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Early morning fire kills four New York group home residents

Sunday, March 22, 2009

After an early morning fire began, four out of the nine people living at the Riverview Individual Residential Alternative group home located in Wells, New York were killed by the blaze. The Sunmount Developmental Disabilities Services Office, which supervises the home, told the media that the fire started at approximately 5:30 AM Eastern Daylight Time. Two staff members were at the home at the time, who safely evacuated four of the five survivors.

The names of the residents killed in the fire were not able to be released due to New York’s Mental Hygiene Law, but are able to be identified as two adult men, aged 32 and 52, and two adult women, aged 43 and 60. A 71-year-old male was injured in the fire, and was taken to a hospital in Utica, a nearby city. The other four residents have been relocated to an unnamed group home. Both staff members are also being examined at the hospital.

“On behalf of all New Yorkers, I wish to extend my heartfelt condolences to the families, loved ones and friends of the four victims and to continue to pray for the full recovery of those five people and two staff members who survived this incident. I also want to express my thanks and appreciation for the first responders and volunteers who worked swiftly and diligently to respond to this tragedy,” David Patterson, the governor of New York, said to the media.

The exact cause of the fire has yet to be determined. However, the New York Civil Liberties Union stated that “the blaze appears to have been an electrical fire and the sprinkler system was knocked out immediately.” They also called for “an immediate investigation into the causes of and contributing factors of the fire.”

The New York State Department of State Office of Fire Prevention and Control is currently investigating the causes of the blaze, with help from New York State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation and the New York State Commission on Quality of Care and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities.

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NSA to participate in U.S. cybersecurity

Monday, July 6, 2009

The Obama administration has given the National Security Agency powers to screen private Internet traffic going to and from government sites, and will use AT&T telecommunications as a likely test site. The Obama administration remains firm in this decision, which was put forth during the Bush administration.

The agency defends military networks with a classified system named Tutelag, which decides how to handle malware intrusions (for example, whether to block them or to investigate more closely). “We absolutely intend to use the technical resources, the substantial ones, that NSA has,” said Janet Napolitano, Secretary of the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS). DHS’s intrusion detection program, Einstein version 3, is in development as version 2 is being deployed. The program defends all U.S. government agencies and departments.

DHS spokeswoman Amy Kudwa said, “We are moving forward in a way that protects privacy and civil liberties.”

AT&T, the chosen test site under Bush, sought assurance from the Obama administration to determine what elements of Einstein 3 to preserve. AT&T officials declined to comment.

In 2006 the Electronic Frontier Foundation filed the class action lawsuit Hepting v. AT&T—currently awaiting decision—against AT&T, which under the Bush administration permitted the NSA to look at domestic communications without a warrant. NSA’s intelligence gathering is limited only to foreign communications.

“We came away saying they have a lot of work in front of them to get this done right,” Ari Schwartz of the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT) said. “We’re looking forward to their next steps.”

Schwartz authored a letter on Einstein to the Office of Management and Budget in December 2008 on behalf of the Information Security and Privacy Advisory Board.

NSA director Keith B. Alexander said in April 2009 that the NSA will help, but does not want to take charge. Several people—including Rod Beckstrom, who resigned over the issue as head of the National Cyber Security Center (NCSC); Bruce Schneier of BT Counterpane; Leslie Harris, president and CEO of CDT—and not Dennis Blair, Director of National Intelligence—have urged the Obama administration to keep the Department of Homeland Security in charge despite its low scores, because, they claim, the NSA is a spy agency.

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John Constable painting location mystery solved after 195 years

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The mystery of the location of a viewpoint used by English painter John Constable has been solved, after nearly 200 years. The Stour Valley and Dedham Church was painted in Suffolk, England, between 1814 and 1815, but changes to the landscape meant that the spot he chose was not known, despite the best efforts of historians and art experts.

Now the puzzle has been answered. Martin Atkinson, who works for the National Trust as property manager for East Suffolk, used clues from the painting and looked at old maps to track down the viewpoint. Trees had grown, a hedgerow had been planted and boundaries had moved or disappeared, but Atkinson eventually worked out where Constable had stood. He said, “When I discovered that I had worked out the location where Constable painted this particular masterpiece, I couldn’t believe it. All the pieces of the jigsaw finally fitted together.”

Atkinson used an 1817 map of East Bergholt, where Constable grew up, as a reference point, but found that the view would have changed not long after the painting was completed. “The foreground didn’t fit at all, it was quite unusual as we know Constable painted it in the open air so he would have been standing in the scene. The hedgerow in his work no longer exists and there’s another hedgerow that runs across the scene today which wasn’t there. When you stand on the road on which he would have stood, and use the oak tree as a reference point, you see the same view. It’s great to see where an old master stood – and be inspired by the same view,” he said.

Suffolk, where Constable painted many of his finest paintings, is often called “Constable country”. Most, but not all, of the locations that Constable depicted are known. The picture is now housed in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Massachusetts.

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Wikinews’ overview of the year 2007

Monday, December 31, 2007

What would you tell your grandchildren about 2007 if they asked you about it in, let’s say, 20 year’s time? If the answer to a quiz question was 2007, what would the question be? The year that you first signed on to Facebook? The year Britney Spears and Amy Winehouse fell apart? The year author Kurt Vonnegut or mime Marcel Marceau died, both at 84?

Let’s take a look at some of the international stories of 2007. Links to the original Wikinews articles are in bold.

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Culture of creativity features at Furnal Equinox 2018

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.

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US Secretary Rice responds to European enquiries on alleged CIA prisons

Wednesday, December 7, 2005

The United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has begun to address concerns raised by the EU, the Council of Europe, and several member countries about the CIA’s detention practices upon her arrival in Germany for a European tour that began Tuesday.

“As a matter of US policy, the United States’ obligations under the U.N. Convention Against Torture, which prohibits, of course, cruel and inhumane and degrading treatment, those obligations extend to US personnel wherever they are, whether they are in the United States or outside the United States,” said Rice, speaking from the Ukrainian capital of Kiev on Wednesday.

Media reports and Human Rights groups have alleged that the CIA transported renditioned prisoners through European countries, which could violate European laws and the sovereignty of countries involved. Secretary Rice claimed that the United States has respected the sovereignty of other countries, and that it has not transported detainees from one country to another for the purpose of interrogation using torture, and has not transported anyone to a country when we believe he will be tortured.

“We consider the captured members of Al-Qaeda and its affiliates to be unlawful combatants who may be held, in accordance with the law of war, to keep them from killing innocents. We must treat them in accordance with our laws, which reflect the values of the American people. We must question them to gather potentially significant, life-saving, intelligence. We must bring terrorists to justice wherever possible,” Rice told reporters before she left from Andrews Air Force base on Monday.

Rice said that European nations should realize that interrogations of terrorist suspects have produced information that has saved European lives. However, Secretary Rice provided no specific cases.

“Secretary Rice made extra-legal rendition sound like just another form of extradition. In fact, it’s a form of kidnapping and ‘disappearing’ someone entirely outside the law,” said Tom Malinowski, a Human Rights Watch official in Washington.

The CIA practice known as “extraordinary rendition” is used to interrogate terrorist suspects outside the U.S., where they are not subject to American legal protection.

“Kidnapping a foreign national for the purpose of detaining and interrogating him outside the law is contrary to American values,” said Anthony D. Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on the Khalid El-Masri case. “Our government has acted as if it is above the law. We go to court today to reaffirm that the rule of law is central to our identity as a nation.”

The ACLU feels the government has to be held to account over “extraordinary rendition”.

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Wikinews 2014: An ‘Original reporting’ year in review

Wednesday, December 24, 2014With the English-language Wikinews continuing to increase the amount of original content published, we take a look back at some of the eighty-plus original reports from our contributors during 2014.

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Militants bomb Gaziantep, Turkey police headquarters

Monday, May 2, 2016

A car bomb detonated at police headquarters in Gaziantep, Turkey yesterday morning killed two police officers and injured more than twenty other people. The governor’s office said nineteen of the injured were police officers. Police said they suspect an alleged Daesh (ISIL) militant of responsibility for the attack.

Turkish media reported two police officers, Yusuf Evrin and Serdar ?akir, spotted the bomb in the vehicle as the driver approached the building. The officers opened fire on the driver before the bomb exploded.

This follows another suicide bombing in Istanbul four days earlier that wounded several people, and three other militant attacks this year in Turkish cities populated with high numbers of tourists. Daesh have not claimed responsibility for any of these attacks.

Turkish police claim to have found evidence linking the suspect to Daesh and conducted a raid on his home. They took the suspect’s father in for questioning and DNA testing, in an attempt to confirm the bomber’s identity.

The US-led coalition against Daesh, of which Turkey is a member, carried out airstrikes in Syria last Thursday. Gaziantep is near the Syrian border and a city official estimated to news website The Conversation the area harbors as many as 400,000 Syrian refugees. Suspected Daesh militants amongst them have recently been subjected to police raids.

Foreign travel advisories are warning tourists of an increased threat of terrorist attacks in Turkey.

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CanadaVOTES: CHP candidate Jerome Dondo running in Brandon—Souris

Saturday, September 27, 2008

On October 14, 2008, Canadians will be heading to the polls for the federal election. Christian Heritage Party candidate Jerome Dondo, CGA is standing for election in the riding of Brandon—Souris.

Self-employed since 2000, Dondo works as a finance consultant with First Nation reserves, and provides accounting services to small business clients. From 1993-1998, he worked in the accounts department of Transport Canada. He volunteered as a pastor for Pentecostal Faith Temple in Cat Lake, Ontario, and is currently on the Parent’s Advisory Committee of Ecole Gilbert Rosset, St-Claude, Manitoba.

Wikinews contacted Jerome, to talk about the issues facing Canadians, and what they and their party would do to address them. Wikinews is in the process of contacting every candidate, in every riding across the country, no matter their political stripe. All interviews are conducted over e-mail, and interviews are published unedited, allowing candidates to impart their full message to our readers, uninterrupted.

Merv Tweed is the Conservative Party incumbent in the riding. Along with Dondo, challengers include M.J. Willard (Liberal), John Bouché (NDP), Dave Barnes (Green), and Lisa Gallagher (Communist).

For more information, visit the campaign’s official website, listed below.

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Apple unveils new MacBook Air laptops, iLife ’11 software suite

Saturday, October 23, 2010

In a Wednesday media event, Apple Inc. released a new lineup of MacBook Air laptops and the 2011 version of the company’s iLife software suite. The “Back to the Mac” event also included a preview of Apple’s forthcoming Mac OS X Lion operating system, to be released in mid-2011.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveiled the new products at the Cupertino, California event, saying the company has “been inspired by the work [it has] done on the iPad, and [it wants] to bring it back to the Mac.” Apple has plans to import more features of its iOS mobile operating system to the Mac OS X operating system.

Jobs announced today that the “Lion” release to OS X, which is scheduled for release next summer, will include more support for multitouch and a desktop version of the company’s App Store. He said that the App Store will be available for Apple’s current OS “Snow Leopard” within 90 days, and that applications can be submitted starting next month. Jobs also announced that a beta version of FaceTime, Apple’s IOS video calling application, would be available for OS X users immediately. Several new applications will be added in OS X Lion, dubbed “Mission Control” and “Launchpad.”

“Lion brings many of the best ideas from iPad back to the Mac, plus some fresh new ones like Mission Control that Mac users will really like. Lion has a ton of new features, and we hope the few we had time to preview today will give users a good idea of where we are headed.”

In his keynote address Wednesday, Jobs announced the release of Apple’s iLife ’11 software suite, which includes the iPhoto, iMovie, and GarageBand programs. iPhoto has new slide show templates, while iMovie has added audio editing capabilities. GarageBand now includes several new piano- and guitar-playing lessons. iLife ’11 was released on Wednesday as a US$49 upgrade, and is also available free with new Mac purchases.

In another move to bring iOS functionality to Macintosh computers, Jobs announced an updated MacBook Air series of laptops, on sale now. The new MacBook Air uses flash memory rather than a traditional hard drive, and has no CD/DVD drive, an approach seen on the iPad tablet computer. In addition, the laptop’s battery life has been extended, even though it is only 0.68 in (1.73 cm) thick and weighs less than 3 lbs (1.36 kg). “We think it’s the future of notebooks,” said Jobs. There are now two models of the MacBook Air: an 11.6-inch (29.46-cm) version and a 13.3-inch (33.78-cm) model. Analyst Shawn Wu says the company “priced it really aggressively,” referring to the computer’s base price of US$999.

Jobs said that his company sold 13.7 million Macs last year, totaling US$22 billion. In the last financial quarter, Mac sales increased 22 percent, comprising 24 percent of total revenue for Apple. However, the original MacBook Air did not fare so well. Sales and hype over the first Air decreased soon after its introduction, and the line was overshadowed by the release of Apple’s 13-inch (33.02-cm) MacBook Pro. The MacBook Air had not been significantly updated since 2008.

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