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Chinese earthquake: Death toll reaches almost 15,000 as ‘dangerous’ cracks found in dam near city

November 15th, 2019

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Officials say the death toll in the recent earthquake in China has reached almost 15,000. The news comes as 2,000 of the nation’s troops were dispatched to the Zipingku Dam to repair “extremely dangerous” cracks in the structure, which is upriver from Dujiangyan City, already severely hit by the disaster.

It is feared the toll will rise much further as 60,000 people are missing after the 7.9 magnitude quake in Sichuan left entire towns “razed to the ground” with no buildings standing, according to officials in the area. At one destroyed school 178 children were found dead after the building collapsed while they slept inside it. A second school at Wudu, twenty miles from the epicentre behind the White Cloud Mountain, has 130 dead children and 150 more still buried and feared dead.

Zipingku Dam has had some water drained to ease the pressure on it. According to the Ministry of Water Resources’ website “If Zipingpu develops a serious safety problem, it could bring disaster to Dujiangyan city downstream.” Numerous other dams are also affected, including several others near Dujiangyan. In addition, experts from France’s Institute for Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety say it cannot yet be ruled out that a number of nuclear power facilities in the area have been affected.

50,000 troops have been brought to the area to provide assistance. However, emergency response is being made difficult by continuing poor weather and landslides that have cut off Wenchuan county. In Mianyang alone, one of the worst-hit cities, some 19,000 people are thought to be buried under rubble and the first rescuers to reach the epicenter state tens of thousands may be dead there as well. The Wenchuan town of Yingxiu has only 2,300 confirmed survivors from a 12,000-strong population. Some aid in the form of food, water and medicine has arrived by helicopter, but rotorcraft operations are very dangerous due to ongoing poor weather. Trucks loaded with noodles and biscuits were raided by crowds before the aid could be properly handed out. The People’s Liberation Army intends to send in paratroopers.

“They had better set up a distribution system, or we will be stealing what we can,” one survivor promised.

Meanwhile, accusations of blame over the scale of the effects have been leveled at construction companies and local authorities. The allegations say that the firms used substandard techniques and materials when building many projects, and corrupt local authorities deliberately ignored the problem. Some people have nicknamed the resulting structures “tofu buildings”, an allusion to the fact that they are alleged to be ‘as soft as tofu‘. “It’s nothing but corruption – they must have used sub-standard cement and steel,” said rescuer Dr Tian, who withheld his second name from journalists. It is also alleged that both local residents and international scientific organisations were ignored when they warned of a large impending earthquake.

As a mark of respect, the Olympic torch relay will be scaled back in response to the earthquake.

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I’ll Have Another wins 2012 Preakness Stakes

November 15th, 2019

Monday, May 21, 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

THE HORSES

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Judge orders residents and city to come to agreement on partially collapsed building in Buffalo, New York

November 15th, 2019

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Buffalo, New York —Judge Justice Christopher Burns of the New York State Supreme Court has ordered a halt to an emergency demolition on a 19th century stable and livery on 428-430 Jersey Street in Buffalo, New York that partially collapsed on Wednesday June 11, initially causing at least 15 homes to be evacuated. At least two homes remain evacuated.

Burns orders that both the city and the group Save The Livery (www.savethelivery.com) have to come to an agreement on what to do with the building, and try to work out ways of saving at least some portions if it including the facade, side walls and a lift tower. Save The Livery is comprised of concerned area residents who have grown to love the building’s historic and unique character. On June 14, they won a temporary restraining order to stop demolition. The court ruled that the city was only allowed to remove material in immediate danger to residents and pedestrians, but stated that the demolition could only be performed with “hand tools.” The court also ordered that any rubble which had fallen into neighboring yards when the building collapsed, to be removed.

“It is in the interest of the city to have a safe environment–but also important to maintain a sense of historical preservation,” stated Burns in his ruling. Burns has given the sides until tomorrow (Friday June 20) to come to an agreement and has ordered both parties to return to court at 9:30 a.m. (eastern time) “sharp.” Activists of Save The Livery urge supporters of the stable to “fill the courtroom” to show “continued and ongoing support.” The hearing is scheduled to take place at 25 Delaware Avenue in the Supreme Court building, 3rd Floor, trial part 19.

Currently the building is owned by Bob Freudenheim who has several building violations against him because of the buildings poor condition. He has received at least five violations in three months and residents who live near the building state that Freudenheim should be “100% responsible” for his actions. Many are afraid that if the building is demolished, Freudenheim’s charges of neglect will be abolished.

On June 17, developer and CEO of Savarino Companies, Sam Savarino was at the site of the stable, discussing the building with residents and preservationists. In 2006, Savarino proposed and planned The Elmwood Village Hotel, a ‘botique’ hotel on the Southeast corner of Elmwood and Forest Avenues. The project was later withdrawn after residents filed a lawsuit against Savarino and the city. Wikinews extensively covered the story, and contacted Savarino for his professional opinion on the building.

“[I would] love to see it preserved. I was there to see if there was anything we could do to help, to see if anything can be salvaged. I just want to see the right thing happen, and so does the city,” stated Savarino to Wikinews who added that he was allowed inside the building for a brief period.

“The side walls are beyond repair. The roof has rotted and it could come down at any time,” added Savarino who also said that the building “below the second floor appears to be stable.” He also states that the back wall of the building, which borders several homes, appears to be intact.

“Eliminating the back wall could be a problem for the neighbors. It is not unreasonable to leave at least 12 feet” of the back wall standing, added Savarino.

Savarino did not say if he was interested in buying the property, but did state, “I am sure there are a couple of people interested” in buying the property. On Thursday, Buffalo News reported that a “businessman” might be interested in purchasing the property, though Wikinews is not able to independently confirm the report. Savarino says that with the property still slated for emergency demolition, a potential buyer could face tax fees of nearly US$300,000.

Freudenheim gave the city permission to demolish the building on Thursday June 12 during an emergency Preservation Board meeting, because he would not be “rehabilitating the building anytime soon.” Freudenheim, along with his wife Nina, were part-owners of the Hotel Lenox at 140 North Street in Buffalo and were advocates to stop the Elmwood Village Hotel. They also financially supported a lawsuit in an attempt to stop the hotel from being built. Though it is not known exactly how long Freudenheim has owned the stable, Wikinews has learned that he was the owner while fighting to stop the hotel from being built. Residents say that he has been the owner for at least 22 years.

The building was first owned by a company called White Bros. and was used as a stable for a farm which once covered the land around the building for several blocks. The Buffalo Fire Department believes the building was built around 1814, while the city property database states it was built in 1870. Servants and workers of the farm were housed inside resident quarters situated at the rear of the building on what is now Summer Street, but are now cottages where area residents currently reside. Some date as far back as 1829.

At about 1950, the stable was converted into an automobile body shop and gasoline station.A property record search showed that in 1950 at least four fuel storage tanks were installed on the property. Two are listed as 550 square feet while the other two are 2,000 square feet. All of the tanks are designated as a TK4, which New York State says is used for “below ground horizontal bulk fuel storage.” The cost of installing a tank of that nature according to the state, at that time, included the tank itself, “excavation and backfill,” but did not include “the piping, ballast, or hold-down slab orring.” It is not known if the tanks are still on the property, but residents are concerned the city was not taking the precautions to find out.

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Strong earthquake near Solomon Islands, tsunami reported

November 9th, 2019

Sunday, April 1, 2007

A magnitude 8.1 undersea earthquake triggered a tsunami that has killed at least fifteen people, including six children, in the Solomon Islands. Tsunami warnings have been issued for parts of Australia as well.

According to the US Geological Survey, the magnitude 8.0 quake struck Sunday, April 1, 2007 at 20:39:56 (UTC) about 45 km (25 mi) south-southeast of Gizo, New Georgia Islands, Solomon Islands, at a depth of 10 km.

Contents

  • 1 ‘Disaster’ declared in the Solomons
  • 2 Region on alert
  • 3 Related news
  • 4 Sources

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Vestas delays closure of Newport plant

November 9th, 2019

Friday, July 31, 2009

Vestas Wind Systems, whose closing wind turbine blade manufacturing centre in Newport, Isle of Wight, England remains the site of a occupation now in its 11th day, has suddenly announced that the consultation period preceding the closure of the plant has been extended, and that the plant will remain open until mid-August.

The announcement, which was reported not by Vestas but by the RMT, was described by RMT General Secretary Bob Crow as “another significant milestone in the fight to save the factory and 625 skilled manufacturing jobs in green energy.” The plant had been due to close today.

News of the delay comes hours after confused reports that Vestas was withholding redundancy payment for at least 525 of the workers whose jobs were lost. According to a report by the local newspaper the Isle of Wight County Press, cheques which employees had been expecting today did not arrive; instead, workers who contacted Vestas management were told they would not receive payment until an interview process had been completed, and that if they began new jobs before the interview process was over they would not receive their money. However, according to Ventnorblog, a local Isle of Wight blog which has been following the Vestas closure closely, the layoff process was being delayed because a majority of the Vestas employees were refusing to agree to the management’s redundancy plan.

The delay of the closure allows more time for the negotiation of potential solutions for the Newport plant to remain open. The Vestas occupiers and labour groups continue to favour nationalisation of the plant, with Socialist Party spokesman Nick Chaffey saying:

The courageous stand of the Vestas occupation and the huge support that stands alongside it from Vestas workers and beyond has rocked management and the government. With the vital support of the RMT and wider support from the trade union movement including PCS, POA and FBU, the workers’ demand for nationalisation is the only way to resolve this crisis.

In addition to the Vestas occupiers’ proposal that the factory be nationalised, Caroline Lucas, the MEP for South East England and a member of the Green Party, has proposed that Vestas employees should form a workers’ co-operative with government aid in order to keep the plant running. The Tory-dominated Isle of Wight Council has unanimously endorsed a resolution saying that the plant should stay open, and has called for new investors to take the Vestas plant over, as was done at a smaller Vestas plant in Scotland recently.

The news of the delay comes as workers at the plant accused Vestas management of harassing the families of the 24 remaining occupiers of the plant. Families of some occupiers were served with legal papers at their homes. One of the occupiers, Luke Paxton, left the factory on Thursday night in order to be re-united with his family; Paxton was checked for malnutrition and low blood sugar by paramedics but was not hospitalized, instead opting to go home. Paxton complained that Vestas management, while now providing hot food to the occupiers, were still under-feeding them; the RMT, which is providing legal aid to the Vestas workers, has accused Vestas management of violating the Human Rights Act by attempting to “starve the workers at Vestas into submission”.

Protesters in fancy dress were successful in sending food into the plant yesterday. Protesters dressed as a fantasy wizard and can-can dancers distracted police and company security guarding the fence which has been erected around the site while other protesters flung a bag of food and an electric kettle onto the balcony outside the office which has served as the occupiers’ home base inside the factory. No arrests were made but the protesters were removed from the factory grounds.

Requests for comment from Vestas management received no reply.

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Wikinews Shorts: December 20, 2008

October 31st, 2019

A compilation of brief news reports for Saturday, December 20, 2008.

The United States government has announced that it will give US$17.4 billion in loans to help three of the nation’s automobile makers – Chrysler, General Motors, and Ford – avoid bankruptcy.

The money will be taken from the $700 billion bailout package originally intended to rescue US banks. General Motors will get $9.4 billion and Chrysler $4 billion before next year. Ford stated that it wants to get by without government aid.

President George Bush said that it would not be “a responsible course of action” to allow the companies to collapse.

Sources

  • “Bush unveils $17.4bn car bail-out” — BBC News, December 19, 2008
  • “U.S. Throws Lifeline to Detroit” — WSJ.com, December 20, 2008

Telephone and Internet communications between Asia and Europe have been disrupted after some submarine cables were severed.

The cables FLAG FEA, SMW4 and SMW3 near Alexandria, Egypt, were damaged, and the GO cable 130 kilometres off the coast of Sicily has also been reported as broken. France Telecom will repair the damage, and the company announced that it was dispatching a ship to repair the line between Egypt and Italy.

Experts warn that it could be several days before the problems are fixed.

Sources

  • “Severed cable disrupts web access” — BBC News, December 19, 2008
  • “New undersea cable cuts lead to Internet outages” — ars technica, December 20, 2008

Yann Elies, a French yachtsman participating in the Vendee Globe round-the-world solo yacht race, was rescued on Saturday by the Australian navy after the former was paralysed by a wave that struck his boat in the Southern Ocean.

Elies broke his left thighbone and perhaps several ribs after the wave slammed into his boat 200 kilometres southwest of Perth.

The Australian frigate dispatched the HMAS Arunta to rescue Elies. The ship left Fremantle early on Friday morning and reached Elies by evening.

Sources

  • “Injured yachtsman rescued by navy” — BBC News, December 20, 2008
  • “Navy reaches stricken solo sailor Yann Elies” — news.com.au, December 20, 2008

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American film director John Hughes dies at age 59

October 30th, 2019

Thursday, August 6, 2009

American film director John Hughes, noted for such movies as Sixteen Candles, Pretty in Pink and The Breakfast Club, died Thursday due to a heart attack.

A statement, released by his representative, said that he experienced the heart attack while on a morning stroll in Manhattan, New York. Hughes was born on February 18, 1950 in Michigan. He started his career as an advertising copywriter in Chicago. By the end of the 1970s he was a frequent contributor to the National Lampoon magazine.

In the 1990s, he made the Home Alone series, which became a box office sensation and turned Macaulay Culkin into a star.

In recent years, Hughes stepped back from the movie industry to spend more time with his family. He is survived by his wife of 39 years, Nancy, two sons and four grandchildren.

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“Woofstock” dog festival in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

October 30th, 2019

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

North America’s largest outdoor dog festival came back to Toronto last weekend for its fifth year. It ran from the 9th of June to the 10th of June at Toronto’s historical St. Lawrence Market. A Wikinews reporter was there on Sunday to report on some of the events that happened on the last day.

The “Woofstock” dog festival attracted as many as 140,000 people with their dogs. The festival had tons of accessories, sold under tents, to buy for dogs; food, toys, designer clothes, and more. About 400 vendors and exhibitors were there to promote their products, which also gave private dog companies or groups a chance to show their new products. The local SPCA and some animal rescues were under tents answering questions from visitors. While walking, all visitors could see the CN Tower and other very tall buildings.

One of the local TV stations, Citytv, was there. They hosted a live event at the show which was broadcast on TV. People came up on the stage and asked questions regarding their dogs and the host and co-host answered them.

A man, who called himself the “Chalk Master”, drew two pictures on pavement with chalk. He did it for free but donations were welcome. One was a picture of a girl’s head beside a dog’s head, and another with a wolf.

“Hello Humans. I’ve been invited here to provide your eyeball(s), with some pretty colours. I don’t get paid as I work this weekend strictly for tips… so, if you like what you see please make a DONATION. If you don’t like it simply reach into the pocket of the person next to you and give me their money. CHALK MASTER.”

A contest called “Canada’s top dog” had its own tent with a professional photographer taking pictures of dogs behind a white screen; the winning photo is to be published on the cover of “Puppy and dog basics” magazine.

Large “Gourmet” dog bones were also served from a cart and table.

Next year’s festival is expected to be bigger and better with even more attractions.

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Manitoba volunteers go to war against Red River flooding

October 30th, 2019

Monday, April 6, 2009

Over 1,600 volunteers registered to help build approximately 65,000 of the 500,000 sandbags to create dikes 20.5 feet (6.2 meters) high to protect the City of Winnipeg, Manitoba in the war against the Red River of the North flood.

700 volunteers answered at the rural municipality of St. Andrews alone. Once sandbags are filled for West St. Paul, St. Andrews, and Selkirk, then frozen culverts must be cleared.

The height of the river is expected to be Thursday, and predictions are that it will be less than Flood of the Century of 1997. There is no precipitation in the forecast, and snow in the province should be melted by the end of the week.

“The fear right now is we have to get that ice out of the river. The Amphibex [Excavators] are still working and breaking the ice apart, and everyday we buy with the warm weather and the current, it is thinning the ice down a bit, so when it does start to move, the better chance it’ll move right out into the lake,” said Paul Guyder, the emergency coordinator for the RMs of St. Andrews and St. Clements.

“I feel that we’ve done everything humanly possible to get ready,” said Gary Doer, Premier of Manitoba, “But … there are fallibilities with human behaviour. We can take every preventative measure as human beings possible and we can still get Mother Nature proving again she is superior.”

Communities with ring diking will partially or fully close their dikes at the beginning of the week. Provincial officials are considering opening the Red River Floodway gates around mid-week before ice is fully melted.

Ice jams could cause flooding within the city, however opening the gates could spare neighbourhood flooding when the river rises to the estimated 6.3 meters (20.7 feet) height. The province does have back up plans for dealing with ice jams within the city if they do occur. The unpredictability of ice jams and the ensuing water level rise may cause neighbourhood flooding. The city is raising dikes where the river has jammed with ice in the past such as on tight curves and past bridges. Likewise there are excavators and backhoes positioned at these points.

Vulnerable neighbourhoods on the river banks have been reinforced with sandbag dikes at vulnerable areas from the massive volunteer effort over the weekend. Guyader feels no more extra volunteers are needed, however volunteers are still being asked to leave their names and number in case of unpredicted need. Existing personnel will assess roads, and help with clean up.

Approximately 400 of the 800 people who evacuated the Roseau River Anishinabe First Nation have returned to their homes.

Former Premier, Dufferin Roblin, brought forward the floodway as a protection for Winnipeg residents and economy following the 1950 Red River Flood. The Red River floodway, “Duff’s Ditch” was finally finished in 1968, and its floodway gates have been opened 20 times saving Winnipeg from an estimated CA$10 billion in damages. The floodway expansion began in 2005 at a price of $665 million.

Polish and Chinese experts have come to survey the Red River Floodway, and Dennis Walaker, mayor of Fargo, North Dakota recognises the need for Red River flood defences down river. “Every town that you drive by from the Canadian line up to Winnipeg is either elevated or ring-diked,” said Walaker.

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Man cuts off his own penis in UK restaurant

October 17th, 2019

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

An unnamed Polish man, 35, is being treated at a hospital in London, England after he cut off his penis with a knife at Zizzi’s pizza restaurant on Strand Street in the city of Westminster.

“We were called at 9.00 p.m. on Sunday to a restaurant on the Strand to reports of a man in possession of a knife. Officers attended to discover a man believed to be 30-40 years old suffering from an injury. He was taken to a south London hospital in a stable condition. No one else was injured and his injuries are believed to be self inflicted,” said a Scotland Yard spokesperson.

Police had to use CS tear gas on the victim in order to subdue him to get him to the hospital to receive medical attention.

Witnesses say that the man came into the restaurant, picked a knife up off the floor of the kitchen and then got onto a table and cut off his penis.

“At around 9 p.m. on Sunday, a man walked into the Zizzi restaurant on The Strand, down the stairs to the basement restaurant area and tried to enter a kitchen. Members of staff stopped him, at which he ran into a second kitchen area. The man then picked up a kitchen knife and slashed himself across the wrist and groin areas before running back into the restaurant, where he continued to stab himself,” said a spokesperson for the restaurant.

Surgeons are attempting to reattach his organ in what doctors call the first time this kind of surgery has been performed in the UK. It is not yet known if the operation was successful.

“If it doesn’t take, then you would have to re-amputate it. Attaching the penis is a very long, complex and painstaking operation,” said Francis Chinegwundoh, a urologist at St Bartholomew’s Hospital which is located in London. Chinegwundoh also said that that the victim will not feel his penis and it will not be possible for him to maintain an erection unless he uses a special machine, even if the operation were a success.

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