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April 17, 2008

Wikinews Shorts: April 17, 2008

Filed under: Archived,South America,Venezuela,Wikinews Shorts — admin @ 5:00 am

Wikinews Shorts: April 17, 2008 – Wikinews, the free news source

Wikinews Shorts: April 17, 2008

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A compilation of brief news reports for Thursday, April 17, 2008.

Venezuelan Government Nationalizes Steelmaker Sidor

After months of negotiations between Venezuela’s largest steel manufacturer, Sidor, and its employees, the Venezuelan government announced plans to assume control of that company.

Sidor is a division of Ternium S.A.


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Japan Airlines fined US$110 million for price fixing

Japan Airlines fined US$110 million for price fixing

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Thursday, April 17, 2008

A JAL Airbus A300

After admitting to price fixing on cargo services between Japan and the United States, Japan Airlines (JAL) has been fined US$110 million by the United States Department of Justice.

Prosecutors allege JAL earned $2 billion illegally between 2000 and 2006, although it is possible the scheme was operating as early as 1995. British Airways, Korean Air and Qantas all previously admitted being involved and paid fines. The cartel, which created artificially high prices by eliminating competition between its members, was exposed by whistleblower Lufthansa, who alerted authorities in exchange for immunity to prosecution. Three other airlines are also involved.

JAL is the biggest carrier in Japan and the biggest carrier of cargo between Japan and the US.

Japan will not take any further action against the carrier. The investigation was performed by two US groups, the FBI and the Department of Justice.



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George Bush meets with Gordon Brown

George Bush meets with Gordon Brown – Wikinews, the free news source

George Bush meets with Gordon Brown

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Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Rose Garden immediately before the speech

The President of the United States George W. Bush met today with his UK counterpart Gordon Brown, and addressed a press conference following the meeting in the Rose Garden of the White House.

President George W. Bush started the speech by saying that he appreciated the special relationship between the United Kingdom and the US. “we’re working very closely together,” he said.

Bush continued by praising Mr. Brown for his reactions to the Glasgow Airport terrorist attack last year. The attack occurred just days after Mr. Brown became Prime Minister.

Bush and Brown making the speech

The speech continued when Bush thanked the British Army for their work in Iraq, which has been a subject of many newspaper headlines in the UK recently.

Bush then finished his part of the speech by commenting on Zimbabwe. “You can’t have elections unless you’re willing to put the results out,” he said, referring to the recent election. He also said that “more leaders in the region need to speak out” on the situation in Zimbabwe.

Brown then started speaking. He said that the bond between the UK and the US was getting stronger. He then said that both countries are making a ‘strenuous effort’ in the Middle East.

Gallery



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Eric Bogosian on writing and the creative urge

Eric Bogosian on writing and the creative urge

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Thursday, April 17, 2008

Eric Bogosian at the 2007 Tribeca Film Festival.
photo: David Shankbone.

Eric Bogosian is one of America’s great multi-dimensional talents. “There’s sort of three different careers, and any one of them could exist by itself, on its own two feet. There was that solo stuff, and then I started writing plays in the late seventies.” Although his work has spanned genres, most readers will recognize Bogosian for his acting, which has included a memorable performance in Woody Allen’s Deconstructing Harry to co-writing and starring in the Oliver Stone movie Talk Radio (based upon his Pulitzer Prize-nominated play) to playing the bad guy in Under Siege 2 to his current role in Law & Order: Criminal Intent as Captain Danny Ross. They may not know, however, that he had collaborated with Frank Zappa on a album, worked with Sonic Youth, and was a voice on Mike Judge’s Beavis & Butthead Do America. He started one of New York City’s largest dance companies, The Kitchen, which is still in existence. He starred alongside Val Kilmer in Wonderland and his play Talk Radio was recently revived on Broadway with Liev Schreiber in the role Bogosian wrote and made famous.

Currently at work on his third novel, tentatively titled The Artist, Bogosian spoke with David Shankbone about the craft of writing and his life as a creative.

Bogosian’s view of his work

David Shankbone: Which role are you most proud of?

Eric Bogosian: The Talk Radio role was pretty significant, I mean, that film is still out there. And it continues to draw attention to itself. I pretty much starred in three movies; Talk Radio, Under Siege 2, and a film called Wonderland with Val Kilmer that I did a few years ago, in which I played a–anyway, you can look it up on IMDB. But it’s, um–that was a pretty insane role.

DS: What kind of roles do you typically go for?

EB: Well, I’ll play anything if I like the role, if I like the writing; if I think that the character has a real agenda, is an interesting character. I avoid what I think of as “furniture roles,”–I don’t care how large or small the role is. For instance, my part in the Woody Allen movie Deconstructing Harry on the page is a small role. It’s only a few pages long. But it’s a great character, and it’s a memorable character.

DS: And it’s Woody Allen.

EB: And it’s Woody Allen, yeah. I’m three of the voices on Beavis & Butthead Do America. I have had this really exciting time of being working with Taylor Hackford and Woody Allen and Robert Altman and Paul Schrader. But also, Mike Judge, Frank Zappa, Sonic Youth… These are wide-ranging in the different kinds of things I’ve worked on. Those are some of the more prominent things. That play in 1994 was a big deal; the film that came out of it is a big deal. Around 2000 I started doing the books, and now I’m on my third novel. That’s sort of the overview of the whole thing, at least from my perspective.

DS: If you could only choose one of these careers, what would you most want to go with?

EB: In temperament, I’m best suited to the writing, but it isn’t what I enjoy the most. I mean, I really enjoy acting, because it’s a lot of fun. But there’s a certain self-involvement that’s required with acting, and a certain thick skin that I just don’t have. I’m much more a writer, because I can have a homebody quality, and I can be in the house; I can be away from people. I have sort of a problem in that I like people a lot, and I really hate people, and so it’s kind of difficult to decide where I’m at on any given day.

How Bogosian approaches his writing

DS: When you tackled your first novel, was there ever a time when you were like, ‘I don’t even know how people get an entire novel out of their heads,’ and you had to actually sit down and plot it? How did you approach your first novel?

EB: Well, my first prose book wasn’t a novel; it’s a novella called, Notes from the Underground. The way I did that–and this is a long time ago–I wrote it by creating diary entries and just filling them in every day. So every day, I would give myself the assignment of writing a diary entry for this character. And I’d say that that’s pretty much the easiest way to sit down and write a book, because you say to yourself every day, “I’m going to write one of these things,” and one day it’ll be long, and another day it’ll be short. I eventually found out what that character was about. My current book I’m writing now is also written in journal entry form, although in a much more complex way. When I sat down to write Mall, which was really my first novel, I wrote it by understanding that I’m not the most sophisticated prose writer. I had been writing a lot of screenplays and even some television, so I had learned a lot about how to tell a story. I decided to create a very clear spine on which to hang a lot of things, a very clear arc. That arc was kind of a thriller. Mall is about a guy who’s a disgruntled employee and he goes to a shopping mall to shoot the place up. And it was just kind of strange, because since I’ve written this book this keeps happening! This happened a few days ago.

DS: I saw that.

EB: What the book’s really about is people who are there at the mall at the time. There’s some kids in the food court; there’s a woman shopping; and there’s another guy shopping for something else. A security guard. All these people get pulled into what happens, and that affects them. That system of writing a story–it’s a pinwheel narrative, which has become very popular in movies these days, where you go from character to character to character; all the stories are happening at the same time–that was a great way for me to focus on what I do best, which is to sit with each character, but at the same time have a very clear story. The reason that I went into the prose book world was the nature of audiences. I mainly had written theater, and that audience is such a narrow bandwidth of people, as in those who actually go to the theater at this point. You know demographics and age and so forth, I–they don’t actually really reflect even my tastes. Because it’s generally theater’s for sort of an upper middle class–

DS: Do you have an audience in mind when you write?

EB: I think of people like myself; people who like the kind of movies I like, the kind of people who read the kind of books I read and listen to my kind of music. contemporary, you know, just like what somebody who maybe is in their thirties might be going to see or something, because it’s got more energy and action and–that’s the kind of stuff I like. I like louder, stronger, more edgy kind of stuff. That doesn’t exist in the theater for the most part, I think because of Amazon.

DS: Do you think the audience is shrinking for that sort of narrative?

EB: No, with the advent of online bookstores the audience exploded about ten years ago. All of a sudden there were audiences for books that weren’t upper middle class audiences, but a younger audience that wanted to read more edgy stuff. And you saw the rise of [Dave] Eggers and David Foster Wallace; really interesting writers suddenly came to the fore and I thought to myself, I can write a book and find an audience–they can be out there anywhere. They can be in Alberta, Canada, and they can get my book. But if I write a play–the play world is just a really different world. I discovered that when I wrote a book, that the book world is very crowded. And in fact, I’m already a member of the very-hard-to-get-into theater world, so I have a greater edge; I have a greater sort of built-in advantage when I work in the theater, because I’m a bona fide theater guy. You can walk into any bookstore, and you will see in terms of literary fiction that there’s going to be twenty new titles every two weeks. They’re going to be there for a few weeks, and then they’re going to be gone and there will be twenty more titles. And every once in a while, one breaks out, but they’re all competing with each other.

DS: How do you break your novel out? How do you get it to stand apart?

EB: I can’t think about it that way. It’s very simple: All I do is write. The way that I go about doing my work is very simple. Imagine that somebody told you that some book was great, or a movie was great, or a play was great, but they didn’t tell you anything about it. You’re on your way there to see it or hear it or read it, and in your mind, you’re already imagining what it’s going to be like. That’s what I write. I write the stuff that I wish were up there because I’m so often disappointed. I’m just trying to write the thing that would make me happy, you know, as if it was an audience of a hundred thousand of me out there, what they want to read. That isn’t necessarily what everybody does. Although I think any successful writer has to be enthusiastic about their own writing. But you might be writing in terms of, “Oh this is going to be my big blockbuster novel” or something.

DS: Or if you have a particular point that you want to make. Some sort of allegory or some sort of commentary on society.

EB: Well, my stuff reflects the way that I think and exist. It’s a little philosophical, but it’s a little punk as well because I really believe in having a sense of humor about the world, even though it doesn’t reflect in the way I talk. I just think that humor in people and philosophy is what it’s all about. I push the envelope a little bit. It just has to be entertaining, and entertaining can be whatever holds an audience. And that might be ideas, or it might be sex or it might be terrific writing–obviously, I want my writing to be able to hold up when you read it.

How Bogosian works himself into his writing

DS: Would you describe yourself as an experience junkie?

EB: An experience junkie?

DS: Yeah.

EB: [Laughs] Uh, well, I think I always did think of myself that way, but I know there’s so many things that I actually don’t know anything about. I’m typical of the suburban know-it-alls that showed up in the cities twenty years ago and think of themselves as sort of on the edge, but really are so typical, it’s embarrassing. I went to college and I did drugs and I lived in the city, so big deal. Me and ninety million other people did the same thing. It isn’t like I climbed Mount Everest or I fought in a war or did anything genuinely interesting. As fiction moves more and more toward this first-person type of fiction, then it becomes this competition of who’s had the most exciting life or did the most exciting things. And for me, that’s not where literature comes from.

DS: Would you say it comes from emotion and character?

EB: Yeah–how well you can convey to the audience your point of view. You could be living in a box, but if you can really convey it well then it makes for exciting reading. But, you know, you have to be Proust to do that.

DS: Do you draw any inspiration from the current political climate, either in the country or in the world?

EB: Politically, I’m an activist, but my work is always about sort of the attitude that underlies it all. I rarely deal with topical stuff. It feels topical, but it isn’t. I mean, Talk Radio kind of surprised people, because they revived it last year, twenty years after it had been written, and it felt fresh. But that’s because I don’t really write about topical stuff; I write about American attitudes, American values, my values, my attitudes. And to the degree that anybody sees things the way I see things, they can relate. But I’m not going to set out and say, “Okay, now what can I write about George Bush today?” I just think there’s enough people writing blogs about that.

DS: Do you think narrative is one of the more challenging aspects of writing?

EB: Telling a good story is a dying art. Not just in fiction, but in book writing, where you’re given a little bit of a leeway because it’s the nature of fiction; you can meander a little bit. But in films and in plays, it’s hard to know how to tell a good story. It’s sort of one those basic things you have to know how to do before you even sit down to write. You’re juggling a lot of balls if you want to a good literary writer. Obviously, you have to have control of the prose itself, the rhetoric of the whole thing, the way you put it forth. Then there’s the storytelling. Then it’s like who cares that you have something to say unless you have a good reason to say it?

DS: Do you ever ask yourself that question about your writing?

EB: Like a lot of artists, I started out with a particularly strong point of view, coming from where I was coming from, wherever that might be. Like a suburban kid moving into the city or whatever you want to say I was twenty years ago. But I became successful, and then I found it more and more interesting to write about those things that are part of my successful life, which actually are less and less interesting for an audience to read about. So I mean–you know what I’m saying?

DS: But do you ever ask yourself that question when you’re writing, “Who cares?”

EB: [Laughs] Well, yeah. I mean, to some degree, you have to wonder, “Who cares?” But you have to figure that there’s gonna be people out there who share your experience. When writing prose you must come to terms with the fact that Oprah is the queen of the prose world right now, because women are the people who buy most literary fiction. I’m a guy in his fifties. The experience of a guy in his fifties is not that interesting to women and there aren’t that many men in their fifties reading serious fiction at this point. So you do kind of box yourself into a corner. But what can I do about that? I can only write about what I can write about. There are wonderful writers out there who are mature men writing wonderful books: McEwan or Roth or whoever you want to point your finger at. It’s just that that whole serious fiction world has its own problems. That’s what the online bookseller started to change.

The future of the narrative

DS: When you look at the arc of American culture, in your experience, where do you see it heading?

EB: Well, technology is what makes all things change. If there were never any changes in technology, I’m sure everything would reach a sort of stasis, and we’d just live the same way all the time. So, as technology changes, it’s going to feed int–all of a sudden, there’ll be some breakthrough thing that no one will suspect. I mean, when Quentin Tarantino came out of nowhere with Pulp Fiction, it was because of what he had accumulated as a video store guy. I know right now, my son is on the computer every night watching endless YouTube videos, and he’s making videos himself, and he’s got the TV set on and the music on at the same time. Maybe something’s going to come out of that.

DS: Something that’s not apparent.

EB: Somebody, somewhere, all of a sudden, all these elements will fuse, and there will be this new thing.

DS: I interviewed a novelist named John Reed, who wrote this book called Snowball’s Chance that was kind of a rip on Orwell. We were talking about how limited the current narrative is–at least in the United States, where it’s sin, suffer and redemption. John said he could foresee at some point these multidimensional narratives almost on a Biblical level come to fruition. Where you have various dimensions, and where it goes from the Internet to magazines to television and it ends up spanning different mediums. It’s an interesting idea, and when you really think about it you can see it starting to happen. It’s not being done quite yet, but you could envision it.

EB: I think I agree with that. And I think that a parallel thing that’s going on right now that’s invisible to the culture as a whole is that we’re moving toward a more medieval way of looking at things. Narratives are moving toward not only pinwheel narratives, but more tapestry-like narratives. Like The Lord of the Rings, where you don’t really feature a psychological character. If you look at the movies that were the big hits of the sixties, when I was coming up, you’ve got these troubled guys that are in the center of the movie. A guy like Steve McQueen, Dustin Hoffman in Midnight Cowboy or The Graduate; Easy Rider, or Jack Nicholson in Five Easy Pieces. Then the literature of the time, same thing. Some central male character who has a lot on his mind and is upset about the ways things are going for him in the world, and he’s sort of slogging through. My kids find stuff like that intensely boring. They just aren’t interested in psychological characters anymore. Maybe it’s because they’re kids, but you’ve got to give them credit. I was reading Hermann Hesse when I was their age. What their taste and what I think the culture as a whole is going toward, is more medieval. When I say medieval, I mean lots of characters that all have archetypal qualities to them; we don’t really know what’s going on inside their head; they’re just kind of all acting and reacting to each other. You look at the movies that become popular now, even going back to Pulp Fiction or anything like that, it’s, “Who cares about the central, troubled guy?” No one cares anymore; it’s old-fashioned. Let’s look at lots of people doing lots of things to each other over this span of time, and that’s why the movie industry runs into all these problems, because the guys that are greenlighting all the caca that run. They remember the movies that they really liked a lot, and they try and make a movie like that, and they just don’t–

DS: But update it.

EB: Nobody cares anymore.

DS: –that this narrative is currently not popular.

EB: But those movies don’t–they don’t swing, you know? Then Ocean’s Eleven ends up being the kind of movie that will kick it a little bit better. That’s why there is so much action and comedy: people don’t care about the psychological character. And when you start throwing out that psychological character, which is really what has ruled since Shakespeare. The 1950s are the ultimate psychological characters; Brando and all these really troubled guys. You know, it’s all done. It’s done. It’s finished; it’s old-fashioned.

DS: Nobody wants to find out why a person’s troubled anymore?

EB: No.

DS: They just want to see what the effects are and how things resolve?

EB: Yeah, and tell a good story, and have lots of different things going on between different kinds of armies, like 300 or whoever they are–talk about medieval, 300 is before medieval. I think you’ll see more stuff like that. It isn’t entirely to my taste, but the funny thing is, when I see all that kind of material, and then I go back and I look at the kinds of the things that have always attracted me, I realize that it’s really the same story over and over and over again. Some troubled white male and his dick, and he’s trying to figure out what the fuck is going on in this life–I mean, this is Philip Roth. It gets you to the Philip Roth novels that he’s been currently writing, which are–

DS: Which are critically acclaimed but not commercially successful.

EB: Yeah, and they’re also complete dead ends. I mean, they’re the most fucking depressing things–I mean if you’re a Philip Roth fan like me, and you’ve been reading them for years, it’s okay. You get it. This guy is in his seventies, he’s wearing a diaper, he can’t get it up anymore . . . .

DS: [Laughs]

EB: You know, but how is it–how would anybody else be into that kind of shit? It’s so uninteresting.

DS: Well, it’s been seen so many times that everyone knows where it’s going; it gets to the point where you’re like, okay, what is this? “Dejected Man”? Is this, “World Didn’t Turn Out The Way You Thought It Would Man”?

EB: Yeah.

DS: In the end, the stories become uninteresting because you know it’s going to be either a, b, c, or d that makes the conflict. Which is it going to be? People tend to like to read things because they want their interest grabbed. They don’t want to read a book like when they watch a horror movie, knowing what is right around the corner.

EB: Yeah.

DS: How is that person going to die? You know they’re going to die. Are they going to be slashed across the throat? are they going to have a sword plunging through their stomach? are they going to be shot in the face?

EB: Yeah.

DS: You know when you watch a horror movie the person’s going to die; it’s just a question of how.

EB: Yeah.

DS: When you take that to a literary level, it starts becoming too formulaic, and people don’t care how.

EB: Yeah, well that–and also, it reflects sort of where people are at in their lives, and so, you know, romances will perennially be interesting to people because most people that are really actively looking for movies and books are in their twenties and thirties, and they’re–that’s what their life is all about. But I want to say one other thing, which I–I actually ran a symposium at the Public Library a couple of years ago, which nobody seemed to find very important, but I really think is important, which is: If you really want to look for the new literature, you got to look at graphic novels, which are wildly popular. Just look at them, look at the way they’re structured–

DS: Yeah.

EB: –and look at the way they tell the story: you’re completely outside Psychological Character-land. Neil Gaiman is the king of that world as well as a number of other guys, and then they’re making movies based on that stuff.

DS: 30 Days of Night is a good example of that, too, where you did have a central character, but you didn’t really go into the psychology of anything. It was based on a graphic novel. It’s vampires in Barrow, Alaska. You don’t go into the vampires at all.

EB: No?

DS: One of the criticisms that somebody told me was that they really didn’t go into the vampires. You had these creatures show up; they wanted to kill. They were interesting, but you didn’t go into what motivated them–it became more about survival. You had all of these different scenarios and how people’s lives affected how they reacted to this sudden threat that had entered their town.

EB: Right.

DS: It was sort kind of a pinwheel narrative, but you didn’t get into, “What’s driving them? What can stop them?”

EB: Yeah, that’s our little symposium on the future of narrative.

Collaborations with Steven Spielberg and Frank Zappa

DS: What is something you notice missing from your Wikipedia article?

EB: There are two items that are interesting that aren’t on my Wikipedia article. I don’t know how big that page has to be, but I made an album with Frank Zappa in 1986.

DS: What’s it called?

EB: It’s called Blood on the Canvas. I also co-created a TV series with Spielberg in 1996 that ran for two years on ABC called High Incident.

DS: How do you come across these projects?

EB: They get in touch with me. There were times when I was sort of an interesting person and I’d get a call from somebody who’s working with Frank Zappa and ask me if I would like to meet with him? Very often I’ll meet with somebody and there’s really nowhere to go with it, or you can’t really figure out how to make it happen and it would be great if it did, but–it doesn’t. But in the case of Zappa, I mean he’s one of my greatest heroes; I would do whatever he wanted to do, and that’s what we ended up doing.

DS: When you say, “were a more interesting person,” who was that person?

EB: I was more of interest to the general public, probably because Talk Radio had just come out and right around that time, there were these hit shows and so forth happening on theater; it was like I could do no wrong. I was younger. I mean, it’s like twenty years ago now, almost. You just get the kind of Powers That Be out there going, “Hmmm, who’s this guy? Let’s do something with him.” That’s usually what happens; working with Frank was a thrill. Getting pulled into a TV series, I mean it was interesting to be around Spielberg a little bit, but really, you’re working for a huge entity, and I just don’t do that. I am not that interested in that. I make my own stuff. And so sometimes you get pulled in with a big celebrity producer-creator, and it’s suddenly their show, and it’s not your show. It’s not as exciting as you might think it could be.

DS: It’s not as much of a collaboration as it is you’re working on their project?

EB: Yeah. It’s always balance. I mean certainly the Woody Allen movie, in which I didn’t really have a huge role in it, but how could I not? You know, to be on set with Woody and even working for a few days, it was fun to say, “Oh, this is what it’s like”–you know look at the way he works. “This is how he makes his decisions in a scene.” And say with Altman and other people I’ve worked with, it’s like, “This is fascinating!” I made a picture with Atom Egoyan in Canada. Adam’s a terrific and exciting director to work around, so that was great. But at the end of the day, you got to say to yourself, I mean, if you’re really a maker of things, which I guess I am, then ask, “What am I making? Why am I making it? Where am I going with this?” And then I have this urge to continually put my point of view out there. At the end of the day you’ll say, “Why did he even bother doing all this anyway, because there’s ninety million books out there, and who needs one more?” But that’s the artistic urge.

Source

Wikinews
This exclusive interview features first-hand journalism by a Wikinews reporter. See the collaboration page for more details.


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Chair of European Parliament\’s agricultural committee discusses biofuels with Wikinews

Chair of European Parliament’s agricultural committee discusses biofuels with Wikinews

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Thursday, April 17, 2008

Sugar cane can be used as a biofuel or food.
Image: Enochlau.

Neil Parish, a Member of the European Parliament and the chair of the Agricultural committee of the European Parliament, was recently interviewed by Wikinews on the subject of biofuels and renewable transport. The interview was held after a workshop was held in the European Parliament on the subject of biofuels.

“I believe that the mixing of biofuels with mineral oils can provide us with significantly cleaner fuel,” said Mr. Parish.

In a press release by the European Parliament about the workshop, the legislative body stated some possible disadvantages to biofuels:

Cquote1.svg In the last year scientific evidence, though disputed, has indicated that biofuels may not be as good for the environment as was once thought. Critics point out that the intensive production of biofuels themselves may add to the release of nitrous oxide – a potent greenhouse gas. Also, the clearing of large tracts of forest to grow biofuels, especially in South America, may lead to the destruction of biodiversity, huge water usage and the felling of forests that act as huge ‘carbon sinks’. Cquote2.svg

The European Parliament
Image: Ala_z.

In the interview Parish also said that encouraging public transport was an important method of combating climate change. Below is the relevant quote:

Cquote1.svg I believe that the way to deal with pollution caused by motor vehicles is not by making peoples lives more difficult or by pricing them out of their cars without giving them viable and cheap public alternatives. In many rural areas, cars are the only viable way of moving around and we need to remember this. Cquote2.svg

Mr. Parish also mentioned road pricing in the interview.

Cquote1.svg On a national level, the British government could look at a road pricing system which could replace the current vehicle tax regime, with revenue being placed back into public transport systems. Cquote2.svg

Biofuels are often used because they provide a way of limiting the emissions of carbon dioxide. Many people do, however, note that rainforest are destroyed to make space for the production of biofuels.



Sources

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This exclusive interview features first-hand journalism by a Wikinews reporter. See the collaboration page for more details.
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Brazilian President: not continuing to use biofuels would be a \’crime against humanity\’

Filed under: Archived,Brazil,South America — admin @ 5:00 am

Brazilian President: not continuing to use biofuels would be a ‘crime against humanity’

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Thursday, April 17, 2008

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A photograph of Lula, Brazilian President.
Image: Ricardo Stuckert .

Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, the president of Brazil, said on Wednesday that not continuing to use biofuels would be a “crime against humanity.”

“Don’t tell me, for the love of God, that food is expensive because of biodiesel,” said Lula, when talking to reporters.

Lula also stated that he was ready for a debate on biofuels. “Brazil is prepared for this debate. I and my government are ready to travel around the world,” he said.

This move comes soon after a press release was made available by the European Parliament saying that “in the last year scientific evidence, though disputed, has indicated that biofuels may not be as good for the environment as was once thought.”


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Bomb hurt seven police in Basque city of Bilbao

Bomb hurt seven police in Basque city of Bilbao

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Thursday, April 17, 2008

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Euskadi Ta Askatasuna, or ETA, is a Basque nationalist paramilitary organization active in Spain and France. The organization’s goal is sovereignty for Basque Country and it uses both political and violent means to further its cause.

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A powerful bomb preceded by a warning call exploded in the Basque city of Bilbao, in northern Spain, injuring seven police officers. Basque separatist group ETA was blamed.

The blast occurred outside an office of the ruling Spanish Socialist Party, and happened after a telephone warning. The building was seriously damaged.

The warning call came a half hour before the explosion, but a police patrol in the area had already spotted a suspicious package near the building. The officers were cordoning off the area when the bomb blasted. Seven were treated for minor injuries.

The bomb blast comes a day after Spain’s parliament opened a new session. Five weeks ago, the Socialist Party was also directly attacked when ETA killed a town councilman in the northern Basque town of Mondragon.



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All metal cladding taken off Cabot Circus Tower due to fault

Filed under: Bristol — admin @ 5:00 am

All metal cladding taken off Cabot Circus Tower due to fault

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Thursday, April 17, 2008

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Image: Cabot Circus.

All metal cladding has been forced to be taken off the primary tower at Cabot Circus, Bristol, United Kingdom, due to a fault.

This move comes only five months before the shopping centre is due to open.

A representative for Cabot Circus did, however, say that the move has not “compromised the overall budget.”

The shopping centre is intended to be home to 120 new shops.


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Indonesia angered as nation\’s airlines all remain banned in EU airspace

Indonesia angered as nation’s airlines all remain banned in EU airspace

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Thursday, April 17, 2008

This B737-400 is comparable to the aircraft involved in all the accidents and incidents mentioned in this story. Adam Air is currently grounded and may have its license permanently revoked.
Image: Adrian Pingstone.

Indonesia has been angered by a decision of the European Union to leave all 51 of the nation’s air carriers on the list of air carriers banned in the EU. State-owned flag carrier Garuda Indonesia had hoped to begin flights to Europe imminently and has ordered ten new jetliners to serve routes there and to the United States.

Transport ministry spokesperson Bambang Ervan said “This seems like an unfair punishment for Indonesia. The EU is not a sovereign country and is not a member of the ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organisation). But we do respect the EU and its decision, and demand the same from the EU.”

The ban was imposed after a string of accidents, of which the three most important were Adam Air Flight 574, a 102-fatality accident in which a Boeing 737-43Q plunged into the ocean after pilots distracted by instrument failure failed to maintain control, Adam Air Flight 172, in which another B737 snapped in half after a hard landing and Garuda Indonesia Flight 200, in which a third B737 attempted landing at extreme speed and overshot the runway, killing 21.

Adam Air had also almost suffered a B737 crash the previous year, 2006, after a similar navigational instrument failure to that on Flight 574 caused the airliner to become lost for several hours, eventually performing an emergency landing hundreds of kilometres from its intended destination. Indonesia grounded the carrier in March after another accident in which a B737 overshot a runway. The carrier is also in severe financial difficulties and may soon be permanently shut down.

Meanwhile, the pilot of Garuda 200 has been charged over the accident, sparking intense controversy.

The EU reviewed the ban this week, but ruled that those responsible “have still to demonstrate that they have completed the corrective actions” needed to lift the ban. It is a blow to Indonesia, who had promised “fast-track” help to Garuda, Mandala Airlines, Premiair and Airfast to raise their safety to levels acceptable to the EU.



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