Suresh Joachim breaks ironing world record
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Suresh Joachim breaks ironing world record



Tuesday, September 27, 2005

BramptonSuresh Joachim of Mississauga, Ontario continues to amaze, breaking yet another world record, this time at The Bay Court in Shoppers World.

From Thursday, September 22 at 8 am, to Saturday, September 24 at 3:05 pm, Suresh ironed continuously for 55 hours and 5 minutes, in front of the thousands of onlookers shopping at the mall those three days.

The achievement, now submitted to the Guinness Book of World Records, breaks the previous record by Eufemia Stadler of Zurich, Switzerland. Stadler completed 40 hours of continuous ironing from September 16-18, 1999.

Originally from Sri Lanka and Australia, Joachim is no stranger to the folks at Guinness. He currently holds twenty other records, ranging from greatest distance travelled on ‘up’ and ‘down’ escalators (225.44 km between May 25 and May 31 1998), furthest travelled on a treadmill in one week (659.27 km at a gym in Paris, France), and longest dance marathon by an individual (100 hours at the Dixie Outlet Mall).

This September, Suresh watched television in the lobby of WABC in New York City for 69 hours and 7 minutes, breaking the previous record by 19 hours. The event was covered daily on the talk show “Live with Regis and Kelly” as part of their Guinness World Record Breaker Week. He also recently set the record for longest time rocking in a rocking chair, at 75 hours.

A DJ on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire recently tried to break Joachim’s record for longest continuous time as a DJ. He was unsuccessful, and Suresh’s 120-hour World Record set on Geethavaani Tamil Radio in Scarborough stands unharmed.

The event helped raise funds for the Universal Fund for Suffering Children, whose funds are “utilized to save the world’s children from poverty, disease and war.” All of Joachim’s stunts have been dedicated to this charity.

What’s next for Suresh? He plans to start static cycling from October 18th, 2005 to October 22nd, 2005, in Britain. Suresh’s goal is 150 world records, which would beat the long-time record breaker Ashrita Furman, who has accumulated 94 records. While Furman started two decades ago, Suresh only discovered the Guinness Book of World Records in 1991, and started record breaking in 1996.

You can visit Suresh online at www.sureshjoachim.org

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.

Smart-1 probe ends mission with planned crash into the Moon
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Smart-1 probe ends mission with planned crash into the Moon



Tuesday, September 5, 2006

Observatories around the world watched the skies early on Sunday morning as a European space probe, the SMART-1 crash landed on the Moon; the first time a European made object has landed there and, as the first, it made quite a bang. For the culmination of its three-year mission the probe left its orbit around our nearest neighbor and smashed into the Lake of Excellence at around 4,500 mph. The impact created a brand new crater and scattered debris up to 30 miles, in contrast to the gentle touchdown of the Eagle lander (when Neil Armstrong became the first man on the moon) 37 years ago.


Markets dragged down by credit crisis
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Markets dragged down by credit crisis



Friday, August 10, 2007

Global stock markets fell today, in a mass sell-off stemming from the sub-prime mortgage crisis in the United States. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rebounded late in the day after falling more than 250 points, ending the day down about 31 points. The UK’s FTSE-100 index fell 232.90 points to 6038.30, and Japan’s Nikkei 225 fell 406.51 points to 16764.09.

Central banks across the world are injecting funds into their banking systems to add liquidity, fearing that many financial firms with subprime ties will be insolvent. Yesterday, the U.S. Federal Reserve transferred US$24 billion to temporary reserves, following the European Central Bank, which authorized a record €83.6 billion addition to its banks, its biggest cash infusion ever. On Friday, the Fed entered into a $38 billion repurchase agreement of mortgage-backed securities, easing stockholder worries. Also on Friday, the Bank of Japan injected ¥1 trillion into Japan’s financial system.

The Federal Reserve met this week, but decided to maintain its target rate of 5.25%, although on Friday the federal funds rate was hovering around 6%, indicating a drop in liquidity.

The volatile week began last Friday with Bear Stearns tumbling as a result from its complete loss of two major hedge funds worth more than $1.5 billion. The hedge funds had been dangerously exposed to the massive sub-prime mortgage failure, and the company announced it was unable to return any money to investors.

Washington Mutual, and Countrywide Financial, both very large U.S. home loan lenders, saw shares fall. Countrywide Financial made a statement this week, saying they will be forced to retain a greater proportion of mortgage. American Home Mortgage Investment Corp, another large lender, recently filed for bankruptcy. The U.S. housing market has been declining for more than two years after the Federal Reserve raised interest rates 17 times. Now, lenders are in a quagmire from millions of people who are unable to repay loans after taking adjustable rate mortgages, teaser rates, interest-only mortgages, or piggyback rates.

Jim Cramer, of CNBC’s Mad Money, remarked that as many as seven million people will lose their homes from bad mortgages. Last Friday, Cramer went on a tirade on CNBC’s Street Signs, saying that the “Fed was asleep” and called for them to lower rates immediately.

Asian and European markets have become increasingly entangled in the subprime mortgage crisis in the U.S. Deutsche Bank of Germany lost almost $3.5 billion in share value, forcing the government to organize a bail-out. France’s largest bank, BNP Paribas SA, halted withdrawals from three large investment funds which were crippled by sub-prime exposure.


Ontario Votes 2007: Interview with Freedom Party candidate David McGruer, Ottawa-Orleans
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Ontario Votes 2007: Interview with Freedom Party candidate David McGruer, Ottawa-Orleans



Tuesday, October 2, 2007

David McGruer is running for the Freedom Party of Ontario in the Ontario provincial election, in the Ottawa-Orleans riding. Wikinews’ Nick Moreau interviewed him regarding his values, his experience, and his campaign.

Stay tuned for further interviews; every candidate from every party is eligible, and will be contacted. Expect interviews from Liberals, Progressive Conservatives, New Democratic Party members, Ontario Greens, as well as members from the Family Coalition, Freedom, Communist, Libertarian, and Confederation of Regions parties, as well as independents.


Altered HIV a potential cancer treatment?
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Altered HIV a potential cancer treatment?



Wednesday, February 16, 2005

At UCLA, a team of researchers has developed a harmless version of HIV that is designed to seek out, and potentially destroy, cancer cells.

In a laboratory-mouse experiment, the treated cells headed directly for melonoma and lung cancer cells, clustering around them with a surprising level of intuitiveness. Gene therapy for cancer has been at an impasse for the last 20 years, said the team, but now an effective carrier has been found in the most unlikely of sources. Essentially, one of the world’s largest health threats is now being considered to fight another.

Says Dr. Irvin Chen, from UCLA’s AIDS Institute, “The disarmed AIDS virus acts like a Trojan horse, transporting therapeutic agents to a targeted part of the body, such as the lungs, where tumors often spread.”

First the virus’s coating is removed and the virus is reprogrammed so that it recognizes and attaches to the p-lipoproteins of a cancer cell, one of cancer’s primary defenses. The retro-virus was also altered with a fluorescent protein for easy tracking within the lab mice. The next step will be to graft a cancer-killing gene onto the modified AIDS virus’s genetic structure.

Currently, a case of melanoma skin cancer spreading to the lungs is a confirmed death sentence. Should this method of treatment improve into a workable treatment, both life-threatening cancers and the AIDS retro-virus could be effectively neutered. But the team cautions that the treatment is in the very early stages and will take several more years to develop.


Wikinews wanders the Referendum-year Edinburgh Festival Fringe
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Wikinews wanders the Referendum-year Edinburgh Festival Fringe



Wednesday, August 27, 2014

With many venues reporting sell-out shows, the 68th year of the Edinburgh Festival attracted visitors from around the globe. Wikinews’ Brian McNeil roamed the city for the four weeks of the event, capturing the colour, spectacle, and comedy, in photos.

The image gallery below may take some time to load on slower connections. You may click on the first image to view the images with the new Mediawiki Media Viewer; again, full-size/full-screen images may take time to load.
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Travel ban 2.0 exempts Iraqis, U.S. permanent residents
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Travel ban 2.0 exempts Iraqis, U.S. permanent residents



Thursday, March 9, 2017

On Monday, U.S. president Donald Trump signed in the Oval Office a revised version of his executive order barring entry to the United States by refugees and individuals from certain Muslim-majority countries. While the previous ban, which caused chaos at airports and drew considerable criticism from within and outside of the U.S. government, covered seven countries, this one names only six and specifically exempts legal permanent residents and anyone who already has a visa to enter the country, or a visa revoked by the earlier executive order.

Residents of Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen must now wait 90 days for visas. Iraq was removed following concerns that people who had helped the United States military and Iraqi government during and after the Iraq War might be left in danger. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said this was because the U.S. State Department and Iraqi government improved the vetting process, though he did not say what exactly changed. The Iraqi government also lobbied heavily. Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi spoke with President Trump by phone and Vice President Pence in person. A senior official with the Trump administration also told reporters the Iraqi government had promised “timely repatriation” for Iraqi nationals whom the U.S. has decided to deport.

There is still a 120-day moratorium on accepting refugees into the U.S., though the ban on Syrian refugees is no longer indefinite. The new order omits language that gave priority to religious minorities, which critics such as National Public Radio’s Domenico Montanaro read as “Christians.” Claims of religious discrimination against Muslims contributed to the first order’s overturn by the judiciary.

Under the previous travel ban, permanent residents in possession of a green card were concerned that if they were to visit their home countries they might be barred from returning to the United States. The new executive order exempts them.

Representative Adam Schiff, a Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said both orders have “the same fundamental flaws.” Representative Andre Carson of Indiana, who is Muslim, referred to this as “Muslim ban 2.0” on Twitter. Senator Chuck Schumer, a Democrat from New York, called for the order’s repeal, saying, “A watered-down ban is still a ban.”

Not all of the response has been negative. “I have always shared President Trump’s desire to protect our homeland,” said Senator Lindsay Graham, a Republican and a critic of the first executive order. “This Executive Order will achieve the goal of protecting our homeland and will, in my view, pass legal muster.”

The order is set to go into effect on March 16. The White House continues to affirm that the original travel ban was legal and the issue may still be heard before the U.S. Supreme Court.


2005 National Conference in the Norwegian Centre Party
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2005 National Conference in the Norwegian Centre Party



Tuesday, April 5, 2005NORWAY; Kristiansand: In the weekend between the 11. and 13. of March the Norwegian Centre Party held its annual National Conference in Kristiansand. The conference was clearly inspired by the prospects of a majority in the parliament together with the Norwegian Socialist Left- and Labour Party, according to all polls.

In this conference the leader, Åslaug Haga, was re-elected against one vote and to great applaus from the 187 other voters.

Compromise on oil drilling in the Barents Sea The matter of greatest anticipation before the convention was a question if the environmentalist Centre Party would open for oil drilling in the Barents Sea. The Centre Youth had clearly announced its opposition to the suggestion at an earlier point.

After a long debate with both very young and very old committed debaters the coalition of the hardest environmentalists, the leader and the Centre Youth surprisingly lost the voting. The Centre Party opened for a compromise proposed by one of the two second leaders, Lars Peder Brekk, on accepting oil drilling with untraditionally strong demands for environmental safety.

Focus on decentralization The leader, Åslaug Haga, and most of the debaters in the conference made it clear that the Centre Party was sharpening it decentralization-knives. In the conference Haga was joined by several other active members in underlining the Centre Partys role as the most dedicated decentralizationing-party in Norway.

It was clear from the debaters that the main role of the party in a possibly upcoming majority-government (majority in parliament) with the Labour and Socialist Left Party mainly was to make the government focus on turning around the sentralization of Norway and to hinder the Labour Party and the Conservative Party from cooperating on sending a new application for membership in the European Union.Kurtber 07:42, 5 Apr 2005 (UTC)


Hundreds of SUNY New Paltz students demonstrate, storm administration building
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Hundreds of SUNY New Paltz students demonstrate, storm administration building



Saturday, October 22, 2005

New Paltz, New York — More than 350 U.S. students took part in a demonstration Friday outside the SUNY New Paltz Student Union Building where student leaders used a bullhorn from the rooftop to rally the gathering on the concourse below. University police dispersed student leaders from the roof which was followed by more than 100 students storming the Haggerty Administration Building (HAB).

During the 2004–2005 academic year, students lobbied for a $10 million renovation project for their Student Union Building, which has not been renovated since its construction more than 30 years ago.

HAB spokesman Eric Gullickson said that the supplemental appropriation for the project is the largest in the history of the college and that the six-member advisory committee includes three students but that; “the Student Association, which was offered the first seat on this committee, declined the opportunity,” Gullickson said.

Student leaders, including Student Body President R.J. Partington III and Student Senate ChairJustin Holmes, who played a role in organizing this demonstration, testified during the Spring 2005 semester before the New York State Assembly Committee on Higher Education, eventually winning the renovation project. Holmes says that Gullickson’s assertions are; “an out-and-out lie. The SA was never offered such a seat. We were offered 1 seat on a seven seat committee, with the administration selecting the other six members.”

The major arguments for a capital project on the Student Union Building were that it:

  • did not accommodate organizations and organization office needs
  • lacked crucial technology for student mobilization
  • was built for a student population less than half the size of 2005, and
  • was one of the longest standing Student Unions in the SUNY system which had not undergone a renovation

During the Fall 2005 semester the HAB claimed that it would oversee the renovation project, citing the need for a larger lobby and bookstore.

The Kingston Daily Freeman reported:

The crystallizing issue for the demonstration was the upcoming $10 million renovation of the Student Union building. The renovation, scheduled to begin in about two years, will be the first major change to the building since it was built 34 years ago, according to college spokesman Eric Gullickson, who said the supplemental appropriation for the project in the state budget is the largest in the college’s history.

Gullickson also said that a six-member committee had been formed to guide the design process, but student leaders, including Partington, were told that the proposed committee would be seven members, including four non-students and two students who were appointed by the HAB.

“No matter the size and makeup of the HAB’s so-called renovation committee, it has nothing to do with the actual renovation process, which will be administered by a student committee, with input from other parties of course considered,” responded Holmes.

During the Fall 2005 semester, Student Body President R.J. Partington III attempted to negotiate with Administrators, including HAB President Steven G. Poskanzer, over the project.

The HAB refused to concede to student demands.

At this point, the Student Senate passed legislation proclaiming that the project would be overseen by a committee where students constitute a majority, and Partington announced that he “did not recognize and would not sit on” any committee that did not meet the needs of students.

Vice President of Acacdemic Affairs & Governance, Stephanie Adika said, “If the HAB won’t even listen to us about our own building, how are they going to listen to us about all the other problems the students have with SUNY New Paltz.”


Listening to you at last: EU plans to tap cell phones
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Listening to you at last: EU plans to tap cell phones



Monday, October 19, 2009

A report accidentally published on the Internet provides insight into a secretive European Union surveillance project designed to monitor its citizens, as reported by Wikileaks earlier this month. Project INDECT aims to mine data from television, internet traffic, cellphone conversations, p2p file sharing and a range of other sources for crime prevention and threat prediction. The €14.68 million project began in January, 2009, and is scheduled to continue for five years under its current mandate.

INDECT produced the accidentally published report as part of their “Extraction of Information for Crime Prevention by Combining Web Derived Knowledge and Unstructured Data” project, but do not enumerate all potential applications of the search and surveillance technology. Police are discussed as a prime example of users, with Polish and British forces detailed as active project participants. INDECT is funded under the European Commission’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7), and includes participation from Austria, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, Spain, and the United Kingdom.

Indicated in the initial trial’s report, the scope of data collected is particularly broad; days of television news, radio, newspapers, and recorded telephone conversations are included. Several weeks of content from online sources were agglomerated, including mining Wikipedia for users’ and article subjects’ relations with others, organisations, and in-project movements.

Watermarking of published digital works such as film, audio, or other documents is discussed in the Project INDECT remit; its purpose is to integrate and track this information, its movement within the system and across the Internet. An unreleased promotional video for INDECT located on YouTube is shown to the right. The simplified example of the system in operation shows a file of documents with a visible INDECT-titled cover taken from an office and exchanged in a car park. How the police are alerted to the document theft is unclear in the video; as a “threat”, it would be the INDECT system’s job to predict it.

Throughout the video use of CCTV equipment, facial recognition, number plate reading, and aerial surveillance give friend-or-foe information with an overlaid map to authorities. The police proactively use this information to coordinate locating, pursuing, and capturing the document recipient. The file of documents is retrieved, and the recipient roughly detained.

Technology research performed as part of Project INDECT has clear use in countering industrial and international espionage, although the potential use in maintaining any security and predicting leaks is much broader. Quoted in the UK’s Daily Telegraph, Liberty’s director, Shami Chakrabarti, described a possible future implementation of INDECT as a “sinister step” with “positively chilling” repercussions Europe-wide.

“It is inevitable that the project has a sensitive dimension due to the security focussed goals of the project,” Suresh Manandhar, leader of the University of York researchers involved in the “Work Package 4” INDECT component, responded to Wikinews. “However, it is important to bear in mind that the scientific methods are much more general and has wider applications. The project will most likely have lot of commercial potential. The project has an Ethics board to oversee the project activities. As a responsible scientists [sic] it is of utmost importance to us that we conform to ethical guidelines.”

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Although Wikinews attempted to contact Professor Helen Petrie of York University, the local member of Project INDECT’s Ethics board, no response was forthcoming. The professor’s area of expertise is universal access, and she has authored a variety of papers on web-accessibility for blind and disabled users. A full list of the Ethics board members is unavailable, making their suitability unassessable and distancing them from public accountability.

One potential application of Project INDECT would be implementation and enforcement of the U.K.’s “MoD Manual of Security“. The 2,389-page 2001 version passed to Wikileaks this month — commonly known as JSP-440, and marked “RESTRICTED” — goes into considerable detail on how, as a serious threat, investigative journalists should be monitored, and effectively thwarted; just the scenario the Project INDECT video could be portraying.

When approached by Wikinews about the implications of using INDECT, a representative of the U.K.’s Attorney General declined to comment on legal checks and balances such a system might require. Further U.K. enquiries were eventually referred to the Police Service of Northern Ireland, who have not yet responded.

Wikinews’ Brian McNeil contacted Eddan Katz, the International Affairs Director for the Electronic Frontier Foundation (E.F.F.). Katz last spoke to Wikinews in early 2008 on copyright, not long after taking his current position with the E.F.F. He was back in Brussels to speak to EU officials, Project INDECT was on his agenda too — having learned of it only two weeks earlier. Katz linked Project INDECT with a September report, NeoConopticon — The EU Security-Industrial Complex, authored by Ben Hayes for the Transnational Institute. The report raises serious questions about the heavy involvement of defence and IT companies in “security research”.

On the record, Katz answered a few questions for Wikinews.

((WN)) Is this illegal? Is this an invasion of privacy? Spying on citizens?

Eddan Katz When the European Parliament issued the September 5, 2001 report on the American ECHELON system they knew such an infrastructure is in violation of data protection law, undermines the values of privacy and is the first step towards a totalitarian surveillance information society.

((WN)) Who is making the decisions based on this information, about what?

E.K. What’s concerning to such a large extent is the fact that the projects seem to be agnostic to that question. These are the searching systems and those people that are working on it in these research labs do search technology anyway. […] but its inclusion in a database and its availability to law enforcement and its simultaneity of application that’s so concerning, […] because the people who built it aren’t thinking about those questions, and the social questions, and the political questions, and all this kind of stuff. [… It] seems like it’s intransparent, unaccountable.

The E.U. report Katz refers to was ratified just six days before the September 11 attacks that brought down the twin towers of the World Trade Center. In their analysis of the never-officially-recognised U.S. Echelon spy system it states, “[i]n principle, activities and measures undertaken for the purposes of state security or law enforcement do not fall within the scope of the EC Treaty.” On privacy and data-protection legislation enacted at E.U. level it comments, “[such does] not apply to ‘the processing of data/activities concerning public security, defence, state security (including the economic well-being of the state when the activities relate to state security matters) and the activities of the state in areas of criminal law'”.

Part of the remit in their analysis of Echelon was rumours of ‘commercial abuse’ of intelligence; “[i]f a Member State were to promote the use of an interception system, which was also used for industrial espionage, by allowing its own intelligence service to operate such a system or by giving foreign intelligence services access to its territory for this purpose, it would undoubtedly constitute a breach of EC law […] activities of this kind would be fundamentally at odds with the concept of a common market underpinning the EC Treaty, as it would amount to a distortion of competition”.

Ben Hayes’ NeoConoptiocon report, in a concluding section, “Following the money“, states, “[w]hat is happening in practice is that multinational corporations are using the ESRP [European Seventh Research Programme] to promote their own profit-driven agendas, while the EU is using the programme to further its own security and defence policy objectives. As suggested from the outset of this report, the kind of security described above represents a marriage of unchecked police powers and unbridled capitalism, at the expense of the democratic system.”


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