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October 30, 2014

Launch failure occurs at Virginia spaceport

Launch failure occurs at Virginia spaceport

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Thursday, October 30, 2014

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Image: Wallops Flight Facility.

A launch failure occurred at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia on Tuesday.

The failure occurred when Orbital Sciences Corporation‘s Antares rocket, which was carrying the Cygnus vehicle with cargo of 5,000 pounds (about 2,300 kg), exploded after liftoff at 6:22 p.m. local time (2222 UTC), creating a massive fireball in the sky. Nobody was reported injured during the explosion, but the rocket was destroyed. The cargo was supplies for the International Space Station (ISS). Despite the explosion, the astronauts working on the ISS will not run out of food or supplies, according to a NASA statement released on Tuesday.

Orbital’s vice president Frank Culbertson said the contractor’s spacecraft will not fly until the cause of the failure is determined. NASA plans to continue the mission of delivering supplies to astronauts once it fully understands how this happened.

The rocket was to launch on Monday night, but a boat entered the hazard area, delaying the launch until the following night.

The cause of the explosion is under investigation by NASA and Orbital Sciences. NASA said the National Transportation Safety Board is monitoring the investigation.



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October 28, 2014

Czech Republic awards Sir Nicholas Winton nation\’s highest order

Czech Republic awards Sir Nicholas Winton nation’s highest order

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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

File photo of Sir Nicholas Winton, MBE, in 2007.
Image: Hynek Moravec.

Sir Nicholas Winton, MBE visited the Czech Republic today and received the Order of the White Lion from the hands of president Miloš Zeman. As a British citizen in Czechoslovakia in the late 1930s, Winton, now 105, saved 669 mostly Jewish children from future Nazi oppression organizing their transport to safety.

The decoration took place in the Prague Castle, separate from the evening ceremony where other distinguished people is to be awarded, in respect to Sir Nicholas’s health. Winton was accompanied by his family members and met several children he saved. During the same ceremony, Miloš Zeman awarded the Order of the White Lion in memoriam also to the late Winston Churchill, who was the United Kingdom‘s prime minister during World War II and led the country as a major part of the anti-Hitler coalition to victory over Nazi Germany. Churchill’s grandson Nicholas Soames accepted the order.

During the ceremony, Zeman apologized for the delay before Winton eventually received these honors, and said “Great thanks for all children you saved”((cz)). Winton replied “I want to thank you all for this enormous expression of thankgiving for something that happened to me nearly a hundred years ago”((cz)).

The Order of the White Lion is the highest Czech Republic decoration, awarded to the statesmen and other individuals “to recognize superior accomplishments contributing to the welfare of the Czech Republic”, as the act of the state decorations defines. With the exception of a few statesmen in office, Winton and Winston Churchill have been the first people to receive the order in the civil division in eleven years.

In recent years, around 250 thousand Czech students signed a petition asking the Nobel Peace Prize for Winton, who has been nicknamed by media “British Oskar Schindler“. His acts were not known to wide public until the late 1980s, when his wife found documents in their attic and shared them with an historian. Since then, he has been decorated with the Order of Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk in the Czech Republic and knighted in the United Kingdom. In Prague‘s central railway station, there is a monument to children saved by Winton.

The Czech Republic celebrates its national holiday today. On October 28, 96 years ago, the former Czechoslovakia was founded as a country independent from former Habsburg Monarchy.



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October 27, 2014

Egypt postpones renewal of ceasefire talks in Cairo, following attacks in Sinai

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

Egypt postpones renewal of ceasefire talks in Cairo, following attacks in Sinai

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Monday, October 27, 2014

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Egypt officially informed Hamas it is postponing the renewal of the indirect negotiations to achieve a ceasefire agreement between Israel and the armed factions in the Gaza Strip, according to Hamas personnel yesterday.

Last week, Egypt encouraged the sides to return to the negotiations table today, in order to further discuss several issues yet to be agreed upon by the end of the last negotiations round. Hamas sources say attacks in the Sinai peninsula have prevented the talks from occurring in their original date.

The head of the Palestinian delegation, Azzam al-Ahmad, said the talks are to be renewed during mid- to late November. However, Hamas spokesperson Fawzy Barhoum told Ma’an News Agency “It’s Egypt that will set a new date for indirect talks brokered by Egypt, and Hamas will be invited to that round of talks”.

Hamas MP Mushir al-Masri stated the Palestinian delegation was to arrive yesterday in Cairo through the Rafah border crossing, but the closing of the crossing by the Egyptian authorities, following attacks against Egyptian soldiers in Sinai, delayed its visit.



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October 24, 2014

Two injured, three dead in mid-air collision near Maryland airport

Two injured, three dead in mid-air collision near Maryland airport

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Friday, October 24, 2014

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A helicopter and a small airplane collided near Frederick Municipal Airport in Frederick, Maryland just after 3:40 local time yesterday afternoon (1940 UTC). The collision was reported around a mile (one and a half kilometres) from the airport, just north of Interstate 70.

US FAA Seal

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said the Robinson R44 helicopter was on a training mission when it collided with a Cirrus SR-22. The helicopter had three people aboard while the Cirrus had two. Both people aboard the Cirrus were injured and all three aboard the helicopter were killed in the collision.

The two injured people from the plane were checked out at a hospital and have since been released.

The plane was still mostly in one piece while a witness reported the helicopter was unrecognizable.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) heads the investigation.



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October 23, 2014

Wikinews interviews Kristian Hanson, producer-director of indie horror film \’Sledge\’

Wikinews interviews Kristian Hanson, producer-director of indie horror film ‘Sledge’

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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Culture and entertainment
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File image of a sledge hammer.
Image: Markscheider.

Just days away from Halloween, Wikinews interviewed Kristian Hanson, producer-director of independent slasher film Sledge. The film has been a recent source of discussion in horror fan circles, primarily due to its production budget of only US$800. Sledge is Hanson’s fourth film to direct, according to Internet Movie Database.

Interview

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png How did you come up with the idea for Sledge?

Kristian Hanson: Sledge came to me while driving home from my brother’s wedding with my wife. She told me that I know slashers better than most and I could come up with something fun and unique, and that is exactly what I did with Adam Lynch and the film Sledge.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.pngWhat kind of pre-production work did the film require?

KH: Pre-Production involved John putting in some ads in the local newspaper and seeing if anyone would be interested in auditioning for the film. Planning the death scenes and figuring out what we could do without a budget and without anyone skilled in the ways of Special Effects.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.pngHow did you set up auditions? How many days did you spend auditioning people?

KH: Auditions were held a month before filming and that is where Stephanie Tupper came to be involved with the film. Everyone else was a friend of John’s and Dustin (Alex in the film) showed up by reading about the movie in the local Potsdam Newspaper. Without him, Sledge wouldn’t be what it is today.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png How many days went into filming?

KH: Four days went in to filming all of the Adam Lynch and camp site stuff. The Amish Paradise trailer and also the Couch girl [character] segments were also a different day, so a total of six. I could say that [the] Assly [character] was an extra day, but I literally threw up my green screen and hit record on both the intro and outro, so an extra five minutes doesn’t count in my eyes.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png You’ve said elsewhere that the production budget was about $800. What were some of the items/services that required buying/payment?

KH: The foam prop Sledge hammer, fake intestines, fake knives, [character] Adam Lynch’s clothes, teeth, contact lenses, the latex for the mask and creating the blood is where all of the money went to. Also buying hot dogs, hamburgers for the small crew. Again we didn’t have a set budget, this was kind of us just throwing our money out there to make this movie happen. We didn’t have a sheet with expenses etc.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png What else have you directed? (…and what about your co-director??)

KH: John and I both co-directed the film we made back in April 2012 (a few months before Sledge) titled F4L:Friends 4 Life, but that film has not been released and to be honest, I doubt it ever will be. It was a learning experience for us and has a lot of humor, but not knowing about copyrights etc, I doubt we would ever be able to release it. I would love to remake it in the future though where I could build up the original ending and keep the same script.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png How old are you?

KH: I am a whopping 30 years old.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Did you study film in college or have any other formal film-related education?

KH: When I was in college I took a semester of improv classes but I never went to school for film, and neither has John. He is the camera man and director of photography and is all self taught. I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice and will have a Master’s Degree in Global Terrorism this upcoming March. So when it comes to film, nope, I am self taught in regards to writing and directing.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.pngWho made the mask? [worn by the killer]

KH: My friend Monster Matt Patterson made the mask. I emailed him after writing the Sledge script and told him the basic idea and he just ran with it. He did an amazing job.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Did you do any location scouting before shooting?

KH: John and Russ (Nash in the film) went around [scouting] but to be honest, Russ’s dad owned the land where we filmed 90% of the movie. Adam’s ‘Stabbin Cabin’ [belongs to] a friend of John’s and that is where we ended up filming that area. We had the entire film figured out before we went to shoot thanks to the people that were there to allow us to use their land.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Did the movie appear in any large-scale venues (cinemas, festivals etc.)?

KH: The film played at the Twisted Tails Film Festival in Dallas, Texas, The Action on Film Festival in Monrovia, California, along with the Indie Fest where it won an Award for Merit in film making. We also had a screening in Los Angeles for fans where we had two-hundred people turn up back in June of 2013, which was surprising and just plain awesome.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png How many days did you spend editing?

KH: Editing took a long time. John spent night after night in his basement cutting and editing Sledge. It took three to four months […] I believe, and thankfully Eric Xton of ScarCrow and God in the Machine allowed us to use his music throughout Sledge. Without that music, the film would not be what it is today, so a huge thank you to them.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Is the movie available via VOD ?

KH: Yes, Sledge is available on iTunes, Google Play, Playstation Network, Xbox Network and a bunch of other VOD providers, but I do not have a solid list [apart] from the main ones I named.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png What’s in store for the sequel??

KH: In the sequel the movie jumps off where the last one ended but two weeks later. We make fun of the fact that this is a small town and in horror films it seems like everyone is a super-model or extremely super good looking. Adam Lynch has a lot more fun and a lot more deaths are planned that we intend to show this time. SledgeD will be just as fun as the first, with another group of people sitting down to watch Assly and another funny trailer for a made-up movie. All in all, it will be a lot of fun, with plenty of blood, horrible jokes and Sledging to go around.



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Egypt calls for renewal of ceasefire talks between Israel and Palestinians in Cairo

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

Egypt calls for renewal of ceasefire talks between Israel and Palestinians in Cairo

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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Palestine
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On Monday, Egypt invited the Israelis and Palestinians to return next week to the negotiations table in Cairo, which two months ago produced a ceasefire in the midst of the latest extensive armed conflict between the two sides, this time in order to ensure the treaty’s stability and to calm the situation in the Gaza Strip.

According to Hamas deputy leader Mousa Abu Marzook, the negotiations will begin next Monday, and will include several issues that have yet to be properly finalized during the previous talks. These issues include the building of a marine port in the Strip and the reopening of the Gaza airport, the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip and the issue of the Palestinian prisoners.

Senior Hamas leader in Gaza Mahmoud al-Zahar said, however, the talks will not touch on the subject of exchange of prisoners or dead bodies. He added, “The issue of prisoners’ swap is completely isolated from the other issues related to reinforcing the ceasefire and restoring calm in the Gaza Strip”.

The Palestinian delegation to next week’s talks are to be led by Fatah representative Azzam el-Ahmad, with delegates from the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), from Hamas, and from the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. AFP reported no response from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to an inquiry regarding renewal of talks.

On August 26, following 50 days of conflict that caused a great deal of damage and many casualties, a ceasefire between the Israeli military and the armed factions in the Gaza Strip was carried into effect, thanks to understandings between the two sides brokered by Egypt. Those talks ended with an agreement to return and discuss the treaty by the end of October.


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October 22, 2014

One confirmed dead after shooting at National War Memorial in Ottawa

One confirmed dead after shooting at National War Memorial in Ottawa

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

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One gunman is dead, police confirm, following a shooting incident on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, the capital of Canada, today that killed a Canadian Forces guard at the National War Memorial. This occurs after two Canadian Forces members were struck two days ago by a vehicle reportedly driven by a jihadist sympathizer, leaving one member dead.

Reports from witnesses state that after shooting the soldier, the gunman seized a car and drove to the nearby Centre Block building, where witnesses report several shots fired. Members of Parliament and other witnesses inside Centre Block report inside this building the House of Commons Sergeant-at-Arms shot and killed the gunman. Authorities noted another vehicle parked in a no parking zone at the nearby Langevin Block with no rear license plate, and sent explosive detection robots to the area.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper was evacuated from Parliament and briefed on the situation, while various facilities throughout Ottawa, including downtown schools, were placed into lockdown.

Members of caucuses for the Conservative, Liberal, and New Democratic parties were holding regularly scheduled weekly meetings inside the Centre Block at the time of the lockdown, and were held in place in their respective offices.

Some witness accounts suggested one or more additional attackers; police did not confirm whether this was so.



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October 17, 2014

Hong Kong police move to open roads in Mong Kok

Hong Kong police move to open roads in Mong Kok

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Friday, October 17, 2014

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At about 5.00 a.m. today local time (2100 yesterday UTC), police in Hong Kong moved to clear obstacles to traffic at the intersection of Argyle Street and Nathan Road in Mong Kok, Hong Kong. For weeks the normally busy crossroads has been occupied by pro-democracy protesters and closed to traffic.

Police in riot gear cordoned off the roads and alleyways that surround the intersection, before moving in with trucks equipped with mechanical grabs to clear the roads of makeshift barricades. Also removed were tents, personal belongings, bedding and any other material protesters couldn’t retrieve in time. Many of the protesters were asleep when the police action began.

The police said they were acting to reopen the roads to traffic, not to forcibly clear the site of protesters, however the protestors were also urged to peaceably leave the site.

The police action effectively dispersed the majority of the protesters from the site. Protesters were moved onto the sidewalk by the police; when they could no longer be accommodated on the sidewalk they spilled into the alleyways, and down Nathan Road towards Tsim Sha Tsui. Once they had crossed the police cordon they were not allowed to return to the intersection. A small number of protesters remained on the pavements surrounding the intersection.

Protesters interviewed by local television station TVB said they felt the police had misled them; some said they would join protesters on Hong Kong Island, while others said they wished to remain in Mong Kok to maintain the pressure on the government.

The Mong Kok site is one of the three main protest sites of the wider 2014 Hong Kong protests. Protesters have been demonstrating in a bid for the right by the public at large to have a role in the nomination of candidates to stand for the post of Chief Executive of the territory.



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October 16, 2014

Hurricane warning goes into effect in Bermuda as Gonzalo nears

Hurricane warning goes into effect in Bermuda as Gonzalo nears

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Thursday, October 16, 2014

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Gonzalo today.
Image: NRL Marine Meterology Division/ NOAA.

Bermuda, in the North Atlantic Ocean, is under a hurricane warning after Hurricane Gonzalo was upgraded to Category 4 on the Saffir–Simpson hurricane wind scale earlier today.

The hurricane is moving up the North Atlantic Ocean with 140 mph winds (about 225 kph), according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami, Florida. The storm is supposed to come near Bermuda on Friday, and could actually hit Bermuda, according to officials. As a precaution, Bermuda’s L.F. Wade International Airport plans to close until the storm has passed.

The hurricane has already hit the Caribbean earlier this week. One person was killed and a dozen others were injured in that region.

Last weekend, another storm hit Bermuda, causing a power outage and residents were recovering from the damage. Winds from that storm reached 70 miles per hour on Sunday morning and it reached hurricane status on Sunday evening, only to be downgraded again later that night.

Meanwhile, tropical storm Ana in the Pacific Ocean is being monitored and officials predict will become a hurricane this weekend. Winds from this storm reached 60 mile per hour. It could hit Hawaii if it stays on its predicted path.



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October 9, 2014

Next phase of search for MH 370 begins

Next phase of search for MH 370 begins – Wikinews, the free news source

Next phase of search for MH 370 begins

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Thursday, October 9, 2014

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Boeing 777-200ER Malaysia Airlines 9M-MRO – MSN 28420 404, the missing aircraft

Image: Laurent ERRERA

Malaysia Airlines Flight MH 370 crash map

Image: ChristianELDEN

Months after the end of the aerial search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which went missing with 239 people aboard over the South China Sea between Malaysia and Vietnam on March 8, underwater search efforts began a second phase on Monday.

Initial maps of the sea floor were not clear enough to assist in the search. Since suspension of the initial search, the Australian government has been constructing a clearer sea-floor map, essential for the search and to ensure no underwater collision with remains of the aircraft. Back in May, a signal consistent with that of a radio beacon was detected in the area, but nothing turned up that helped with the search.

In this phase, the Australian government has started using a special vessel, the GO Phoenix, for undersea debris search.

The GO Phoenix has special technology using sonar to search underwater for possible debris of the flight. The special equipment is able to search far enough above the ocean floor that it shouldn’t hit any debris, according to Martin Dolan of the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB), which is coordinating the search. Each segment of the search could last for several weeks before resupply in Western Australia.

Additional ships, from Dutch company Fugro Survey, are to join the search in upcoming weeks.

This isn’t the only incident with a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777. Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, another 777, was shot down near the UkraineRussia border on July 17.



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