November 9, 2019

Sandra Fluke insists she will not be silenced

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

In an opinion piece published by CNN on Tuesday, Georgetown University law student and women’s rights advocate Sandra Fluke insisted she will not allow slurs from critics to silence her and other women from continuing to speak out on issues regarding women’s health and contraception.

Fluke has faced slurs and personal attacks after speaking before the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee in the United States House of Representatives about women’s health and contraception. She was called a “slut” and a “prostitute” by talk radio show host Rush Limbaugh. In response to these attacks, Fluke has received public support from women, members of the media, and politicians including the President of the United States.

Attacking me and women who use contraception by calling us prostitutes and worse cannot silence us.

In her piece for CNN, Fluke took the opportunity to thank her supporters, writing, “By now, many have heard the stories I wanted to share thanks to the congressional leaders and members of the media who have supported me and millions of women in speaking out.” She characterized the “opponents of reproductive health access” who issued personal attacks against her as being motivated by an attempt to change the topic of conversation away from a dialogue about women’s health, and “to silence women’s voices regarding their own health care.”

Fluke wrote that the efforts by some to drown out women from speaking out about women’s health were unsuccessful. She came to this conclusion due to the multitude of positive comments and encouragement sent to her by both female and male individuals urging that contraception medication be considered a medical necessity.

Asserting that she would not remain silent on this issue of women’s health, Fluke wrote, “Attacking me and women who use contraception by calling us prostitutes and worse cannot silence us.”

She noted that a significant majority of women have utilized contraception medication, and commented that there exists a social disconnect between politicians attempting to make it more difficult for women to access this type of health care, and the views of society-at-large about the matter: “Restricting access to such a basic health care service, which 99% of sexually experienced American women have used and 62% of American women are using right now, is out of touch with public sentiment.”

Fluke concluded her piece by emphasizing that those in power should not govern based on ideology: “I am proud to stand with the millions of women and men who recognize that our government should legislate according to the reality of our lives — not for ideology.”

After being banned by Congressman Darrell Issa from speaking before a Committee on Oversight and Government Reform hearing on February 16 which consisted mainly of male panelists, Fluke appeared before a meeting of the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee convened by Minority leader of the United States House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi on February 23.

Fluke spoke to the committee about the need for contraception to be covered by health care plans offered by employers, as a matter integral to women’s health. She cited multiple cases where women take contraception medication as part of their health care for treatment of medical conditions unrelated to birth control, including two women who suffer from polycystic ovarian syndrome, a woman who is afflicted with endometriosis and another who takes contraception in order to prevent seizures.

Time and time again, women have been silenced in this discussion, a discussion about our own very personal health care decisions.

Speaking before the United States Senate on February 17 along with fellow members Patty Murray, Kirsten Gillibrand, Barbara Boxer, and Charles Schumer, Senator Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire expressed her support for Fluke. Like Fluke, Senator Shaheen pointed out the need not to silence the voices of women in the public government debate about women’s health care: “Time and time again, women have been silenced in this discussion, a discussion about our own very personal health care decisions.” Senator Shaheen concluded her remarks with an explanation as to why she believes women should have significant representation in discussions about their health care: “Women deserve a voice in this debate because, after all, in the end this is about our health and it is about a health care decision that is between women, their families, their doctors, and their own faith.”

President Barack Obama called Fluke on March 2 to express his support for her courage to speak out on issues of women’s health. In his first press conference of 2012 on March 6, he discussed his reasons for deciding to call Fluke.

The President cited his personal thoughts about his own two daughters: “And the reason I called Ms. Fluke is because I thought about Malia and Sasha [Obama’s daughters], and one of the things I want them to do as they get older is to engage in issues they care about, even ones I may not agree with them on. I want them to be able to speak their mind in a civil and thoughtful way. And I don’t want them attacked or called horrible names because they’re being good citizens.”

President Obama went on to state that Fluke served as a positive role model for citizen participation in democracy and society: “And I wanted Sandra to know that I thought her parents should be proud of her, and that we want to send a message to all our young people that being part of a democracy involves argument and disagreements and debate, and we want you to be engaged, and there’s a way to do it that doesn’t involve you being demeaned and insulted, particularly when you’re a private citizen.”

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October 30, 2019

Glasgow’s Common Weal launch; ‘Not me first. All of us first’

Monday, December 16, 2013

Glasgow —Last weekend, December 8, The Reid Foundation, a left-leaning think-tank, launched The Common Weal, a vision for a more socially just and inclusive post-Independence Scotland. Five- to six-hundred turned up for the event, billed as “[a] ‘revolution’ … with T-shirts and dancing” by the Sunday Herald, and held in The Arches club and theatre, under Glasgow’s Central Street Station.

Wikinews’ Brian McNeil travelled to Glasgow to attend, walking through the city’s festively decorated George Square, and busy shopping streets, to the venue under Hielanman’s Umbrella.

More known for theatre, live music, and club nights, organisers in The Arches confirmed around 800 had signed up for the free Sunday afternoon event. The crowd was a mix of all ages, including families with young childen. Stuart Braithwaite of Mogwai entertained the early arrivals by DJ-ing until the launch video for the Common Weal was screened.

The Common Weal present themselves as “an emerging movement which is developing a vision for economic and social development in Scotland which is distinct and different from the political orthodoxy that dominates politics and economics in London.” Contrasting current “me first politics” against concerns of ordinary Scots, the launch video’s opening, monochrome half, stresses everyday common concerns: “Will I have a pension I can survive on when I retire?”, “I miss my local library”, “Public transport is so bad it’s hard to get to work”; and, “Why can we always find money to bail out banks but not to protect public services?”, “Why is it always the poor, the disabled, and immigrants who get the blame?”

The preferred vision offered by the Common Weal, “Not me first, all of us first”, makes up the more-aspirational second-half of the film, advocating a national fund for industry, taking the nation’s energy into collective ownership, building quality new public housing, strengthening the welfare state, and ending tax evasion. Throughout the event a distinction between these ‘popular politics’, which experience wide support, and the derogatory ‘populist’ label, often used to dismiss such calls for a fairer society, was emphasised.

Comedienne Janey Godley took over following the film, to compère the afternoon, and introduce Reid Foundation director Robin McAlpine. With the mixed audience, Godley made avoiding profanity — due to the presence of children — a theme of her warm-up; although, the humour remained fairly adult in nature.

McAlpine sketched out the movement’s hopes and plans. After thanking those who were giving their time for free, he characterised modern politics as “[…] a game that is played by a small number of professionals, in a small number of rooms, in a small number of expensively-rented premises, across Scotland — and across Britain. It’s become a thing people do as a profession, and the rest of us are all supposed to applaud them — or stand back — nod our heads every four years, and be glad for it.” With a receptive audience, he continued: “The idea that politics is something that ordinary people cannae talk about is one of the great achievements of the right-wing [over] the last thirty to forty years in Britain”; remarking, to applause, “they scared us aff.”

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On discussions around the country, he claimed that “across Scottish politics, […] the people that want this, … ‘me first’ politics, there’s not many of them. The people that want Common Weal politics, all of us first politics, I’m meeting them everywhere. […] Everyone I meet wants this, a decent politics that puts people first. […] We wanted to find a way to communicate an idea of a politics which work for all the people who those politics seek to govern, not just a few of them. People don’t understand or recognise the language of politics any more, so we want to change that language.”.

Crediting the Sunday Herald newspaper for an opportunity to share some ideas underpinning the Common Weal, McAlpine was scathing in his criticism of mainstream coverage of the independence debate: “There’s this massive debate. It’s not in the mainstream.” Seeking to “get a real debate going, about a really strong vision for a future for Scotland, it’s hard. They’re still doing IFS, accounting this, and another paper from a Whitehall that. And, we’ll all debate things that nobody really cares about, interminably, until they all go away for good.” On the current political debate, he remarked: “If mainstream politics fails to recognise what is really going on in Scotland just now, then that is its problem. […] Someone is going to offer ordinary people what they want, and when they do, everything will change.”

Urging the crowd to get involved, he said: “If we can create a popular politics, that ordinary people care about, and talk about, and work[s], we can take a grip of Scotland. We can decide the future politics of Scotland, and standing around waiting for professional politicians to,… disappoint us less than they always do, does not have to be the way we do this anymore.” He concluded, “It genuinely is time for a politics that puts all of us first.”

Janey Godley took the microphone, as McAlpine left the stage to cheers and applause; joking about the ‘rabble-rousing’ tone of the speech she then introduced David Whyte of Tangent Design, creator of the Common Weal’s logo.

Whyte explained they hoped the simple image would come to represent the “all of us first” philosophy, and “a new way of doing things”. He was not the first to jokingly remark that the four-line graphic — a triangle, with a balanced line on top of it — would be an easily-applied piece of graffiti.

Politics, and the launch of the movement’s logo, then took more of a back-seat; the rest of the event more in-keeping with having a party, and the festive decorations elsewhere around the city centre. Godley, and fellow Scottish joker Bruce Morton, provided more barbed comedy. Singer Karine Polwart encouraged the crowd to sing along to a song she said was written on her way to the party, and Actor Tam Dean Burn read a speech from the 16th century Scottish play “Satire of the three estates” — given by the character John Common Weal, representing the common man — where the deeds and behaviour of the ruling classes are such that, if done by a common man, they’d be hanged.

Scotland’s Independence referendum is to take place next year, September 18. This was a repeated election pledge of the Scottish National Party (SNP) — who moved from leading a minority government, to an outright majority in the devolved parliament’s 2011 general election — making good on their promise by announcing in January 2011 their intent to hold the referendum in autumn 2014.

The question being put to the electorate is: “Should Scotland be an independent country?” A “Yes” vote would be followed with negotiations to bring to an end the early eighteenth-century ‘Union of the Parliaments’. The SNP has proposed Scotland retain Elizabeth II as head of state, a position she holds on the basis of the century-earlier Union of the Crowns.

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Australian blitz on fish poaching

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Australian officials have impounded 27 Indonesian boats and 240 crew off the country’s north coast, in what it says is the biggest operation against illegal fishing so far. Fisheries Minister, Ian Macdonald, told the nation’s ABC Radio that a number of boats caught fishing for shark fin and reef fish had been taken to Gove and Darwin.

The nine-day joint navy, customs and army “Operation Clearwater” was continuing, and had taken months to plan.

“I think all of the illegal vessels up there, because of their inter-vessel communication will now be aware that there is a major sting on by the Australian authorities and those that haven’t been arrested, I think will be hightailing it back to Indonesian ports as we speak,” said Senator MacDonald.

Intelligence indicated what he called “organised transnational criminal activity”, including some Asian connections beyond the Indonesian village ports where the vessels originated, but the activity was apparently limited to illegal fishing, and did not include smuggling.

“We are talking about large-scale commercial operations rather than simply subsistence fishing,” Macdonald said in a statement, indicating that fifteen of the boats were large vessels with ice for storage. Two boats each had one tonne of fish, and shark fin.

Fishing by some Indonesian peoples has occurred legitimately in the area between the two nations for hundreds of years before European colonization. A 1906 Australian claim on as much as 80% of the waters has since been softened by a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the two governments, recognizing some traditional fishing rights.

However analysts say the Australian government strategy is flawed, since it is based on the fishing technology employed, rather than catch numbers. [1] [2] [3]

At time of writing, it has not been ascertained whether the currently detained vessels were fishing in such “traditional” waters or not, or whether they were operated by crews who would have traditional fishing rights, if they had been in compliance with the MOU.

Senator MacDonald told the ABC Radio programme AM that he expected in the case of those thought to have been fishing in Australian waters illegally, the captain and perhaps the senior fishing master would be charged, with other crew being immediately repatriated to Indonesia.

As for the boats, “We’re required by international law to offer them to bond them back to the owners, but as the crew are immediately repatriated the ability of the owners to get them back to Indonesia … is fairly limited,” the Senator explained.

“I would expect that most of these boats apprehended in operation Clearwater will actually be forfeited to the crown and will be destroyed.”

The fishermen were expected to appear in court next week, reported Reuters news agency. An Indonesian fisherman was last week fined $A130,000, setting a new record, after his boat was caught off with over 100kg of dried reef fish, 300kg of fish on ice and 10kg of dried shark fin.

The Northern Territory Fisheries Minister, Kon Vatskalis, on ABC Radio asked the Federal Government to commit the same level of resources permanently.

“Provide the extra funding, provide the extra resources to the Navy and the Customs and then they will be able to stop the illegal boats, not only when they run an operation but every day, every week, every month,” Mr Vatskalis told the ABC.

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Q and A with New Zealand Prime Minister hopeful

Sunday, May 18, 2008

This article is part of the series

New Zealand General Election
Other election coverage
  • Q and A with New Zealand Prime Minister hopeful

John Key is the leader of the New Zealand National Party and with the New Zealand General Election this year, Wikinews’ Gabriel Pollard spoke to John Key via email.

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October 10, 2019

Scottish woman on ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ becomes YouTube sensation

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

A Scottish woman, appearing as a contestant on the UK television reality show Britain’s Got Talent, has stunned audiences around the globe. Her appearance, which can be seen on YouTube, shocked the show’s judges and the theatre audience.

47-year-old Susan Boyle from Blackburn, West Lothian, in Scotland, made her debut appearance on the show on Saturday night by saying that she had “never been married, never been kissed” and was currently unemployed, living alone at home with her cat, Pebbles. She says that she wants to “be a professional singer”, but has “never been given the chance.” Audience members and judges Amanda Holden, Simon Cowell and Piers Morgan, first laughed and even poked fun at her.

Boyle then stunned the judges and audience, getting a standing ovation, with her performance of I Dreamed a Dream from the award winning musical performance Les Misérables. Cowell called her performance “extraordinary” while Morgan called it “the biggest surprise I’ve had in three years of this show. I am shocked.” Holden even admitted that “everyone was against you [Boyle]” and that “we were all being very cynical.”

People from around the globe have also gotten a glimpse of her performance. As of April 15, after just four days, her performance has been viewed over 9,000,000 times on YouTube, becoming YouTube’s most ‘popular’ video, and the most viewed of the week. Within 48 hours, she already had a fan site on the world wide web. Boyle’s performance is also currently the top search result on Google’s search engine when entering the song title.

It is not yet known when Boyle will appear next on the show. Assuming she qualifies for the latter stages, her second performance is likely to be aired in late May — there are 25 episodes in the season, and so far only two episodes have aired. The show is in its third season.

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Mongolia’s ex-communists ahead going into Sunday’s election

Sunday, May 22, 2005

“Communism was much better,” said Tsahiriin Daariimaa Saturday on the eve of Mongolia‘s presidential elections. Polls predict that many Mongolians plan to vote for their former communist rulers — the Mongolian People’s Revolutionary Party (MPRP).

Under communism, “everyone worked for the collective farm,” Daariimaa said. None of her children has a steady job these days.

Myatav Choijav is a Mongolian who shares that view; “Now, some people are very rich and some are very poor. In the old times, the government took better care of us ordinary people,” Choijav said. “Now, the government is very far away from us, especially if you live in the countryside and take care of sheep. Everyone was equal under communist rule,” Choijav said.

Tseveenjav, a 70-year-old sheep herder, agrees: “I will support the MPRP. They always do the right thing.”

Tseveenjav wears the traditional Mongolian thick boots and hat while sitting upon his horse with a dead marmot hung from his saddle. Falcon and Tiger, his sheepdogs, help him keep watch over 500 sheep.

Sambuu Ganbaator, a member of the Democratic Party, has a different opinion from most of his neighbors.

“Too many people forget what the MPRP did to Mongolia,” he said. “They kept Mongolia under a brutal dictatorship. You weren’t allowed to speak your mind.” Now, he said, “you can say anything you want to say and do what you want to live a happy life.”

The MPRP’s candidate, Nambariin Enkbayar, leads the polls and the ex-communist party has said that it is now committed to democracy.

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October 4, 2019

The Benefits Of Installing Radiator Cabinets

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The Benefits Of Installing Radiator Cabinets


Gareth Hoyle

Radiator cabinets can make a beneficial addition to virtually any room and almost any property. They offer greater heating when compared to a bear radiator, they can be safer than leaving a metal radiator uncovered, and they are typically a lot better looking and in keeping with the design of your room. You can have radiator cabinets designed as a bespoke solution for your property so that they are bound to fit your radiator and look how you want them to.

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The Problem With Radiators A normal radiator has a natural tendency to heat the air that rises from it and while this means lovely and warm ceilings it also means that a lot of the heating and therefore the energy used to warm the radiator is wasted. Ideally you want the whole room to be heated and at a level that is closer to the people in the room than those upstairs. Improve Heating With Radiator Cabinets Adding radiator cabinets stops all of the hot air from rising and it instead heats the radiator cover or cabinet. The heat then dissipates outwards in all directions therefore offering greater heat coverage of a room, improving your living conditions and ambient temperature, potentially removing cold spots, and even reducing your heating bill in the process. Radiator Cabinet Designs There is also a very good selection of radiator cabinets that are available and you can have bespoke cabinets created that exactly match your requirements because they are designed according to your specifications and not to match the potential needs of many different people. From classic to contemporary you can find the design that matches your own tastes and the décor of your room. Enjoy The Benefits Radiators are extremely functional and useful items but they do have a tendency to stick out in terms of their design. In reality, a radiator can prove to be a real eyesore in any room whether it’s the bedroom or the living room. Custom created radiator cabinets make a great addition to the radiator because they enable you to create the style that you’re looking for in your rooms. Update your décor while improving the heating in your rooms with effective radiator cabinets. Radiator cabinets


are great looking and functional. Visit now and see how you can save money on heating while improving the looks inside your home.

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September 30, 2019

Poll: Arabs discouraged by US policies, back nuclear-armed Iran

Sunday, August 8, 2010

A new poll by Zogby International and the University of Maryland has found that Arabs in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are discouraged by US policies, have little confidence in US president Barack Obama and for the first time, a majority of poll respondents support a nuclear-armed Iran.

The poll results are a “stark contrast” from last year’s results, according to USA Today. Last year 51% of respondents were “optimistic” about US policy in the Middle East; this year only 16% are optimistic and 64% are “discouraged”. Also, two-thirds of poll respondents disapproved of the job Barack Obama is doing. Last year, his approval ratings were high.

Though most poll respondents still say that they suspect that Iran is attempting to get weapons of mass destruction, for the first time a majority say that it would be a good thing for Iran to get them. University of Maryland Professor Shibley Telhami says that most Arabs think that Iran won’t use the weapons and the professor, who headed the poll, also said that “when [Arabs are] optimistic about American foreign policy, they are much tougher on Iran. So a year ago, in 2009, when you had a majority being optimistic about American policy in the Middle East, only 29 percent said Iran having nuclear weapons would be positive for the Middle East. This year, when you have two-thirds being pessimistic about American foreign policy, you have a larger percentage saying maybe it will be better if Iran has nuclear weapons.”

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The new poll also reveals that the United States and Israel are also viewed as bigger threats to the Middle East than Iran.

Telhami also said that “what this poll reveals is a backlash against the United States, reflecting the loss of hope that people had in what they thought were to be the policies of the new President Obama. It’s really people venting by supporting ‘the enemy of my enemy.'”

The poll also found that most watch Al Jazeera for their international news, and that over half of the respondents also watch American or European movies, shows or music videos daily.

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September 21, 2019

Ontario Votes 2007: Interview with Liberal candidate Kate Holloway, Trinity-Spadina

Monday, October 1, 2007

Kate Holloway is running for the Ontario Liberal Party in the Ontario provincial election, in the Trinity-Spadina riding. Wikinews’ Nick Moreau interviewed her 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.

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September 18, 2019

U.S. Army revives next-generation Ground Combat Vehicle program

Friday, December 3, 2010

On Tuesday the U.S. Army released its revised solicitation for the Ground Combat Vehicle infantry fighting vehicle three months after scrapping its previous plans.

The United States Army retracted its first solicitation for the Ground Combat Vehicle (GCV) on 25 August. It was decided by the army to begin anew after a “red team” recommended that the army either upgrade the existing ground vehicle fleet or rewrite the requirements. Program officials choose to end evaluations of vehicle submissions and to begin again in two months with new requirements.

The previous design requirements emphasized modularity, affordability, rapid design and low risk technology. The infantry fighting vehicle variant would have carried a crew of three and nine infantry dismounts. It was initially to be compatible with the current Battle Command Control and Communications Suite but would gradually use a more revolutionary network. The system would support networking between external systems, vehicles and soldiers. It was to be transportable by C-17 cargo aircraft, rail, and ship and be as logistically deployable as the Stryker. The army officials were open to tracked or wheeled submissions but suggested that it be tracked due to the weight stemming from the requirements. The vehicle had an off-road speed requirement of 30 mph (50 km/h) and was required to deliver improved maintainability and consume less fuel than the Bradley Fighting Vehicle. The army wanted the vehicle to leverage an autocannon, a anti-tank guided missile system and non-lethal weapons. The army wanted the vehicle to have the blast protection level equal to the MRAP and supplement armor with active protection systems.

The army wanted the first vehicle variant to be a troop carrier that would displace the aging M113 APCs and M2 Bradleys. Later, other variants of the GCV would appear.

There were four known competing contractors for the Ground Combat Vehicle contract. BAE Systems led a team consisting of Northrop Grumman, QinetiQ, and Saft Group. BAE offered a tracked vehicle with a hybrid-electric engine, a baseline weight of 53 tons and a maximum weight tolerance of 75 tons for modular armor and various countermeasures including a V-hull and active protection systems. General Dynamics led a team consisting of Lockheed Martin, Detroit Diesel, and Raytheon. General Dynamics offered a vehicle using diesel and leveraging an active protection system. SAIC led a consortium called Team Full Spectrum which included Boeing, Krauss-Maffei, and Rheinmetall. SAIC offered a vehicle based on the Puma. Advanced Defense Vehicle Systems (ADVS) submitted its proposal for a wheeled vehicle but was rejected for being non-compliant.

The predecessor to the GCV, the Manned Ground Vehicle family, was canceled in April 2009. Similar programs like the M8 light tank and XM2001 Crusader have also been scrapped in the past. The Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle, Joint Light Tactical Vehicle, and Ground Combat Vehicle programs have been targeted for cancellation by the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform.

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