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August 19, 2016

Naked statues of Donald Trump appear in various US cities

Naked statues of Donald Trump appear in various US cities

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Friday, August 19, 2016

A number of statues depicting US presidential candidate Donald Trump without his clothes on were erected in various US cities yesterday morning.

File photo of Donald Trump, 2011.
Image: Gage Skidmore.

The statues were unveiled in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Cleveland and Seattle. Titled “The Emperor Has No Balls”, the project was devised by the anarchist collective INDECLINE, presenting present Trump in an unflattering and humiliating way.

A spokesperson for INDECLINE told The Washington Post the project was inspired by the Hans Christian Anderson story “The Emperor’s New Clothes” which depicts a vain and overconfident leader. The spokesperson also said the project is meant to poke fun at the tendency for those in authoritarian positions to raise monuments of themselves.

The statues are credited to a Las Vegas-based artist called Ginger, who said he was approached by INDECLINE because of his pervious work designing monsters for horror movies and haunted houses. A video of Ginger creating these statues went up on INDECLINE’s YouTube page.

The New York City statue became a busy tourist spot until the parks and recreation department took it down. A spokeswoman for the NYC parks and recreation centre stated: “NYC Parks stands firmly against any unpermitted erection in city parks, no matter how small.”



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December 19, 2015

Court sentences mother to 26 years in prison for murdering infant

Court sentences mother to 26 years in prison for murdering infant

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Saturday, December 19, 2015


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A court in Sacramento, California has sentenced a mother, Ka Yang, to 26 years to life in prison on Friday for the first-degree murder of her infant.

In November, a court convicted her of placing her six week old infant in a microwave oven in 2011. The baby suffered from severe burns covering a large part of her body that reached into her organs, prosecutors said.

Yang said she blacked out from a seizure and wasn’t aware of what she was doing at the time of the incident. According to her, she woke up with the baby already dead. Paramedics who arrived at the scene, however, said Yang wasn’t disoriented.



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March 14, 2015

Convicted murderer J.C.X. Simon dies in prison, aged 69

Convicted murderer J.C.X. Simon dies in prison, aged 69

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Saturday, March 14, 2015

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Simon died at San Quentin State Prison on Thursday
Image: Jjz3d83.

J.C.X Simon, one of the convicted ‘Zebra Killers‘, has died at the age of 69 in San Quentin State Prison. His death came shortly before midnight on Thursday, with the cause remaining unknown. Simon was convicted alongside three others for the killing spree known as the ‘Zebra Killings’ in San Francisco in the 1970s.

A statement released by prison officials said “The cause of death is unknown pending the results of an autopsy.” Simon was found unresponsive in his single person cell.

In total fourteen people were killed by Simon and three other assailants, all of whom were black. The murders took place in 1973 and 1974, with all of the victims being white and targeted purely on race. At least seven more victims were injured in the shootings, including future San Francisco mayor Art Agnos. According to Anthony C. Harris, the suspects were part of the ‘Death Angels’, an offshoot of the Nation of Islam. Harris was a key witness in the trial, who was alleged to have taken part in the hunt for white victims.

Simon was convicted, and sentenced to life without parole, in 1976. The charges consisted of two counts of first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, and assault with a deadly weapon. The other men convicted for the murders were Larry Green, Manuel Moore, and Jessie Lee Cooks. The three remaining convicts remain incarcerated without possibility of parole.



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February 27, 2014

Wikinews Shorts: February 27, 2014

Wikinews Shorts: February 27, 2014 – Wikinews, the free news source

Wikinews Shorts: February 27, 2014

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A compilation of brief news reports for Thursday, February 27, 2014.

Asiana Airlines fined US$500K for not helping families after crash

Smoke billows from the wreckage after the crash last year.
Image: Jkhoo.

South Korea-based Asiana Airlines was fined US$500,000 on Tuesday by the United States Department of Transportation for failing to provide support for victims’ families after Asiana Airlines Flight 214 crashed at San Francisco airport in July 2013. Foreign airlines are to abide by a federal law called the “family assistance plan”. The law states an airline must promptly assist and provide a toll-free number for calls from the passengers’ families. It took the airline five days to contact the 291 families of the passengers aboard.

Of 307 on board, three Chinese teens died and over 200 people were injured. The jet hit a seawall on approach, tearing the rear of the plane off, and throwing three flight attendants onto the runway.

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US prepares to withdrawal troops from Afghanistan

United States President Barack Obama has ordered the Pentagon to make plans to pull all the nation’s troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2014. The Obama administration notified Afghan president Hamid Karzai that it would prefer to keep a residual military presence in Afghanistan for training and counterterrorism missions, but Karzai is refusing to sign the agreement for some US forces to remain. Once NATO ends hostilities in November, a contingency plan for a full departure will begin.

US-Afghan relations have worsened over the past few months. Obama told Karzai the US will move forward with additional contingency planning if the bilateral agreement to maintain a US presence is not signed.

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Killers of UK soldier sentenced

Drummer Lee Rigby, from an official portrait.
Image: UK Ministry of Defence.

After an attack in the London streets last year on British soldier Lee Rigby, two men were sentenced on Wednesday. The leader of the attack, Michael Adebolajo, was sentenced to life behind bars. Michael Adebowale was given a life sentence, but with the possibility of parole after serving a minimum of 45 years. In court, the two Islamic converts indicated the killing was for Allah.

Bystanders watched Adebolajo and Adebowale hit Rigby with a car then butcher him with a meat cleaver and knives. The attack was recorded on closed-circuit TV and by bystanders. Both men were convicted of murder in December 2013.

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July 6, 2013

Asiana Boeing 777 crashes upon landing at San Francisco International Airport

Asiana Boeing 777 crashes upon landing at San Francisco International Airport

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Saturday, July 6, 2013

Smoke coming from the wreckage of the Asiana Boeing 777 at San Francisco International Airport.
Image: Jkhoo.

An Asiana Airlines Boeing 777 airplane crashed upon landing at San Francisco International Airport around 11:30 AM local time today. Flight #214, coming from Seoul, carrying 291 passengers — including one infant, and 16 crew members — crashed on runway 28L. Two deaths are reported and 10 passengers were taken to San Francisco General Hospital critically injured. In total, officials report 181 people were hospitalized and one person remains unaccounted for.

It is reported that when the airplane took off from Seoul, smoke was coming from the airplane. The weather was good as the plane was landing in San Francisco. According to David Eun, a passenger on the airplane and the executive vice president of Samsung, the tail came off of the plane upon landing. A non-passenger witness, Anthony Castorani, has reported that a fireball formed upon the plane landing and that the plane flipped over. A large portion of the passenger area of the plane was on fire and has burned out. Most of the plane’s tail is gone. Passengers were seen using emergency slides to escape the wreckage.

The cause of the crash is is unknown. There have been no reports stating that the airplane pilot made distress calls before the accident. Law enforcement does not believe the accident was the result of terrorism or criminal activity. The National Transportation Safety Board will be investigating the crash. Deborah Hersman will lead the investigation.

The airport was closed to all incoming and outgoing air and vehicle traffic until 3:30 PM local time, when it opened 2 runways. Over 330 flights were canceled at the airport. More than 70 flights headed to San Francisco were not allowed to land at the airport and were sent to other cities. Some flights have been diverted to Sacramento International Airport and Delta Air Lines has canceled 10 flights to and from San Francisco. United Airlines and Virgin America offered passengers the opportunity to change the flights at no extra cost until Monday.

Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook Chief Operating Officer, was supposed to travel on the Asiana flight. She rescheduled, along with colleagues, her flight to fly on United Airlines instead. Her flight landed 20 minutes before the Asiana crash.

A Boeing 777 can hold as many as 300 passengers. Asiana is the second largest airline in South Korea.



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May 7, 2013

Solar powered plane completes first leg of transcontinental trip

Solar powered plane completes first leg of transcontinental trip

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Tuesday, May 7, 2013

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Solar Impulse, the world’s most advanced solar powered plane has just completed the first of the five legs of its trans-continental journey, flying fuel-free from San Francisco to Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport, in just over 18 hours.

Flea Hop HB-SIA – Solar Impulse (file image)
Image: Matth1.

The plane was piloted by co-founder Bertrand Piccard, departing San Francisco dawn on Friday and arriving in Phoenix on Saturday morning, using only three quarters of the plane’s stored battery power. “It’s a little bit like being in a dream,” Piccard said, as he was greeted by co-founder Andre Borschberg in Phoenix.

Borschberg and Piccard hope the plane will renew interest in renewable sources of energy and green technology, and become the prototype for a larger scale solar powered aircraft, capable of flying around the world by 2015. “If an airplane can fly day or night with no fuel, just on the sun’s power, of course it means that everybody in daily life can use this technology for his house, for heating and cooling systems, for lighting, for cars, for trucks. There’s so much we can do now to have a cleaner future,” Piccard said.

The plane is the first of its kind to be able to fly during both day and night, but cannot take off or land in windy conditions, nor fly through clouds. The plane is powered by roughly 12,000 photovoltaic cells on the wings, providing 10 horsepower, the same level of power as the Wright brothers‘ first planes, and weighs the same as a car. “One hundred years ago, the planes had to fly in good weather and there was only one person on board,” Piccard said. “Now we have completely new technology, we fly with no fuel at all. But, of course, we need to fly in good weather and we carry only one pilot on board.

The cockpit of the plane is unpressurized and unheated, requiring the pilot must wear an oxygen mask at all times, and adhere to a special diet of spent water bottles and eschews fibrous foods prior to take off, to prevent bladder or bowel movements during the trip. Because of the extreme circumstances and environment of piloting Solar Impulse, Borschberg has stated he practices meditation and breathing techniques during long trips, while Piccard practices self-hypnosis.

Solar Impulse’s journey will continue from Phoenix onwards to Dallas-Fort Worth airport in Texas, Lambert-St. Louis airport, Dulles airport in the Washington area and New York’s John F. Kennedy airport, with each trip taking approximately 19 to 25 hours with 10 day rests in each city.



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August 1, 2012

Restaurant chain Chick-Fil-A criticized for political and religious views, supporters of chain fight back

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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Supporters in Port Charlotte, Florida participating in Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day

After coming under fire from LGBT organizations and supporters of gay rights, and being threatened with bans in the major U.S. cities of San Fransisco, Chicago, and Boston, supporters of the chain are making it a point to patronize the company today, August 1st, to show their support. Many Chick-Fil-A restaurants around the nation are crowded with lines circling the building at stand alone locations, and filling food courts at mall locations. Customers at Chick-Fil-A restaurants are waiting in lines for about an hour, or longer at some locations, just to show their support.

Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day was invented by Mike Huckabee to “affirm a business that operates on Christian principles and whose executives are willing to take a stand for the Godly values we (conservative Christians) espouse.” In addition to support from the religious right, the company is also being supported by supporters of free speech, liberal pendants, and legal experts. The ACLU calls the company’s opposition to gay marriage “bigoted,” but opposes cities’ refusal to grant building permits to the company on the basis of the company’s views, calling such a refusal a violation of the first ammendment. The LA Times says “We disagree heartily with Cathy, but are far more troubled by the reaction of Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino, who vowed to block Chick-fil-A’s effort to open an outlet in that city.” New York City mayor Mike Bloomberg has also expressed his disagreement with the other cities’ mayors refusal to permit Chick-Fil-A restaurants to be built in their cities.

Of course, it’s not just supporters gathering at the restaurants today; protesters have also gathered at the restaurants holding signs to show their opposition to the company’s position. The opposition to Chick-Fil-A is a result of the company’s supporting of organizations such as the WinShape Foundation and the Pennsylvania Family Institute, which oppose gay marriage, and are considered by some to be homophobic, and statements made to The Baptist Press by the company’s CEO, Dan Cathy. “We are very much supportive of the family — the biblical definition of the family unit,” said Mr. Cathy. “We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that.” Student groups at some universities have formed grassroots movements to boycott Chick-Fil-A for their opposition to gay marriage. The manufacturer of the company’s kids’ meal toys severed it’s relationship with the company in light of the company’s position on gay marriage.

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April 12, 2012

Facebook acquires Instagram for US$1 billion

Facebook acquires Instagram for US$1 billion

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Thursday, April 12, 2012

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The popular social networking site Facebook agreed to purchase the Instagram photo-sharing mobile app for US$1 billion in cash and stock Monday.

Facebook icon
Image: Facebook.

The app, which can be used to apply faux-vintage filters to photographs, allows users to share photos with one another both directly and through posts to social networking sites. Instagram was founded less than two years ago by two Stanford University graduates near San Francisco, California and the purchase is one of the largest acquisitions in Facebook history following after a failed takeover bid in early 2011 which had been declined by Instagram.

Facebook, despite its prominence as the largest website for social networking in the world, has had difficulties expanding into the mobile market, particularly the realm of mobile advertising. As of yet, Facebook lacks an advertising platform for its apps and has yet to capitalize off the boom in mobile phone use that Instagram is intertwined with.

Cquote1.svg We think the fact that Instagram is connected to other services beyond Facebook is an important part of the experience. Cquote2.svg

—Mark Zuckerberg

Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg noted the importance of the ability to post to multiple social media sites at once in a post. He wrote on his personal timeline, “We think the fact that Instagram is connected to other services beyond Facebook is an important part of the experience.” He said Facebook “plan[s] on keeping features like the ability to post to other social networks, the ability to not share your Instagrams on Facebook if you want, and the ability to have followers and follow people separately from your friends on Facebook.”

Many other small services that Facebook has acquired, namely Gowalla, Hot Potato, and FriendFeed, were all shuttered shortly after acquisition. The co-founder of Instagram, Kevin Systrom, in a company blog post, has denied any claims that Instagram would share the fate of these past services. “It’s important to be clear that Instagram is not going away. We’ll be working with Facebook to evolve Instagram and build the network. We’ll continue to add new features to the product and find new ways to create a better mobile photos experience,” he wrote.

Many reasons have been put forth for the purchase, and Zuckerberg commented, “for years, we’ve focused on building the best experience for sharing photos with your friends and family. Now, we’ll be able to work even more closely with the Instagram team to also offer the best experiences for sharing beautiful mobile photos with people based on your interests.”



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March 26, 2012

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art buys Edward Hopper valued at over $25 million

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art buys Edward Hopper valued at over $25 million

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Monday, March 26, 2012

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The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) has purchased the painting Intermission, by American artist Edward Hopper. The piece, created in 1963, is one of the last paintings created by Hopper.

SFMOMA
Image: WolfmanSF.

Hopper’s realist style, which visually examined American urban and rural life in the first half of the 20th century, made him one of the most influential and important American artists of the modern era. The painting, which was sold by a private collector, is believed to be valued at over $25 million.

Intermission shows a woman sitting alone in the front row of a theater. The theater is empty, and is described, by San Francisco Chronicle art critic Kenneth Baker as expressing emotion and social isolation, a standard theme in Hopper’s works. The inspiration for the painting came to Hopper while he was watching a film.

Hopper’s wife, Josephine, had scheduled Hopper to create the painting in a theater, however Hopper would complete the painting at his studio in New York City. Original sketches of Intermission show a second person sitting in the third row — a figure that never made it into the final painting. Baker calls Intermission a “prime example of Hopper’s austere realist vision”.

Cquote1.svg [This is] a necessary practice in an art market where prices for historically important art continue to rise steeply. Cquote2.svg

—Kenneth Baker

SFMOMA will not disclose how much they paid for Intermission. When the painting Hotel Window, which is of similar size and from the same period, sold at auction in 2006, it sold for $26.9 million. It is believed that “Inspiration” is worth just as much, if not more. Intermission was purchased with the help of donor funds, and acquired through the San Francisco-based Fraenkel Gallery, which sold if on behalf of a private collector.

In exchange for the acquisition of Intermission, SFMOMA is selling another Hopper painting: Bridal Path, from 1939. A lesser known work of Hopper’s, Bridal Path shows a horseback riding path in Central Park. By selling Bridal Path, SFMOMA is able to help fund the acquisition of the more well known Intermission. This practice is slowly gaining popularity within a museum and art market that previously disapproved of the sale of lesser known works for more popular acquisitions. Baker acknowledges the past practices, but believes that this is “a necessary practice in an art market where prices for historically important art continue to rise steeply.”

Intermission goes on display for the public on Friday, at SFMOMA.



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June 7, 2011

Apple announces Mac OS X Lion, iOS 5, and iCloud

Apple announces Mac OS X Lion, iOS 5, and iCloud

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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Exterior of Moscone West center, where the WWDC 2011 keynote was held.
Image: Ben Miller.

At the company’s own Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) keynote at the Moscone West center in San Francisco, Apple CEO Steve Jobs introduced the next generation of software products from Apple. Apple unveiled Lion, the new version of their Mac OS X operating system for desktop and laptop computers that brings new features to the software. They also demonstrated iOS 5, a new version of the operating system that powers iPhones, iPod Touches, and iPads. Alongside both announcements, Jobs also announced a new iCloud service to sync data among all devices. All 5,200 participating developers will spend the rest of the week in workshops with Apple employees; developer releases of each product were made available today.

Mac OS X Lion will be shipped in July through the online Mac App Store available on Mac computers for US$29. According to Apple, the update adds over 250 new features to the OS. Employee Phil Schiller discussed new multitouch gestures along with a dynamic task manager named Mission Control that shows open applications. During the keynote, Schiller said, “The Mac has outpaced the PC industry every quarter for five years running and with OS X Lion we plan to keep extending our lead.” It also adds full support for the Mac port of the popular App Store, full screen applications, iOS-style app icon lists called Launchpad, and other iOS-like features including a revamped Mail and Auto Save among others. Mac OS X Lion was announced at a different Apple event several months ago and will replace Mac OS X Snow Leopard, which was released in 2009.

Interior of Moscone West center, where the WWDC 2011 keynote was held.
Image: Ben Miller.

Soon after, the company also introduced the latest installment in its popular mobile operating system iOS. The fifth version (iOS 5) introduces around 200 new features, including a revamped notification system, which combines messages and notifications from all applications installed on the user’s device. Scott Forestall, an Apple employee, also revealed that iOS devices would no longer require a computer for setup, allowing users to ‘cut the cord’ between their devices and PCs. Magazines and newspapers also have a new folder interface; the Twitter social network is now integrated significantly into iOS devices. Improvements to the mobile Safari browser were also announced; tabbed browsing and a Reader feature introduce desktop-like functionality. Finally, new camera features are built in, including the ability to take snapshots from the lock screen, as well as iMessages, a new messaging platform for iPhones and iPads.

Cquote1.svg We are going to demote the PC to just be a device. We are going to move the digital hub, the center of your digital life, into the cloud. Cquote2.svg

—Steve Jobs

CEO Steve Jobs returned to the stage to reveal Apple’s new cloud services offering, iCloud. The service integrates with Lion and iOS applications and syncs data between a user’s iOS devices. For example, calendar events created on a user’s laptop would be sent to their iPhone through iCloud. Apps, books, documents, photos, and more purchased or created on one device will be shared with others. The service is intended to launch in the fall of 2011 alongside iOS 5 and will be available with 5 gigabytes (GB) of storage for 10 devices for free. Earlier this year, Apple opened a 500,000 square foot data center in North Carolina intended to facilitate this new service. Jobs rounded the services off by unveiling a new iTunes feature that mirrors a user’s library in the cloud, allowing them to listen and download music to authorized devices. “We are going to demote the PC to just be a device. We are going to move the digital hub, the center of your digital life, into the cloud,” said Steve Jobs during the keynote. iCloud and iOS 5 will be released in the fall of 2011; Apple announced no new hardware products.



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