Judge to decide on Nigerian election re-run

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Judge to decide on Nigerian election re-run

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

A result is expected today on the possibility of an election re-run in Nigeria. Opposition parties claim that current President Umaru Yar’Adua’s People’s Democratic Party (PDP) fixed the results of the 2007 election in his favour and are calling to have the result annulled. So far, the tribunal has rejected one out of the two petitions calling for the annulment.

International suspicions were also raised at the time, with some voicing concern over the election.

A Nigerian judge is currently delivering the ruling on the case of granting the opposition parties a re-run, neither of which claim to have won the previous election. The decision could have negative impacts – if another election is called, it could be seen as an admittance of a ‘false democracy’ occurring in the last election and therefore undermining the political process in Nigeria. However, if no re-run of the election is called, it could cause instability between political rivals and may spark protests.

Emma Esau, of the Alliance for Credible elections, told the BBC: “We have faith the judges will give us a good ruling, and in any case we don’t believe there will be violence after the decision is announced. This will not take Nigeria to the brink.”

Yar’Adua assumed office on 29th May 2007 after the election in April, where he won 70% of the vote. Since then, he has became the first Nigerian leader to declare his personal assets, as well as overturning hikes in petroleum and tax made by the previous government. Despite these positive steps, he has also been surrounded by controversy, with several governors who served him before 2007 being charged by the EFCC, the anti-corruption commission.

Election annulments have already been passed for seven of thirty-six state governors and even the senate president, David Mark.

Posted by 4MSd2yHc on December 11th, 2018

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Iraqi activist forced to change t-shirt with Arabic peace slogan

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Iraqi activist forced to change t-shirt with Arabic peace slogan

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Raed Jarrar, an Iraqi peace activist who lives in the United States, was forced to change his T-Shirt, which bore an Arabic slogan, because it was found “offensive”.

The incident took place in JFK airport in New York. The activist Jarrar reported in his blog RaedInTheMiddle that he had checked-in his bags and was issued a boarding pass. After waiting near the gate to board his jetBlue airlines flight, and after having to gone through a secondary search, two officials approached him.

“People are feeling offended because of your t-shirt,” Raed reported that one of the men said to him. The writings on the T-Shirt said in both Arabic and English: “We will not be silent”.

Raed asked why this has offended anyone, and insisted his right to freedom of expression was violated.

According to Jarrar, one of the inspectors said, “You can’t wear a T-shirt with Arabic script and come to an airport. It is like wearing a t-shirt that reads ‘I am a robber’ and going to a bank”. The airport official, unable to read Arabic, was unyielding to protests by Jarrar that the English language version of the Arabic was accurate, and suggested he wear the shirt inside out.

“Many people called and complained about your t-shirt. Jetblue customers were calling before you reached the checkpoint, and customers called when you were waiting here in the boarding area”, Jarrar was told after he complained.

One employee from JetBlue offered to buy Jarrar a T-shirt to replace the one he was wearing, since the activist had none other after his bags were checked. Refusing at first, he agreed to wear one with “New York” written on it.

The officer on the scene commented that it need not have gone from one extreme to the other: wearing a T-Shirt with an Arabic peace slogan on it, to wearing one with ‘New York’. There is no reason to hate New York if you are an Arab speaking peace activist, according to Jarrar.

“I feel very sad that my personal freedom was taken away like this. I grew up under authoritarian governments in the Middle East, and one of the reasons I chose to move to the U.S. was that I don’t want an officer to make me change my t-shirt. I will pursue this incident today through a constitutional rights organization, and I am sure we will meet soon,” Raed said.

He was issued another boarding pass, with a different seat at the back of the plane.

JetBlue said it was investigating the incident but a spokeswoman said: “We’re not clear exactly what happened.” The spokeswoman also said the airline does not forbid Arabic T-shirts, but that it does take into account the concerns of its passengers.

The American-Arab Anti-discrimination Committee said the US Transportation Department and the Transportation Security Administration were also investigating the incident after the committee lodged complaints on behalf of Jarrar.

“We Will Not Be Silent” is a slogan adopted by opponents of the war in Iraq and other conflicts in the Middle East.

It is said to derive from the White Rose dissident group which opposed Nazi rule in Germany.

Posted by 4MSd2yHc on December 10th, 2018

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Three dead in murder-suicide shooting at Southern California fast food restaurant

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Three dead in murder-suicide shooting at Southern California fast food restaurant

Sunday, June 20, 2010

A 6-year-old boy and his father were shot and killed Saturday afternoon while eating inside a busy Del Taco fast food restaurant in San Bernadino, California, before the shooter turned a gun on himself.

According to the San Bernadino Police Department, 56-year-old Jimmy Schlager arrived at the Del Taco at 1:15pm PST (2015 UTC) on a bicycle, and, armed with two semi-automatic guns, entered the restaurant and opened fire on a family of four who were dining together. The employees and other customers all ran out of the restaurant and escaped without injury.

The father of the family, identified as 33-year-old Alex Trujillo, was declared dead at the scene, said the San Bernadino Fire Department. His wife and two sons were taken to Loma Linda University Medical Center in critical condition. His 6-year-old son, Adrian, died shortly after. The victims each suffered two bullet wounds, except the mother, who police say received up to ten gunshots. The names of the 29-year-old woman and her 5-year-old son have not been released. Both remained in critical condition on Saturday night.

After shooting the family, Schlager, later identified as the woman’s step-father, shot himself in the head. He was taken to Arrowhead Regional Medical Center, where he later died from the self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. Police said Schlager had previously been arrested a number of times, on charges that included theft and assault with a deadly weapon.

Posted by 4MSd2yHc on December 10th, 2018

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Chopper knocks Austrian gondola off cables, killing nine

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Chopper knocks Austrian gondola off cables, killing nine

Wednesday, September 7, 2005

On Monday, a helicopter accidentally dropped a concrete block weighing nearly 1,500 pounds when it was flying it up to an Austrian mountain for a “ski resort construction project”. The concrete block struck a cable holding a gondola, the one that suffered all of the casualties, although other gondolas reported people suffering injuries from the jolt. The car that was hit fell quite some distance to the ground, up to hundreds of meters. Two more cars started tilting as some people were flung out from these cars.

A least nine people are reported to be killed in the incidents. There are also many injured, some of them seriously. Up to a dozen rescue helicopters immediately rushed to the scene from all over the Swiss alps.

The work was made to make the infrastructure more secure after an incident that happened when a low-flying US marine plane cut through a cable killing 20 people in 1998. This incident will bring into question if those policies saved lives or need to be recast in light of this tragedy.

Posted by 4MSd2yHc on December 10th, 2018

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International row after Spielberg quits 2008 Beijing Olympics

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International row after Spielberg quits 2008 Beijing Olympics

Friday, February 15, 2008

On Wednesday, United States film director Steven Spielberg withdrew from his position as artistic adviser to the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China. “Conscience will not allow me to continue with business as usual,” he said.

“Sudan’s government bears the bulk of the responsibility for these ongoing crimes but the international community, and particularly China, should be doing more to end the continuing human suffering there,” Spielberg’s statement said. “China’s economic, military and diplomatic ties to the government of Sudan continue to provide it with the opportunity and obligation to press for change.”

China immediately expressed regret over his decision and suggested that “ulterior motives” may be at play. “It is understandable if some people do not understand the Chinese government policy on Darfur, but I am afraid that some people may have ulterior motives, and this we cannot accept. … China is also concerned about the humanitarian situation in Darfur. [But] empty rhetoric will not help. We hope that relevant people will be more pragmatic,” said Liu Jianchao, the Deputy-Director General of the Information Department in China’s foreign ministry.

Following Spielberg’s withdrawal, other organizations called for boycott of the Games. However, United Kingdom Minister for the Olympics Tessa Jowell rejected such calls. “The world has known for the last seven years that Beijing would host the Olympics,” Jowell told The Times. “Most progressive governments accept that there are wholly unacceptable aspects of Chinese policy, but that did not stop the International Olympic Committee awarding them the games. A call for a boycott doesn’t serve any purpose and it would be a great pity. This doesn’t mean, however, we should be distracted from the urgency of Darfur.”

“China is also concerned about the humanitarian issues there, but we have been playing a positive and constructive role in promoting peace in Darfur,” Liu said, adding that China is working with the United Nations to provide aid and resolve the crisis.

Critics of China contend that China supports the Islamic regime in Sudan because it buys two-thirds of the country’s oil exports and also sells it weapons. Further, China has been defending the government in Khartoum in the United Nations Security Council. Since 2003, fighting between government-backed militia and rebels in Darfur has led to the death of more than 200,000 people and displaced some 2.5 million others.

Meanwhile, United States President George W. Bush confirmed that he still plans to attend the Games in Beijing. “I view the Olympics as a sporting event. On the other hand, I have a different platform to Steven Spielberg, so I get to talk to Hu Jintao [President of China] and I do remind him he can do more to relieve the suffering in Darfur.”

Bush followed this by saying: “Iā€™m not going to use the Olympics as an opportunity to express my opinions to the Chinese people in a public way because I do it all the time with the president.”

Posted by 4MSd2yHc on December 10th, 2018

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Getting Reliable Plumbing Services

byAlma Abell

The quality of plumbing services in your home is one of the most important determiners of the hygiene levels of the home. When the systems are in the proper working order, you will enjoy efficient water supply in the home and drainage of waste from the home. On the other hand, when the plumbing systems have a problem, you will have problems with the supply of water and drainage of wastes from the home. Here are some of the tips that can help you get the reliable plumbing services for your home.

Installation of plumbing systemsWhen installing the systems, you need to make sure that aspects such as the diameter of the water supply pipes, the material used in making the faucets, sinks and shower heads are of a superior quality. If you are not sure about the right sizes, brands and materials, you should work together with a plumbing expert when buying the supplies. Note that when you buy inferior quality supplies, the lifespan of the plumbing systems will be greatly reduced. Buying good supplies is just half of the equation; the other half is making sure that they are installed in the right manner. When you involve a competent plumber in the process of installation, it will take a long time before you need plumbing repair services.

The maintenance of plumbing servicesIt is important to have your plumbing systems checked for flaws regularly. You should hire an expert plumber to do the maintenance. Instruct the expert to keep checking for issues like blockages in the drains, and accumulation of lime scale. If the problem is discovered, repairs will be done before the systems start leaking or falling apart, causing water damage and other problems.

Repairs and replacementIn case you have problems such as leaking faucets, blocked sinks and problems with the hot water supply systems, you should contact a plumber for repairs. Besides the repair of the ruined systems, plumbers will help you with advice that will prevent further problems.

These are some of the things that you should know about getting Reliable Plumbing Services. M.A. Williams of Inc. Drain Cleaning & Plumbing is one of the best plumbers in town. He will help you with proper installation, maintenance and repairs.

Posted by 4MSd2yHc on December 10th, 2018

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Pfizer and Microsoft team up against Viagra spam

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Pfizer and Microsoft team up against Viagra spam

Sunday, February 13, 2005

New York ā€“”Buy cheap Viagra through us – no prescription required!” Anyone with an active email account will recognize lines like this one. According to some reports, unsolicited advertisements (spam) for Viagra and similar drugs account for one in four spam messages.

BACKGROUND

Spamming remains one of the biggest problems facing email users today. While users and systems administrators have improved their defenses against unsolicited email, many spammers now insert random words or characters into their letters in order to bypass filters. The Wikipedia article Stopping email abuse provides an overview of the various strategies employed by companies, Internet users and systems administrators to deal with the issue.

Ever since pharmaceutical giant Pfizer promised to cure erectile dysfunction once and for all with its blue pills containing the drug sildenafil citrate, spammers have tried to tap into male anxiety by offering prescription-free sales of unapproved “generic” Viagra and clones such as Cialis soft tabs. Legislation like the U.S. CAN-SPAM act has done little to stem the tide of email advertising the products.

Now Pfizer has entered a pledge with Microsoft Corporation, the world’s largest software company, to address the problem. The joint effort will focus on lawsuits against spammers as well as the companies they advertise. “Pfizer is joining with Microsoft on these actions as part of our shared pledge to reduce the sale of these products and to fight the senders of unsolicited e-mail that overwhelms people’s inboxes,” said Jeff Kindler, executive vice president at Pfizer.

Microsoft has filed civil actions against spammers advertising the websites CanadianPharmacy and E-Pharmacy Direct. Pfizer has filed lawsuits against the two companies, and has taken actions against websites which use the word “Viagra” in their domain names. Sales of controlled drugs from Canadian pharmacies to the United States are illegal, but most drugs sold in Canada have nevertheless undergone testing by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. This is not the case for many of the Viagra clones sold by Internet companies and manufactured in countries like China and India. While it was not clear that CanadianPharmacy was actually shipping drugs from Canada, Pfizer’s general counsel, Beth Levine, claimed that the company filled orders using a call center in Montreal, reported the Toronto Star.

For Microsoft’s part, they allege that the joint effort with Pfizer is part of their “multi-pronged attack on the barrage of spam.” As the creator of the popular email program Outlook, Microsoft has been criticized in the past for the product’s spam filtering process. Recently, Microsoft added anti-spam measures to its popular Exchange server. Exchange 2003 now includes support for accessing so-called real-time block lists, or RTBLs. An RTBL is a list of the IP addresses maintained by a third party; the addresses on the list are those of mailservers thought to have sent spam recently. Exchange 2003 can query the list for each message it receives.

Posted by 4MSd2yHc on December 10th, 2018

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Scottish man sentenced over ‘grossly offensive’ joke on YouTube

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Scottish man sentenced over ‘grossly offensive’ joke on YouTube

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

On Monday, Mark Meechan of Scotland was fined GBP800 for a joke video he posted on YouTube. He was found guilty of being “grossly offensive” in violation of the Communications Act of 2003 on March 20. Meechan, whose YouTube persona is “Count Dankula”, posted a video on the social media site in which he trained a pug, a small companion dog, to respond to spoken words such as “Sieg Heil” and “Gas the Jews”. Meechan had been facing possible time in prison for the offense.

Dozens of free speech advocates protested the conviction outside of the courthouse as Meechan’s punishment was delivered. After the sentencing, Meechan insisted he had only been exercising his right to free speech and he intends to appeal. Simultaneously, in London hundreds of protesters marched to Downing Street in support of Meechan.

In April of 2016, Meechan uploaded a video titled “M8 Yer Dugs A Nazi” to YouTube in which he trained the dog to respond to certain spoken commands. The dog, which belongs to his girlfriend Suzanne Kelly, learned to raise its front paw when the “Sieg Hitler” command was given, and react when the words “Gas the Jews” were spoken. The video has been viewed over three million times. Currently it is on ‘restricted mode’ on YouTube. In the video, which runs 2 minutes 23 seconds, Meechan states that he is not a racist.

Meechan’s defense, by attorney Ross Brown, maintained the video was a joke. Meechan claimed he meant to annoy Kelly.

Director of the Scottish Council of Jewish Communities Ephraim Borowski testified for the prosecution. “In many ways, the bit I found most offensive was the repetition of ‘gas the Jews’ rather than the dog itself,” said Borowski. “Material of this kind goes to normalize the antisemitic views that frankly we thought we had seen the last of[…] The Holocaust is not a subject for jocular content.”

The sheriff court with Derek O’Carroll presiding in Airdrie, North Lanarkshire found that Meechan was guilty because the video was “anti-Semitic and racist in nature”. O’Carroll elaborated: “This court has taken the freedom of expression into consideration, but the right to freedom of expression also comes with responsibility.”

O’Carroll further said, “The accused is quite obviously an intelligent and articulate man. The accused knew that the material was offensive and knew why it was offensive. Despite that the accused made a video containing anti-Semitic content and he would have known it was grossly offensive to many Jewish people.”

After the conviction, some British comedians voiced their support for Meechan. Ricky Gervais tweeted: “If you don’t believe in a person’s right to say things that you might find ‘grossly offensive’, then you don’t believe in Freedom of Speech.” David Baddiel also tweeted, saying “an actual Nazi would not be teaching his *pug* to Hitler salute.”

Posted by 4MSd2yHc on December 9th, 2018

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Woman finds human finger in bowl of chili at Wendy’s restaurant

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Woman finds human finger in bowl of chili at Wendy’s restaurant

Thursday, March 24, 2005

San Jose, California ā€” A woman eating a bowl of chili at a Wendy’s restaurant bit into a chewy bit that turned out to be a human finger. She immediately spat it out, warned other patrons to stop eating, and upon recognizing the object as a finger, vomited.

“I’m more of a Carl’s Jr. person,” the 39-year-old Las Vegas woman, Anna Ayala, told Knight Ridder. She said this incident was her first visit to a Wendy’s restaurant. Ayala described how she found the finger, “Suddenly something crunchy was in my mouth,” she continued, “and I spit it out.”

According to Devina Cordero, 20, after Ayala found the finger, she ran up to her and Cordero’s boyfriend and said, “Don’t eat it! Look, there’s a human finger in our chili.”

“We went up to the counter and they told us it was a vegetable,” Cordero continued. “The people from Wendy’s were poking it with a spoon.”

The restaurant is located at 1405 Monterey Highway, just south of downtown San Jose.

Wikinews reporter David Vasquez drove his car up to the drive-thru menu and found that chili was still on the menu, at a price of US$1.19 for a small serving. He also witnessed workers unloading supplies from a semi-trailer truck in the restaurant’s parking lot, and carting them into the back door of the establishment.

According to Ben Gale, director of environmental health for Santa Clara County, the finger did not come from any of the employees at the restaurant. “We asked everybody to show us they have 10 fingers and everything is OK there,” he said. The found portion of the finger likely belonged to a woman because of its long and manicured fingernail, also found in the food.

Officials seized the food supply at the restaurant and are tracing it back to the manufacturer, where they believe the finger may have gotten mixed in with the raw ingredients used to prepare the chili. The restaurant’s operators were later permitted to re-open after preparing new chili prepared from fresh ingredients.

As this story was filed, there was no mention of the incident on the Wendy’s corporate web site. Wendy’s issued a statement through a spokesman.

“Food safety is of utmost importance to us,” said Wendy’s spokesman Joe Desmond. He referred to the incident as an “unsubstantiated claim.”

“We are cooperating fully with the local police and health departments with their investigation. It’s important not to jump to conclusions. Here at Wendy’s we plan to do right by our customers,” Desmond said.

According to county health officials, the unfortunate woman who bit into the finger is doing fine, despite her initial reaction. Officials also noted that the finger would have been cooked at a high enough temperature to destroy any viruses.

The Santa Clara county medical examiner reported that the finger had a solid fingerprint, although investigators did not say if a search of fingerprint databases would be performed to find the owner of the finger.

This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.
This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.

Posted by 4MSd2yHc on December 8th, 2018

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Flash floods kill at least nineteen campers in Arkansas

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Flash floods kill at least nineteen campers in Arkansas

Monday, June 14, 2010

Search and rescue workers in Arkansas continue to search the Little Missouri and Caddo Rivers for survivors of Friday’s flash flood. At least nineteen people were killed when the flood swept through the Albert Pike Recreation Area campground in the Ouachita National Forest in the southwestern portion of the state.

Initially, Arkansas governor Mike Beebe said twenty people were killed when the flash flood reached its peak at about 5:30 a.m. local time on Friday morning, but as of Monday the death toll stands at nineteen. Amongst the dead are at least six children under seven who died when what has been described as a “wall of water” swept away campers while they slept.

With no record of who and how many people were at the camp site, rescue workers initially thought up to 40 people were missing, estimating numbers from vehicles and camping equipment remaining. Temporary cell phone towers have been erected in the area, in the hope that survivors would be able to call for help.

Speaking to CNN on Saturday, Bill Sadler, an Arkansas State Police spokesman, said: “We believe there are still individuals trapped in the area.” He added that “The primary mission of the Arkansas state police working with the local authorities right now is to get the living out of that area and locate the dead.” Most of those who had thought to be missing have now been accounted for.

Survivors describe having to cling to trees to avoid being swept away. Others escaped by climbing into higher ground. Rescuers hope that those missing can still be found alive on these higher grounds. The flood swept away everything from automobiles to RVs and, though it pales in comparison to floods like to much bigger flash floods like the Big Thompson Canyon flood in Colorado of 1976 that killed 144, many people at the site of the disaster said they “had never heard of anything like this.”

This was such a huge, huge fast-moving event.

Surrounded by mountains, the camp site “filled up like a bowl”, according to Chad Stover, a spokesman for the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management. The area where the flooding happened is known as a “flash flood alley”. This is due to the hilly topography, which creates a bowl like effect that drains rainfall into smaller streams. That means if there’s a lot of rainfall, it will all go into the streams that can flood very easily.

Before the actual torrent of water came, the waters of the Little Missouri river increased at a very rapid rate. At 2:00 a.m Friday, the waters of the Little Missouri river were just 3.8 feet, according to US Geological Survey river gauge logs. However, it surged to 10 feet over the next hour and peaked at 23.4 feet, which is almost 20 feet above the river’s norm. It also exceeded the river’s previous record by 10 feet. After the peak, the river dropped back to 8 feet by noon.

Raymond Slade, a Texas-based U.S Geological Survey hydrologist and an expert on floods, said that the amount of rainfall could have exceeded seven inches in an hour, a phenomenon so rare that scientists call that a “100-year rainfall”. Slade says that “This was much greater than a 100-year rainfall. That flood that occurred was much bigger than a 100-year flood, where those people were camped.”

Posted by 4MSd2yHc on December 8th, 2018

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