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December 3, 2019

Fifteen dead in Mexican car wash shooting

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Fifteen people were shot dead on Wednesday in the western Mexican state of Nayarit. The attack occurred in a car wash in the city of Tepic, and, according to the state attorney general, was the work of a drug cartel. All 15 killed were workers at the Gamboa car wash.

“The workers were all men; they were washing cars when the gunmen, probably members of organized crime, drove up in SUVs and started opening fire,” a spokesman for the state attorney general said on Wednesday. Pictures of the scene show bodies on the roadside with blood pooling at their heads.

The massacre, which was just blocks away from federal offices, resulted in the closure of schools and businesses in the area. It is not yet clear what the motive was behind the attack, although men who work at Mexican car washes are often spies for drug gangs.

This slaying is the third major murder in six days. On Friday, cartels killed fourteen people and wounded a nine year-old boy in Ciudad Juarez, a major battleground for fighting drug cartels. Two days later, hit men killed another 14 people in Tijuana. Both cities are major cities on the United States border; however, Nayarit is a quiet resort state that has largely been free of drug violence until now.

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November 15, 2019

Class action launched by Australian bushfire survivors against SP AusNet

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The largest class action in Victorian history was commenced at the Supreme Court of Victoria on Friday the 13th by Slidders Lawyers against electricity distribution company SP AusNet and the Brumby Government in relation to the Kilmore East fire that became part of the Kinglake complex.

Because of the lawsuit, SP AusNet SPN.AX’s shares on Monday have dropped more than 13.36 per cent or 14.5 cents, to an intra-day low of 94 cents, was at 98.5 cents at 10:38 a.m. local time, before recovering slightly to be 7.5 cents lower at A$1.01 by 1144 AEDT (0003 GMT) or 6.9 percent in Sydney trading. Shares in SP AusNet closed 3.7 percent lower at A$1.045 on Monday.

Power supplier SP AusNet said it has asked the Victoria Court regarding the status of the class action proceedings saying the firm had insurance policies in place consistent with industry standards. “SP AusNet will continue to update the market as further information becomes available,” the company said.

The claim has focused on alleged negligence by SP AusNet in its management of electricity infrastructure. It maintains most of the power lines in eastern Victoria. Its fallen power line is believed to have sparked the blaze that tore through Kinglake, Steels Creek, Strathewen, Humevale, and St Andrews. The plaintiffs include thousands of angry Kinglake farmers, small business owners, tourist operators and residents who lost homes.

Leo Keane, the lead plaintiff in the class action has alleged “SP AusNet owed a duty of care to landowners to operate and manage power lines in a way that limited the risk of damage from bushfires.”

On Thursday Phoenix Taskforce had taken away a section of power line as well as a power pole from near Kilmore East, part of a two-kilometre section of line in Kilmore East that fell during strong winds and record heat about 11am last Saturday. It was believed to have started the fire there, since within minutes a nearby pine forest was ablaze, and within six hours the bushfire had almost obliterated nearly every building in the towns in its path.

“It is believed that the claim will be made on the basis of negligent management of power lines and infrastructure,” Slidders Lawyers partner Daniel Oldham said. The law firm has announced it was helping landowners and leaseholders get compensation for the 2003, 2006, 2007 and 2009 bushfires. “If you have been burnt by the recent bushfires, please register your interest using the form below as soon as possible,” the law firm’s website stated.

The Insurance Council of Australia has placed the cost of the bushfires at about $500 million. “That means keeping electricity lines clear of trees and in a condition that won’t cause fires. They must also have systems in place to identify and prevent risks occurring,” Melbourne barrister Tim Tobin, QC, said. According to the 2006 census, Kinglake had a population of almost 1,500 people.

But SP AusNet’s legal liability has been limited at $100 million under an agreement inked by the former Kennett government with private utility operators, when the former State Electricity Commission was privatized in 1995. Accordingly, the Brumby Government could be legally obliged to pay damages of the differences amounting to hundreds of millions of dollars.

SP AusNet Ltd said some of its electricity assets have been damaged by the Victoria bushfire. “As a preliminary estimate, it is thought that damage has been sustained to approximately one per cent of SP AusNet’s electricity distribution network, mainly distribution poles, associated conductors and pole top transformers,” SP AusNet said in a statement to the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX). It explained that up to 6,000 homes and businesses on its network were without power due to bushfires, including the Kinglake complex fire, Beechworth fire, and fires across Gippsland including Churchill and Bunyip.

SP AusNet said the firm will cooperate fully and will assist in any fire probe. “We stand ready to assist the relevant authorities with their inquiries if it is necessary for us to do so now and in the coming months,” SP Ausnet spokeswoman Louisa Graham said in a statement.

“Our priority is to restore power to fire-affected areas as quickly as possible. We believe the claim is premature and inappropriate … SP AusNet will vigorously defend the claim. If the claim is pursued, SP AusNet advises that it has liability insurance which provides cover for bushfire liability. The company’s bushfire mitigation and vegetation management programmes comply with state regulations and were audited annually by state agencies,” Grahams explained.

Victorian Auditor-General Rob Hulls said “there was an ‘unseemly rush’ by some lawyers to sue before the cause of the fires had been fully investigated.”

“The government body had audited the network’s bushfire risk to make sure required distances between power lines and vegetation were maintained. Power companies had been given a clean bill of health, and electricity firms were judged to be ‘well prepared for the 2008-09 bushfire season.’ There were no regulations applying to the distances between poles supporting electricity lines and spans of one kilometre were not unusual,” a spokesman for Energy Safe Victoria explained.

Christine Nixon, the 19th and current Chief Commissioner of Victoria Police said investigations into the cause of the bushfires were ongoing. “I know people are angry, and so are all of us in this community. But we need to kind of have a sense that the proper processes are in place and we need to go through the investigation and through the court case,” Nixon said. “At this stage we are not able to confirm how it started. I understand there is some legal action that people are taking, but at this stage we’re still investigating its cause. But the whole circumstances of that fire are part of our Taskforce Phoenix, and as we move through that we’ll be able to tell the community more once we’re able to confirm or deny what we think is the cause of these fires,” Nixon added.

On Thursday, two people were arrested in connection with the fires, having been observed by members of the public acting suspiciously in areas between Yea and Seymour; although they were both released without charges laid.

Brendan Sokaluk, age 39, from Churchill in the Gippsland region, was arrested by police at 4pm on Thursday, in relation to the Churchill fires, and was questioned at the Morwell police station. He was charged on Friday with one count each of arson, intentionally lighting a bushfire and possession of child pornography. The arson case relates to 11 of the 21 deaths in the dire Gippsland fire, which devastated 39,000 hectares in the Latrobe Valley, Calignee, Hazelwood Koornalla and Jeeralang. Two teams of Churchill firefighters were almost lost in the inferno that remains out of control.

Mr Sokaluk joined the CFA Churchill brigade in the late 1980s as a volunteer fire fighter, left in the 1990s and attempted to rejoin twice, but was rejected. He failed to appear in Melbourne Magistrate’s Court Monday for a scheduled hearing, since the court reset the committal hearing on May 25. He is represented by lawyer Julian McMahon.

Magistrate John Klestadt has lifted the suppression order which kept the suspect’s identity a secret but identifying photographs were barred from being released. Mr Sokaluk was remanded in protective custody from Morwell to a cell in Melbourne for his own safety amid fears angry prisoners will target him and real risk of vigilante attacks. He faces a maximum sentence of 25 years imprisonment if convicted on the arson charge.

“This is an extraordinary case. The level of emotion and anger and disgust that the alleged offenses have aroused in the community is unprecedented.” Mr Sokaluk’s defense lawyer Helen Spowart argued. The prosecution has moved the Court for more time to prepare its case, saying there would be up to 200 witnesses to interview.

Slater & Gordon has indicated that they were awaiting the report of the to-be-established Royal Commission, expected in late 2010, before initiating any claims.

Armed with a $40 million budget, the Royal Commission’s Chair Justice Bernard Teague will be assisted by former Commonwealth ombudsman Ron McLeod, who led the inquiry into the 2003 Canberra bushfires, and State Services Authority Commissioner Susan Pascoe. The Commission has said its interim report is due on August 17 while the final report will be submitted by July 31, 2010.

Judge Bernard Teague has announced Tuesday he will meet with fire victims and fire authorities within the next two weeks. “We want to do that as soon as possible – probably not next week but starting to have these discussions the week after,” he said.

Julia Eileen Gillard, the Deputy Prime Minister of Australia and deputy leader of the federal Australian Labor Party (ALP) said the federal and Victorian governments would respond quickly to the royal commission’s report. “Everybody who has lived through this experience in Victoria and around the nation has asked the question: ‘Why? What can we do better?’. No one wanted to see the report “as a book on a shelf gathering dust,” she said.

Victoria bushfire experts, led by Forest Fire Victoria – a group of scientists and forestry experts – have condemned the government’s “Living with Fire” policy and the state’s failure to initiate serious fuel-reduction programs. The Victoria government had failed to seriously act on bushfire safety recommendations submitted last June by the Victorian Parliamentary Environment and Natural Resources Committee.

As death toll rises, evidence mounts of lack of planning prior to Australia’s worst bushfire. “Living with Fire” policy means Kinglake fire trucks were dispatched to an earlier fire in Kilmore, leaving Kinglake undefended. “Kinglake was left with no fire brigade and no police. The trucks had been sent to Kilmore. I’ve been in the fire brigade for 10 years. There was always a law—the trucks had to be on the hill. Because of the government we got gutted at Kinglake. They should have been getting generators ahead of the fire—so people would have had a chance of fighting it. As soon as the power went, I couldn’t keep fighting the fire at my place,” Rick and Lauren Watts, and their friend Neil Rao, spoke to the WSWS.

Rick has also criticized the lack of early warning communications systems, since emergency siren warnings in the town had been stopped some years earlier. Humevale resident Sina Imbriano who has six children was angry about the failure of state and federal governments to set up a recommended telephone warning system amid its “stay and defend or go” policy. Bald Spur Road residents Greg Jackson and his wife Fotini said the government’s “stay and defend or go” policy was “fruitless” since the critical issue was early warnings, but “they [the government] just won’t spend the money.”

Also on Friday, five law firms from Victoria’s Western Districts, including Warrnambool-based Maddens Lawyers and Brown & Proudfoot, held a meeting to discuss a potential class action in relation to the Horsham fire, which was also thought to have been started by fallen power pole that burnt vast swathes of land in Mudgegonga and Dederang, Victoria. The lawsuit will also focus on the fire that blackened about 1750 hectares at Coleraine.

Maddens senior attorney Brendan Pendergast said: “We don’t know who the defendant is at this stage. We are unsure who the electrical supplier is for that area but we should know in a few days. There were people who had their homes burnt to the ground and they will need to reconstruct, replace their contents,” he said. Maddens has initiated a register of affected landowners for the recent bushfires, saying the firm has included victims of the Pomborneit fire that burnt almost 1300 hectares in the proposed class action amid the CFA’s statement the blaze could have been deliberately lit.

Frances Esther “Fran” Bailey, Liberal member of the Australian House of Representatives (1990-93 and 1996-present), representing the electorate of McEwen in Victoria said the Country Fire Authority (CFA) had told her one of the power lines had broken before the fire.

“The local CFA [Country Fire Authority] told me on that Saturday, with those very high winds, one of the lines had broken and was whipping against the ground and sparked,” she said. “Whether or not that is the cause of that terrible fire that actually took out Kinglake and maybe Marysville, the investigations will prove that, but we’ve got to do better,” she added.

Victorian Premier John Brumby said the power line claim would be examined as part of the Royal Commission into the bushfire. “No stone will be left unturned. So, I think it’s important the Royal Commission does its work. And, the Royal Commission will, of course, look at all of the factors with the fires,” Mr Brumby said. At least 550 houses were incinerated and 100 people have been killed, leaving more than 1,000 homeless in the Kinglake bushfire and surrounding areas.

SP AusNet – Singapore Power International Pte Ltd is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Singapore Power Limited (51% interest in SP AusNet). SP AusNet’s electricity transmission and distribution networks, along with the gas distribution assets, enable it to deliver a full range of energy-related products and services to industrial and domestic customers in Victoria, Australia.

Singapore Power ( ?????????) is a company which provides electricity and gas transmission, distribution services, and market support services to more than a million customers in Singapore. As the only electricity company in Singapore, and also one of its largest corporation, SP was incorporated as a commercial entity in October 1995 to take over the electricity and gas businesses of the state provider, the Public Utilities Board. Since 1995, Temasek Holdings controls the entire company with a 100% stake. SP is involved in a major investment in Australia‘s Alinta in partnership with Babcock & Brown, after putting up a bid of A$13.9 billion (S$17 billion), beating out a rival bid by Macquarie Bank.

The devastating 2009 Victorian Black Saturday bushfires, a series of more than 400 bushfires across Victoria on February 7 2009, is Australia’s worst-ever bushfire disaster, claiming at least 200 deaths, including many young children, and is expected to pass 300. 100 victims have been admitted to hospitals across Victoria with burns, at least 20 in a critical condition, and 9 on life support or in intensive care. The fires have destroyed at least 1,834 homes and damaged many thousands more. Many towns north-east of Melbourne have been badly damaged or almost completely destroyed, including Kinglake, Marysville, Narbethong, Strathewen and Flowerdale. Over 500 people suffered fire-related injuries and more than 7,000 are homeless. It has scorched more than 1,500 square miles (3,900 square kilometers) of farms, forests and towns.

The Supreme Court of Victoria is the superior court for the State of Victoria, Australia. Founded in 1852, it is a superior court of common law and equity, with unlimited jurisdiction within the state. Those courts lying below it include the County Court of Victoria, the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria and the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (which is technically not a court, but serves a judicial function). Above it lies the High Court of Australia. This places it around the middle of the Australian court hierarchy.

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Hickenlooper ends US presidential bid, senate run possible

Friday, August 16, 2019

John Hickenlooper, who was a candidate in the Democratic primaries for the 2020 United States presidential election, ended his campaign yesterday. Hickenlooper made his official announcement via a YouTube video in which he thanked his supporters.

According to reports, Hickenlooper was polling so low nationally, he was in danger of not qualifying for the next round of televised debates. Reports citing sources within the Democratic Party have indicated Hickenlooper was actively encouraged to drop out in favor of a run for a seat in the United States Senate.

Hickenlooper said in the video, “I’ve heard from so many Coloradans who want me to run for the United States Senate. They remind me how much is at stake for our country. And our state. I intend to give that some serious thought.”

I’ve heard from so many Coloradans who want me to run for the United States Senate […] I intend to give that some serious thought.

The senate seat from Colorado due for election next year is that of incumbent Republican Cory Gardner. Recent opinion polling by Democratic organizations indicated Hickenlooper is far more popular than any other Democrat running against Gardner and also ahead of Gardner.

Hickenlooper has served as mayor of Denver and governor of Colorado. His moderate politics have clashed with some of the stances of national leaders of his party such as Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren; he has notably come out against Medicare for all.

Besides his political career, Hickenlooper has been a successful entrepreneur, involved in the successful launch of a chain of pubs and restaurants.

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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.

Uncategorized @ 2:33 am
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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
Background

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.

Uncategorized @ 2:28 am
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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.

Uncategorized @ 2:06 am
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October 4, 2019

The Benefits Of Installing Radiator Cabinets

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The Benefits Of Installing Radiator Cabinets

by

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

from

KingstonCabinets.co.uk

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

Article Source:

ArticleRich.com

Cabinets @ 1:05 am
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