NASA’s Mars rovers exceed all expectations

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April 6, 2005

With the approval of an additional 18 months of funding, NASA’s twin Mars rovers, the Spirit and Opportunity, will continue their exploration of “fantastic” landscapes for an additional 14 months.

“The rovers have proven their value with major discoveries about ancient watery environments on Mars that might have harbored life,” said Dr. Ghassem Asrar, deputy associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate. “We are extending their mission through September 2006 to take advantage of having such capable resources still healthy and in excellent position to continue their adventures.”

With 11 months of extensions exceeding their successful three-month prime missions, “We now have to make long-term plans for the vehicles because they may be around for quite a while,” said Jim Erickson, rover project manager at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.

Scientists are within a few football field’s distance of a region called “Etched Terrain,” with rocks exposed by actual wind erosion rather than craters. There are rocks different from others in any other time in Mars’ history. “This is a journey into the unknown, to something completely new,” said Dr. Steve Squyres of Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y., and principal investigator for the rover’s science instruments.

The rover Opportunity has overtaken Spirit in total distance driven. It has been pushed by rover planners to roll more than three miles—eight times the original goal.

On March 20, a new Martian record of 722 feet in a single 24-hour drive was accomplished by Opportunity. Even Spirit is exceeding expectations although it is in much rougher terrain, climbing a rocky slope toward an area called “Husband Hill.”

The rovers have shown signs of wear and tear. Spirit’s rock abrasion tool grinding teeth might be nearly useless after exposing the interior of five times more rocks than its original design goal of only three rocks.

Steve Wright, killer of five women in Suffolk, England, sentenced to life imprisonment

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Friday, February 22, 2008

Steve Wright, yesterday convicted of the murder of five women in Ipswich, Suffolk, England, has today been sentenced at Ipswich Crown Court to life imprisonment. The bodies of the five women who worked as sex workers in Ipswich were found around the town in December 2006.

The judge, Mr Justice Gross said that a “substantial degree of pre-meditation and planning” was involved meaning the requirments for a whole life sentence for Wright was met. He said, “This was a targeted campaign of murder. It is right you should spend your whole life in prison.”

Speaking after the sentencing, Deputy Chief Constable of Suffolk Police, Jacqui Cheer said, “At the start of the inquiry we could not have asked for anything more. It is a tribute to all the people who have been involved – not only police officers but their support teams and all the members of the public who phoned-in offering information.”

South Korean police battle striking workers

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Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Police raided the SsangYong Motor Company‘s plant in South Korea today, in order to evict workers who have been occupying the plant since May in protest of proposed layoffs. Most of the workers were those who were previously fired for opposing layoffs.

100–400 police officers raided the auto plant south of Seoul at around 10:00 a.m. (local time). Police intended to evict some 600 striking workers who, according to a union representing the workers, “will fight to the death should police forcefully break up the occupation.” Workers at the plant are resisting police by attacking them with slingshots, metal pipes and molotov cocktails.

During the raid, two unnamed workers fell from the four story building while trying to stop the police from landing onto the roof from cargo containers dropped by helicopter. Both sustained injuries, with one in critical condition from the amount of blood he lost.

SsangYong Motor Company has been in court-approved bankruptcy since February and is planning on laying off a third of its workforce to stay in business. However, workers say the company should provide a better proposal regarding the layoffs as well as a more reasonable compensation package for workers being laid off. The situation has caused the company to lose more than US$184 million in output.

FAA orders review of Boeing 787 Dreamliners following week of incidents

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Sunday, January 13, 2013

The United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) ordered a review Friday into the design and manufacture of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, following five incidents in five days involving the aircraft and two Japanese airlines.

On Monday, an electrical fire broke out aboard a Japan Airlines 787 at Boston’s Logan International Airport, when a battery pack which powers the auxiliary power unit, for when the plane is on the ground, caught fire. The fire was discovered by maintenance workers after passengers and crew disembarked following their flight from Tokyo’s Narita Airport.

The next day, a separate Japan Airlines 787, also at Logan International Airport, heading to Tokyo, suffered a fuel leak that spilled around 40 gallons, which was spotted by the crew of the aircraft taxiing behind them. “That Japan Air may know it, but they’ve got fuel or something spilling out the outboard left wing. Quite a bit,” said the pilot of aircraft behind them on local air traffic control frequencies.

Wednesday, in Japan, an All Nippon Airways 787, the launch customer for the aircraft, cancelled a flight after a brake problem was reported.

Earlier Friday, two All Nippon Airways suffered separate incidents in Japan. An oil leak was noticed in the engine after one aircraft had landed in Miyazaki, coming from Tokyo’s Haneda Airport. Another flight, flying between Haneda Airport and Matsuyama said the pilot’s side window in the cockpit suffered a crack.

The FAA in a statement said “In light of a series of recent events, the FAA will conduct a comprehensive review of the Boeing 787 critical systems, including the design, manufacture and assembly.” Further adding, “The purpose of the review is to validate the work conducted during the certification process and further ensure that the aircraft meets the FAA’s high level of safety.”

According to the statement, “The review will also examine how the electrical and mechanical systems interact with each other.” The Boeing 787 relies more on electrical, as opposed to mechanical, systems than past aircraft from the manufacturer including having electronics operate hydraulic pumps and using electric brakes. Large portions of the plane’s structure use lightweight carbon fiber composite instead of more traditional metal airframe.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said, “The safety of the traveling public is our top priority […] This review will help us look at the root causes and do everything we can to safeguard against similar events in the future.”

“We are confident that the aircraft is safe. But we need to have a complete understanding of what is happening,” said newly sworn-in FAA Administrator Michael P. Huerta. “We are conducting the review to further ensure that the aircraft meets our high safety standards.”

Boeing released a statement saying, “[The company] is confident in the design and performance of the 787. It is a safe and efficient airplane. The airplane has logged 50,000 hours of flight and there are more than 150 flights occurring daily.”

Steps On How To Improve Credit Score After Bankruptcy

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By Tim H Lambert

When you have declared bankruptcy in your business, your credit score will be greatly affected. Your score will definitely go down and you will suffer a lot of consequences. You can no longer charge or purchase items using your credit card. In addition, you may be required to pay for higher interest rates. Luckily, there are a lot of steps on how to improve credit score after bankruptcy. Fixing or increasing your credit score after going to this kind of situation would take some time. If you focus on improving your credit score, you can get good results within a year up to 18 months.

Open a charge account at a retailer store that sells appliances or pieces of furniture. This is because the big retailer stores would be more willing to give you credit after knowing that you declared bankruptcy. You might get a soaring amount of interest rate. However, the value of the product that you are going to get will also boost your credit score. Once you buy the item from that store, make sure to pay half of the total sales price. This is important because putting down a large down payment will make it easier for you to pay the whole lot. In addition to this, if you pay half of the total price, you will not have an interest which is too high for you to handle.

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After that, open a secured credit card account and convert it to an unsecured account after a certain period of time. If you are paying your balances on time, the conversion can be made from 6 months to 1 year. Take note that converting a secured account to an unsecured one will mean a high interest rate. However, having a regular account will also improve your credit score so it’s worth it. In addition, you will also improve your credit score by opening and paying for additional accounts at the right time.

Make sure that you are able to pay your bills on or before its due date. You should pay for your newly opened accounts and other assets that you have kept after bankruptcy. Your assets include a car loan or a mortgage that are still running. Paying your bills on time will show that you are able to manage your finances. Once the lenders see that you are working hard and are managing your finances well, they might become your good prospects.

Lastly, always keep an eye on your credit report. This report contains all the necessary information regarding your finances including transactions, loans, payments and others. You may want to order a copy of your credit report from one or all of the credit bureaus. This is important so that you can see whether or not errors are present. Once you see an error or anything that you do not recognize, contact the credit bureau immediately and ask for a clarification. You can also ask for a correction if you believe that one or more data in the report are erroneous.

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CEO of GM outlines plan for “New GM” after auto company declared bankruptcy

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Thursday, June 4, 2009

In a New York press conference at 16:15 UTC, June 1st, Fritz Henderson, the Chief Executive Officer of General Motors, which filed for bankruptcy and Chapter 11 protection from its creditors earlier today, outlined a plan for what he called a “New GM”.

Speaking to the press under safe harbor provisions of U.S. law, Henderson described the events of today as a “defining moment” in the history of General Motors. Speaking to the public he said that “The GM that let you down is history,” and described a “New GM” that he expected to result from the bankruptcy process.

Henderson stated that he envisioned the bankruptcy process would take between 60 and 90 days. He stressed several times his view that the process would be one that is executed quickly, saying that not just a sense of urgency but “pure unadulterated speed” was his expectation of the process. He emphasized that “GM remains open for business” during the bankruptcy period, continuing to sell and to support its products, and that day one motions had been filed in the bankruptcy court in order to allow this.

Regarding the bankruptcy process he said, “We will do it right. And we will do it once.”

He stated that the plan for General Motors had the support of the United Auto Workers union, the Canadian Auto Workers union, the GM VEBA, and a majority of the unsecured bondholders of GM. He also mentioned that GM had already received €1.5 million in bridge financing from the German government.

In response to questions about the possibility of the United States federal government, a majority shareholder in the restructured company, dictating future product development and strategy, such as the sale of more fuel-efficient and green vehicles; he first observed that the federal government had already stated to him that it had “no real interest in running our business” and that he expected that still to be his job. Of the specific hypothetical scenario where the management of GM wants to make one type of car, because it thinks that it is the right thing for the business, and the U.S. government wants to make another type of car, he stated that “I don’t think it’s going to happen.” Expanding on that point he stated that he expected the “New GM” to focus upon “highly fuel-efficient and green technology”, and that operating both in accordance with U.S. environmental laws and in response to customer demand would naturally result in the New GM producing the types of vehicles that the U.S. government would encourage.

The “New GM” he also expected to focus on “four core brands”, and will size its dealership to match that. He stated that GM would offer a “deferred termination” package to dealers, to allow them to cease dealing in GM vehicles in a managed and gradual way.

He stated that the bankruptcy filings did not cover General Motors’ businesses in Latin America, Europe and the Middle East, and Asia and the Pacific. Of GM’s profitable ventures in China, specifically, he stated that they were “a critical part of the New GM”. In response to questions of whether the New GM would import cars from China to the U.S., he stated the formative company’s core principle that “We build where we sell” applied in both directions, with GM building in China to sell in China and building in the U.S. to sell in the U.S., stating that this shortened supply chains.

He declined to predict when the New GM would return to profitability, stating that the goal was rather to lower the break-even EBIT point for the company. He also declined to speculate upon when the U.S. government would sell its stake in the company, saying that that was a question “better addressed to the U.S. Treasury”, and merely saying that he expected it to be “years, not months” when the U.S. Treasury felt it would give “the right return for taxpayers.”

Inquiry blames surgical failures for Scottish patient deaths

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Friday, February 17, 2012

A fatal accident inquiry concluded three patients who underwent keyhole surgery to remove their gall bladders died as a result of mistakes during, and after, the operations. Agnes Nicol, George Johnstone, and Andrew Ritchie died within a three-month period in 2006 whilst in the care of NHS Lanarkshire in Scotland.

Later expanded to look at all three deaths, the inquiry initially established to look into the case of Nicol, 50, who received surgery in late 2005. A surgeon at Wishaw General Hospital mistakenly cut her bile duct and her right hepatic artery. Whilst suturing her portal vein, her liver was left with 20% of its normal blood supply; the errors were not discovered until her transfer to liver specialists at Edinburgh’s Royal Infirmary.

By then, her liver was seriously damaged. She developed septicaemia, dying from multiple organ failure in March 2006.

Johnstone, 54, underwent the same procedure at Monklands District General Hospital on May 9, 2006. A consultant surgeon accidentally damaged, possibly severing, his bile duct. He died two days later in intensive care from the combined effects of multiple organ failure and a heart ailment.

Ritchie, 62, died in intensive care a week after an operation in June 2006. He died from intra abdominal haemorrhage caused by errors during the surgery.

Different surgeons were involved each time and the inquiry, under Sheriff Robert Dickson, found no evidence of poor training or inadequate experience. Dickson noted that in each case there was lack of action on a “growing body of evidence that there was something fundamentally wrong with the patient” and surgeons failed to contemplate their own actions as potentially responsible. He agreed with two professors that it may have been possible to save their lives “had the post-operative care been to the standard which they expected, and had there been a proper management plan which staff could have worked to” and noted that all the patients suffered from a lack of adequate medical notes being available after their surgery. He described the care as having “clear faults”.

NHS Lanarkshire has issued an apology, saying they “did fall below the high standards of care we aim to maintain in these cases and this has been extremely distressing for the patients’ families. We would like to take this opportunity to apologise to them.” The health board added improvements had been made regarding “these types of cases” as well as with document management.

Wikinews Shorts: December 25, 2008

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A compilation of brief news reports for Thursday, December 25, 2008.

The Japanese automobile manufacturer Toyota has reported a sharp decrease in the number of global vehicle sales in November. The firm sold 618 000 cars in that month, a decrease of almost 22% from the same time last year.

This comes several days after Toyota’ prediction that it would have its first annual loss in 71 years.

Sources


Rene-Thierry Magon de la Villehuchet, the fund manager of an investment fund that lost US$1.4 billion to Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme, was found dead on Tuesday, having committed suicide.

De la Villehuchet was found by a security guard in his Madison Avenue office in New York City on December 23. A bottle of sleeping pills and a box cutter were discovered on the floor near his person, and his wrists were slashed.

Sources


Australia/2007

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Contents

  • 1 January
  • 2 February
  • 3 March
  • 4 April
  • 5 May
  • 6 June
  • 7 July
  • 8 August
  • 9 September
  • 10 October
  • 11 November
  • 12 December

[edit]

Pfizer and Microsoft team up against Viagra spam

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Sunday, February 13, 2005

New York –”Buy cheap Viagra through us – no prescription required!” Anyone with an active email account will recognize lines like this one. According to some reports, unsolicited advertisements (spam) for Viagra and similar drugs account for one in four spam messages.

BACKGROUND

Spamming remains one of the biggest problems facing email users today. While users and systems administrators have improved their defenses against unsolicited email, many spammers now insert random words or characters into their letters in order to bypass filters. The Wikipedia article Stopping email abuse provides an overview of the various strategies employed by companies, Internet users and systems administrators to deal with the issue.

Ever since pharmaceutical giant Pfizer promised to cure erectile dysfunction once and for all with its blue pills containing the drug sildenafil citrate, spammers have tried to tap into male anxiety by offering prescription-free sales of unapproved “generic” Viagra and clones such as Cialis soft tabs. Legislation like the U.S. CAN-SPAM act has done little to stem the tide of email advertising the products.

Now Pfizer has entered a pledge with Microsoft Corporation, the world’s largest software company, to address the problem. The joint effort will focus on lawsuits against spammers as well as the companies they advertise. “Pfizer is joining with Microsoft on these actions as part of our shared pledge to reduce the sale of these products and to fight the senders of unsolicited e-mail that overwhelms people’s inboxes,” said Jeff Kindler, executive vice president at Pfizer.

Microsoft has filed civil actions against spammers advertising the websites CanadianPharmacy and E-Pharmacy Direct. Pfizer has filed lawsuits against the two companies, and has taken actions against websites which use the word “Viagra” in their domain names. Sales of controlled drugs from Canadian pharmacies to the United States are illegal, but most drugs sold in Canada have nevertheless undergone testing by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. This is not the case for many of the Viagra clones sold by Internet companies and manufactured in countries like China and India. While it was not clear that CanadianPharmacy was actually shipping drugs from Canada, Pfizer’s general counsel, Beth Levine, claimed that the company filled orders using a call center in Montreal, reported the Toronto Star.

For Microsoft’s part, they allege that the joint effort with Pfizer is part of their “multi-pronged attack on the barrage of spam.” As the creator of the popular email program Outlook, Microsoft has been criticized in the past for the product’s spam filtering process. Recently, Microsoft added anti-spam measures to its popular Exchange server. Exchange 2003 now includes support for accessing so-called real-time block lists, or RTBLs. An RTBL is a list of the IP addresses maintained by a third party; the addresses on the list are those of mailservers thought to have sent spam recently. Exchange 2003 can query the list for each message it receives.