Time Warner/Comcast bid to snap up Adelphia cable service

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April 9, 2005

A bid topping $17.7 billion was jointly proffered by Time Warner Inc. and Comcast Corporation on Thursday to buy beleaguered Adelphia Communications Corporation in an industry consolidation move. Adelphia is the fifth largest cable service provider in the United States with nearly 5 million subscribers.

The market-share grabbing bid trumps the previous Cablevision offer of $16.5 billion. The bid is under scrutiny by the presiding judge over the Adelphia’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing, and must also be approved by the company’s creditors owed in the range of $20 million.

The acquisition race to gain dominance in the cable service provider market is driven by the high cost of installation and maintenance of cable lines. Fiber optic networks deliver traditional entertainment programming over a cable wire and is becoming increasingly popular for broadband internet content. The growing trust and recognition of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) suggests phone service subscribers will eventually migrate to cable voice communication as opposed to keeping with traditional copper land lines. Telephone company operators are scrambling to keep up.

The largest percentage of the bid would be put up by Time Warner (TW), who could gain by getting subscribers from the valuable Los Angeles market currently owned by Comcast and Adelphia. TW can also simultaneously divest itself of a stake owned by Comcast in TW by making a tax-free swap using some of the newly garnered Adelphia subscribers.

While the consolidation would likely get a look by the government with an eye towards a growing monopoly in the market, it would doubtfully be blocked considering the existence of competing technologies. Competition exists in the form of still numerous television by airwaves usage, satellite providers, radio content companies, and telecom providers.

Adelphia suffered a corporate scandal in 1992 with similarities to the WorldCom fall. Members of the Rigas family, founders of the company, were alleged to have siphoned off millions of dollars and hidden $2.3 billion leading to the bankruptcy filing. John Rigas and son Timothy were convicted July of 2004 and await sentencing.

Apple to hold media event on September 1, may update iPods and Apple TV

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Friday, August 27, 2010

Apple Inc. will hold a music-centered event in San Francisco, California on September 1. It has been widely speculated that the company will introduce an updated line of iPod portable music players and a new Apple TV.

The company e-mailed invitations for the event to various media organizations on Wednesday. The message included a picture of a guitar and the time of the event. Apple did not release any information about what products would be involved.

Apple has released new iPods through previous similar events in September in anticipation of the holiday shopping season. This year, Apple may unveil a new iPod Touch with two cameras, similar to their recent iPhone 4 design. It will likely also update the iTunes music store and software.

Speculation about a new Apple TV is mixed. While many blogs are reporting that a refresh of the device will be announced, analysts say that it is unlikely to happen during next Wednesday’s event. According to Reuters, sources are saying that Apple is negotiating with major television networks, including ABC and NBC, in order to provide shows for purchase on iTunes. However, they also reported that the deal has not been completed, and none of the companies involved have commented on the rumors.

It has also been rumored that Apple will introduce a new online music service. In 2009, Apple took over a company that allowed users to stream music online rather than download individual songs. Apple has not confirmed the rumors.

Last September’s media event saw the return of Apple CEO Steve Jobs after he took a break to undergo a liver transplant. This year, the event will be held in San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, previously used by Apple in April for the unveiling of the iPad.

Culture of creativity features at Furnal Equinox 2018

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Sunday, March 25, 2018

Visual art, fabric art, photography, performance, dance, virtual reality, and music were all the subject of sessions at Furnal Equinox 2018, a conference held from March 16 to 18 at Toronto’s Westin Harbour Castle. Canada’s largest furry convention by attendance, the annual event offers dozens of subculture-specific programs.

The convention’s communications and public relations coordinator for the event, Ronnie, describes furries as “people that enjoy arts and culture centred around animals and animal-themed topics, essentially. Furnal Equinox in particular, we like to celebrate in a very visual and very […] artistic nature, where we have lots of arts and performances and crafts that go on, and people celebrate with lots of socialisation involved.”

Of the attendees, Ronnie told Wikinews “they come from all walks of life. They are people of all ages, sizes, all sorts of backgrounds, and they come together under one mutual interest, which is their love for animal culture.”

“Programming at Furnal Equinox involves[…] a lot of informational panels, so you can find out about topics from art and how to draw, or how to visually incorporate different elements into your artworks. You can also find panels that teach you how to write better, be a better fiction author for example,” explained the event representative.

At one panel Wikinews attended, members of its all-volunteer organising committee spoke of the year-long process of planning the event, and their reasons for committing such a significant amount of their time. Said one panelist, “if you’re happy, we’re happy.”

The largest hub of activity at the convention was a dealer’s room; nicknamed the “Dealer’s Den”, giving it an anthropomorphic twist. Vendors were selling original visual art, wearables like faux fur tails or ears, or things like jewellery or soap with motifs that would interest attendees.

The back area of the room was dedicated to a charity auction, with proceeds benefiting Happily Ever Esther Farm Sanctuary. According to the convention website, the charity is “dedicated to rescuing abused, neglected, and abandoned farmed animals. Their goal is to provide a safe, life-long home for all of their residents, and to educate the public about the true nature of farmed animals through tours, volunteer programs, and community outreach.”

Split into groups, some attendees played “Fursuit Games” in front of an audience, like trying to toss a ball into a garbage can. The activity made harder, of course, by the limited dexterity and vision the most of the costumes entail.

One in five Americans finds socialism superior, poll says

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Saturday, April 11, 2009

Twenty percent of the American public believes that socialism is superior to capitalism, says a poll by Rasmussen Reports released on Thursday, April 9.

Asked the question “Which is a better system – capitalism or socialism?”, 53% of those polled found capitalism the better system, 20% preferred socialism, and 27% were unsure. The survey did not define either capitalism or socialism, but Rasmussen also cites a December 2008 result saying that 15% of Americans prefer a government-managed economy.

Analysis of the poll’s data by website FiveThirtyEight.com furthermore found that support for capitalism was closely correlated with income; respondents earning under $20,000 a year having an eight percentage point preference for capitalism, while those earning more than $100,000 a year expressed a fifty-seven percentage point preference for capitalism. Rasmussen noted that socialism had much broader support among people under 30, where 33% support socialism and 37% support capitalism, than among any other age group.

Socialism has found support in several countries, with member parties of the Socialist International in government in over 50 countries around the world and with several other regimes describing themselves as socialist or communist; the 20% result Rasmussen finds is comparable to the electoral support for the New Democratic Party in Canada. Support for an independent socialist movement in the United States, however, has historically been limited. Socialist candidate Eugene V. Debs won 6.1% of the popular vote in 1912, and two members of the Socialist Party, Victor L. Berger and Meyer London, were elected to the United States Congress before the Great Depression. This brief flirtation with socialism is contrasted against the times during and following the First World War and Second World War, which were marked by “Red scares” — periods of pronounced anti-communism — in the United States.

Currently, only a single member of the United States Congress describes himself as a socialist: Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont. The Social Democrats USA (SD USA), one of the successors of the Socialist Party of America, has expressed solidarity with the 76-member Congressional Progressive Caucus, which Sanders founded in 1991. It supports positions such as a living wage, universal health care, and the right of workers to form trade unions and engage in collective bargaining.

SD USA executive director Gabriel McClosky-Ross offered Wikinews an exclusive statement on the Rasmussen poll result:

I joined the Socialist Party, USA in 1972, when I was 16. That was seven months before the name change to Social Democrats, USA. I was a subscriber to the Party’s publication, New America for four years by that point. I grew up in a Catholic working class neighborhood. Many of my neighbors read the Catholic Worker. However, I would not meet another self described social democrat or democratic socialist who was close to my age until I completed college and entered the seminary when I was 21. That was not for a lack of my attempts at persuasion. Now when I speak on behalf of the Social Democrats, I meet many people who call themselves socialists or they are considering doing so.

Two things have changed. First, Stalinism in the Soviet Union finally and thankfully collapsed and The Peoples’ Republic of China is a transparently “state capitalist” regime. Second, the propaganda machine that equated private ownership of productive property with democracy is spurting under onslaught of facts that indicate just the opposite. There were two presidential elections in a row were[sic] the count look[sic] fishy and the money trail lead to the top of Republican Party. Then the banks collapsed and it was apparent that the largest financial institutions in the world were involved in sub-prime mortgage ponzi schemes.

I am not sure whether to celebrate or lament becoming an economist and union organizer instead of a priest given the current crisis. As my mentor, Michael Harrington, was fond of saying there are many kinds of socialism. Stalin, Hitler, and Mao, history’s three greatest mass murderers, all called themselves socialists. Hopefully, America is ready for a broad social democratic movement that works with trade unions and community organizations for national health care, re-industrialization, ecologically friendly mass transit, infrastructure repair, and eventually a democratization of our economy. Building such a movement will be very hard work. The cyber-world has many benefits, but people seemed to be convinced that social change can occur by email. It is great shame, that it takes 8.2% unemployment and massive economic dislocation to push people back to real time organizing and protest.

Simply that people are angry is not enough. The Bolsheviks, Fascists, and Nazis all road[sic] waves of mass discontent to power. A peoples’ movement must be militantly democratic and refuse to make common cause with even the ‘mildest and friendliest totalitarians.’ A truly democratic movement for social democracy must transcend the narrow special interest group politics that has made up most of political discourse since the protests against the Vietnam War. To transcend the current economic crisis we need a full employment economy and that means a movement concentrated on ‘red letter’ social democratic issues of democratic worker and community control of industry.

While support for socialism in the United States may be growing, Rasmussen’s polling finds that absolute majorities of the American public support both capitalism and free markets. Meanwhile, anti-communist sentiment remains strong in many segments of the US population, with opposition to socialism being a defining feature of Conservatism in the United States.

In an exclusive statement to Wikinews, John F. McManus, President of the anti-socialist John Birch Society, offered the John Birch Society’s position on the poll result:

If 20 percent of the American people prefer socialism, it is likely that half believe it has more to do with sociability that it has to do with an economic system that places government in control of their lives. Ask these 20 percent what socialism truly is and the response will rarely point to the great hero of all socialists, Karl Marx.

The John Birch Society believes that everyone is a capitalist. If one starts out defining capital as the means of production (which is its definition), then everyone — from the primitive fisherman to the corporate executive — uses capital and is a capitalist.

The distinction that most don’t make is who owns and controls the capital. Does each individual have the right to own his means of production — even a fishing pole? Or does the government own and/or control all the means of production?

When each individual has the right to own capital (property), there is freedom — up to the point where no one is permitted to impede someone else’s similar right. Where socialism reigns, the government dominates, either completely a la communism or essentially a la fascism (Nazi-style or Mussolini-style).

Most Americans are victims of an absolutely horrible educational system. Too many have been persuaded that government should take care of them. We tell such fools that, if that’s what they want, they should turn themselves in at the local prison where they will be cared for 24 hours a day. We ask them to stop advocating converting our entire nation into what effectively will be a coast-to-coast prison.

The proper role of government can never be more than the protection of the lives, liberty and property of the people who pay for it. The improper role of government is to take care of the people — which it always does poorly and does so almost always as a grab for power rather than a supposedly noble concern for the downtrodden.

Americans currently most often cite the economy as their number one concern in polls, ahead of terrorism. In December 2008, workers at the Republic Windows and Doors factory in Chicago staged a union-backed factory occupation in a fight against company management — a return to tactics of direct action from the historically more subdued American organized labor movement.

On April 10 2009, Alabama representative Spencer Bachus (R-Alabama) told the Birmingham News that seventeen members of the US House of Representatives are socialists. He did not specify which members.

Barack Obama presents rescue plan after GM declaration of bankruptcy

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Monday, June 1, 2009

In a televised speech from the White House at 16:00 UTC today, President of the United States Barack Obama presented a reorganization plan following the 12:00 UTC announcement by General Motors that it had filed for bankruptcy and Chapter 11 protection from its creditors, the largest bankruptcy of a U.S. manufacturing company.

Describing the problem with the company as one that had been “decades in the making,” Obama explained the rationale behind his proposed reorganization plan for General Motors. He stated that his intent was not to “perpetuat[e] the bad business decisions of the past,” and that loaning General Motors money, when debt was its problem, would have been doing exactly that. His plan, he stated, was for the United States government, in conjunction with the governments of Canada and Ontario (which he thanked for their roles alongside the government of Germany which he thanked for its role in selling a corporate stake in GM Europe), to become shareholders in General Motors. The United States government would hold a 60% stake. The government will give GM a capital infusion of US$30 billion in addition to the funds it has already received.

Of the government ownership he stated that he refused “to let General Motors and Chrysler become wards of the state”, and described the bankruptcy of Chrysler, and the bankruptcy of General Motors that he envisioned as being “quick, surgical, bankruptcies”. He pointed to the bankruptcy of Chrysler as an example of what he envision for General Motors, but stated that General Motors was a “more complex company” than Chrysler.

Responding to challenges voiced by political opponents, before the speech, that the federal government would actively participate in the affairs of the restructured company, he stated that he had “no interest” in running GM, and that the federal government would “refrain from exercising its rights” as a corporate shareholder for the most part. In particular, he stated that the federal government would not exercise its rights as a shareholder to dictate “what new type of car to make.” He stated that he expected the restructured GM to make “high quality, safe, and fuel-efficient cars of tomorrow,” and several times described what he anticipated as “better” and “fuel-efficient” cars, after a streamlining of GM’s brands.

He said to the general public that “I will not pretend that the hard times are over.” He described the financial hardship that some — shareholders, communities based around GM plants, GM dealers, and others — would undergo as a “sacrifice for the next generation” on their parts, so that their children could live in “an America that still makes things,” concluding that one day the United States might return to a time when the maxim (a widely-repeated mis-quotation of what Charles Erwin Wilson once testified before the U.S. Senate when nominated for the position of Secretary of Defense) would once more be true that “what is good for General Motors is good for the United States of America.”

Syrian citizen journalists risk death, targeted; city of Homs facing starvation

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Saturday, February 25, 2012

Syrian forces have been shelling the Baba Amr district of Homs, Syria for almost a month. Civilians and journalists are amongst the dead, and Wikinews spoke to a local citizen journalist, attracting attention both from the world’s media and from the Syrian Armed Forces. According to Wikinews’ source, much of Homs is without water, and a city facing starvation.

Syrian forces began a ground assault on Homs February 4, using troops, and bombarding the city with tanks and artillery. To this day, the bombardment continues. Soldiers frequently clash with anti-government protesters, and ‘freedom fighters’ of the Free Syrian Army in violent, often deadly encounters. In the Baba Amr district of the city, “Omar” [for his safety, we only use his first name, Ed.], a citizen journalist with the Homs Media Center, created an account on the Bambuser website where users can stream live footage from PCs or mobile phones. He then pointed a camera out of his home, overlooking the city, and began broadcasting footage live on the Internet.

The violent, often deadly, events following may have, indirectly, resulted from this action. Journalists discussed in this article put their lives in jeopardy to give the world a record of events; in some cases, dying doing so. But, their deaths may not have been accidental; evidence suggests possible intentional targeting by Syrian government forces.

Omar usually began broadcasting just before sunrise. At 5:18 a.m. (EET) in Homs on February 9, Omar started his live broadcast; the sky still dark, with only a few lights flickering around the area. Sporadic gun and rocket fire between Syrian forces and the Free Syrian Army audible on the live feed. By sunrise, gun battles had ceased, the city silent except for the occasional rooster welcoming the morning sun. As daylight broke tanks inside the city, and artillery on its outskirts, began shelling buildings and other targets. Throughout the morning, rocket fire and tank shelling could be heard getting closer and closer to Omar’s position.

At approximately 07:40 EET, nearly two-and-a-half hours into the broadcast, the camera’s microphone records the audio of the brief, but distinct, ‘whistle’ of a rocket or shell as it sails through the air. It strikes close to the camera’s position, causing it to wobble an shake, nearly tipping over; smoke obscures the camera’s view, debris falling onto it whilst sounds of parts of nearby buildings collapsing are heard.

The camera continues to film, apparently undamaged. Omar’s house isn’t so lucky, suffering a direct hit from a rocket. Out of the camera’s view, people inside the house begin to scream. Less than two minutes later, a second rocket strikes the house just above and behind the camera’s position; again, causing it to shake. The sun casts the rising smoke’s shadow on the house next door as more debris hits the camera. Further screams are heard as rubble collapses around people inside. Those inside, running and shouting, now make up most of the broadcast audio; some begin to pray, whilst others bring round a car to carry out the injured or dead. Moments later another rocket is fired, residents screaming warnings to each other of another possible incoming strike. An explosion is heard, and smoke can be seen rising, center-right of the camera shot, from the rocket striking nearby.

A few minutes later, two men are seen coming out onto their balcony and looking in the direction of the house that was just hit. They talk, looking and pointing in the direction of Omar’s house, with the sound of gunfire in the area. At 07:50, they go back inside and out of sight.

Three minutes later a rocket is fired, striking that house, exactly where the two men were standing. It is unknown if they were killed or injured in the attack, but according to Omar the attacks around his home left five dead, three women and two men; Omar himself survives unscathed.

Despite the deaths in the February 9 attack, Omar kept his camera rolling whenever awake; but, that was about to change.

February 15 was a relatively quiet morning but, as sunrise gave way to the daylight, rockets began hitting targets in the city for the eleventh consecutive day. Shortly before 08:00 EET, a small plume of black smoke appears, left side of the live broadcast, an oil pipeline having sustained its first direct hit. Moments later, a second strike on the pipeline is in-shot, also to the left of the camera’s view. The acrid smoke from this strike quickly begins to grow.

Shortly after the second hit on the pipeline Omar enters the room, moving the camera to show both strikes. Twin plumes of thick black smoke are now visible rising in the distance. Omar states the oil pipeline sustained damage from an attack by Syrian military aircraft. From a United States Department of State satellite photo taken after the bombing, the pipeline is seen near a densely populated area of the city, with farmland lying to the west. The smoke from the pipeline fire blankets nearly all of the populated area, to the east, in range of the photo.

After repositioning the camera, Omar decided to leave his house to undertake some field work; a fortuitous move as Omar stated on his Twitter stream, “after we left the house” a rocket made a direct hit on it, leaving a hole in one of the sides. There were no injuries in the attack, the building being unoccupied at the time.

With sunset closing in and the pipeline still ablaze, Omar turned off his camera, not just for the night — indefinitely. Omar now believes he is in too much danger to broadcast further, tweeting: “[I] really am confused […] am worried to turn the live camera on. It’s become very dangerous.” Omar has since left his home.

Crucial as some of the live footage may be at getting pictures of bloodshed inside Syria out; for now, much of the output which ended up hosted on Bambuser has dried up. On February 17, the Syrian government blocked access to the website and its mobile phone application. Despite government action, some isolated examples of live footage continue making their way out of Syria, mainly from mobile phones.

Bambuser speculate that Syrian authorities’ move to block access may be a result of Omar’s live footage showing the oil pipeline fire on Feburary 15. That footage was rebroadcast on several major news networks, including CNN, BBC News, Al Jazeera and Sky News.

“We believe this footage was the trigger for the Syrian government to block access to bambuser.com and disable the possibility to broadcast live video with mobile phones on Syrian 3G,” said a Bambuser statement on their website. Bambuser has been blocked previously in other countries. Access to the site was blocked by Egypt in January 2011, during their revolution. Bahrain blocked the site six months ago, and it remains blocked to this day.

Bambuser’s statement continues: “Not only have we helped them get their message out, but they also say it means much in terms of morale for everyone in this situation. They [The Syrian people] know the world is watching, sharing and it gives them hope. No matter where in the world there is unrest, we at Bambuser always do our best to support and help observers”.

Omar is not alone in being at-risk; on February 18 a funeral for three men, shot and killed by Syrian forces during an anti-government protest the prior day, was being held in the central Mezzeh district of Damascus.

Over fifteen thousand people, including women and children, filled the streets paying their respects. After a prayer, during which mourners remained completely silent, the procession turned into a mass-protest. With mourners-turned-protesters marching down the streets, the sky over Damascus darkened and snow began falling. With the change of weather appearing to embolden the protesters, their chants grew louder.

Shortly thereafter, Syrian forces surrounded the front of the march, and opening fire with live rounds and tear gas. Panicked people quickly scattered, turning the once-peaceful march into a stampede. At least one was shot and killed. Dozens of others sustained injuries. This was the first time Syrian forces opened fire on protesters in central Mezzeh.Those people are just a small fraction of those who have been killed or injured since the uprisings began. It is estimated that from five thousand to upwards of seven thousand people have been killed since January of last year. As a result, on February 20, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) announced it was attempting to negotiate a cease fire by all parties “to facilitate swift Syrian Arab Red Crescent and ICRC access to the people in need.”

The ICRC wants troops to halt their attacks in cities that have seen the most fighting in order to deliver care packages. Bijan Farnoudi, a spokesman for the Red Cross, said discussions include “several possibilities” in which the packages can be delivered. Though the organization has been delivering food and supplies to as many cities and citizens as possible, heavy fighting in areas such as the Baba Amr district of Homs has made it increasingly difficult for aid to be delivered. Even while the Red Cross worked to negotiate a cease fire, reports out of Homs on February 20 said Syrian forces were amassing troops and tanks outside the city in preparation for an all-out ground invasion. According to Omar, the shellings continued, but on February 24, the Red Cross announced it was allowed to begin evacuating injured women and children from the city.

On February 21, a member of the Homs Media Center was killed by a rocket as Syrian forces continued their bombardment of the city for an eighteenth straight day. Rami al-Sayed was reported to have been severely injured by a rocket while attempting to evacuate individuals to a makeshift hospital, during what activists call the worst day of bombardment since Syrian forces began their attack on the city on February 4. According to Bambuser, he and three others were inside a car when it was hit by a mortar, immediately killing the others. Sayed bled to death at the hospital.

Sayed was a videographer “crucial in getting the truth out through his videos posted on the Internet. We will really miss him, especially the medical team who relied on him to document all the civilian injuries and deaths on video,” said Omar in an interview with CNN. Sayed also was one of the men affiliated with the account ‘syriapioneer’ on Bambuser. Like Omar, he would broadcast live footage of the events on the ground in Homs. Bambuser published the last known message sent out to friends and family: “Babaamr is facing a genocide right now. I will never forgive you for your silence. You all have just give us your words but we need actions. However our hearts will always be with those who risk their life for our freedom. … In a few hours there will be NO place called BabaAmr and I expect this will be my last message and no one will forgive you who talked but didn’t act.” Sayed, 26, had a daughter of 18 months. In December, a citizen-journalist cousin of Sayed’s, Basil al-Sayed, was also killed. In a statement to Wikinews Omar described Sayed as “my best friend” and they both have worked as citizen journalists for about “10 months”, around the beginning of the uprisings.

The killings didn’t end there. Another two journalists were killed February 22, whilst at the Homs Media Center. Marie Colvin, a Sunday Times journalist, and award winning French photographer Rémi Ochlik, were killed when rockets hit the center. At least two others were injured in the attack, French journalist Edith Bouvier and British photographer Paul Conroy.

The Syrian government denies involvement, saying their deaths were “absolutely not” caused “by Syrian armies.” The following day Bouvier made a video plea to Syrian forces that she be allowed to leave Homs to seek medical attention. Conroy stated, despite leg wounds, he was “OK.”

Omar was in a Skype conversation with a friend at the media center when the attack took place. He recorded the call’s audio using a web camera and posted the video on YouTube; sounds of explosions and possible gunfire can be heard throughout. Reports strongly suggest the media center attack was deliberate; radio communications between Syrian government forces indicate orders to attack the building — whilst making it appear individuals died caught in a gun battle with terrorists.

HAVE YOUR SAY
What are your thoughts on the situation in Syria?Is the report from the Arab League credible in light of our video footage?How do you believe the international community should respond?
Add or view comments

It is because of situations such as that on February 16, the United Nations General Assembly (UN GA) voted, “[…] overwhelmingly to call on both the government and allied forces and armed groups to stop all violence or reprisals immediately.” The UN GA press release expressed grave concern at the Syria’s deteriorating situation and, “[…] condemned a raft of violations carried out by the authorities, such as the use of force against civilians, the killing and persecution of protesters and journalists, and sexual violence and ill-treatment, including against children.”

Calling on Syria to abide obligations under international law, the UN GA “[…] demanded that the Government, in line with the 2 November 2011 Action Plan of the League of Arab States, and its decisions of 22 January and 12 February 2012, without delay, stop all violence and protect its people, release all those detained during the unrest, withdraw all armed forces from cities and towns, guarantee peaceful demonstrations and allow unhindered access for Arab League monitors and international media.”

137 nations voted for the General Assembly’s resolution, twelve opposed and 17 abstained. As with many UN GA resolutions, the findings and conclusions are non-binding.

Earlier, on February 4, the United Nations Security Council failed to pass resolution S/2012/77, supporting Arab League actions pursuing peace in Syria. This resolution was vetoed by Security Council members China and Russia.

The Arab League’s goal, according to their report on Syria, “is to protect Syrian citizens through the commitment of the Syrian government to stop acts of violence, release detainees and withdraw all military presence from cities like Homs, and an end to violence in Syria.” The League noted Homs, Dera‘a, Idlib, and Hama as the cities primarily affected by such incidents. The report claims all such incidents were caused by “armed groups” or “entities not mentioned in the protocol [report].”

Despite the League’s claim, live footage broadcast more than a month after the report was filed suggests the opposite as tanks continued to bombard cities like Homs. The League, in their report, go on to say Syrians “believe the crisis should be resolved peacefully through Arab mediation alone, without international intervention. Doing so would allow them to live in peace and complete the reform process and bring about the change they desire.”

Omar disagrees with the League’s conclusion that Syrians do not want international intervention. He believes if “the world” doesn’t act soon, many more will die from starvation. Medical supplies have not been making their way to makeshift hospitals and food is scarce. Much of the city is without water and Syrian forces continue their assault on the city. In a statement to Wikinews on Wednesday, Omar said “if they stay like this [the world] just watching us, people will die not because of the shelling, they will die because of starvation. We are surrounded. There is no food, no water and no medical supplies. If the world doesn’t do anything we will die from starvation. In the coming days I can see a massacre from starving.”

Former U.S. intelligence agent Tony Mendez, architect of ‘Argo’ rescue, dies at 78

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Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Former United States Central Intelligence Agency agent Tony Mendez died Saturday, aged 78, at a Frederick, Maryland assisted living facility. Mendez is known for organizing the safe return in 1980 of several U.S. nationals who had hidden in the Canadian embassy during the Iran Hostage Crisis.

Former CIA deputy director Michael Morell praised Mendez on Twitter: “Tony was one of the best officers to ever serve at CIA. His work was unique, and it help to protect our nation in significant ways. He will be missed. May he Rest In Peace.”

Mendez once told The Washington Post he considered himself “an artist first.” He worked as a draftsman before applying for a graphic artist job in 1965 that turned out to be at the CIA. Mendez spent most of his 25-year career at posts outside the U.S., many in Asia. He specialized in removing people from areas that had become dangerous for them, a process called “exfiltration.” He studied Hollywood makeup and special effects for use in his work, later titling his memoir The Master of Disguise.

Mendez’s wife Jonna Mendez, also CIA, said, “He could be Pakistani, he could be Mexican, he could be from a lot of different countries[…] It was incredible to work with my husband.”

In 1979, revolutionaries took control of Iran and captured the U.S. embassy, taking dozens of people there hostage. They would be held for 444 days. Six other U.S. diplomats fled to the Canadian embassy and hid until Mendez and another agent successfully smuggled them out of the country disguised as a Canadian film crew working on a supposed movie called Argo. The events were nicknamed “the Canadian Caper” and later made into an Academy Award-winning film of the same name — Argo — in 2012, with Ben Affleck directing and playing Mendez.

For his work, Mendez was awarded the Intelligence Star by then-U.S.-president Jimmy Carter, though the CIA’s involvement in the Argo rescue remained a secret until 1997.

Affleck tweeted, “Tony Mendez was a true American hero. He was a man of extraordinary grace, decency, humility and kindness. He never sought the spotlight for his actions, he merely sought to serve his country. I’m so proud to have worked for him and to have told one of his stories.”

According to his publicist, Mendez died of Parkinson’s disease. He is survived by his wife, Jonna, three children from two marriages, two grandchildren, and his sisters. Another son has predeceased him. He has authored three books, one with his wife. A fourth, also co-written with Jonna Mendez, is due out in May.

Category:Jewellery

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This is the category for jewellery.

Refresh this list to see the latest articles.

  • 8 April 2014: Scottish artist Alan Davie dies at age 93
  • 12 August 2011: Three killed amongst Birmingham, England riots
  • 13 July 2011: 21 people killed and 113 reported injured in three blasts in Mumbai
  • 4 July 2011: Hidden treasure worth billions of dollars discovered in Indian temple
  • 26 November 2010: Bernie Ecclestone attacked outside London headquarters; no arrests made
  • 6 September 2009: Man charged with attempted murder in £40 million London jewel heist
  • 13 August 2009: British gemstone expert killed by mob in Voi, Kenya
  • 11 August 2009: Thieves steal £40 million from London jeweller
  • 31 May 2009: Thief steals over €6 million worth of jewels from Paris store
  • 18 March 2009: Madoff prosecutors want assets from wife and children
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Gastric bypass surgery performed by remote control

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Sunday, August 21, 2005

A robotic system at Stanford Medical Center was used to perform a laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery successfully with a theoretically similar rate of complications to that seen in standard operations. However, as there were only 10 people in the experimental group (and another 10 in the control group), this is not a statistically significant sample.

If this surgical procedure is as successful in large-scale studies, it may lead the way for the use of robotic surgery in even more delicate procedures, such as heart surgery. Note that this is not a fully automated system, as a human doctor controls the operation via remote control. Laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery is a treatment for obesity.

There were concerns that doctors, in the future, might only be trained in the remote control procedure. Ronald G. Latimer, M.D., of Santa Barbara, CA, warned “The fact that surgeons may have to open the patient or might actually need to revert to standard laparoscopic techniques demands that this basic training be a requirement before a robot is purchased. Robots do malfunction, so a backup system is imperative. We should not be seduced to buy this instrument to train surgeons if they are not able to do the primary operations themselves.”

There are precedents for just such a problem occurring. A previous “new technology”, the electrocardiogram (ECG), has lead to a lack of basic education on the older technology, the stethoscope. As a result, many heart conditions now go undiagnosed, especially in children and others who rarely undergo an ECG procedure.

Wikinews interviews Tom Millican, independent candidate for US President

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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 North Carolina, Tom Millican, an independent corporate manager and Vietnam veteran.