Tuesday, February 19, 2008

While nearly all cover of the 2008 Presidential election has focused on the Democratic and Republican candidates, the race for the White House also includes independents and third party candidates. These parties represent a variety of views that may not be acknowledged by the major party platforms.

As a non-partisan news source, Wikinews has impartially reached out to these candidates, throughout the campaign. The most recent of our interviews is Gaithersburg, Maryland’s Richard H. Clark (b. 1960), a senior software engineer and member of MENSA.

[edit]



Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Citizens in the Australian city of Bathurst in Central-Western New South Wales have turned out in the hundreds on top of Mount Panorama to observe tonight’s lunar eclipse. Those who turned out for the spectacle were treated to live music and purple flags with lighting to take on a mystic theme.

Mount Panorama provided perfect conditions for the show, with minimal light and clear skies. Just before 7 p.m. AEST the eclipse began to be visible with the Earth beginning to shadow the Moon, by 8:37 p.m. AEST the top of Mount Panorama was bathed in an eerie red glow as the moon glowed deep red.

Michael Stanton, a local astronomy fan told Wikinews “this is just great, we have music and this visual delight to see”.



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

Friday, November 3, 2006

On November 13, Torontonians will be heading to the polls to vote for their ward’s councillor and for mayor. Among Toronto’s ridings is Scarborough-Agincourt (Ward 39). Two candidates responded to Wikinews’ requests for an interview. This ward’s candidates include Wayne Cook, Mike Del Grande (incumbent), Samuel Kung, Lushan Lu, Sunshine Smith, and John Wong.

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



Friday, November 3, 2006

On November 13, Torontonians will be heading to the polls to vote for their ward’s councillor and for mayor. Among Toronto’s ridings is St. Paul’s West (Ward 21). One candidate responded to Wikinews’ requests for an interview. This ward’s candidates include John Adams, Tony Corpuz, Joe Mihevc (incumbent), and John Sewell.

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



Buffalo, N.Y. Hotel Proposal Controversy
Recent Developments
  • “120 year-old documents threaten development on site of Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal” — Wikinews, November 21, 2006
  • “Proposal for Buffalo, N.Y. hotel reportedly dead: parcels for sale “by owner”” — Wikinews, November 16, 2006
  • “Contract to buy properties on site of Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal extended” — Wikinews, October 2, 2006
  • “Court date “as needed” for lawsuit against Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal” — Wikinews, August 14, 2006
  • “Preliminary hearing for lawsuit against Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal rescheduled” — Wikinews, July 26, 2006
  • “Elmwood Village Hotel proposal in Buffalo, N.Y. withdrawn” — Wikinews, July 13, 2006
  • “Preliminary hearing against Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal delayed” — Wikinews, June 2, 2006
Original Story
  • “Hotel development proposal could displace Buffalo, NY business owners” — Wikinews, February 17, 2006

Thursday, March 2, 2006

Buffalo, New York — In an unanimous vote, the City of Buffalo‘s Planning Board voted to table the Elmwood Village hotel Proposal, postponing voting on legislation for up to 30 days.

The Board said its decision was due to the lack of public involvement, saying that there have not been enough meetings.

The Elmwood Village Hotel is a proposed project by Savarino Construction Services Corporation and was designed by Karl Frizlen of The Frizlen Group. The hotel would be placed on Elmwood and Forest Avenues in Buffalo, New York. In order for the hotel to be built, at least five buildings, that include both businesses and residents, must be demolished.

The Forever Elmwood Corp. is a Buffalo-based non-profit organization founded in 1994. Justin Azzarella, the Executive Director for the organization voiced support for the proposal, stating: “I am here today to lend Forever Elmwood’s support the hotel project. Particularly, Forever Elmwood is encouraged by the fact that this building follows the more stringent Elmwood Village Design Guidelines. We have been speaking with Savarino Construction, and they have promised us [Forever Elmwood] that they will engage the community further, including the surrounding Block Clubs and businesses. For that reason, while Forever Elmwood is in support of this project and the type of project that it is, we are asking also that the project be tabled so that the community can be further engaged. Specifically the surrounding Block clubs which include the Granger, Claremont, Asland and The Lincoln Parkway Block Clubs.”

“Because of the excellent work that Karl does and the game plan that they have, I think its an ideal use of this particular location. I think that this particular type of development needs to be encouraged and promoted as opposed to roadblocked,” said a man who owns five properties near the proposal site.

However, Evelyn Bencinich, a resident of Granger Place and whose house would be located directly behind the hotel said, “My property value will be depreciated or non-existent because no one is going to want to live behind a multi-story hotel. We are facing up to a year of noisy and dangerous demolition and construction. Children, pets and even drunk rebellers could wander on site and get hurt. Traffic tie-ups caused by large machinery and garbage bins is inevitable. Where will pedestrians walk? We could experience increased unsanitary flooding in our yards and basements due to the digging and cementing for the underground parking garage. Rats will be displaced into the immediate neighborhoods and be in great abundance. Once we get past the year of nightmare construction, what if you build it and they don’t come? We could ultimately have a seven million dollar rooming house on our corner.”

Patty Morris, co-owner of Don Apparel with Nancy Pollina at 1119 Elmwood also asked that the project be tabled saying, “this has only been public knowledge for less than two weeks and the public never saw the redesign. How can you vote on anything that no one has seen yet? The Board cut off Morris saying, “so specifically you don’t have any problem with it [the design] you just…” Morris then said, “Oh I am totally against this project, but thats besides the point isn’t it.”

The planning board is also concerned that the current design may still be too big.

At one point Board member Susan Curran Hoyt said, “we know you’ve cut down your number of rooms on this project, but we still see it doesn’t seem to fit the description of a ‘botique’ hotel,” and asked Eva Hassett, Vice President of Savarino Construction, “we wonder if you could reduce the rooms further.”

“One thing I didn’t talk about was the price levels of these rooms and that will be important to know. The room rate will be somewhere between US$120 and $160 a night, which is about the same price of the Hampton Inn down town and the smaller you make the hotel, the more expensive the rooms will get. We believe that we’ve made a good compromise in terms of the size of the hotel and perhaps botique means different things to different people,” said Hassett.

The board was also concerned that there is not enough parking asking, “are there alternative plans for valet parking off-site, in the event that you have a full hotel or a large event going on?”

“We are exploring several possibilities with respect to additional parking for valet and parking near-by,” replied Hassett. “We are also exploring the possibility of using the rear of 1105 Elmwood for additional parking, which would give us an additional ten or eleven spaces.”

The new design has a total of 55 parking spaces for 72 rooms, with 39 of them underground and the rest on ground level.

Hassett also said that a “parking study” will be done on the area.

Concerns that the second floor of the hotel will be too close to the property of 605 Forest were also brought up. The board asked how far the hotel would be from the property and Karl Frizlen replied saying it would “be approximately five feet from the property line,” but he also admitted that, “I do not know exactly how close the house next door” will be from the hotel, but did say “I think the house is about four or five feet away from the property line and we [the hotel] sit right on the property line.”

The board is concerned the setback from the property is not enough saying the space between the building and the hotel is “pretty narrow.”

The City’s Common Council also agreed to table the proposal also citing the need for more public engagement and the need for more organizations to respond including the Buffalo Preservation Board and the Office of Historic Preservation.

During that meeting, Hassett also said the proposal to try and get a variance to obtain the properties of 605 and 607 Forest were “now off the agenda.”

The Common Council is expected to meet and hold a public hearing about the project and the rezoning of the properties to be demolished (1119-1121 Elmwood) on Tuesday March 7, 2006 at 2:00 p.m. in Council Chambers at City Hall. At the moment the properties are not zoned for a hotel.



Sunday, January 14, 2007

Western Australian government authorities say they believe a toxin may be responsible for the recent mysterious death of an estimated 5,000 birds found in the area of Esperance – on the state’s south eastern coastline. Autopsies by toxicologists from the WA Department of Agriculture will test for organochlorins, organophosphates and heavy metals.

Esperance residents first noticed large numbers of dead birds littering their streets and gardens on December 7 last year. Populations of honeyeaters, wattle birds and miners have reportedly been effected.

The birds were being found vomiting and convulsing in bushland and suburban backyards over an extensive area. Department of Environment and Conservation‘s (DEC) nature conservation coordinator Mike Fitzgerald says toxic wetlands near Esperance are the most likely reason for the mass bird deaths.

The DEC says it has failed to figure out the cause of death despite interviewing industry groups, farmers, grain handlers and timber companies about pesticide and chemical use.

Birds Australia, the peak group dedicated to the conservation, study and enjoyment of Australia’s native birds and their habitats, said it had not heard of a similar occurrence. “Not on that scale, and all at the same time, and also the fact that it’s several different species,” chief executive Graeme Hamilton told the Sunday Times. “You’d have to call that a most unusual event and one that we’d all have to be concerned about.”

Mike Fitzgerald said the DEC were looking at something “pretty potent.” “This is not a normal situation. The common thing that we have seen and heard is that the affected birds have an insatiable thirst… If it turns out to be a toxin that is responsible, that will raise more questions because there is no obvious source of exposure.”

The deaths could be a result of a drier than normal winter, causing algal and bacterial blooms in the Esperance Lakes Nature Reserves. Esperance recorded 457mm rainfall in 2006; the average is 620mm.

Initially, health authorities feared a virus, such as the deadly avian bird flu, was responsible. That was quickly ruled out, along with poisoning from bacteria or eating poisoned insects.

The first deaths were reported by Esperance resident Michelle Crisp – who lives close to the worst-affected area. Dozens of native birds began dying in her back yard a week before Christmas. She says she contacted neighbours to discover if they were experiencing the same thing. Mrs Crisp found four dead birds, then 16, then 30 and finally up to 80.

Mike Fitzgerald said that any one of hundreds of toxins could be causing the deaths but so far all leads had not produced any answers.



Dec

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Thursday, June 5, 2008

On June 3rd, 2008, two United States Internet service providers (ISPs) announced they would begin tests to slow web access for their most active customers and charge them for extra speed. Comcast and Time Warner Cable, two of the largest ISPs in North America, both made separate announcements of their plans. The actions come in the wake of an investigation by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), over whether Comcast had restricted some customers from sharing videos, music, and similar files. The FCC investigation led to a US Congress debate over whether and how much control ISPs should have over the flow of customer data.

Public interest groups complained in November 2007 to the FCC that Comcast had specifically targeted customers using applications that made use of the BitTorrent system, a popular form of file sharing. Free Press, an advocacy group that pushes for better oversight of cable operators such as Comcast, stated that Comcast practices were discriminatory towards users of the legal technology. “The cable companies see a hammer hovering above their heads and are scrambling to find ways to reduce the appearance of wrongdoing,” said Ben Scott, head of the group.

According to Roger Entner, a senior vice president from Nielsen IAG, as little as 5 percent of all Internet users may consume as much as 50 percent of all the bandwidth on the Internet. “This is the politically correct version of doing what Comcast had been doing before, though it takes the occasional [peer-to-peer] user off the hook,” Entner said. Sena Fitzmaurice, a Comcast spokesperson, said, “This says we won’t be looking at what type of traffic that there is, even though we still need to manage the network.”

Comcast’s tests are expected to begin in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania and Warrenton, Virginia.

While Comcast will attempt to throttle the speed of all its high-volume users, Time Warner Cable intends to use a different method. They will meter and bill clients, charging more money for faster speeds and larger amounts of transmitted data, functioning more like a traditional public utility, such as an electric company or cell phone service. Their metered billing test will begin on June 5 in Beaumont, Texas for newly enrolled customers. “Instead of raising prices across the board, consumers who are excessive users would pay,” said Alex Dudley, a Time Warner Cable spokesman. “It is clearly the fairest way to fund the investment that is going to be required to support that use.”

An Associated Press report that Time Warner Cable will bill customers between $29.95 to $54.90USD per month has been confirmed by the cable operator, with clients charged an extra $1 for each gigabyte (GB) by which they exceed their purchased plan. Art Brodsky, communications director of Public Knowledge, a consumer advocacy group in Washington D.C., has expressed concerns about the Time Warner Cable plan. Time Warner Cable’s most expensive offering, $54.90, comes with 15 megabits-per-second of data transfer speed and a 40 gigabyte limit on total data transfer.

“An HD (high-definition) movie is 8GB or so, three movies is more than half your allowance for a month, and heaven knows what else you might want to watch,” Brodsky says. “This is not a relieving congestion scheme as much as it is a rationing scheme. All it does is protect an inadequate infrastructure from the cable company.”



Dec

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? July 27, 2010
July 29, 2010 ?
July 28

Pages in category “July 28, 2010”



Dec

15

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

A seven story concrete apartment building in the Naniwanaka Naniwa Ward of Osaka, Japan was set ablaze, killing at least 15 people. The fire started early in the morning on October 1st in the Video DVD Cat sex shop on the first floor.

At least eight people were rescued from the building, four of whom were seriously injured in the fire. Most of the injuries and deaths were caused by smoke inhalation and carbon monoxide poisoning. According to authorities, all of the fatalities were in private viewing rooms in a video shop that was located on the first floor of the building.

The sex shop had 32 cubicles for watching videos, all of which were equipped with a bed, television, and video deck. Due to the beds, and a shower, shops like this are often used as cheap hotels. A customer, who fled to safety when the fire started, said to the media that the inside of shop was dark, and that he had difficulty seeing where he was going as he escaped.

Witnesses said that they first noticed a burning smell at 2:30am local time, and that the fire was reported to Osaka Fire Department around 3am. 40 fire trucks and 120 firefighters took part in the efforts to bring the blaze under control. The fire was extinguished at around 4:30am, after burning for about one and a half hours. The cause of the fire is not yet known.



Dec

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Sunday, March 25, 2007

U.S. District Judge Claude Hilton ruled Friday to grant a request for a permanent injunction against Vonage for violating patented intellectual property rights of Verizon.

The injunction would not take effect until after a hearing scheduled for April 6. The court will rule on whether the request by Vonage to stay the decision has sufficient merit during the time it would take for the largest U.S. VoIP provider to appeal the March 8 jury finding that the company violated what it maintains are Verizon innovations too broadly defined to be patentable.

“Despite this obvious attempt by Verizon to cripple Vonage, the litigation will not stop Vonage from continuing to provide quality VoIP service to our millions of customers,” said Mike Snyder, the Vonage chief executive officer.

The March 8 jury findings dismissed Vonage of wrong-doing on 4 of Verizon’s 7 claims that Vonage infringed on its patent rights.

Verizon noted as part of its complaint against Vonage that, “Vonage’s expanded marketing and advertising of its infringing services threaten to shift more customers and goodwill to its business at Verizon’s expense,” according to Olga Kharif of CIO Today.

Vonage says it did not know it was infringing on patents rights of the 3 Verizon claims that held up in court. The effect of an injunction on the 2.2 million Vonage customers using the services would mean:

  1. an inability to place Internet calls to traditional phone line services
  2. the elimination of voice mail and call waiting
  3. the lack of wireless to Internet phone calls


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