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October 30, 2013

Jeff Gordon wins the 2013 Goody\’s Headache Relief Shot 500

Jeff Gordon wins the 2013 Goody’s Headache Relief Shot 500

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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

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Jeff Gordon in 2012
Image: jez s.

Hendrick Motorsports driver Jeff Gordon won the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 2013 Goody’s Headache Relief 500 on Sunday at Martinsville Speedway in Martinsville, Virginia. Gordon started the race in ninth, and eventually won his first race of 2013 and snapping a 32-race winless streak. The race, contested over 500 laps, featured a season-high 17 caution flags for 111 laps and involving 21 drivers, and 15 different race leaders.

The race was primarily dominated by championship contenders Jimmie Johnson and Matt Kenseth, who led 123 and 202 laps, respectively. However, Johnson fell behind after a caution on lap 218, and dropped back further into the field after another caution on lap 229. Kenseth relinquished the lead on lap 237 to Clint Bowyer, and was out of the top ten afterwards. Gordon took the lead from Bowyer on lap 282, which he held for 57 laps. Johnson and Kenseth eventually caught up to the top ten, while Gordon lost positions due to a pit stop, but he reached second place with 80 laps to go. On lap 479, Gordon passed Kenseth entering turns one and two, and led for the remainder of the race. Kenseth finished second, followed by Clint Bowyer, 2012 champion Brad Keselowski, and Johnson closed out the top five. Kevin Harvick, pole-sitter Denny Hamlin, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Greg Biffle and last week’s race winner Jamie McMurray rounded out the top ten.

After winning, Gordon stated:

Cquote1.svg “It’s hard to top what it feels like to win, especially when you’ve been through what this team has been through. I’m so proud of them for never giving up. We’ve shown it all year long; we’ve been through a lot, but this makes it all worth it. It means a lot to all of us to get a huge win here for points, for the Manufacturers’ Championship, for the Rick Hendrick family and for those we lost several years ago [in a plane crash near the track]. We’ve left so many racetracks looking at each other going, ‘what do we need to do?’ Today, it all came together.” Cquote2.svg

In the points race, Gordon moved up to third, 27 points behind Johnson and Kenseth, who were both tied for the lead with 2,294. The remaining ten drivers in the Chase for the Sprint Cup were: Harvick (2,266), Kyle Busch (2,258), Bowyer (2,239), Earnhardt (2,238), Biffle (2,236), Kurt Busch (2,219), Carl Edwards (2,218), Joey Logano (2209), Ryan Newman (2,188) and Kasey Kahne (2,170).

The win was Gordon’s eighth at Martinsville, tying him with Johnson for the most among active drivers at the track. The win also clinched the Manufacturers’ Championship for Chevrolet, the eleventh consecutive title for the American-based manufacturer.

The next race of the season is to be the 2013 AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway, to air on ESPN on November 3, 2013.

Official Top-10 Race Results for the 2013 Goody’s Headache Relief Shot 500
Position Car Number Team Driver
1 24 Hendrick Motorsports Jeff Gordon
2 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Matt Kenseth
3 15 Michael Waltrip Racing Clint Bowyer
4 2 Penske Racing Brad Keselowski
5 48 Hendrick Motorsports Jimmie Johnson
6 29 Richard Childress Racing Kevin Harvick
7 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Denny Hamlin
8 88 Hendrick Motorsports Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
9 16 Roush Fenway Racing Greg Biffle
10 1 Earnhardt Ganassi Racing Jamie McMurray



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October 29, 2013

Fleetwood Mac cancel upcoming Australian and New Zealand tour

Fleetwood Mac cancel upcoming Australian and New Zealand tour

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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

File photo of Fleetwood Mac from 2009
Image: Matt Becker.

Pop band Fleetwood Mac has cancelled its upcoming tour of Australia and New Zealand following diagnosis of their bassist John McVie with cancer.

The tour was expected to begin on November 10 at the Sydney Entertainment Centre and continue through the Hunter Valley, Geelong, Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane and Perth over the following two weeks.

The band’s spokeswoman Liz Rosenberg did not specify what type of cancer Mc Vie is receiving treatment for, nor did she comment on the extent of the disease. A statement on the band’s website apologized to fans for the cancellation of the tour and explained that Mc Vie has been scheduled to receive treatment for during the scheduled dates.

“We are sorry to not be able to play these Australian and New Zealand dates,” the statement read on their official Facebook page. “We hope our Australian and New Zealand fans as well as Fleetwood Mac fans everywhere will join us in wishing John and his family all the best.”

Fleetwood Mac had just finished touring Europe. The band is scheduled to perform in Las Vegas on December 30.



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October 27, 2013

Slow start to winter 2013/2014 flu season in USA

Slow start to winter 2013/2014 flu season in USA

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Sunday, October 27, 2013

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With the United States flu season having started this month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), The Weather Channel and Google‘s FluTrends websites report today low flu levels.

All three sources say there are no, or minimal, reports of the flu in Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Idaho, Maine, Montana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and West Virginia. All three indicate Alabama has moderate flu levels. Google FluTrends indicates that at the same time last year, the flu level nationally was at moderate.

During the early part of the month, there were some concerns about the quality of flu reporting as the CDC and other government supported flu tracking organizations were impacted by the US government shutdown. Some non-profits and private organizations provided their own data during this period to fill the information void.

The CDC advises people to get a flu vaccine as the best means of avoiding getting the flu. Dr. Harry Leider, Chief Medical Officer for Walgreens, also is encouraging people to get the flu vaccine now before the flu becomes more widespread. For the 2013/2014 flu season in the US, there are two types of vaccines available. One provides immunization for two influenza A viruses and an influenza B virus — specifically, an A/California/7/2009 (H1N1) pdm09-like virus; an A(H3N2) virus, similar for antigenic purposes to cell-propagated prototype virus A/Victoria/361/2011; and a virus similar to B/Massachusetts/2/2012. A second type of vaccine provides immunization for two influenza A viruses and two influenza B viruses.

Flu prevelance by state
State Google FluTrend CDC The Weather Channel
Alabama Moderate Local Localized
Alaska Low Sporadic
Arizona Low Sporadic Sporadic
Arkansas Low No activity
California Low Sporadic Sporadic
Colorado Low No activity
Connecticut Low Sporadic Sporadic
Delaware Low No activity
Florida Moderate Sporadic Sporadic
Georgia Moderate Sporadic Sporadic
Hawaii Low Sporadic
Idaho Low No activity
Illinois Moderate Sporadic
Indiana Low Sporadic Sporadic
Iowa Low Sporadic Sporadic
Kansas Moderate No activity
Kentucky Moderate No activity
Louisiana Moderate Sporadic Sporadic
Maine Low No activity
Maryland Low No activity Sporadic
Massachusetts Low Sporadic Sporadic
Michigan Moderate Sporadic
Minnesota Moderate Sporadic Sporadic
Mississippi Moderate Local Sporadic
Missouri Moderate No activity
Montana Low No activity
Nebraska Low Sporadic
Nevada Moderate Sporadic
New Hampshire Low No activity
New Jersey Low Sporadic Sporadic
New Mexico Moderate Sporadic Sporadic
New York Low Sporadic Sporadic
North Carolina Low No activity
North Dakota Low Sporadic Sporadic
Ohio Low Sporadic Sporadic
Oklahoma Moderate No activity
Oregon Low Sporadic
Pennsylvania Low Sporadic
Rhode Island Low No activity
South Carolina Low Local Localized
South Dakota Low No activity Sporadic
Tennessee Moderate No activity
Texas Moderate Sporadic Localized
Utah Low Sporadic Sporadic
Vermont Low No activity
Virginia Low No activity
Washington Low Sporadic Sporadic
West Virginia Low No activity
Wisconsin Low Sporadic Sporadic
Wyoming Low Sporadic Sporadic
District of Columbia Low Sporadic



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October 26, 2013

US Marines change hat style in response to manufacturer\’s closure

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US Marines change hat style in response to manufacturer’s closure

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Saturday, October 26, 2013

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File photo of U.S. Marine Corps hats are displayed during a memorial service
Image: Christopher Callaway.

Following incorrect statements by media organizations that include Fox News and the New York Post earlier in the week that the US Marine Corps were changing their hats in order to make them more gender neutral, the Corps issued a statement yesterday countering the claim, saying they are only changing the dress hat for women. In a statement on their website, they said this change is only “for female Marines because the current manufacturer is going out of business”.

Commandant of the Marine Corps General James F. Amos is quoted in the Corps statement as saying, “the President in no way, shape or form directed the Marine Corps to change our uniform cover.” The quote follows media claims the US President directed the Marine Corps to make a change to a more “girly” dress hat.

The women’s hats were made by a different manufacturer than the men’s hat. At the same time, the US Department of Defense also asked the Corps to develop a more unisex option for both dress and service hats. In preparation for a quarterly meeting of the Marine Corps Uniform Board scheduled for next week, a survey was sent out asking for feedback on whether women’s hats should be made to more closely model the current men’s dress hat or if all Marines should switch to the Dan Daly cap.

Other changes in the US military uniforms are scheduled to take place by the end of the year. In the Navy, flame-resistant variant coveralls are scheduled to be introduced in December of this year. Admiral Bill Gortney, the head of Fleet Forces Command, is quoted in the Marine Corps Times as saying. “Our sailors’ safety is our primary concern here […] If you’re on board a ship and a fire breaks out, you rush to that scene, you escape that scene or you’re assisting a shipmate in whatever you’re wearing. And so this fills in that particular need. You combine this with our existing flash hoods and gloves and you tuck your leg pants in […] it will provide the fire-resistant capability that we think is needed.”



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October 23, 2013

Australian Capital Territory legalises same-sex marriage

Australian Capital Territory legalises same-sex marriage

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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

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The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) yesterday legalised same-sex marriage, the first time a jurisdiction in Australia has done so.

Chief Minister Katy Gallagher
Image: ACT Government.

ACT Attorney-General Simon Corbell
Image: Graeme Bartlett.

ACT Greens MLA Shane Rattenbury
Image: Champion Blue.

The ACT Legislative Assembly passed the legalising bill 8–7, with seven Australian Labor Party members being joined by the ACT Greens‘ Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA), Shane Rattenbury. It was opposed by six Liberal Party of Australia members. Two of the Assembly’s seventeen members, one Liberal and one Labor, were absent.

ACT Attorney-General Simon Corbell made a series of last-minute amendments to ensure that the bill would survive a possible court challenge. The legislation allows same-sex couples from all over Australia to marry in the ACT.

Chief Minister Katy Gallagher said the government would strive toward treating everyone equally and fairly under the law depite the threat of legal challenge. Gay Deputy Chief Minister Andrew Barr spoke with feeling about the impact the legislation would have on same-sex couples.

Local Federal Member of Parliament Andrew Leigh, a strong supporter of rights for same-sex couples, applauded the bill, but Prime Minister of Australia Tony Abbott has indicated his government will challenge the bill in the High Court of Australia. Abbot’s sister Christine Forster, a Liberal Party Sydney City Councillor, who is gay, called for Liberals at the federal level to be allowed a conscience vote.

The ACT previously passed a bill providing for civil unions in 2006, which was disallowed by the Governor General of Australia on the advice of then-Prime Minister John Howard. The bill was passed again after Howard lost office in 2007, but marriage-like provisions were removed from the act under threat of being disallowed by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. Rudd now supports same-sex marriage.

This avenue for disallowing ACT legislation was closed in 2011, when Greens Senator Bob Brown initiated a reform bill taking away the Governor General’s ability to disallow territory bills. At present, Tony Abbott does not command a majority in the Senate, so a High Court challenge is an easier option than legislation. The Constitution of Australia, Section 51(xxi), gives the Commonwealth government — federal government — power to make laws with respect to marriage. The Howard government amended the Commonwealth Marriage Act in 2004 to exclude gay marriages.


 
This story has updates
 
See High Court strikes down Australian Capital Territory same-sex marriage law, December 14, 2013
 

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October 21, 2013

Controversy brews surrounding small Texas church

Controversy brews surrounding small Texas church

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Monday, October 21, 2013

Religion
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The Church of Wells, based in the small town of Wells, Texas has been at the center of significant media activity in recent days. Wikinews spoke with a Tyler, Texas minister who had an encounter with Church of Wells members recently.

In the media, reports have surfaced surrounding Catherine Grove, a 26 year-old Arkansas woman who recently joined the Church of Wells. Grove’s parents and other family say they’ve hardly communicated with her since July. Grove’s parents have been in Wells since July, hoping to have a chance to speak with her directly.

A Latin Cross, a comon symbol of Christianity.
Image: Tinette.

Tyler, Texas is a city located about 70 miles north of Wells. The Tyler minister explained to Wikinews, he and several of his church members were distributing food and water to homeless citizens in downtown Tyler when they were accosted by members of the group. He described the individuals as appearing “[…] very robotic, kind of disengaged and had very big eyes.” The Church of Wells’ group’s leader became “very agitated” and yelled at the minister and his parishioners. The minister said he recognized the Church of Wells members from recent news coverage. Elaborating on the encounter, he recalled, “At one time, I happened to call him ‘brother’. He replied, “Don’t call me brother. I don’t think you and I serve the same Christ.” He reported the Church of Wells leader also insulted one of the other church’s volunteers, stating, “Look at you. You look just like the world.”

The minister reported the Church of Wells members even followed his group on foot for about two city blocks, and began yelling and hurling insults at them when they arrived at the city’s square plaza. When asked if he believes the Church of Wells to be a cult, the minister replied, “The way they were yelling and the leader seemingly believed that our church member absolutely had to share his testimony aloud with him, specifically him, that’s why I can say with comfort that this group is a cult. A cult is controlling and exclusive. All the women dressed the same. He resorted to name calling. He called me a blasphemer, he called me a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Often, when someone begins to feel as if they’re losing traction on an argument, they’ll often shift over into name calling.” The minister continued, “As we were about to leave, [the Church of Wells group leader] said, ‘Prophets of God are not to be mocked.’ I said, ‘Brother, there are no more prophets. It ended with Jesus. Yes, there are preachers and ministers, but the prophets have ended.’ I believe the man thinks he is a prophet.”



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October 19, 2013

10192013

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Saturday, October 19, 2013

In the morning, Raymond woke up to an awesome start and went horseback riding.


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10182013

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Saturday, October 19, 2013

On Thursday afternoon, Raymond Wang had a good day until about 1:45 p.m. EDT, when he talked to his former teacher Justin Gallagher in the kitchen at the League School of Greater Boston. Ray’s parents came to pick up the boy early from school. Last night, Ray, Dad and Bryan went to a Best Buy store near their home. At 22:55, Ray went to bed early to talk to his best friend Clitus Bond. They talked for a decent amount of time. Near the end of the phone call, Ray asked Clitus about Justin Bieber, and Clitus said, “Yes, I like his songs.” On Saturday morning, Ray woke up at 8:55 a.m. and got in the car to go to Lovelane Farms for horseback riding.


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Wikinews interviews Robert Sarvis, Libertarian Party nominee for Governor of Virginia

Wikinews interviews Robert Sarvis, Libertarian Party nominee for Governor of Virginia

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Saturday, October 19, 2013

Robert Sarvis.
Image: Sarvis for Governor.

Attorney Robert Sarvis, the Libertarian Party’s nominee for Governor of Virginia, answered five questions submitted via e-mail by accredited Wikinews reporter William Saturn.

Virginia, highlighted in red.
Image: Huebi.

Sarvis has garnered double digits in opinion polls for the 2013 Virginia gubernatorial election, an unusual feat for a third party candidate. The latest Newsmax/Zogby poll from late September placed him at 13 percent, 14 points behind Republican Party nominee Ken Cuccinelli, Virginia’s Attorney General, and 19 points behind Democratic Party nominee Terry McAuliffe, the former Democratic National Committee chairman, with 24 percent undecided. Whoever wins election on November 5, 2013, would replace outgoing governor Bob McDonnell.

On his campaign website, Sarvis notes he favors parental school choice through student vouchers, simplification of Virginia’s Tax Code, US Second Amendmentgun — rights, same-sex marriage, and reform of the state’s drug laws. With Wikinews, Sarvis discusses his background, views on McDonnell’s tenure, keys to campaign success, plan to implement his agenda, and the former Virginia governor he most admires.

Interview

Wikinews waves Left.pngWilliam SaturnWikinews waves Right.png What is the most important aspect of your background that voters should know about?

Robert Sarvis: I am the only candidate born and raised in Virginia, but also the only candidate who embodies both physically and philosophically the growing diversity of the commonwealth. (I am mixed-race (half-Chinese) and in an interracial marriage.) I am the only candidate who has studied both economics and law, and the only candidate with a background in technology entrepreneurship. Because of my academic and professional background, I understand the issues and challenges facing Virginia much better than the other candidates, and I am offering real solutions that can be appreciated across the political spectrum. I am the only candidate who believes in both economic freedom and personal liberty and the only candidate who stands on principle against cronyism and corporatism and in favor of the rule of law.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.png What are your thoughts on the job Bob McDonnell has done as Governor of Virginia? What would you have done differently than him?

Sarvis: McDonnell did well early in his term pushing back against Senate Democrats who wanted huge tax increases in response to major revenue shortfalls during the recession. Those early budget efforts are his highest achievement as Governor. More recently, he erred in accepting a transportation bill that had huge flaws and huge tax increases, rather than prioritizing spending and seeking more rational, efficient, decentralized transportation decision-making. He could have shown much greater leadership in pushing for tax reform, regulatory reform, and school choice. Of course, he showed ethical lapses in judgment.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.png Compared to previous third party candidates at the gubernatorial level, you have done exceptionally well in opinion polling. What do you attribute that success to?

Sarvis: Voters see the two-party system for the sham it has become. They are sick of the partisanship and nonsense and the total lack of substance in modern campaigns. Voters see the two major party nominees as exemplifying what is worst about their respective parties, and they want something better. Voters who meet me and hear me speak know that I am sincere, know that I understand the issues deeply and have workable solutions, and know that I stand on principle against cronyism and corporatism and in favor of the rule of law and the public interest. People like the fact that I stand for a Virginia that is both Open-minded and Open for Business.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.png If elected governor, how will you be able to implement your agenda while dealing with a hostile legislature?

Sarvis: There are precedents of independent governors dealing effectively with the legislature, and indeed a wise third-party governor can have greater effectiveness than a major party governor. Libertarians share many policy positions with each of the major parties. Working together with both Republicans and Democrats, we can get the good aspects of each party while rejecting the bad parts of both. Moreover, electing a third-party governor represents a repudiation of politics as usual, and the major party legislators will face changed constraints and incentives, meaning that much more is possible than many people assume, especially with strong leadership.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.png Which previous Virginia Governor(s) do you most admire and why?

Sarvis: Thomas Jefferson. He was incredibly learned and was a strong advocate for freedom and the rule of law. He would be a Libertarian today.



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October 18, 2013

UK politicians weigh in as \’Plebgate\’ affair reopens

UK politicians weigh in as ‘Plebgate’ affair reopens

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Friday, October 18, 2013

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Andrew Mitchell in 2011.
Image: Chatham House.

Following an Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) ruling on Tuesday, UK Prime Minister David Cameron and other senior British politicians have criticised the actions of three police forces in England for allegedly covering up the behaviour of police officers involved in the investigation of former Cabinet Minister Andrew Mitchell.

Andrew Mitchell resigned from his job in the Cabinet as Chief Whip following an incident in September 2012 at Downing Street. Mitchell had been told he could not ride his bicycle in Downing Street. The next day, The Sun newspaper reported Mitchell had sworn at the police officers and called them “plebs“. Mitchell agreed he had been rude to the officers and apologised but denied he had used the word “plebs”. A police log was later leaked to The Daily Telegraph which claimed Mitchell had told the officers to “learn [their] fucking place” and referred to them as “fucking plebs”.

The current controversy regards a meeting between Andrew Mitchell and officers and representatives of the Police Federation, the union for police officers. The officers claim Mitchell did not disclose the precise words he said during the altercation. A tape by Mitchell has since emerged of this meeting which casts doubt on this claim.

An investigation by the IPCC ruled on Tuesday that the officers involved should face gross misconduct proceedings as there was evidence they had deliberately set out to discredit Mitchell. The report, and the revelation that Mitchell’s taped version of the conversation does not match the police accounts, has led to senior figures in the government to call for the Police to apologise to Mitchell.

Despite internal recommendations, the chief constables of the relevant police forces — West Mercia, West Midlands and Warwickshire — have rejected the call for misconduct hearings.

David Cameron said of Mitchell: “He is owed an apology. The conduct of these officers was not acceptable.”

Nick Clegg said on his LBC radio show it was “perfectly legitimate for Andrew Mitchell to feel pretty sore” for the behaviour of the police officers.

Conservative minister Greg Clark told the BBC that David Cameron should reinstate Mitchell. Home Secretary Theresa May said the behaviour of the police in the Mitchell affair threatened the public’s trust in the police.

Sir Hugh Orde from the Association of Chief Police Officers said the chief constables need to be given chance to explain their reasons for not engaging in further disciplinary action: “It seems to me in this case there is no issue that the finding by the police service was the officers’ behaviour fell below the standard. The question is the quantum of seriousness and I think that’s why the chief constables are clearly determined to explain that.”

Next week, the chief constables are to appear before the Home Affairs Select Committee to discuss their decisions.



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