff” and suggested a clarification was required from the Afghan government “concerning intimidating threats” allegedly made by the government.

Emergency is pressing for the release of Hanefi.

Canada’s Beaches—East York (Ward 32) city council candidates speak

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Canada’s Beaches—East York (Ward 32) city council candidates speak
Author: RdBXvzh4

11 Dec

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

Friday, November 3, 2006

On November 13, Torontonians will be heading to the polls to vote for their ward’s councillor and for mayor. Among Toronto’s ridings is Beaches—East York (Ward 32). Four candidates responded to Wikinews’ requests for an interview. This ward’s candidates include Donna Braniff, Alan Burke, Sandra Bussin (incumbent), William Gallos, John Greer, John Lewis, Erica Maier, Luca Mele, and Matt Williams.

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


  • 1 Sandra Bussin (incumbent)
  • 2 William Gallos
  • 3 Erica Maier
  • 4 Luca Mele

SpaceX delays Falcon 1 launch again

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SpaceX delays Falcon 1 launch again
Author: RdBXvzh4

11 Dec

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

SpaceX Corporation has postponed the launch of the maiden flight of their Falcon 1 rocket again at their Kwajalein launch facility. Although not as damaging as the previous delay on November 11, this is certainly a significant set back for Elon Musk, the founder and CEO of SpaceX.

A full engine test was conducted on the rocket, and the launch pad equipment which holds the rocket on the launch pad after engine firing seemed to work as planned. This safety equipment is designed to keep the rocket from causing damage or being destroyed in the event that some equipment malfunction occurs immediately after the rocket engines start. Under similar circumstances with other rockets the entire rocket together with its payload would have been destroyed due to a computer report of malfunction.

The exact reasons for failure were not disclosed by SpaceX, but Elon Musk said on his web site, “I will post a longer update next week, after we have enough time to finish forensics of recent events and formulate next steps.”

China steps up anti-gambling campaign

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China steps up anti-gambling campaign
Author: RdBXvzh4

11 Dec

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Beijing (??; pinyin: B?ij?ng) –Chinese President Hu Jintao is stepping up a government campaign to eradicate illegal gambling in China, detaining over 4,000 gamblers in an effort to clean up the public image of the Communist party.

Cadres and officials within the party have been caught using illicit funds, sometimes embezzled from local, state-run organizations, to gamble at casinos set up in border-towns within North Korea, in Macau, and in other popular gambling resorts outside of the direct control of the mainland government.

To assuage any fears that this latest campaign extends to ordinary working-class citizens, Deputy Public Security Minister Bu Jingfu has announced that ordinary citizens need not worry about being prosecuted for “friendly” games of mahjong. He did not specifically address whether mainland citizens should reconsider visiting the numerous mahjong gaming parlors which dot urban centers throughout the country.

“The whip that is used to beat wolves should not be used to beat sheep,” stated Bu Jingfu.

China allows a “social welfare” lottery, for which citizens can purchase tickets that help to fund social programs. However, this legal form of gambling is mostly favored by lower-income players who don’t have the opportunity to travel to the lavish gaming casinos frequented by the wealthier class of businessmen and party officials who can travel across the border on easily obtained one or two-day visas.

Despite relatively harsh penalties for those who are caught participating in illegal gambling operations, a number of provinces are well-known for hosting high-stakes gamblers in illegal, underground operations that are run on the mainland under the noses of local authorities. To combat these operations on a national level, the Public Security Ministry has sent 13 “inspection teams” to these provinces in an attempt to crack down on these operations.

One historian believes that China’s government, which in its various forms has tried to stop avid gamblers for thousands of years, will have no better luck with its current campaign, than it has in the past.

“It is really hard to get rid of gambling,” said Guo Shuanglin, a professor of history at People’s University in Beijing.

Guo explained, “There were strict laws against gambling in almost every dynasty in China. Take the Song Dynasty, for example, when gamblers were sentenced to death. In the Ming Dynasty, gamblers’ hands were chopped off. Even in the period of the Republic of China, they had a very strict anti-gambling law.”

As far away as Las Vegas, casino operators are seeing a shift in demographics for their most elite players, called “whales”, who are known to bet upwards of US$50,000 a hand. Since the 1980s, Las Vegas has seen a shift from Japanese businessmen to Chinese players, who now make up over 50% of the high-end clientele at some Las Vegas casinos.

Shen Mingming, a Beijing University expert on Chinese gambling, is skeptical that China’s government can sustain a long-term campaign against gambling.

“It means long hours for the police, and it cannot be sustained,” he said. “When the campaign is over, these organizations just quietly come back to life. Can you keep doing these campaigns every few months?”

However, this time China’s government has set up a special telephone number, to encourage citizens to turn in government officials who are embezzling government funds for illicit gambling runs.

China has recently conducted a series of high-profile arrests of corrupt officials who are caught gambling with public funds, two of whom used tens of millions of dollars to fund their gambling lifestyle.

The government has also made one special arrest to show that even high-level officials are not immune to prosecution due to their party position. Cai Haowen, who had been groomed by former Chinese President Jiang Zemin, was arrested this month on an overnight train in Jilin (??; pinyin: Jílín) province, while fleeing authorities for embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars and losing it all while gambling.

Finally, China is starting to crack down on the easy visa programs which have permitted so much traffic to gambling emporiums outside of mainland government control. The new visa program requires that records be kept of the identity of the visa holder. This new visa requirement has started to have a noticeable effect on some border-town casinos, leaving a number of properties with idle employees and few Chinese customers.