The Raveonettes on love, death, desire and war
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The Raveonettes on love, death, desire and war

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

“We’re only two days in and we’re already fucking tired,” says Sune Rose Wagner to David Shankbone as he walks into the dressing room at the Bowery Ballroom. Wagner and Sharin Foo comprise the Raveonettes, a group made for “nostalgists who long for Everly Brothers 45’s and diner jukeboxes, the Raveonettes tweak “American Graffiti”-era rock with fuzzed-out surf-guitar riffs,” said The New York Times. They recently left Columbia and signed with Fierce Panda because they felt constrained by their Columbia contract: “The major label system sometimes doesn’t allow for outside “help” to get involved, meaning that we don’t get to choose who we wanna work with. That can be a pretty terrible thing and bad things will surely come of it,” said the band on their MySpace site. Originally from Denmark, both musicians live in the United States now.

Their first EP, Chain Gang of Love, was a critical and commercial success. “Few albums provoke such amazing imagery,” said the BBC. “Pretty in Black is virtually fuzz-free,” said Rolling Stone of their next album, “highlighting the exquisite detail in the Raveonettes’ gift for pastiche: the prowling, garage-surf guitars in Love in a Trashcan; the ghost dance of Red Tan, wrapped in Phil Spector-style sleigh bells.” Of their current album, Lust Lust Lust, set to be released on November 5th (although Amazon says March 4, 2008), Sune told NME that, “There are a lot of songs that deal with desire, restlessness and the tough choices you have to make sometimes.” Fans can hear some of the new material at MySpace.com/TheRaveonettes.

Below is Wikinews reporter David Shankbone’s interview with Sune Rose Wagner and Sharin Foo.


Contents

  • 1 On influences
  • 2 On America
  • 3 On death
  • 4 On war
  • 5 On love
  • 6 On themselves
  • 7 On touring
  • 8 On metaphysics
  • 9 Sources
Woman killed on amusement park ride in New York
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Woman killed on amusement park ride in New York

Sunday, July 1, 2007

A young woman was killed Friday night after an accident occurred on a gyrating ride at the Playland amusement park in Rye, New York in the United States. The woman, Gabriela Garin, was a worker at the amusement park, and had worked there for the past seven years.

The accident occurred near the end of Garin’s shift; as she was loading riders onto the ride. The ride’s new operator, unaware of Garin’s presence, started the ride while Garin was still on it. The new operator then noticed Garin, and shut the ride down in 20 seconds, but Garin had already been ejected from the ride and killed, according to a park spokesperson.

The ride is an attraction that spins people around in two-seat cars, inside a darkened tent to flashing lights and music.

This incident is not the first in the ride’s history. In 2004, a seven-year-old from Connecticut managed to free herself from the ride’s restraining bars, and climb onto the front edge of her seat. She fell soon after the ride started. A safety precaution was put in place after this incident, however, the spokesperson acknowledged that it was not followed when Garin was killed.

The company which owns the ride shut it down, along with two other rides it owns at the park.

This is the fourth fatality in the park’s history. The park features more than 50 rides, a pool, and a beach. It attracts more than 1 million visitors annually.

News briefs:January 04, 2008
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News briefs:January 04, 2008

Contents

  • 1 Wikinews News Brief January 04, 2008 23:35 UTC
    • 1.1 Introduction
    • 1.2 Israeli troops kill 9 in Gaza
    • 1.3 Georgian President faces election challenge
    • 1.4 US unemployment hits two-year high
    • 1.5 Israel plans crackdown on West Bank settlement outposts
    • 1.6 Transaven Airlines plane carrying 14 people crashes off Venezuelan coast
    • 1.7 Sportswriter Milt Dunnell dies at 102
    • 1.8 2007 was particularly good year for aviation safety
    • 1.9 U.S. Senator Dodd bows out of presidential race
    • 1.10 Intel ends partnership with One Laptop Per Child program
    • 1.11 British Investigators arrive in Pakistan to join Bhutto investigation
    • 1.12 Disgorge bassist Ben Marlin dies from cancer
    • 1.13 Egypt lets 2000 pilgrims through Rafah
    • 1.14 Launch of Space Shuttle Atlantis once again delayed
    • 1.15 Study suggests hospitals are not the best place for cardiac arrest treatment
    • 1.16 US dollar no longer accepted at Taj Mahal and other Indian historical sites
    • 1.17 Footer

[edit]

New national museum opens in Kyushu, Japan
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New national museum opens in Kyushu, Japan

Sunday, October 16, 2005

The 4th National Museum of Japan opened on Saturday in Dazaifu, Fukuoka Prefecture, the northern part of Kyushu island. The new museum was named Kyushu National Museum, and nicknamed “Kyuhaku”. It is the first national museum in Kyushu, including national art museums and thematic museums. After the opening ceremony with around 800 invited guests on last Saturday, Kyushu National Museum began to accept visitors starting on Sunday.

Different from its three sister museums which are over 100 years old and interested mainly in fine-arts, the new museum focuses on history. It also has an ambition to display how Japanese culture has developed from the prehistoric period to the mid 19th century with its collection of some 920 items including three national treasures. Its mission statement says the museum show how the Japanese culture has developed from the view of Asian history studies. Cultural interaction between other Asian countries is also a part of its mission, locating near to Korea or China.

Dazaifu, Fukuoka is a historic site in Japan and that was a part of reasons why it received the honor of hosting the new museum, the focus of which will be on history. Since the 7th century the extension of central government, Dazaifu was situated there from which the name of modern city derives. It was the military and administrative center of the government as well as the diplomatic center of Japan which hosted East Asian guests who visited Japan. Later the Mongol and Korean allies attempted to invade Japan in the 14th century, Dazaifu became one of fierce battlefields. Also Dazaifu is known its religious significance with Dazaifu Temmangu Shrine, one of famous cults in Shintoism which worships Sugawara no Michizane, the kami of scholars and studies. In addition to those tourist interests, the new museum is expected to stimulate tourists in much wider generations and interests.

Kyushu National Museum holds a special exhibition celebrating its opening from its public opening day till November 27. During this exhibition it will open everyday, though normally on Monday it will close.

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I’ll Have Another wins 2012 Preakness Stakes
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I’ll Have Another wins 2012 Preakness Stakes

Monday, May 21, 2012

The placement for first and second place at the 2012 Preakness Stakes could have been a replay of the Kentucky Derby earlier this month as I’ll Have Another came in first with Bodemeister behind in second. In this race, Creative Cause finished third.

By winning the Kentucky Derby and the 137th Preakness Stakes, I’ll Have Another has a chance at winning the US Triple Crown of thoroughbred horse racing. The final race I’ll Have Another would have to win is the Belmont Stakes, which will be held on June 9.

I’ll Have Another was not favored to win the Preakness Stakes and his odds were set at 3-1. Bodemeister, who was the favorite at 2-1 odds, was the speed horse again as he led the field for most of the race just as he did at the Kentucky Derby. This time, Creative Cause was following close behind in second by the time the field of horses reached the far turn. Just as in the Kentucky Derby, I’ll Have Another pushed faster in the final leg of the race. However, the Preakness Stakes finish was closer with I’ll Have Another squeezing by the pacesetter at the very end to win the race in 1:56.9.

Mexican jockey Mario Gutierrez has won his last four races with I’ll Have Another. He gave I’ll Have Another the credit for the finish, “No one put him in this race. He put himself into the race,” he said. Gutierrez said all he had to do was signal to the horse that it was time to challenge Bodemeister and the horse did the rest.

The winning horse is owned by financier J. Paul Reddam and trained by Doug O’Neill.

The Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland was filled with a crowd of 121,309 to watch the Triple Crown hopeful. The last horse to win the Triple Crown was Affirmed in 1978.

THE HORSES

According to the official Pimlico website, the horses that competed this year in the Preakness Stakes by starting position include:

1. Tiger Walk is owned by Sagamore Farm, trained by Ignacio Correas IV, and was ridden by Ramon A. Dominguez.

2. Teeth of the Dog is owned by J.W. Singer. The thoroughbred is trained by Michael Matz and the jockey was Joe Bravo.

3. Pretension was the winner of the 2012 Canonero II Stakes. The horse is owned by Kidwells Petite Stable, trained by Christopher W. Grove, and was raced by Javier Santiago.

4. Zetterholm is owned by Winter Park Partners, trained by Richard E. Dutrow, Jr., and ridden by Junior Alvarado.

5. Went The Day Well is owned by Team Valor International and is trained by H. Graham Motion. His jockey was John Velazquez. This team won last year’s Kentucky Derby race with Animal Kingdom, and they took Went The Day Well to the 2012 Kentucky Derby.

6. Creative Cause is owned by Heinz Steinmann and trained by Mike Harrington. His jockey was be Joel Rosario. Creative Cause was part of the field at the Kentucky Derby, too.

7. Bodemeister, winner of the Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park, is trained by Bob Baffert. He is owned by Zayat Stables and his jockey was Mike Smith.

8. Daddy Nose Best was the winner of the Sunland Derby at Sunland Park and the El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate and raced in the 2012 Kentucky Derby. He is owned by Cathy and Bob Zollars, trained by Steve Asmussen. His jockey was Julien Leparoux.

9. I’ll Have Another was the winner of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs. He is owned by financier J. Paul Reddam, trained by Doug O’Neill and ridden by jockey Mario Gutierrez.

10. Optimizer is trained by D. Wayne Lukas, owned by tobacconist Brad Kelley of Bluegrass Hall LLC and ridden by Corey Nakatani. This horse raced also raced in the Kentucky Derby.

11. Cozzetti is trained by Dale Romans and was raced by Jose Lezcano The horse is owned by Albaugh Family Stables.

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Denunciations of Scandals Threaten UN
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Denunciations of Scandals Threaten UN

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Denunciations of corruption, bribe, collection of bribes from refugees [1] and of sexual scandal involving the peacekeepers [2], [3] threaten the Organization of the United Nations (UN).

The gravest denunciations involve the aid project to Iraq, called Oil-for-Food. Grave denunciations of bribe exist, superfluous accounting and collaboration with the ex-dictator Saddam Hussein, against staff of the UN, companies and politicians of several countries. Even the secretary of the UN, Kofi Annan was suspicious of participation in the plan of corruption. And also grave doubts still hover about his son, Kojo Annan.

The gravity of the denunciations threatens not only the credibility of the UN, but its existence.

Secretary Kofi Annan said that he is going to promote reforms in the organization. [4]

Contents

  • 1 The Oil-for-Food Program
  • 2 Reclamações
  • 3 Al-Mada
  • 4 Funcionanento do esquema de corrupção
  • 5 As investigações
    • 5.1 Investigation of Charles Duelfer for the Central Intelligence Agency
      • 5.1.1 Text of the Report by Charles Duelfer
    • 5.2 GAO Investigation
    • 5.3 As investigações do conselho de governo iraquiano
    • 5.4 Investigação das Nações Unidas
  • 6 Last reports so far
  • 7 See also
  • 8 Sources
Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »
Looted, possibly contaminated body parts transplanted into USA, Canadian patients
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Looted, possibly contaminated body parts transplanted into USA, Canadian patients

Monday, March 20, 2006

Fears of contaminated bone and skin grafts are being felt by unsuspecting patients following the revelation that funeral homes may have been looting corpses.

Janet Evans of Marion Ohio was told by her surgeon, “The bone grafts you got might have been contaminated”. She reacted with shock, “I was flabbergasted because I didn’t even know what he was talking about. I didn’t know I got a bone graft until I got this call. I just thought they put in screws and rods.”

The body of Alistair Cooke, the former host of “Masterpiece Theatre,” was supposedly looted along with more than 1,000 others, according to two law enforcement officials close to the case. The tissue taken was typically skin, bone and tendon, which was then sold for use in procedures such as dental implants and hip replacements. According to authorities, millions of dollars were made by selling the body parts to companies for use in operations done at hospitals and clinics in the United States and Canada.

A New Jersey company, Biomedical Tissue Services, has reportedly been taking body parts from funeral homes across Brooklyn, New York. According to ABC News, they set up rooms like a “surgical suite.” After they took the bones, they replaced them with PVC pipe. This was purportedly done by stealth, without approval of the deceased person or the next of kin. 1,077 bodies were involved, say prosecuters.

Investagators say a former dentist, Michael Mastromarino, is behind the operation. Biomedical was considered one of the “hottest procurement companies in the country,” raking in close to $5 million. Eventually, people became worried: “Can the donors be trusted?” A tissue processing company called LifeCell answered no, and issued a recall on all their tissue.

Cooke’s daughter, Susan Cooke Kittredge, said, “To know his bones were sold was one thing, but to see him standing truncated before me is another entirely.” Now thousands of people around the country are receiving letters warning that they should be tested for infectious diseases like HIV or hepatitis. On February 23, the Brooklyn District Attorney indicted Mastromarino and three others. They are charged with 122 felony counts, including forgery and bodysnatching.

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Past Eurovision contestants give advice to this year’s performers, speculate on who will win
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Past Eurovision contestants give advice to this year’s performers, speculate on who will win

Sunday, May 10, 2009

It happens once a year. Nearly all of Europe’s eyes are on 25 musical acts on finale night. Whether you love it or you hate it, it has your attention. Hundreds of millions are watching them. Whether viewers are waiting for the performance of a lifetime or a hilarious slip-up, for those three minutes their attention is owned by each respective singer.

That’s the feeling that the entrants in Moscow will know on Saturday, and it’s also the same feeling the eight singers who were interviewed by Wikinews have experienced. Last week, eight singers from eight different countries took time out of their various schedules to discuss their favorite moments from competing, their own personal anecdotes, advice they give to the performers this year in Moscow, who they think will win, and most importantly to them, what they’re doing now and what they’re offering to their audience.

This is the sixth and final interview set the English Wikinews will publish in the run-up to the semi-final and final rounds of the Eurovision Song Contest. Mike Halterman conducted all interviews, and will conduct additional interviews after the Contest. The final round airs May 16 at 9 p.m. CET; check with your national broadcaster’s website for possible delays. Where available, the Contest’s final round will also be broadcast on national radio.


Jessica Garlick, originally from Kidwelly in Wales, became famous in 2001 for her participation in the singing competition Pop Idol, where she finished in ninth place. Four months later, she won A Song for Europe, the British national selection for the Eurovision Song Contest, and went on to represent the United Kingdom two months later at the Eurovision 2002 final in Tallinn, with the song “Come Back.” She placed third, which turned out to be the best result for the United Kingdom for the decade. Now 27, married and a mother, Jessica Garlick is returning to music with a new set of priorities.

((Mike Halterman)) What projects are you working on? What can your fan base expect to see from you this year?

Jessica Garlick: Right now I’m busy promoting my new single “Hard Not to Fall” which is due to be released this month…it’s available to download from iTunes from 9th May, with the official release being 25th May. I’m also currently co-writing my album, which will be released later on this year. It really does feel great to be back in the music industry.

((Mike Halterman)) What were some of the best memories you have from going to Eurovision? What advice would you give to the singers going to Eurovision for the first time this year?

Jessica Garlick: Some of my best memories from doing Eurovision would be visiting Estonia, I don’t think it’s a place I’d ever have visited if it wasn’t for performing there, and it really is beautiful. While I was there during the week I had the opportunity to fly out into the Baltic Sea via helicopter and spend the afternoon on board HMS Chatham too. I was allowed to drive the frigate, and got to perform to the troops on board, who were so appreciative.

I have so many more, and met such amazing people during the whole promotion and run-up period as well as the Eurovision week itself. My only regret is not taking as many photos as I would have liked to. So my advice to others doing Eurovision would be [to] definitely take lots of pictures, and really enjoy your performance and everything that representing your country brings with it.

((Mike Halterman)) The music videos for this year are up at youtube.com/eurovision. Which songs are your favorites and which country do you think has the best chance of winning?

Jessica Garlick: I have been fortunate enough to have been able to perform alongside some of this year’s Eurovision entries, and was totally impressed! I love the Iceland entry this year…the song “Is it True?” is a really beautiful ballad, and Johanna sings it really well! I would say that from a song point of view, this is definitely my favourite song.

I do, however, think that the Ukraine could win this year! Svetlana‘s performance is crazy!! She’s absolutely wild! Her live performance is out of control! She is definitely “in it to win it”, and is going all out to ensure she does everything to make this happen. She is one to watch on the night for sure! There will definitely be something amazing going on on stage during her performance. She’ll keep you captivated, and make it memorable!!

((Mike Halterman)) A lot of the fans you had from when you were on Pop Idol and Eurovision 2002 don’t know the reason why you dropped out of music and out of sight. What happened? Also, do you find it difficult returning to the music industry after being away for six years?

Jessica Garlick: After Pop Idol and Eurovision I started to write songs…something I had never done before, and didn’t think I would be any good at. But I have been fortunate enough to travel the world since, co-writing with some of the world’s best songwriters. I decided to take a step out of the industry for a while in 2004 when I got married to my teenage sweetheart Owen.

I lost my passion for music for a while if I’m honest and we wanted to travel together for a bit, and actually moved to Australia for a short time, before I got totally broody. So in 2007 I gave birth to my little girl Olivia, and have been doing the wife and at-home mummy thing since, which I absolutely love!!

I made the decision to get back in the studio and start writing again in January of this year and it felt so good, and when I recorded “Hard Not to Fall” I knew it was a song that I wanted everyone to hear, and I completely got my passion and drive back for it. The music industry has changed a lot since I was last in it…but in actual fact it’s working better for me this time.

I have a lot more control, which is important to me, especially with Olivia being my main priority…I am first and foremost a mum, and I want to be a good one at that, and I’m also working with people that I really like and trust, which makes working together fun, and music should be fun. It’s definitely a lot harder this time around, as I am juggling “real life” too, and I can’t afford to be the selfish person that being successful in the industry can sometimes mean you have to be. I’m having the most wonderful time being back though, and am almost astounded by the great support I have from all my old fans. They’re the best!!

Ani Lorak, born Karolina Kuiek (the name “Ani Lorak” is “Karolina” spelled backwards), first became famous for her vocal talent in Russia and her native Ukraine in 1995. She took part in arguably the biggest performance of her career at Eurovision in 2008, placing second with the song “Shady Lady.” Celebrating her 30th birthday in September, she has kept up a busy schedule, including the release of a new album.

((Mike Halterman)) What projects are you working on? What can your fan base expect to see from you this year?

Ani Lorak: I’ve just released my new album called “Sontse” (The Sun). The album was written and recorded in Greece at the “VOX studio” by Dimitris Kontopoulos, who also helped with the song “Shady Lady” for Eurovision 2008. The album will be released not only in Ukraine but also in Russia.

In the autumn I plan to start a large tour of 25 cities in support of the new album. Also, we are planning to play some solo concerts in the Palace “Ukraine” in Kiev. I was pleasantly surprised when, at the beginning of the year, an award came to my office from the British radio station “Eurovision Song Contest Radio.” By audience vote, its listeners named me the “Best Female Singer for 2008” for my song “Shady Lady.” I don’t like to think ahead and to anticipate, but I’ll try to do as much as my energies will allow so people can be fulfilled in the future.

((Mike Halterman)) What were some of the best memories you have from going to Eurovision? What advice would you give to the singers going to Eurovision for the first time this year?

Ani Lorak: Because I participated in the contest only in 2008, I can remember it all: during the promotional tour I visited many countries in which I hadn’t been before. I met wonderful people: Dimitris Kontopoulos, Roberto Cavalli; I made new friends and supporters. [Editor’s note: Roberto Cavalli designed the diamond dress Ani Lorak wore during her Eurovision performance.] I had to work very diligently to get the result [I got].

In Eurovision I found the heart of this contest. The “Artistic Award”, which [they] usually hand to the best artist of the contest, [was given to me]; Raffaella Carrà invited me to her television program in Italy, and my tours took me further and further away geographically. I really liked the atmosphere of [the] contest. All the contestants were friendly, happy, helped each other, and supported one another. Those weeks were not simple, but very happy in my life.

I wish to all the participants lots of inspiration, tenacity, crazy energy, hard work and belief in yourself and your strength. It is not unachievable; the main thing is to settle for being frank and sincere to the audience.

((Mike Halterman)) The music videos for this year are up at youtube.com/eurovision. Which songs are your favorites and which country do you think has the best chance of winning?

Ani Lorak: I can say one thing – Eurovision is a very unpredictable contest, and to do any predictions is very difficult. I know that in Moscow this year there will be many very well-known professional artists: Sakis Rouvas and Patricia Kaas. The main thing in this contest is to enter the scene and present for your country 200%. I wish good luck to all participants, but I’ll root, as a patriot, for my country.

((Mike Halterman)) What goals have you not achieved yet in your career, but would like to eventually?

Ani Lorak: We have a proverb: “If you want God to laugh, then tell Him about your plans.” It’s important to have enough strength for my professional accomplishments, for my career, and for my eventual creative achievements. But all this must go together with my personal life. I want to realize my self-worth in all spheres. Maybe I’ll open my own clothing line.

But most importantly for me, every day I will raise the bar with regard to my professional development as a singer and artist. The main point – I have everything ahead of me, and I will go to [any lengths to] achieve my dreams — my Oscar is yet to come!

Marija Naumova, who goes by the stage name Marie N, is best-known to European audiences for winning the Eurovision Song Contest for Latvia in 2002 with her song “I Wanna.” The next year, she hosted the Contest in Riga with past Latvian entrant Ren?rs Kaupers. Now 35, she has moved a lot of her focus to musical theatre and is very serious about honing her talent.

((Mike Halterman)) What projects are you working on? What can your fan base expect to see from you this year?

Marie N: At this time I am a student at acting school in Paris, so now all [my] plans are more about theatre, but I also started to work on my new album and I hope that at the end of the year I [can] present that to [the] audience, but I think that at the moment it’s too early to talk about it. [smile]

((Mike Halterman)) What were some of the best memories you have from going to Eurovision? What advice would you give to the singers going to Eurovision for the first time this year?

Marie N: I liked everything during the week we spent there. We really had a lot of fun. The [atmosphere] was very professional, participants were very friendly…but the most emotional [part] was our trip back home – the way from Tallinn to Riga by bus with the police accompanying us and people waiting for us with flowers along the road…

The only advice is to enjoy every moment and especially the three minutes of the presentation – it is really something special. [smile]

((Mike Halterman)) The music videos for this year are up at youtube.com/eurovision. Which songs are your favorites and which country do you think has the best chance of winning?

Marie N: I think that there are a lot of songs which have chances to win, but it depends on the energy that [the] singers will bring with them [to] the stage on that special evening.

((Mike Halterman)) Which task was more fun for you, winning Eurovision or hosting it the next year? Which one made you more nervous, and why?

Marie N: Of course singing was more fun than the hosting because you are responsible only for yourself, but hosting brings a responsibility for the whole show. I wish all the best for all the participants; enjoy. [smile]

Niels Olsen, nicknamed “Noller,” (pictured, left) and his older brother Jørgen (right) make up the duo The Olsen Brothers. A well-known act in Denmark since the early 1970s, the duo successfully staked a new claim to relevance by winning the Eurovision Song Contest in 2000 with the entry “Fly on the Wings of Love.” Now 55, Niels Olsen uses every chance possible to let his audience know that age is simply a number, especially in Eurovision which tends to favor younger entrants.

((Mike Halterman)) What projects are you working on? What can your fan base expect to see from you this year?

Niels Olsen: We are working on a new album and we will make a small tour to Sweden, Norway and Denmark for the rest of the year, so that’s what our fans can expect. The album will be released in 2010.

((Mike Halterman)) What were some of the best memories you have from going to Eurovision? What advice would you give to the singers going to Eurovision for the first time this year?

Niels Olsen: The best memory…well, it’s hard to say…we had a lot of fantastic memories from Stockholm in 2000. We will never forget the love we received from the public in all the European countries right after Stockholm, and the response from the Swedish people at the event. Apropos, I said to my brother after the first performance, “Well, Jørgen, I think it could be possible for us to have a hit in Sweden!!”

I would say to a “new” artist: Remember that you are not the center of the universe, and in a world perspective, the situation is not that bad if you lose the Eurovision. Stick to the ones you love and try to involve people you believe in, not the ones who promise you everything in life. In our case we have had the same manager for 35 years, we have been working with our friend and producer Stig Kreutzfeldt for 25 years, and so on. We have [made] several hits the last 35 years with these fantastic friends.

((Mike Halterman)) The music videos for this year are up at youtube.com/eurovision. Which songs are your favorites and which country do you think has the best chance of winning?

Niels Olsen: Well, I haven’t heard all the songs, but I personally find the Danish, the English, and the Swedish songs very nice, but as I [said], I haven’t heard all the songs yet.

((Mike Halterman)) The Danish version of your winning song implies women “get better with age.” Which women in the entertainment industry do you think personify that sentiment, and why?

Niels Olsen: Personally I think my wife is still a beautiful woman, but I think as you said “getting better with age” is not the right word. My wife is still a lively and attractive woman, and we are both in love with life. I also think that a woman like Annie Lennox is a beautiful woman, even though she is past 50. (Sorry, [I know] we don’t talk about a woman’s age normally. Sorry, Miss Lennox.)

Hanna Pakarinen, from Lappeenranta in Finland, first became well-known in her home country for winning the Idols television series in 2004. In 2007, she was chosen to represent Finland at Eurovision, placing 17th in the final with the song “Leave Me Alone.” Her most recent album went gold this year, and she celebrated her 28th birthday last month, her combined CD sales having risen to over 180,000.

((Mike Halterman)) What projects are you working on? What can your fan base expect to see from you this year?

Hanna Pakarinen: I released my fourth album “Love in a Million Shades” earlier this year, and now I’m doing gigs around Finland.

((Mike Halterman)) What were some of the best memories you have from going to Eurovision? What advice would you give to the singers going to Eurovision for the first time this year?

Hanna Pakarinen: I think the best memory is the moment when I got up on stage in the finals. That was amazing!

It’s hard to give any advice, but I think the only thing that’s important is just to be yourself and have fun. [smile]

((Mike Halterman)) The music videos for this year are up at youtube.com/eurovision. Which songs are your favorites and which country do you think has the best chance of winning?

Hanna Pakarinen: Of course I think the best song is the Finnish song. [smile] It’s very hard to say who is going to win; it’s the same thing every year, you never know!

((Mike Halterman)) Apart from music, what are some things that are very close to your heart? How would you like to use your popularity to help others?

Hanna Pakarinen: My family and friends, of course, and my hometown and the lake there.

I’m not really a big fan of the idea of being a role model but I’m trying to do my best, showing and telling the fans that the most important thing is to love yourself and be who you are. And always trust yourself, of course!

Charlotte Perrelli, originally Charlotte Nilsson, was an alumnus of two popular “dansbands” in Sweden before winning the Eurovision Song Contest in 1999 with the song “Take Me to Your Heaven.” She quickly became one of Sweden’s most popular solo artists, and released six albums which all charted in the Swedish Top 40. In 2008 she returned to Eurovision with the highly favored “Hero,” only to be saved at the last minute by jury decision and ranking a low 18th out of 25 nations in the final round. Perrelli, now 34, discusses her achievements and favorite moments of the past decade.

((Mike Halterman)) What projects are you working on? What can your fan base expect to see from you this year?

Charlotte Perrelli: I’m searching for new songs to [include on] my upcoming album. I´m also on the jury for the Swedish TV show Talang (Talent; the Swedish version of the “___’s Got Talent!” TV series). They can expect a new album, hopefully this year.

((Mike Halterman)) You went to Eurovision twice, winning the Contest in 1999 and then also entering last year. What were some of the best memories you had from both times you went to Eurovision?

Charlotte Perrelli: The victory in Jerusalem in ’99 was fantastic, of course. My funniest memory was when Dana [International] fell on-stage, it was unbelievable and I felt sorry for her. Last year I had a lot of memories. Everything was so different from ’99. So much bigger!

((Mike Halterman)) The music videos for this year are up at youtube.com/eurovision. Which songs are your favorites and which country do you think has the best chance of winning?

Charlotte Perrelli: I like many of the songs this year, but I believe Norway will win.

((Mike Halterman)) Which of the songs you’ve recorded is your favorite?

Charlotte Perrelli: Hmm. I have many favorites, but “Black and Blue” from my last CD is a great song; [it was] written by Fredrik Kempe. I love the lyrics.

Sirouhi Haroutunyan, nicknamed Sirusho, has been one of the most popular pop singers in Armenia since the release of her first album at age 13. In 2008, she represented Armenia at Eurovision, finishing in fourth place with the song “Qélé, Qélé.” Now 22, she is close to finishing her bachelor’s degree while still keeping up an active pace of performances and studio sessions.

((Mike Halterman)) What projects are you working on? What can your fan base expect to see from you this year?

Sirusho: I am currently working on a few big projects, one of them is the new song”Time to Pray” that I have made with my colleagues from Eurovision, Boaz Mauda and Jelena Tomasevic. The song is a protest against war, and the English lyrics are written by the President of Israel, Shimon Peres. I am also working on my fourth album which will be released in [the] summer. I also premiered my new song in Greek, “Erotas”, and it is already number one [on] all the Armenian music charts. My fans are very strong and it’s only a pleasure to work hard for them.

((Mike Halterman)) What were some of the best memories you have from going to Eurovision? What advice would you give to the singers going to Eurovision for the first time this year?

Sirusho: Eurovision is a big fun festival. I don’t want to call it a competition, because the contestants become friends. I wish for the participants to really enjoy [themselves] and not be scared of it. Eurovision can give and take so much; it took my career to a new level, [and] now I work and have fans all over Europe and it’s amazing.

((Mike Halterman)) The music videos for this year are up at youtube.com/eurovision. Which songs are your favorites and which country do you think has the best chance of winning?

Sirusho: I have met some of this year’s participants in different countries where I was singing as a guest and they were doing their promo tours. I haven’t seen all the performances so I can’t judge. Also, Eurovision is all about unexpected surprises; that’s what makes it interesting.

((Mike Halterman)) You pursued a bachelor’s degree in international relations. How do you wish to utilize your degree? If you had to stop singing tomorrow, what kind of career would you want to pursue with the degree you hold?

Sirusho: International affairs is something that had interested me. I like to learn. I always tend to learn more but I don’t even want to think about stopping my career. I was born with it, it’s a big part of who I am, and even if something happens to my vocal cords, I can go on with writing and producing songs for my colleagues…[but] enough about that; I still have so much in me to give to myaudience!

Taj?i, born Tatjana Matejaš, shot to fame in Yugoslavia at the age of 19, achieving diamond sales with her signature hit “Hajde da ludujemo (Let’s Go Crazy). She performed the song at the Eurovision Song Contest in 1990, held in her hometown of Zagreb, and placed seventh. The war in the former Yugoslavia cut her career short, and she moved to the United States, where she has lived for the past 17 years. She now tours with her husband across the United States, performing selections of contemporary Christian music. At 38, she is overjoyed to “have it all”: a family of her own and the chance to make music on her own terms. Her career is chronicled on her website.

((Mike Halterman)) What projects are you working on? What can your fans in both America and in Europe expect to see from you this year?

Taj?i: Apart from my regular tours, which I do four a year, I am working on a show called “Need a Break,” which is a bit of a step from my spiritual music and more “everyday.” It’s more what mothers go through, with marriage and kids. It’s a funny show. What I do well is I tell stories. It’s how I am. It’s who I am. It’s why pop music didn’t work for me as an artist. This new format is great for me, it’s very fulfilling and I’m very excited and looking forward to it, being able to do that and explore musical styles.

I’m also hoping to go to Zagreb this year and bring my new music to them. I think it’s time. I’ve been away for 17 years, and they still play my old music, and occasionally I go there and do radio and television interviews…I don’t know, it’s time for them to see what I’m doing. Anyone can see my stuff online, but what I do best is live; there’s a lot of energy and power there that you can’t really see in a recording or in a video. It’s different when you’re actually in the room. I want to bring it to them and say, “Here, my countrymen, my old fans, this is who I am now. This is how I grew over the last 17 years.” Kind of like a reunion.

((Mike Halterman)) What were some of the best memories you have from going to Eurovision? What advice would you give to the singers going to Eurovision for the first time this year?

Taj?i: I really enjoyed performing, I enjoyed the energy, everyone coming together and singing, talking with other people about their careers. That was the highlight. I didn’t care for the press or the competition aspect, but there’s so much to think about, the whole country is looking at you. I don’t think it could ever be just about music, it’s more political. But there’s always stuff that comes with it when you have any kind of gathering like that.

The time I was there, I was the last representative before the fall of Yugoslavia, and it was during the unification of Europe, and everyone was a bit more tense and elevated in that regard…and I was so young to experience all of that. I don’t think I knew what to quite make of it. But it was a great experience, I’ll always remember it. The night of my life, one of them anyway.

It’s also very emotional because the singer who won that year sang about “unite unite, Europe.” It was perfect at that time. After he won, in the green room, he pulled a red rose from the bouquet and gave it to me, and he paid me some compliments. For a 19-year-old girl, that meant a lot.

My advice is to have fun, and do it with all your heart. Don’t do it for the sole reason to win, not to launch your career, but because you love it, and it’s what you do and you’re good at it. You can be an inspiration to someone and it can be more than just providing entertainment.

((Mike Halterman)) The music videos for this year are up at http://www.youtube.com/eurovision . Which songs are your favorites and which country do you think has the best chance of winning?

Taj?i: Since we’re in the middle of a tour, I kind of scrolled through, and I think the quality of the songs are really wonderful. I feel like I want to pack my bags and go to Europe for the summer, because I think this is going to be a summer for some great club music!

I’m partial to countries [who sing] in their original language, and I can see how a lot of countries, how even when they do the dance number and include ethnic elements, I like that.

I like the guy from Norway, I think he’s so sincere and didn’t look to me like he was “trying” anything, he was just being himself. The song is nice and happy. It doesn’t hurt that he’s really handsome, and has a good aura about him. He had so much energy, and he grabbed me right away, the way he moved, the way he sang, it just pulled me in.

I also love Malta, I’m a fan of the big ballads. She has a beautiful voice. And Cyprus, she “did it” for me too. I also like the French song as well, but I also love the French language in general. Bosnia has a good song too, they have a certain sentiment that they always pull from and it works for them. Croatia, I wasn’t too blown away, but I’m proud of them for still singing in Croatian, even though it may not sound as pretty as English to some people. Everything else, it was like, “It’s beautiful, but I’ve seen it before.”

Everything seems like Hollywood now, I guess because it’s the times we live in now. All the girls are so pretty and the hair and makeup are perfect, and now I feel like an old lady, but I miss the characters from different parts of the world. It’s influenced so much by Hollywood and the Western music industry. It was inevitable, the melting of it [East and West] all into one, so I’m partial to bringing some sort of local element into it. It comes with finding your identity and finding your place in the world as a country.

I volunteer and give my time to a local school and teach the schoolchildren ethnic dances. I live in the Midwest now, but I used to live in Los Angeles and New York where they are a little more aware of ethnic groups. I’m teaching them these dances to give them a little sense of what’s being lost to the new kinds of culture and music. I teach some kids who were adopted from other countries, and I wonder, wow, are they ever going to be able to sing a song in Bulgarian, or Italian, or what have you?

My kids are half-American and half-Croatian, and I see how in my own life, being “globalized” and how people are losing the ethnic folklore and culture and all that, so with my kids, I try to teach them language and how to dance, because it’s the way I grew up.

((Mike Halterman)) I watched a clip of your documentary on YouTube, and I noticed one of the comments, asking you “not to forget your home, Croatia,” and to come back because the fans there miss you. Now that you’ve made a life for yourself in America, do you ever see yourself moving back to Croatia with your family? Which country do you feel more ties and loyalty to, the United States or Croatia, and why?

Taj?i: I want to take the kids and at least spend a year there when they’re teenagers, so I can show them my country and so they can learn different things there. But I don’t know, once you leave, it’s hard to go back. I miss my country, I miss the history. I miss my roots. I miss running into a friend and talking about high school and grade school, stuff that you don’t have when you move away. I love what I do, and I love what America has to offer, and what America did offer to me. There’s a certain kind of freedom that you have that you can’t have in a smaller country.

I will always be Croatian, it doesn’t matter how long I stay here. When I go home to Croatia, when I go there, I feel like I’m home, but when I come back to America, I feel like I’m home here too. I guess I have to say that a person can be “home” anywhere if they have peace within themselves. You’re gonna miss a lot of things about places you have been, and I do miss Croatia. I want to show my kids where I grew up and the parks where I played. That just may be a sentiment I’m going through right now, I don’t know. I have a good life, my husband and kids, and I love being able to make the kind of music I want to, without any contracts or obligations. I’m very happy.

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Fifteen people killed in Philippines hotel fire
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Fifteen people killed in Philippines hotel fire

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Fifteen people were killed and twelve were injured after an eight hour hotel fire in Tuguegarao City, Northern Philippines, however police and firefighters managed to save many guests. Reports suggest the deceased sought cover in bathrooms where they were burnt beyond recognition.

After entering the building firefighters were left in tears after finding the charred bodies of guests on the upper floors. “It’s so close to Christmas, we wept when we saw their bodies,” said fire investigator Daniel Abana. Nine of the deaths were confirmed to be nursing students from a nearby university. The students were in the city to take nursing exams. Nursing college instructor, Romeo Opido, told authorities that 36 nursing students from nearby provinces were at the hotel. Tuguegarao City counselor said, “It is very unfortunate that this happened just when they were about to take their exams.”

The other deaths were the hotel owner’s and their family, including three children. The cause of the fire is still undetermined although it is known that the fire started on the ground floor and was energized by car tires and other combustible materials. It is also believed that paint cans were still in the building following a recent make over.

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Corks fly in wine truck fire in Wyoming, US
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Corks fly in wine truck fire in Wyoming, US

Sunday, September 6, 2009

In Wamsutter, Wyoming, US, a fire crew were trying to put out a fire of a wine truck on a highway when they received an unexpected surprise.

Wine corks started to burst out of the wreckage as bottles started to explode from the heat. Wyoming Highway Patrol Lt. Scott Keane said: “The corks were popping out of the bottles like the old Jiffy Pop (popcorn) we grew up with. My trooper got hit in the arm with one.”

But luckily, as Keane commented, no one was killed or seriously injured and the truck driver managed to escape the fire, which occurred on Thursday after a crash on Interstate 80.

The intensity of the fire caused the tires on the trailer to melt down and the trailer to burn down to its wheel axles, damaging 75 feet of pavement in the process.

The corks were popping like Jiffy Pop

Keane stated that the cause of the fire was likely to be either a locked brake or a hub malfunction. It is currently unknown what the value of the loss in the fire was. The Wyoming Department of Transportation have commented that there was nothing left of the cab or trailer and the remaining bottles of wine from Oregon and Washington had disappeared overnight.

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