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September 10, 2005

Wendy’s finger pointers plead guilty of crime

Wendy’s finger pointers plead guilty of crime

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Saturday, September 10, 2005

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Related stories
  • Woman finds human finger in bowl of chili at Wendy’s restaurant

The Wendy's outlet where the finger was discovered The Wendy’s outlet where the finger was discovered.

Background information
  • Profile: Wendy’s
  • Profile: Anna Ayala
  • Wikinews: Wendy’s

Story sources

The notorious Anna Ayala, who caught the world’s attention by filing a lawsuit against the fast food restaurant Wendy’s, for a piece of a human finger she claimed was served in her bowl of chili, pleaded guilty to all charges brought before her in the case. Her co-defendant husband, Jaime Placencia, also pleaded guilty Friday to charges they both faced for conspiring to file a false claim and attempted grand theft.

The plea of guilt amounts to an admission the two conspired to plant the fingertip in Ayala’s bowl of chili. The stage set for a lawsuit against Wendy’s was met by the company’s own reward of US$100,000 for information leading to the source of the finger part.

A week before yesterday’s trial, the prosecutor for Santa Clara County, Deputy District Attorney Chuck Gillingham, made it clear that the two would not be offered a plea bargain. Gillingham expressed confidence in the strength of the case against them. Wendy’s International Inc. said the negative publicity generated by the Ayala claims cost the company $2.5 million in lost sales.

Ayala, 39, and Placencia, 43, remained in jail prior to the trial in lieu of $500,000 bail each. Ayala faces up to 10 years in prison, and her husband faces 13 years. Sentencing is set for November 2.

Wendy’s aggressively pursued evidence to counter Ayala’s claims. Suspicion against the claims grew as forensic evidence mounted. Ayala was later arrested in Nevada for selling a motor home to a woman who paid for it, but never got the home, because it belonged to her husband Placencia.

Ayala’s husband supplied the fingertip that was planted in the chili from a work incident involving a co-worker.

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Swedish minister wants more free-to-air channels in the terrestrial television network

Swedish minister wants more free-to-air channels in the terrestrial television network

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A decryption card is needed for most channels in the Swedish digital television network. Photographer: Johan Olsson (Teracom).

Saturday, September 10, 2005

In a press release on September 8 from the Swedish Ministry of Education, Research and Culture it was announced that new television broadcasting licenses for the Swedish digital terrestrial television network was to be given and that the Radio and Television Authority (RTVV) had been given the task to handle the applications. All digital television licenses will cease by the end of 2005 and the companies must apply for a renewal if they want to continue broadcasting in 2006 and 2007.

Minister Leif Pagrotsky says in the press release that he is “taking an initiative towards a broader offer and more free channels”. He doesn’t give any clue on how this will be done in the press release, however. In an interview in Dagens Media, his press secretary Thomas Johansson says that new applicants most likely must offer free-to-air channels if they want a licence. Johansson says that there is space for at least two more channels in the network.

The RTVV shall leave a suggestion of what channels will get new or continued licenses on November 21, 2005. As of September 8 TV4 AB, Dagens Industri, Sportexpressen and Eurosport SA had sent their applications for new or continued licenses.

Currently, very few of the 33 channels in the network have chosen to go free-to-air, in contrast to the United Kingdom, Germany and Finland where most channels are free-to-air.

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Saudi Arabia agrees with the US on joining the WTO

Saudi Arabia agrees with the US on joining the WTO

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Saturday, September 10, 2005

The current members of the WTO

Saudi Arabia signed on Friday a trade agreement with the United States, which was considered to be one the last major hurdles to the World Trade Organisation membership of the kingdom. Now, Saudis have to complete negotiations at the Geneva-based WTO on the formal accession document.

The deal opens Saudi markets to US farm and manufactured goods, as well as most services, including IT, financial, energy and tourism sectors. It also forced Saudis not to boycott US companies which are doing business with Israel.

The kingdom also promised to have normal trade relations with all 148 WTO members, which include Israel.

The other problem remains a Saudi-EU row over gas prices. The EU officials accused Saudi Arabia of selling the natural gas to their home petrochemicals at rates below international market prices, which could cause losses to the European producers.

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Red Cross is not in New Orleans for Katrina, Guard raced it to Superdome

Filed under: New Orleans Disaster — admin @ 5:00 am

Red Cross is not in New Orleans for Katrina, Guard raced it to Superdome

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Saturday, September 10, 2005

New Orleans Disaster

Hurricane Katrina
  • Hurricane Katrina causes upwards of $12bn of damage; oil prices surge
  • At least 55 killed by Hurricane Katrina; serious flooding across affected region
  • Hurricane Katrina strikes Florida, kills seven
  • Tropical Storm Katrina threatens Florida, Bahamas
Superdome refuge center

Superdome shelter.jpg

Other links
  • Effect of Hurricane Katrina on New Orleans
  • Hurricane Katrina

The American Red Cross is not lending its usual assistance in New Orleans, because the Louisiana National Guard acted first. After Saturday September 3, it was agreed with state officials the Red Cross was not needed because the large-scale evacuation of the city was under way.

The organization explains on its web site:

  • Access to New Orleans is controlled by the National Guard and local authorities and while we are in constant contact with them, we simply cannot enter New Orleans against their orders.
  • The state Homeland Security Department had requested–and continues to request–that the American Red Cross not come back into New Orleans following the hurricane. Our presence would keep people from evacuating and encourage others to come into the city.
  • The Red Cross does not conduct search and rescue operations. We are an organization of civilian volunteers and cannot get relief aid into any location until the local authorities say it is safe and provide us with security and access.
  • The original plan was to evacuate all the residents of New Orleans to safe places outside the city. With the hurricane bearing down, the city government decided to open a shelter of last resort in the Superdome downtown. We applaud this decision and believe it saved a significant number of lives.

On September 1, the Red Cross offered to Louisiana state officials to enter New Orleans, who rejected the offer due to logistical difficulties. Making the offer the next day to Col. Jay Mayeaux, the deputy director of the Louisiana Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, the Red Cross was asked to wait 24 hours while preparations were made. By the next day, Saturday September 3rd, the National Guard had arrived in the city, felt they had adequate supplies and did not need the Red Cross.

Superdome: refuge of last resort

Superdome roof, 2 days after Katrina struck

The American Red Cross is often involved in emergency situations, and the term applied to the Superdome, “refuge of last resort”, is based on Red Cross shelter standards. It is the minimal type of shelter, defined primarily by not meeting shelter standards:

  1. May or may not meet any of the ARC criteria for a shelter and has not been approved for use as a shelter by the ARC.
  2. May be located either inside or outside of the Hurricane Risk Area.
  3. Physical features required:
    Located outside of the flood zone or ability to locate on floors elevated above flood potential area and hurricane wind resistant structure.

Ticking clock

Despite the Superdome being a minimal shelter, it was reported there were 26,000 people there. As the Times-Picayune reported on Sunday, August 28, Col. Mayeaux was involved in preparations:

“To help keep them fed and hydrated, the Louisiana National Guard delivered three truckloads of water and seven truckloads of MREs — short for “meals ready to eat.” That’s enough to supply 15,000 people for three days, according to Col. Jay Mayeaux, deputy director of the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Emergency Preparedness.”

The National Guard delivered enough food for 15,000 people for 3 days, to a place which may have had 26,000 people. Four days later, National Guardsmen accompanied by buses (475 in all) and supply trucks arrived at the Superdome on September 1.

Sources

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This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

Read Santa Clara marks tenth anniversary

Read Santa Clara marks tenth anniversary

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Saturday, September 10, 2005

Jennifer Sparacino, Santa Clara City Manager, third from left, and Santa Clara Mayor Patricia Mahan pose with Read Santa Clara staff, tutors, and learners. Photograph taken by Dvortygirl 10 September 2005, Santa Clara, California, USA.

Santa Clara, California, USA. The adult literacy program Read Santa Clara marked its tenth anniversary today with a gathering of program participants, staff, and supporters from the community. Read Santa Clara trains volunteer tutors and matches them with adult learners who wish to build their literacy skills.

In the presentation, program staff and supporters reviewed the program’s history and growth, honored long-time participants, and looked toward the future.

Santa Clara Mayor Patricia Mahan spoke at the gathering, noting, “Read Santa Clara joins people who need to learn with people who need to teach, and what a powerful combination that is.” She added, “I think adult literacy is so important.”

Program coordinators estimate that tutors volunteered some 5000 hours last year. City Manager Jennifer Sparacino estimates, “That’s worth about $100,000 per year in volunteer time.”

Learners also spoke about what Read Santa Clara meant to them. Raymond Moreno said, “I hope it stays for another ten, twenty, thirty years, because we need it.” Juan Velasquez said, “My life has changed a lot…I did many things I could not have done without help.” And Ike Moore said, “To be able to express myself…What a gift!”

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Irish dancing record broken in Cork

Filed under: Archived,Public domain articles — admin @ 5:00 am

Irish dancing record broken in Cork – Wikinews, the free news source

Irish dancing record broken in Cork

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Saturday, September 10, 2005

On Saturday 10, 2005, the world record for the largest performance of the Siege of Ennis, an Irish folk dance, was set in Cork, Ireland. It was organised by the Triskel Arts Centre and the local newspaper Evening Echo, and was part of the city’s tenure as European Capital of Culture.

It beat the previous record set in Dublin, Ohio. This attempt was sponsored by Michael Flatley.

The record breaking attempt was immediately followed by an actual dance.

Sources

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Guadalupe River Park and Gardens opens in San Jose, CA, USA

Guadalupe River Park and Gardens opens in San Jose, CA, USA

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Saturday, September 10, 2005

Visitors explore the trails in Guadalupe River Park

The city of San Jose, California greeted the opening of the Guadalupe River Park and Gardens today with festivities, music, and dancing. Local organizations and businesses offered booths and activities for the crowd.

Festivities at the opening of the Guadalupe River Park

Themed “A park for many reasons, a park for all seasons”, the opening marked the culmination of 12 years of building, at a cost of $340 million. With trails running 2.6 miles along the Guadalupe River, the park offers an open space for city residents, preserves habitat for local wildlife, and works in conjunction with local flood control projects.

Planning for the park began in 1985 and construction continues to extend the trails along the lower Guadalupe River to Alviso by 2006.

Sources

  • Kathleen Muller “Grand Opening of Guadalupe River Park”. City of San José Community Connections newsletter, Summer, 2005.
  • “It all started with flood protection”. (Unattributed.) Guadalupe River Park and Gardens grand opening brochure, September 10, 2005.
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This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

FEMA head relieved of duties

FEMA head relieved of duties – Wikinews, the free news source

FEMA head relieved of duties

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Saturday, September 10, 2005

Thad Allen

The U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security, Michael Chertoff, announced from Baton Rouge, Louisiana on Friday that Coast Guard Vice Admiral Thad W. Allen will replace the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) director Michael D. Brown as the Principal Federal Official (PFO) for the recovery effort; however, Mr. Brown will continue as the Director of FEMA.

Admiral Allen was given the assignment of special deputy to Mr. Brown earlier this week. Secretary Chertoff now describes Allen as, “the Principal Federal Official overseeing the Hurricane Katrina response and recovery effort in the field.”

Mr. Brown, who came under intense pressure for government failures to provide timely assistance to disaster victims of Hurricane Katrina, was ordered back to Washington and relieved of his duties in the Gulf States. His immediate FEMA role now will be for its national administration. The personnel change results in FEMA’s local effort now being headed-up by military leadership, instead of civilian. However, Admiral Allen’s Deputy (the number two federal offiicial in the field) is a civilian.

The Coast Guard came under the homeland’s security umbrella in 2003. Allen, a career Coast Guard officer, was in charge of its Atlantic forces fleet during the terrorist 9/11 attack in New York City in 2001.

Michael Chertoff

Mr. Brown, who was hailed last week by President Bush, “Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job,” was nominated by Bush himself to head FEMA in 2003. Recent allegations that credentials Brown listed on his resume prior to employment at FEMA, which began in 2001, that said he worked in emergency services for the city of Edmond, OK from 1975 to 1978, along with being awarded “Outstanding Political Science Professor” at the Central State University in Oklahoma, both have come under fire in a report by TIME magazine two days ago. Critics question how thorough the White House was in its vetting Brown for the FEMA assignment.

When commenting about Mr. Brown last Friday, Senator Mary L. Landrieu, who spent more than a week in the hurricane struck area, said “I have been telling him from the moment he arrived about the urgency of the situation” and “I just have to tell you that he had a difficult time understanding the enormity of the task before us.”

Related News

  • “Federal response to Katrina a “national disgrace”” — Wikinews, September 3, 2005

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Celebrities contribute to Katrina relief

Celebrities contribute to Katrina relief

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Published:Wednesday, September 7, 2005Updated:Saturday, September 10, 2005 (Travolta, Preston, Moore, Stones, Three Doors Down, Johnson, Smith)

After Hurricane Katrina passed across the United States, various artists and media stars have leapt at a call to action.

John Travolta and wife Kelly Preston flew his private plane to deliver a load of supplies and tetanus vaccine to Baton Rouge and New Orleans. Part of a Scientology project which has been using their non-massage “assists”, in an interview Preston mentioned that “auditing” had also been performed on victims.

Kevin Smith is holding an online auction on his Web site.

Sean Penn actually went to Louisiana. After loading down a small boat with his entourage, it was discovered one of them had neglected to seal a hole in the bottom. Penn was wearing a white vest rather than a life vest while bailing. After the motor wouldn’t start, the crew paddled down a flooded New Orleans street. Bystanders jeered at whether any victims could fit aboard the crowded craft. No report on rescue stunts. Local authorities had previously been criticized for not allowing volunteer boaters in to help.

Morgan Freeman, whose home fared well, is organizing an online auction of celebrity items at charityfolks.com, to benefit the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund.

Curt Schilling opened his home to a family of nine driven out of their New Orleans home. The Schilling family will provide housing for the Fields for a year while their home in New Orleans is rebuilt and repaired.

Some celebrities “graced” disaster zones with their presence in the days following Katrina.

Singer Macy Gray and television personality Phil McGraw visited Houston’s Astrodome.

Celebrities visiting New Orleans include Michael Moore (opposite side of lake), singer Harry Connick, Jr., CNN’s Anderson Cooper, actor Jamie Foxx, singer Faith Hill, actor Matthew McConaughey, singer Lisa Marie Presley, comedian Chris Rock, and The Oprah Winfrey Show contributor Lisa Ling and interior decorator Nate Berkus.

Oprah Winfrey visited New Orleans, Houston, and Mississippi.

Donations with press releases

Personality Contributions Beneficiary
Jerry Lewis Half of Monday telethon Salvation Army
Shelter From the Storm (US TV networks) Friday telethon  
BET Relief Telethon Friday BET telethon National Urban League and the American Red Cross
MTV ReAct Now Saturday MTV telethon several
Dave Matthews Band Sept 12 concert
Red Rocks Amphitheatre
 
Grand Ole Opry Country Reaches Out Sept 27 telethon  
Serena Williams $100 for every ace she hits on the tennis court  
Jay Leno celebrity motorcycle auction  
Barry Manilow matching contributions
manilowfund.com
Red Cross
David Banner Sept. 17 benefit concert in Atlanta  
 
Lance Armstrong $500,000 Affected cancer survivors.
Nicolas Cage $1 million Red Cross
George Clooney $1 million United Way
Ellen DeGeneres $500,000 + donations  
Celine Dion $1 million Red Cross
Hilary Duff $250,000 Red Cross & USA Harvest
Michael Jackson charity single  
Jay-Z and Diddy $1 million Red Cross
Magic Johnson jobs  
Ludacris $100,000  
The Rolling Stones $1 million Red Cross
Steven Spielberg $1.5 million American Red Cross and Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund
Three Doors Down $300,000 Better Life Foundation

Celebrities in the storm

Singer Fats Domino was missing during the New Orleans flood but has since reached safety.

Celebrities out of the storm

New Orleans residents who were out of town during the Hurricane included:

  • Juvenile, who left New Orleans before the storm.
  • Dave Pirner, who was visiting his Minneapolis hometown.
  • Master P, whose family members are missing.
  • The Neville Brothers have relocated to Round Rock, Texas.

Sources

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This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

All major American TV networks show charity concert for Katrina victims

All major American TV networks show charity concert for Katrina victims

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Saturday, September 10, 2005

SFTS Concert logo.jpg

On Friday, all six major American television networks; ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, WB, and UPN, along with most PBS stations, united in a rare show of solidarity to air a one hour charity concert called Shelter from the Storm: A Concert for the Gulf Coast.

The concert aired live at 8pm in the Eastern time zone and 7pm in the Central time zone and on tape-delay in the Mountain and Pacific time zones. It was also shown on the Internet and many cable networks such as USA, Bravo and G4.

The show was produced by Joel Gallen, the same man behind the September 11th tribute concert America: A Tribute to Heroes. The show was not censored for political statements but was for obscenities. Gallen did not expect any political statements. Last week, rapper Kayne West made a remark on an NBC charity show A Concert for Hurricane Relief, in which West claimed that “George Bush doesn’t care about black people.”, which caused controversy.

The concert began with Randy Newman singing “Louisana 1927.” Throughout the concert there were notable acts, such U2 performing “One” with Mary. J Blige. Another moment was Garth Brooks, Trisha Yearwood and the house band from The Late Show with David Letterman doing a cover of John Fogerty’s “Who’ll Stop The Rain”.

Donations were being solicited for the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army.

Telecom company AT&T provided toll-free calling and 10 call centers for the event and MCI provided volunteers from their call centers.

BET also held a charity concert called S.O.S (Saving OurSelves), a half-hour before cutting to the main one.

MTV, MTV Overdrive, VH1 and CMT will air a charity show Saturday called ReAct Now: Music & Relief.

Sources

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This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.
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