Baltimore Ravens’ Deion Sanders announces retirement

Thursday, February 16, 2006

On February 13, Baltimore Ravens cornerback Deion Sanders announced his re-retirement from the NFL. Last January, many assumed Sanders would be leaving the league after spending 14 years in it.

Sanders won back-to-back Super Bowls with the San Francisco 49ers and Dallas Cowboys. Sanders is the first professional athlete to win a World Series and Super Bowl in his pro career. The All-Pro Cornerback had 53 interceptions, was selected to the Pro Bowl eight times and was once Defensive Player of the Year.

Reports speculate Sanders, who broadcast with CBS after his first retirement, may go back into news broadcasting, possibly on the [w:Fox Broadcasting Company|Fox]] NFL Pre-Game Show.

After his retirement, current Ravens Cornerback Chris McAlister stated, “I’ll miss Deion, just as the rest of the Ravens organization will. I learned a lot from him.”

Federally-funded abstinence programs fraught with problems: Report

Thursday, December 2, 2004

WASHINGTON, DC – According to a report issued by U.S. House of Representatives Congressman Henry A. Waxman (DCA), the majority of abstinence-only sexual education programs in schools contain incorrect or misleading information.

The report found that over 80% of the curricula used by the recipients of the grants contained incorrect information, including the claim that condoms did not prevent the spread of STDs and that abortions have a high chance of causing sterility.[1]

These programs are funded by the federal government under President George W. Bush’s faith-based initiative. According to the report, these abstinence programs—promoted by the administration of President Bush—are receiving increasing amounts of funding: nearly $170 million will be spent in 2005, which is more than double the spending on these programs in 2001.[2]

Under the faith-based initiative programs, the United States government allocates funds to religious and other community organizations that agree to carry out abstinence education programs which do not include coverage of any other methods of birth control or sexually transmitted disease prevention, as well as other criteria.

The timing of the report is significant in that it comes on the heels of research from Columbia University that found that nearly 9 of 10 teenagers who had pledged abstinence from pre-marital sex had broken their vows in the first six years since the pledges[3].

The Waxman Report and the Columbia University study describe some abstinence programs as factually wrong and/or ineffective. In a rebuttal, Dr. Alma L. Golden, a deputy assistant secretary in the Health and Human Services Department, said in a statement that Mr. Waxman’s report “misses the boat” and that it took information out of context “for purely political reasons.”[4]

85 Hindu pilgrims killed in India lorry crash

Saturday, September 8, 2007

A minimum of 85 Hindu pilgrims have been killed in India and 64 injured after their lorry and trailer plunged 24m (80ft) into a river gorge late last night.

Approximately 150 people were on board when the driver lost control on a sharp bend near the village of Nagbavji, Rajasthan, smashing through a concrete crash barrier and continuing down into the valley, coming to rest inverted.

An overnight rescue operation was initiated, removing both survivors and bodies of the dead from the wreck, with the aid of cranes and spotlights. Ambulances and medical teams rushed to the scene from surrounding areas. Of the 64 who were hospitalised, three are reported to be in critical condition. The Press Trust of India reported that as many as 130 were injured, and Al Jazeera reported that there may have been 200 people on board. It is believed the death toll could rise still further, as many people remain trapped beneath the trailer.

The truck was a 12-wheeled model designed for hauling shipping containers, and was carrying pilgrims from three nearby villages Shiwal, Madri and Bhawa. The driver had offered to take them to their destination for free, a practise common in India, despite the fact that such trucks are not safe for passenger transport, being designed primarily as freight transporters.

The vehicle had been destined for the temple of Ramdev, a site considered by both Hindus and Muslims as being of high spiritual significance. The temple is the subject of an annual ten-day pilgrimage every September, which begins on September 13, although most of the 250,000 pilgrims who flock to the site arrive several days in advance of the festival.

The Chief Minister of Rajasthan Vasundhara Raje visited the three villages in which the victims resided. The local government has initiated a full inquiry into the disaster.

City Planning Board postpones decision on Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal

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

Thursday, March 2, 2006

Buffalo, New York —In an unanimous vote, the City of Buffalo‘s Planning Board voted to table the Elmwood Village hotel Proposal, postponing voting on legislation for up to 30 days.

The Board said its decision was due to the lack of public involvement, saying that there have not been enough meetings.

The Elmwood Village Hotel is a proposed project by Savarino Construction Services Corporation and was designed by Karl Frizlen of The Frizlen Group. The hotel would be placed on Elmwood and Forest Avenues in Buffalo, New York. In order for the hotel to be built, at least five buildings, that include both businesses and residents, must be demolished.

The Forever Elmwood Corp. is a Buffalo-based non-profit organization founded in 1994. Justin Azzarella, the Executive Director for the organization voiced support for the proposal, stating: “I am here today to lend Forever Elmwood’s support the hotel project. Particularly, Forever Elmwood is encouraged by the fact that this building follows the more stringent Elmwood Village Design Guidelines. We have been speaking with Savarino Construction, and they have promised us [Forever Elmwood] that they will engage the community further, including the surrounding Block Clubs and businesses. For that reason, while Forever Elmwood is in support of this project and the type of project that it is, we are asking also that the project be tabled so that the community can be further engaged. Specifically the surrounding Block clubs which include the Granger, Claremont, Asland and The Lincoln Parkway Block Clubs.”

“Because of the excellent work that Karl does and the game plan that they have, I think its an ideal use of this particular location. I think that this particular type of development needs to be encouraged and promoted as opposed to roadblocked,” said a man who owns five properties near the proposal site.

However, Evelyn Bencinich, a resident of Granger Place and whose house would be located directly behind the hotel said, “My property value will be depreciated or non-existent because no one is going to want to live behind a multi-story hotel. We are facing up to a year of noisy and dangerous demolition and construction. Children, pets and even drunk rebellers could wander on site and get hurt. Traffic tie-ups caused by large machinery and garbage bins is inevitable. Where will pedestrians walk? We could experience increased unsanitary flooding in our yards and basements due to the digging and cementing for the underground parking garage. Rats will be displaced into the immediate neighborhoods and be in great abundance. Once we get past the year of nightmare construction, what if you build it and they don’t come? We could ultimately have a seven million dollar rooming house on our corner.”

Patty Morris, co-owner of Don Apparel with Nancy Pollina at 1119 Elmwood also asked that the project be tabled saying, “this has only been public knowledge for less than two weeks and the public never saw the redesign. How can you vote on anything that no one has seen yet? The Board cut off Morris saying, “so specifically you don’t have any problem with it [the design] you just…” Morris then said, “Oh I am totally against this project, but thats besides the point isn’t it.”

The planning board is also concerned that the current design may still be too big.

At one point Board member Susan Curran Hoyt said, “we know you’ve cut down your number of rooms on this project, but we still see it doesn’t seem to fit the description of a ‘botique’ hotel,” and asked Eva Hassett, Vice President of Savarino Construction, “we wonder if you could reduce the rooms further.”

“One thing I didn’t talk about was the price levels of these rooms and that will be important to know. The room rate will be somewhere between US$120 and $160 a night, which is about the same price of the Hampton Inn down town and the smaller you make the hotel, the more expensive the rooms will get. We believe that we’ve made a good compromise in terms of the size of the hotel and perhaps botique means different things to different people,” said Hassett.

The board was also concerned that there is not enough parking asking, “are there alternative plans for valet parking off-site, in the event that you have a full hotel or a large event going on?”

“We are exploring several possibilities with respect to additional parking for valet and parking near-by,” replied Hassett. “We are also exploring the possibility of using the rear of 1105 Elmwood for additional parking, which would give us an additional ten or eleven spaces.”

The new design has a total of 55 parking spaces for 72 rooms, with 39 of them underground and the rest on ground level.

Hassett also said that a “parking study” will be done on the area.

Concerns that the second floor of the hotel will be too close to the property of 605 Forest were also brought up. The board asked how far the hotel would be from the property and Karl Frizlen replied saying it would “be approximately five feet from the property line,” but he also admitted that, “I do not know exactly how close the house next door” will be from the hotel, but did say “I think the house is about four or five feet away from the property line and we [the hotel] sit right on the property line.”

The board is concerned the setback from the property is not enough saying the space between the building and the hotel is “pretty narrow.”

The City’s Common Council also agreed to table the proposal also citing the need for more public engagement and the need for more organizations to respond including the Buffalo Preservation Board and the Office of Historic Preservation.

During that meeting, Hassett also said the proposal to try and get a variance to obtain the properties of 605 and 607 Forest were “now off the agenda.”

The Common Council is expected to meet and hold a public hearing about the project and the rezoning of the properties to be demolished (1119-1121 Elmwood) on Tuesday March 7, 2006 at 2:00 p.m. in Council Chambers at City Hall. At the moment the properties are not zoned for a hotel.

ANZACs remembered ninety years after assault on Gallipoli

Monday, April 25, 2005

Australians and New Zealanders throughout the world stood still for their national war memorial days in remembrance of the failed Australian and New Zealand Army Corps — ANZAC — attack on Gallipoli, Turkey that began on 25 April 1915. The fateful attack was designed to end the First World War more quickly by creating a supply line to Russia. A hundred-thousand died in the battle, remembered every year as ANZAC Day by both nations.

The British-directed battle of Gallipoli is often seen as the defining moment in the ‘birth’ of Australia and New Zealand. With New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark saying “For New Zealand as for Australia it was at Gallipoli that our young nations came of age.” [1]. This being the 90th anniversary of the attack, Clark, Australian Prime Minister John Howard and Britain’s Prince Charles are all at Gallipoli to remember that fateful campaign.

Some controversy has been created about Australian Prime Minister John Howard not attending the New Zealand ceremony at Chunuk Bair on the Gallipoli Peninsula. This has upset many people as it is a break in a tradition that the Prime Ministers attend the ceremonies of both countries.

New Jersey officials: Stimulus bill hurting Atlantic City casinos

Sunday, March 29, 2009

A New Jersey congressman says restrictions on federal stimulus money are hurting gaming destinations like Atlantic City, and he is seeking to repeal a provision banning the use of funds for casinos or other gaming establishments.

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“The demonization of gaming destinations such as Las Vegas and Atlantic City for business travel is wrong, wrong, wrong,” U.S. Rep Frank LoBiondo said Friday during a press conference in front of Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City.

The $787 billion federal stimulus bill passed in February specifically prohibits casinos from applying for funds for infrastructure improvements and other similar projects. LoBiondo said Atlantic City is losing millions of dollars in business as a result of that provision.

Casinos’ revenues dropped 19.2 percent in February 2009 month compared to February 2008, according to the New Jersey Casino Control Commission. LoBiondo said $160 million worth of business and 120,000 visitors have chosen other cities for their tourism plans due to the stimulus bill, according to Atlantic City Convention Center figures.

The administration also recently determined other groups like nonprofit organizations and local governments may not spend their stimulus money at casino properties. State officials said the rules are damaging a major pillar of the New Jersey economy.

“Are those jobs somehow less important or less meaningful than those in the manufacturing, retail or financial industries?” said Ken Calemmo, chairman-elect of the Greater Atlantic City Chamber.

Anti-gambling officials said the stimulus law does not prohibit casinos from taking advantage of tax breaks, and Atlantic City officials should not complain about the stimulus bill because the city is too reliant on an unreliable revenue stream.

“There isn’t a state, including New Jersey or Nevada, that could gamble themselves rich, any more than an individual could gamble themselves rich,” said Tom Grey, field director for StopPredatoryGambling.org. “They should’ve diversified (the economy) instead of chasing their loss.”

But Joe Kelly, chamber president, said 35,000 people work at New Jersey casinos, and thousands more around the state work for outside vendors that depend on casinos for their business.

“It is not just an Atlantic County issue. It is not just a Cape May issue,” Kelly said. “There’s purchasing done by every county.”

LoBiondo is working to repeal the provision with U.S. Rep Shelly Berkley, co-chair of the Congressional Gaming Cascus, and has reached out to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who has a history of representing the interests of the gaming industry.

13-year-old shot dead by Brazilian police in mock-up of hijacking situation

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

A 13-year-old boy was killed and ten people were injured in an accidental shooting incident in the Brazilian town of Rondonopolis.

The police were staging a mock hijack as a training exercise with real people in a bus as an audience on Saturday. They fired their guns at cardboard cutouts of criminals in the exercise. However, they used live ammunition in their guns, and the shots went straight through the cutouts and the glass windows of the bus.

Luis Henrique Dias Bulhoes, 13, was killed by a single shot to the head received from one of three 12-gauge shotguns that were amongst the weaponry the 16 police were using. Among the 600 people attending the exercise, six children and three adults were also injured.

Police admitted to the blunder on Monday. They believe bullets from more than one gun reached the audience. Seven of the 16 policeman are temporarily dismissed from their positions pending investigations.

France school bus crash kills one, leaves five seriously injured

Sunday, February 19, 2012

A bus crashed into a ditch in northern France, killing one man and leaving at least four people seriously injured, the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office confirmed.

The crash occurred on the A26 autoroute, between Calais and Troyes, near Reims, at approximately 0300 CET (0200 UTC) this morning. The vehicle was carrying 29 school children and twenty or 21 adults, with the man killed being 59 years old. The 22 minorly injured and the four or five seriously injured are currently receiving hospital treatment.

The pupils, who attend Alvechurch Church of England Middle School in Worcestershire, England, were returning to the UK from a trip to Aosta Valley, a well-known skiing area in Italy. Those not injured have been transported to a local sports complex where the French Red Cross is providing psychological assistance.

Police tests have established that the driver was not drunk and has been tested negative for drugs. It is possible that he might have fallen asleep while driving. Details of how exactly the crash occurred are unclear presently. According to BBC News reporter Hugh Schofield, the vehicle “veered into the ditch at the side of the road and it was a very serious accident.” Video from the scene showed the coach, which was owned by an English company, had rolled onto its side.

To find out more about those involved in this crash, contact the Foreign and Commonwealth Office: 0207 008 1500

Occupation in London enters fifth day

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

In solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street and other “Occupy” protests, activists set up camp outside St Paul’s Cathedral in London on Saturday, and they plan to remain indefinitely. The protest thus far has been described as “largely peaceful” by a police spokesman.

On Saturday, an estimated thousand or more people attempted to protest in Paternoster Square, the site of the London Stock Exchange, but were blocked by police enforcing a High Court judgment. Julian Assange from Wikileaks also joined the protest to address the activists. A flag flies over the occupation showing the ‘Anonymous’ logo of a headless man in a black suit.

At around 9:30am Wednesday, many campers were still asleep, but around 30–50 people were listening in solidarity to trade union representatives from the National Shop Stewards Network, while 20 to 30 officers from the City of London police watched on. On the steps of St. Paul’s Cathedral, the speakers spoke about a variety of struggles including strikes by electricians that started in August against Balfour Beatty, one of Britain’s largest construction firms. Solidarity was expressed with the travellers at Dale Farm, and speakers described how the media and others were trying to “divide” workers, students and elderly people. One of the speakers said that while today they are occupying the square in London, “tomorrow we will be occupying universities and colleges” and spoke of the suspension of Vik Chechi, the Unison branch secretary who has been suspended by Queen Mary University. By 9:45am, the trade union talks had finished and the sound system was reactivated and reggae music started playing.

After the talks peter out, activity begins to resume on the site: people sorting out tents and serving food, under signs and banners playfully mixing politics (“The London Stock Exchange: Britain’s Biggest Casino”) with Internet memes (a Reddit cartoon man depicted saying “Y U NO JOIN US?”).

MMS comes to American iPhones

Friday, September 25, 2009

Today, after two years of waiting, American iPhone users are finally able to send and receive MMS messages. This long awaited feature has caused Apple and AT&T a great deal of grief from its user base. Originally the grief was directed at Apple for the lack of inclusion on the device, but as time progressed AT&T was faulted for lack of support.

When the iPhone was released in June of 2007, it lacked one feature that was widely available on other devices: MMS or Multimedia Messaging Service. This standard, similar to the all text SMS standard, allows users to send and receive video, audio, and picture files on their mobile phones. MMS was launched in 2002 and by 2007 was a common feature on most new mobile phones. It was not until June 2009, with the release of iPhone OS 3.0, that the devices also had the capability to send and receive these multimedia messages. Unfortunately for American iPhone users, all of whom use AT&T because of an exclusive agreement between the phone company and Apple, AT&T did not allow iPhone users to use this feature; that changed today.

Current iPhone users simply need to update (from iTunes) and reboot their device in order to enable MMS. AT&T was originally concerned about not having the network capacity to handle the data demand of all the MMS messages and in Wikinews’ own testing this seems to be a valid issue. The ability to send and receive MMS messages was functional, but by midday Friday (PST), AT&T’s network was extremely slow, with messages taking in excess of two minutes to send. Tests over AT&T’s 3G network showed upload and download speeds nearly halved what they were just a few days prior.