Wikinews’ overview of the year 2008

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Also try the 2008 World News Quiz of the year.

What would you tell your grandchildren about 2008 if they asked you about it in, let’s say, 20 years’ time? If the answer to a quiz question was 2008, what would the question be? The year that markets collapsed, or perhaps the year that Obama became US president? Or the year Heath Ledger died?

Let’s take a look at some of the important stories of 2008. Links to the original Wikinews articles are in all the titles.

Robber holds retired NYC police officer at gunpoint during convention

Sunday, March 29, 2009

John Comparetto, a retired New York City Police Department lieutenant, was held at gunpoint on Friday morning by an armed nineteen year old in a hotel bathroom who demanded Comparetto’s money and cellphone.

Comparetto handed over both to the thief. When the criminal took off with the money, Comparetto drew his gun from an ankle holster and immediately chased after the robber. Comparetto asked the hotel desk clerk which way the suspect went, and told the clerk to alert officers at a police convention that a fellow policeman was “in need of assistance”.

A police officer’s convention was being held at the Holiday Inn near Harrisburg Friday for 300 narcotics police officers in attendance from Pennsylvania and Ohio.

The teen departed the scene in a taxi cab outside the hotel.

Comparetto said, “I stopped the cab at gunpoint. Ten other cops came running out and we arrested probably the dumbest criminal in Pennsylvania.”

Jerome Marquis Blanchett is being held at Dauphin County Prison following his arrest.

Spelbound declared winner of Britain’s Got Talent 2010

Monday, June 7, 2010

An acrobatic group known by the name of Spelbound has been declared as the winner of Britain’s Got Talent 2010, a televised variety talent show competition broadcast on ITV in the United Kingdom. As the winning act of the show, Spelbound have won £100,000 (US$144,580, €120,313, A$175,079) and a place at The Royal Variety Performance, an annual gala evening that is attended by senior members of the British Royal Family.

In no particular order, the top three acts were revealed to be two dancers known by their stage name of Twist and Pulse, gymnastic group Spelbound and Kieran Gaffney, whose act involves playing on the drum kit. After Kieran Gaffney was revealed to be in third place, Anthony McPartlin, who hosts Britain’s Got Talent with Declan Donnelly, said to Kieran: “Well done Kieran. Kieran, you’re a star, you came back, you got all the way to the final. I know you’ve loved this. You’ve loved this, haven’t you?” In response to this, Kieran Gaffney stated: “Thank you very much. Thank you, everyone for supporting me. Thank you.”

Shortly afterwards, on the episode that was broadcast live on ITV1 on Saturday, Anthony announced: “After tens of thousands of auditons, five semi-finals and an amazing final, this…this is it. One of you is about to walk away with £100,000 and a place at this year’s Royal Variety Performance. The winner of Britain’s Got Talent 2010 is…Spelbound!” Glen Murphy from Twist and Pulse commented about finishing in second place, stating: “Yeah, it’s amazing. I can’t even believe it. I can’t believe it at all.”

Alex Uttley, a 24-year-old member of Spelbound, commented on the gymnastic group’s victory, commenting: “Oh, my god. This is unbelieveable. We just want to say thank you to everyone out there. It just shows that all our hard work has paid off.” One of the coaches of Spelbound, named Neil Griffiths, stated about Spelbound: “Oh, they’ve worked so hard over the last few weeks. Um, since the semi-final, we…we really had to pull out the stops to try and up the game. They’ve not known they’ve worked in the gym from six in the morning till twelve…twelve o’clock of the night. I couldn’t have asked for more. Um, it’s a team of coaches. I don’t take all the credit myself. There’s, uh, two people up there that know who they are who’ve been fantastic.”

Spelbound consists of 24-year-old Alex Uttley, Nicholas Illingworth, aged 24, Adam Buckingham, aged 21, 20-year-old Adam McAssey, 19-year-old Douglas Fordyce, 18-year-old Edward Upcott, 18-year-old Leighanne Cowler, 17-year-old Katie Axten, 17-year-old Lauren Kemp, 15-year-old Jonathan Stranks, Abigail Ralph, aged 15, 13-year-old Hollianne Wood and Amy Mackenzie, aged 12. Bookmakers had previously predicted that Spelbound would be the most likely act to become the winner of the series.

The running order for the final started with Twist and Pulse. The second act to perform was Liam McNally, a 14-year-old singer. The running order subsequently continued with 40-year-old impressionist Paul Burling, singer Christopher Stone, aged 28, Tina & Chandi, a woman and dog dancing act, Connected, a five-piece singing group, Kieran Gaffney, aged 12, 22-year-old Tobias Mead, a dancer, 80-year-old singer Janey Cutler and Spelbound in that particular order.

Earlier on in the final, Britain’s Got Talent judge Amanda Holden has stated to Spelbound: “We are hosting the 2012 Olympics and I think ‘what a brilliant opening act’.” Fellow judge Piers Morgan also commented that “[t]he purpose of this show is to identify hidden great British talent. You are that act.” After Spelbound won in the final, another judge, named Simon Cowell, stated that “the right boys and girls won on the night” and that he could “only say on live TV that that was one of the most astonishing things I have ever seen. Seriously.”

Experts: obesity is a bigger threat than AIDS or bird flu

Friday, September 8, 2006

From September 3 to 8, experts gathered at the 10th International Congress on Obesity in Sydney, Australia, to discuss what they call the worldwide “obesity epidemic”. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 1 billion people in the world today are overweight, and 300 million of those are obese. “Obesity and overweight pose a major risk for serious diet-related chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension and stroke, and certain forms of cancer“, a WHO fact sheet states. According to AP, experts at the conference “have warned that obesity is a bigger threat than AIDS or bird flu, and will easily overwhelm the world’s health care systems if urgent action is not taken”.

Of particular concern is the large number of overweight children. Dr. Stephan Rossner from Sweden’s Karolinska University Hospital, a leading obesity expert who was present at the conference, has warned that as a result of the increasing number of overweight children, “we will have, within a decade or two, a number of young people who are on kidney dialysis. There will not be organs for everybody”. UK-based International Obesity Task Force has said that junk food manufacturers target children, for example, through Internet advertising, chat rooms, text messages, and “advergames” on websites. Politicians are not doing enough to address the problem of obesity, including childhood obesity, the experts said.

According to Wikipedia, examples of junk food include, but are not limited to: hamburgers, pizza, candy, soda, and salty foods like potato chips and french fries. A well-known piece of junk food is the Big Mac. The US version of just one Big Mac burger contains 48% of calories from fat, 47% US Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of fat, 52% RDA of saturated fat, 26% RDA of cholesterol, 42% RDA of sodium, and little nutritional value. It also has 18% of calories from protein. According to WHO, most people need only about 5% calories from protein. Staples such as rice, corn, baked potatoes, pinto beans, as well as fruits and vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, oranges, and strawberries, provide more than this required amount of protein without the unhealthy amounts of fats or sodium, without cholesterol, and with plenty of fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

Both WHO and the American Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) define overweight in adults as a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 25 or above, and obese as a BMI of 30 or above. To combat overweight and obesity, WHO recommends that, among other things, people should be taking the following steps

  • eating more fruit and vegetables, as well as nuts and whole grains;
  • engaging in daily moderate physical activity for at least 30 minutes;
  • cutting the amount of fatty, sugary foods in the diet;
  • moving from saturated animal-based fats to unsaturated vegetable-oil based fats.

Fire breaks out in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, Australia

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Fire broke out in the Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, on the outskirts of Sydney, Australia, at approximately 5pm on Sunday 21st January 2007. The site of the fire is inaccessible terrain in the Bobbin Head/Apple Tree Bay area.

For a time properties were threatened in Mount Ku-ring-gai, but this danger has now passed. The F3 freeway and northern train line were closed, causing freeway traffic to be banked up. The morning saw delayed traffic on the F3, which was briefly opened, but for the most part traffic was diverted onto the Pacific Highway at the Berowra Exit.

Around midday the F3 Freeway and Pacific Highway were closed until further notice, severing Sydney’s northern vehicular links. During Monday afternoon the railway line was closed. Traffic for the north was being routed inland via Wisemans Ferry Road, though Windsor. The Pacific Highway, F3 and railway line reopened at 6pm. Welfare centres have been opened for commuters who cannot get home. They are located at Berowra Community Centre (north of the fire) and Thornleigh Baptist Community Centre (south of the fire).

Overnight backburning along with a direct attack has seen the main threat dissipate with the southern fire front under control. On Monday morning spot fires continue to move north towards Cowan Creek. The wind has been picking up in the local area during Monday afternoon. The fire is proving difficult to contain due to spot fires and flying embers.

There has continuous helicopter activity over the area during Monday.

The NSW Rural Fire Service will be holding Community briefings at the Berowra Oval and Samuel King Park Bobbin Head Road Turramurra at 5.30pm today (Monday).

Tuesday saw continuing helicopter activity. Steady rain has been falling throughout Tuesday night and Wednesday morning. The Rural fire service has stated that it is now confident that the fire will be contained.

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

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.

Contents

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

Wikinews interviews William Pomerantz, Senior Director of Space Prizes at the X PRIZE Foundation

Regardless of who wins the prize, people all around the world will be able to experience the mission through high-def video-streams.
Saturday, August 28, 2010

Andreas Hornig, Wikinews contributor and team member of Synergy Moon, competitor in the Google Lunar X Prize, managed to interview Senior Director of Space Prizes William Pomerantz of the X PRIZE Foundation about the competitions, goals, and impacts via e-mail for HDTVTotal.com and Wikinews.

By Wikinews,

the free news source

Other stories: Science and technology
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  • 6 June 2018: Microsoft announces plan to acquire GitHub for US$7.5 billion
  • 7 May 2018: NASA’s InSight lander and MarCO craft launch in new mission to Mars
  • 21 April 2018: NASA launches exoplanet-hunting satellite TESS
  • 9 April 2018: US Republicans query Linux Foundation about open-source security

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Previous coverage
  • “Japanese probe snatches first asteroid sample” — Wikinews, November 26, 2005
  • “$20 million prize offered in lunar rover contest” — Wikinews, September 13, 2007

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


This article is part of a page redesign trial on Wikinews. Please leave comments or bug reports on this redesign.This interview originally appeared on HDTVTotal.com, released under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license. Credit for this interview goes to HDTVTotal.com and Andreas -horn- Hornig.

Quebec’s Liberal premier Jean Charest wins third term

Tuesday, December 9, 2008File:Charrest.jpg

In the Quebec general election held in the Canadian province of Quebec on December 8, 2008, premier Jean Charest was elected for his third mandate, and formed a majority government of Quebec.

This is the first time since the 1950’s, Maurice Duplessis and the Union Nationale that a party and/or leader has been elected to a third consecutive mandate, and the first for the Liberals since the 1920’s and Premier Taschereau. The ruling Liberals have won a slim majority, taking 66 of the provincial legislature’s 125 seats, while the separatist Parti Quebecois (PQ), led by Pauline Marois, finished second, and took 51 seats.

John James Charest, PC MNA, is a Canadian lawyer and politician from the province of Quebec and a former leader of the federal Progressive Conservative Party (1993–1998), the current leader of the Quebec Liberal Party, and the 29th and current Premier of Quebec. In November 5, 2008, seeing a chance to win a majority, Charest called a snap election for December 8. His party captured a slim majority of seats in the election.

Meanwhile, Action democratique du Quebec leader Mario Dumont announced that he will be leaving politics: “You will not be surprised to hear me tell you that I will not be at the head of my party during the next general election in Quebec. It is with much passion that I have served Quebec for more than 14 years as an MNA and more than 20 years as a party activist. I have loved what I did, but the time has come for me to turn the page.”

Parti Quebecois leader Pauline Marois claims that the PQ is a big winner, for she greatly improved on the party’s 2007 disastrous performance: “Today we form the strongest Official Opposition since the Quiet Revolution. Tonight we have been reminded that the Parti Quebecois is a great party. It is a party that has rediscovered its fire […] Even if we are a little disappointed tonight, the great dream we have for Quebec is very much alive.”

Australians missing out on full sports coverage, media outlets say

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Major media outlets have told an Australian senate committee on environment, communications and the arts that Australians are being denied full coverage of sporting events.

They have told the inquiry that major sporting organisations are restricting how photos and text can be used on the internet and other digital media, which is threatening the reporting of sport as news.

Sporting organisations have hit back saying that such online content is a big money earner for them. They say that the money earned from those rights gets invested in grassroots programs.

Australian Associated Press asked the committee to recommend legislation guaranteeing the right of news media cover major sporting events.

“AAP reporting and photography are the lifeblood of news for regional and rural newspapers across the country,” Fairfax Media, publisher of The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and a number of regional papers, said in its submission. “Millions of Australians are being prevented from receiving full AAP coverage of major sporting events. When photographs of sport events are privatised, all forms of journalism are vulnerable to such restrictions.”

“AAP believes that the most effective way to protect the public interest in receiving news about sporting and related events is to have a legislated provision for right of access for news media,” AAP’s submission says.

The Australian Football League, in its submission, also argued for legislative amendments, but to the Copyright Act. Their recommendations would see the use of audio-visual, photographic and audio media restricted in the digital domain.

“To avoid protracted disputes with media organisations and to ensure a minimum standard of protection across digital sports news reporting in Australia, AFL believes that the best means of introducing these restrictions is by way of amendments to the Copyright Act or a mandatory industry code,” the AFL’s submission said.

Wikinews asked the AFL, Football Federation Australia and the Sunshine Coast Daily for comment. The AFL refused to comment until after their submission was formally made to the committee.

Policeman from Sussex, UK pleads guilty to fraud over lost and found money

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Peter Yeats, who until his arrest in September was a sergeant with Sussex Police in England, UK, entered a plea of guilty on Monday to fraud by false representation. The charge related to lost and found cash that a member of the public had handed in to the police after discovering it on a bridle path.

Yeats was on duty in Hastings on July 19 this year when Lewes Police Station was given the plastic bag of money, totalling £3,500 in £20 notes. He used a police computer to read about the find on an incident database and rang his own force three times using the name “Kirk Rose”. He told officers he was from Cornwall and his wife had lost around £3,000 in the area the previous day.

Police launched an investigation into the veracity of these claims as they felt the condition of the money was so poor that it been left in the open for much longer. The calls were traced to Yeats’s police-issued mobile. He was found to have researched the location of the loss and created a false address for himself.

Yeats, who resigned from the police after being arrested, was charged under the Fraud Act 2006. Brighton Magistrates’ Court decided its sentencing powers were insufficient to mark the gravity of the offence and so remanded him in custody to be sentenced at a later date by a judge at Lewes Crown Court. Brian Noel, defending, described the incident as “a crazy five minutes.”