Wikinews Shorts: September 6, 2006

Wikinews Shorts: September 6, 2006
By mYCZNbxh On September 21st, 2018

Wednesday, September 6, 2006

Irish National Pensions Reserve Fund gains 2.4% in first quarter

Irish National Pensions Reserve Fund gains 2.4% in first quarter
By mYCZNbxh On September 21st, 2018

Friday, April 22, 2005

Ireland’s National Pensions Reserve Fund (NPRF) has posted a 2.4% return for the first quarter (9.6% annualized). On March 31, the funds value stood at €12.3bn, a rise of €290m (excluding state contributions) since December 31.

Donal Geaney, the fund’s chairman, told the press that growth in the past quarter had been driven by the Fund’s European equity investments.

Mr Geaney, former Élan CEO, has pursued a policy of diversification since February of this year, with the stated aim of placing a larger amount of the funds assets in companies with small market capitalizations and in property funds.

The fund was set up by the National Pensions Reserve Fund Act, 2000 to partially meet the expected rise in Irish pension costs from 2025 onwards.

Zimbabwe submits to popular pressure: foreign currencies now legal tender

Zimbabwe submits to popular pressure: foreign currencies now legal tender
By mYCZNbxh On September 18th, 2018

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Zimbabwe has decided to abandon its currency, the Zimbabwean dollar, in favour of other currencies.

Acting Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa announced today that Zimbabweans will be allowed to make transactions in other currencies along with the local currency. “In line with the prevailing practices by the general public, [the] government is therefore allowing the use of multiple foreign currencies for business transactions alongside the Zimbabwean dollar,” he said, adding that the Zimbabwean dollar will not be removed from circulation and would be used alongside other currencies.

This decision comes during the current period of hyperinflation, which has massively devalued the Zimbabwean dollar. Banknotes up to $100 trillion have been printed, despite the removal of ten zeroes from the currency last summer to try to make transactions easier. The official inflation rate, last updated in July 2008, was 231,000,000% a year, although independent estimates place the number as high as 6.5×10108, or 6.5 quindecillion novemdecillion, percent.

Up to now, only vendors with licenses were legally able to accept foreign currencies, although the practice was widespread — private businesses altogether refuse to accept the unstable Zimbabwean dollar.

Large sections of the workforce, including teachers and doctors, have gone on strike because hyperinflation rapidly renders their wages worthless. Representative groups said salaries, now measured in trillions of dollars, are insufficient to pay for even the bus fare to work.

Zimbabwe also faces other crises, including a cholera epidemic that has claimed the lives of over 3,000 people, according to statistics from the World Health Organisation.


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Organic In The Garden Removing Flatweed From Your Lawn Without Chemicals

By mYCZNbxh On September 17th, 2018

Organic in the Garden – Removing Flatweed From Your Lawn Without Chemicals


Isaiah Riddle

In order for organic fertilizer to be effective, you \’must\’ have beneficial micro-organisms to become established and working inside lawn. Depending on your location, you may or are probably not able to find compost for your local nursery.

3. Normal Lawn Fertilizer. Once you might have your soil prepared using gypsum and compost, you\’ll be all set to add in ones organic fertilizers. A several common fertilizers are Greensense, Ringers, Florida Tee, Epsoma, plus more. They will use regular foods such as ground corn, alfalfa, soy, and other grains. These particular fertilizers are generally protein based, meaning that this microbes first have to process them before every nitrogen is produced. For grain based fertilizers use at the least 10 pounds per 1, 000 block feet. If it seems like it isn\’t working or that not a single thing happening, give it a little more time. It can take a couple weeks for the microbes inside soil to digest this fertilizer and yield that nitrogen.

several. Utilized Coffee Grounds. Used coffee grounds are nice on grass because they\’ll be an aid to slightly raise the acidity in the soil. In truth, most any bean is good as an organic fertilizer. In the old days, farmers would often raise beans for a short while and then, instead with harvesting them, might plow them under to be able to restore nitrogen to your soil.

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Usuallu when you use organic grass fertilizers not lawn pesticides, you can be proud to look at your luxuriant green lawn. The intoxicating whiff of grass that is freshly mowed will tickle ones nostrils. You may feel happy in mind together with body. By making entry to organic lawn products, you will be performing a better, new way of taking care of your lawn.

All natural grass care

will help you to save money on the water bill, keep pets and children safe, protect air as well supply you with a healthy and beautiful lawn that will make the neighbors go green with envy. What more could you want?

Many reviews are emerging with evidence that this materials that are getting used in conventional lawn services are responsible for cancer and other problems of health insurance and are also harmful to our environment. If you need to know how to have some sort of green lawn while avoiding the different above, you should go for an organic lawn service.

A lawn can be maintained by using organic materials and there are also many benefits to reap if you happen to make this switch. When you are aware of the advantage of such lawn services, you may demand that firms focusing on organic products for lawns invest longer and money in picking out more natural and safer products that are more effective than the chemicals that people have been subjecting their lawns to for many years. You will first ought to change your mentality in connection with way a perfect lawn looks.

Residential lawns will never look like fairways with country clubs. You ought to realize this fact. Weeds are a part of nature. They are going to keep appearing but that doesn\’t mean that your lawn is completed. Even the most costly program of lawn maintenance has to tackle the menace involving weeds.

It can be neither correct nor good to mow your lawn to very short lengths similar to the club fairway.

I am an expert at Keller lawn care services.

Keller organic lawn care

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NBA star Gilbert Arenas pleads guilty to gun possession, could face six months in prison

NBA star Gilbert Arenas pleads guilty to gun possession, could face six months in prison
By mYCZNbxh On September 17th, 2018

Friday, January 15, 2010

Gilbert Arenas, a star player in the American National Basketball Association’s Washington Wizards, now faces up to six months in prison after pleading guilty to felony gun possession charges today in a Washington, D.C. court. This plea was part of a plea bargain that he agreed to which would shorten his jail term if he cooperated with authorities.

Arenas, 28, was charged with the crime after he allegedly pulled an unloaded gun on a teammate in the team’s locker room on December 21, which he says was a joke on the teammate. Arenas was later found to have been keeping firearms in his locker after an investigation by police and the NBA.

Meanwhile, Arenas has been suspended for an indefinite time by NBA commissioner David Stern without pay. This action has also gained support among the Washington Wizards and its players, according to the team.

According to Arenas, he stored four guns in the locker room, all of them being unloaded. When asked for his reasoning, he cited that he had young children and did not want the guns in his home around them. He also said that he did not know that keeping the guns in the locker room was a violation of Washington D.C.’s gun laws, which have grown very strict recently.

On December 19, two days before the incident, Arenas and teammate Javaris Crittenton got into a heated argument about gambling debts on the team’s private jet. Crittenton, on whom Arenas pulled the gun, is not known whether to be carrying a gun at the time of the incident, or if he pulled the gun on Arenas. A police raid of his home yielded no results, and Crittenton has not been charged in the matter.

Antawn Jamison, another star Wizard player and friend of Arenas, has not spoken with Arenas since he was charged. “Hopefully he’s doing better than what I’d be doing in the situation or better than I expect. But one thing about Gilbert, he’s a tough-minded individual,” Jamison commented on the situation.

“I’m a goof ball and that’s what I am,” says Arenas about the situation, “So, even doing something like this, I’m going to make fun of it and that’s how I am,” he added.

Arenas, 28, has been selected to three NBA-All-Star teams. He recently scored his 10,000th career point in November. Arenas also holds the NBA record for most points scored in a single overtime period, with 16.

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Military plane crashes in Chilean Juan Fernández Archipelago; reports say no survivors

Military plane crashes in Chilean Juan Fernández Archipelago; reports say no survivors
By mYCZNbxh On September 17th, 2018

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Four people, including Televisión Nacional de Chile (TVN) journalist Roberto Bruce Pruzzo, are confirmed dead after a Chilean military plane crashed near the Robinson Crusoe Island of the Juan Fernández Archipelago on Friday. Twenty-one people were aboard, with such figures as prominent Chilean television presenter and co-host of breakfast programme Buenos Días a Todos (Good Morning Everyone) Felipe Camiroaga Fernández, and businessman and founder of the Desafío: Levantemos Chile (Challenge: Let’s Bring Chile Up) project Felipe Cubillos.

The accident involved a CASA C-212 Aviocar aircraft. Minister of Defence Andrés Allamand said on Televisión Nacional the crash “occurred in the late [Friday] afternoon near the remote Juan Fernández archipelago. […] The scenario which we are facing is particularly adverse.” The plane tried twice tried to land at the Robinson Crusoe Island aerodrome before going missing. The Defence Ministry sent a frigate with a specialized rescue helicopter, and an aircraft to the crash site to help search for survivors on early Saturday.

Mayor of Juan Fernández Mr. Leopoldo González Charpentier reported conditions were “rough and windy,” and “aviation authorities lost communication with the plane as it approached the islands.” “We assume that there was an accident and that there are no survivors. […] Clothing, passengers’ suitcases and some sandals have been found in waters about one kilometre [0.6 mile] from the islands’ landing strip,” González stated.

“I empathise with the anguish and uncertainty the relatives the 21 passengers aboard the plane, which is presumed to have gone down, are living through at this moment. This is a very hard blow for our country,” President of Chile Sebastián Piñera said on Friday night after an emergency meeting. A TVN executive said: “We are extremely upset.”

A group of five people from Televisión Nacional de Chile‘s breakfast programme Buenos Días a Todos, including popular presenter Felipe Camiroaga, journalist Roberto Bruce, a cameraman and two producers, were travelling to the islands to film a report on the reconstruction efforts after the tsunami generated by the Chilean earthquake of February 2010 devastated Juan Fernández. Felipe Cubillos, from the Desafío Levantemos Chile project, which he founded and whose goal was to help reconstruct Chilean damaged towns after the earthquake, tweeted shortly before the plane took off from Santiago at 14:00 (17:00 UTC): “Travelling now to Juan Fernández Island with the support of our Air Force. We continue to work helping the island’s people.”

Felipe Camiroaga, 44, was born in Santiago, and began his television career in 1988 as producer of teen program Extra Jóvenes in Chilevisión; in 1992, he joined Televisión Nacional de Chile, working as co-host of Buenos Días a Todos with Jorge Hevia and Tati Penna, and in soap operas. Fourteen years later, in 2006, he began working as host on a talk show called Animal Nocturno (Nocturnal Animal), where he interviewed people such as former President Michelle Bachelet and former Miss Universe Cecilia Bolocco; between 2009 and 2010, he co-presented with Soledad Onetto the annual Viña del Mar International Song Festival. In July, and coincidentally, Camiroaga quoted Chilean poet Gonzalo Rojas, following his death: “From the air I am, like every mortal, from the great and terrible flight, and I’m here to step to the stars.” The quote is reported of being “very inspirational” to Camiroaga. Camiroaga also created popular fictional characters such as Luciano Bello, a TV presenter from Maracaibo, Venezuela, and El Washington, a poor person from the streets of Santiago. Camiroaga was nicknamed “the Falcon of Chicureo” (El Halcón de Chicureo), because he raised several falcons in his hacienda in Chicureo, Santiago Metropolitan Region.

Hundreds of Chileans gathered outside Televisión Nacional de Chile headquarters in Santiago shortly after the station reported the tragedy; people prayed and lit candles outside TVN’s gates for the lives of Camiroaga and the rest of TVN’s involved staff.

On Saturday, Chilean newspaper Las Últimas Noticias (The Last News) put on its front page a headline saying “The last flight of the Falcon” (“El último vuelo del Halcón”) which generated controversy as Camiroaga had not been declared legally dead. The newspaper shortly changed the front page on its online version, however, the print edition continued to show the controversial headline.

Four bodies were found on Saturday morning by local fishermen who are helping in the rescue; they were taken from the islands to Santiago’s Medical Legal Service (Instituto Médico Legal) for identification, arriving 19:10 local time (22:10 UTC) at the El Bosque Air Force Base. Their identities were made public at 21:30 local time (00:30 UTC) by the Minister of the Government General Secretary Andrés Chadwick: Erwin Núñez, from the Chilean air force crew; Galia Díaz, from the National Council of Culture; Roberto Bruce, journalist of TVN’s Buenos Días a Todos; and Silvia Slier, editor of Buenos Días….

An intact door, several knapsacks, including one belonging to Felipe Camiroaga, and some equipment, lead the local mayor to assume “it was clear the plane crashed.” Local councillor Felipe Paredes told Chilean media, “[t]hese persons came [to Juan Fernández] in one of the most tragic moments in my life. I lost many people of our community, many loved people, because of the [February 2010] tsunami, and they reached me out sincerely. […] I can’t wait for them to be here.” Paredes was the last person to see the airplane in-flight, since he was in a control tower in the Robinson Crusoe Aerodrome.

Defence Minister Andres Allamand said in a press conference on Saturday night that “everyone died instantly when the crash happened.” He added that, “[b]ased on observations and the search we carried out with the Air Force commander, we have reached the conclusion that the impact was such that it should have resulted in the instantaneous death of all of those who were aboard the aircraft.” “We have peace of mind that Felipe [Camiroaga] died in a place he loved,” TVN executive Mauro Valdés told El Mercurio.

Televisión Nacional released a statement on Facebook on Saturday night: “We profoundly lament to have to confirm that according to official informations given by the authorities, there are no survivors from the Casa C212 airplane that crashed in the Juan Fernández archipelago on Friday 2 September evening. Within the list of deceased passengers, there are five persons from TVN’s program Buenos Días a Todos, which has caused deep sorrow in the whole family of TVN.”

On Sunday morning, a televised mass was conducted in TVN’s headquarters; some of the attendants were former Camiroaga’s girlfriend Katherine Salozny, long-time friend Raquel Argandoña, Megavisión presenter Kike Morandé, actor Álvaro Rudolphy, TV host and producer Guillermo Muñoz, and executives from TVN. Mauricio Correa, executive director of Buenos Días a Todos said during the mass “Our colleagues died complying a mission, the public television one, the same one that sometimes isn’t understood, but that is right there.” Kike Morandé said: “The best one died, Felipe [Camiroaga].”

“Felipe [Camiroaga] was a host on the national show [Buenos Días a Todos] I was on today, playing soccer with [him] too … it’s news right now that he was in a plane crash … please pray for him […]”, Nick Vujicic, who was interviewed on Friday morning in Buenos Días a Todos by Camiroaga himself, said on Facebook. Latin celebrities such as Luis Fonsi, Rocío Marengo, Lucero, Alejandro Sanz, Residente Calle 13, and Pope Benedict XVI sent condolences to Camiroaga’s and the other twenty people’s families, TVN reported.

President Sebastián Piñera decreed two days of national mourning, on Sunday afternoon in nationwide address. “The Government has decided to decree national mourning for the days of Monday and Tuesday of the forthcoming week, as a way to express solidarity with the families of the victims, and also the pain that has arisen throughout our country,” Piñera said. He also said that “work is being done with the best technology to find the bodies of the victims,” but added that he can’t “guarantee that the search will be successful in a 100 per cent. […] We know the impact was very violent and the airframe dispersed in a wide area.” Piñera said that the causes of the accident are unknown at the moment, and added that weather conditions affected negatively the security of the airplane landing.

The body of Erwin Núñez, from the Chilean air force crew, was taken to Antofagasta after a mass was performed in Santiago in his honour on Sunday. That same day, Roberto Bruce, one of the two TVN journalists and father of two, was cremated and interrated in Parque del Recuerdo Cemetery in Santiago. “With tremendous pain we have just said goodbye to Roberto, our beloved fat [person],” TVN journalist and presenter Karen Doggenweiler said on Twitter.

One minute of silence was held at the beginning of the football match between Chile and Mexico in Barcelona, on Sunday. On that same day, three books of condolences were set up outside TVN’s headquarters.

General Maximiliano Larraechea said that “at the moment there are no news on the search,” as of Sunday 17:00 local time (20:00 UTC). However, at 18:15 local time (21:15 UTC) approximately, Commander in Chief of the Chilean Air Force Jorge Rojas told Chilevisión that mutilated bodies were found in the water; Defence Minister Allamand confirmed that the recovered bodies will be taken to the Medical Legal Service in Santiago, in order to identify them, at 18:50 local time (21:50 UTC). Allamand added that “there are fears that not all bodies will be found,” and that the plane “was disintegrated on impact with the water.”

Chilevisión reported that at least three more people, including TVN actor Francisco Reyes, and singer Keko Yunge, were originally going to travel to Juan Fernández on Friday. Reyes, however, was told to not travel because “there was no room for him” by Buenos Días a Todos producer Carolina Gatica (who remains disappeared); Reyes was going to travel because he wanted to teach Juan Fernández children “acting techniques.” Yunge, member of the Desafío: Levantemos Chile group, was asked by Felipe Cubillos to not travel, because he wanted Yunge to complete a song he was working on. “It is incredible,” Yunge told Chilevisión.

The airplane crash, according to El Mercurio, is the worst involving a military plane since December 1982 when a Fokker F-27 twin-engine travelling from Santiago to Antofagasta crashed near La Serena, killing 46 people, including journalist Silvia Pinto.

From Televisión Nacional de Chile
  • Carolina Gatica — Producer of Buenos Días a Todos
  • Felipe Camiroaga — Presenter of Buenos Días a Todos
  • Roberto Bruce — Journalist of Buenos Días a Todos; death confirmed by Minister Andrés Chadwick on Saturday 21:30 local time (Sunday 00:30 UTC)
  • Sylvia Slier — Journalist, and editor of Buenos Días a Todos; death confirmed by Minister Chadwick
  • Rodrigo Cabezón de Amesti — Cameraman
From Desafío Levantemos Chile
  • Felipe Cubillos — Businessman
  • Sebastian Correa
  • Joel Lizama
  • Catalina Vela
  • Jorge Palma
  • Joaquín Arnolds
From the National Council of Culture and the Arts
  • Galia Díaz — Death confirmed by Minister Chadwick
  • Romina Irarrázabal
From the Fuerza Aérea de Chile (Chilean air force)
  • José Cifuentes — Journalist
  • Commander Rodrigo Fernández
  • Lieutenant Carolina Fernández
  • Lieutenant Juan Pablo Mallea — Pilot of the plane
  • First Sergeant Eduardo Jones
  • First Corporal Eduardo Estrada
  • First Corporal Erwin Núñez — Death confirmed by Minister Chadwick
  • Second Corporal Flavio Olivo

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Asbestos controversy aboard Scientology ship Freewinds

Asbestos controversy aboard Scientology ship Freewinds
By mYCZNbxh On September 16th, 2018

Friday, May 16, 2008

Controversy has arisen over the reported presence of blue asbestos on the MV Freewinds, a cruise ship owned by the Church of Scientology. According to the Saint Martin newspaper The Daily Herald and the shipping news journal Lloyd’s List, the Freewinds was sealed in April and local public health officials on the Caribbean island of Curaçao where the ship is docked began an investigation into the presence of asbestos dust on the ship. Former Scientologist Lawrence Woodcraft supervised work on the ship in 1987, and attested to the presence of blue asbestos on the Freewinds in an affidavit posted to the Internet in 2001. Woodcraft, a licensed architect by profession, gave a statement to Wikinews and commented on the recent events.

According to The Daily Herald, the Freewinds was in the process of being renovated by the Curaçao Drydock Company. The article states that samples taken from paneling in the ship were sent to the Netherlands, where an analysis revealed that they “contained significant levels of blue asbestos”. An employee of the Curaçao Drydock Company told Radar Online in an April 30 article that the Freewinds has been docked and sealed, and confirmed that an article about asbestos ran in the local paper.

Lloyd’s List reported that work on the interior of the Freewinds was suspended on April 27 after health inspectors found traces of blue asbestos on the ship. According to Lloyd’s List, Frank Esser, Curaçao Drydock Company’s interim director, joined Curaçao’s head of the department of labor affairs Christiene van der Biezen along with the head of the local health department Tico Ras and two inspectors in an April 25 inspection of the ship. “We are sending someone so that they can tell us what happened, where it came from, since when it has been there,” said Panama Maritime Authority’s director of merchant marine Alfonso Castillero in a statement to Lloyd’s List.

The Church of Scientology purchased the ship, then known as the Bohème, in 1987, through an organization called Flag Ship Trust. After being renovated and refitted, it was put into service in June 1988. The ship is used by the Church of Scientology for advanced Scientology training in “Operating Thetan” levels, as well as for spiritual retreats for its members. Curaçao has been the ship’s homeport since it was purchased by the Church of Scientology.

According to his 2001 statement, Lawrence Woodcraft had been an architect in London, England since 1975, and joined Scientology’s elite “Sea Organization” (Sea Org) in 1986. He wrote that he was asked by the Sea Org to work on the Freewinds in 1987, and during his work on the ship “noticed a powdery blue fibrous substance approximately 1 ½” thick between the paint and the steel wall,” which he believed to be asbestos. He also discovered what he thought was blue asbestos in other parts of the ship, and reported his findings to Church of Scientology executives. Woodcraft discussed his experiences in a 2001 interview published online by the Lisa McPherson Trust, a now-defunct organization which was critical of the Church of Scientology.

The Freewinds regularly inspects the air quality on board and always meets or exceeds US standards.

Church of Scientology spokeswoman Karin Pouw responded to Radar Online about the asbestos reports, in an email published in an article in Radar on May 1. “The Freewinds regularly inspects the air quality on board and always meets or exceeds US standards,” said Pouw. She stated that two inspections performed in April “confirmed that the air quality is safe,” and asserted that the inspections revealed the Freewinds satisfies standards set by the United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the U.S. Clean Air Act.

Pouw told Radar that “The Freewinds will be completing its refit on schedule.” The Church of Scientology-affiliated organization Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) had been planning a cruise aboard the Freewinds scheduled for May 8, but according to Radar an individual who called the booking number for the cruise received a message that the cruise had been delayed due to ongoing work on the ship. Citing an article in the Netherlands Antilles newspaper Amigoe, Radar reported on May 6 that a team from the United States and supervised by an independent bureau from the Netherlands traveled to Curaçao in order to remove asbestos from the Freewinds.

…if the Church of Scientology claims to have removed the blue asbestos, I just don’t see how, it’s everywhere. You would first have to remove all the pipes, plumbing, a/c ducts, electrical wiring etc. etc. just a maze of stuff.

“I stand by everything I wrote in my 2001 affidavit,” said Lawrence Woodcraft in an exclusive statement given to Wikinews. Woodcraft went on to state: “I would also comment that if the Church of Scientology claims to have removed the blue asbestos, I just don’t see how, it’s everywhere. You would first have to remove all the pipes, plumbing, a/c ducts, electrical wiring etc. etc. just a maze of stuff. Also panelling as well, basically strip the ship back to a steel hull. Also blue asbestos is sprayed onto the outer walls and then covered in paint. It’s in every nook and cranny.”

Many Scientologist celebrities have spent time aboard the Freewinds, including Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes, John Travolta, Kelly Preston, Chick Corea, Lisa Marie Presley, Catherine Bell, Kate Ceberano, and Juliette Lewis. Now magazine reported that Tom Cruise has been urged to seek medical attention regarding potential asbestos exposure, however a representative for Cruise stated he has “absolutely no knowledge” of the recent asbestos controversy. Cruise, Holmes, Travolta and Preston have celebrated birthdays and other events on the Freewinds.

There is not now and never has been a situation of asbestos exposure on the Freewinds.

In a May 15 statement to the United Kingdom daily newspaper Metro, a representative for the Church of Scientology said that “There is not now and never has been a situation of asbestos exposure on the Freewinds.” The Asbestos and Mesothelioma Center notes that agencies have recommended anyone who has spent time on the Freewinds consult with their physician to determine if possible asbestos exposure may have affected their health.

Raw blue asbestos is the most hazardous form of asbestos, and has been banned in the United Kingdom since 1970. Blue asbestos fibers are very narrow and thus easily inhaled, and are a major cause of mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is a form of cancer which can develop in the lining of the lungs and chest cavity, the lining of the abdominal cavity, or the pericardium sac surrounding the heart. The cancer is incurable, and can manifest over 40 years after the initial exposure to asbestos.

“This is the most dangerous type of asbestos because the fibres are smaller than the white asbestos and can penetrate the lung more easily,” said toxicologist Dr. Chris Coggins in a statement published in OK! Magazine. Dr. Coggins went on to note that “Once diagnosed with mesothelioma, the victim has six months to a year to live. It gradually reduces lung function until the victim is no longer able to breathe and dies.”

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Belgian prime minister offers resignation

Belgian prime minister offers resignation
By mYCZNbxh On September 14th, 2018

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Belgian prime minister Yves Leterme has offered to resign amid a political dispute, the press office of the Belgian parliament reported on Thursday.

The Belgian king, King Albert II, has not yet accepted the prime minister’s offer. He and Leterme met on Thursday’s afternoon, the office said. The king said that the resulting political turbulence from the resignation “seriously threatens” the country’s standing in the European Union.

“[He] had no other choice than to inform us that he would go to the king immediately to tender the government’s resignation,” said Belgium’s health minister, Laurette Onkelinx.

The Belgian palace commented on the issue in a written statement. “The king and the prime minister jointly underlined that […] a political crisis would be inopportune and would seriously damage both the economic and social well-being of the citizens and the role of Belgium in Europe.”

Leterme also resigned as prime minister in late 2008 over a banking scandal. He returned to office last November when former PM Herman van Rompuy gave up the post to become the first, full-time head of the European Union.

This latest resignation is a fallout of Belgium’s long-term power struggle between the country’s French-speaking Walloons and Flemish-speaking majority.

The latest disagreement centers on special rights for Walloons living near Brussels; specifically, the location of electoral boundaries around the capital. A key coalition member, the Flemish liberal Open VLD Party, pulled out of the government, frustrated over the failure to resolve the dispute. Party chairman Alexander De Croo said that”[w]e have not agreed on a negotiated solution and therefore Open VLD no longer has confidence in the government.”

Without the VLD, the other four government parties have 76 of 150 lower house seats in the parliament, although governing with such a small majority would be hard, Al Jazeera says.

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Wikinews interviews John Wolfe, Democratic Party presidential challenger to Barack Obama

Wikinews interviews John Wolfe, Democratic Party presidential challenger to Barack Obama
By mYCZNbxh On September 9th, 2018

Sunday, May 20, 2012

U.S. Democratic Party presidential candidate John Wolfe, Jr. of Tennessee took some time to answer a few questions from Wikinews reporter William S. Saturn.

Wolfe, an attorney based out of Chattanooga, announced his intentions last year to challenge President Barack Obama in the Democratic Party presidential primaries. So far, he has appeared on the primary ballots in New Hampshire, Missouri, and Louisiana. In Louisiana, he had his strongest showing, winning 12 percent overall with over 15 percent in some congressional districts, qualifying him for Democratic National Convention delegates. However, because certain paperwork had not been filed, the party stripped Wolfe of the delegates. Wolfe says he will sue the party to receive them.

Wolfe will compete for additional delegates at the May 22 Arkansas primary and the May 29 Texas primary. He is the only challenger to Obama in Arkansas, where a May 10 Hendrix College poll of Democrats shows him with 38 percent support, just short of the 45 percent for Obama. Such an outing would top the margin of Texas prison inmate Keith Russell Judd, who finished 18 percent behind Obama with 41 percent in the West Virginia Democratic primary; the strongest showing yet against the incumbent president. Despite these prospects, the Democratic Party of Arkansas has already announced that if Wolfe wins any delegates in their primary, again, due to paperwork, the delegates will not be awarded. Wolfe will appear on the Texas ballot alongside Obama, activist Bob Ely, and historian Darcy Richardson, who ended his campaign last month.

Wolfe has previously run for U.S. Congress as the Democratic Party’s nominee. On his campaign website, he cites the influence “of the Pentagon, Wall Street, and corporations” on the Obama administration as a reason for his challenge, believing these negatively affect “loyal Americans, taxpayers and small businesses.” Wolfe calls for the usage of anti-trust laws to break up large banks, higher taxes on Wall Street, the creation of an “alternative federal reserve” to assist community banks, and the implementation of a single-payer health care system.

With Wikinews, Wolfe discusses his campaign, the presidency of Barack Obama, corporations, energy, the federal budget, immigration, and the nuclear situation in Iran among other issues.


  • 1 Campaign
  • 2 Challenging the incumbent
  • 3 Policy
  • 4 Related news
  • 5 Sources

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Iraqi government to investigate Saddam video

Iraqi government to investigate Saddam video
By mYCZNbxh On September 9th, 2018

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

A phone video has surfaced in various Arab media outlets and also on video sharing websites such as YouTube that shows Saddam’s hanging uncensored. The video contained audio of some witnesses taunting Saddam with chants of “Muqtada” and of the former leader responding that his tormentors were being unmanly.

The taunts referred to Muqtada al-Sadr, the radical Shiite cleric who is a main backer of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, the Shiite leader who pushed for a quick execution of Saddam. The prime minister on Tuesday ordered an investigation into the conduct of Saddam Hussein’s execution in a bid to learn who among the witnesses taunted the former Iraqi leader in the last minutes of his life and leaked a cell phone video.

Sadiq al-Rikabi told Al-Hurra television that he does not know who leaked the video and that such an act “is wrong and should be investigated, and I agree that cellular telephones were taken from witnesses before they boarded the helicopter” to the execution site.

“I am full of hope that the results of the investigation will be announced, and the person who did this act should pay a price,” he said.

Munqith al-Faroon, a witness to Saddam’s execution said: “two top officials … had their mobile phones with them” and also that “I am certain that the chanting at the moment of the execution was not organized, and that those chanting were not being ordered to do so. The guards made a decision to do so by themselves. This is the truth. I shouted at them and ordered them to keep silent, my voice is very clear in the recording.”

In the leaked video one voice called: “Allah, bless those who pray for Muhammad and his descendants. Allah, pray for Muhammad and his descendants and may they bring us their help soon and curse their enemies and back their son Muqtada, Muqtada, Muqtada.”

Saddam then asked, “Is this manly?”

A voice responded, “To hell.”

Another voice called out, “Long live Mohammed Baqir al-Sadr” — a reference to the Dawa Party founder and Shiite cleric who was executed along with his sister by Saddam in 1980.

Then, a voice purportedly belonging to al-Faroon said: “Please no, this man is being executed, please no, I beg you no.”

Sunni Muslims have taken to the streets in mainly peaceful demonstrations in Sunni enclaves across the country. They are outraged by the video and do not think that Saddam should have been taunted by the guards.

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