Police describe bloody evidence in NY Sen. Monserrate assault trial

Thursday, October 1, 2009

A crime scene police detective and a forensic biologist testified on Tuesday about bloody evidence entered into the court record, in the ongoing criminal trial against New York State Senator Hiram Monserrate. Monserrate faces charges of felony assault in an alleged attack on his girlfriend Karla Giraldo.

The prosecution has asserted that when Monserrate discovered that his girlfriend had the business card of another man, he chose to strike out at her. Monserrate has entered a plea of not guilty to charges he sliced his girlfriend’s face with broken glass during a conflict at their apartment on December 19, 2008. The defense team denied that the injury to the woman by Monserrate was intentional, instead claiming that the incident was “an accident” and the result of Monserrate tripping while bringing Giraldo a glass of water.

An emergency physician that had treated Giraldo stated in court last Thursday that Monserrate’s girlfriend asserted to her that her injuries were not the result of an accident. Though the defense has argued that Giraldo, who is from Ecuador, may have been difficult to understand – the physician stated she conversed with Monserrate’s girlfriend in both Spanish and in English.

…it is nothing more than rank speculation.

The police detective that first inspected the crime scene testified Tuesday to the court about his recollection of discovering broken glass at the apartment, along with blood, towels covered in blood, and a ripped women’s t-shirt. Prosecutors entered into evidence a ripped sleeveless undershirt that police had found in the garbage outside Monserrate’s apartment on the night of the alleged attack. Bloody towels were was also found at the crime scene in the bathroom, and bloody smudges were discovered on a light switch in the bedroom.

According to forensic biologist Ewilina Badja, the majority of the blood found at the scene originated from one woman. Prosecutors assert that this woman is Giraldo, who was treated for injuries surrounding her left eye that took approximately 40 stitches to remedy. Badja identified blood on a male green shirt found in the bathroom sink as that of Monserrate.

Joseph Tacopina, defense counsel for Monserrate, argued that the police detective’s testimony does not prove his client attacked Giraldo. NY1 reported that Tacopina stated: “There’s not a piece of evidence that supports there was a scuffle where someone tore someone’s clothing, so it is nothing more than rank speculation. It was not a blood drenched t-shirt. When it was torn who knows? I have in my closet right now torn T-shirts that I wear to bed every night.”

On cross-examination, Tacopina queried New York City Police Department crime scene analyst Detective David Hernandez regarding the blood discovered on the bedroom light switch. According to Hernandez, police did not evaluate the blood on the light switch; Hernandez also stated that the lights in the apartment were found turned on. Tacopina argued that this bolsters the story provided by defense – that his client stumbled in a dark room while attempted to bring water to his girlfriend, and placed his bloody hand on the light switch after accidentally breaking the drinking glass on Giraldo’s face.

Queens Supreme Court Justice William Erlbaum will judge the case without a jury, as Monserrate waived his right for a trial before his peers. The group National Organization for Women has requested that the judge rule Monserrate should be given “the maximum sentence allowable by law”. If convicted, Democrat Sen. Monserrate could serve seven years in prison and lose his New York State Senate seat.

Monserrate is a former city councilman. He became a member of the New York State Senate weeks after the alleged conflict with Giraldo, and was made chair of the committee overseeing consumer affairs. Along with Democrat Pedro Espada Jr., Monserrate started a shift in control of the Senate by aligning with the Republican Party.

Burma introduces military draft

Thursday, January 13, 2011

According to an official document, the Burmese junta has passed a law dated November 4, 2010, requiring able-bodied persons over the age of 18 to register with local authorities. Furthermore, the law requires all men between the ages 18 and 45 as well as all women between 18 to 35 to join the army if they are called upon. Those who fail to report for military service could be imprisoned for three years, and face fines. Those who deliberately inflict injury upon themselves to avoid conscription could be imprisoned for up to five years, as well as fines. Civil servants, students, those serving prison terms, and those caring for an elderly parent are currently excluded from the draft, but they could be later called to serve. Totally exempt are members of religious orders, disabled persons, and married or divorced women with children.

The Democratic Voice of Burma claims that the law was passed just before the new parliament convened in order to avoid scrutiny of the practice by the new parliament. However, laws surrounding forcible conscription are murky and it is unclear how tightly the new law would be enforced.

The new law has faced stiff criticism by Burmese around the world. Aung Kyaw Zaw, a military analyst on the China-Burma border, said that there are pros and cons to the new law. “From the bad side, our country is already in deep poverty and the people barely have anything to eat. So [adopting such a law] may cause bigger negative effects on the country, which is already…struggling to feed the current army and carry the burden of military expenses.”

“On the plus side, civilians will learn how to use guns and be given a chance to understand the nature of the military. With the knowledge of how to handle weapons, the people will be able to rise up against the military – in a way they will be trained for the revolution.”

Many people see the draft as a threat to ethnic armed groups, who have been long embroiled in guerrilla conflicts with the government.

Burma is a military dictatorship and already has a standing army close to half a million, one of the biggest per capita in the world. Previously, professionals, including doctors, engineers and mechanics, between the ages of 18 and 44, and females between 18 to 33, were required to serve in the military for up to three years. However, the new law extends this to five years in case of a national emergency.

Hezbollah-Israel war continues for a third day

Friday, July 14, 2006

The fighting continues as Israel launches a fresh wave of attacks on Lebanese targets Friday, striking Beirut’s International airport, the road from Lebanon to Damascus and a power plant. Since Wednesday, Hezbollah have fired over 300 rockets into towns in northern Israel, killing four civilians and wounding dozens. Hezbollah rockets reached as far south as the port city of Haifa.

Lebanon said on Friday that Israel had launched “a widespread barbaric aggression” with the intention of hurting Lebanon. The country urged the United Nations community to stop the military offensive. “The targets chosen are connected either directly or indirectly with terrorism,” Israeli Air Force General Ido Nehushtan, said.

The Israeli attacks included the southern suburb of Beirut where Israel says Hezbollah has a stronghold. Most roads and bridges leading to the southern suburb of Beirut have been shelled, isolating the suburb from the rest of the country. The attacks came after Israeli planes dropped leaflets on the evening of July 13, warning residents in the mainly Shiite south suburb of impending attacks to Hezbollah property.

Israel says Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, the Hezbollah leader, is also a target. “Nasrallah has issued his own sentence.” said Ronnie Bar-On, the Israeli interior minister. The home and headquarters of Hezbollah’s spiritual leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah was hit by Israeli missiles, but Nasrallah and his nearest were unhurt in the attack. Nasrallah said in a televised address after the attack that Hezbollah is ready for an “open war” with Israel.

This comes after Ehud Olmert said Lebanon had committed an “act of war” when Hezbollah attacked Israel.

“You wanted an open war and we are ready for an open war”, Nasrallah said in the broadcast. “You have chosen an all-out war with a nation which … has the capability, the experience and the courage.” He continued saying that Lebanon would either surrender or “have faith in Allah and victory”.

The Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora described the conflict as a “controlled war” and called it an opportunity to address the Israel-Palestine conflict.

Five civilians were killed and at least 50 have been wounded in Lebanon on Friday after Israeli attacks. According to Lebanon, 63 people have been killed and 167 wounded in the country since the raids commenced on Wednesday.

The Israeli military and Israel’s ambassador to the UN said that the rockets fired into Haifa on Thursday by Hezbollah were manufactured in Iran. Lebanese PM Siniora said that it was puzzling for Hezbollah to perform the attacks unsupported.

States worldwide have called for the release of the prisoners and for Israel to exercise restraint, while Lebanon has urged the UN Security Council, which held an emergency meeting on Friday, to pass a ceasefire resolution.

Lebanon’s UN envoy, Nouhad Mahmoud, claimed that Israel’s attacks on Lebanon “will not resolve the problem, but will further complicate it. The Security Council meets today in the shadow of a widespread barbaric aggression waged by Israel to this very moment against my nation,” he said. “What Israel is undertaking is an act of aggression and devastation aimed at bringing Lebanon to its knees and subverting it by any means.”

Israel’s chief of staff, Dan Halutz, said Friday that all three soldiers were alive and in a “reasonable” state of health.

Human remains in mass grave confirm Argentina secret death camp

Friday, December 12, 2008

File:Parque de la Memoria – Buenos Aires – Dennis Oppenheim – Monumento al escape.jpg

During a seven-month search, the Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team (EAAF) on Tuesday, confirmed more than 10,000 charred human bone fragments were unearthed between February and September, in a pit at Pozo de Arana, a former La Plata, Argentina secret government detention center. The Arana prison or police station was used to torture prisoners during the so-called Argentina “Dirty War,” and was one of 300 used to interrogate Argentine prisoners.

The war refers to the state-sponsored violence against Argentine citizenry from roughly 1976 to 1983 carried out primarily by Jorge Rafael Videla’s military government. The exact chronology of the repression is still debated, as trade unionists were targeted for assassination as early as 1973. Isabel Martínez de Perón’s “annihilation decrees” of 1975, during Operativo Independencia, have also been suggested as the origin of The Dirty War.

The official record reveals that up to 13,000 people disappeared, while 30,000 were killed during this time. Argentine security forces and death squads worked hand in hand with other South American dictatorships in the frame of Operation Condor. An Argentine court would later condemn the government’s crimes as crimes against humanity and “genocide”.

EAAF president and forensic scientist Luis Fondebrider said that “in 25 years of searching, this was the first time that human remains were found at a former detention cente; the magnitude of what the team has found where the Clandestine Center of Arana was located, merits that sometimes they show partial results.” He further noted that “the bodies had been burned inside graves along with tires, combustibles and other material; and the possibilities of identifying some of these remains is low because of the state they are in.” Fondebrider concluded that “this scientifically confirms the testimonies of the detained, the hundreds of survivors who have said for years that authorities tortured, killed and burned the bodies of political opponents.”

The anthropological discovery further reveals that a wall with more than 200 bullet marks or holes and an “important quantity” of used ammunition shells on the ground nearby, were found adjacent the mass pit grave. As evidence of executions, they were marked with red paint by forensic scientists. The team, however, failed to determine how many bodies the fragments represented.

Maria Vedio, 47, legal chairwoman for the Permanent Assembly for Human Rights La Plata said that ” this is the first time there is proof that Arana wasn’t only a detention and torture center, but also a center of elimination.”

Sara Derotier de Cobacho, secretary of human rights for Buenos Aires said, “I ask the forgiveness of family members, because I can imagine what the mothers and all who are gathered here will feel, but what we are about to show is not to detail the genocide but so that we have proof for the trials that are to come; but let us not forget, that behind every clandestine center there were the names of the repressors. … so it is very important for all citizens to know those names; we are looking for the truth so we can attain justice and construct, from there, the memory of our 30,000 ‘desaparecidos’.”

Some of those responsible for the mass killings have been charged and meted life or death sentences. They include Miguel Osvaldo Etchecolatz, a senior Argentine police officer, who worked in the Buenos Aires Provincial Police during the first years of the military dictatorship known as the National Reorganization Process. He was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment in 2006, on charges of homicide, kidnapping, and torture. The tribunal, besides handing the sentence, stated that Etchecolatz’s committed “crimes against humanity in the context of the genocide that took place in Argentina”. But the principal complainant, who was detained at Arana, has since disappeared.

Discovery launches after scrubbed attempt

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Space shuttle mission STS-116 began today with its successful launch at 8:48pm EST (01:47 GMT). Liftoff was uneventful with no immediate problems. Last Thursday’s launch attempt was scrubbed due to low, dense cloud cover. It is the first Space Shuttle night launch in over four years and the last mission planned for pad 39b.

In the complex mission Discovery will first dock with the International Space Station. In three spacewalks the astronauts will install a segment of the station’s integrated truss and replace the orbital laboratory’s power wiring system.

Great white sharks to be protected in New Zealand

Friday, December 1, 2006

The New Zealand conservation minister, Chris Carter, announced Thursday that it will be illegal in New Zealand to hunt great white sharks in New Zealand waters or in any waters with a boat carrying the New Zealand flag starting in April 2007. The decision is being hailed by conservation groups who claim the sharks would become extinct if hunting continued.

It will be illegal for a great white sharks, also known by the less common name white pointer sharks, to be hunted, possessed, killed or traded within 200 nautical miles of New Zealand according to The Wildlife Act. However if the shark was accidentally caught or killed then no prosecution will occur if they register the incident with authorities. And swimmers in Dunedin, New Zealand will also be protected by the use of shark nets.

The decision mainly comes because New Zealand signed the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals.

Mr Carter said: “These majestic animals occur naturally in low numbers and, without protection, could be pushed to the brink of extinction. The Wildlife Act provides a strong deterrent against targeting great whites with a $250,000 fine and up to six months imprisonment as a maximum penalty.”

Kirstie Knowles, spokeswoman for Forest and Bird, said: “The sharks had been landed with an undeserved bad rap.”

Vaughan Hill wants Mr Carter to reconsider as he is the latest man in New Zealand who has survived a shark attack. Mr Hill wants the reconsideration because of fear of his children being attacked and not because he was once attacked. Mr Hill now only 35% control of one arm with the other been amputated and has scars on his back and front. Mr Hill was 23-years-old when the attack occurred 10 years ago while he was diving for p?ua, or Abalone, commercially 100 meters away from Pitt Island, “It was pretty murky water and I felt a big smack … I was looking into the eye and the jaw of the shark.”

“The last thing I thought was that I had to get another mouthful of air to fight it off, but blood overtook me.”

Mr Hill said that sharks should only be protected if they are in a “ring-fenced marine reserve.” He desribed the great white shark as “the ultimate killing machines [which] should be controlled. I want the beaches protected, and the workplace, which for divers is the sea.”

Dr Malcolm Francis, principal scientist of NIWA (National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research), said: “Despite the sharks’ fierce reputation they were mysterious to biologists. Great whites were known to travel huge distances but their breeding and life cycles were not as well documented.”

“They are incredible predators, but they are more vulnerable than us,” Dr Francis said, “Human attacks are more likely a case of mistaken identity. They let go when they realise we’re not their normal prey (fish and seals), but often the initial bite is devastating.”

Jim Anderton, minister of fisheries, said: “The white pointer shark was not known to be targeted by commercial fishing but was occasionally taken, unintentionally, as by-catch. They were sometimes targeted by recreational fishers and there was some demand for jaws and teeth as fishing trophies. Others were unintentionally caught in set nets.”

“No one wants to see an animal hunted to extinction for the sake of a jaw or a few teeth or to be placed under pressure by accidental catch. Under these new regulations no fisher will be able to profit from taking a white pointer, and any fisher inadvertently catching one will have to return it to the sea, intact, and alive, if possible.”

In New Zealand there have only been nine reported cases of shark attacks for 16-years.

Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal delayed further

Buffalo, N.Y. Hotel Proposal Controversy
Recent Developments
  • “120 year-old documents threaten development on site of Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal” — Wikinews, November 21, 2006
  • “Proposal for Buffalo, N.Y. hotel reportedly dead: parcels for sale “by owner”” — Wikinews, November 16, 2006
  • “Contract to buy properties on site of Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal extended” — Wikinews, October 2, 2006
  • “Court date “as needed” for lawsuit against Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal” — Wikinews, August 14, 2006
  • “Preliminary hearing for lawsuit against Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal rescheduled” — Wikinews, July 26, 2006
  • “Elmwood Village Hotel proposal in Buffalo, N.Y. withdrawn” — Wikinews, July 13, 2006
  • “Preliminary hearing against Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal delayed” — Wikinews, June 2, 2006
Original Story
  • “Hotel development proposal could displace Buffalo, NY business owners” — Wikinews, February 17, 2006

Friday, March 10, 2006

Buffalo, New York —The Common Council of Buffalo voted on Tuesday to send the Elmwood Village Hotel proposal “to committee for further discussion”, after citing the need for more public involvement.

The Elmwood Village Hotel is a development proposal by the Savarino Construction Services Corporation, a project designed by the architect Karl Frizlen of The Frizlen Group. The hotel would be placed on the southeast corner of Elmwood and Forest Avenues in Buffalo.

To make way for the project, at least five buildings located at 1109 to 1121 Elmwood Ave would be demolished. At least two properties on Forest Avenue could also be demolished. The Elmwood properties, according to Eva Hassett, Vice President of Savarion Construction, are “under contract”, but it is unclear if Savarino Construction actually owns the Elmwood properties. Hans Mobius, a former mayorial candidate, is still believed to be the current owner the properties. Mobius also owns 607 Forest Avenue.

The properties 605 and 607 Forest Avenue could also be included in the proposal according to Hassett.

“We would use a Special Development Plan to rezone 1119-1121 Elmwood and 605 Forest to a C-2 zoning category,” stated Hassett. It is possible that Savarino Construction may try to obtain a variance for 605 Forest, which would allow them to enforce eminent domain, should the hotel be allowed to go forward.

The building at 607 Forest was also discussed to be rezoned, but it is unclear what the plans would be for that property. During the February 28 Common Council meeting, Hassett stated that the properties 605 and 607 were “now off the agenda”.

Pano Georgiadis, owner of Pano’s Restaurant at 1081 Elmwood, owns the property at 605 Forest and attended Tuesday’s Common Council meeting.

“Having a hotel is a bright idea. We all love the idea of a hotel, but the way that it is presented, is wishful thinking. This hotel does not fit. It’s like putting two gallons of water in a gallon jug, it does not fit. At the last meeting, the architect admitted that they are planning to put the undergound parking lot and the hotel, right at the property line. If I open my window, I will be able to touch the wall, that goes fifty feet high”, said Georgiadis.

“There is a problem having a seventy-two room hotel and fifty-five parking spaces. That means that all the other cars will spill all over the neighborhood. The footprint is simply too small. If you have a bigger [parking] lot, and a smaller hotel, I will welcome a hotel. I have a parking lot at my own business, and I am chasing people all day long. Remember, the city says it has ‘zero tolerance [for illegal parking]’. Try telling that to the guy from Albany who came to see his kids, that are going to Buffalo State, who would get tickets totaling over a hundred dollars”, added Georgiadis.

The city’s Planning Board is scheduled to meet on March 14, 2006 at 9:00 a.m. about the proposal. Although a discussion will take place, no vote is expected to be taken.

At the moment, none of the properties are zoned for a hotel. Savarino Construction plans on asking for a C2 zoning permit. If that does not work, they plan to implement a new zoning plan called a “special development plan” which would allow for only a hotel on the site. That zone would not be able to be changed.

“This [project] justifies Mobius’s refusal to invest in any maitenance[sic] or improvements”, on the properties said Clarence Carnahan, a local resident. “Where were the Council persons over the years? Where were the city inspectors over the years, to make sure that he maintained and improved his properties? The government was supposed to be protecting, not being preditorial. I see a predatorial issue here when it comes to this hotel. Over the years: Why has the local government been disfunctional when it came to Mobius’s properties? Refusal to invest in improvements, doesn’t that sound like a slumlord? Maybe I am missing a point here, but what kind of messages does this send to other slumlords that havn’t[sic] been jailed or fined? It’s [the hotel] trying to be pushed through.”

Carnahan also presented signs for residents and or business owners who are opposed to the hotel, that could be placed in windows or on stakes in the yard. Some of the signs said, ‘No tell hotel’, ‘Hans off, no hotel’, ‘It takes more than a hotel to make a village’. and ‘Keep Elmwood free, no hotel’. Carnahan plans on making more signs for a protest to be held on Saturday March 18, at 2:00 p.m. (EST) on Elmwood and Forest. Some signs were given to individuals after the meeting.

“First things first, Hans is the problem, and I don’t think it has been addressed. Let’s roll back the clock on this project. What can we do with Hans? There is such thing as eminent domain, which could be of greater interest to the community, to seize the property at its lowest assessed value”, said Nancy Pollina, co-owner of Don Apparel with Patty Morris at 1119 Elmwood. “There are so many ideas that have not been explored and we are about to give this parcel away, to a big developer.”

Mobius has not returned any calls by Wikinews regarding the situation.

A freelance journalist writing for Wikinews has obtained a letter, exclusively, addressed to one of the five business owners from Hans Mobius stating:

There is a proposal to develop my property which you are currently renting. Because of opposition to this development, it does not look like it will happen. I will let you know if there any changes.

Despite the letter, there have been no plans or decisions made to end the proposal.

To date, none of the business owners or residents of 1119-1121 Elmwood have received an eviction notice.

Business owners and residents gave an indication of what they would like to see happen at the corner; a project similar to one done locally last year. There, developers renovated two buildings on Auburn and Elmwood Avenues, merging the buildings into one thus allowing for more shop space. Among some of the shops to move in after the development were Cone Five Pottery, The Ruby Slipper, and Abraham’s Jewelers. Prior to the renovation work, the left building in the picture was boarded up for several years. Many of the concerned locals would like to see a similar development on Forest and Elmwood.

Rocco Termini, a developer in Buffalo, proposed a similar design at the February 28 community meeting

In an interview after the February 28 meeting, Termini stated, “I will be willing to take a look at this myself, or I would be more than happy to be partners with Sam, Sam Savarino”, who is President and Chief Executive Officer of Savarino Construction Services Corp.

So far Savarino Construction has no plans to team up with Termini.

Wikinews interviews Duncan Campbell, co-founder of wheelchair rugby

Friday, September 7, 2012

London, England — On Wednesday, Wikinews interviewed Duncan Campbell, one of the creators of wheelchair rugby.

((Laura Hale)) You’re Duncan Campbell, and you’re the founder of…

Duncan Campbell: One of the founders of wheelchair rugby.

((Laura Hale)) And you’re from Canada, eh?

Duncan Campbell: Yes, I’m from Canada, eh! (laughter)

((Laura Hale)) Winnipeg?

Duncan Campbell: Winnipeg, Manitoba.

((Laura Hale)) You cheer for — what’s that NHL team?

Duncan Campbell: I cheer for the Jets!

((Laura Hale)) What sort of Canadian are you?

Duncan Campbell: A Winnipeg Jets fan! (laughter)

((Laura Hale)) I don’t know anything about ice hockey. I’m a Chicago Blackhawks fan.

((Hawkeye7)) Twenty five years ago…

Duncan Campbell: Thirty five years ago!

((Laura Hale)) They said twenty five in the stadium…

Duncan Campbell: I know better.

((Hawkeye7)) So it was 1977.

((Laura Hale)) You look very young.

Duncan Campbell: Thank you. We won’t get into how old I am.

((Hawkeye7)) So how did you invent the sport?

Duncan Campbell: I’ve told this story so many times. It was a bit of a fluke in a way, but there were five of us. We were all quadriplegic, that were involved in sport, and at that time we had the Canadian games for the physically disabled. So we were all involved in sports like table tennis or racing or swimming. All individual sports. And the only team sport that was available at that time was basketball, wheelchair basketball. But as quadriplegics, with hand dysfunction, a bit of arm dysfunction, if we played, we rode the bench. We’d never get into the big games or anything like that. So we were actually going to lift weights one night, and the volunteer who helped us couldn’t make it. So we went down to the gym and we started throwing things around, and we tried a few things, and we had a volleyball. We kind of thought: “Oh! This is not bad. This is a lot of fun.” And we came up with the idea in a night. Within one night.

((Hawkeye7)) So all wheelchair rugby players are quadriplegics?

Duncan Campbell: Yes. All wheelchair rugby players have to have a disability of some kind in all four limbs.

((Laura Hale)) When did the classification system for wheelchair rugby kick in?

Duncan Campbell: It kicked in right away because there was already a classification system in place for wheelchair basketball. We knew basketball had a classification system, and we very consciously wanted to make that all people with disabilities who were quadriplegics got to play. So if you make a classification system where the people with the most disability are worth more on the floor, and you create a system where there are only so many points on the floor, then the people with more disability have to play. And what that does is create strategy. It creates a role.

((Hawkeye7)) Was that copied off wheelchair basketball?

Duncan Campbell: To some degree, yes.

((Laura Hale)) I assume you’re barracking for Canada. Have they had any classification issues? That made you

Duncan Campbell: You know, I’m not going to… I can’t get into that in a major way in that there’s always classification issues. And if you ask someone from basketball, there’s classification issues. If you ask someone from swimming… There’s always classification issues. The classifiers have the worst job in the world, because nobody’s ever satisfied with what they do. But they do the best they can. They’re smart. They know what they’re doing. If the system needs to change, the athletes will, in some way, encourage it to change.

((Laura Hale)) Do you think the countries that have better classifiers… as someone with an Australian perspective they’re really good at classification, and don’t get theirs overturned, whereas the Americans by comparison have had a number of classification challenges coming in to these games that they’ve lost. Do you think that having better classifiers makes a team better able to compete at an international level?

Duncan Campbell: What it does is ensures that you practice the right way. Because you know the exact classifications of your players then you’re going to lineups out there that are appropriate and fit the classification. If your classifications are wrong then you may train for six months with a lineup that becomes invalid when that classification. So you want to have good classifiers, and you want to have good classes.

((Laura Hale)) When you started in 1977, I’ve seen pictures of the early wheelchairs. I assume that you were playing in your day chair?

Duncan Campbell: Yes, all the time. And we had no modifications. And day chairs at that time were folding chairs. They were Earjays or Stainless. That’s all the brands there were. The biggest change in the game has been wheelchairs.

((Laura Hale)) When did you retire?

Duncan Campbell: I never retired. Still play. I play locally. I play in the club level all the time.

((Laura Hale)) When did you get your first rugby wheelchair?

Duncan Campbell: Jesus, that’s hard for me to even think about. A long time ago. I would say maybe twenty years ago.

((Laura Hale)) Were you involved in creating a special chair, as Canadians were pushing the boundaries and creating the sport?

Duncan Campbell: To a degree. I think everybody was. Because you wanted the chair that fit you. Because they are all super designed to an individual. Because it allows you to push better, allows you to turn better. Allows you to use your chair in better ways on the court. Like you’ve noticed that the defensive chairs are lower and longer. That’s because the people that are usually in a defensive chair have a higher disability, which means they have less balance. So they sit lower, which means they can use their arms better, and longer so they can put screens out and set ticks for those high point players who are carrying the ball. It’s very much strategic.

((Hawkeye7)) I’d noticed that in wheelchair basketball the low point player actually gets more court time…

Duncan Campbell: …because that allows the high point player to play. And its the same in this game. Although in this game there’s two ways to go. You can go a high-low lineup, which is potentially two high point players and two very low point players, which is what Australia does right now with Ryley Batt and the new kid Chris Bond. They have two high point players, and two 0.5 point players. It makes a very interesting scenario for, say, the US, who use four mid-point players. In that situation, all four players can carry the ball; in the Australian situation, usually only two of them can carry the ball.

((Laura Hale)) Because we know you are going soon, the all-important question: can Canada beat the Australians tonight?

Duncan Campbell: Of course they are. (laughter)

((Laura Hale)) Because Australians love to gamble, what’s your line on Canada?

Duncan Campbell: It’s not a big line! I’m not putting a big line on it! (laughter) I’d say it’s probably 6–5.

((Hawkeye7)) Is your colour commentary for the Canadian broadcast?

Duncan Campbell: That was for the IPC. I did the GB–US game this morning. I do the Sweden–Australia game tomorrow at two. And then I’m doing the US–France game on the last day.

((Laura Hale)) Are you happy with the level of coverage the Canadians are providing your sport?

Duncan Campbell: No.

((Laura Hale)) Thank you for an honest answer.

Duncan Campbell: Paralympic Sports TV is their own entity. They webcast, but they’re not a Canadian entity. Our Canadian television is doing… can I swear?

((Laura Hale)) Yeah! Go ahead!

Duncan Campbell: No! (laughter) They’re only putting on an hour a day. A highlight package, which to me is…

((Hawkeye7)) It’s better than the US.

Duncan Campbell: Yes, I’ve heard it’s better than the US. At the same time, it’s crap. You have here [in Great Britain], they’ve got it on 18 hours a day, and it’s got good viewership. When are we going to learn in North America that viewership is out there for it? How many times do we have to demonstrate it? We had the Paralympics in Vancouver two years ago, the Winter Paralympics, and we had crappy coverage there. There was an actual outburst demand to put the opening ceremonies on TV because they weren’t going to do it. And they had to do it, because everybody complained. So they did it, but they only did it in BC, in our home province, where they were holding it. The closing ceremonies they broadcast nationally because the demand was so high. But they still haven’t changed their attitudes.

((Laura Hale)) I have one last question: what did it mean for you when they had a Canadian flag bearer who was a wheelchair rugby player?

Duncan Campbell: I recruited that guy. It was fantastic. I recruited him. Found him playing hockey. And that guy has put in so much time and effort into the game. He absolutely deserves it. No better player.

((Laura Hale)) Thank you!

((Hawkeye7)) Thank you! Much appreciated.

Former Rwandan government minister Nyiramasuhuko convicted of genocide

Friday, June 24, 2011

A United Nations court today convicted a woman, a former minister in the Rwandan government, for her role in the 1994 genocide in the ethnic war between the Tutsi and the Hutu peoples.

Pauline Nyiramasuhuko, 65, was found guilty of seven charges including publicly inciting genocide and rape, and conspiracy to commit genocide “as part of a widespread and systematic attack against a civilian population on political, ethnic and racial grounds,” said the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), a UN backed court in Arusha, Tanzania.

Nyiramasuhuko, who was the Rwandan of Minister of Family and Women’s Affairs in Juvénal Habyarimana’s government in 1994 when about 800,000 mostly ethnic Tutsis were killed, was convicted and sentenced to life in prison today. Her son, Arsene Shalom Ntahobali, a militia leader charged with crimes against humanity, war crimes, and rape, was also convicted and sentenced to life. Four local officials were found guilty on genocide charges and given prison sentences ranging from 25 years to life.

According to prosecutor Holo Makwaia, Nyiramasuhuko intended to “destroy in whole or in part the Tutsi ethnic group in Butare”. Following the genocide, she fled Rwanda and was arrested in Nairobi, Kenya, in 1997.

Presiding Judge William Sekule read the judgment: “Many were physically assaulted, raped and taken away to various places in Butare, where they were killed. During the course of these repeated attacks on vulnerable civilians, both Nyiramasuhuko and Ntahobali ordered killings. They also ordered rapes. Ntahobali further committed rapes and Nyiramasuhuko aided and abetted rapes.”

Nyiramasuhuko is the first woman convicted of genocide by the ICTR, which was established in 1994 after approximately 800,000 Tutsis and politically moderate Hutus were massacred during the genocide.

Canadian Prime Minister Harper plays small role in television show Corner Gas

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Tuesday, Prime Minister Stephen Harper was filming a cameo appearance on the popular sitcom Corner Gas. Corner Gas is filmed about 40 km south of Regina in the tiny farming community of Rouleau.

Harper was filmed in a scene where he was surrounded by a large group of actors playing reporters and photographers. After completing the scene, he got back into his car and a motorcade left the town, which is called Dog River on the show.

“We can’t say much about cameo appearances, because they’re supposed to be a surprise for the viewers, but yes, there was press scrum,” Corner Gas executive producer Virginia Thompson said. “That’s all I can reveal.” “It works well for the show, actually … We were told by the Prime Minister’s Office that he had a sense of humour, but we thought we would wait and see and sure enough, yeah, he delivered.”

When Paul Martin was the leader of the government, he had a cameo on the show last season. Saskatchewan Premier Lorne Calvert has also made an appearance on the show last season.

“The prime minister was not paid for his appearance and had other reasons for coming to Saskatchewan beyond being part of the show”, said Thompson.

Reporters were kept back and not allowed to see how he performed in front of the cameras.

Harper waved goodbye to small town of Rouleau while travelling down Highway 39 away from the set after spending about 1 1/2 hours there. After, Harper planned to meet with members of his Saskatchewan caucus at a barbeque at Sherwood Forest Country Club Tuesday night. Harper is scheduled to tour the RCMP training academy in Regina today.

The episode featuring Harper will air sometime next spring.