Christian youth camp directors charged with dragging 15-year-old girl behind van

Monday, August 13, 2007

Charles Eugene Flowers and Stephanie Bassitt, who run Love Demonstrated Ministries in San Antonio, Texas, United States, have been arrested and charged with aggravated assault for tying a girl to their van and dragging her behind it on her stomach.

The victim had stopped running with a group of campers, after falling behind. She says Bassitt yelled at her while Flowers tied her to the van.

The girl was treated for injuries on her stomach, legs and arms. She reported that this was the second assault. Flowers and Bassitt remain in jail on US$100,000 bond each.

Love Demonstrated Ministries is a 32-day Christian boot camp for girls whose parents feel they are “at risk teens”. Such camps have raised controversy before.

An organization called the International Survivors Action Committee maintains a list of U.S. organizations where numerous abusive incidents have been reported; however, their list should not be taken as exhaustive. Neither Love Demonstrated Ministries nor New Horizons Youth Ministries, which has an alumni site describing abuse appeared.

Thousands continue to flee fighting in Yemen

Friday, December 11, 2009

The United Nations refugee agency reports thousands of civilians continue to flee their homes in northern Yemen as fighting between government troops and Al Houti rebel forces enters a fifth month. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) says the situation in the Saada province remains particularly tense as more people arrive there.

The U.N. refugee agency reports clashes have broken out in a number of districts in the Saada province as more people arrive. It says the situation in the Razeh district is particularly serious.

The UNHCR says the civilian population there faces restrictions of movement and lacks basic services such as electricity and water. It says shortages of food and other commodities are pushing prices up sharply and an increasing number of people cannot afford to buy what they need.

U.N. refugee spokesman Andrej Mahecic says the influx of huge numbers of people in neighboring Hajjah and Amran provinces is putting a strain on shelter and aid.

There are now some 21,000 IDPs living in a camp initially designed to shelter up to 10,000 people

“Over the past month alone, the IDP [internally displaced people] population of al-Mazrak One camp in Hajjah governorate has doubled. There are now some 21,000 IDPs living in a camp initially designed to shelter up to 10,000 people and overcrowding is presently the top concern for us,” he said. “At least some 500 families in al-Mazrak camp are sharing their tents, normally meant for one family, with one or two other households. We estimate another 1,300 families who are accommodated in 48 large communal tents in four transit areas of the camp, are presently waiting for allocation of a family tent.”

The UNHCR reports overcrowding in the camp is hampering delivery of humanitarian services. The agency says it reached an agreement with Yemeni authorities this week to build a third camp. And, plans are underway to set up a camp that would potentially house some 7,000 people.

Mahecic says the number of IDPs settling with local populations outside the camps has increased as well. He says local communities are bearing the brunt of the continuing displacement in Yemen. He says aid agencies are looking at ways they can assist host families.

The U.N. refugee agency reports an estimated 175,000 people have been affected by the conflict in Yemen since 2004, including those displaced by the latest crisis.

Canadian Government apologises for Residential Schools

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Stephen Harper, Canada’s Prime Minister, apologized on behalf of the Canadian Government for its role in the Indian Residential School System in front of Aboriginal Leaders, elders, and more than 1000 outside the Parliament Building. Harper proclaimed, “The treatment of children in Indian residential schools is a sad chapter in our history. Today, we recognize that this policy of assimilation was wrong, has caused great harm, and has no place in our country.” This apology was seen at more than 30 event around the country, and broadcast live on CBC Newsworld and CTV Newsnet.

The residential school system was created based on the Gradual Civilization Act (1857) and the Gradual Enfranchisement Act (1869), which assumed the superiority of British Ways, prompting the need for Aboriginals to become “civilized” by becoming English-speakers, Christians, and farmers. The funding of the schools was provided by the Indian Act (1876) and by the federal government department, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, and operated with the support of churches, generally the Roman Catholic Church and the United Church of Canada.

In the 1920s, attendance became compulsory for all children aged 6 to 15, and families who refused to cooperate were at risk of having the children removed by the government, and the parents sent to prison. The school systematically tried to destroy the aboriginal language and way of life, raising the idea of cultural genocide. Students were forbidden to speak their native languages, even outside the classroom, as to install the English or French language (and as result, to “forget” their native language), punishable by unreasonably severe corporal punishment. Practicing non-Christian faiths was also punishable by corporal punishment.

In the late 1990s, allegations of sexual abuse, as well as several physical and psychological abuse, arose, leading to large monetary payments from the federal government and churches to former students. The government also established the Aboriginal Healing Foundation, providing $350 million to fund community-based healing projects, and provided another $40 million in 2005.

On February 13, 2008, Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd made a similar apology in the Australian House of Parliament.

On June 21, 2008, Indian Residential School Museum of Canada is scheduled to open on Long Plain First Nation, near Portage La Prairie, Manitoba.

Man cuts off his own penis in UK restaurant

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

An unnamed Polish man, 35, is being treated at a hospital in London, England after he cut off his penis with a knife at Zizzi’s pizza restaurant on Strand Street in the city of Westminster.

“We were called at 9.00 p.m. on Sunday to a restaurant on the Strand to reports of a man in possession of a knife. Officers attended to discover a man believed to be 30-40 years old suffering from an injury. He was taken to a south London hospital in a stable condition. No one else was injured and his injuries are believed to be self inflicted,” said a Scotland Yard spokesperson.

Police had to use CS tear gas on the victim in order to subdue him to get him to the hospital to receive medical attention.

Witnesses say that the man came into the restaurant, picked a knife up off the floor of the kitchen and then got onto a table and cut off his penis.

“At around 9 p.m. on Sunday, a man walked into the Zizzi restaurant on The Strand, down the stairs to the basement restaurant area and tried to enter a kitchen. Members of staff stopped him, at which he ran into a second kitchen area. The man then picked up a kitchen knife and slashed himself across the wrist and groin areas before running back into the restaurant, where he continued to stab himself,” said a spokesperson for the restaurant.

Surgeons are attempting to reattach his organ in what doctors call the first time this kind of surgery has been performed in the UK. It is not yet known if the operation was successful.

“If it doesn’t take, then you would have to re-amputate it. Attaching the penis is a very long, complex and painstaking operation,” said Francis Chinegwundoh, a urologist at St Bartholomew’s Hospital which is located in London. Chinegwundoh also said that that the victim will not feel his penis and it will not be possible for him to maintain an erection unless he uses a special machine, even if the operation were a success.

Wikinews 2014: An ‘Original reporting’ year in review

Wednesday, December 24, 2014With the English-language Wikinews continuing to increase the amount of original content published, we take a look back at some of the eighty-plus original reports from our contributors during 2014.

British painter Lucian Freud dies aged 88

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Lucian Freud, the painter and grandson of the founder of psychoanalysis Sigmund Freud, died Wednesday at his London home following a short illness. He was 88 years old.

Freud, the elder brother of the late comedic writer and broadcaster Clement Freud, was born in Berlin in 1922 and moved with his family to Britain in 1933 to escape the Nazis. He became a British citizen in 1939. He studied at the Central School of Art, then at the East Anglian School of Painting and Drawing with Cedric Morris. He also attended Goldsmiths, University of London. After finishing art school, he spent some time in the merchant navy. In 1944, he started exhibiting with a solo showcase at the Alex Reid & Lefevre Gallery.

I paint people not because of what they are like, not exactly in spite of what they are like, but how they happen to be.

In the 1950s, his style changed to exclusively paint portraits and nudes. The process of painting for models was intense: one nude painting took 16 months to complete and Freud demanded her turn up almost every day to pose. His work was nominated for the Turner Prize in 1989, and he was a member of the Order of Merit. Most controversially, he painted a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II which was described by The Sun newspaper as a “travesty”, and prompted Robin Simon, the editor of the British Art Journal to say that “It makes her look like one of the royal corgis who has suffered a stroke”. He also famously painted the glamour model Kate Moss nude, and was once named one of Britain’s best dressed men in the magazine GQ.

His work has sold for large amounts: Benefits Supervisor Sleeping, sold in 2008 at Christie’s in New York for $33.6 million dollars. In addition, he has had solo shows at some of the most prominent art galleries and museums in the world including the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the Centre Pompidou in Paris. Nicholas Serota, the director of the Tate in London, said of Freud: “The vitality of his nudes, the intensity of the still life paintings and the presence of his portraits of family and friends guarantee Lucian Freud a unique place in the pantheon of late twentieth century art. His early paintings redefined British art and his later works stand comparison with the great figurative painters of any period.”

Freud has at least thirteen children from a series of marriages and affairs: after an affair wth the Bloomsbury Group member Lorna Garman, Freud married her niece Kitty in 1948 and had two children (Annie and Annabel) before ending the marriage four years later. He had an affair with Lady Caroline Blackwood which turned into a marriage in 1953, although that was dissolved in 1957. He also had two children with Bernadine Coverly (Bella Freud, the fashion designer, and the writer Esther Freud), five children with Suzy Boyt, and four children with Katherine Margaret McAdam (Paul Freud, an artist, Lucy Freud, David Freud and Jane McAdam Freud, also an artist).

American Samoa received eight minutes warning before 2009 tsunami

Friday, September 24, 2010

People in American Samoa were given only eight minutes warning that a tsunami, which killed 32 people in the unincorporated territory, resulting from the 2009 Samoa earthquake, was approaching. A report published by the United States Congress admits that the warning was issued sixteen minutes after the 8.0 magnitude earthquake struck Samoa. The tsunami killed nearly 200 people in American Samoa, Samoa and Tonga.

The report, written by the National Research Council, describes the length of time between the earthquake and the initial tsunami warning being issued as “relatively long”, and states that the standard time for such a warning to be issued to be around two minutes. The study also revealed that one third of tsunami sensors are not working at any given time.

John Orcutt, a [seismologist and head of the committee that wrote the report, described the delay as a “major concern”, but he also said that “a large number of people” in American Samoa “didn’t understand and there were lives that were lost because people simply didn’t take the action to get away from the shore when they felt this huge earthquake. People have to understand the signs of a tsunami and head to higher ground.”

The Federal Emergency Management Agency, whose purpose is to coordinate the response to a disaster that has occurred in the United States and that overwhelms the resources of local and state authorities, and the Government of American Samoa did not respond to e-mails regarding the news.

The study also notes that people living in other coastal cities around the world are at risk of being unprepared for tsunamis that arrive soon after the earthquake occurs, stating that in many places, warnings might not be issued in time. “If the source were so close to shore that only minutes were available before the tsunami reached the coast, the public would need to recognize natural [signs of a tsunami approaching].” The report states that when they fear a tsunami is imminent, people should know to evacuate even “without official warnings.”

The report warns that because tsunamis are so rare, people living near the coast do not know what to do, but it also criticises authorities for not informing citizens of how to react when a tsunami is approaching. “Everybody thought that the tsunami was a single wave, and once the expected landfall time came and left, they thought it was over,” said Costas Synolakis, who is director of the Tsunami Research Center at the University of Southern California, and one of the report’s authors. He continued, “In fact, tsunamis are a series of waves that can last for three to four hours.”

He said that the United States must take action, training first responders in low-lying coastal areas, and adding more tsunami sensors to give advance warning of approaching waves. Synolakis added that, after receiving warning that there may have been a tsunami on the way after the Chile earthquake earlier this year, the response of firefighters at the Port of Los Angeles was poor because they were unfamiliar with how to deal with such a threat.

In the capital of American Samoa, Pago Pago, the tsunami measured 1.57 meters in height. The superintendent of the National Park of American Samoa Mike Reynolds reported four waves as high as six meters. People who experienced the quake said it was long, lasting from 90 seconds to three minutes. “Pago Pago city streets were strewn with overturned vehicles, cars, and debris. Some buildings located only slightly above sea level were completely destroyed by the waves, and power in some locations is not expected to be restored for up to a month,” Wikinews reported at the time.

Didi Afuafi, 28, who was riding on a bus in American Samoa when the tsunami struck, described her experiences. “I was scared. I was shocked. All the people on the bus were screaming, crying and trying to call their homes. We couldn’t get on cell phones. The phones just died on us. It was just crazy,” she said. “This is going to be talked about for generations.” U.S. President Barack Obama said of the disaster: “My deepest sympathies are with the families who lost loved ones and many people who have been affected by the earthquake and the tsunami.”

The people of American Samoa will, next Wednesday, according to a press release by the government, “hold island-wide services to honor the memories of the 34 loved ones who lost their lives” during the tsunami. Church services will be held at 6:00 a.m., followed at 6:48 a.m.—the time when the earthquake occured—thirty-two bells will be rung in memory of those who perished.

Many still believe myths associated with cancer, reports American Cancer Society study

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

A recent survey conducted by the American Cancer Society has turned up some surprising results: Americans generally hold false beliefs about the nature of cancer and its treatment, even though many believe they are well informed.

Health experts say this ignorance could be dangerous: People may be making poor health decisions — avoiding cancer screenings or rejecting potentially life-saving treatments — based on their incorrect notions.

The most common misconception is that surgery causes cancer to spread. Decades ago, cancer often was not discovered until it was very advanced. At that stage, surgical efforts were rarely successful, and many patients died soon after procedures were performed. This may have given rise to the mistaken belief that the surgeries caused the disease to worsen.

Another commonly held myth is that there is a cure for cancer, but the medical industry is withholding it in order to continue profiting from the sale of less effective treatments and medications.

Believers in this “conspiracy theory” may not be guided by it in making their personal health decisions, though. The American Cancer Society says that even though many people are suspicious of the medical industry in general, they have a trusting relationship with their own physicians and are likely to follow their advice.

Almost 20 percent of the people surveyed felt that medications for cancer pain were ineffective.

About 10 percent expressed the belief that cancer could be cured with a positive attitude alone, while a similar number felt that there was no effective treatment for cancer.

The fact is, cancer survival and treatments — including pain management — have vastly improved in the last thirty years.

Results of the survey appear in the August 1 issue of Cancer, a journal published by the American Cancer Society.

Australian government provides $15.8 million for North Adelaide Technical College

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Australian Minister for Vocational Education and Training, Gary Hardgrave has announced the government will provide AU$15.8 million to establish an Australian Technical College in North Adelaide. The minister said the government was entering into a partnership with the Archdiocese of Adelaide and consortium of industrial and manufacturing companies.

The North Adelaide college will be located in Elizabeth and be operated as an independent non-government school. The college is one of 25 to be established across the country.

Enrolments at the college will begin in 2007 and will offer courses in areas where identified skills shortages exist in the North Adelaide region, specifically – engineering, construction, electronics and cooking.

Mr Hardgrave said that the proposed college had been popular among the North Adelaide business community. “This important initiative has been well received by North Adelaide business and industry, and will help to address skills needs and provide opportunities for those in greatest need, including a lot of Indigenous students in the region,” Mr Hardgrave said.

“The fact that this College is being led by local employers, local government and other key stakeholders, means it will be truly industry and community driven,” he said.

Australian Technical Colleges were established to cater for year 11 and 12 students who wish to do an apprenticeship as part of their school education.

The Australian Education Union has expressed a number of concerns about the model put forward by the government. In a report, they claim that trade facilities at TAFE colleges (operated by state governments) will deteriorate as funding is diverted to the ATCs. The union is also concerned that ATCs are supposed to be selective VET schools. According to the union they will have selective entry and preferential funding. It is feared that teachers will be lured away from schools and TAFE colleges to higher paid positions in ATCs.

The Education Union suggested that the government invest in schools that already offer vocational education programs.

Study reveals 10% of telecommuters work nude

Wednesday, March 8, 2006

A survey by SonicWALL, a Sunnyvale, California-based company, reports that 10% of worldwide telecommuters are nude while working, finding 12% for men and 7% for women, respectively.

A gender gap also exists for showering on work-at-home days, with 44% of women showering, while only 30% of men did. The survey also found that 39% of both sexes wear sweats while working from home.

The survey also covered less racy topics, including opinions on productivity. 76% felt that working at home increased productivity.

The number of telecommuters has increased sharply in recent years. For example, 43% of U.S. government employees telecommute at least part of the time, up from only 19% one year ago.