Friday, May 16, 2008
Controversy has arisen over the reported presence of blue asbestos on the MV Freewinds, a cruise ship owned by the Church of Scientology. According to the Saint Martin newspaper The Daily Herald and the shipping news journal Lloyd’s List, the Freewinds was sealed in April and local public health officials on the Caribbean island of Curaçao where the ship is docked began an investigation into the presence of asbestos dust on the ship. Former Scientologist Lawrence Woodcraft supervised work on the ship in 1987, and attested to the presence of blue asbestos on the Freewinds in an affidavit posted to the Internet in 2001. Woodcraft, a licensed architect by profession, gave a statement to Wikinews and commented on the recent events.
According to The Daily Herald, the Freewinds was in the process of being renovated by the Curaçao Drydock Company. The article states that samples taken from paneling in the ship were sent to the Netherlands, where an analysis revealed that they “contained significant levels of blue asbestos”. An employee of the Curaçao Drydock Company told Radar Online in an April 30 article that the Freewinds has been docked and sealed, and confirmed that an article about asbestos ran in the local paper.
Lloyd’s List reported that work on the interior of the Freewinds was suspended on April 27 after health inspectors found traces of blue asbestos on the ship. According to Lloyd’s List, Frank Esser, Curaçao Drydock Company’s interim director, joined Curaçao’s head of the department of labor affairs Christiene van der Biezen along with the head of the local health department Tico Ras and two inspectors in an April 25 inspection of the ship. “We are sending someone so that they can tell us what happened, where it came from, since when it has been there,” said Panama Maritime Authority’s director of merchant marine Alfonso Castillero in a statement to Lloyd’s List.
The Church of Scientology purchased the ship, then known as the Bohème, in 1987, through an organization called Flag Ship Trust. After being renovated and refitted, it was put into service in June 1988. The ship is used by the Church of Scientology for advanced Scientology training in “Operating Thetan” levels, as well as for spiritual retreats for its members. Curaçao has been the ship’s homeport since it was purchased by the Church of Scientology.
According to his 2001 statement, Lawrence Woodcraft had been an architect in London, England since 1975, and joined Scientology’s elite “Sea Organization” (Sea Org) in 1986. He wrote that he was asked by the Sea Org to work on the Freewinds in 1987, and during his work on the ship “noticed a powdery blue fibrous substance approximately 1 ½” thick between the paint and the steel wall,” which he believed to be asbestos. He also discovered what he thought was blue asbestos in other parts of the ship, and reported his findings to Church of Scientology executives. Woodcraft discussed his experiences in a 2001 interview published online by the Lisa McPherson Trust, a now-defunct organization which was critical of the Church of Scientology.
|The Freewinds regularly inspects the air quality on board and always meets or exceeds US standards.|
Church of Scientology spokeswoman Karin Pouw responded to Radar Online about the asbestos reports, in an email published in an article in Radar on May 1. “The Freewinds regularly inspects the air quality on board and always meets or exceeds US standards,” said Pouw. She stated that two inspections performed in April “confirmed that the air quality is safe,” and asserted that the inspections revealed the Freewinds satisfies standards set by the United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the U.S. Clean Air Act.
Pouw told Radar that “The Freewinds will be completing its refit on schedule.” The Church of Scientology-affiliated organization Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) had been planning a cruise aboard the Freewinds scheduled for May 8, but according to Radar an individual who called the booking number for the cruise received a message that the cruise had been delayed due to ongoing work on the ship. Citing an article in the Netherlands Antilles newspaper Amigoe, Radar reported on May 6 that a team from the United States and supervised by an independent bureau from the Netherlands traveled to Curaçao in order to remove asbestos from the Freewinds.
|…if the Church of Scientology claims to have removed the blue asbestos, I just don’t see how, it’s everywhere. You would first have to remove all the pipes, plumbing, a/c ducts, electrical wiring etc. etc. just a maze of stuff.|
“I stand by everything I wrote in my 2001 affidavit,” said Lawrence Woodcraft in an exclusive statement given to Wikinews. Woodcraft went on to state: “I would also comment that if the Church of Scientology claims to have removed the blue asbestos, I just don’t see how, it’s everywhere. You would first have to remove all the pipes, plumbing, a/c ducts, electrical wiring etc. etc. just a maze of stuff. Also panelling as well, basically strip the ship back to a steel hull. Also blue asbestos is sprayed onto the outer walls and then covered in paint. It’s in every nook and cranny.”
Many Scientologist celebrities have spent time aboard the Freewinds, including Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes, John Travolta, Kelly Preston, Chick Corea, Lisa Marie Presley, Catherine Bell, Kate Ceberano, and Juliette Lewis. Now magazine reported that Tom Cruise has been urged to seek medical attention regarding potential asbestos exposure, however a representative for Cruise stated he has “absolutely no knowledge” of the recent asbestos controversy. Cruise, Holmes, Travolta and Preston have celebrated birthdays and other events on the Freewinds.
|There is not now and never has been a situation of asbestos exposure on the Freewinds.|
In a May 15 statement to the United Kingdom daily newspaper Metro, a representative for the Church of Scientology said that “There is not now and never has been a situation of asbestos exposure on the Freewinds.” The Asbestos and Mesothelioma Center notes that agencies have recommended anyone who has spent time on the Freewinds consult with their physician to determine if possible asbestos exposure may have affected their health.
Raw blue asbestos is the most hazardous form of asbestos, and has been banned in the United Kingdom since 1970. Blue asbestos fibers are very narrow and thus easily inhaled, and are a major cause of mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is a form of cancer which can develop in the lining of the lungs and chest cavity, the lining of the abdominal cavity, or the pericardium sac surrounding the heart. The cancer is incurable, and can manifest over 40 years after the initial exposure to asbestos.
“This is the most dangerous type of asbestos because the fibres are smaller than the white asbestos and can penetrate the lung more easily,” said toxicologist Dr. Chris Coggins in a statement published in OK! Magazine. Dr. Coggins went on to note that “Once diagnosed with mesothelioma, the victim has six months to a year to live. It gradually reduces lung function until the victim is no longer able to breathe and dies.”
Thursday, October 19, 2006
The upcoming 2006 Brampton municipal election, to be held November 13, features an array of candidates looking to represent their wards in city council or the council of the Peel Region.
Wikinews contributor Nick Moreau contacted many of the candidates, including Dalbir S. Kathuria, asking them to answer common questions sent in an email. This ward’s incumbent is John Sprovieri; also challenging Sprovieri is Derek Begley, Sherdaljit Dhillon, Mahen Gupta, Satpaul Johal, and Vahid Saadati-Khanshir.
Audio Wikinews News Brief for July 15, 2008
Recorded by: DavumayaProblems listening to the file? See media help.
- 1 Media reports: Israeli warplanes training in Iraq
- 2 Three hostages return home to Florida
- 3 IndyMac Bank placed into conservatorship by US Government
- 4 Sixteen killed in Pakistan during Taliban ambush
- 5 Bronis?aw Geremek, former Polish Foreign Affairs Minister, dies at age 76
- 6 Details emerge on Norway Rock Festival deaths as Motörhead hold minute’s silence
Thursday, February 15, 2007
The year 2007 marks the meeting of the major representatives of the watch and jewelry industry at BaselWorld Show, Basel, Switzerland. The Show will take place in the period of April 12 – 19, 2007. The international event is to attract over 2000 companies from 45 countries and about 90,000 visitors.
At present day the luxury goods business holds quite strong positions in the world industry and is still developing at high rates due to appropriate economic climate. Thus, BaselWorld is perceived by watch and jewelry producers and their partners as favorable new grounds for their further development.
BaselWorld is organized annually by MCH Swiss Exhibition (Basel) Ltd with a purpose to provide new business opportunities for the participants who are expected to exhibit their latest products in the exhibition area of about 160,000 m2. Visitors come to BaselWorld to keep aware of the current trends of watch and jewelry making, while retailers and wholesalers discover new partners and strengthen their links with well-established ones.
The exhibition is divided into product sectors presented in the six exhibition halls, among them there are the Hall of Universe and the Hall of Elements. This year the management of the Show has taken care of updating and redecorating the design of the halls.
All the participants of the event will be able to expand their business contacts beyond the fair in the BaselWorld Village located nearby. The ‘village’ comprises special facilities for partners to discuss their matters in informal atmosphere.
By Star Smith
It’s come to this.
You’re checking yourself out in the mirror and you wrinkle your brow at the reflection staring back at you.
Oh my . . . Have I gotten that fat?
How can I loose weight fast?
Sometimes it’s hard to look in the mirror and admit to yourself that you have to lose a few pounds. Okay, maybe a lot of pounds. You’ve come to the point where you just can’t ignore it anymore. Yeah, maybe you should’ve done something about it before now, but it’s too late to go back in time.
You need to get rid of those extra pounds and you gotta do it quick!
I know the feeling. I bet those pounds feel like a big, fat weight hanging around your mid-section (or thighs) that you just wish you could take a match and burn them up like a pound of bacon fat in a hot frying pan.
Can your fat really melt off that easily?
Sure it can. Our bodies are like little engines. Food is the fuel that makes the engine run. Right now your fat is clogging up that engine, so it’s running real slow. The key to shedding those pounds is to get that engine fired up again by raising your metabolism. Your body’s metabolism is like a fire – the hotter it burns, the more fat it will melt.
The best way to get your metabolism zooming again is by eating certain foods and doing some moderate exercise. Now I know you may be under a lot of pressure to try some quick solutions like diet pills or the latest fad diet. I hope you won’t go this route.
Those solutions are just temporary fixes and aren’t even good for your body. They can even be down right dangerous. You know this is true – you’ve heard the horror stories.
So, let’s assume you’re going to approach this quick weight loss thing from a healthy perspective. Losing weight while staying fit and healthy should be your main goal.
What can you do to loose weight fast?
Here are some ways for you to safely drop those unwanted pounds:
Start off the morning with a healthy breakfast
A lot of people skip breakfast in the morning because they wrongly assume that one less meal means less calories to worry about. Not true. In fact, breakfast is one of the most important meals of the day. It’s the first food fuel that your body gets and you need this fuel, because it causes your body to burn more calories at a higher rate. Meaning, your metabolism is creating those fat burning flames that melts fat away.
Besides, skipping breakfast will deplete you of energy. You’re more likely to be moody and think less clearly.
Eat low calorie fast food for lunch
In the real world, a busy schedule means you may have no choice but to grab a quick meal at your favorite fast food place. This doesn’t mean you have to buy a fatty hamburger and fries. You can opt for a big salad, grilled chicken, a low-cal sub, juice, water, yogurt, and even fresh fruit.
I know those fries smell good, but this is where you’ve got to remember your goal. Visualize yourself wearing that new outfit and getting lots of compliments. This should get you past the temptations.
Go for a walk and get some fresh air
If you’re blessed with two functioning legs, then get out there and use them to get some much needed exercise. Walking is not strenuous (unless you want it to be) and is the easiest exercise you can do.
Instead of sitting in the break room or cubicle during lunch, go out for a 15 minute walk. You can take a quick walk during your break time as well. If you can’t walk during the day, then walk around the block before or after dinner. You will be amazed at how energized you feel.
Quit munching while watching TV
This is where a lot of folks gain extra weight. Sitting on the couch eating chips, dip, cookies, ice cream and other fattening goodies while watching TV.
Instead of eating, hop on the treadmill or pick up a coloring book, sketch book, knitting needles, etc. Anything that will keep you busy so you don’t mindlessly put junk food in your mouth.
Drink a bottle of refreshing water
Buy a water bottle and keep it with you. Every time you feel a hunger pang for a candy bar or snack chips, take several sips of water instead. Water will fill you up and curb your appetite.
If you follow a good weight loss plan and remember to keep your metabolism going at maximum speed, you’ll be sure to lose that unwanted weight in no time
at all. A month from now you’ll be looking in the mirror with a big smile on your face.
About the Author: Kick those fad diets to the curb! A registered dietitian reveals the absolutely best way to lose 15 pounds in 30 days. Women: lose a dress size, Men: lose that gut. fasthealthyweightlossplan.blogspot.com
Permanent Link: isnare.com/?aid=229017&ca=Wellness%2C+Fitness+and+Diet
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
New cases of the swine flu virus have been reported around the world in recent days, prompting fear of a global influenza pandemic. As a result, the World Health Organization (WHO) raised the pandemic alert level to 5. The United Nations has warned that the disease can not be contained. At least 91 confirmed cases of the flu have been reported worldwide.
In a special report, Wikinews takes a look at the reaction to the outbreak, and how different countries around the world have been affected by it.
The disease, which is believed to have originated in Mexico, has now spread across the globe, with confirmed cases having been reported in Canada, the United Kingdom, Spain, New Zealand, Costa Rica and Israel. The United States has also reported its first death from the disease in a toddler. South Korea and France both had probable cases.
The WHO said on Tuesday that while it was not yet certain that the outbreak would turn into pandemic, countries should prepare for the worst. “Countries should take the opportunity to prepare for a pandemic,” said the acting assistant director-general for the WHO, Keiji Fukuda.
“Based on assessment of all available information, and following several expert consultations, I have decided to raise the current level of influenza pandemic alert from phase 4 to phase 5,” said Margaret Chan, the Director-General of the WHO, in a statement on Wednesday. “…All countries should immediately activate their pandemic preparedness plans. Countries should remain on high alert for unusual outbreaks of influenza-like illness and severe pneumonia.” After the announcement was made, Wikinews learned that the WHO website had crashed for several minutes, presumably due to high traffic volume.
There is no vaccine for swine flu. In 1976 during an outbreak of the virus, at least 500 people became seriously ill, and of them, 25 had died when inoculated with an attempt at a vaccination. The 500 that became ill developed a neurological disorder called Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) which caused paralysis “and is characterized by various degrees of weakness, sensory abnormalities and autonomic dysfunction.” Those who developed the disorder did so because of an immunopathological reaction to the drug. Nearly 40 million US residents, including then US president Gerald Ford, were inoculated.
Screening measures at Canadian airports have been raised on Tuesday to screen passengers returning from Mexico for symptoms of swine flu. The measures come amid reports that thirteen people have now been infected in the country, in four different provinces.
The Public Health Agency has recommended Canadians who have booked flights to Mexico to delay them if possible. Those who choose to fly anyway will be asked questions about their health after they return, such as whether they have had symptoms of the flu, like diarrhea, coughing, or a sore throat. If anyone answers in the affirmative, they may be further assessed and perhaps transferred to a quarantine officer, who will suggest that they seek medical help, or isolate themselves at home.
“These measures will help to prevent further spread and protect the health of Canadians and we thank you for your patience and co-operation with this process,” said the chief public health officer, David Butler-Jones.
Several Canadian airlines have also limited or cancelled flights to Mexico. Air Transat and its partner tour companies, Nolitours and Transat Holidays, have cancelled all flights bound to Mexico until June 1. West Jet has also stated that it will suspend all vacation planning and air flights for Cancun, Mazatlan, Cabo San Lucas, and other destinations in Mexico.
Egypt, which has not yet reported any cases of the flu, has recently begun a campaign to slaughter all 300,000 pigs in the country, despite assurances by health officials that the disease is not transmitted from animals to humans. “It has been decided to immediately start slaughtering all the pigs in Egypt using the full capacity of the country’s slaughterhouses,” Egypt’s health minister, Hatem el-Gabaly, told reporters.
Farmers have been protesting the measure. At one pig farming area in the country, crowds of farmers blockaded the roads to prevent health officials from entering to slaughter their pigs. Some of the farmers hurled stones at officials’ vehicles, and the latter was forced to retreat without killing any of the animals.
In Mexico, the epicentre of the outbreak, officials have announced up to 159 suspected deaths from the virus, out of a total of 2,498 suspected cases. The Mexican cabinet has announced that all flights departing from Mexico City will be suspended, while Argentina and Cuba have both cancelled all flights to the country. The European Union and the US have both issued warnings against traveling to Mexico.
The Royal Caribbean cruise line has suspended all stops in Mexico indefinitely, while Norwegian Cruise Line announced that its vessels will not make stops at Mexican ports until September of this year.
The government has ordered all restaurants in the country’s capital to serve only carry-out food, and closed archaeological sites with the intent of limiting large groupings of people. Churches, gyms, pool halls, and other institutions in Mexico City have been asked to close. School classes across the country have been suspended until May 6.
The Mexican government has estimated that the epidemic is costing companies in the capital at least US$57 million per day, and that tourism revenue has dropped by 36%. The finance ministry has set up a special fund of $450 million to fight the disease.
Thirteen confirmed cases have been known in New Zealand. All of them have been prescribed the antiviral drug Tamiflu.
New Zealand airports have now started to screen at least ten thousand people who arrive in the country from flights from Northern America. Those who display symptoms of the flu are taken aside by health authorities and placed into a quarantine.
“The number of suspected cases is likely in increase,” said Fran McGrath, the Deputy Director of Public Health. “While the numbers in any category will fluctuate, this is a pattern to be expected from an influenza outbreak. It is important to note that the 13 people we are treating as confirmed cases have all had mild flu symptoms, have received treatment and are all on the mend of have recovered.”
Spain’s health minister Trinidad Jinenez announced on Wednesday that a total of 53 persons in the country are under observation for the influenza. The number of confirmed cases in the country has been risen from four to ten, including one person who did not obtain the illness by traveling to Mexico.
Until now, Jimenez said that all of Spain’s confirmed cases involved persons who had recently visited Mexico, where the outbreak is believed to have began.
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced that five people who recently visited Mexico are now ill with the swine flu in the United Kingdom. “All of them have traveled recently from Mexico,” he said. “All of them have mild symptoms. All of them are receiving and responding well to treatment.”
The school of one the infected people, a twelve-year-old girl from Torbay, has been shut down and its 230 pupils given the drug Tamiflu, Brown said.
The Prime Minister said that the country is preparing for a possible pandemic. It has increased its stocks of antiviral drugs, enough for fifty million people, and ordered additional face masks for health workers. The government has encouraged all British residents to avoid travel to Mexico.
A 23-month-old boy from Mexico died at a Houston, Texas hospital on Wednesday, the first casualty from swine flu in the United States. The child had arrived in Brownsville, Texas, near the border with Mexico, with unspecified “underlying health issues” on April 4. Several days later, he presented symptoms of swine flu, and was hospitalized on April 13. The next day, the boy was transferred to a Houston hospital, where he remained until dying on Monday night of pneumonia brought on by the virus.
In response to the epidemic, Texas governor Rick Perry has given a disaster declaration. Schools have closed down statewide. Californian governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has also declared a state of emergency in his state.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated the number of incidents of swine flu in the country to 64 on Tuesday.
President Barack Obama has asked Congress for a fund of $1.5 billion to fight the outbreak, saying that it is needed for “maximum flexibility to allow us to address this emerging situation.”
US health authorities have warned that more cases and fatalities from the flu are probable. “We expect to see more cases, more hospitalizations, and, unfortunately, we are likely to see more deaths from the outbreak,” said Kathleen Sebelius, the Health and Human Services secretary.
Saturday, December 3, 2011
In the United Kingdom, the BBC has received in excess of twenty-one thousand complaints after Jeremy Clarkson, the presenter of BBC television programme Top Gear, made an appearance on the live BBC programme The One Show and made comments about the UK public sector workers on strike, which British trade union UNISON subsequently called “appalling”. The BBC and Jeremy Clarkson both apologised after the comments were made.
During the programme, Clarkson commented on how the strikes on Wednesday were “fantastic” as they had left the British capital London “empty”. It was “like being back in the 70s”, according to Clarkson. He went on to caution that “we have to balance this though, because this is the BBC” before saying of the striking public sector workers: “Frankly, I’d have them all shot. I would take them outside and execute them in front of their families. I mean, how dare they go on strike when they have these gilt-edged pensions that are going to be guaranteed while the rest of us have to work for a living?” Immediately after the remarks were made, The One Show presenters clarified that these comments was personal opinion, to which Clarkson replied: “They’re not. I’ve just given two views for you.” Presenter Matt Baker apologised about the comments before the end of the broadcast.
In the aftermath of the broadcast, by yesterday morning BBC Audience Services were contacted in relation to the matter 21,954 times, with 619 comments and 21,335 complaints amongst them. Clarkson was supported in 314 messages. A spokesperson for the BBC confirmed that the The One Show episode would not be made available to view on BBC iPlayer, the BBC’s on-demand service, because the episode generated so many complaints.
The British prime minister described the comments as “silly”, while saying he was certain that Clarkson “didn’t mean it”. According to The Guardian, Clarkson had reportedly spoken with the production team before the live broadcast about using strike-related humor.
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Thursday, the BBC apologised for the comments, as “the item was not perfectly judged”, the corporation admitted. In a statement the same day, Clarkson said: “I didn’t for a moment intend these remarks to be taken seriously – as I believe is clear if they’re seen in context. If the BBC and I have caused any offence, I’m quite happy to apologise for it alongside them.” The presenter also clarified to British newspaper the Daily Mirror: “I expressed two different views. Which one do I apologise for? I am just making fun of the BBC’s need to be impartial. Not about strikers. I wasn’t saying that strikers should be shot.”
UNISON, a trade union in the United Kingdom, called the comments “appalling” and initially wished for the BBC to remove Clarkson from his position. Karen Jennings, the deputy general secretary of the UNISON, subsequently told the BBC that the trade union “accepted the apology” before going on to say: “He’s recognised that he went too far in saying what he said and what we’re doing now is extending our hand to him to come and work with a healthcare assistant to see just how they work and the healthcare they deliver. I think he would enjoy that.”
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.
Saturday, April 10, 2010
Embattled Canadian junior cabinet minister Helena Guergis has resigned her cabinet post and has been ejected from caucus today in Ottawa amid recent scandals involving herself and her husband, disgraced former Member of Parliament (MP) Rahim Jaffer.
Guergis, Conservative MP for Simcoe-Grey, held the position as Minister of State for the Status of Women since her re-election in the 2008 federal election, but has come under fire due to an outburst at the Charlottetown airport in February and a call from the opposition Liberal Party for a probe by the federal ethics commissioner into her purchase of an Ottawa home. She has also come under scrutiny due to recent scandals involving her husband, who faced charges of impaired driving and cocaine possession as well as comments made to business contacts about connections to the office of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, those comments later being called “absurd” by the Prime Minister’s Office.
In an email, Guergis is quoted as saying, “The past nine months have been a very difficult time for me. I have made mistakes for which I have apologized.” The email made specific reference to her outburst in Charlottetown, insisting she would never insult her father’s birthplace and also voiced her intent to continue in her role as a Member of Parliament.
Given the circumstances, Prime Minister Harper stated today at a press conference that “a resignation is necessary,” also announcing that the RCMP have been called to investigate recent allegations against Guergis. Harper is also reported to have ejected Guergis from the Conservative caucus pending the investigation by the RCMP. Her role as Minister of State for the status of women has been given to current Public Works minister Rona Ambrose.
The governing Conservatives previously came under fire in 2008 after former Minister for Foreign Affairs Maxime Bernier had left confidential documents at the home of his girlfriend, Julie Couillard, a relationship that in itself caused some unrest in Parliament due to Couillard’s past connections to Quebec biker gangs.