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Atlas rocket launches ICO G1 satellite

Monday, April 14, 2008

A United Launch Alliance Atlas V carrier rocket launched this evening from LC-41 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, USA, with the ICO G1 communications satellite for ICO Satellite Management. Lift-off occurred at 20:12:00 UTC. It is the first commercial launch of an Atlas rocket since responsibility for the launches was transferred from International Launch Services to United Launch Alliance, through Lockheed Martin. Launch was completely successful, with the spacecraft separating from its carrier rocket about half an hour after launch.

The Atlas V flew in the 421 configuration, with a 4 metre wide payload fairing, twin solid rocket boosters, and a single-engined Centaur upper stage. It was the 14th flight of the Atlas V, and successfully placed the satellite into a geosynchronous orbit. The launch was dedicated to former Atlas programme employee Lynn Deckard.

ICO G1 will provide S band mobile communications for satellite phones. Its launch had been delayed from May last year, owing to delays with US government missions which were launching on Atlas, and then in light of the failure of a previous Atlas launch in June. It was constructed by Space Systems/Loral, and is based on the LS-1300 satellite bus. It is the heaviest satellite to be launched by an Atlas rocket, and the heaviest single commercial satellite to be launched into a geosynchronous transfer orbit.

Speaking after the launch, Jim Sponnik, the Vice President of the Atlas programme told the team who had conducted the launch that they “all did extremely well and the rocket did exceptionally well”. Colonel Scott Henderson, of the 45th Space Wing, United States Air Force, said that the launch was “a great success”, and the result of “phenomenal effort” on the part of those involved. David Malcom, the President of Lockheed Martin Commercial Space Systems described the launch as a “hole in one”. Tim Bryan, the CEO of ICO Satellite Management told the United Launch Alliance team that he “can’t express…what every person in this room has done for our business”. He also thanked Bob Day, and ICO’s space team, for their work in the build up to the launch. Michael Gass, the CEO of United Launch Alliance said that the successful launch was a “testimony to this entire team”, and told flight controllers “congratulations, you’re the best”.

The satellite’s signal was acquired by ground tracking stations in Australia at 21:17, and the launch was confirmed to be accurate to within one nautical mile of the targeted orbit. The next Atlas launch is scheduled to occur in early July, with a DMSP weather satellite, from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

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Sydney prepares for Forbes Conference and 30A protest

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Sydney is today preparing for the Forbes Global CEO Conference and 30A Protest. A major police operation is occurring in the vicinity of the Sydney Opera House, where the conference is scheduled to occur. The Opera House forecourt has been closed to the public, and barricades have been set up down Maquarie St and across the Botanic Gardens.

Police checkpoints have been set up on Maquarie St and the Circular Quay walk to control access to the Opera House. Police dogs are patrolling the area.

At 8am this morning Customs Square, where the 30A protest is planning to assemble, was as normal for a Tuesday, with no indication of preparations by activists. The police have 1,000 officers attending, and have said that they are preparing for 10,000 protestors.

Sharron Burrows, leader of the ACTU, has criticised the conference, saying that it celebrates corporate greed at the expense of workers.

“As the global economy grows we should have cause for celebration for the advancement that this should deliver for workers and their families all over the world, but the reality is that corporate greed is driving profit share at the expense of wages, safe workplaces, conditions and entitlements for workers,” she said.

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Two Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurants close in Buffalo, New York, USA

Friday, May 11, 2007

At least two Kentucky Fried Chicken [KFC] restaurants, operated by G & H Restaurant Specialties, have closed in Buffalo, New York “for remodeling,” according to signs placed on the front doors of at least one location on Elmwood Avenue and Bryant Street in Buffalo. The other KFC is located on East Delavan Avenue, also in the City of Buffalo.

Despite the claim of closing for remodeling, the Erie County Health Department says that several health code violations were found at both locations. The most recent violation was logged by the health department in March at the Elmwood location for failing to keep food stored at correct temperatures. Violations were also cited for failing to keep cooking supplies and equipment sanitary and for not supplying hot water to the bathroom for employees.

G & H Restaurant Specialties has not released a statement regarding the violations, but the corporate offices in Louisville, Kentucky for KFC said, “our franchisee has finalized a plan for some structural repairs… The units will be temporarily closed while these building maintenance issues are addressed. [They will be] re-opened as soon as the repairs are complete.”

The health department also gave violations out to the East Delevan store for failing to maintain a clean floor throughout the restaurant and for not stopping food from becoming contaminated. Several rat traps were also found inside the storage cooler and around the kitchen area, but the establishment was “not free of rodents,” said Commissioner of the Erie County Health Department, Dr. Anthony Billittier.

Billittier also said that caulking and traps were seen on the outside of the East Delevan restaurant, which was an attempt to keep the rats out. “It shows that they’re trying to take care of a problem. But it also shows that they have a problem.”

As of Thursday, May 10, 2007, the Elmwood KFC has yet to reopen. It is not known if the East Delevan location opened today or not.

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‘Tom Cruise: An Unauthorized Biography’ released, $100 million lawsuit in planning stages

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Tom Cruise: An Unauthorized Biography, a biography of actor Tom Cruise written by journalist Andrew Morton, was released in the United States yesterday amidst the potential for a US$100 million lawsuit against its publisher, St. Martin’s Press. The book will not be published in Australia, Britain, and New Zealand due to strict libel laws in those countries. Morton had previously written the biography of Diana, Princess of Wales, Diana: Her True Story. The book has reached number nine on Amazon.com‘s list of top sellers.

The book describes Cruise as the No. 2 leader of the Church of Scientology, blames Scientologists for the breakup of Cruise and actress Nicole Kidman, and states that Cruise’s latest mission is to recruit David Beckham and wife Victoria into Scientology. The book also describes how some Scientology followers thought that Cruise’s wife Katie Holmes was impregnated with frozen sperm from L. Ron Hubbard, founder of Scientology, and Morton compares the situation to Rosemary’s Baby “In her more reflective moments, Katie might have felt as if she were in the middle of a real-life version of the horror movie ‘Rosemary’s Baby,’ in which an unsuspecting young woman is impregnated with the devil’s child.”

Insinuations that Mr. Cruise is second-in-command of the church are not only false, they are ludicrous. He is neither 2nd nor 100th. Mr. Cruise is a Scientology parishoner and holds no official or unofficial position in the church hierarchy.

A 15-page statement released by the Church of Scientology denied Morton’s assertions of Cruise’s No. 2 standing within the organization. In the statement the Church of Scientology claims that Morton did not respond to requests for an interview “The Church of Scientology requested to be interviewed or be presented with any allegations so we could respond. Morton refused despite our insistence in offering our cooperation.” The Church of Scientology also specifically responded to the claims regarding Hubbard’s frozen sperm: “Was Katie impregnated by L. Ron Hubbard’s frozen sperm? … As distasteful as it is to have to say it, Mr. Hubbard’s sperm was never frozen.”

According to the AFP, “the Church of Scientology is reportedly considering legal action against US publishers St Martin’s Press.” The Church of Scientology’s general counsel, Eliot Abelson, discussed the potential for litigation in an interview with the Mail on Sunday “We are seriously considering legal action and will wait to see the public reaction.” Cruise’s attorney Bertram Fields expressed thanks for the strict libel laws in Britain “It’s not being published in England. The American publishers criticised the libel laws in Britain because they require an author to tell the truth. Well, thank God for the British libel laws.” New York’s Daily News has reported that the Church of Scientology and lawyers for Cruise are planning a US$100 million lawsuit over the book’s publication. Rogers & Cowan, the public relations agency that represents Cruise, issued a statement which criticized Morton for not interviewing “one person who has known or worked with Tom” in the past twenty-five years.

The Church of Scientology statement also pointed out that the book is not being published in Australia, Britain and New Zealand due to the countries’ strict libel laws. Australia-based companies Pan Macmillan Australia and retailer Dymocks Booksellers decided not to stock copies of the book on their shelves, due to fears of potential defamation actions against them. A spokesperson for Pan Macmillan Australia stated that they had not received threats from Cruise’s representatives or from Scientologists, but that their attorneys had advised them not to sell the book. Don Grover, chief executive for Dymocks Group stated after legal advice their company had decided to “play it safe” – though neither their lawyers or publishers had read the book itself. A representative of MacMillan stated that the book would not be published in New Zealand, but would make no further comment on the matter. A Dymocks New Zealand representative explained that it was possible that the book could be published by their company in New Zealand, but would have to look into it further “The US has different legislation than New Zealand and Australia. There are some issues with the book having legal questions asked and we would need those tidied up before we stock it.”

It’s nonsense for them to say that, because he’s one of the most significant members of the church. I stand by every word in the book. This book is very carefully researched, very carefully vetted.

Morton spent two years doing research for the book, and spoke with individuals who knew Cruise personally, and executives within the Church of Scientology. Morton stated that some of these executives emailed him, confirming the accuracy of material within the book. Morton described the desire for anonymity by some of the sources in the book “Some people, obviously, will not go on the record to talk about Tom Cruise because they’re scared of him.”

In an interview on The Today Show with Meredith Vieira, Morton defended his work and responded to the statement from the Church of Scientology. Morton stated that it was unusual for a church to respond in such a way if Cruise is simply an ordinary member, asking “How many churches support one parishioner — a lowly parishioner — that way?” Morton described the response as an attack “Their policy is always to attack the attacker. Their tactic is to denigrate those who seek to talk about it.” He told Vieria that he had attempted to contact the head of the Church of Scientology, David Miscavige, but “They refused it. I formally asked for it. I was instructed to ask for it by the publisher’s attorneys, and so what they’re saying is nonsense.”

Morton explained his motivation for writing the book “He’s no longer just an actor or producer, but a powerful advocate for a cult that’s out to expand, especially in Europe.” Morton stated that his interest was piqued after Cruise jumped on Oprah’s couch during a May 23, 2005 appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show, and got into a heated debate with Matt Lauer about his beliefs regarding psychiatry during a June 24, 2005 appearance on The Today Show.

 This story has updates See “Unauthorized” Tom Cruise bio hits number one on Amazon.com, New York Times best sellers list 

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Wikinews interviews Darcy Richardson, Democratic Party presidential challenger to Barack Obama

Friday, November 25, 2011

U.S. Democratic Party presidential candidate Darcy Richardson of Florida took some time to answer a few questions from Wikinews reporter William S. Saturn.

Richardson, 55, is a political activist that helped form the New Democrats in 1989 and founded the progressive Battleground Blog earlier this year. He is also a political historian, and has authored six books covering third parties and presidential elections, including A Nation Divided: The 1968 Presidential Campaign (2002). His current work, The Spirit of ’76: Eugene McCarthy’s Struggle for Open Politics, chronicles the late Democratic Senator Eugene McCarthy’s 1976 presidential campaign for which he volunteered. Richardson admires McCarthy, and served as manager for his 1988 presidential run. Recently, Richardson advised Brian Moore’s Socialist Party USA presidential campaign in 2008.

In addition, Richardson himself has sought political office, albeit unsuccessfully. In 1980, he ran for Pennsylvania Auditor General, and in 1988, vied for one of Pennsylvania’s U.S. Senate seats as a member of the Consumer Party. Last year, he ran for Lieutenant Governor of Florida as the running mate of gubernatorial candidate Farid Khavari.

Richardson has criticized President Barack Obama’s policies for being too similar to those of former President George W. Bush. He hoped to convince several prominent progressives to challenge Obama in the Democratic primaries, but none were available to do so. Last month, Richardson decided to begin a campaign himself and announced through his Battleground Blog that he would challenge Obama in the Democratic Party primaries as a progressive candidate. So far, he has qualified for the New Hampshire primary in January and the Missouri primary in February. In an interview with the Independent Political Report, Richardson proclaimed his campaign slogan as “no fourth term for George W. Bush.”

Contents

  • 1 Background
  • 2 Policy
  • 3 Campaign
  • 4 Related news
  • 5 Sources
  • 6 External links
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Brazilian Vote Buying parliamentary commission present first joint preliminary report
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Monday, September 5, 2005

Brazil —The Post Office and Vote Buying parliamentary commissions of investigation unanimously approved on Thursday (1) their first joint preliminary report of activities. The text was prepared by their redactors, Osmar Serraglio (PMDB) and Ibrahim Abi-Ackel (PP), from Post Office and Vote Buying commissions respectively.

The deputies cited in the report are: Carlos Rodrigues (PLRJ), José Janene (PP-PR), Pedro Correia (PP-PE), Pedro Henry (PP-MS), Sandro Mabel (PL-GO), João Magno (PTMG), João Paulo Cunha (PT-SP), José Borba (PMDB-PR), Josias Gomes da Silva (PT-BA), Paulo Rocha (PT-BA), Professor Luizinho (PT-SP), Romeu Queiroz (PTB-MG), Vadão Gomes (PP-SP), Vanderval Santos (PL-SP), José Mentor (PT-SP), Roberto Brant (PFL-MG), José Dirceu (PT-SP) and Roberto Jefferson (PTB-RJ).

The report indicts 18 Brazilian deputies and the former deputy Valdemar Costa Neto [who resigned on August 1]. They are accused of illegal campaign finance activities, of placing cronies in strategic positions in government enterprises and getting kickbacks from them, and of receiving cash payments in exchange for voting in line with the government in the Brazilian Congress.

The redactors called the allegation made by some parliamentarians that the resources were used to settle debts with electoral campaigns a “lame excuse”. According to them it is “perfectly plausible” that the loans taken by the businessman Marcos Valerio at the Banco Rural and the BMG for the ruling Workers’ Party (PT) were false and created to make the illegal funds seem legal.

In regards to the denunciations done by deputy Roberto Jefferson (PTB) the report says:

  • Everything which he said that could be investigated showed to be true, including confessions against himself .
  • Everything that must be compared to other testimonies showed a great degree of truth. As a matter of fact, all of who, hurriedly, questioned him, saw their defenses collapse, before the successive discoveries.

According to the report, the businessman Marcos Valério is a not reliable person because of his contraditory testmonies.

The report says that several documents were identified and reviewed proving that large sums of money were withdrawn from agencies of the Rural Bank, in Brasilia and Belo Horizonte, as well as from bank accounts of the enterprises SMPB and DNA Propaganda. According to the documents the beneficiaries were federal deputies who received the money in person or through relatives, advisers, or persons nominated by Marcos Valério.

The report affirms that it is possible that some payments were made on a monthly basis, and others more or less frequently. Nevertheless, according to the report the periodicity of the payments is the less important fact.

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New Jersey officials: Stimulus bill hurting Atlantic City casinos

Sunday, March 29, 2009

A New Jersey congressman says restrictions on federal stimulus money are hurting gaming destinations like Atlantic City, and he is seeking to repeal a provision banning the use of funds for casinos or other gaming establishments.

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“The demonization of gaming destinations such as Las Vegas and Atlantic City for business travel is wrong, wrong, wrong,” U.S. Rep Frank LoBiondo said Friday during a press conference in front of Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City.

The $787 billion federal stimulus bill passed in February specifically prohibits casinos from applying for funds for infrastructure improvements and other similar projects. LoBiondo said Atlantic City is losing millions of dollars in business as a result of that provision.

Casinos’ revenues dropped 19.2 percent in February 2009 month compared to February 2008, according to the New Jersey Casino Control Commission. LoBiondo said $160 million worth of business and 120,000 visitors have chosen other cities for their tourism plans due to the stimulus bill, according to Atlantic City Convention Center figures.

The administration also recently determined other groups like nonprofit organizations and local governments may not spend their stimulus money at casino properties. State officials said the rules are damaging a major pillar of the New Jersey economy.

“Are those jobs somehow less important or less meaningful than those in the manufacturing, retail or financial industries?” said Ken Calemmo, chairman-elect of the Greater Atlantic City Chamber.

Anti-gambling officials said the stimulus law does not prohibit casinos from taking advantage of tax breaks, and Atlantic City officials should not complain about the stimulus bill because the city is too reliant on an unreliable revenue stream.

“There isn’t a state, including New Jersey or Nevada, that could gamble themselves rich, any more than an individual could gamble themselves rich,” said Tom Grey, field director for StopPredatoryGambling.org. “They should’ve diversified (the economy) instead of chasing their loss.”

But Joe Kelly, chamber president, said 35,000 people work at New Jersey casinos, and thousands more around the state work for outside vendors that depend on casinos for their business.

“It is not just an Atlantic County issue. It is not just a Cape May issue,” Kelly said. “There’s purchasing done by every county.”

LoBiondo is working to repeal the provision with U.S. Rep Shelly Berkley, co-chair of the Congressional Gaming Cascus, and has reached out to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who has a history of representing the interests of the gaming industry.

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Atlas V successfully launches spy satellite

Thursday, March 13, 2008

An Atlas V rocket has successfully launched a classified spy satellite for the United States National Reconnaissance Office (NRO). The satellite, currently known to the public as NRO L-28, or Launch 28, is believed by amateur enthusiasts to be a signals intelligence (SIGINT) spacecraft, known by the codename Trumpet. The Atlas V carrier rocket flew in the 411 configutation, with a 4 metre diameter fairing, one solid rocket motor, and a single-engine Centaur upper stage.

The rocket lifted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Space Launch Complex 3 East (SLC-3E), at 10:02 GMT (03:02 local time) this morning. Today’s flight marks the thirteenth launch of the Atlas V, and the first Atlas V launch from Vandenberg. It is also the tenth orbital launch of 2008. The satellite entered a Molniya orbit, usually used by the NRO for SIGINT and communications satellites.

The launch was conducted by United Launch Alliance, a joint venture between Lockheed Martin, who designed and built the Atlas V, and Boeing, to provide EELV launches for the US Government. ULA president Michael Gass described the launch as “a proud moment in our company’s history”. The launch had been delayed by two years, from early 2006, due to a number of factors.

In addition to its reconnaissance payload, the satellite is carrying two small experiments. SBIRS-HEO 2 and TWINS-B. SBIRS is a test article for a missile detection system, slated to launch late this year or early next, and TWINS is a NASA infrared astronomy experiment. They will remain attached to the satellite for the duration of its mission.

Following the separation of the payload fairing, around five minutes after launch, all information on the launch was withheld, however about an hour into the flight, the launch was confirmed to have been successful. ULA will conduct its next launch on Saturday, when a Delta II will orbit a GPS satellite. The next Atlas launch is scheduled for mid-April, with the ICO G1 communication satellite.

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Philippine President calls for resignation of cabinet due to deflation of peso

Friday, July 8, 2005

Amid news of a drop of the Philippine peso for a sixth straight week, Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on Thursday asked all members of the cabinet to resign, preparing the road for change in the administration.

In the past month the peso has fallen 3.1 percent due in part to accusations that Arroyo cheated in last year’s elections, as well as accusations that her family members have been taking kickbacks from illegal gambling operations.

The central bank may move to buy the peso in an attempt to stem the decline and raise lenders’ reserve requirements so they have less money to bet against the currency.

While Arroyo was asking for the resignations, Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima and other officials, including Tax Commissioner Guillermo Parayno, Customs Commissioner Bert Lina, Budget Secretary Emilia Boncodin and Trade Secretary Juan Santos, called for Arroyo’s resignation. The text of their statement is available here.

However, Arroyo refused, and while addressing the nation via radio she said “I am not resigning my office. To do so under circumstances that connote an Edsa 3 (the third people’s revolution) would condemn any successor to the possibility of an Edsa 4, then an Edsa 5, and so on and so on, unless our political system were first reformed to make it more responsive to the people’s will, such that changes in leadership come about in an orderly and stable manner…”

Arroyo said that the time had come to face the fact that the political system had degenerated so much that partisan agenda is coming before national interest.

She pointed to the huge emigration from the country as an indication of the large problems within, while endless scandals and conflict seem to plague the southeast Asian nation.

The President ended her address by promising to bring a resolution to all that has plagued the country.

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Afghanistan’s parliament rejects Karzai’s cabinet nominations

Saturday, January 2, 2010

The Afghan parliament has rejected president Hamid Karzai’s nominees for his new cabinet. Karzai had nominated 24 persons to fill vacancies, although only seven were approved. Of the nominees rejected include incumbent Energy Minister Ismail Kha, and the incumbent minister of Women’s Affairs. It did however approve the nominees for the positions of Defense, Interior, and Finance ministers.

President Karzai will need to resubmit candidates for the vacant positions so that the government can begin its 2010 workload.

During the confirmation hearings Karzai was in the Helmand province, meeting with US commander General Stanley McChrystal. Karzai told local residents that if they want to be protected, they have to bring their sons to the national army.

“The significance of the rejection has to do with politics and Karzai’s failure to build a cabinet that spoke to a wide enough spectrum of people, and also with the weakening of his political machine,” Alex Thier, the director of the Pakistan-Afghanistan program at the United States Institute of Peace, told The New York Times.

The American embassy released a statement saying that it supports the parliaments decision approve and disapprove the nominaees.

Also announced Saturday, Afghan parliamentary elections will take place May 22, despite corruption allegations from last Augusts presidential elections.

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