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April 29, 2007

BBC and ITV to provide free satellite TV in the UK

BBC and ITV to provide free satellite TV in the UK

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Sunday, April 29, 2007

Approval has been given to the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) by the BBC Trust to go ahead with a proposal that would allow satellite TV to be “subscription free.”

Freesat will have no monthly subscription fee, and according to the BBC, the new system would “require a one-off payment for reception equipment.”

“Envisaged as a joint venture, Freesat will ensure the public remain in control of how they access the BBC’s television channels and radio networks for which they have already paid. It is guaranteed to remain subscription free, ensuring that the benefits of digital television do not equal ‘pay television’,” said Chitra Bharucha, the acting Chairman of the BBC Trust.

The service will be offered to anyone who is unable to watch digital TV from the current provider, Freeview, which is not available to at least 25% of people in the United Kingdom who watch or have a TV.

“Its [Freesat’s] primary purpose is to drive digital take-up in analogue homes, particularly in those areas which are out of digital terrestrial coverage,” said Mark Thompson, the Director-General of the BBC.

Freesat will also be jointly operated by ITV. It is expected to launch in 2008 and is scheduled to be completed in 2012. The service will be installed “region by region,” according to the BBC.

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US: Melamine from contaminated pet food enters human food chain

US: Melamine from contaminated pet food enters human food chain

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Sunday, April 29, 2007

At least 45 people are reported to have eaten pork which came from a hog farm in Ceres, California in the United States, where pigs from the farm were fed pet food which was recalled because it was contaminated with the chemical melamine.

So far none of the individuals have experienced signs of illnesses, but it is not known what effect the chemical, when ingested, has on humans because no major study has taken place on melamine.

On April 21, at least seven urine samples taken from pigs at hog farm, were tested and the results came back positive for the chemical melamine. At least three samples from the feed used to feed the pigs were tested and those results also came back positive for melamine.

Yesterday, the United States Food and Drug Administration or FDA, said in a statement that “we have no evidence of harm to humans associated with the processed pork product” and that “no recall of meat products processed from these animals is being issued.”

Despite the consumption of pork by humans, the FDA states that the risk to human health is minimal.

“The assessment that, if there were to be harm to human health, it would be very low, is based on a number of factors, including the dilution of the contaminating melamine and melamine-related compounds from the original rice protein concentrate as it moves through the food system. First it is a partial ingredient in the pet food; second, it is only part of the total feed given to the hogs; third, it is not known to accumulate in the hogs and the hogs excrete melamine in their urine; fourth, even if present in pork, pork is only a small part of the average American diet. Neither FDA nor USDA has uncovered any evidence of harm to the swine from the contaminated feed,” added the statement.

On March 19, the manufacturer of the food, Menu Foods, which is based in Mississauga, Ontario in Canada, recalled all of its dog and cat food which totaled over 60 million items. On April 28, Canadian officials announced that they will hold products, such as wheat and corn gluten, as well as soy and rice proteins that have been imported from China until they can be tested for melamine.

It is not known how extensive the outbreak is.

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New York state Governor Eliot Spitzer proposes legalization of same-sex marriages

New York state Governor Eliot Spitzer proposes legalization of same-sex marriages

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Sunday, April 29, 2007

Eliot Spitzer at a news conference in Schenectady, New York on April 24, 2007.

The Governor of the state of New York, Eliot Spitzer is proposing a bill that would make same-sex marriages legal in the state.

“This legislation would create equal legal protection and responsibilities for all individuals who seek to marry or have their marriage protected in the state of New York. Strong, stable families are the cornerstones of our society. The responsibilities inherent in the institution of marriage benefit those individuals and society as a whole,” said Spitzer in a statement he issued to the press.

Although Spitzer said that the time to propose the bill “is right,” he doubts that it will pass the state legislature.

“I do not think there is a realistic shot that it gets passed, but I will submit it because it’s a statement of principle that I believe in and I want to begin that dynamic,” added Spitzer.

The bill states that it would “establish equal responsibilities, recognition, benefits and protections for all married couples [and] would additionally stipulate that no clergy member or religious institution should be compelled to perform any same-sex marriage ceremony.”

Currently, same-sex marriages are only legal in the state of Massachusetts. Civil unions, are only legal in Connecticut, New Jersey and Vermont and domestic partnerships are currently only legal in the states of California, Maine and Washington. In New York City and Washington D.C., domestic partnerships are also legal.

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Justin Trudeau wins Liberal Party nomination

Justin Trudeau wins Liberal Party nomination

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Sunday, April 29, 2007

Justin Trudeau

Justin Trudeau, son of the late Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, has won his riding nomination for the Liberal Party of Canada in Papineau, Montreal, Quebec. To win he needed 634 votes. He received 690.

This is his first attempt at running for politics. His father was Prime Minister of Canada from the 1960s until the mid-1980s.

His two other competitors for the nomination were natives from the town; Mary Deros, a city councillor and Basilio Giordano, a former city councillor and journalist for a local Italian newspaper. Competitors for the other federal party’s have not yet been chosen. According to reports Deros received 350 votes and Basilio Giordano received 220.

Trudeau will run in the 40th Canadian federal election, which must be called no later than February 13, 2011.

“I’m a teacher; I’m a convenor; I’m a gatherer; I’m someone who reaches out to people and is deeply interested in what they have to say,” Trudeau said. “And people see that I’m not faking it. I’m actually genuinely committed to this dialogue that we’re opening up, and this understanding that needs to happen in order to be an effective MP.”

Trudeau does not live in Papineau. It is the poorest riding in Canada and the smallest. It consists of blue-collar residents.

The riding has a long history of Liberal MPs. In the 1949 federal election an Independent MP held the riding. Liberal Adrien Meunier was re-elected three times holding the riding from 1949 to 1962. Liberal Guy Favreau was re-elected once holding the riding from 1963 to 1965. Liberal André Ouellet was re-elected six times holding the riding from 1967 to 1984. Liberal Pierre Pettigrew was elected in 2004, he came in second to current Bloc Québécois MP Vivian Barbot, who won by 17,775 votes.

Trudeau, 35, is the second child born to a Prime Minister during his term in office to Canada’s first, Sir John A. Macdonald, who had a his daughter Margaret Mary Macdonald during his time in office. He has a Bachelor of Arts of English literature from Montreal’s McGill University and the Bachelor of Education from the University of British Columbia. He eventually became a teacher there.

He married French-Canadian television personality Sophie Grégoire on March 18, 2005. In April this year they announced they are expecting their first child. Since his youngest sibling Michel Trudeau died in an avalanche in 1998, Trudeau has been an active campaigner for winter sports safety. His younger brother Alexandre Trudeau is a journalist.

His father died on 28 September 2000 at the age of 80. During the state funeral, Trudeau, then 28, delivered an emotional speech which led to speculation in the media that a career in politics could be his future. He has also openly stated that he opposes Quebec nationalism. Trudeau put his support behind Liberal leadership candidate Gerard Kennedy during the 2006 Liberal Party of Canada leadership convention. Kennedy dropped out of the second ballot of voting and both he and Trudeau went on to support now leader Stéphane Dion.

Results

Votes needed to win: 634

Candidate Votes
Justin Trudeau 690
Mary Deros 350
Basilio Giordano 220

Related news

  • “Son of former Canadian PM, Justin Trudeau wants to run for office” — Wikinews, February 23, 2007
Wikipedia Learn more about Justin Trudeau and Pierre Trudeau on Wikipedia.

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Telecom New Zealand bounces gay e-mail

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Telecom New Zealand bounces gay e-mail – Wikinews, the free news source

Telecom New Zealand bounces gay e-mail

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Sunday, April 29, 2007

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Telecom New Zealand has apologised to Gay Hamilton after her e-mail was bounced because it contained the word gay eight times. The automatic reply Ms Hamilton received stated that the e-mail was not suited for “business-like communication”.

Website designer and lesbian, Gay Hamilton had sent the largest public company in New Zealand a message to their help desk via e-mail, asking if she was able to receive their broadband services in her Nelson suburb.

Lenska Papich, spokesperson for Telecom, has said that e-mails are usually only monitored internally, and the words are blocked to help reduce harassment cases by threatening disciplinary action. “Our systems internally detect a number of words, including both the words gay and heterosexual, that could be deemed as inappropriate for use at work.” Telecom refused to list the other words that are blocked.

Ms Hamilton has said that she is worried about the amount of time and effort Telecom must have put into deciding that gay was an inappropriate word in e-mail communication. “If they do have to put content filters on, then maybe they should ensure that it only gets genuinely abusive words.”

Ms Hamilton has been apologised to by Lenska Papich, who said that she was very good about it all.

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MLB: Cardinals pitcher Josh Hancock killed in car accident

MLB: Cardinals pitcher Josh Hancock killed in car accident

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Sunday, April 29, 2007

Pitcher Josh Hancock passed away early Sunday after crashing his car into a tow truck. The accident occurred on Interstate 64 in St. Louis, Missouri at about 12:30am, and was pronounced dead at the scene. He was 29 years old.

Josh Hancock was drafted by the Boston Red Sox in 1998 and made his Major League debut in 2002. He was later traded to the Philadelphia Phillies and the Cincinnati Reds before being signed by the St. Louis Cardinals in 2006. He was part of the 2006 World Series Cardinals team, and a current member of the Cardinals roster. He had just played in Saturday afternoon’s game against the Chicago Cubs, pitching three solid innings.

Hancock was mourned around the league. The Cleveland Indians held a moment of silence before their game, displaying Hancock’s picture on the scoreboard. Bud Selig, Commissioner of Major League Baseball, said “All of baseball today mourns the tragic and untimely death of St. Louis pitcher Josh Hancock. He was a fine young pitcher who played an important role on last year’s World Series championship team.”

This is the second time in recent years that a Cardinals pitcher has died during the regular season. In 2002, Darryl Kile was found dead in his room at the team’s hotel during a series against the Cubs in Chicago, Illinois. The final game of the Cardinals-Cubs series, scheduled for 7:00pm tonight, has been postponed because of the tragedy.

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April 28, 2007

Suicide bomber narrowly misses Pakistani Minister

Suicide bomber narrowly misses Pakistani Minister

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Saturday, April 28, 2007

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Pakistani Federal Interior Minister Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao narrowly escaped a suicide bomb attack today. Sherpao was speaking at a rally in his home village in Charsadda District when the suicide bomber struck, killing 25 people and injuring dozens more at last count.

NWFP Inspector General of Police Sharif Virk said five policemen were among the 25 dead.

According to the Daily Times: “Sherpao was going towards his vehicle after finishing his speech and people also rushed towards him for hand-shakes and during this moment I heard a big bang,” said Ayub, who was injured in the blast, from his hospital bed. “It was a big explosion sending a thick cloud of dust to the air,” Wajid Khan, another witness, told Daily Times by phone from Charsadda.

Sherpao in a statement afterwards issued a statement condemning the attack calling it a “targeted kill”.

According to news reports, intelligence services had only recently beefed up security on the Interior Minister due to intelligence reports about an imminent attack.

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MLB: Twins defeat Tigers after pinch hit scores two

MLB: Twins defeat Tigers after pinch hit scores two

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Saturday, April 28, 2007

Minnesota Twins 5 3 Detroit Tigers

Comerica Park in Detroit, Michigan

The Minnesota Twins faced the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park Friday in a AL Central Division match-up. Twins starting pitcher Ramon Ortiz gave up five hits and two runs in the six innings he pitched. Tigers starter Nate Robertson allowed one run in seven innings, but was charged with the two runners that scored for the Twins in the eighth inning.

The Tigers pounced in the third inning; Carlos Guillen singled scoring the veteran Gary Sheffield. The Tigers would add one in the sixth with a Craig Monroe double, scoring Sean Casey. The Twins would get on the board in the seventh inning, with the lead off hitter Justin Morneau sending his first pitch over the left field fence.

But the Twins would rally with a four-run eighth inning, which started with a Mike Redmond single, driving in two runs to tie the game at 3-3. Joe Mauer, who wasn’t scheduled to play, pinch hit in the DH spot and brought in the go-ahead run, plus one, giving the Twins a two-run lead. Joe Nathan picked up the save, his seventh of the season.

The middle game of this three-game series will be played tomorrow at noon in Detroit. Starting for Detroit will be Justin Verlander, and Carlos Silva will start for Minnesota.

Box score

  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Minnesota 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 4 0 5 8 0
Detroit 0 0 1 0 0 1 1 0 0 3 9 0

W: Crain (1-1)
L: Zumaya (0-1; BS)
S: Nathan (7)

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U.S. nonprofit news agency shuts down

U.S. nonprofit news agency shuts down – Wikinews, the free news source

U.S. nonprofit news agency shuts down

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Saturday, April 28, 2007

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The online news agency The NewStandard (TNS), a U.S.-based daily dispatch service, ceased publications on Friday, April 27. The not for profit media organization run by the PeoplesNetWorks Collective out of Syracuse, New York was begun in 2004. The 5 staffers that run the collective said that the reason for closure was a “lack of support”.

An announcement made earlier this week on Monday said,

As those familiar with us or our work can imagine, this was a tremendously difficult decision for us to reach. But the five staffers who form the PeoplesNetWorks Collective – the nonhierarchical nonprofit that publishes TNS – have accepted that the news publication we envisioned cannot be achieved without a greater level of support. We do not believe we will be able to obtain that support in the foreseeable future, and as individuals, we have reached a point at which we are unable to sustain the long hours and stress that publishing TNS entails.

A Friday email to subscribers again announced that it would be the last daily dispatch, in what the publication called “our unusual endeavor”, where unusual meant because it did not accept advertising revenue for any of its online page content. All TNS publications were ad free. Premium donors, those who donated US$10 or more each month, and contributions made by its readership and other organizations, funded the news agency during its 3 and a half year life. In this way, donations were the revenue substitute for advertising dollars.

TNS came close to shutting down once before, over a year ago. Readers were warned of the pending end, and the publication managed to survive with financial support given by both large donors and small. The publication never took off according to an Alexa web traffic ranking result shown in a graph in the ‘External links’ section below. In comparison to The Washington Post, where the line on top in that graph represents their ranking, TNS was barely on the radar screen.

The content of the online publication was derived from original and featured article reports written by contributors to the publication who were paid between $125 — 100 per article. $50 — $25 was paid to suppliers of news briefs derived mainly from other news agencies, and $25 to cartoonists for their published submissions. Contributors came from all areas of the United States, along with some international.

Cartoonist Daryl Cagle, of CagleCartoons.com, who recently starting posting blog content on emails sent to subscribers of his featured cartoon of the day, blogged Wednesday this week in what he titled, Newspapers and Cartoonists Wandering Blindly:

For many newspaper editors, internet strategy is a fantasy from the movie “Field of Dreams.” “If you build it, they will come.” Good content is nice (Slate has great original content) but securing a continuing audience for that content is more important. Yahoo and Google maintain top news sites with almost no original content. That’s journalism 2.0: circulating content that is created in other media, while paying little or nothing for the content.

Cagle, currently employed by MSNBC.com and formerly Slate, also remarked that, “I still make my living selling cartoons that are printed in ink on paper from traditional clients who actually pay.” He said The Washington Post is one of the most visited online media outlets to grow out of the newsprint era.

“When The Washington Post Company bought my old employer Slate.com from Microsoft, the negotiations focused on Slate continuing to receive a huge audience flow from promotions on MSN.com. The Post understands the Web where traffic flows like a river – the river has to keep flowing or the lake will dry up.” Cagle said.

The staffers that run TNS are in the process of wrapping things up and promise to archive as much of the site as possible for future reference, and give a fuller explanation for the site’s closure in this coming week.

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Clashes over World War II monument in Estonia continue

Clashes over World War II monument in Estonia continue

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Saturday, April 28, 2007

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The Bronze Soldier of Tallinn.

According to BBC News Online more than 300 people were detained and at least 10 hurt after a second night of riots in Estonia’s capital, Tallinn.

Clashes began last night after Estonian authorities removed a controversial Soviet monument, the Bronze Soldier of Tallinn, which Russian-speaking Estonians see as a symbol of the liberation of Eastern Europe from Nazism, while Estonian nationalists view it as a reminder of Soviet occupation.

Related news

  • “One killed in clashes over World War monument in Estonia” — Wikinews, April 27, 2007

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