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September 3, 2019

Governor of Illinois arrested on suspicion of corruption

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Democratic governor of Illinois in the United States, Rod Blagojevich, 51, along with his chief of staff John Harris, 46, were arrested Tuesday morning by the FBI on federal corruption charges.

The Chicago Tribune reports that federal agents raided Blagojevich’s home this morning and took him into federal custody. The arrest comes after a three-year investigation into Blagojevich’s “pay-to-play politics.”

Specifically, the Department of Justice alleged that Blagojevich attempted to sell the Senate seat previously held by President-elect Barack Obama. Blagojevich, as governor, has the sole authority to appoint someone to complete Obama’s term. Authorities believe the process to select a new senator was tainted after authorities secretly recorded several of Blagojevich’s conversations. They believe that he was attempting to sell the seat in exchange for financial benefit for himself and his wife.

Documents from the FBI and from U.S. attorney Patrick Fitzgerald identify the people whom Blagojevich was considering as Senate Candidates 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5. According to Fitzgerald’s press release, Blagojevich told an advisor that he wanted to “get some (money) up front, maybe.”

In Illinois, a new state ethics law will take effect on January 1, 2009, so Blagojevich was trying to embezzle as much money as he could before that date, said Fitzgerald.

Authorities also believe that Blagojevich was trying to withhold state financial assistance from the owner of the Tribune, the Tribune Company, which recently filed for bankruptcy protection. They allege he was trying to get members of the editorial board of the Chicago Tribune fired by threatening to complicate the sale of Wrigley Field by Tribune Company.

On December 8, Blagojevich responded to the reports that federal authorities had wiretapped his phone conversations, saying that “I should say if anybody wants to tape my conversations, go right ahead, feel free to do it. I can tell you that whatever I say is always lawful and the things I’m interested in are always lawful.”

If convicted, Blagojevich could face up to 30 years in prison and $500,000 in fines.

This is not the first time in Illinois history that a governor has been arrested for corruption charges. In 2006, George Ryan was indicted and is now serving a 6½-year prison term.

Uncategorized @ 1:06 am
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August 18, 2019

Lakota Freedom Delegation says spokesman Russell Means ‘hijacked’ organization

Saturday, January 5, 2008File:Russell Means press conference.JPG

Wikinews has learned that the Lakota Freedom Delegation, also known as Lakotah Oyate, an organization of activists fighting for the Sioux Indian Nation to withdraw all treaties with the United States, was “hijacked” by its spokesman, Russell Means, an activist for Native American Indians.

On December 19, 2007, Means and the “delegation” went to Washington, D.C. and hand-delivered a letter, signed by the Delegation, to the U.S. State Department claiming that the Lakota Indian Tribe was declaring that all treaties between the tribe and the U.S. have been withdrawn or canceled. They also held a press conference declaring their freedom.

“We are no longer citizens of the United States of America and all those who live in the five-state area that encompasses our country are free to join us. This is according to the laws of the United States, specifically article six of the constitution,” said Means during the press conference.

Since then, Russell Means has gone on to announce the formation of a “provisional government” of the “Republic of Lakotah” with himself as Chief Facilitator, as well as to promote the establishment of a bank and a utility company for the country. Despite the claim Means has made, Naomi Archer, liaison of Lakotah Oyate stated to Wikinews that Means took control of the organization and hijacked it and its website on December 29. Archer also said that Lakotah Oyate or the delegation are not a government entity and do not make decisions for the Nation.

“The legitimate actions of the Lakota people are not determined by one person [Russell Means] or even one group, but by the [Lakota] people themselves,” added Archer.

Other signers of the withdrawal letter are all still involved in the movement, including Canupa Gluha Mani who heads the Strong Heart Warrior Society which will “probably become the paramilitary force” of Lakotah, said Archer. Wikinews asked Archer if Means would still be involved in the movement, but she refused to comment.

The Bank of Lakotah and Provisional Government of Lakota are not supported by Lakotah Oyate; Means is acting without having consulted the other elders of Lakotah; Means is himself, at age 69 [sic], an elder, and “people need their elders to set better examples than that,” said Archer.

While the idea of establishing a power company, bank, and other such institutions was an idea that had come from Means and the rest of Lakotah Freedom Delegation knew that he was going off to Washington D.C. on his own to conduct negotiations, they did not know what the negotiations were going to be regarding. Lakotah Oyate hopes that this dispute will be resolved in a few weeks because this “all has to be about the people”.

Since the Delegation’s press conference, the Rosebud Sioux Tribe and the Cheyenne River Reservation have rejected Means’s and the delegation’s declaration of secession.

“They’re individuals acting on their own. They did not come to the Rosebud Sioux tribal council or our government in any way to get our support and we do not support what they’ve done. We do not support what Means and his group are doing and they don’t have any support from any tribal government I know of. They don’t speak for us,” said Rosebud Sioux Tribe president, Rodney Bordeaux.

Despite those rejections, Archer said that the Pine Ridge Reservation‘s council may “consider the proposal.” A representative for the Standing Rock Reservation‘s council has said that that reservation is also considering Lakotah Oyate’s proposal. Lakotah Oyate have also been holding discussions with “about 150” other indigenous organizations in the U.S. and mentioned particularly the Native Hawaiians.

Uncategorized @ 1:24 am
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Chef who appeared on Gordon Ramsay’s ‘Kitchen Nightmares’ commits suicide

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Joseph Cerniglia, a chef who had appeared on Gordon Ramsay’s television show Kitchen Nightmares, has commited suicide. Cerniglia was the owner of Italian restaurant Campania. He jumped off a bridge into the Hudson river on the New York–New Jersey border. At the time of filming in 2007, Cerniglia owed suppliers $80,000.

Officials reported that 39-year-old Cerniglia had jumped off of the George Washington Bridge into the Hudson. His death has officially been ruled as suicide. His body was retrieved from the river after reports of a man jumping off of the bridge.

Ramsay released a statement to the Press Association saying “I was fortunate to spend time with Joe during the first season of Kitchen Nightmares. Joe was a brilliant chef, and our thoughts go out to his family, friends and staff.”

Cerniglia told Ramsay about his personal debt when he came to the restaurant in 2007. He said “I am financially in trouble. The debt of the restaurant alone is overwhelming. My personal debt — wife, kids, mortgage — that’s a lot of debt”.

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August 11, 2019

Canada’s Beaches—East York (Ward 32) city council candidates speak

This exclusive interview features first-hand journalism by a Wikinews reporter. See the collaboration page for more details.

Friday, November 3, 2006

On November 13, Torontonians will be heading to the polls to vote for their ward’s councillor and for mayor. Among Toronto’s ridings is Beaches—East York (Ward 32). Four candidates responded to Wikinews’ requests for an interview. This ward’s candidates include Donna Braniff, Alan Burke, Sandra Bussin (incumbent), William Gallos, John Greer, John Lewis, Erica Maier, Luca Mele, and Matt Williams.

For more information on the election, read Toronto municipal election, 2006.

Contents

  • 1 Sandra Bussin (incumbent)
  • 2 William Gallos
  • 3 Erica Maier
  • 4 Luca Mele
Uncategorized @ 1:41 am
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Commonwealth Bank of Australia CEO apologies for financial planning scandal

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Ian Narev, the CEO of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, this morning “unreservedly” apologised to clients who lost money in a scandal involving the bank’s financial planning services arm.

Last week, a Senate enquiry found financial advisers from the Commonwealth Bank had made high-risk investments of clients’ money without the clients’ permission, resulting in hundreds of millions of dollars lost. The Senate enquiry called for a Royal Commission into the bank, and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).

Mr Narev stated the bank’s performance in providing financial advice was “unacceptable”, and the bank was launching a scheme to compensate clients who lost money due to the planners’ actions.

In a statement Mr Narev said, “Poor advice provided by some of our advisers between 2003 and 2012 caused financial loss and distress and I am truly sorry for that. […] There have been changes in management, structure and culture. We have also invested in new systems, implemented new processes, enhanced adviser supervision and improved training.”

An investigation by Fairfax Media instigated the Senate inquiry into the Commonwealth Bank’s financial planning division and ASIC.

Whistleblower Jeff Morris, who reported the misconduct of the bank to ASIC six years ago, said in an article for The Sydney Morning Herald that neither the bank nor ASIC should be in control of the compensation program.

Uncategorized @ 1:32 am
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News briefs:July 12, 2006

The time is 23:30 (UTC) on July 12th, 2006, and this is Audio Wikinews News Briefs.

Contents

  • 1 Headlines
    • 1.1 Israeli forces cross over into southern Lebanon
    • 1.2 China and Russia counter resolution against North Korea
    • 1.3 Iraqi group claim deaths of U.S. soldiers avenge rape, murder of Iraqi girl
    • 1.4 Dozens preemptively arrested in leadup to St Petersburg G8 Summit
    • 1.5 Blair ally Lord Levy arrested
    • 1.6 UK to get new nuclear power stations
    • 1.7 Sex scandal rocks Scottish politics
    • 1.8 Man arrested for mutilating NZ body
    • 1.9 Microsoft launches classified listings site
    • 1.10 Zidane apologises for headbutt
  • 2 Closing statements

[edit]

Uncategorized @ 1:27 am
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Wells Fargo and Barclay’s rumoured to be in merger talks

Monday, January 10, 2005

Sunday Express, a tabloid newspaper from the UK reported an anonymous source claiming to be an insider to merger talks between Wells Fargo Bank and Barclays Bank.

The rumoured merger would be a radical break in the kinds of mergers Wells Fargo has done and has said it will continue to do (it is assumed that Wells with the higher market capitalization would be the buyer).

Wells Fargo has previously shown no desire to engage in retail banking outside the United States, and has only expanded internationally in its Consumer Finance business and with certain business services.

Wells Fargo currently has a market value of 100 billion, while Barclays is worth 70 billion. The wire services such as Reuters immediately wrote articles about the rumour. Barclays refused to comment on market speculation (it is standard for all corporations to consistently refuse to comment on all merger speculation).

No reporters have so far been able to reach Wells Fargo for comment. It is claimed that talks have been ongoing since October, although they are said to have stalled and then resumed.

There is however the possibility that Wells Fargo and Barclays could be contemplating a business line sale, instead of a full on merger. One possibility is Barclays selling its “Barclays Global Investor” division back to Wells Fargo.

Wells Fargo (under old management prior to the 1998 merger of Wells Fargo and Norwest Bank) previously sold its Asset Management (mutual fund) business to Barclays in 1995. Renamed Barclays Global Investors, this business remains headquartered in San Francisco, and still has some connections to Wells Fargo’s new mutual fund business.

Wells Fargo has a long term goal of deriving around 25% of its revenue from investments and insurance; currently it derives around 15 percent of its revenue from this. The purchase of Barclays Global Investor would significantly move Wells Fargo toward achieving this goal.

Another possibility is Barclays buying the private label (or store branded) credit cards of Wells Fargo Financial. In November, Barclays acquired Juniper, a fast growing player in the US private label credit card business.

Uncategorized @ 1:04 am
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Category:Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse affair

Wikipedia has more about this subject:

Welcome to the Wikinews Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse affair section. For more information about writing and editing see the Newsroom. Refresh for latest articles.

Pages in category “Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse affair”

Uncategorized @ 1:01 am
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August 4, 2019

Male Magellanic penguins pine for pairings: Wikinews interviews biologist Natasha Gownaris

Sunday, January 27, 2019

In findings published earlier this month in Ecological Applications, scientists from the University of Washington and Center for Ecosystem Sentinels examine the reason for the plummeting numbers of female Magellanic penguins, Spheniscus magellanicus, that have been reported at the birds’ breeding sites in South America over the past twenty years and more. Wikinews caught up with postdoctoral researcher and study co-author Natasha Gownaris to learn more.

In a press release, Gownaris said, “Two decades ago, there were about 1.5 adult male Magellanic penguins for every adult female at Punta Tombo[…] Today, it’s approaching three males for every female.” The findings suggested a disparity in the death rate of juvenile and adult penguins, rather than differences in chick survival, account for this difference.

Punta Tombo is one of the annual breeding sites for the species; it is in Argentina. The penguins travel thousands of miles each year to reach these sites.

The work involved building population models out of over thirty years of data collected by tagging individual penguins. Findings also suggested the pronounced sex disparity might make population models used to predict survival among other birds with a more even gender balance inappropriate for use on Megallanic penguins.

According to the data, since 1987, overall population of Magellanic penguins in Punta Tombo at one of their annual breeding sites in Argentina has declined 40%, while the male-to-female ratio has greatly increased.

Since 1983, the research team has been putting stainless steel bands on tens of thousands of chicks hatched at the Punta Tombo breeding site in Argentina, noting which juvenile and adult birds make it back to the site the next year and extrapolating how many lived and died. Among juveniles, there was a 17% survival rate for males and 12% for females. Among adults, it was 89% and 85%. These effects became compounded every year, reaching as high as six males to one female among older penguins.

The researchers noted implications for penguin conservation: Gownaris remarked, “Over the years, this team has helped preserve the land and waters around breeding colonies like Punta Tombo[…] But now we’re starting to understand that, to help Magellanic penguins, you have to protect waters where they feed in winter, which are thousands of miles north from Punta Tombo.”

Gownaris answered a series of questions for our correspondent.

((Wikinews)) What prompted your curiosity about Magellanic penguins?

Natasha Gownaris: I’ve wanted to be a marine scientist since I was a child, when I would collect sand crabs (Emerita talpoida) from local beaches in New York. I studied fish as a graduate student, but I have a pair of adopted parrots and I am generally fascinated by birds. Plus, penguins eat fish! Studying penguins seemed like a great way to merge my love for the ocean and my love for birds. Penguins and other seabirds are also important to study because they tell us something about the health of the ocean ecosystems they feed in, similar to the use of canaries to test air quality in coal mines. Unfortunately, the decline of many seabird species worldwide is yet another warning sign of the negative and widespread impacts humans are having on the ocean.

((WN)) How did you approach putting together such a large-scale study?

NG: This study started in 1982, long before my joining the lab in March of 2016. Dr. Dee Boersma began this study as a response to a Japanese company’s interest in harvesting penguins for their skin, meat, and oil. Although the project has evolved over time, Dr. Boersma had the foresight to start banding chicks in 1983 and to set up a standard protocol that we follow each year. Since then, over 44,000 chicks have been banded at Punta Tombo. We’ve been able to follow some individuals for 30+ years, collecting detailed information on things like how often they breed and how many mates they’ve had.

((WN)) How much time did you end up spending in Argentina? What was it like at the breeding site?

NG: Members of the Boersma lab and volunteers spend approximately six months each year at Punta Tombo. I was fortunate enough to spend nearly four months at the colony between 2015 and 2017. It’s an incredible, otherworldly place. Magellanic penguins nest in burrows or bushes, and some areas of the colony are so dense with burrows that you feel like you’re on a different planet. The colony has declined by over 40% since the study started…so I can’t even imagine what it was like in the 1980s. My favorite time of the day is around 8PM, when (hopefully fat) penguins are returning to the colony en masse after a foraging trip. They are also most vocal in the morning and evening, making their characteristic braying sound— the related African penguin earned the name “jackass penguin” because they sound a bit like donkeys. The colony is also full of other beautiful and interesting creatures, including a llama-like species called the guanaco and an ostrich-like species called the rhea.

I was fortunate enough to spend nearly four months at the colony between 2015 and 2017. It’s an incredible, otherworldly place.

((WN)) Do you have any theories on why more female juveniles die at sea? You mention starvation; what might be the causes of that, and are there other possible explanations you can think of?

NG: We are not yet certain why females are more likely to die, but we think it must be related to their smaller body size. Because the mortality is most uneven in juveniles, higher mortality doesn’t seem to be related to greater costs of breeding for females than for males. Female Magellanic penguins are about 17% lighter than males and have smaller bills. We think that, because of this size difference, females have a lower storage capacity, can’t dive as deep, and can’t take as wide a range of prey as males — all disadvantages when faced with limited and unpredictable food resources. These disadvantages hit juvenile females even harder, as juveniles are still learning how to forage and often travel further than adults do in the non-breeding season. Counts of carcasses in the species’ migration range support starvation as the main cause of female-biased mortality; while oiled carcasses have a sex ratio of 1:1, females outnumber males in carcasses of starved birds. The only other possibility is that females are moving to other colonies at higher rates than are males, but this species is known to almost always return to its natal colony to breed.

((WN)) You suggest conservation efforts should look at protection of feeding grounds. What sort of measures do you think might be beneficial?

NG: Because penguins migrate such long distances over the non-breeding season, a mixture of tools (including no-take marine protected areas and traditional fisheries management tools, like catch limits) is likely to be needed. Although there is currently some spatial protection surrounding the species’ breeding colony, this protection does not extend to their migratory route. And, of course, everyone can contribute to penguin conservation by reducing their plastic waste, making more sustainable food choices, and reducing their carbon footprint.

((WN)) What do you think might be causing pressure on food sources for the penguins?

NG: The two main threats to the food sources of this colony are climate change, which cause shifts in primary productivity and fish stocks, and fisheries. Fisheries compete with penguins for fish species such as hake and anchovy.

((WN)) Have you noticed differences in behavior among the penguins as the ratios become increasingly skewed?

NG: In a separate study currently under review, we have shown that aggression between males of Magellanic penguins is higher when the sex ratio at the colony is more skewed towards males. We also showed that nearly all females at the colony breed but that, over time, fewer and fewer males find mates. Single male penguins sometimes intrude [on] nests of mated pairs and interrupt the incubation of eggs or feeding of chicks, leading to mortality. In some cases, they will even attack and kill chicks.

((WN)) Your release mentioned sexing the penguins was problematic; how did you achieve it with confidence?

NG: We have some methods of sexing penguins that we feel confident about — using genetics or measures of cloaca size around egg laying, for example. However, these methods are time intensive, so we have also developed visual cues for sex penguins (bill size, behavior, forehead shape). We looked at individuals that had been sexed using both a certain method (e.g. genetics) and visual methods to calculate how often we got it right based on visual cues alone and found that we have very high accuracy. We also used statistical tools to help to deal with uncertainty in the sex of some individuals.

((WN)) How well can you extrapolate population trends at Punta Tombo based on the birds you tagged? More broadly, how well do you think this work represents global populations?

everyone can contribute to penguin conservation by reducing their plastic waste, making more sustainable food choices, and reducing their carbon footprint

NG: It is likely that females have higher mortality than males at other colonies of this species and in other penguin species. We unfortunately do not have enough information from other colonies of this species (e.g. sex ratio and population trends) for an accurate global assessment of population trends. We do know that some colonies of the species are growing but that, at the global level, the species is still in decline.

((WN)) In your opinion, for how much longer are penguin populations sustainable without intervention?

NG: This is nearly impossible to answer without more information on other colonies of the species, but the Punta Tombo colony is declining rapidly. We estimate declines of at least 43% since 1987 from our annual surveys at the colony, but it is likely that actual declines are higher because of the increasingly skewed sex ratio.

((WN)) What are your next plans moving forward with your work?

NG: We are currently studying the sex ratio in Magellanic penguin chicks (at hatching and at fledging) to determine how this influences the sex ratio in adults. There are two priorities moving forward — 1) estimating sex ratio at other colonies of this species and determining whether females are more likely to leave Punta Tombo for other colonies than are males and 2) determining the mechanisms underlying lower female survival, e.g. by studying the foraging behavior and diet of males and females and the individual characteristics (like body size) that correlate with survival.

Uncategorized @ 1:42 am
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Home Decorators In Trivandrum}

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MonnaieThe Ultimate Guide to Kitchen BacksplashesIf you are making your mind for a new kitchen backsplash as a part of a kitchen renovation or just replacing your existing one, then there are many materials to choose from. Deciding on one that will best suit your kitchen can be difficult when you may see the options. TilesTiles were once the most common material used for kitchen backsplash, and they are now making a big comeback, because of the range of colours, patterns and materials now available. Putting a price on your tiled kitchen backsplash can be difficult though, as the cost of tiles varies greatly.Toughened GlassToughened glass backsplash are the best widely used backsplash selection now & with good reason. Toughened glass is easy to clean & is available in an almost infinite range of prints & colours. Glass backsplash in a kitchen need to be toughened, to guarantee that they can withstand the heat from cooktops. Toughened glass is a safety glass which, if broken, crumbles into small granular pieces instead of shattering into sharp edgy pieces, like regular glass would.Mirrored GlassMirrored glass backsplash are again a very popular choice. They really help to open up a space by bouncy cove light and reflections around the room. The mirror is not the clear one like your regular bathroom mirror. It has a smoky tint, making it much more appealing for use in the kitchen. Mirrored glass backsplash are a safety glass treated in the same way as toughened glass backsplash, so they are an excellent choice for kitchens and safe for use behind your cooktop.AcrylicAcrylic backsplash gives you the illusion of glass, but they are a more cost-effective alternative and you can install them yourself. Unlike glass they cannot be installed directly behind cooktops, unless you use some additional protection in the form of a toughened glass or stainless steel plate behind the cooktop.StoneStone is a very less common backsplash material but has started gaining popularity. You can use the same stone material on your backsplash as the one used for your countertop, if you decide on this material. This creates a continuous, elegant & opulent look in the kitchen. But if you do decide to go with this backsplash option, it is advisable to have both your countertop and backsplash installed at the same time, so that they can both be made from the same batch of stone to avoid any colour variations.Stainless SteelStainless steel backsplash adds a contemporary industrial touch to a kitchen. The fact that stainless steel is used in commercial kitchens is testament to its stability & hygienic qualities. Stainless steel backsplash are another option that you can install yourself & it is completely safe to use behind cooktops. Some people will choose to have a stainless steel backsplash behind their cooktop only, and use another material such as acrylic or even tiles on the rest of the backsplash areas.

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