AMC Airlines charter plane makes emergency landing on belly in Istanbul

Thursday, October 11, 2007

An aging McDonnell Douglas MD-83 passenger jet (registration: SU-BOY) of Egypt’s AMC Airlines with 156 passengers and seven crew on a charter flight made an emergency belly landing at the Atatürk International Airport in Istanbul, Turkey after requesting permission to perform an emergency landing for technical reasons.

The plane was returning vacationers to Poland from Hurghada and was bound for Warsaw Frederic Chopin Airport.

The plane caught fire while belly landing and overshot the runway. One person was hurt. There were no fatalities. The plane is likely a total loss.

The Norwegian pilot said that the landing, which was made in darkness, was possible because of speckless sky at the time.

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Furry fans flock to Further Confusion 2007

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

San Jose, California –Cell phones, cigarette lighters and glowsticks are raised in tribute as Circle of Life begins playing. Soon cheers drown out the song as the multicoloured performers appear on stage. A somewhat unusual introduction; but this is no ordinary show, and these are no ordinary attendees. This is Further Confusion, the second largest furry convention in the world.

The volunteer organizers have something to cheer about, too; Furry fans have gathered from far and wide at the DoubleTree Hotel to indulge their love of anthropomorphics, and Further Confusion’s 9th year is its largest, with a paid attendance of 2061. Their gains mirror those of Midwest FurFest, a similar convention held in Schaumburg, Illinois which grew 35% last November.

Both events feature art shows and auctions, live puppetry performance, masquerades, variety shows, games and parades, as well as panels that range from science and technology to society, sex and spirituality. Filling out the schedule, the hotel walls are lined with announcements of public and private room parties for separate groups. At night, the disco floor fills with dancing cats, dogs, and dragons.

For some, dressing up plays a large part of the convention – almost 300 brought a full costume. There are few professional mascots here, though, and only one or two of the costumes would be recognized by even the most avid cartoon-watcher. Instead, each act is planned and performed by other attendees, wearing “fursuits” of their own design. Many play off the year’s secret-agent theme — “Fur Your Eyes Only”.

Other fans seem content to restrict themselves to small accessories — perhaps some combination of paws, ears, or tail. Each fur bears a 3″x2″ badge detailing their personal character, or “fursona“. Often these characters are better-known than the people who play them.

It may seem lighthearted, even frivolous, but these conventions are becoming big business. Furry fans spent over $180,000 for lodging during the five days (Jan 18-22) of Further Confusion, and another $50,000 at the art auction. Attendees also purchase all manner of merchandise from attending dealers and artists, from on-the-spot art commissions and comic books of all ratings to prints, sculptures, and plush toys – even their very own fluffy tail.

Of course, any business has risk, and conventions can drain wallets when the sums just don’t add up. The first furry con, ConFurence in Southern California, ran successfully for over a decade, but cost its new organizer an estimated $60,000 in its last four years due to falling attendance before folding in 2003.

Anthropomorphic Arts and Education board member Peter Torkelson says that won’t happen to Further Confusion. Indeed, the convention ran a healthy surplus of almost $30,000 on $125,000 revenue last year, allowing it to pay off the last of its old debts and save for the future. As Torkelson explains: “The idea is if for some reason, say an earthquake happens, and it cripples the revenue stream, the convention will be able to survive into the next year. It does help our staff to know that we have [a reserve].”

The reserve also gives AAE the financial flexibility to fund charities throughout the year, a big part of its 501(c)(3) mandate. Over the nine years of the convention, attendees have raised over $60,000 for a variety of animal sanctuaries, wildlife refuges, and the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund.

Further Confusion’s hopes for the future are high. Chairwoman Laura Cherry noted that, unlike previous years, the board has “gone all out” for next year’s tenth anniversary, booking as many rooms as the hotel could offer. The host for 2009 has yet to be decided, but for many fans the question was not whether the current hotel will reach a limit, but when – and where – the convention will find a new home.

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Haiti relief efforts: in depth

Friday, January 15, 2010

Countries and relief organisations around the world are sending aid to Haiti, which was hit by a magnitude 7.0 earthquake on Tuesday, affecting up to three million people, most of them in the capital, Port-au-Prince. Relief efforts, however, have been hampered by damaged or destroyed infrastructure, lack of shelter, and communications difficulties.

As of today, at least 300,000 people were estimated to be homeless in the capital, according to the United Nations; the organisation reports that one in ten buildings completely collapsed due to the tremors and resulting aftershocks. The UN said it believes 45,000 to 50,000 people were killed by the quake, while Haitian President Rene Preval said that seven thousand bodies were buried in a mass grave.

Port-au-Prince’s main airport remained open as of today, and relief airplanes were arriving faster than they could be unloaded, prompting fears that planes could run out of fuel while waiting their turn to land. As a result, all non-military flights out of the airport were restricted. Air traffic controllers from the US were present to help handle the flow.

The main port, meanwhile, was severely damaged, and unable to handle any cargo.

To see more images related to the disaster, you may wish to look at the companion article Haitian earthquake: in pictures.

Even with the amount of aid coming in, it is proving difficult to deliver it where it is needed; many roads have been blocked by rubble. Alejandro Lopez-Chicheri, a senior spokesman for the World Food Programme (WFP), commented: “The roads, many of them are still to be opened, and on the ones that are open there are still people concentrated on the sides of the roads.” He described Haiti as being “completely on the ground”.

“This is a logistical challenge. Before the earthquake struck we were already assisting one million people here, we are considering it will be at least double that after this earthquake,” he told the Al Jazeera news agency.

The WFP has estimated that two million people will need food aid; however, only four thousand have so far been fed.

“The physical destruction is so great that physically getting from point A to B with the supplies is not an easy task,” said a WFP spokeswoman in Geneva at a news conference.

Transporting supplies was made even harder due to lack of communications. Telephone lines were down. “There have been a lot of criticism from local authorities about the relief efforts, but in all fairness, if we could catch a break and get some communication up and running, things would go a lot faster,” commented Louis Belanger, spokesman with the humanitarian aid group Oxfam International.

Looting has also been an issue. Delfin Antonio Rodriguez, the rescue commander from adjacent Dominican Republic, said to the Agency France-Presse news agency earlier today that “[o]ur biggest problem is insecurity. Yesterday they tried to hijack some of our trucks. Today we were barely able to work in some places because of that.”

Elisabeth Byrs, a UN humanitarian spokeswoman in Geneva described the desperation of those in the capital. “People who have not been eating or drinking for almost 50 hours and are already in a very poor situation. If they see a truck with something, or if they see a supermarket which has collapsed, they just rush to get something to eat.”

The WFP initially reported that its warehouses in the capital were looted, but this was later retracted. WFP spokeswoman Caroline Hurford told the BBC that “[a]pparently there were unconfirmed reports of looting taking place but once our teams got down to the dockside they were able to see that there was some mistake.”

The earthquake also destroyed Port-au-Prince’s main prison. According to International Red Cross spokesman Marcal Izard, 4,000 inmates escaped the jail and are now on the city streets. “They obviously took advantage of this disaster,” he said.

Haitian police were “not visible at all,” according to a UN spokesman, probably because they had to deal with lost family members and homes, further exacerbating the situation. Around 3,000 international UN peacekeeping troops were present to try to maintain law and order in lieu of the local police force.

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According to a reporter for Al Jazeera, frustration among Port-au-Prince’s residents was increasing because they were not receiving enough help, and there was an exodus out of the city to try and find areas with more supplies. “A lot of people have simply grown tired of waiting for those emergency workers to get to them,” said Sebastian Walker. “Thousands of people are streaming out of the city towards the provinces to try to find supplies of food and water, supplies that are running out in the city.”

A spokesman for the Brazilian-commanded UN peacekeeping force, David Wimhurst, also commented that “unfortunately, they’re slowly getting more angry and impatient. I fear, we are all aware that the situation is getting more tense as the poorest people who need so much, are waiting for deliveries. I think tempers might be frayed.”

Photographer Shaul Schwarz for the TIME magazine reported seeing at least two roadblocks downtown, made of rocks and corpses. “They are starting to block the roads with bodies. It’s getting ugly out there. People are fed up with getting no help,” he said.

“We hear on the radio that rescue teams are coming from the outside, but nothing is coming,” said one resident, Jean-Baptiste Lafontin Wilfried, as quoted by the BBC.

“We need food. The people are suffering. My neighbors and friends are suffering,” said another resident, Sylvain Angerlotte, aged 22, as quoted by the Associated Press. “We don’t have money. We don’t have nothing to eat. We need pure water.”

Due to lack of buildings or shelter, many relief members were facing the same difficulties as were residents. “Even the aid workers themselves are sleeping in cars or in tents on the streets,” said Jamieson Davies, the international programmes director of the Caritas relief organisation, to Al Jazeera. She described the situation as being “extremely difficult”.

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Out of space in outer space: Special report on NASA’s ‘space junk’ plans

Saturday, September 10, 2011

A 182-page report issued September 1 by the United States National Research Council warns that the amount of debris in space is reaching “a tipping point”, and could cause damage to satellites or spacecraft. The report calls for regulations to reduce the amount of debris, and suggests that scientists increase research into methods to remove some of the debris from orbit, though it makes no recommendations about how to do so.

NASA sponsored the study.

A statement released along with the report warns that, according to some computer models, the debris “has reached a tipping point, with enough currently in orbit to continually collide and create even more debris, raising the risk of spacecraft failures”. According to the Satellite Industry Association, there are now about 1,000 working satellites in Earth orbit, and industry revenues last year were US$168 billion (£104.33 billion,€119.01 billion).

The debris consists of various objects, such as decommissioned satellites and exhausted boosters, but the vast majority of the particles are less than one centimetre across. 16,094 pieces of debris were being tracked as of July, although estimates put the current number at over 22,000. The total number of fragments is thought to be as high as tens of millions. While most of the debris is very small, some of it is travelling at speeds as high as 17,500 mi h-1 (28,164 km h-1; 7,823.3 m s-1).

The International Space Station sometimes has to dodge larger fragments, and in June its crew was forced to prepare to evacuate due to a close encounter with debris.

The UK Space Agency told Wikinews that space flight “is likely to be made more difficult” by the debris. However, communications will “[n]ot directly” be affected, “but if the GEO ring became unusable, there is no other altitude at which objects appear [‘]geo-stationary[‘] and so all antennas on the ground would then have to move in order to track the motion of the satellites”.

Donald J. Kessler, the lead researcher and former head of NASA’s Orbital Debris Program Office, said that “[t]he current space environment is growing increasingly hazardous to spacecraft and astronauts,” and suggested that “NASA needs to determine the best path forward for tackling the multifaceted problems caused by meteoroids and orbital debris that put human and robotic space operations at risk.”

The current space environment is growing increasingly hazardous to spacecraft and astronauts

Two events are thought to be the largest individual sources of space debris. Kessler said that “[t]hose two single events doubled the amount of fragments in Earth orbit and completely wiped out what we had done in the last 25 years”.

The first of these was a controversial 2007 Chinese anti-satellite weapon test, which smashed the decommissioned weather satellite Fengyun-1C into approximately 150,000 fragments over a centimetre in size—making up roughly twenty percent of all tracked objects—537 miles above the Earth’s surface.

The Chinese government has so far failed to respond to Wikinews’s queries regarding the incident.

The other is a 2009 collision between twelve-year-old active satellite Iridium 33 and the defunct Russian Strela-2M satellite Kosmos-2251—both weighing in excess of 1,000 lbs (454 kg)—that occurred 490 miles over Siberia, the first such collision. The Iridium satellite was replaced within 22 days, according to Iridium Communications, who operated it.

We believe this is a substantial first step in better information sharing between the government and industry and support even more robust interaction which can provide better and more efficient constellation operation.

In a statement released to Wikinews, Iridium Communications said that they “received no warning of the impending collision. Although commercial projections of close encounters (commonly called conjunctions) were available, the accuracy of those projections was not sufficient to allow collision avoidance action to be taken.” They also made the assurance that the Air Force Space Command and United States Strategic Command now provide them with information through the Joint Space Operations Center, and that “when necessary, [they] maneuver [their] satellites based on this information to avoid potential collisions. [They] believe this is a substantial first step in better information sharing between the government and industry and support even more robust interaction which can provide better and more efficient constellation operation.”

Iridium expressed their support for “[l]ong-term investment to improve Space Situational Awareness” and “[i]mproved information sharing between industry and the U.S. government”, as well as more “[g]overnment support for policy and processes which would permit sharing of high-accuracy data as required to allow reliable assessment and warning” and “[i]ncreased cooperation between the government and U.S. and foreign commercial operators.”

They maintained that “the Iridium constellation is uniquely designed to withstand such an event. Because of the resilient and distributed nature of the Iridium constellation, the effects of the loss of a single satellite were relatively minor”, and that “any other system, commercial or military, which experienced the loss of a satellite, would have suffered significant operational degradation for a period of months if not years.” Nonetheless, the company is “concerned over the increasing level of risk to operations resulting from the debris in space.”

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The report makes more than thirty findings, and more than twenty recommendations to NASA. None of the recommendations regard how to clean up the debris. However, it does cite a report by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), which suggested various possible techniques for catching and removing space debris, such as magnetic nets.

The Cold War is over, but the acute sensitivity regarding satellite technology remains

However, international law does not allow one country to collect another’s debris. George J. Gleghorn, vice chair of the committee, observed that “[t]he Cold War is over, but the acute sensitivity regarding satellite technology remains”.

The debris will, in time, be pulled into the earth’s atmosphere—where it will burn up—by gravity, but more debris is being created faster than this can happen.

The problem of space debris is similar to a host of other environmental problems and public concerns

The report recommends collaborating with the United States Department of State on “economic, technological, political, and legal considerations.” As already mentioned, international law does not allow one country to collect another’s debris.

It is best to treat the root cause, the presence of debris in orbit, and remove the large objects before they can break up into many thousands of uncontrolled fragments capable of destroying a satellite on impact.

According to the report, “[t]he problem of space debris is similar to a host of other environmental problems and public concerns characterized by possibly significant differences between the short- and long-run damage accruing to society … Each has small short-run effects but, if left unaddressed, will have much larger impacts on society in the future.”

A spokesperson for the UK Space Agency told Wikinews that the organisation “does not have any plans to get directly involved with [the clean-up] initiative but through its involvement with NASA in the Inter-Agency Space Debris Coordination Committee, it is conducting studies to identify which objects present the biggest hazard and how many objects may need to be removed and from where.” It says that the viability of such an operation is “a question of treating the symptom or the cause of the problem. Building more physical protection is costly and if the environment deteriorates too far, becomes unviable. It is best to treat the root cause, the presence of debris in orbit, and remove the large objects before they can break up into many thousands of uncontrolled fragments capable of destroying a satellite on impact.”

The spokesperson also pointed out that “[u]nder current licensing regimes (such as in the UK), countries are now obliging operators to remove satellites from crowded regions of space at the end of operational life”.

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Viktor Schreckengost dies at 101

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Viktor Schreckengost, the father of industrial design and creator of the Jazz Bowl, an iconic piece of Jazz Age art designed for Eleanor Roosevelt during his association with Cowan Pottery died yesterday. He was 101.

Schreckengost was born on June 26, 1906 in Sebring, Ohio, United States.

Schreckengost’s peers included the far more famous designers Raymond Loewy and Norman Bel Geddes.

In 2000, the Cleveland Museum of Art curated the first ever retrospective of Schreckengost’s work. Stunning in scope, the exhibition included sculpture, pottery, dinnerware, drawings, and paintings.

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Teaching Intelligent Design: Incumbent Dover PA school board fails reelection

Wednesday, November 9, 2005

The Dover, Pennsylvania school board became the first to mandate inclusion of Intelligent Design in a public school biology curriculum. For this year’s November 8 election, Republicans fielded a pro-Intelligent Design slate of candidates including some returning candidates who had previously voted to include a statement about Intelligent Design in the biology curriculum. A mixed slate of Democrat and Republican candidates came forward as an alternative group of school board candidates, the Dover CARES coalition. They proposed to remove Intelligent Design from the biology curriculum but allow discussion of Intelligent Design in courses dealing with philosophy and comparative religion.

All eight open school board seats were won by Dover CARES coalition candidates. Two candidates who had previously voted as school board members to include intelligent design in the public school science curriculum received the fewest votes in Tuesday’s election. One of the newly elected board members is Bryan Rehm, a parent of a Dover school student. Rehm, along with ten other parents, initiated a law suit against the school board for its decision to insert Intelligent Design into the science curriculum.

In October 2004, the Dover school board decided that Intelligent Design is a scientific theory that should be mentioned in biology classes that include discussion of biological evolution as part of the course content. The board mandated that a statement should be read in those classes stating “Intelligent Design is an explanation of the origin of life,” and “The school leaves the discussion of the Origins of Life to individual students and their families.”

The school board’s statement on Intelligent Design directs students to the book Of Pandas and People as a source of information “for students who might be interested in gaining an understanding of what Intelligent Design actually involves.” This book is published by the Foundation for Thought and Ethics, a non-profit organization founded for the purpose of “promoting and publishing textbooks presenting a Christian perspective.”

Parents of some Dover public school students filed a lawsuit against the school board, charging that including the school board’s statement on Intelligent Design was an attempt to introduce religion into the science curriculum. The book Of Pandas and People says, “Intelligent design means that various forms of life began abruptly through an intelligent agency.” The original complaint in the law suit against the school board claimed that “Intelligent design is a non-scientific argument or assertion.”

The US District Court Judge John Jones, who heard the non-jury case, hopes to make his ruling by the end of the year. The evidence phase of the trial ended on November 4, 2005.

A local Dover newspaper, the York Daily Record, editorialized that Dover voters should take trial testimony into account during the general election when they could cast votes for school board members along with other elective offices.

Biology teachers in the Dover schools have refused to read the school board’s statement on Intelligent Design to students because the Pennsylvania state code for education states that “The professional educator may not knowingly and intentionally misrepresent subject matter.” In a letter to their administrator, the teachers stated their view that “Intelligent design is not science.” School administrators have been reading the school board’s Intelligent Design statement to students in Dover public schools.

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TESEV Report on Eastern Turkey for UNDP released

Friday, November 24, 2006

According to a report released by the Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV) for United Nation’s Development Plan, the per capita GNP in Eastern Turkey, an area predominantly inhabited by Kurdish people, is as low as seven percent of that of the European Union on average. The report analyzed a region of 21 cities in Eastern Turkey*. One of the cities included in the report, ??rnak, was reported to be as poor as Botswana, Southern Africa.

Other points highlighted in the report included:

  • 60% of the population in the region was under the poverty line. If this situation persists, people may start to migrate to Northern Iraq.
  • If 1% of the national income is spent on Eastern Turkey’s infrastructure and social investment for 7 years, the region will be enabled to finance itself. If the economic and social conditions in the region are fixed, the fragile relationship between the Turkish government and the Kurdish people of the region may improve.
  • Access to health services is a primary human right. Without access to health services, one cannot expect that people of this region can live in confidence. Health institutions should employ nurses who speak Kurdish so the patients can communicate with the health services staff.
  • The use of the private sector is not reliable as a solution. The government should act to remedy the lack of infrastructure in the region.

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Best Tips On How To Get Accounting Homework Help With Accounting

Best Tips on How to Get Accounting Homework Help with Accounting

by

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Modern radio drama Paranoria, TX releases 100th episode

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Paranoria, TX, a modern radio drama hosted at internet-based AstroNet Radio, released its 100th episode. The episode is titled The People’s Choice and aired on Monday.

The station’s web site describes the show as “old school radio theater with a new and outrageous geeky spin!” In its early days, the show was featured solely at the long-running internet radio site TogiNet Radio, a site focused on talk radio. In late 2015, TogiNet established AstroNet Radio as a subsidiary station. The show originally featured amateur voice actors, local to East Texas. After some time, professional actors/talent came to be featured intermittently. Some of those were

  • Kevin Betzer from television series Deep South Paranormal.
  • Clu Gulager notably from The Virginian and The Fall Guy.
  • John Gulager notably as director of Piranha 3DD.
  • Diane Ayala Goldner notably from horror film franchise Feast.
  • Vernon Wells notably from the films Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior and Weird Science.

Wikinews caught up with the show’s producer, George Jones, to discuss the show.

((WN)) First, tell our readers about Paranoria, Texas.

George Jones: Paranoria, TX started out as a little show that could. We really didn’t know what we were doing but we wanted to do Old School radio in a brand new format which consisted of a new script every week with a cast of voice actors. The result was a surprising hit and now the show has grown into something completely different than what it was in the beginning and we have followers worldwide. The basic premise of the story is that there is a group of nerds who come together plotting to take over the world but end up saving it time and again.

((WN)) When did the idea for the show first come to you?

GJ: I was called into the [TogiNet] studio for an interview about one of my events and while I was there the DJ asked me if I had ever thought about doing a radio show myself. I had no idea what I was going to do but I was intrigued and after a little brainstorming and utilizing my own creativity the show was born.

((WN)) You’ve written most of the scripts, right? Has anyone else helped you with writing?

GJ: I have written 90% of the scripts for the show. Eric Nivens, Alan Mendez, Jeremy Nagel and Matt McBride have also written a few scripts. It gets tough running a brand new 20-page script every week but somehow we’ve managed for almost a hundred weeks. We thank God for fans who keep us going, otherwise it would not have made it for so long.

Jones estimates since the first episode, the show has been downloaded roughly 30,000 times. The show is set to feature a spin-off series soon.

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Commonwealth Bank of Australia CEO apologies for financial planning scandal

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Ian Narev, the CEO of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, this morning “unreservedly” apologised to clients who lost money in a scandal involving the bank’s financial planning services arm.

Last week, a Senate enquiry found financial advisers from the Commonwealth Bank had made high-risk investments of clients’ money without the clients’ permission, resulting in hundreds of millions of dollars lost. The Senate enquiry called for a Royal Commission into the bank, and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).

Mr Narev stated the bank’s performance in providing financial advice was “unacceptable”, and the bank was launching a scheme to compensate clients who lost money due to the planners’ actions.

In a statement Mr Narev said, “Poor advice provided by some of our advisers between 2003 and 2012 caused financial loss and distress and I am truly sorry for that. […] There have been changes in management, structure and culture. We have also invested in new systems, implemented new processes, enhanced adviser supervision and improved training.”

An investigation by Fairfax Media instigated the Senate inquiry into the Commonwealth Bank’s financial planning division and ASIC.

Whistleblower Jeff Morris, who reported the misconduct of the bank to ASIC six years ago, said in an article for The Sydney Morning Herald that neither the bank nor ASIC should be in control of the compensation program.

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