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January 28, 2014

Warhol\’s photo legacy spread by university exhibits

Warhol’s photo legacy spread by university exhibits

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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Portrait shot of Dennis Hopper, famous for his role in the 1969 film Easy Rider, amongst the Warhol Polaroids donated to USI by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.
Image: Andy Warhol.

Opening night, January 23, 2014, of the Andy Warhol exhibit of Polaroids and screen prints at the University of Southern Indiana.
Video: Miharris & Acphillips.

Evansville, Indiana, United States — This past week marked the opening night of an Andy Warhol exhibit at the University of Southern Indiana. USI’s art gallery, like 189 other educational galleries and museums around the country, is a recipient of a major Warhol donor program, and this program is cultivating new interest in Warhol’s photographic legacy. Wikinews reporters attended the opening and spoke to donors, exhibit organizers and patrons.

The USI art gallery celebrated the Thursday opening with its display of Warhol’s Polaroids, gelatin silver prints and several colored screen prints. USI’s exhibit, which is located in Evansville, Indiana, is to run from January 23 through March 9.

Full interview with Kristin Wilkins, curator of the exhibition at the University of Southern Indiana.
Audio: Jkthom.

The McCutchan Art Center/Pace Galleries at USI bases its exhibit around roughly 100 Polaroids selected from its collection. The Polaroids were all donated by the Andy Warhol Photographic Legacy Program, according to Kristen Wilkins, assistant professor of photography and curator of the exhibit. The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts made two donations to USI Art Collections, in 2007 and a second recently.

Kathryn Waters, director of the gallery, expressed interest in further donations from the foundation in the future.

Since 2007 the Andy Warhol Photographic Legacy Program has seeded university art galleries throughout the United States with over 28,000 Andy Warhol photographs and other artifacts. The program takes a decentralized approach to Warhol’s photography collection and encourages university art galleries to regularly disseminate and educate audiences about Warhol’s artistic vision, especially in the area of photography.

University exhibits

Kristen Wilkins, curator of “Andy Warhol: Photographs and Prints from the University Collection” at the University of Southern Indiana, January 23-March 9, 2014.
Image: Snbehnke.

Wikinews provides additional video, audio and photographs so our readers may learn more.

Wilkins observed that the 2007 starting date of the donation program, which is part of the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, coincided with the 20th anniversary of Andy Warhol’s death in 1987. USI was not alone in receiving a donation.

K.C. Maurer, chief financial officer and treasurer at the Andy Warhol Foundation, said 500 institutions received the initial invitation and currently 190 universities have accepted one or more donations. Institutional recipients, said Mauer, are required to exhibit their donated Warhol photographs every ten years as one stipulation.

While USI is holding its exhibit, there are also Warhol Polaroid exhibits at the Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York and an Edward Steichen and Andy Warhol exhibit at the Mary & Leigh Block Museum of Art at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. All have received Polaroids from the foundation.

University exhibits can reach out and attract large audiences. For example, the Weatherspoon Art Museum at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro saw attendance levels reach 11,000 visitors when it exhibited its Warhol collection in 2010, according to curator Elaine Gustafon. That exhibit was part of a collaboration combining the collections from Duke University, located in Durham, North Carolina, and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, which also were recipients of donated items from the Andy Warhol Photographic Legacy Program.

Superstars

Each collection donated by the Andy Warhol Photographic Legacy Program holds Polaroids of well-known celebrities. The successful UNC Greensboro exhibit included Polaroids of author Truman Capote and singer-songwriter Carly Simon.

“I think America’s obsession with celebrity culture is as strong today as it was when Warhol was living”, said Gustafon. “People are still intrigued by how stars live, dress and socialize, since it is so different from most people’s every day lives.”

Wilkins explained Warhol’s obsession with celebrities began when he first collected head shots as a kid and continued as a passion throughout his life. “He’s hanging out with the celebrities, and has kind of become the same sort of celebrity he was interested in documenting earlier in his career”, Wilkins said.

The exhibit at USI includes Polaroids of actor Dennis Hopper; musician Nick Rhodes of Duran Duran; publishers Jann Wenner of Rolling Stone Magazine and Carlo De Benedetti of Italy’s la Repubblica; disco club owner Steve Rubell of Studio 54; photographers Nat Finkelstein, Christopher Makos and Felice Quinto; and athletes Vitas Gerulaitis (tennis) and Jack Nicklaus (golf).

Wikinews observed the USI exhibit identifies and features Polaroids of fashion designer Halston, a former resident of Evansville.

University collections across the United States also include Polaroids of “unknowns” who have not yet had their fifteen minutes of fame. Cynthia Thompson, curator and director of exhibits at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, said, “These images serve as documentation of people in his every day life and art — one which many of us enjoy a glimpse into.”

Warhol’s photographic legacy

Warhol was close to important touchstones of the 1960s, including art, music, consumer culture, fashion, and celebrity worship, which were all buzzwords and images Wikinews observed at USI’s opening exhibit.

He was also an influential figure in the pop art movement. “Pop art was about what popular American culture really thought was important”, Kathryn Waters said. “That’s why he did the Campbell Soup cans or the Marilyn pictures, these iconic products of American culture whether they be in film, video or actually products we consumed. So even back in the sixties, he was very aware of this part of our culture. Which as we all know in 2014, has only increased probably a thousand fold.”

“I think everybody knows Andy Warhol’s name, even non-art people, that’s a name they might know because he was such a personality”, Water said.

Hilary Braysmith, USI associate professor of art history, said, “I think his photography is equally influential as his graphic works, his more famous pictures of Marilyn. In terms of the evolution of photography and experimentation, like painting on them or the celebrity fascination, I think he was really ground-breaking in that regard.”

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The Polaroid format is not what made Warhol famous, however, he is in the company of other well-known photographers who used the camera, such as Ansel Adams, Chuck Close, Walker Evans, Robert Mapplethorpe, and Helmut Newton.

Wilkins said, “[Warhol] liked the way photo booths and the Polaroid’s front flash looked”. She explained how Warhol’s adoption of the Polaroid camera revealed his process. According to Wilkins, Warhol was able to reproduce the Polaroid photograph and create an enlargement of it, which he then could use to commit the image to the silk screen medium by applying paint or manipulating them further. One of the silk screens exhibited at USI this time was the Annie Oakley screen print called “Cowboys and Indians” from 1987.

Wilkins also said Warhol was both an artist and a businessperson. “As a way to commercialize his work, he would make a blue Marilyn and a pink Marilyn and a yellow Marilyn, and then you could pick your favorite color and buy that. It was a very practical salesman approach to his work. He was very prolific but very business minded about that.”

“He wanted to be rich and famous and he made lots of choices to go that way”, Wilkins said.

USI exhibit

Cquote1.svg It’s Warhol. He is a legend. Cquote2.svg

—Kiara Perkins, USI student

Kiara Perkins, a second year USI art major, admitted she was willing to skip class Thursday night to attend the opening exhibit but then circumstances allowed for her to attend the exhibit. Why did she so badly want to attend? “It’s Warhol. He is a legend.”

For Kevin Allton, a USI instructor in English, Warhol was also a legend. He said, “Andy Warhol was the center of the Zeitgeist for the 20th century and everything since. He is a post-modern diety.”

Allton said he had only seen the Silver Clouds installation before in film. The Silver Clouds installation were silver balloons blown up with helium, and those balloons filled one of the smaller rooms in the gallery. “I thought that in real life it was really kind of magical,” Allton said. “I smacked them around.”

Elements of the Zeitgeist were also playfully recreated on USI’s opening night. In her opening remarks for attendees, Waters pointed out those features to attendees, noting the touches of the Warhol Factory, or the studio where he worked, that were present around them. She pointed to the refreshment table with Campbell’s Soup served with “electric” Kool Aid and tables adorned with colorful gumball “pills”. The music in the background was from such bands as The Velvet Underground.

The big hit of the evening, Wikinews observed from the long line, was the Polaroid-room where attendees could wear a Warhol-like wig or don crazy glasses and have their own Polaroid taken. The Polaroids were ready in an instant and immediately displayed at the entry of the exhibit. Exhibit goers then became part of the very exhibit they had wanted to attend. In fact, many people Wikinews observed took out their mobiles as they left for the evening and used their own phone cameras to make one further record of the moment — a photo of a photo. Perhaps they had learned an important lesson from the Warhol exhibit that cultural events like these were ripe for use and reuse. We might even call these exit instant snap shots, the self selfie.


SilverClouds2.jpg

Children enjoy interacting with the “Silver Clouds” at the Andy Warhol exhibit.
Image: Snbehnke.

KatieWaters.jpg

Kathryn Waters opens the Andy Warhol exhibit at USI.
Image: Snbehnke.

Kidinteracting.jpg

At the Andy Warhol exhibit, hosts document all the names of attendees who have a sitting at the Polaroid booth.
Image: Snbehnke.

KristinWilkins.jpg

Curator Kristin Wilkins shares with attendees the story behind his famous Polaroids.
Image: Snbehnke.

PillsFlowers.jpg

A table decoration at the exhibit where the “pills” were represented by bubble gum.
Image: Snbehnke.

Polaroidwarholstyle.jpg

Two women pose to get their picture taken with a Polaroid camera. Their instant pics will be hung on the wall.
Image: Snbehnke.

Kidandsilverclouds.jpg

Even adults enjoyed the “Silver Clouds” installation at the Andy Warhol exhibit at USI.
Image: Snbehnke.

cnter
Many people from the area enjoyed Andy Warhol’s famous works at the exhibit at USI.
Image: Snbehnke.
WarholClouds.jpg

Katie Waters talks with a couple in the Silver Clouds area.
Image: Snbehnke.

WarholEntrance.jpg

Many people showed up to the new Andy Warhol exhibit, which opened at USI.
Image: Snbehnke.

WarholFood.jpg

At the exhibit there was food and beverages inspired to look like the 1960s.
Image: Snbehnke.

WarholPolaroids.jpg

A woman has the giggles while getting her Polaroid taken.
Image: Snbehnke.

WarholPortrait.jpg

A man poses to get his picture taken by a Polaroid camera, with a white wig and a pair of sunglasses.
Image: Snbehnke.

Warhols.jpg

Finished product of the Polaroid camera film of many people wanting to dress up and celebrate Andy Warhol.
Image: Snbehnke.

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January 27, 2014

Tunisia approves new constitution

Tunisia approves new constitution – Wikinews, the free news source

Tunisia approves new constitution

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Monday, January 27, 2014

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Mehdi Jomaa, the interim Prime Minister of Tunisia.
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The Tunisian National Assembly approved a new constitution yesterday, a step towards running elections in the country. A new cabinet has been appointed by the Prime Minister, Mehdi Jomaa.

Mustapha Ben Jafar, speaker of the National Assembly, welcomed the constitution’s passage: “This constitution was the dream of Tunisians, this constitution is proof of the revival of the revolution, this constitution creates a democratic civil nation”.

The constitution recognises Islam as the religion of Tunisia but also includes provisions guaranteeing freedom of conscience and equality between men and women. The struggle between Islamism and secularism has been a recurring theme in Tunisian politics since the Arab Spring uprising three years ago: as in Egypt, Salafists have sought to push the country towards embracing sharia law and other hard-line Islamist policies. Last year, the ruling Ennahda party agreed to step down after their political opponents said their government had not done enough to seek justice for the assassination of opposition politicians by Islamist militants.

Mehdi Jomaa, the interim prime minister, appointed a new finance minister — the economist Hakim Ben Hammouda, formerly of the African Development Bank — and a new foreign minister — Mongi Hamdi, formerly an official for the United Nations.



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January 26, 2014

Ukrainian opposition rejects power-sharing deal

Ukrainian opposition rejects power-sharing deal

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Sunday, January 26, 2014

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Opposition leader Arseniy Yatsenyuk
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Protests in Ukraine are set to continue after opposition leader Arseniy Yatsenyuk rejected a deal offered today by the president, Viktor Yanukovych, for Yatsenyuk to become Prime Minister. Yatsenyuk and the opposition movement known as ‘EuroMaidan‘ have said they want certain demands, including running new elections, to be met before taking a power-sharing deal.

On Twitter, Yatsenyuk told the President: “No deal… we’re finishing what we started. The people decide our leaders, not you.”

Protests started in November of last year after the Ukrainian government decided to reject a free trade deal with the European Union and build stronger ties with Russia. Following the rejection of the EU deal, the Russian government has bought US$15 billion of Ukrainian government bonds and given a discount on gas supplies from Russia, cutting the price from over $400 per 1,000 cubic metres of gas to $268.50. The right-wing Ukrainian politician Oleh Tyahnybok said at the time President Yanukovych had “pawned whole sectors” of the Ukrainian economy to Russia.

Russian president Vladimir Putin has called the protests in Ukraine the work of “very well prepared and trained militant groups”. Putin said: “This is an attempt to shake the current and, I want to emphasise, legitimate authorities in the country.”

On November 30, riot police detained protesters and allegedly used violence against them. In December, a statue of Vladimir Lenin was brought down by protesters. Protesters have claimed that after being arrested, they have been tortured by police including being beaten, forced to strip naked.

The protests have become more violent in the past week following a shooting of two protesters—Serhiy Nihoyan and Mikhail Zhyznewski—on Wednesday. The police denied responsibility.



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Texas cold weather creates major highway closures

Filed under: Archived,North America,Original reporting,Texas,United States — admin @ 5:00 am

Texas cold weather creates major highway closures

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Sunday, January 26, 2014

On Friday, an uncommon cold weather system which dipped far into southern Texas created major transportation problems for sections of the state. The major cold weather system stretched from central Texas, eastward to Houston and southward to Galveston, a gulf region not accustomed to such cold snaps.

Nearly all sections of Interstate Highway-35 from San Antonio to Austin, a span of about 75 miles, were closed on Friday morning. Traffic was moving at approximately 5 miles per hour around mid-day on adjacent access roads. A Texas man told Wikinews it took him about three times longer-than-usual to drive from San Antonio to Austin due to weather condition and the closed highway.

Schools in Houston closed Thursday at 4:00pm and remained closed on Friday. Many businesses in Houston also closed on Friday. Huntsville, a city in the deep part of southeast Texas, received 2 inches of snow.



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January 24, 2014

Study shows shopping cart injuries rise after US safety standards set

Study shows shopping cart injuries rise after US safety standards set

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Friday, January 24, 2014

This row of colorful carts awaits safe use.
Image: Jim.

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Over two decades, on average every 22 minutes a child in the United States experiences an injury from a shopping cart-related accident that requires emergency room attention and this type of injury has increased significantly, according to a new study released this month by the journal Clinical Pediatrics.

The number of shopping cart-related injuries to children increased over the course of the study period, which was between 1990 and 2011, and also increased since the United States first set safety standards in 2004. The study notes that an average of 66 children a day required emergency care as a result. According to the study, that is an estimated 24,000 children annually. The study looked at over a half a million cases over the two decades.

Researchers also found that 70.4 percent of those injuries were from falls from the shopping carts. The study also documents the other ways children are commonly injured including collisions, cart tip overs, and trapped limbs. The most likely type of injury is a head injury and accounts for 78.1 percent of emergency care cases involving shopping carts.

The study was carried out by Dr. Gary Smith, director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, and his colleagues. Smith said the current voluntary standards for shopping cart safety are not adequate. “Not only have the overall number of child injuries associated with shopping carts not decreased since implementation of the safety standards, but the number of concussions and closed head injuries is actually increasing,” he said. “It is time we take action to protect our children by strengthening shopping cart safety standards with requirements that will more effectively prevent tip-overs and falls from shopping carts.”

Shopping cart-related accidents happen to both young and old. Chris Strickland, 18, was working in a Home Depot in Anchorage, Alaska earlier this month when he saw a shopping cart falling over and in quick order stopped the cart with one hand and saved a baby with his other arm. And in Shanghai, China, a women died last year as a result of a runaway shopping cart.

According to Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, parents can follow several guidelines in order to reduce the danger of shopping cart-related accidents:


  • Whenever possible, choose alternatives to placing your child in a shopping cart.
  • Always use the shopping cart safety straps. Be sure your child is snugly secured in the straps and that the child’s legs are placed through the leg openings. If parts of the cart restraint system are missing or are not working, choose another cart.
  • Use a cart that has a child seat that is low to the ground, if one is available.
  • Make sure your child remains seated.
  • Stay with the cart and your child at all times.
  • Avoid placing infant carriers on top of shopping carts. If your child is not old enough to sit upright by himself in the shopping cart seat, consider other options such as leaving your child at home with another adult while you are at the store, using in-store child care areas, using a front- or back-pack carrier, or using a stroller.
    —Nationwide Children’s Hospital



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Claire Tiltman murder: Prosecutors mull charges in notorious English crime

Claire Tiltman murder: Prosecutors mull charges in notorious English crime

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Friday, January 24, 2014

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Almost exactly 21 years after 16-year-old Claire “Tilt” Tiltman was stabbed to death near her Kent, England home, Kent Police have passed a file of evidence to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

Cquote1.svg We hope to reach a decision as soon as is practicably possible Cquote2.svg

—CPS

The case has been the subject of speculation sadistic killer Robert Napper was responsible, but the file is reported to concern longtime suspect Colin Ash-Smith. Wikinews contacted Kent Police and the CPS but neither were willing to confirm how many suspects were covered by the evidence file.

“We have presented a file of evidence to the CPS for their consideration in relation to the murder of Claire Tiltman,” said Detective Superintendent Rob Vinson of the Kent Police cold case team in a statement provided to Wikinews. “Claire’s murder has been subject to an ongoing investigation by Kent Police who have never given up on justice for Claire.”

The CPS gave Wikinews a statement confirming they are “currently considering a file of evidence submitted by Kent Police in relation to the murder”. The statement added “We hope to reach a decision as soon as is practicably possible.”

Tiltman was stabbed in excess of 40 times in an alleyway in Greenhithe as she took a shortcut to visit a friend. The Dartford Grammar School pupil, who had celebrated her birthday four days before, aspired to be a firefighter and was a familiar face at her local fire station. Her death in 1993 sparked an investigation that amassed over 16,000 documents without success in spite of the fact she was killed between 6:00 and 6:30pm, as commuters returned from work.

Cquote1.svg Claire was 16 years old at the time of her murder with her whole future ahead of her. That evening someone took that future away Cquote2.svg

—Detective Superintendent Rob Vinson, Kent Police cold case detective

On Saturday the Justice for Claire campaign group marked the 21st anniversary of the murder. A band played in nearby Dartford and, including a raffle, the event raised over £3,000 for the group, which includes some of Tiltman’s friends. Wikinews attempted to contact Justice for Claire but their website is unavailable and previous contact details are no longer valid. Last year they organised a candlelit memorial walk to mark the 20th anniversary.

The victim’s parents have both since died. Her mother died of cancer after care at EllenorLions Hospice, one of two beneficiaries of the money raised by Justice for Claire last week. The other was the Fire Fighters Charity. Founding member and friend of Tiltman’s Lisa Gribben said “We want to hold onto the amazing memories we have but also create so many more so they can be remembered in a good way and not for what happened […] The evening is to remember Tilt and her parents for both the amazing friend she was and the wonderful, loving family they all were. […] Its saddens me that our memories are tarnished because of such evil. Hopefully now when someone reads about Tilt they can read about happier times too.”

Claire Tiltman’s hometown of Greenhithe as it appears today.
Image: Clem Rutter.

Vinson told local journalists at the time that officers were “absolutely committed” to catching the killer and “actively investigating this case”. “Claire was 16 years old at the time of her murder with her whole future ahead of her. That evening someone took that future away.”

Colin Ash-Smith is serving multiple life sentences for other attacks on women, including stabbing Charlotte Barnard, 22, in late 1995. The Barnard attack, for which he was convicted of attempted murder two years later, was yards from where Tiltman died. His other crimes include another attempted murder, kidnap, and attempted rape.

His former home in Dartfield, where his parents live, has been searched at least three times by police. The most recent was in September, when forensic officers spent several hours at the building. His father Aubrey received a twelve-month prison term for perverting the course of justice; shortly afterwards his mother was arrested after admitting on TV she asked for a knife to be destroyed during the initial investigation into her son.

Following the latest search of the property Kent Police said “Officers have obtained a large amount of items which will be examined in the coming weeks.” The former milkman’s father says he’s convinced his son did not murder Claire Tiltman.

Robert Napper, meanwhile, has been linked to the crime by criminologists and by former Metropolitan Police constable Vincent Wright. Wright went to an Inspector in 2000 to put forward his case that Napper killed Tiltman and also killed Rachel Nickell in London in 1992. In December 2008 Napper admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility for killing Nickell six months before Tiltman’s death. Like Tiltman, Nickell was stabbed more than 40 times.

Wright began investigating after Napper was convicted in the deaths of mother-and-daughter Samantha and Jazmine Bisset, who were killed ten months after Tiltman’s death. Samantha Bisset was stabbed 60 times. Wright discovered Napper was freshly released from an eight-week prison sentence for weapons offences when Tiltman died and was a known voyeur. In 1995 Napper admitted raping one teenager at knifepoint and attempting to rape another within eight days of each other in 1992. Wright produced a timeline for the inspector in 2000, and has been in touch with Kent Police as well. In 1998 Operation Enigma, a reexamination of cold murders, suggested the Tiltman and Nickell crimes could be down to the same offender.

A modern view of a path on Wimbledon Common. Rachel Nickell was fatally stabbed on the common by Robert Napper in 1992.
Image: Derek Harper.

“Napper could have been stopped,” Wright said after Napper was finally convicted in the Nickell case. “It was down to poor investigatory procedure that he wasn’t.” The Metropolitan Police lured innocent suspect Colin Stagg into a honeytrap and he was charged with murdering Nickell but later cleared when the case collapsed in court.

Professor David Wilson, a Birmingham City University criminologist, wrote in The Daily Star last March he believes Napper “was probably the murderer of 16-year-old Kent schoolgirl Claire Tiltman in January 1993, and of business executive Jean Bradley, 47, in west London two months later.” That month he repeated his theory in his Channel 5 documentary series Killers Behind Bars.

In addition to the “blitz” style of knife assault on Napper’s victims, Wilson hypothesised Tiltman was linked to Napper by Napper’s regular use of public transport. The Tiltman murder scene is twenty minutes by rail from Napper’s former home and her killer is believed to have headed towards a nearby train station.

Dr Laurence Allison, a professor of forensic psychology at Liverpool University, is co-author of a book titled Killer in the Shadows – The Monstrous Crimes of Robert Napper that looks at not just Napper’s convictions but also cold cases he may be connected to. In addition to Tiltman and Bradley, Allison identified Napper as a suspect in the death of Penny Bell, stabbed 50 times in west London. All three victims were to the west of Napper’s home area and all died within five minutes of train stations.

Allison told Wikinews, “we now know Napper was not sufficiently [investigated over] Rachel Nickell after it was established that he murdered Samantha Bissett”, noting “these sorts of murders are so rare that one needs to carefully consider an offender with track record as a plausible and worthy suspect”. However, Allison made clear this does not mean Napper is the only viable suspect: “Napper needs to be looked at [but] I wouldn’t be so bold as to favour one person over another either.”



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January 22, 2014

Canadian Prime Minister in first Middle East visit: Canadian assistance to Palestinian Authority

Filed under: Archived,Middle East,Palestine,Politics and conflicts — admin @ 5:00 am

Canadian Prime Minister in first Middle East visit: Canadian assistance to Palestinian Authority

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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

During his visit to the Middle East, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper stated Monday his country will provide the Palestinian Authority (PA) with C$66 million in assistance. Harper’s visit, expected to last four days, includes meetings in Israel as well as with the PA.

File photo of Stephen Harper in 2010.
Image: World Economic Forum – Remy Steinegger.

The Harper goverment says Canada, since 1993 when the Palestinian Authority was established, has given the PA assistance worth C$650 million; and the current assistance aims to support the Palestinian peace process, security, and humanitarian aid.

Harper’s visit included a view of Old Jerusalem from the top of the Mount of Olives and a visit to the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. In his visit to Israel, Harper met with the Israeli Prime Minister, Mr. Benjamin Netanyahu, and became the first Canadian Prime Minister to give a speech at the Israeli parliament. Also, he met with the President of the Palestinian Authority, Mr. Mahmoud Abbas, in Ramallah. During the meeting Harper announced providing the assistance.

At a joint press conference with Mahmoud Abbas, Harper said his position isn’t Israeli or Palestinian but Canadian, and added he won’t criticize Israel during his first visit to the Middle East.

However, Dr. Nabeel ShaathFatah‘s foreign relations commissioner, member of the PLO Political Committee, and former PA foreign minister — criticized the visit and the policy which Harper leads with his attitude towards Palestine in an article for the Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail and said, “Unlike previous governments, the current Canadian government has done everything possible in order to undermine Palestine’s international status […] and Canada’s lobby against Palestine’s UN bid have taken Canada outside of international consensus, making Canada part of the problem rather than part of the solution.”



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January 21, 2014

Three found dead at Fort Hood US military base

Filed under: Archived,North America,United States — admin @ 5:00 am

Three found dead at Fort Hood US military base

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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

A US soldier salutes the Stars and Stripes at Fort Hood, Texas (file photo)
Image: US Army.

A man and two children were found dead this morning in a home at Fort Hood, a US Army base in Texas. Early reports indicate the deceased were military dependents. The latest reports indicate cause of death to be unclear.

As of 1:00pm local time (0500 UTC), military investigators had not released the names of the deceased. Officials did note, however, that “no further threat to the community” exists. Officials have yet to confirm if foul play is suspected in the deaths.

Approximately 45,000 service members are currently assigned to the military base, located in central Texas. In 2009, Major Nidal Hassan shot and killed 13 people and wounded 30 others at the base’s Readiness Processing Center.



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Cold as ice: Wikinews interviews Marymegan Daly on unusual new sea anemone

Cold as ice: Wikinews interviews Marymegan Daly on unusual new sea anemone

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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

In late 2010 a geological expedition to Antarctica drilled through the Ross Ice Shelf so they could send an ROV under it. What they found was unexpected: Sea anemones. In their thousands they were doing what no other species of sea anemone is known to do — they were living in the ice itself.

Edwardsiella andrillae and its habitat
Image: Daly et al.

Discovered by the ANDRILL [Antarctic Drilling] project, the team was so unprepared for biological discoveries they did not have suitable preservatives and the only chemicals available obliterated the creature’s DNA. Nonetheless Marymegan Daly of Ohio State University confirmed the animals were a new species. Named Edwardsiella andrillae after the drilling project that found it, the anemone was finally described in a PLOS ONE paper last month.

ANDRILL lowered their cylindrical camera ROV down a freshly-bored 270m (890ft) hole, enabling it to reach seawater below the ice. The device was merely being tested ahead of its planned mission retrieving data on ocean currents and the sub-ice environment. Instead it found what ANDRILL director Frank Rack of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, a co-author of the paper describing the find, called the “total serendipity” of “a whole new ecosystem that no one had ever seen before”.

The discovery raises many questions. Burrowing sea anemones worm their way into substrates or use their tentacles to dig, but it’s unclear how E. andrillae enters the hard ice. With only their tentacles protruding into the water from the underneath of the ice shelf questions also revolve around how the animals avoid freezing, how they reproduce, and how they cope with the continuously melting nature of their home. Their diet is also a mystery.

Cquote1.svg What fascinates me about sea anemones is that they’re able to do things that seem impossible Cquote2.svg

—Marymegan Daly

E. andrillae is an opaque white, with an inner ring of eight tentacles and twelve-to-sixteen tentacles in an outer ring. The ROV’s lights produced an orange glow from the creatures, although this may be produced by their food. It measures 16–20mm (0.6–0.8in) but when fully relaxed can extend to triple that.

Genetic analysis being impossible, Daly turned to dissection of the specimens but could find nothing out of the ordinary. Scientists hope to send a biological mission to explore the area under the massive ice sheet, which is in excess of 600 miles (970km) wide. The cameras also observed worms, fish that swim inverted as if the icy roof was the sea floor, crustaceans and a cylindrical creature that used appendages on its ends to move and to grab hold of the anemones.

NASA is providing funding to aid further research, owing to possible similarities between this icy realm and Europa, a moon of Jupiter. Biological research is planned for 2015. An application for funding to the U.S. National Science Foundation, which funds ANDRILL, is also pending.

The ANDRILL team almost failed to get any samples at all. Designed to examine the seafloor, the ROV had to be inverted to examine the roof of ice. Weather conditions prevented biological sampling equipment being delivered from McMurdo Station, but the scientists retrieved 20–30 anemones by using hot water to stun them before sucking them from their burrows with an improvised device fashioned from a coffee filter and a spare ROV thruster. Preserved on-site in ethanol, they were taken to McMurdo station where some were further preserved with formaldehyde.

This map shows the location of the Ross Ice Shelf in the Antarctic, and the two known localities for E. andrillae relative to McMurdo Station
Image: Daly et al.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWikinewsWikinews waves Right.png How did you come to be involved with this discovery?

Marymegan Daly: Frank Rack got in touch after they returned from Antarctica in hopes that I could help with an identification on the anemone.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWikinewsWikinews waves Right.png What was your first reaction upon learning there was an undiscovered ecosystem under the ice in the Ross Sea?

MD I was amazed and really excited. I think to say it was unexpected is inaccurate, because it implies that there was a well-founded expectation of something. The technology that Frank and his colleagues are using to explore the ice is so important because, given our lack of data, we have no reasonable expectation of what it should be like, or what it shouldn’t be like.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWikinewsWikinews waves Right.png There’s a return trip planned hopefully for 2015, with both biologists and ANDRILL geologists. Are you intending to go there yourself?

MD I would love to. But I am also happy to not go, as long as someone collects more animals on my behalf! What I want to do with the animals requires new material preserved in diverse ways, but it doesn’t require me to be there. Although I am sure that being there would enhance my understanding of the animals and the system in which they live, and would help me formulate more and better questions about the anemones, ship time is expensive, especially in Antarctica, and if there are biologists whose contribution is predicated on being there, they should have priority to be there.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWikinewsWikinews waves Right.png These animals are shrouded in mystery. Some of the most intriguing questions are chemical; do they produce some kind of antifreeze, and is that orange glow in the ROV lights their own? Talk us through the difficulties encountered when trying to find answers with the specimens on hand.

MD The samples we have are small in terms of numbers and they are all preserved in formalin (a kind of formaldehyde solution). The formalin is great for preserving structures, but for anemones, it prevents study of DNA or of the chemistry of the body. This means we can’t look at the issue you raise with these animals. What we could do, however, was to study anatomy and figure out what it is, so that when we have samples preserved for studying e.g., the genome, transcriptome, or metabolome, or conduct tests of the fluid in the burrows or in the animals themselves, we can make precise comparisons, and figure out what these animals have or do (metabolically or chemically) that lets them live where they live.

Daly explained how she obtained these images of the anemone’s anatomy.
Image: Daly et al.

Just knowing a whole lot about a single species isn’t very useful, even if that animal is as special as these clearly are — we need to know what about them is different and thus related to living in this strange way. The only way to get at what’s different is to make comparisons with close relatives. We can start that side of the work now, anticipating having more beasts in the future.
In terms of their glow, I suspect that it’s not theirs — although luminescence is common in anemone relatives, they don’t usually make light themselves. They do make a host of florescent proteins, and these may interact with the light of the ROV to give that gorgeous glow.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWikinewsWikinews waves Right.png What analysis did you perform on the specimens and what equipment was used?

MD I used a dissecting scope to look at the animal’s external anatomy and overall body organization (magnification of 60X). I embedded a few of the animals in wax and then cut them into very thin slices using a microtome, mounted the slices on microscope slides, stained the slices to enhance contrast, and then looked at those slides under a compound microscope (that’s how I got the pictures of the muscles etc in the paper). I used that same compound scope to look at squashed bits of tissue to see the stinging capsules (=nematocysts).
I compared the things I saw under the ‘scopes to what had been published on other species in this group. This step seems trivial, but it is really the most important part! By comparing my observations to what my colleagues and predecessors had found, I figured out what group it belongs to, and was able to determine that within that group, it was a new species.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWikinewsWikinews waves Right.png It was three years between recovery of specimens and final publication, why did it take so long?

MD You mean, how did we manage to make it all happen so quickly, right? 🙂 It was about two years from when Frank sent me specimens to when we got the paper out. Some of that time was just lost time — I had other projects in the queue that I needed to finish. Once we figured out what it was, we played a lot of manuscript email tag, which can be challenging and time consuming given the differing schedules that folks keep in terms of travel, field work, etc. Manuscript review and processing took about four months.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWikinewsWikinews waves Right.png What sort of difficulties were posed by the unorthodox preservatives used, and what additional work might be possible on a specimen with intact DNA?

MD The preservation was not unorthodox — they followed best practices for anatomical preservation. Having DNA-suitable material will let us see whether there are new genes, or genes turned on in different ways and at different times that help explain how these animals burrow into hard ice and then survive in the cold. I am curious about the population structure of the “fields” of anemones — the group to which Edwardsiella andrillae belongs includes many species that reproduce asexually, and it’s possible that the fields are “clones” produced asexually rather than the result of sexual reproduction. DNA is the only way to test this.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWikinewsWikinews waves Right.png Do you have any theories about the strategies employed to cope with the harsh environment of burrowing inside an ice shelf?

MD I think there must be some kind of antifreeze produced — the cells in contact with ice would otherwise freeze.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWikinewsWikinews waves Right.png How has such an apparently large population of clearly unusual sea anemones, not to mention the other creatures caught on camera, gone undetected for so long?

MD I think this reflects how difficult it is to get under the ice and to collect specimens. That being said, since the paper came out, I have been pointed towards two other reports that are probably records of these species: one from Japanese scientists who looked at footage from cameras attached to seals and one from Americans who dove under ice. In both of these cases, the anemone (if that’s what they saw) was seen at a distance, and no specimens were collected. Without the animals in hand, or the capability of a ROV to get close up for pictures, it is hard to know what has been seen, and lacking a definitive ID, hard to have the finding appropriately indexed or contextualized.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWikinewsWikinews waves Right.png Would it be fair to say this suggests there may be other undiscovered species of sea anemone that burrow into hard substrates such as ice?

MD I hope so! What fascinates me about sea anemones is that they’re able to do things that seem impossible given their seemingly limited toolkit. This finding certainly expands the realm of possible.



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January 18, 2014

UK media apparently conflict with Scots law in Mikaeel Kular case

UK media apparently conflict with Scots law in Mikaeel Kular case

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Saturday, January 18, 2014

Media organisations in the United Kingdom have been focused on Edinburgh this week following the disappearance of three-year-old Mikaeel Kular. With the discovery of a body today Wikinews has found evidence suggesting media has been caught out by Scottish contempt of court law.

BBC coverage of the matter, censored by our correspondent who is in Scotland. The censored areas identify the detained person and include an image of them.
Image: BBC.

The BBC College of Journalism notes the differences. “…dock identification is a more important part of court procedure [in Scotland] and therefore pictures of the accused cannot be published until the trial is over. Scottish judges consider it contempt to publish pictures of the accused.” Despite this, many sources, including the BBC, have named a person detained by police and published their photograph. The BBC did this online, in addition to naming the detained individual on Radio 4.

Our correspondent is based in Scotland and has been advised by a lawyer not to identify anybody detained until they have appeared in court, even if they have been arrested and charged. The Contempt of Court Act 1981 is designed to prevent prejudicial material going in front of juries before trial. Although UK-wide legislation, the law is interpreted differently north of the border than in England and Wales.

The BBC College of Journalism advises Scottish legal advice be sought before publishing images of the accused. Channel 4’s Producer’s Handbook notes “the law has tended to be interpreted more strictly in Scotland” but does not advise on how so. Images of arrested persons in high-profile cases are often published in cases south of the border.

Channel 4 is also amongst organisations to have named the detained person and put an image of them online. Police announced last night that a body believed to be the missing child had been found in Fife and that an individual had been detained. The boy had been missing since Thursday morning although there was a possible sighting of him then. Hundreds of volunteers have assisted police searching the Scottish capital for the boy.

Wikinews has also found the following organisations publishing material that may prove problematic as the case becomes a major media story.

The Guardian featured this box on their homepage today, naming the detained person.
Image: The Guardian.

  • Sky News named the person in question and published a photo both online and on national TV
  • The Guardian placed the person’s name on their website
  • The Telegraph placed a photo and name on their website
  • The Independent placed a photo and name on their website, later removing the photo from their article but not their homepage
  • The Daily Mail published online a profile of the person including several photos, and noted the person was friends with the victim of a gun murder in Edinburgh
  • The Mirror published six articles on the case online, including a timeline and two live blogs. All named the detained person.
  • Metro identified the person on their website but did not publish a photo
  • The Evening Standard published the name and a photo on their website
  • The Daily Star reported the person had been “immediately detained” and placed a photo on their website
  • The Sun, which had offered a £25,000 reward, named the person in an article on their website that included a photo. Both the photo and identifying information appeared on their homepage.
  • Manchester Evening News placed a live blog on their website naming the person

The Daily Mail have placed the story prominently on their homepage, with the material behind the boxes including a photograph, a descriptive link to a profile, and the name of the detained person.
Image: The Daily Mail.

Some Scottish publications have also been publishing similar material.

  • The Scotsman published an article and video identifying the person on their website
  • The Herald noted police would not identify the person but nonetheless placed their name and a photograph online

The articles rank amongst the most-read items on many of the news websites. Unlike in England and Wales, where only the Attorney General can prosecute contempt of this sort, in Scotland the media organisations can be charged by an accused person. Wikinewsies in Scotland have noted remarks made about the named person’s alleged wrongdoing on public transport and Facebook, suggesting widespread knowledge of their identity.

Several of the organisations involved are no stranger to being prosecuted for contempt over cases in neighbouring England. In 2011 The Sun and The Daily Mail were successfully prosecuted for contempt by Attorney General Dominic Grieve after they published a photo of a murder defendant posing with a gun. The case did not involve firearms and Grieve spoke of “seriously impeded or prejudiced” proceedings if any jurors saw the photos. The trial was not stopped as the photo was removed from circulation before the jury saw it and the defendant was found guilty.

In 2011 The Sun and Mirror were fined for reporting negatively about an arrested suspect in the high-profile Jo Yeates murder investigation. Chris Jeffries, landlord of the victim, was subsequently released from police custody and proved to be entirely innocent. Jeffries also pursued libel action against a number of publications. Politicians subsequently considered a law banning the naming of arrested persons who have not been charged throughout the UK as a direct result of this case.

The Daily Mail and Mirror were back in court the next year for their coverage of a trial involving serial killer Levi Bellfield. The two papers were again fined after Dominic Grieve told the High Court in London of an “avalanche” of “seriously prejudicial” stories. The papers published their stories after Bellfield was convicted of abducting and murdering schoolgirl Milly Dowler. The trial was not yet over, however, as the jury was still considering an additional charge relating to another alleged attempted abduction. That charge was dropped because of news coverage.

Wikinews is awaiting comment from several prominent Scottish professors of law on the issues raised by this article.


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