Four dead, at least 15 injured after gunman opens fire at fitness center in Bridgeville, Pennsylvania

April 1st, 2019

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Four people have been shot and killed and at least 15 wounded when a gunman opened fire inside a LA Fitness center in Bridgeville, Pennsylvania. The gunman was among the dead.

Reports say the man walked into a dance room where an all-female Latin dance class was in session, turned off the lights and began to shoot people. CNN reports that the gunman was a “middle-aged white male.” One witness said he was carrying a duffel bag, which he put down before shooting into the crowd. After opening fire, he turned the gun on himself. At least 30 people are reported to have been in the room at the time of the shooting.

Allegheny County police Superintendent Charles Moffatt said, “I’ve never seen nothing quite like this. It was very chaotic. […] There’s a good belief that the shooter is deceased.”

Collier Township Police Chief Tom Devin stated that the police, “believe the shooter committed suicide at the scene but we’re not positive.” Police report that the shooter’s motive may have been a domestic dispute with one of the exercisers.

Mike Hentosz, a witness who was inside the gym, said, “I feel like it’s a dream. I don’t know what to think of it.” A woman participating in the class, Nicole, said that 10 minutes into the class, “a middle-aged white male walked into the class. He had a big gym bag. […] He looked out of place in a class full of women.” When he began firing, she reported, she ran out of the gym and escaped in passerby’s car.

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Sarkozy appoints François Fillon as Prime Minister of France

April 1st, 2019

Thursday, May 17, 2007File:Francois fillon1.jpg

The new President of France, Nicolas Sarkozy has appointed François Fillon to head the new French government. Fillon’s predecessor Dominique de Villepin stepped down yesterday, and formally handed over the post during a ceremony today.

The nomination did not come as a surprise after the British newspaper the Financial Times had reported on May 8 that Sarkozy had introduced Fillon to Tony Blair in a telephone conversation.

François Fillon (53) has been the political advisor of Sarkozy in the UMP for the past 2 years, and he was Sarko’s campaign leader during the recent presidential elections. Fillon has experience in negotiating with the trade unions, having undertaken controversial reforms of the 35-hour workweek and the pension system. Sarkozy in his inauguration speech on Wednesday reiterated his plans to reform the French labour and social system, and Fillon will have to oversee these reforms as the new Prime Minister. Sarkozy said he wants to make the economy more flexible and lessen social tensions.

I expect I’ll end up being the first French premier with a Welsh wife.

The Guardian reported that Fillon is an Anglophile; his wife Penelope Clarke, with whom he has 5 children, was born in Wales. Ideologically, Fillon is being described as a moderate left-leaning member of the conservative UMP party.

Fillon had his first experience as a minister in 1993 when he became Minister for the Higher education and Research under PM Édouard Balladur. He later became Minister for the Post office, Telecommunications and Space, then Minister for the social Affairs, Work and Solidarity, and finally Minister for national Education, the Higher education and Research. At the university, he studied public law and political sciences.

Sarkozy might announce his cabinet of 15 ministers as early as Friday, half of which are going to be women, he said. Fillon will lead the UMP in the parliamentary elections next month. A poll on Wednesday predicted a 1.5% increase in votes for the UMP, up to 40%, compared to 28% status-quo for the allied socialists.

Reports say that Sarkozy has offered the foreign minister post to Bernard Kouchner, co-founder of Médecins Sans Frontières, who is seen as being on the left in French politics.

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Anthrocon 2007 draws thousands to Pittsburgh for furry weekend

April 1st, 2019

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania — Local caterers get ready for big business, as almost three thousand fans converge on the David L. Lawrence Convention Center over the Independence Day weekend for the world’s largest ever furry convention, Anthrocon 2007.

Many hope to renew acquaintances, or meet new friends. Others look to buy from dealers and artists, or show off new artwork or costumes. Some attend to make money, or even learn a thing or two. But one thing unites them: They’re all there to have fun.

Contents

  • 1 Costly expansion
  • 2 Programming and entertainment
  • 3 Audience
  • 4 Art show and dealers
  • 5 Charity and volunteers
  • 6 Local impact
  • 7 Related news
  • 8 Sources

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Standard Operating Procedure changes at Camp Delta, Guantanamo Bay

March 30th, 2019

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

In an investigation reported on first by Wikinews, Wikileaks today revealed another chapter in the story of the Standard Operations Procedure (SOP) manual for the Camp Delta facility at Guantanamo Bay. The latest documents they have received are the details of the 2004 copy of the manual signed off by Major General Geoffrey D. Miller of the U.S. Southern Command. This is following on from the earlier leaking of the 2003 version. Wikileaks passed this document to people they consider experts in the field to carry out an analysis trying to validate it. Following this, they set out to assess what had changed between 2003 and 2004; including attempts to link publicly known incidents with changes to the manual.

Wikinews obtained the document and did an in-depth analysis. The American Civil Liberties Union had previously made a request to view and obtain copies of the same document, but was denied access to them.

One of the first notable changes to the document relates to the detainees themselves. Previously they read the camp rules during admission processing. Rules are now posted around the camp in detainees’ languages. The English version of the rules is as follows:

  1. Comply with all rules and regulations. You are subject to disciplinary action if you disobey any rule or commit any act, disorder, or neglect that is prejudicial to good order and discipline.
  2. You must immediately obey all orders of U.S. personnel. Deliberate disobedience, resistance, or conduct of a mutinous or riotous nature will be dealt with by force. Be respectful of others. Derogatory comments toward camp personnel will not be tolerated.
  3. You may not have any articles that can be used as a weapon in your possession at any time. If a weapon is found in your possession, you will be severely punished. Gambling is strictly forbidden.
  4. Being truthful and compliance will be rewarded. Failure to comply will result in loss of privileges.
  5. All trash will be returned immediately to U.S. personnel when you are finished eating. All eating utensils must be returned after meals.
  6. No detainee may conduct or participate in any form of military drill, organized physical fitness, hand-to-hand combat, or martial arts style training.
  7. The camp commander will ensure adequate protection for all personnel. Any detainee who mistreats another detainee will be punished. Any detainee that fears his life is in danger, or fears physical injury at the hands of another person can report this to U.S. personnel at any time.
  8. Medical emergencies should be brought to the guards’ attention immediately.

Your decision whether or not to be truthful and comply will directly affect your quality of life while in this camp.

Of concern to groups such as Amnesty International who campaign for the camp’s closure, or Human Rights Watch concerned about prisoner handling under the prisoner of war aspects of the Geneva Convention, is the fact that policy for newly admitted detainees still allows for up to 4 weeks where access to the detainee by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) may be denied. In addition, guards are not to allow ICRC staff to pass mail to detainees.

A new process has been formed which allows guards to determine whether or not a detainee receives awards, or is punished. The form is called a GTMO Form 508-1 (pictured to the right). According to the manual, the form “is used to determine which rewards the detainee will lose or gain,” but “special rewards” can also be earned, outside of the process. One special reward is time allowed outside. Another special reward is a roll of toilet paper, but the detainee cannot share it with others. Doing so will result in “punishment” and confiscation of the roll. If the detainee already has a roll of toilet paper, he is not allowed to have another.

“Guards need to ensure that the detainee doesn’t receive additional toilet paper when the detainee already has it. The amount given to the detainee will be the same amount as normally distributed to the detainee,” states the manual.

No matter how bad a detainee may act, “haircuts will never be used as punitive action” against them, but they can have hair removed for health reasons. They can, however, be segregated from other detainees.

“If a detainee has committed an offense that requires segregation time, even if a segregation cell is not available, the detainee will receive a shave and a haircut for hygiene and medical reasons. If the detainee is IRFed, the haircut and shave will follow the decontamination process,” adds the manual. Barbers are also part of cell searches.

Despite these changes, a great deal of effort has gone into ensuring the furore over detainee abuse does not recur. Rules governing the use of pepper spray (Oleoresin Capsicum, or OC) appear at an earlier point in the manual with considerable expansion. Infractions such as spitting, throwing water at, or attempting to urinate on guards appear as explicitly listed cases where pepper spray may not be used. Extensive decontamination procedures are included in the document, including immediately calling for a medical check on any detainee exposed to pepper spray. This was not previously present.

As a counter to the clearer instructions on use of pepper spray, Wikileaks asserts that many of the stricter rules for guards (referred to as Military Police or MPs in the 2003 manual) aim to reduce fraternisation that may improve detainee morale and adversely influence any interrogation process. Guards are informed in the manual not to take personal mail and parcels within the detention blocks or at any other duty stations. All electronic devices except issued materiel are prohibited, and guards may face disciplinary action should they keep detainees apprised of current affairs or discuss issues in their personal lives.

Additional restrictions on the detainees’ chaplain are included in the revised document. Wikileaks speculated that many of these changes might have stemmed from the widely publicised case of James Yee. Captain Yee, a West Point graduate, served at the Guantanamo Bay base as a Muslim chaplain to the detainees and received two Distinguished Service medals for his work. Following discovery of a list of detainees and interrogators by U.S. Customs in Florida Yee was charged with sedition, aiding the enemy, spying, espionage, and failure to obey a general order. Eventually all charges were dropped with national security concerns being raised should evidence be released.

The most notable changes surrounding the role of the chaplain include its removal as a permanent position on the facility’s Library Working group and its exclusion from the decision process on appropriate detainee reading material. Wikileaks contacted lawyers representing detainees in the camp to perform their own analysis. Their opinion of the changes were that the library operation had been considerably tightened up. Duplicate books are required for the individual four camps to prevent covert use of books to communicate between camps. Periodicals, dictionaries, language instruction books, technology or medical update information, and geography were additions to the prohibited material. Instructions indicate such books must be returned to the source or donor.

The revised SOP manual makes considerable progress on documenting procedures, even those that are remote possibilities. A lengthy addition details rules to follow in the event of an escape or escape attempt. Laced throughout this procedure is an emphasis on having any such incident fully documented and – wherever possible – filmed. The procedure is explicit in how to recapture an escaped detainee with minimal use of force. One additional procedure covers the admission of ambulances to the main base area. A detailed security protocol to ensure only expected and authorised traffic gains access is included, as is a procedure streamlined to ensure the ambulance arrives on the scene as quickly as possible.

Unchanged from the 2003 manual is the set menu of four ready-to-eat meals (Meal, Ready-to-Eat or MRE) issued to detainees. However, additional steps are to be taken for “MRE Sanitization”; supply personnel must remove anything that can damage waste disposal systems— presumably a military term for toilets. Under normal camp conditions, detainees should be fed hot meals as opposed to MREs, but no details on the variety of menu are included.

Wikinews attempted to get feedback on this. US Southern Command passed a query on to Rick Haupt (Commander, U.S. Navy Director of Public Affairs, Joint Task Force at Guantanamo) who responded that “questions were forwarded along with a request to authenticate the leaked document; a response is pending.” At this time no response to emails has been received from the ICRC or Human Rights Watch.

The Pentagon has requested that the document be removed from Wikileaks because “information with the FOUO (For Official Use Only) label is not approved for release to the public.” They then state that the document can be “made available through a Freedom Of Information Act request through official channels.”

 This story has updates See US military confirms authenticity of Standard Operating Procedures for Guantanamo Bay 

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Reflections, Lichtenstein, two new exhibitions at Edinburgh’s Modern One

March 29th, 2019

Saturday, March 14, 2015

This weekend saw the opening of two new exhibitions at Edinburgh’s National Gallery of Modern Art. Wikinews attended Thursday’s press preview for the event where a full contingent of the capital’s press turned out to see the striking collection of paintings, photographs, and other works. Presented below are a selection of images captured at the preview.

REFLECTIONS: A Series of Changing Displays of Contemporary Art, billed as a showcase of a “diverse range of internationally-renowned contemporary and modern artists” is to display major works from the Gallery’s permanent collection, alongside important loans. Alongside this broad range of works, a three-room display of pieces on-loan from the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation — with a dramatic painted steel relief, ‘borrowed’ from the Tate in London — runs from March 14 through to January 10 next year.

Admission to both exhibitions is free; being located in Dean, to the north-west of Edinburgh’s city centre, a free Gallery bus service is available.

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Plants may adapt faster to climate change than previously thought, new study shows

March 27th, 2019

Thursday, August 12, 2010

A new study suggests that plants can adapt to changing climatic conditions more efficiently than previously thought, making the onset of climate change less of a concern for plant species around the world. Jodrell Laboratory in the London Botanical Gardens has discovered that plants can alter specific components of their genetic make-up to suit rising temperatures and varying levels of rainfall that would otherwise take hundred of years to develop through natural selection, via a process known as epigenetics.

This newly discovered ability suggests that mass plant extinction brought on by climate change may not happen to the extent that scientists previously predicted. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change claimed in 2007 that “20 to 30 per cent of species assessed so far are likely to be at increased risk of extinction if increases in global average warming exceed 1.5C to 2.5C”, a statement that now needs re-evaluating.

The study focused on three species of common spotted orchid that grow in varying environments. These plants had nearly identical genetic heritage, but thrived under very different conditions. Mark Chase of Jodrell Laboratory claims that “[their] results are particularly relevant in the present context of widespread environmental challenges and give us more hope in the adaptive potential of organisms […] it is not instantaneous, but it is much faster than we thought previously”.

It is still unclear whether plants would adapt in the same way under “extreme” climate change.

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Three Walmart superstores open in Canada

March 26th, 2019

Wednesday, November 8, 2006

Wal-Mart Canada’s first three supercenters opened in Ancaster, London and Stouffville, Ontario.

The idea originally started in the United States in late 2005 and was announced that it would be arriving in Canada.

Flat screen TVs suspended from the ceiling will feature a television network, featuring fashion shows of Wal-Mart’s clothing lines, TV commercials featuring brands the retailer carries, and corporate messages.

With an expanded selection of electronics, hardware, home and housewares, the Wal-Mart supercentre could be compared to Future Shop, Home Depot, Home Outfitters, Shoppers Drug Mart, and Fortinos. The supercentre has wider aisles, higher ceilings, clear signage, and cash registers in selected departments such as electronics and clothing.

“Our goal is to become the one-stop shop for customers,” said Mario Pilozzi, chief executive of Wal-Mart Canada. “You see how fresh that is today? We are going to maintain that freshness in these stores.”

Wal-Mart’s Canadian supercentres are more sophisticated then their U.S. counterparts, because Canadian grocers have created higher expectations among the average consumer, company officials say.

However, Wal-Mart openings are controversial in many communities. Activists claim they can be detrimental to local economies, driving out locally owned businesses, lowering wages, and leading to suburban sprawl.

Wal-Mart already has plans to open fourteen new supercentres in 2007, of them Scarborough, Sarnia, Brampton and Vaughan will be early in the year.

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Chemical plant fire decimates Danvers, Massachusetts neighboorhood

March 26th, 2019

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

According to outgoing Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, an explosion that was “equivalent to a 2,000 lb. bomb” and registered 0.5 on the Richter scale decimated an area of Danvers and is also a “Thanksgiving miracle.”

The explosion occurred around 2:45 am EST, this morning in the Danversport area of Danvers, Massachusetts at the plant for solvent and ink manufacturer, CAI Inc. The explosion, which was caught on security camera and was heard up to over 25-50 miles away in southern Maine and New Hampshire.

The explosion damaged over 90 homes, blowing out windows and knocking some houses off their foundations. Officials believe that some of the more extensively damaged houses will have to be leveled and rebuilt. Some of the buildings damaged included a bakery, boats at a close by marina and the New England Home for the Deaf, an assisted-living facility for people who are deaf or deafblind and elderly residents requiring constant care. “These people are extremely fragile,” said state Rep. Ted Speliotis, D-Danvers, whose district includes the affected area. “Many of them have Alzheimer’s and other illnesses. It’s clear they can’t stay here long, but it’s clear they won’t be able to return for quite a while.”

Danvers Fire Chief James P. Tutko toured the area by helicopter and said many residents would be kept from their homes for the foreseeable future. “It looks like a war zone, that’s the only thing I can say,” Tutko said. When asked about the loss of no life at all, he responded “Somebody out there likes us.” Finally, he said that finding out the cause of the explosion would take days.

Outgoing governor Mitt Romney toured the area and said the explosion was a “Thanksgiving miracle” as the explosion was “equivalent to a 2,000 lb bomb going off in a residential neighborhood,” and that no one was killed and only about 10 people suffered only minor injuries in area that included over 300 residents. Residents of the area have been evacuated to the Danvers High School where temporary shelter has been set up by the American Red Cross of Massachusetts Bay. Donations are being taken for residents affected by the explosion. Residents are also being told to start filing insurance claims right away and to keep track of their expenses for items bought.

There were minor environmental concerns due to water runoff of chemicals. According the Environmental Protection Agency‘s on-scene coordinator Mike Nalipinski, preliminary tests showed low levels of toluene, a solvent, but said it was nothing of significance. Water runoff from the water used by firefighters left a purple sheen on the river and tests were being conducted. However, the water is not a local drinking water supply and the chemical evaporates quickly. Chief Tutko said there was no risk of toxic fumes getting into the air.

An Eastern Propane facility was also located near the area, however, it was not the source of the explosion. A spokesman for the company said that although the property suffered some minor damage, their tanks are secure.

According to WHDH television, a person who answered the telephone at CAI’s Georgetown, Massachusetts headquarters refused comment, and a telephone message left at the company president’s home was not immediately returned.

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2008 Young Designers’ Exhibition to interact with the world

March 26th, 2019

Friday, May 16, 2008

2008 The 27th Young Designers’ Exhibition, opened on May 15 at the Taipei World Trade Center and closes Sunday May 18. It features participation by 87 academic groups in Taiwan and 20 groups from United States, United Kingdom, Italy, Netherlands, New Zealand, and Australia to showcase various achievements in industrial design. It is recognized by the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design (ICSID) as the largest show of student creations.

Besides the several design competitions, sponsors like International Forum Design (iF), EPSON, MUJI (in Japanese: ????, Mujirushi Ry?hin), Tsann Kuen Trans-nation Group will showcase different solutions for the design, creative, and cultural industries. The show’s organizer, Taiwan Design Center, also designed several on-site events like “On-line Graduate Season Show”, “Career Match-up”, “Creative and Cultural Showcase and Performance”, “Seminars of YODEX 2008” to link the actual exhibition with the on-line exhibition.

Besides of the previously announced “Wow! Taiwan Design Award”, winners from “2008 Young Designers’ Competition” and “2008 YODEX Interior Design Competition” were announced on Saturday, May 17.

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Wikinews interviews Rocky De La Fuente, U.S. Democratic Party presidential candidate

March 25th, 2019

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Businessman Rocky De La Fuente took some time to speak with Wikinews about his campaign for the U.S. Democratic Party’s 2016 presidential nomination.

The 61-year-old De La Fuente resides in San Diego, California, grew up in Tijuana, and owns multiple businesses and properties throughout the world. Since getting his start in the automobile industry, De La Fuente has branched out into the banking and real estate markets. Despite not having held or sought political office previously, he has been involved in politics, serving as the first-ever Hispanic superdelegate to the 1992 Democratic National Convention.

De La Fuente entered the 2016 presidential race last October largely due to his dissatisfaction with Republican front-runner Donald Trump. He argues he is a more accomplished businessman than Trump, and attacks Trump as “a clown,” “a joke,” “dangerous,” and “in the same category as Hitler.” Nevertheless, De La Fuente’s business background begets comparisons with Trump. The Alaskan Midnight Sun blog described him as the Democrats’ “own Donald Trump.”

While receiving only minimal media coverage, he has campaigned actively, and according to the latest Federal Election Commission filing, loaned almost US$ 4 million of his own money to the campaign. He has qualified for 48 primary and caucus ballots, but has not yet obtained any delegates to the 2016 Democratic National Convention. Thus far, according to the count at The Green Papers, De La Fuente has received 35,406 votes, or 0.23% of the total votes cast. He leads among the many lesser-known candidates but trails both Senator Bernie Sanders who has received nearly 6.5 million votes and front-runner Hillary Clinton who has just shy of 9 million votes.

With Wikinews reporter William S. Saturn?, De La Fuente discusses his personal background, his positions on political issues, his current campaign for president, and his political future.

Contents

  • 1 Interview
    • 1.1 Background
    • 1.2 Campaign
    • 1.3 Issues
    • 1.4 Future
  • 2 Related news
  • 3 Sources
  • 4 External link

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