Democratic holdout agrees to support health care reform in US
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Democratic holdout agrees to support health care reform in US



Sunday, December 20, 2009

A conservative Democratic United States senator has agreed to supply the key 60th vote needed for passage of a sweeping health care reform package. Senate Democrats have reached a breakthrough in their struggle to pass sweeping heath care reform legislation, lining up the 60 votes needed to overcome fierce Republican opposition. Senators met Saturday in Washington, D.C. during a driving snowstorm in a frenzied effort to move forward on President Barack Obama’s top domestic priority.

The spotlight was on moderate Democratic Senator Ben Nelson of Nebraska, who had been the last holdout as Senate Democrats raced against the clock and against determined Republican opposition to pass their health care bill by their self-imposed deadline of December 25th, Christmas.

Change is never easy, but change is what is necessary in America today and and that is why I intend to vote for cloture, I intend to vote for cloture and for health care reform.

Nelson said he is now ready to vote for cloture, which would advance the bill. “Change is never easy, but change is what is necessary in America today and and that is why I intend to vote for cloture, I intend to vote for cloture and for health care reform,” he said.

Nelson said he decided to support the bill after winning new concessions from Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to limit the availability of abortions in insurance sold under the new legislation along with millions of dollars in Medicaid funding for Nebraska.

The legislation would extend health benefits to more than 30 million uninsured Americans and impose new regulations on the health insurance industry.

Senator Reid of Nevada has been working for months to win over one holdout Democratic senator after another, repeatedly altering the bill to satisfy different demands. Reid says reform is essential. “The broken system cannot continue and it will not continue. When President Obama signs this bill into law, we will officially end the era in which insurance companies win only when patients lose,” he said.

The broken system cannot continue and it will not continue. When President Obama signs this bill into law, we will officially end the era in which insurance companies win only when patients lose.

Nelson’s support should pave the way for Senate Democrats to win the first of a series of crucial procedural votes scheduled to begin at one o’clock in the morning on Monday and set to conclude — if everything goes smoothly for them — with final passage on Christmas Eve.

Republicans have been using a number of parliamentary procedures to delay action on the bill, including forcing a reading on the Senate floor Saturday of Reid’s 338-pages of last minute amendments. Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky responded to the apparent Democratic breakthrough. “And Democrats are forcing a vote on it, as I indicated, over the weekend, counting on the fact that the American people are preoccupied with Christmas and not paying much attention to what they are doing,” he said.

The history that is being made here, make no mistake about it, the history that is being made here, is the ignoring of the will of the American people.

Republicans are unified in their opposition, saying the bill is too expensive and will not solve the problems with the current health care system. Senator McConnell dismissed claims by Democrats that the bill is historic. “The history that is being made here, make no mistake about it, the history that is being made here, is the ignoring of the will of the American people,” he said.

Senator John McCain of Arizona echoed those comments in the weekly Republican radio address saying, “Regrettably, there’s nothing in this legislation that effectively addresses the problem of health care hyperinflation. In fact, experts tell us the Democrat legislation makes matters worse.”

Democrats say they have been trying to reform the nation’s health care system for close to 70 years, ever since President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was in office. Senator Christopher Dodd of Connecticut was emotional as victory seemed within reach. “All we are trying to do is to guarantee that if you are a fellow citizen of ours, and you are struck with illness or a loved one is, that you will never again have that fear, that you will end up losing your home, your job, your retirement and your life savings because you have been afflicted with an illness through no fault of your own.”

If the Senate is able to pass a bill next week, it would be viewed as a major victory for President Obama. But the bill would still need to be reconciled with a health-care reform bill passed last month by the House of Representatives before the president could sign it into law next year.


News briefs:May 30, 2006
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News briefs:May 30, 2006



The time is 17:00 (UTC) on May 30th, 2006, and this is Audio Wikinews News Briefs.

Contents

  • 1 Headlines
    • 1.1 East Timor: President Gusamo takes emergency powers to quell unrest
    • 1.2 U.S. Military truck crash kills civilians; Kabul riots
    • 1.3 Operation Marham:India rushes aid to Indonesia
    • 1.4 Australian PM doesn’t support Queensland party amalgamation
    • 1.5 Former chaplain at Guantanamo tells about abuse and underage prisoners
    • 1.6 Dutch pedophiles set to go political
    • 1.7 New Zealand to get new postal codes
  • 2 Closing statements

Twelve injured in Washington after ride at fair topples over
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Twelve injured in Washington after ride at fair topples over



Sunday, April 19, 2009

At least twelve children have been injured after a swing ride at the Puyallup, Washington Spring Fair toppled over.

The ride is called a ‘LollySwing’, which is located in Kiddyland, where the riders sit in swings while the machine spins them around. It is owned by Funtastic Traveling Shows which has been a ride provider for the fair for over 50 years. The accident happened at around 6:30 p.m. (PDT).

Injuries are being described as mostly cuts and bruises, but one child was reported to have been in a neck brace and was taken to a local hospital. Five other children were also hospitalized.

According to one witness, “it just all of a sudden topped over.” The cause is under investigation. The ride has been at the fair for the past five years. Among the seven largest operators of fair rides in Washington, from 2001 to 2007 there were only seven reports of injuries related to mechanical failures.


Sex, mental and physical exercise, fight dementia
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Sex, mental and physical exercise, fight dementia



Friday, April 8, 2005Professor Perry Bartlett of University of Queensland‘s Brain Institute recommends sex, cryptic crosswords and a good run to stave off dementia.

The researcher, interviewed on Australian ABC radio today [1], said that with 52,000 Australians expected to be diagnosed with dementia by the end of the year, people wishing to ward off the degenerative disorder may benefit from activities which stimulate growth of new cells in the brain, accompanied by mental exercise to select for survival of the resulting crop of new cells.

“Quite prolonged exercise is very good to make new neurones,” said the Professor. “These new nerve cells are really quite vital to our ability to function in the higher brain functions, such as memory and learning. Most of them die. We now know that we can preserve some of them by giving direct stimuli.”

Professor Bartlett explained recent research findings, including those from collaborator Jeffrey D. Macklis [2] at Harvard in the US.

“There are a lot of hormones and changes in blood that go up and down after exercise, and so that may be a lead to some of the chemicals that can drive the production of nerve cells.

“One of the chemicals that seems to promote neurogenesis is prolactin, and prolactin levels are very high in pregnant females. Prolactin levels, by the way, also go up during sex as well. So one could think of a number of more entertaining activities than running in order to regulate the production of nerve cells.

“Perhaps doing something a little more inquisitive or intellectual might be good at selecting their survival. So perhaps one should run a long distance and do the cryptic crossword or something like that,” he said.

Professor Bartlett gave the same suggestions as being potentially helpful in depression, last year in an interview on the ABC Science Show. [3]


Oil-eating microbe found in the Gulf of Mexico
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Oil-eating microbe found in the Gulf of Mexico



Saturday, August 28, 2010

A group of researchers led by Terry Hazen, a senior ecologist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, have discovered a new species of microorganism. Hazen’s team started research in May this year. Their findings were based on more than 200 samples collected from 17 deep-water sites in the Gulf of Mexico between May 25 and June 2. The new species is distinctive for its oil-consuming activity in a wide range of conditions, and is playing a role in depletion of oil spills in the area.

Scientists had been puzzled by the disappearance of oil in the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Detailed maps were made on how the spilled oil went underwater and how far it was spread; however, some of it seemed to have disappeared.

A grant from the Energy Biosciences Institute, and a partnership led by the University of California, Berkeley and the University of Illinois that is funded by a USD 500 million, 10-year grant from BP, was the basis for support of the research. The U.S. Department of Energy and the University of Oklahoma Research Foundation also supported it.

The field study was conducted during the first week. As Hazen said, “We deployed on two ships to determine the physical, chemical and microbiological properties of the deepwater oil plume. The oil escaping from the damaged wellhead represented an enormous carbon input to the water column ecosystem and while we suspected that hydrocarbon components in the oil could potentially serve as a carbon substrate for deep-sea microbes, scientific data was needed for informed decisions.”

Sample analysis was eased because the researchers used the pocket-sized Berkeley Lab DNA sampler PhyloChip. It allowed researchers to detect the presence of thousands of species of bacteria in samples from a wide range of environmental sources, without the culturing procedures usually performed in a furnished lab workplace. With the device, Hazen and his co-researchers discovered that a dominant microbe, making up 90 percent of all the bacteria in the oil plume, is a new species, closely related to members of Oceanospirillales family, more specifically Oleispirea antarctica and Oceaniserpentilla haliotis.

The previous works were measuring low levels of oxygen in certain areas to detect microbes activity. Researchers thought that increased activity would lead to more aerobic activities, such as breathing, which depletes the oxygen content in water. However, the newly discovered species doesn’t seem to be consuming much oxygen from the water column. The study found that oxygen saturation outside the oil plume was 67-percent, while within the plume, it was 59-percent. By Terry Hazen’s words, “The low concentrations of iron in seawater may have prevented oxygen concentrations dropping more precipitously from biodegradation demand on the petroleum, since many hydrocarbon-degrading enzymes have iron as a component… There’s not enough iron to form more of these enzymes, which would degrade the carbon faster but also consume more oxygen.”

Analysis of changes in the oil composition as the plume extended from the wellhead pointed to faster than expected biodegradation rates with the half-life of alkanes ranging from 1.2 to 6.1 days. This microbe thrives in cold water, with temperatures in the deep recorded at 5 degrees Celsius (41 Fahrenheit).

The summer observations showed the bacteria managed to consume the oil spill relatively quickly in June. Some commenters noted that the previously released oil dispersant COREXIT can have significantly eased the process of interaction of the microbes with the oil by making oil particles smaller and easier to access. As Hazen explained, “We’ve been out there continuously… Once the oil flow stopped on July 15, within two weeks we saw most of the plume disappear.”

By Wikinews,

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Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to move into Kensington Palace, London
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Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to move into Kensington Palace, London



Tuesday, June 7, 2011

British media has reported that Prince William and his recently wedded wife, Kate, are to move their London residence into Kensington Palace, close to Hyde Park.

Two units in the Palace, labeled Apartments 8 and 9, were previously occupied by Prince Charles and Diana, William’s parents, when they married in 1981. Prince William and his brother Prince Harry went to nursery and school nearby. Diana also lived in Kensington Palace after her separation and divorce from Prince Charles.

However, the newlyweds will not live in Apartments 8 and 9, as they are currently being used as office space. They will instead live in a small apartment that was previously occupied by staff. The palace has undergone some renovations, including asbestos removal.

The couple is also set to choose one “housekeeper-dresser”, who will provide valet service for the Duchess of Cambridge. Kate will continue to buy her own clothes, and the new servant is not to be seen as a “stylist”. The position has been advertised internally within Buckingham Palace.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expected to move within a few weeks, before they leave on a trip to Canada and the United States. The London residence is expected to be used only as a starter home for about a year. The couple will keep their permanent residence without personal staff in Anglesey, Wales, where William serves on the Royal Air Force as a search-and-rescue pilot. They will continue to run their Household Office at St James’s Palace.


BBC apologises to Queen Elizabeth II for misrepresentation in documentary
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BBC apologises to Queen Elizabeth II for misrepresentation in documentary



Friday, July 13, 2007

The BBC would like to apologise to both the Queen and Annie Leibovitz for any upset this may have caused.

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has apologised to Queen Elizabeth II and photographer, Annie Leibovitz, after a trailer for a documentary suggested she had walked out of a portrait sitting when the photographer asked her to remove her crown.

The trailer shows a clip of the photographer telling the Queen, “I think it will look better without the crown because the garter robe is so…” The Queen responded with “Less dressy! What do you think this is?” The following clip shows the Queen walking down a corridor saying, “I’m not changing anything. I’ve had enough dressing like this, thank you very much.”

It has since been clarified that this second clip shows the Queen arriving at the sitting, not departing.

In a statement the BBC said, “In this trailer there is a sequence that implies that the Queen left a sitting prematurely. This was not the case and the actual sequence of events was mis-represented. The BBC would like to apologise to both the Queen and Annie Leibovitz for any upset this may have caused.”

The BBC blamed a production error for the mistake, saying, “This assembly was never intended to be seen by the public or the press. Unfortunately, this assembly was given in error to the BBC personnel who were preparing the BBC One autumn launch tape.”

The company responsible for the editing of the documentary, RDF Media, also apologized to the Queen. Michael Grade, previous controller of BBC One, blamed the mistake on “young, untrained” workers who “don’t understand that the basic ethic of broadcasting in this country is trust.”

Photographer, Leibowitz, commenting about the session in Vanity Fair even before the release of the trailer, said, “She doesn’t really want to get dressed up any more. She just couldn’t be bothered and I admired her for that.”


Wikinews interviews Jeff Jacobsen, creator of LisaMcPherson.org
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Wikinews interviews Jeff Jacobsen, creator of LisaMcPherson.org



Tuesday, February 19, 2008

On Sunday, Wikinews interviewed creator of memorial site LisaMcPherson.org, former Lisa McPherson Trust employee and long time Scientology critic Jeff Jacobsen.

LisaMcPherson.org is a memorial site created in 1997 containing information on her death and the resulting legal case against the Church of Scientology.

Lisa McPherson died in 1995 while in the care of the Church of Scientology. After a car accident, she became mentally unstable. Scientologists removed her from the hospital and placed her in the Introspection Rundown, she died 17 days later while still in care of the Church. She was used as an icon during Project Chanology, the protest of the Church of Scientology by Anonymous. Protesters were pictured with signs that said “Remember Lisa McPherson” and “Ask Scientology Why Lisa McPherson Died”, other protesters had posters with her picture on it.


Alabama father throws children in river
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Alabama father throws children in river



Thursday, January 10, 2008

Lam Luong, a 37 year old shrimp fisherman from Irvington, Bayou La Batre, Alabama, United States, has confessed to throwing his four children off an 80 feet high bridge after a fight with his wife the day before. Police have charged Luong with 4 counts of capital murder.

Family members and friends told Fox News that the couple had been fighting over several things, including Luong’s girlfriend, on Sunday evening and Monday morning. Luong later drove off with his four children, whom he reported missing to the police and claimed he had left them with his girlfriend who lives in a hotel. Police however became suspicious due to “holes in his story” and he later changed his story. The Associated Press say that the authorities believe that Dauphin Island Bridge is where Luong threw the four children, of which he was the biological father of three, into the water.

Initially the family had feared that Luong had traded his children to fund a drug habit. Luong’s wife, Ngoc Phan, is at the family home which they shared with her mother. She was not available to comment to the media, but other family members said that they still have hope that the children are alive.

Police and other authorities are using divers, dogs and helicopters to search for the bodies in a 100-square-mile area with a total of 70 people on the case. The search had to be called off on Wednesday due to fog. Luong is scheduled to appear in court on Thursday January 10, 2008.


Sweeping bank regulatory overhaul passed in US House of Representatives
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Sweeping bank regulatory overhaul passed in US House of Representatives



Thursday, July 1, 2010

Never again, never again should Wall Street greed bring such suffering to our country.

The US House of Representatives passed a significant overhaul of financial regulations that strengthens the government’s hold on banks and also creates a new federal agency to oversee consumer lending on Wednesday.

“Never again, never again should Wall Street greed bring such suffering to our country,” said House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-MD after the bill was passed by the House.

The House vote, which was mainly split over party lines, had 237 representatives in favor and 192 opposed. Only three Republicans voted for the bill, though this was an increase from December, when no Republicans voted for the previous version of the bill. This new bill combines the old December bill with a newer one passed by the more conservative Senate last month.

But even though the Senate passed their bill already, support for the one passed Wednesday looks a little uncertain. Since earlier this year the Democrats lost their 60 vote filibuster majority, they had to secure the votes of a few more moderate Republican senators to beat back procedural hurdles. Democrats struggled to win the full support of these senators even after backing down on a US$19 billion tax on big banks and hedge funds, which had been opposed by Republicans. This group of senators includes Scott Brown, Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins. All three voted for the Senate bill last month.

The $19 billion tax was inserted in the 2000 page plus bill late last week, which came as a surprise to many large banks. Brown initially objected to the tax, and threatened to vote against the entire bill if the tax was not removed. Instead, the new way of financing the bill’s cost will be using $11 billion in cash that came from ending the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), a bill passed in 2008 that bailed out struggling banks, and also by increasing rates that banks pay to insure bank deposits to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. However, the increase in rates won’t affect banks with assets of less then $10 billion.

On Wednesday, Collins wrote a statement saying that she now planned to vote for the bill. However, Brown remained on the fence and said he would use recess during the week of July 4th to examine the details of the bill. He credited Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd for “thinking outside the box” in coming with a new way to fund the bill.

Other Republicans were much more opposed to the bill, and attacked it for failing to place tighter restrictions on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the mortgage giants that helped trigger the economic and housing meltdowns. House Republican leader John Boehner compared the new bill to using a nuclear weapon on an ant. In response, President Barack Obama said in a speech in Racine, Wisconsin that “[i]f the Republican leader is that out of touch with the struggles facing the American people, he should come here to Racine and ask people if they think the financial crisis was an ant.”


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