Childhood pneumonia can be cured at home
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Childhood pneumonia can be cured at home



Saturday, January 5, 2008

A new study by researchers of Boston University’s School of Public Health and colleagues sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO) shows children with severe pneumonia can be effectively treated at home and do not need to be hospitalized. This finding is hugely significant for developing countries where children cannot be brought to a hospital easily or where no hospitals exist.

Per the study the change of treatment could save many children’s lives and take pressure off health systems. Every year pneumonia kills 2 million children under the age of 5. The researchers found that antibiotics given at home could significantly reduce deaths.

The group examined 2,037 children between 3 to 59 months in seven areas in Pakistan. About half of them were given antibiotics and sent home while the other ones got intravenous antibiotics in the hospital. Both groups were found to show equal progress in healing off the illness.

Current WHO guidelines recommend that pneumonia should be treated in a hospital with injectable antibiotics. With the new study there are indicators that pneumonia can be treated just as effectively at home with oral antibiotics.


US economy grows at fastest pace in six years
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US economy grows at fastest pace in six years



Friday, January 29, 2010

According to official data, the US economy grew by an annualised rate of 5.7% in the last quarter of last year.

The figure is still an initial estimate, but was higher than the 2.2% annualised growth recorded in the third quarter of the year. Economic analysts polled by the Reuters news agency had predicted a 4.6% rise.

The Bureau of Economic Analysis, which releases the economy growth reports, noted that the figures were based on estimates and incomplete data, and might be revised later.

Christina Romer, an economist for the White House, described the growth as being “the most positive news to date on the economy”, saying: “It is important not to read too much into a single report, positive or negative. There will surely be bumps in the road ahead. Nonetheless, today’s report is a welcome piece of encouraging news.”

Jack Ablin, chief investment officer for Harris Private Bank in Chicago, Illinois, remarked that “it’s [the number] very solid and gives us a running start into the second half of the year when we can’t rely on government stimulus. That’s part of the plan, to get us moving as fast as possible so when life support is removed we’ll have a pulse.”


U.S. Housing prices down 9% since February
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U.S. Housing prices down 9% since February



Sunday, June 26, 2005

The median house price in the United States plunged 6.5% in May to $217,000. In February of 2005, the median price of a home was $237,300.

The Economist newspaper said in its June 16th issue; “In other words, it looks like the biggest bubble in history.” by way of reference to what is happening with housing prices in the USA and much of Europe.

Japan provides an example of how a boom can turn to bust. Property prices have dropped for 14 years in a row (40% from their peak in 1991); and yet, the rise in prices in Japan during the decade before 1991 was less than the increase over the past ten years in most of today’s “housing boom” countries.

The total value of residential property rose by more than $30 trillion over the past five years in developed economies, an increase equivalent to 100% of the combined GDPs of those countries. This increase dwarfs all previous house-price booms and is greater than the global stockmarket bubble in the late 1990s. Much of the recent housing activity is being driven by speculative demand. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported that 23% of all American houses bought in 2004 were for investment, not for owners to live in. Another 13% were bought as second homes. NAR also found that 42% of all first-time buyers made no down-payment on their home purchase last year.

Many investors are buying solely because they think prices will keep rising, which is a warning sign of a financial bubble. In Miami, Florida, as many as half of the original buyers resell new apartments even before they are built, and properties can change hands two or three times before somebody finally moves in.

Britain’s Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) reported prices have been falling for ten consecutive months. Forty nine percent of their surveyors reported falling prices in May. This was the weakest report since 1992 during Britain’s previous house-price bust.


ACLU, EFF challenging US ‘secret’ court orders seeking Twitter data
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ACLU, EFF challenging US ‘secret’ court orders seeking Twitter data



Thursday, April 7, 2011

Late last month, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed objections to the United States Government’s ‘secret’ attempts to obtain Twitter account information relating to WikiLeaks. The ACLU and EFF cite First and Fourth amendment issues as overriding reasons to overturn government attempts to keep their investigation secret; and, that with Birgitta Jonsdottir being an Icelandic Parliamentarian, the issue has serious international implications.

The case, titled “In the Matter of the 2703(d) Order Relating to Twitter Accounts: Wikileaks, Rop_G, IOERROR; and BirgittaJ“, has been in the EFF’s sights since late last year when they became aware of the US government’s attempts to investigate WikiLeaks-related communications using the popular microblogging service.

The key objective of this US government investigation is to obtain data for the prosecution of Bradley Manning, alleged to have supplied classified data to WikiLeaks. In addition to Manning’s Twitter account, and that of WikiLeaks (@wikileaks), the following three accounts are subject to the order: @ioerror, @birgittaj, and @rop_g. These, respectively, belong to Jacob Apelbaum, Birgitta Jonsdottir, and Rop Gonggrijp.

Birgitta is not the only non-US citizen with their Twitter account targeted by the US Government; Gonggrijp, a Dutch ‘ex-hacker’-turned-security-expert, was one of the founders of XS4ALL – the first Internet Service Provider in the Netherlands available to the public. He has worked on a mobile phone that can encrypt conversations, and proven that electronic voting systems can readily be hacked.

In early March, a Virginia magistrate judge ruled that the government could have the sought records, and neither the targeted users, or the public, could see documents submitted to justify data being passed to the government. The data sought is as follows:

  1. Personal contact information, including addresses
  2. Financial data, including credit card or bank account numbers
  3. Twitter account activity information, including the “date, time, length, and method of connections” plus the “source and destination Internet Protocol address(es)”
  4. Direct Message (DM) information, including the email addresses and IP addresses of everyone with whom the Parties have exchanged DMs

The order demands disclosure of absolutely all such data from November 1, 2009 for the targeted accounts.

The ACLU and EFF are not only challenging this, but demanding that all submissions made by the US government to justify the Twitter disclosure are made public, plus details of any other such cases which have been processed in secret.

Bradley Manning, at the time a specialist from Maryland enlisted with the United States Army’s 2nd Brigade, 10th Mountain Division, was arrested in June last year in connection with the leaking of classified combat video to WikiLeaks.

The leaked video footage, taken from a US helicopter gunship, showed the deaths of Reuters staff Saeed Chmagh and Namir Noor-Eldeen during a U.S. assault in Baghdad, Iraq. The wire agency unsuccessfully attempted to get the footage released via a Freedom of Information Act request in 2007.

When WikiLeaks released the video footage it directly contradicted the official line taken by the U.S. Army asserting that the deaths of the two Reuters staff were “collateral damage” in an attack on Iraqi insurgents. The radio chatter associated with the AH-64 Apache video indicated the helicopter crews had mistakenly identified the journalists’ equipment as weaponry.

The US government also claims Manning is linked to CableGate; the passing of around a quarter of a million classified diplomatic cables to WikiLeaks. Manning has been in detention since July last year; in December allegations of torture were made to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights regarding the conditions under which he was and is being detained.

Reports last month that he must now sleep naked and attend role call at the U.S. Marine facility in Quantico in the same state, raised further concern over his detention conditions. Philip J. Crowley, at-the-time a State Department spokesman, remarked on this whilst speaking at Massachusetts Institute of Technology; describing the current treatment of Manning as “ridiculous and counterproductive and stupid”, Crowley was, as a consequence, put in the position of having to tender his resignation to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Despite his native Australia finding, in December last year, that Assange’s WikiLeaks had not committed any criminal offences in their jurisdiction, the U.S. government has continued to make ongoing operations very difficult for the whistleblower website.

The result of the Australian Federal Police investigation left the country’s Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, having to retract a statement that WikiLeaks had acted “illegally”; instead, she characterised the site’s actions as “grossly irresponsible”.

Even with Australia finding no illegal activity on the part of WikiLeaks, and with founder Julian Assange facing extradition to Sweden, U.S. pressure sought to hobble WikiLeaks financially.

Based on a State Department letter, online payments site PayPal suspended WikiLeaks account in December. Their action was swiftly followed by Visa Europe and Mastercard ceasing to handle payments for WikiLeaks.

The online processing company, Datacell, threatened the two credit card giants with legal action over this. However, avenues of funding for the site were further curtailed when both Amazon.com and Swiss bank PostFinance joined the financial boycott of WikiLeaks.

Assange continues, to this day, to argue that his extradition to Sweden for questioning on alleged sexual offences is being orchestrated by the U.S. in an effort to discredit him, and thus WikiLeaks.

Wikinews consulted an IT and cryptography expert from the Belgian university which developed the current Advanced Encryption Standard; explaining modern communications, he stated: “Cryptography has developed to such a level that intercepting communications is no longer cost effective. That is, if any user uses the correct default settings, and makes sure that he/she is really connecting to Twitter it is highly unlikely that even the NSA can break the cryptography for a protocol such as SSL/TLS (used for https).”

Qualifying this, he commented that “the vulnerable parts of the communication are the end points.” To make his point, he cited the following quote from Gene Spafford: “Using encryption on the Internet is the equivalent of arranging an armored car to deliver credit card information from someone living in a cardboard box to someone living on a park bench.

Continuing, the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (KUL) expert explained:

In the first place, the weak point is Twitter itself; the US government can go and ask for the data; companies such as Twitter and Google will typically store quite some information on their users, including IP addresses (it is known that Google deletes the last byte of the IP address after a few weeks, but it is not too hard for a motivated opponent to find out what this byte was).
In the second place, this is the computer of the user: by exploiting system weaknesses (with viruses, Trojan horses or backdoors in the operating system) a highly motivated opponent can enter your machine and record your keystrokes plus everything that is happening (e.g. the FBI is known to do this with the so-called Magic Lantern software). Such software is also commercially available, e.g. for a company to monitor its employees.
It would also be possible for a higly motivated opponent to play “man-in-the-middle”; that means that instead of having a secure connection to Twitter.com, you have a secure connection to the attacker’s server, who impersonates Twitter’s and then relays your information to Twitter. This requires tricks such as spoofing DNS (this is getting harder with DNSsec), or misleading the user (e.g. the user clicks on a link and connects to tw!tter.com or Twitter.c0m, which look very similar in a URL window as Twitter.com). It is clear that the US government is capable of using these kind of tricks; e.g., a company has been linked to the US government that was recognized as legitimate signer in the major browsers, so it would not be too large for them to sign a legitimate certificate for such a spoofing webserver; this means that the probability that a user would detect a problem would be very low.
As for traffic analysis (finding out who you are talking to rather than finding out what you are telling to whom), NSA and GCHQ are known to have access to lots of traffic (part of this is obtained via the UK-USA agreement). Even if one uses strong encryption, it is feasible for them to log the IP addresses and email addresses of all the parties you are connecting to. If necessary, they can even make routers re-route your traffic to their servers. In addition, the European Data Retention directive forces all operators to store such traffic data.
Whether other companies would have complied with such requests: this is very hard to tell. I believe however that it is very plausible that companies such as Google, Skype or Facebook would comply with such requests if they came from a government.
In summary: unless you go through great lengths to log through to several computers in multiple countries, you work in a clean virtual machine, you use private browser settings (don’t accept cookies, no plugins for Firefox, etc.) and use tools such as Tor, it is rather easy for any service provider to identify you.
Finally: I prefer not to be quoted on any sentences in which I make statements on the capabilities or actions of any particular government.

Wikinews also consulted French IT security researcher Stevens Le Blond on the issues surrounding the case, and the state-of-the-art in monitoring, and analysing, communications online. Le Blond, currently presenting a research paper on attacks on Tor to USENIX audiences in North America, responded via email:

Were the US Government to obtain the sought data, it would seem reasonable the NSA would handle further investigation. How would you expect them to exploit the data and expand on what they receive from Twitter?

  • Le Blond: My understanding is that the DOJ is requesting the following information: 1) Connection records and session times 2) IP addresses 3) e-mail addresses 4) banking info
By requesting 1) and 2) for Birgitta and other people involved with WikiLeaks (WL) since 2009, one could derive 2 main [pieces of] information.
First, he could tell the mobility of these people. Recent research in networking shows that you can map an IP address into a geographic location with a median error of 600 meters. So by looking at changes of IP addresses in time for a Twitter user, one could tell (or at least speculate about) where that person has been.
Second, by correlating locations of different people involved with WL in time, one could possibly derive their interactions and maybe even their level of involvement with WL. Whether it is possible to derive this information from 1) and 2) depends on how this people use Twitter. For example, do they log on Twitter often enough, long enough, and from enough places?
My research indicates that this is the case for other Internet services but I cannot tell whether it is the case for Twitter.
Note that even though IP logging, as done by Twitter, is similar to the logging done by GSM [mobile phone] operators, the major difference seems to be that Twitter is subject to US regulation, no matter the citizenship of its users. I find this rather disturbing.
Using 3), one could search for Birgitta on other Internet services, such as social networks, to find more information on her (e.g., hidden accounts). Recent research on privacy shows that people tend to use the same e-mail address to register an account on different social networks (even when they don’t want these accounts to be linked together). Obviously, one could then issue subpoenas for these accounts as well.
I do not have the expertise to comment on what could be done with 4).
((WN)) As I believe Jonsdottir to be involved in the Icelandic Modern Media Initiative (IMMI), what are the wider implications beyond the “WikiLeaks witchhunt”?
  • Le Blond: Personal data can be used to discredit, especially if the data is not public.

Having been alerted to the ongoing case through a joint press release by the ACLU and EFF, Wikinews sought clarification on the primary issues which the two non-profits saw as particularly important in challenging the U.S. Government over the ‘secret’ court orders. Rebecca Jeschke, Media Relations Director for the EFF, explained in more detail the points crucial to them, responding to a few questions from Wikinews on the case:

((WN)) As a worse-case, what precedents would be considered if this went to the Supreme Court?
  • Rebecca Jeschke: It’s extremely hard to know at this stage if this would go to the Supreme Court, and if it did, what would be at issue. However, some of the interesting questions about this case center on the rights of people around the world when they use US Internet services. This case questions the limits of US law enforcement, which may turn out to be very different from the limits in other countries.
((WN)) Since this is clearly a politicised attack on free speech with most chilling potential repercussions for the press, whistleblowers, and by-and-large anyone the relevant U.S. Government departments objects to the actions of, what action do you believe should be taken to protect free speech rights?
  • Jeschke: We believe that, except in very rare circumstances, the government should not be permitted to obtain information about individuals’ private Internet communications in secret. We also believe that Internet companies should, whenever possible, take steps to ensure their customers are notified about requests for information and have the opportunity to respond.
((WN)) Twitter via the web, in my experience, tends to use https:// connections. Are you aware of any possibility of the government cracking such connections? (I’m not up to date on the crypto arms race).
  • Jeschke: You don’t need to crack https, per se, to compromise its security. See this piece about fraudulent https certificates:
Iranian hackers obtain fraudulent httpsEFF website.
((WN)) And, do you believe that far, far more websites should – by default – employ https:// connections to protect people’s privacy?
  • Jeschke: We absolutely think that more websites should employ https! Here is a guide for site operators: (See external links, Ed.)

Finally, Wikinews approached the Icelandic politician, and WikiLeaks supporter, who has made this specific case a landmark in how the U.S. Government handles dealings with – supposedly – friendly governments and their elected representatives. A number of questions were posed, seeking the Icelandic Parliamentarian’s views:

((WN)) How did you feel when you were notified the US Government wanted your Twitter account, and message, details? Were you shocked?
  • Birgitta Jonsdottir: I felt angry but not shocked. I was expecting something like this to happen because of my involvement with WikiLeaks. My first reaction was to tweet about it.
((WN)) What do you believe is their reasoning in selecting you as a ‘target’?
  • Jonsdottir: It is quite clear to me that USA authorities are after Julian Assange and will use any means possible to get even with him. I think I am simply a pawn in a much larger context. I did of course both act as a spokesperson for WikiLeaks in relation to the Apache video and briefly for WikiLeaks, and I put my name to the video as a co-producer. I have not participated in any illegal activity and thus being a target doesn’t make me lose any sleep.
((WN)) Are you concerned that, as a Member of Parliament involved in the Icelandic Modern Media Initiative (IMMI), the US attempt to obtain your Twitter data is interfering with planned Icelandic government policy?
  • Jonsdottir: No
((WN)) In an earlier New York Times (NYT) article, you’re indicating there is nothing they can obtain about you that bothers you; but, how do you react to them wanting to know everyone you talk to?
  • Jonsdottir: It bothers me and according to top computer scientists the government should be required to obtain a search warrant to get our IP addresses from Twitter. I am, though, happy I am among the people DOJ is casting their nets around because of my parliamentary immunity; I have a greater protection then many other users and can use that immunity to raise the issue of lack of rights for those that use social media.
HAVE YOUR SAY
Do you believe the U.S. government should have the right to access data on foreign nationals using services such as Twitter?
Add or view comments
((WN)) The same NYT article describes you as a WikiLeaks supporter; is this still the case? What attracts you to their ‘radical transparency’?
  • Jonsdottir: I support the concept of WikiLeaks. While we don’t have a culture of protection for sources and whistleblowers we need sites like WikiLeaks. Plus, I think it is important to give WikiLeaks credit for raising awareness about in how bad shape freedom of information and expression is in our world and it is eroding at an alarming rate because of the fact that legal firms for corporations and corrupt politicians have understood the borderless nature of the legalities of the information flow online – we who feel it is important that people have access to information that should remain in the public domain need to step up our fight for those rights. WikiLeaks has played an important role in that context.I don’t support radical transparency – I understand that some things need to remain secret. It is the process of making things secret that needs to be both more transparent and in better consensus with nations.
((WN)) How do you think the Icelandic government would have reacted if it were tens of thousands of their diplomatic communications being leaked?
  • Jonsdottir: I am not sure – A lot of our dirty laundry has been aired via the USA cables – our diplomatic communications with USA were leaked in those cables, so far they have not stirred much debate nor shock. It is unlikely for tens of thousands of cables to leak from Iceland since we dont have the same influence or size as the USA, nor do we have a military.
((WN)) Your ambassador in the US has spoken to the Obama administration. Can you discuss any feedback from that? Do you have your party’s, and government’s, backing in challenging the ordered Twitter data release?
  • Jonsdottir: I have not had any feedback from that meeting, I did however receive a message from the DOJ via the USA ambassador in Iceland. The message stated three things: 1. I am free to travel to the USA. 2. If I would do so, I would not be a subject of involuntary interrogation. 3. I am not under criminal investigation. If this is indeed the reality I wonder why they are insisting on getting my personal details from Twitter. I want to stress that I understand the reasoning of trying to get to Assange through me, but I find it unacceptable since there is no foundation for criminal investigation against him. If WikiLeaks goes down, all the other media partners should go down at the same time. They all served similar roles. The way I see it is that WikiLeaks acted as the senior editor of material leaked to them. They could not by any means be considered a source. The source is the person that leaks the material to WikiLeaks. I am not sure if the media in our world understands how much is at stake for already shaky industry if WikiLeaks will carry on carrying the brunt of the attacks. I think it would be powerful if all the medias that have had access to WikiLeaks material would band together for their defence.
((WN)) Wikinews consulted a Belgian IT security expert who said it was most likely companies such as Facebook, Microsoft, and Google, would have complied with similar court orders *without advising the ‘targets*’. Does that disturb you?
  • Jonsdottir: This does disturb me for various reasons. The most obvious is that my emails are hosted at google/gmail and my search profile. I dont have anything to hide but it is important to note that many of the people that interact with me as a MP via both facebook and my various email accounts don’t always realize that there is no protection for them if they do so via those channels. I often get sensitive personal letters sent to me at facebook and gmail. In general most people are not aware of how little rights they have as users of social media. It is those of uttermost importance that those sites will create the legal disclaimers and agreements that state the most obvious rights we lose when we sign up to their services.
This exclusive interview features first-hand journalism by a Wikinews reporter. See the collaboration page for more details.
((WN)) Has there been any backlash within Iceland against US-based internet services in light of this? Do you expect such, or any increase in anti-American sentiments?
  • Jonsdottir: No, none what so ever. I dont think there is much anti-American sentiments in Iceland and I dont think this case will increase it. However I think it is important for everyone who does not live in the USA and uses social services to note that according to the ruling in my case, they dont have any protection of the 1st and 4th amendment, that only apply to USA citizens. Perhaps the legalities in relation to the borderless reality we live in online need to be upgraded in order for people to feel safe with using social media if it is hosted in the USA. Market tends to bend to simple rules.
((WN)) Does this make you more, or less, determined to see the IMMI succeed?
  • Jonsdottir: More. People have to realize that if we dont have freedom of information online we won’t have it offline. We have to wake up to the fact that our rights to access information that should be in the public domain is eroding while at the same time our rights as citizens online have now been undermined and we are only seen as consumers with consumers rights and in some cases our rights are less than of a product. This development needs to change and change fast before it is too late.

The U.S. Government continues to have issues internationally as a result of material passed to WikiLeaks, and subsequently published.

Within the past week, Ecuador has effectively declared the U.S. ambassador Heather Hodges persona-non-grata over corruption allegations brought to light in leaked cables. Asking the veteran diplomat to leave “as soon as possible”, the country may become the third in South America with no ambassadorial presence. Both Venezuela and Bolivia have no resident U.S. ambassador due to the two left-wing administrations believing the ejected diplomats were working with the opposition.

The U.S. State Department has cautioned Ecuador that a failure to speedily normalise diplomatic relations may jeapordise ongoing trade talks.

The United Kingdom is expected to press the Obama administration over the continuing detention of 23-year-old Manning, who also holds UK citizenship. British lawmakers are to discuss his ongoing detention conditions before again approaching the U.S. with their concerns that his solitary confinement, and treatment therein, is not acceptable.

The 22 charges brought against Manning are currently on hold whilst his fitness to stand trial is assessed.


Travel to U.S. resumes after federal judge blocks executive order
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Travel to U.S. resumes after federal judge blocks executive order



Monday, February 6, 2017

In response to a lawsuit filed by Washington State attorney Bob Ferguson in Seattle, U.S. federal judge James Robart on Saturday ordered the suspension of a January 27 executive order issued by U.S. President Donald J. Trump suspending entry to the U.S. by refugees and individuals from seven Muslim-majority countries. The Department of Homeland Security complied with the judge’s ruling but the Department of Justice also requested an emergency stay so that enforcement of the executive order could resume. That stay was rejected early yesterday morning.

Judge Robart ruled against the order on the grounds that there was no evidence it was “to protect the U.S. from individuals” described in the executive order. This follows the temporary suspension of this order issued a week earlier by another federal judge, Ann Donnelly, though while Donnelly’s stay focused on preventing the deportation of travelers who had already reached the U.S. or were at that time en route, under Robart’s ruling, approximately 60,000 revoked visas are to be returned to the people to whom they had been issued, not all of whom had already left for the U.S. People whose visas were physically taken away must apply for replacements. Yesterday, several Middle Eastern airlines had already begun to board passengers, and refugee flights were expected to resume today. Representatives from the U.S. State Department said officials would coordinate replacement travel plans for refugees over the next few weeks and that the difficulty many of them face traveling from camps to airports may cause some delay.

The judge opens up our country to potential terrorists and others that do not have our best interests at heart. Bad people are very happy!

The Department of Homeland Security issued a statement saying they would comply with the order while the Department of Justice requested an emergency stay of the judge’s ruling. The appeal was filed on Saturday night with the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which declined to overturn Robart’s decision, stating “Appellants’ request for an immediate administrative stay pending full consideration of the emergency motion for a stay pending appeal is denied.” The appellants, the Trump administration and Justice Department, were asked to file a counter-response promptly. The matter could ultimately go to the U.S. Supreme Court.

President Trump was more direct. “What is our country coming to when a judge can halt a Homeland Security travel ban and anyone, even with bad intentions, can come into U.S.?” he said via Twitter. “The judge opens up our country to potential terrorists and others that do not have our best interests at heart. Bad people are very happy!” In another Tweet, he referred to Robart as a “so-called judge” and expressed confidence the ruling would be overturned. He also claimed, “Interesting that certain Middle-Eastern countries agree with the ban. They know if certain people are allowed in it’s death & destruction!” Judge Robart acquired his post under Republican president George W. Bush and was confirmed by a strong majority vote in the U.S. Senate. Washington Attorney General Ferguson, who said his actions were non-partisan, has filed lawsuits against Democratic president Barack Obama.

Executive order 13769, named “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States,” suspended entry of all refugees for 120 days, of all Syrian refugees indefinitely, and forbade the entry of any individual from seven Muslim-majority countries, Iran, Iraq, Somalia, Yemen, Sudan, Libya and Syria. It was met with protests and with lawsuits in several U.S. states, including the one ruled upon by Judge Robart. This lawsuit claimed that the executive order targeted Muslims in a manner that violated the U.S. Constitution. The U.S. Speaker of the House, Republican Paul Ryan, expressly disagreed: “This is not a Muslim ban. If it were, I would be against it,” he said. Democrat Chuck Schumer of New York said the president’s criticism of Judge Robart might affect the confirmation process for his recent Supreme Court nominee, Neil M. Gorsuch. Patrick Leahy, a Democrat on the Senate Judiciary committee, said Trump’s “hostility toward the rule of law is not just embarrassing, it is dangerous” and questioned whether Trump was trying to “precipitate a constitutional crisis.” Other politicians, such as Republicans John McCain and Lindsay Graham, expressed concern this order could create tension with Muslim-majority countries that currently enjoy good relations with the U.S., such as Jordan.

Others reacted specifically to Trump’s vehemence toward Robart. “It’s hard for the president to demand that courts respect his inherent authority when he is disrespecting the inherent authority of the judiciary. That certainly tends to poison the well for litigation,” said law Professor Jonathan Turley of George Washington University. Vice President Mike Pence pointed out President Trump is already known for not pulling his verbal punches. “I think the American people are very accustomed to this president speaking his mind and speaking very straight with them,” he said.


Airborne sedan smashes into dental office in Santa Ana, California, US
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Airborne sedan smashes into dental office in Santa Ana, California, US



Tuesday, January 16, 2018

A car accident involving the car occupants and a dentist’s office happened on Sunday night in Santa Ana, California. A white Nissan sedan which was apparently driving too fast hit the raised concrete median on the road, after which it was launched into the air, slamming straight into the wall of the second floor of a two-story dental practice building, where the car got wedged.

According to the police, the car approached from a side street. The room of the dental office penetrated by the sedan was used as a storage space. A fire department crane was used to extract the vehicle from the building, which took several hours.

There were two people in the sedan. One of them managed to escape from the hanging vehicle on his own, while the other one remained trapped inside it for over an hour. They were both hospitalized with minor injuries, according to the Orange County Fire Authority (OCFA). According to the police, the driver of the car admitted narcotics use, and after toxicology tests the case is to be submitted to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.

The moment of the accident was captured by surveillance video from a bus which the car narrowly missed when becoming airborne.

According to OCFA spokesperson Captain Stephen Horner, there was a small fire after the crash, which was extinguished quickly.


News briefs:February 04, 2008
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News briefs:February 04, 2008



Contents

  • 1 Wikinews News Brief February 04, 2008
    • 1.1 Introduction
  • 2 Events of worldwide notability, military action, disasters etc.
    • 2.1 Tribunal considers role of Canadian minor in alleged war crimes
    • 2.2 Tadi? re-elected President of Serbia
    • 2.3 Egypt seals border with Gaza after 11 days
    • 2.4 Sentences handed down over Paraguay’s worst fire
    • 2.5 At least 30 killed by earthquakes in Rwanda and Congo
    • 2.6 Drug-resistant flu rising, says WHO
  • 3 Non-disastrous local events with notable impact and dead celebrities
    • 3.1 Church of Scientology: ‘”Anonymous’ will be stopped”
  • 4 Business, commerce and academia
  • 5 Arts and culture
    • 5.1 Fall ’08 styles at New York Fashion Week: the miniskirt is back again
  • 6 Frivolities and trivia
  • 7 Footer

[edit]


Ontario Votes 2007: Interview with Progressive Conservative candidate Penny Lucas, Kenora—Rainy River
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Ontario Votes 2007: Interview with Progressive Conservative candidate Penny Lucas, Kenora—Rainy River



Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Penny Lucas is running for the Progressive Conservative in the Ontario provincial election, in the Kenora-Rainy River riding. Wikinews’ Nick Moreau interviewed regarding her values, her experience, and her 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.


Ontario Votes 2007: Interview with Libertarian candidate Larry Stevens, Kitchener-Conestoga
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Ontario Votes 2007: Interview with Libertarian candidate Larry Stevens, Kitchener-Conestoga



Thursday, October 4, 2007

Larry Stevens is running for the Libertarian Party in the Ontario provincial election, in the Kitchener-Conestoga 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.


Inquiry finds proper maintenance might have prevented 2009 North Sea helicopter disaster
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Inquiry finds proper maintenance might have prevented 2009 North Sea helicopter disaster



Sunday, March 16, 2014

A Fatal Accident Inquiry (FAI) ruled on Thursday a helicopter crash into the North Sea might have been prevented had proper maintenance procedures been followed. All sixteen on board died when the aircraft went down off the Scottish coast.

After a hearing in Aberdeen, Sheriff Principal Derek Pyle found Bond Offshore Helicopters failed to remove a component after a metal shard was found. The shard suggested spalling, or the shedding of metal particles in the aircraft’s gearbox. “The size and shape of the particle found […] were consistent with an advanced stage of classic spalling” according to the inquiry’s findings.

A week before the crash Bond mulled partially replacing the gearbox. The aircraft went down after the gearbox failed in flight. Pyle found a failure in communication between Bond and helicopter manufacturer Eurocopter had led to the decision not to replace the gearbox.

The routine flight was taking oil workers back to Aberdeen from the Miller offshore oil platform, owned by BP. The aircraft radioed air traffic control to inform they were twenty minutes from Aberdeen Airport but six seconds later was confronted with an oil warning light and grinding sounds. The crew declared an emergency but the main rotor broke free, which in turn smashed through the tail leaving the aircraft to plunge into the sea. The aircraft crashed within twenty seconds of the first sign of trouble.

The inquiry is surrounded by controversy owing to the five-year gap between accident and findings, and the decision by Crown Office not to prosecute over the crash. “For a criminal prosecution to have taken place, the Crown would have to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt” a Crown Office statement said on Thursday. “The Sheriff Principal makes clear that a reasonable doubt remained over the technical cause of the crash”.

Although the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) and Sheriff Pyle found a catastrophic gearbox failure triggered the crash, the exact cause of the failure was never conclusively decided. After hearing expert evidence Pyle found the balance of probabilities pointed to spalling, but could not rule out a manufacturing defect.

The inquiry’s findings note “that it would be an extraordinary coincidence if the failure properly to carry out inspection and maintenance of the helicopter’s gearbox was not causative of a catastrophic failure of the same within a matter of days. But, as the evidence made clear, such a coincidence was indeed a possibility.” Pyle’s report added “the small piece of the helicopter which would have proved the matter beyond any doubt [has] not been recovered from the seabed”.

We have always accepted that we made mistakes through honest confusion over telephone calls and emails

Bond have released a statement noting “We have always accepted that we made mistakes through honest confusion over telephone calls and emails.” Sheriff Pyle found Bond’s employees “tried to carry out their jobs as diligently as they could. All of them impressed me as engineers who well understood the vital importance of their role in ensuring […] safety”. He also found staff were well-trained and resourced, echoing findings by the AAIB and the Civil Aviation Authority.

Pyle noted Bond readily accepted they should have properly followed the maintenance manual and normally did, but “on one occasion, that fundamental rule was broken” and the crash was likely a result. Bond, Eurocopter, and investigators all gave evidence.

Trade unions and victims’ families, however, have slammed the decision not to prosecute. While welcoming the FAI’s conclusions, victims’ lawyer Tom Marshall said the families wanted to review the decision not to prosecute with the Lord Advocate, and are also seeking a broader public inquiry. Audrey Wood, whose son Stuart died in the disaster, said “How [Crown Office] arrived at that decision [not prosecuting] will haunt us, as not only did we hear of multiple breaches of health and safety, but the decision was also made without all the evidence being present, as vital witness statements had not been given”.

Wood said there were multiple breaches of health and safety law that could be prosecuted. Crown Office’s statement counters “evidence presented during the FAI has not altered the insufficiency of evidence, therefore the decision not to hold criminal proceedings remains the correct one”. Unite union branded their decision a “travesty of justice”.

Politicians have criticised the five-year delay holding the FAI, as has Scottish Trades Union Congress general secretary Grahame Smith who said “It is vitally important that lessons are learned at the earliest opportunity following tragedies where lives are lost”. Sheriff Pyle himself concluded “what can, I think, very properly be said is that nearly five years [delay] is on any view far too long and that we all have a responsibility for that. […] everyone concerned in future fatal accidents involving aircraft of whatever kind should do much better.”

Labour have called for new FAI rules; MSP Patricia Ferguson has put a bill before parliament; the Scottish Government says Sheriff Pyle’s conclusions are being scrutinised. MSP Richard Baker said the victims’ families and North Sea oil workers, who routinely use helicopters, had waited “far too long” for the FAI to conclude. “FAIs should never be delayed so long again.”

Crown Office expressed sympathy with the families involved for the delay but blamed the complex nature of the investigation, and pointed out the AAIB, Civil Aviation Authority, and local police had all already conducted their own enquiries. The AAIB spent 30 months investigating.

Twelve victims were from Scotland, many of those from in and around Aberdeen where the six-week inquiry was held. Three more were from elsewhere in the UK and the last was a Latvian national. Half of the fourteen passengers and two crew died “instantaneously” and the rest died very shortly after impact with the sea from blunt force trauma, the inquiry found.

None survived long enough to drown, according to Sheriff Pyle. Nonetheless he noted “there was a poignant moment when a witness was being taken through the graph in the AAIB report which set out the timeline of the accident that I, if not others present, understood for the first time the true horror of what took place.”

Audrey Wood said “The length of wait for nearly five years has been intolerable for all the families and we, the families, feel let down by the system.” Bond’s statement this week says “We would like to express again our deep sorrow at the 16 lives lost. Bond Offshore hopes [the inquiry] brings a degree of closure to the families, friends and dependents of those who died in the tragedy of 2009.” The sheriff also noted the “courage” of victims’ families, who attended the full hearing.


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