Haitian earthquake: in pictures
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Haitian earthquake: in pictures

Friday, January 15, 2010

Haiti was hit by a heavy earthquake with a magnitude of 7.0 on Tuesday, killing an unknown number of people, and destroying up to ten percent of buildings in the capital, Port-au-Prince.

No official death toll has been released as of yet, although the United Nations says that up to fifty thousand people may potentially have been killed. An estimated 300,000 more were left without homes.

In a special photo report, Wikinews looks at the extensive damage caused by the disaster.


To find more information about a certain image or to enlarge it, click it. For an in-depth textual report on the same subject, please see Haiti relief efforts: in depth.

Ryanair sue Associated Newspapers, Mirror Group
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Ryanair sue Associated Newspapers, Mirror Group

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Irish budget airline Ryanair have added newspaper publishers Associated Newspapers and Mirror Group to their legal targets in a High Court defamation action filed yesterday in Dublin that also targets Channel 4.

The move confirms the carrier’s expression of intent to sue Channel 4 after the UK broadcaster screened Secrets of the Cockpit, a documentary about safety at the airline, on Monday night. Part of the Dispatches series, the show reported on an incident in Spain last year where three Ryanair jets declared fuel emergencies after being diverted to Valencia. Fuel policy was a strong focus for the documentary.

Pilots interviewed for the programme said they felt pressured to save fuel, the cost of which has hit Ryanair’s profits. The Spanish Air Authority described Ryanair flights usually landing with a bare minimum of fuel, in a report the airline dismissed as “manifestly inaccurate and factually untrue”.

Ryanair have also sacked veteran pilot John Goss for appearing on the show, the only pilot interviewed who did not seek anonymity. Ryanair have stated intent to sue Goss and claim he confirmed in the weeks before the show that he had no issues with his employer’s safety. Goss is a member of Ryanair Pilots Group (RPG), which the airline call a union front.

Channel 4 previously promised when threatened with legal action to see Ryanair in court. “We stand by our journalism, and will robustly defend proceedings if they are initiated,” a spokesperson said. The Belfast Telegraph was also sued but the action has been dropped after the Northern Irish publication issued an apology. The paper had published a story titled “Are budget airlines like Ryanair putting passengers at risk?”.

Associated Newspapers are behind The Daily Mail and its online and Sunday variants. Mirror Group publish The Daily Mirror, its Sunday sister, and The People.

Secrets of the Cockpit also examined an RPG poll of 1,000 Ryanair flight crew, dismissed by the airline as part of unionisation efforts. According to the RPG survey almost 90% of respondents said the safety culture was nontransparent. Two-thirds said they felt uncomfortable raising safety issues, with a pilot interviewed by Channel 4 accusing Ryanair of “threats and bullying”. Ryanair had told pilots anybody signing a “so-called safety petition” might be dismissed.

Over 90% of those surveyed wanted a regulatory inquiry, with RPG saying the survey results were passed to the airline and the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA). The IAA has already called the programme a “misguided attack” on Ryanair, saying “Ryanair Plc fully complies with all European and international regulations in all areas of its operations”.

We have been instructed to vigorously prosecute these libel proceedings

The IAA itself was accused of failing to respond to concerns from Ryanair pilots and one interviewee said his “personal belief is that the majority of Ryanair pilots do not have confidence in the safety agencies and that is a pretty critical issue”. The authority responded “The IAA has responded to personal letters and reports from Ryanair pilots, this included several meetings and face-to-face interviews with pilots and their legal and professional representatives.”

Ryanair makes heavy use of zero-hour contracts, which do not guarantee work and which the Irish Airline Pilots’ Association describe as offering some of aviation’s worst employment conditions. RPG chairman Evert van Zwol, also a recent Dutch Airline Pilots Association president, said zero-hour contracts tended to make pilots choose to fly when unwell and keep quiet if they had safety concerns. In 2005 a Polish Ryanair pilot became lost near Rome a few days after attending his son’s funeral, while his Dutch co-pilot was seeing his first experience of navigating severe weather.

In the 2005 incident air traffic control intervened to keep the flight safe from midair collisions. The Polish pilot told Italian investigators he feared losing his job if he took extra time off work. The investigation concluded in 2009 he had been unfit to fly. Ryanair denied he would have been fired for taking time off to recover.

Secrets of the Cockpit also reported that in twelve separate serious incidents data from cockpit voice recorders had been wiped before investigators could access it, which the carrier says is a common occcurrence in aviation and attributed to pilot error.

In Sweden a report into a Ryanair emergency landing concluded this week an airline employee wiped the cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder to prevent the investigation accessing them. The aircraft had returned to an airport near Stockholm shortly after takeoff suffering electrical malfunctions. Ryanair reject the Swedish Accident Investigation Authority’s take on the missing data, telling newspaper Södermanlands Nyheter recordings were reset by a technician trying to repair the aircraft after consultation with Ryanair’s technical department, who did not think the recordings needed saving.

Ryanair, which has never suffered a fatal accident, says the documentary is “false and defamatory”, and the IAA says it is “based upon false and misleading information”. “We have been instructed to vigorously prosecute these libel proceedings,” said a statement from Ryanair’s lawyers, who promised “other litigation is pending”.

Viktor Schreckengost dies at 101
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Viktor Schreckengost dies at 101

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Viktor Schreckengost, the father of industrial design and creator of the Jazz Bowl, an iconic piece of Jazz Age art designed for Eleanor Roosevelt during his association with Cowan Pottery died yesterday. He was 101.

Schreckengost was born on June 26, 1906 in Sebring, Ohio, United States.

Schreckengost’s peers included the far more famous designers Raymond Loewy and Norman Bel Geddes.

In 2000, the Cleveland Museum of Art curated the first ever retrospective of Schreckengost’s work. Stunning in scope, the exhibition included sculpture, pottery, dinnerware, drawings, and paintings.

Chef who appeared on Gordon Ramsay’s ‘Kitchen Nightmares’ commits suicide
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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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Volunteers and food needed for flooded Manitoba, Canada
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Volunteers and food needed for flooded Manitoba, Canada

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Local municipal and provincial volunteers in Manitoba, Canada are exhausted in their efforts to divert the rising waters of the Red River of the North.

It has been hard work with little sleep for the residents who live on the shores of the Red River to shore up their defences with sandbags, build dikes, clear frozen culverts and break ice jams

Volunteers to spell relief for local volunteers and food are desperately needed.

“It’s a week now we’ve been doing this … you’re talking four, five, six public works guys. In my one community we’ve got 25 volunteer firefighters and those guys have been going 24/7, so of course it’s wearing them down.” said Paul Guyader, Manitoba’s emergency measures coordinator.

“We’re dealing with one of the biggest floods the province has ever seen,” said Steve Strang, mayor of St. Clements, Manitoba “We’ve put out hundreds of thousands of bags already. The municipalities are working very well, we’re working with the provincial government, we’ve brought in every possible resource we could to address this issue. The volunteerism within the community has been phenomenal.”

The Portage Diversion has taken some spring waters from the Assiniboine River and diverted the flow to Lake Manitoba.

Roseau River Anishinabe First Nation has been totally evacuated, as well as many homes near the Canada – United States border.

The cold weather is freezing the ice jams into place. Guyader has had 2 Amphibex Excavators operating on the river breaking up ice.

The Red River is right now 16.7 feet (5 metres) above spring ice conditions. The Red River Floodway gates cannot be opened with the current ice jams.

“If we operate now, we can get ice jamming going into the floodway, jamming up against the St. Mary’s bridge, as such, the floodway capacity would be reduced and would cause higher water levels in the city of Winnipeg.” said Steve Topping, Manitoba Water Stewardship spokesman

The floodway was constructed in 1968 following the 1950 flood to divert the overflow spring flooding waters of the Red River. The floodway has been widened the since the 1997 “flood of the century” and the expansion is expected to be completed this spring. As well Manitoba built permanent dikes around communities within the flood plain since the last two major floods..

The Red River waters will crest between the beginning of April to mid April, at which time also the weather should be warming up. Communities are bracing for higher water levels, more ice jams as well as melting snow in the warmer spring temperatures.

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2010 Komen St. Louis Race for the Cure becomes world’s largest Komen race
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2010 Komen St. Louis Race for the Cure becomes world’s largest Komen race

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The 2010 Susan G. Komen St. Louis Race for the Cure, held earlier today in St. Louis, Missouri, became the world’s largest Race for the Cure, with over 71,000 participants.

2010 marks the twelfth year for the race in St. Louis, which raises money for breast cancer research nationwide. Originally brought to the city in 1999, it has raised over US$19 million. It was sponsored by Wells Fargo Advisors, a locally-headquartered brokerage firm of the financial services provider Wells Fargo. Nationally, the Race for the Cure is hosted by Susan G. Komen for the Cure, a non-profit organization supporting breast cancer research.

In 1999, there were only about 10,000 participants in the St. Louis Race for the Cure. In recent years, the number has grown to over 60,000, and today’s 5K race saw over 71,000 runners, walkers, and wheelchair racers. Despite the heat and humidity, 1,090 teams signed up, and over 4,500 breast cancer survivors participated. Overall, the race raised more than US$3.3 million. A phone bank set up by Wells Fargo and local television station KSDK contributed over US$28,000 of that amount in four hours.

Prior to the race, there was a parade of all the breast cancer survivors who had signed up for the race. The actual competition began at 8:30 a.m. CDT (1330 UTC) with the wheelchair race. Following them were the timed runners, the untimed runners, the walkers, and lastly, the “fun walk” participants, who had only opted to walk one mile (1.6 kilometres).

The Komen St. Louis Race for the Cure is only one of many Races for the Cure, which is the largest group of 5K runs and walks in the world. The first Komen race was held in 1983 in Dallas, Texas, but has since spread to over 140 cities throughout the world. Proceeds from today’s St. Louis race will benefit both local institutions and the rest of the United States. At least 25 percent of the money raised will go toward funding national research on breast cancer, while the rest will be given to organizations in St. Louis for breast cancer awareness programs.

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Asbestos victims file 6.6 billion yen class action lawsuit in Tokyo
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Asbestos victims file 6.6 billion yen class action lawsuit in Tokyo

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Construction workers and next of kin of deceased workers filed a lawsuit in Tokyo, Japan Friday seeking damages of approximately 6.6 billion yen (about US$64 million) from the government and manufacturers related to illnesses stemming from exposure to asbestos. 178 plaintiffs; including construction workers and family members filed the suit in Tokyo District Court against 46 building manufacturers and the Government of Japan.

According to the Mainichi Daily News, the class action suit is the first that has been filed in Japan related to health damages caused by asbestos exposure at construction sites. The plaintiffs hail from the Japanese prefectures of Tokyo, Saitama and Chiba.

The plaintiffs claim that the government and manufacturers knew of the dangers of asbestos inhalation but failed to take proper precautions, including ceasing to promote asbestos as a cheap fire retardant and banning production of the material.

They state that after inhaling asbestos in the workplace, 172 people have developed lung cancer or mesothelioma, and that almost half of those afflicted are now dead. Plaintiffs argue that the government and health ministry did not act quickly enough after international organizations issued warnings in 1972 that asbestos could be a carcinogen.

Plaintiffs also place blame with the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry for sanctioning the use of asbestos under Japanese Industrial Standards, and with the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport for approving the use of materials comprised of asbestos and other substances under Japan’s Building Standards Law.

We will do our utmost until we win the suit.

“We will do our utmost until we win the suit,” said Kazuo Miyajima, 78, who heads the group of plaintiffs. Lawyers for the plaintiffs released a statement saying: “We seek complete relief for the victims by clarifying the liability of the state and the manufacturers.”

Approximately 40 construction workers from Kanagawa Prefecture plan to file a similar lawsuit in June in Yokohama District Court.

After a 2005 revelation that residents who lived near a factory in Amagasaki, Hyogo Prefecture developed diseases related to asbestos, the government implemented a law in 2006 which provides monetary assistance to asbestos victims and relatives of deceased family members. The plaintiffs argue that the amount of financial assistance given to families and victims of asbestos-related diseases is not sufficient.

Asbestos has been used in Japan as a fire retardant, for sound absorption, and for insulation. It was mixed in concrete and water and sprayed on walls and ceilings, but the practice of spraying asbestos in this manner was banned in Japan in 1975.

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Greenspan’s testimony suggests “more of the same”
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Greenspan’s testimony suggests “more of the same”

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Alan Greenspan, Chairman of the Federal Reserve has suggested that there will be more of the same in coming months from the Fed. In his speech during testimony before the U.S. Senate Banking Committee on Wednesday, Mr. Greenspan noted that the economic fundamentals of the U.S. appeared to be stable. On Thursday, Greenspan spoke before the U.S. House Committee on Financial Services and when faced with questions regarding Social Security reform issues, he hinted that he was in favour of partial privatization of Social Security – but the general consensus on Wall Street is to expect more of the same.

However, economic advisors were somewhat disappointed that most of the testimony in both speechs was focused on the upcoming Social Security reform and did not address monetary policy as broadly as they’d hoped. Mike Moran, chief economist at Daiwa Securities America Inc, is quoted in the Investors Business Daily as saying “Chairman Greenspan provided few explicit insights into his plans for monetary policy.”

Greenspan reiterated his concerns about market reactions to the burgeoning federal deficit. “We are not sure to what extent and how much the market will respond,” he said.

Parsing Greenspan’s reports to Congress is a Wall Street obsession, but the general consensus from his recent testimony is to expect little change in the current Fed policy. Economists expect “measured” hikes to the central bank’s short-term interest rates from the next few meetings of Fed policy-makers.

“In my view the bottom line is that we are in for more of the same,” said Steve Stanley, chief economist at RBS Greenwich Capital to the Associated Press.

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Space Shuttle Discovery lands in Florida
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Space Shuttle Discovery lands in Florida

Sunday, March 29, 2009

The space shuttle Discovery landed at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Saturday, ending its thirteen-day mission to the International Space Station (ISS). The spacecraft’s landing was delayed for two hours due to low-lying clouds and heavy winds.

Discovery had been sent out to the ISS in order to install a new set of solar panels that would increase its power supply.

“Welcome home, Discovery, after a great mission to bring the International Space Station to full power,” said an astronaut, George Zamka, radioing from the mission control center in Houston, Texas.

NASA tested an experimental tile under the Discovery’s left wing during its approach for landing. The tile was almost eight centimetres thick, and had a bump in it, intended to disturb the otherwise smooth airflow over the shuttle’s wing, thus exposing it to high amounts of heat. Engineers installed the tile in order to measure the excess heat that was generated on downstream tiles. A military airplane monitored the heat with an infrared camera. The findings will be used to help determine better designs for future shuttles.

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New Zealand Recorded Crime Statistics available online
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New Zealand Recorded Crime Statistics available online

Saturday, February 12, 2005

New Zealand’s Recorded Crime Statistics are now available online from Statistics New Zealand.

In an unheralded change to its website on January 20, 2005, Statistics New Zealand now provides the last 10 fiscal years of Recorded Crime Statistics for New Zealand. Using the Table Builder service, the country’s Crime Statistics can now be examined and analysed online in unprecedented detail.

Although New Zealand Police has previously published Official Crime Statistics reports online, these statistics have only ever been available at a summary level, as a printed style document. This development allows detailed information, that was only ever available though an information request to Police, to now be seen immediately and desired statistics can be manipulated interactively.

Statistics are available either nationally or by each Police district and area for the each of the last 10 years or each of the last 24 months. Recorded Crime Statistics can be analysed down to the individual offence, with scene information for recorded and resolved crime. Offender apprehension statistics are also analysed down to the individual offence as well as the age, gender, ethnicity and resolution action taken with the offender.

The Recorded Crime Statistics also have a significant amount of accompaning metadata. Relevant legislation for each offence, together with caveats and interpretation notes for each parameter accompany these statistics. Users can now interpret these statistics for themselves, rather than relying on other agencies interpreting, or possibly misinterpreting, their requirements.

This innovation appears to be a leading edge breakthrough in publically available crime statistics. Although a number of jurisdictions place statistical reports and summaries of crime statistics on websites, these all are in the form of printed style documents. This move appears to be the first time that internet users can interact with a website to extract their own customised reports from the available crime statistics.

Internationally, crime statistics have been difficult to obtain, and even more difficult to compare. Interpol, the international policing organisation, for example, does not even make international statistics publically available on its website but restricts them to authorised law enforcement officials. Other countries present their statistics in detailed reports that need to be read and interpreted with care to understand them correctly. Different countries also count crime in different ways, often ignoring less serious offences or only counting the most serious of multiple offences occurring at the same time.

In New Zealand’s case the basic data is now online. The analysis can be done by the user.

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