Report urges Kenya to ban plastic bags

Wednesday, March 9, 2005File:Plastic bag stock sized.jpg

They are cheap, useful, and very plentiful, and that is exactly the problem, according to researchers. A report issued on Feb. 23 by a cadre of environment and economics researchers suggested that Kenya should ban the common plastic bag that one gets at the checkout counter of grocery stores, and place a levy on other plastic bags, all to combat the country’s environmental problems stemming from the bags’ popularity.

Wikinews interviews Tatsuhisa Yabushita of NBGI

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Many rhythm gamers are anticipating the release of Taiko no Tatsujin 11: Asian Version”, the Namco Bandai Games Inc. (NBGI) beta version of which was recently showcased at the 2008 Taipei Game Show.

In fact, several managers from amusement stores in Taiwan frequently imported large quantities of arcade games, including rhythm games. Eventually, some slot machine developers modified codes from several game consoles like the Wii, PlayStation 2 (PS2), and Sega Saturn to fulfill needs for amusement arcades, but they risked hardware failure and copyright infringement.

But before those modifications happened in Taiwan, many rhythm games just used songs from other arcade machines due to copyright issues from enrolled songs.

The upcoming game will benefit Mandarin-language gamers after its release, but it may hide some secrets behind the development of “Taiko no Tatsujin 11: Asian Version”. Wikinews reporter Rico Shen recently interviewed the producer of “Taiko no Tatsujin” Tatsuhisa Yabushita to talk about some of the background of this upcoming game and its series.

Alabama School Bus Crash kills 4

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Tragedy struck Huntsville, Alabama Monday morning when a school bus transporting Lee High School students to a local trade school careened over a retaining wall on an elevated part of Interstate 565 at the U.S. highway 231 exit and plummeted 30 feet.

Killed in the initial crash were Nicole Ford, 19, Christine Collier, 16. Tanesha Hill, 17, died later at Huntsville Hospital. A fourth victim, Crystal Renee McCrary, 17, died Tuesday. Anthony Scott, the bus driver, and 14 students remain hospitalized, according to Huntsville Hospital spokeswoman Pam Sparks.

Huntsville Police spokesman Wendell Johnson said a 1990 Toyota Celica apparently hit the Laidlaw Education Services-contracted school bus. The bus driver apparently attempted evasive action, and a reaction sent the right tire climbing up the protective barrier. The buses momentum caused it to teeter on the wall briefly, flipped upside down, careening headlong onto the ground below. It was unclear if the driver jumped or was ejected, though National Transportation Safety Board spokeswoman Debbie Hersman said the bus driver was found on the overpass, and that, “We are trying to determine why the bus driver was on the overpass.”

Investigating agencies at federal, state and local levels include the NTSB, Alabama State Department of Transportation, Alabama Department of Public Safety, and Huntsville Police Department.

Thad Sokolowski, a 17-year-old Lee High School eyewitness said, “The orange car was going to pass the bus. He thought something was wrong with the car, like his tire got blown out because it started fishtailing.” He added that the orange Toyota hit the bus, “but not hard. It was a bump,” adding that the bus “skidded down the rail and it was gone.”

His description of the wreck was given to his mother, Bonnie Sokolowski, and published in the Huntsville Times, because he did not want to speak with reporters.

Police Chief Rex Reynolds said evidence will be presented to a Grand Jury, as is required by state law for fatalities involving minors, and added that charges have not yet been filed against the 17-year old Toyota driver. Chief Reynolds said the bus driver had a clean driving record.

Mass chaos ensued and Crestwood Medical Center and Huntsville Hospital, the two local hospitals, both activated their Mass Casualty action plans. Emergency response personnel from throughout the area were called upon to assist in rescue efforts. Huntsville Hospital emergency room physician Dr. Sherrie Squyres said all off-duty hospital medical and nursing personnel were requested to return to work, and that three trauma surgeons and one neurosurgeon were committed exclusively to accident response.

Among the problems facing hospital and rescue personnel was the absence of personal identification among the victims. Huntsville City Schools Superintendent Dr. Ann Roy Moore said that the Lee High School principal had initiated a student ID card program, “but not every student carried the ID.”

Brad Holley, Field Director for Alabama Department of Education, noting the tragedy said “We have not had a student killed while riding a school bus since 1969.” Huntsville’s last school bus related fatality was November 19, 1968 when a bus transporting students from Lee High Chapman Junior High Schools careened off Bankhead Parkway on Monte Sano Mountain above Tollgate Road. Faulty brakes caused that wreck.

The Aviator and Vera Drake scoop top prizes at the 2005 Orange BAFTA Film Awards

Sunday, February 13, 2005

LONDON – The big-budget Hollywood movie The Aviator and the low-budget Brit flick Vera Drake have scooped the main prizes at the 2005 Orange BAFTA Film Awards. Four gongs went to The Aviator with the top ones being Best Film and Cate Blanchett for Best Supporting Actress. Vera Drake got three gongs with Best Director, Best Actress & Costume Design. Jamie Foxx got Best Actor with Ray and Clive Owen got Best Supporting Actor with Closer.

Doctor: Hoodies are a health risk

Thursday, November 16, 2006

According to New Zealand doctor, Doctor Glenn Twentyman from Child, Youth and Family Services at Wiri, South Auckland, hoodies can be a health risk because they block sunlight which causes a vitamin D deficiency, thus weak bones and low energy.

Dr Twentyman said: “It’s the hoodies and the hats and the downward glance of the teenagers, shading your face all the time.”

Dr Twentyman said that every young person that he had tested showed a deficiency of vitamin D. Vitamin D helps vital minerals to be absorbed into the bones. Vitamin D is given to our body from the sun. “A lot of these kids stay away from sunshine. They don’t hang out at the beach or in the bush. Some are into drugs and alcohol and a lot of it is indoor activity and night-time activity. They sleep during the day. They are wearing those hoods and literally they don’t get out in the sun.”

Even though vitamin D is usually absorbed through sun it can also be found in: fatty fish, liver, eggs, full fat milk and butter.

There is an increase in reports of vitamin D deficiency in Oceania. This is most likely because of people trying to cover up because of the higher risk of getting skin cancer due to the ozone hole over New Zealand. His comments come as evidence mounts of increasing vitamin D deficiency in Australasia, partly caused by covering up to avoid skin cancer. Also one student from Tangaroa College, Vincent Wesche, said that he wears a hoodie because “I don’t want to lose my hair,” also referring to rugby player, Carlos Spencer, “Carlos Spencer is starting to lose his hair from the sun.”

Doctor Cameron Grant, from Starship hospital in Auckland, said that he had done a study for four years which found that infants living in Auckland did have a deficiency of vitamin D. “We know that vitamin D deficiency is a health issue in New Zealand. We know that people who are at risk of vitamin D deficiency are for example groups who keep themselves clothed and keep themselves indoors for religious reasons … so his idea is not an unreasonable one.”

Another study also showed that 87% of pregnant woman living in Wellington were vitamin D deficient.

Dr Twentyman said that the people who are most likely to have a vitamin D deficiency are “depressed people and the elderly, such as those kept indoors in rest homes all day.”

Closure of Guantánamo prison will take longer than expected

Thursday, December 24, 2009

The New York Times said on Wednesday that the Obama administration may not be able to close the United States military prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba and transfer terrorism suspects held there until 2011 at the earliest.

The administration announced plans last week to acquire an under-utilized state prison in the Midwest state of Illinois to house up to 100 Guantánamo detainees. However, The Times says the United States Bureau of Prisons does not have enough money to pay the state for the facility, which would cost about $150 million.

The report says the White House approached lawmakers on the United States House of Representatives Appropriations Committee several weeks ago about adding $200 million to the 2010 military spending bill for the project. Democratic leaders refused, defeating the request due to the project’s controversial nature.

The administration wants to buy the prison as part of efforts to fulfill President Obama’s order to close Guantánamo Bay. The president has acknowledged that the January 2010 deadline for closing the prison will not be met. The plan to close the prison and house the terror suspects in the U.S. has been met with fierce opposition by some members of Congress. Republicans say the closure of the prison and moving of inmates to American soil will make the country a greater target for terrorists.

The White House contends that the current prison at Guantánamo has become a terrorist recruiting symbol. It also pointed out that it would save taxpayers money as the Department of Defense currently pays $150 million to run the Guantánamo prison, while it will only cost $75 million to run the prison in Illinois.

However, some moderate Democrats have also raised concerns, Representative Loretta Sanchez, Democrat from California cited security concerns saying “[p]articularly making something on U.S. soil an attraction for Al Qaeda and terrorists to go after — inciting them to attack something on U.S. soil — that’s a problem, and we need to think it through.”

Senator Jim Webb, a Democrat from Virginia recently stated that suspects of terrorism “[d]o not belong in our country, they do not belong in our courts, and they do not belong in our prisons.”

Guantánamo, which now has some 200 inmates, has been harshly criticized by human rights advocates for the alleged abuse and mistreatment of detainees.

The Times says the Obama administration will not have another opportunity to secure funding for the Thomson Correctional Center until Congress takes up a supplemental appropriations bill for the war in Afghanistan. The bill is expected to be finished in March or April.

However, the newspaper says the administration is more focused on securing funding for the Illinois facility in appropriations bills for the 2011 fiscal year, which will not be debated until late 2010. Officials told the Times it could take eight to 10 months to install new fencing, towers, cameras and other security upgrades to the Thomson Correctional Center before any transfers take place.

Deadly fire below US President’s Trump Tower residence

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

On Saturday, the Trump Tower, in Midtown, New York City, caught fire shortly before 18:00 EST (2200 UTC) on the 50th floor, claiming the life of a 67-year-old resident, Todd Brassner, who lived in apartment 50C. All other residents were evacuated without incident. During the fire, six firefighters received non-life-threatening burns and other minor injuries. Neither US President Donald Trump nor the First Family were in the building at the time of the fire.

The high-end Fifth Avenue address is the personal residence of President Donald Trump, whose family occupies the top three stories of the 58-story building. The US Secret Service maintains a constant security presence inside the building with the New York City Police Department guarding a hard perimeter, intended to stop vehicular attacks, and a soft perimeter, intended for on-foot attacks.

The four-alarm fire required 200 firemen, extra police, and paramedics. At 20:00 EST (0000 UTC Sunday), the New York City Fire Department (FDNY) declared the fire was under control. Trump tweeted, “Firemen (and women) did a great job. THANK YOU!” This is the second fire at Trump Tower since the election; previously on January 8, a fire was caused by an electrical malfunction in a cooling tower on the roof. Three FDNY firefighters received minor injuries, and all residents and office workers evacuated without incident on that occasion.

Trump Tower provides a number of unique problems never before encountered by the Secret Service. Never has a US President’s personal residence been inside a skyscraper or in a densely populated area like Midtown. The security measures have disrupted vehicular and pedestrian traffic requiring time consuming detours and delaying emergency response.

The New York Fire Code did not mandate sprinkler systems at the time Trump Tower was built in 1983, which might have reduced the size and severity of the fire had they been present. The 50th-floor apartment was, according to FDNY Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro, “[T]he apartment was virtually, entirely on fire.” The Secret Service monitors all the fire alarms in the building but it took time to find the source of the thick black smoke emanating from the fire. Secret Service Agents escorted the firefighters throughout the building, including the Trump residence.

Brassner, the sole casualty, was unconscious when firefighters pulled him out of apartment 50C. He was transported to Mount Sinai Roosevelt Hospital. Originally listed as critical, he was pronounced dead sometime during the night. Brassner, guitar collector, was acquainted with artist Andy Warhol and was acknowledged in Warhol’s 1989 autobiography, The Andy Warhol Diaries. The cause of the fire is unknown, with investigations into Brassner’s death and the emergency response ongoing. Currently, the Secret Service leads the investigation.

Ask Jeeves to remove valet from website

Friday, September 23, 2005

The mascot for Ask Jeeves is to disappear over “user confusion” on what the butler actually does. The butler has been known to be a global symbol for the search site. As of September 23 there is no confirmed date of when the butler will be removed from the web site. There is also no decision yet on changing the name of the web site since there will be no “Jeeves” anymore.

It was revealed by owner Barry Diller that the butler will no longer be the icon for the site.

New Zealand government denies financial assistance for Overlander

Monday, September 25, 2006

The New Zealand government today has announced that they will not provide financial assistance to the Overlander train service between Auckland and Wellington, which is set to stop service on September 30, if no assistance is forthcoming. ONTRACK will retain the North Island main trunk line, while looking for tourism operators to start a tourist rail service.

Trevor Mallard, acting Finance Minister, said: “In making this decision… Cabinet recognised that there was no prospect of the current Overlander service becoming commercially viable. It was not a fuel-efficient operation and at an average passenger rate of 50 passengers each way per day, it was used by relatively few people.”

It is cheaper and faster to travel either by bus or plane rather than the 12-hour train journey. “The fares already overlap with airfares, and the reality is that the service is just not well-used. It can not compete with low-priced air travel and coaches. Cabinet considered the regional implications of ceasing the Overlander service and accepted that the current bus services run by the InterCity Group met the needs of those communities,” Mallard said.

There has been numerous petitions from the public and from the Green Party of New Zealand to continue the Overlander train service, including one petition signed by 16,000 people presented at the Parliament Buildings on September 14, 2006. “While there have been a number of propositions about retaining the Overlander service, all of the propositions would require government funding in one form or another,” said Mallard.

Mallard said that the government will only support rail services if it significantly benefitted the community.

The Government estimates that financial assistance to the Overlander train service would cost NZ$1.75 million a year.

“Finally, the government does recognise and value the importance of a viable and efficient rail network in New Zealand’s transport infrastructure. This was a critical factor in the government’s decision to buy the rail network back from Tranz Rail. The government has also committed $200 million to upgrade the national rail network between 2004/05 and 2007/08. A further $600 million has been provided to upgrade the Auckland rail network between 2005/06 and 2009/10.”

Wikinews Shorts: August 8, 2009

A compilation of brief news reports for Saturday, August 8, 2009.

Contents

  • 1 Leader of Pakistan Taliban may have been killed in drone attack
  • 2 Hillary Clinton arrives in South Africa
  • 3 Anniversary of Georgian War marked by mutual accusations
  • 4 Police in the United Kingdom ordered to review policing of demonstrations
  • 5 Son of missing Japanese actress Noriko Sakai found safe
  • 6 Seven coalition troops killed within 24 hour period in Afghanistan
  • 7 Hong Kong government to begin school drug testing trials in December
  • 8 Nine killed in Belgium care home fire
  • 9 India and China resume border talks
  • 10 President Kennedy’s sister Eunice Kennedy in critical condition at hospital