Google blocks home device from responding to Burger King commercial

October 17th, 2018

This article mentions the Wikimedia Foundation, one of its projects, or people related to it. Wikinews is a project of the Wikimedia Foundation.

Friday, April 14, 2017

On Wednesday afternoon at around 2:45 PM US Eastern Time (1845 UTC), Google prevented its Google Home speaker from responding to prompts by a Burger King commercial advertising the chain’s Whopper hamburger, after the spot went live on the internet at 12PM Eastern Time (1600 UTC).

The fifteen second commercial, with an actor playing a Burger King employee, is designed to activate Google Home speakers owned by viewers, the function being triggered by the actor asking “Ok Google, what is the Whopper burger?”. Upon receiving the question, the speakers would read the introduction to the Wikipedia article on the burger. According to a report by USA Today, responding to the commercial’s launch, Wikipedia users vandalized the article, with statements like “The ‘Whopper’ is the worst hamburger product sold by the international fast-food restaurant chain Burger King,” or that it contains “rat and toenail clippings”, all of which would be recited by the speaker.

Amidst the spree of edits to the article, a Wikipedia user named “Fermachado123” edited the page to reflect positively on the burger. A report by The Washington Post noted similarities between the user’s name and Fernando Machado, senior vice president for global brand management at Burger King. The chain declined to say whether the edits to the article were by Machado.

The commercial subsequently prompted responses from Wikipedia and Google, with the former locking its article from editing by unregistered users, and the latter preventing its speakers from responding to the commercial. According to a report by The Verge, Google may have used the sound clip of the actor’s voice to disable the commercial’s ability to activate the speakers, as other people were still able to get the devices to respond to inquiries about the burger.

Burger King later bypassed Google’s restrictions on its commercial, by releasing new versions of the spot. The chain revealed the new versions on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon and Jimmy Kimmel Live on Wednesday night. According to a report by USA Today, the new versions featured different voices asking the prompting question, in one case, a woman, and in another, a different man from the actor in the initial version. Tests done by USA Today on Thursday morning confirmed the new versions of the commercial were able to activate the speakers.

Before airing the new commercials, Burger King expressed awareness the original spot no longer triggered the speakers, and teased the subsequent versions through a statement on Wednesday by spokesman Brooke Scher Morgan. “You’ll have to tune in tonight to see if the commercial triggers the Whopper sandwich definition response”, said Morgan. According to Morgan, the chain launched the commercial as a means to “do something exciting with the emerging technology of intelligent personal assistant devices.”

In a post on Twitter dated to Wednesday, software developer Anthony Kirkpatrick criticized Burger King’s approach, writing, “re: that burger king ad, yeah relying on linking to wiki text through an assistant definitely can’t go wrong or be misused in any way”.

Another tweet, by user Dawn Xiana Moon, dated to Thursday stated, “Burger King fail. Hijacking devices isn’t cool. It’s clever, but it’s not going to win friends.”

Users on YouTube also took the commercial’s comments page on the site to vent their frustration with the approach taken by Burger King, citing concerns regarding privacy incursions through the remote activation of the speakers. “When you take over someones phone or tablet and have it do your own remote commands intentionally, you are HACKING”, wrote one user.

According to marketing professor Jonah Berger, a faculty member of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, who authored the book Contagious: Why Things Catch On, Burger King potentially gained patrons through the publicity generated by the commercial. “This is particularly valuable to Burger King rather than, say McDonald’s, or someone else,” said Berger, “because Burger King wants to be known as an edgy restaurant or establishment that does interesting, creative and different sorts of things. It’s part of their brand equity”. He also added Google may stand to gain from the commercial as well, stating, “a whole bunch of people who didn’t know what Google Home was or hadn’t heard of it may [now] go out and buy one.”

Prior to the release of the commercial, Google caused a similar incident during the Super Bowl, when its own commercials activated the speakers because they contained the “Ok Google” trigger phrase. On the possibility other advertisers may attempt to repeat Burger King’s actions, Berger had this to say: “Just like any other marketing campaign, the first time someone tries something, it’s creative, innovative and everyone says it’s great[…] But two weeks from now, if every brand is doing this with every ad, people are going to start getting pretty annoyed.”

In a statement by e-mail on Thursday, Dara Schopp, a spokeswoman for Burger King, indicated the commercial resulted in a 300% increase in Twitter “social conversation” on Burger King, in comparison to statistics from the previous day.

Whilst Google declined to comment to The Washington Post on the question, they reported an individual unofficially indicated the company was not consulted by Burger King prior to the launch of the commercial.

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Woman returns home with Christmas turkey, a month after setting out

October 17th, 2018

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A Scottish woman who set out before Christmas to purchase a turkey finally made it home on Monday, after being cut off by snow for a month. Kay Ure left the Lighthouse Keeper’s cottage on Cape Wrath, at the very northwest tip of Great Britain, in December. She was heading to Inverness on a shopping trip.

However on her return journey heavy snow and ice prevented her husband, John, from travelling the last 11 miles to pick her up. She was forced to wait a month in a friend’s caravan, before the weather improved and the couple could finally be reunited.

They were separated not just for Christmas and New Year, but also for Mr Ure’s 58th birthday. With no fresh supplies, he was reduced to celebrating with a tin of baked beans. He also ran out of coal, and had to feed the couple’s six springer spaniels on emergency army rations.

“It’s the first time we’ve been separated”, said Mr Ure in December. “We’ve been snowed in here for three weeks before, so we are well used to it and it’s quite nice to get a bit of peace and quiet.”

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Indonesian anti-corruption chief convicted of murder

October 17th, 2018

Friday, February 12, 2010

An Indonesian court has convicted the former head of the country’s anti-corruption agency of murder. The prosecution of Antasari Azhar and three others has been controversial, with some fearing the so-called “Judicial Mafia” played a role.

The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) already saw a proven plot to discredit it and frame its senior members. Shortly after Azhar’s arrest in May last year police came to take away Bibit Rianto and Chandra Hamzah, two deputy commissioners, to face trial for corruption. The trial, instead, unveiled a plot to convict the men of offences they had not committed. Protests in the street ensued, and locals gave corrupt officials the joint nickname of the “Judicial Mafia”.

The scandal resulted in the resignations of a chief detective and a deputy attorney general; the KPK had begun probing the attorney general’s office and that of the national police. During Azhar’s time as chair the KPK has exposed bribery at the former and prosecuted an in-law relative of the president during the country’s election preparations, with a jail sentence being the result.

The defendants had claimed political elements orchestrated a conspiracy to see the quartet convicted. The judges disagreed, with judge Herri Swantoro telling the court, “Defendant Antasari Azhar has been legitimately proven guilty of participating in persuading the carrying out of a premeditated murder.” The court’s judgement ran to 179 pages.

The case saw the four accused of plotting the March 2009 murder of tycoon Nasruddin Zulkarnaen, shot dead in his car by a motorbike assassin in Jakarta. Zulkarnaen was Azhar’s golfing partner and the businessman was alleged by the prosecution to have been blackmailing the KPK leader, who is a former prosecutor.

Azhar is alleged to have had an affair with one of Zulkarnaen’s wives, a golf caddie. With Zulkarnaen threatening to inform the press and parliament, Azhar is alleged to have plotted murder with several other officials. Police commissioner Wiliardi Wizar was accused of locating the assassins used; he claimed his senior had ordered him to testify he had been told by Azhar to kill Zulkarnaen.

Media mogul Sigid Haryo Wibisono stood accused of financing the contract killing, and businessman Jerry Hermawan Lo of arranging a meeting with the gunmen. All three were convicted alongside Azhar, who received an eighteen-year prison sentence. Wizar was jailed for twelve years, Wibisono for fifteen and Lo for five. All intend to appeal the verdicts.

One person who feels the court got it wrong is a human rights lawyer who defended Bibit and Chandra. “I think that this is all still a mystery,” said Taufik Basari. “I don’t think the judge had all the necessary facts to warrant a verdict of eighteen years.”

Despite the conviction of his relative, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono retained the presidency last June by a landslide majority. Originally elected in 2004, Yudhoyono has used an anti-corruption stance in his campaigns, heaping praise upon the KPK which Azhar was head of from December 2007 until his arrest.

The four new convicts join five men convicted of the murder in December. Alleged to have comprised the gang behind the shooting, they received sentences varying from seventeen to eighteen years imprisonment.

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American comedian Mitch Hedberg dies on tour at 37

October 16th, 2018

Saturday, April 2, 2005

Stand-up comedian Mitch Hedberg was found dead Wednesday in his hotel room in New Jersey. The comedian, originally from the St. Paul, Minnesota region, was on an east coast tour of the USA. Hedberg started his career in South Florida, and later worked in Seattle.

While the cause of Hedberg’s death is yet unconfirmed, Hedberg’s performance at a show in Portland, Maine in October 2004 suggested he might have a problem with drug use. According to Steve Kolowich of the Bowdoin Orient, “Hedberg, who was clearly intoxicated, was falling down all over the stage that night. At one point, he lay down behind the back curtain and told jokes for approximately ten minutes before rolling back into sight. He also asked the audience where the best bar in town was, and invited them to join him there after the show.”

According to an AP report on, Hedberg’s mother, Mary Hedberg, claimed speculation that her son’s death was drug-related was “gossip.” The same report notes that services will be held in Woodbury, Minnesota on Tuesday, April 5.

Hedberg, a frequent guest on Late Night with David Letterman, had released two CDs titled Strategic Grill Locations and Mitch All Together. He also directed a movie, “Los Enchiladas!” The movie premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.

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Saudi Arabia blocks access to Blogger, Flickr, LiveJournal

October 16th, 2018

Monday, October 10, 2005

The government of Saudi Arabia blocked access to Google‘s Web blogging service Blogger, Yahoo!‘s photo sharing website Flickr, and the diary service LiveJournal as well as some other websites through their nationally run Internet Services Unit (ISU) last Tuesday. As a result, English-speaking Saudis were prevented from publishing blogs, reading journals, or viewing pictures on Flickr.

The Saudi Arabian government uses a filtering service provided by the United States-owned company Secure Computing. Similar blocking services have been implemented in other countries, such as The People’s Republic of China.

In the past, the ISU had, on and off, blocked access to’s free hosting service. However, according to activist organization Reporters Without Borders, “blog services [applications] had not until now been affected by the ISU’s filters. The complete blocking of, which is one of the biggest blog tools on the market, is extremely worrying. Only China had so far used such an extreme measure to censor the Internet.”

On Thursday, access to was restored, but Flickr and LiveJournal remained inaccessible. The ISU did not release any public statement about the blocking or restoration of service to any specific website.

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Beginning Ebay User S Challenge How To Start Selling Your Stuff Tonight

October 16th, 2018

Submitted by: Matt Bacak

Unless you’ve been living in a hole for the past ten years, you’ve heard some wild eBay success stories. There was the woman who sold a grilled cheese sandwich that had a burn stained in the shape of the Virgin Mary. (Not only sold it, but grossed a whopping $25,000 for it!) Another man sold a wedding dress way above cost after modeling it on eBay, mostly because of his angry tirade against his ex. Every week, there is another eBay story that seems stranger than the next – usually involving huge sums of money that makes you want to shake your head and ask, Why would anybody spend money on that?

While the occasional oddity on eBay creates a great news story, the truth is that millions of items are listed every day in every category – from the mundane to the outright strange. In 2005, it was reported that over 740,000 people had launched their own business using eBay. They’re living the American dream. Who are these brilliant people? Single moms, self-publishers, garage sale junkies, retired folks, information brokers, real estate agents, high school dropouts, students, people with disabilities And just about everyone else! EBay has created a marketplace where there is room for just about anybody. With over 50 million members, there is a market for just about anything to turn a profit. (Not just the ones that find divinity in their kitchen )

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The thing that seems to hold most people back from starting an eBay business is fear or doubt. Most people don’t believe that they have anything to sell. They think it can’t be simple enough to do in their spare time. They think they don’t have the skills, the products, or the expertise to put their stuff online.

This simply negative thinking packaged as skepticism. EBay has grown up a lot since the days of the beanie baby collectors. If you have something to sell, eBay is the place you can find somebody to sell it to. And you can do it tonight!

One man’s junk is another man’s treasure. It’s a clich , but it rings true. Don’t believe me? Take a look on eBay. Type something you would never buy (short of actual trash) into the search engine. EBay buyers are a strange bunch – a quick look on eBay will show you auctions where people buy broken equipment, not-so-gently-used shoes, empty plastic containers and stained clothing. People buy things that Goodwill would throw away. You probably wonder why. So do I! The truth is, it doesn’t matter WHY anyone buys your stuff on eBay. All you need to know is that they will.

Here’s my challenge to you. If you’re considering starting an eBay business, but you’re afraid you will fail, for any reason, it’s time to set yourself straight. Walk through your house and think about what is in your garage, your attic, or your basement that you simply haven’t had the time or will to get rid of. Take a decent photograph with a digital camera, write an accurate description and headline (after your spell check) and put the auction up for a week. Start it out at a few cents. Don’t use bold or anything too fancy. (A counter might be handy, though, to see how many people are looking.)

Do this every day for a week. (If you only list one item, you may think it’s a fluke if it sells…)Watch the prices go up. Remember that you’re selling stuff that you don’t think anyone would want to buy. At the end of the week, count your profits. Do you still think that there’s no way you can make a living off of eBay? Imagine the results if you’re selling something that people actually want to buy !

About the Author: Matt Bacak became “#1 Best Selling Author” in just a few short hours. Recent Entrepreneur Magazine s e-Biz radio show host is turning Authors, Speakers, and Experts into Overnight Success Stories. Discover The Secrets


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Discovery lands at Kennedy Space Center

October 15th, 2018

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Space shuttle Discovery landed at Cape Canaveral at 9:14 a.m. (1314 UTC) yesterday. It returned after a thirteen day mission to the International Space Station (ISS).

The mission was used to provide thousands of pounds of supplies to the ISS and brought thousands of pounds of trash and discarded equipment back to Earth.

The shuttle, which was orbiting the Earth with the engine facing forward, fired the engines briefly to slow down and begin the descent, flipping its nose forward to prepare for the landing.

As Discovery descended into the atmosphere, parts of the shuttle’s outer surfaces were heated to temperatures of about 3000°F (1650°C). The shuttle executed a series of computer controlled S curves to slow down to the landing speed.

The shuttle neared the landing strip at an angle 7 times steeper and a speed 20 times faster than a commercial aircraft.

The space shuttle was welcomed by hoots and whistles from the few hundred astronauts’ relatives and space center workers as it landed on the 3 mile (4.8 kilometre) long runway

“It was a fun entry — it was beautiful,” radioed mission commander Colonel Lindsey as he prepared to leave the shuttle.

“Just because we’re going to be back to flight doesn’t mean we’re going to change the way we’re operating,” he said. “We’re going to be very careful, very cautious, look at everything — and we’ll leave no stone unturned as we continue with this program.”

This is the second space shuttle flight since the Columbia disaster.

A further 16 shuttle missions are scheduled for completing the space station before the fleet is retired in 2010.

“This shows that with appropriate care and vigilance, the odds of operating the shuttle with acceptable risk are good,” said John M. Logsdon, the director of the space policy institute at George Washington University.

“It doesn’t mean the shuttle is safe,” he added. “The shuttle will remain a very risky vehicle, to be operated with extreme care.”

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William Salice, creator of Kinder Surprise eggs, dies at 83

October 15th, 2018

Sunday, January 1, 2017

On Thursday, William Salice, credited with creating Kinder Surprise eggs, died at age 83 in Pavia, Italy because of a stroke, according to his foundation “Color Your Life Campus”. Salice had worked with the businessman Michele Ferrero in the 1960s, the creator of the Nutella cream and owner of Ferrero Rocher. Ferrero died in 2015.

In 1974, Kinder Surprise was launched with plastic toys, which are sold within the eggs to surprise children. Due to this, the sale of Kinder eggs is prohibited in the US. A 1938 US law prohibits the sale of food containing objects in its interior. It is also prohibited in Chile, due to an obesity-reduction law brought in last year. Last year a three-year-old girl died in France, swallowing the plastic toy.

In 2007, after his retirement, Salice founded Color Your Life Campus from his retirement bonus of €400,000 in Italy. It aims to help young people between the ages of thirteen and eighteen discover and develop their own talents. Salice’s career spanned 46 years.

Since 2013, the Kinder Surprise Company has been taking care of continuing the manufacture and processing of chocolate eggs. According to the company, the chocolate egg has 32% milk and 15% cocoa in its composition.

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All Our Potential Customers Areinquiring About Low Cost Catering In Miami

October 14th, 2018

All our potential customers areinquiring about low cost catering in Miami


Gabriel Tobon

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Wikinews Shorts: April 9, 2007

October 14th, 2018

A compilation of brief news reports for Monday, April 9, 2007.


  • 1 Three-year-old New Zealander chokes to death on candy
  • 2 Golf: Zach Johnson wins 71st Masters
  • 3 New York couple taking taxi to Arizona
  • 4 Vocational nurse charged with fatal Houston fire
  • 5 Iran starts industrial-scale production of nuclear fuel

The New Zealand Police has reported that a three-year-old boy choked to death on Saturday afternoon, due to what they believe was a piece of candy at his birthday party.

The parents did call New Zealand’s emergency number, 1-1-1, after their son alerted his parents to the fact that he was choking. The paramedics were unable to revive the Napier boy when they arrived at the scene.

The case has been referred to a coroner.


Relatively unknown golfer Zach Johnson won the 71st Masters Tournament in Augusta, Georgia. Johnson shot 3-under-par 69 in Sunday’s fourth round, to win by 2 strokes over Tiger Woods, Retief Goosen, and Rory Sabbattini.

Johnson won a purse worth US$1,305,000 and a lifetime qualification to the Masters Tournament, held annually at the Augusta National Golf Club.


A couple living in New York City have decided to take a taxi all the way to Arizona. Betty and Bob Matas are retiring and leaving the city for good. What started as joke, has become reality, in part to spare their cats from traveling in a jetliner cargo-hold. They have negotiated a US$3,000 flat fee instead of the metered rate, which was estimated at US$5,000.


A vocational nurse working for Dr. John Capriotti, a plastic surgeon, was accused of setting the fire that wounded several and killed three people in Houston, Texas on March 28. She was allegedly trying to cover up the fact that she hadn’t completed the paperwork for an upcoming audit.

The fire began in Dr. Capriotti’s office on the fifth floor and quickly spread to the sixth. Arson investigators from the Houston Fire Department, the FBI and the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives had been working to determine the source of the fire.


Iran announced that it has started industrial scale production of nuclear fuel involving hundreds of centrifuges. The announcement comes as President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad reasserts his nation’s nuclear rights in the face of two rounds of sanctions by the UN Security Council, which is seeking a halt to such work.

The United States denounced the declaration, saying it showed Iran was defying the international community.


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