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December 31, 2014

Jim Webb campaign addresses first 2016 presidential election controversy

Jim Webb campaign addresses first 2016 presidential election controversy

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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2016 United States Presidential Election
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2016 U.S. Presidential Election stories
  • 6 January 2015: Wikinews interviews Christopher Hill, U.S. Republican Party presidential candidate
  • 31 December 2014: Jim Webb campaign addresses first 2016 presidential election controversy
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  • 5 July 2012: On the campaign trail, June 2012
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Former U.S. Senator Jim Webb
Image: United States Congress.

Yesterday, a spokesperson for former U.S. Senator Jim Webb, a potential 2016 Democratic Party presidential candidate, attacked the Business Insider for its report Monday that Webb’s Political Action Committee (PAC) paid nearly US$100,000 (about 80,000) to Webb’s wife and daughter over the course of the past six years. Ashleigh Owens, who represents Webb’s Born Fighting PAC, accused the Business Insider of “[a]dding up numbers across several years [to create] a sensational headline”. The controversy marks the first for Webb since he became the first major candidate to open an exploratory committee last month.

Claiming the Webb family “has made quite a bit of money from [Jim Webb’s] political career”, the Business Insider reported that of US$961,515.34 raised, Webb’s PAC paid a total of US$91,999.91 to his wife Hong Le Webb and daughter Amy Webb Hogan, with US$14,834.34 and US$24,412.20 disbursed, respectively, in 2014, years after fundraising ceased.

“This story as written misrepresents reasonable compensation for real and provable work done”, said Owens in a press release. “The activities of the PAC increased in 2014 when Jim Webb decided to re-enter the political discussions of our country.”

According to Owens, in 2014, Hong Le Webb, who works as an attorney, was paid for “vetting design consultants, negotiating contracts and content management” relating to the exploratory committee website. Hogan was compensated for her work in the “administration, management and design” of websites as well as the “handling of FEC [Federal Election Commission] compliance matters”.

Webb, a 68-year-old Vietnam War veteran, served as Secretary of the Navy under President Ronald Reagan. He was elected to represent Virginia in the U.S. Senate in 2006 and served one term. Webb favors less US intervention abroad, fewer free trade agreements, and supports gun rights.

According to National Interest editor Jacob Heilbrunn, Webb’s views on foreign policy and social issues may attract “anti-war progressives as well as conservative-minded Southern white men.” The Nation labeled him the “worst nightmare” of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who is widely expected to run for president in 2016.

U.S. News & World Report reported at least one Clinton operative pitched unflattering stories about Webb to media outlets since late last month.



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December 30, 2014

AirAsia disaster: Bodies, wreckage found

Filed under: Indonesia,Indonesia AirAsia Flight 8501 — admin @ 5:00 am

AirAsia disaster: Bodies, wreckage found

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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Indonesia
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  • 30 December 2014: AirAsia disaster: Bodies, wreckage found
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Search and rescue teams today began recovering bodies after debris from Indonesia AirAsia Flight 8501 was spotted in the sea near Borneo.

The flight from Surabaya to Singapore vanished from radar screens early on Sunday morning over the Java Sea. 155 passengers and seven crew were on board. Most were Indonesians, with three South Koreans, one Malaysian, one Brit and one French person on board.

An Indonesian naval ship today recovered at least three bodies. TvOne broadcast uncensored footage that was seen by distressed relatives at Juanda International Airport, where the plane departed. TvOne has apologised and switched to blurred-out footage.

The crashed aircraft, photographed in April.
Image: Oka Sudiatmika.

Yesterday evening searchers stated they were using twelve helicopters, eleven planes, and 32 vessels. Australia, Singapore, and Malaysia sent assistance with the search. Local fishing boats have also joined. The US, UK, and France have been asked for help locating submerged remains. USS Sampson, a US Navy destroyer, is due to join search efforts today.

National Search and Rescue Agency head Bambang Soelistyo says a “shadow” on the seabed, spotted by the air force, is thought to be the wreck site. The nearest airstrip is in Pangkalan Bun, Borneo, about 160km away.

AirNav, the Indonesian national air traffic control (ATC) facility, yesterday said the aircraft was given permission to divert to avoid bad weather; the area was experiencing thunderstorms. That was at 6:12 local time. The flight crew next asked to climb from 32,000ft to 38,000ft.

Controllers conferred with Singapore and agreed the plane could climb as high as 34,000ft with another flight preventing a higher altitude. When they radioed permission at 6:14 they received no answer. The flight vanished from radar at 6:17. The transponder ceased to be received a minute later.

A leaked screenshot from an ATC radar screen shows the flight ascending without permission through 36,000ft with a ground speed of 353knts. The aircraft would normally be travelling faster, with an Emirates jet also on the screen showing a ground speed of 503knts at 36,000ft. An insufficient speed can cause an aircraft to stall.

Indonesian Pilot Iriyanto and French co-pilot Remi Emmanuel Plesel did not explain their request to climb. They have over 8,000 hours experience between them. They were flying Airbus A320-200 registration PK-AXC and serial number 3648, which was six years old. It last underwent maintenance in November. Management company Doric own and lease the aircraft. The plane had accumulated 23,000 flying hours on 13,600 flights. It went missing around 40 minutes into a flight to Changi International Airport.

Iriyanto’s previous employers include the Indonesian Air Force, Merpati Airlines, and Adam Air. The 53-year-old also has ten years experience as a pilot trainer. He has flown for AirAsia for three years.

Investigations are to be led by the Indonesian National Transportation Safety Committee. France-based airframer Airbus, the BEA, which investigates aviation mishaps in France, and the US National Transportation Safety Board have all offered assistance.

Reuters spoke to an anonymous source within the investigation. “Why did [Iriyanto] request to climb at that stage?” said the source. “Should he have climbed earlier? Other aircraft were flying at a higher altitude in that area. How did the two pilots react to the weather? We are asking those questions.” The source said radar, weather, and communications data was being analysed.

AirAsia owner Tony Fernandes said he has “full confidence in my[…] crew[…][Iriyanto] was extremely experienced”. He added Iriyanto “came from the air force, one of their best graduates. He came from Surabaya, so he knows the area very well.” Fernandes said it was “too early to speculate” about causes.

AirAsia is based in Malaysia. 2014 has been a year of air disasters for the country; Malaysia Airlines flight 370 has been missing since March with 239 on board and in July Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was shot down in Ukraine with 298 casualties. Both involved Boeing 777 aircraft.

AirAsia has a good record with no previous fatal accidents.


Exquisite-Modem.png
AirAsia Emergency Contact Number: +622129850801
Juanda Airport: [031] 8690945

Related news

  • “AirAsia jet vanishes over Indonesia, 162 missing” — Wikinews, December 28, 2014

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December 28, 2014

AirAsia jet vanishes over Indonesia, 162 missing

Filed under: Indonesia AirAsia Flight 8501 — admin @ 5:00 am

AirAsia jet vanishes over Indonesia, 162 missing

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Sunday, December 28, 2014

Aviation

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An Indonesia AirAsia jet vanished over the Kumai region today. The flight carried 162 people.

The missing aircraft, photographed in April.
Image: Oka Sudiatmika.

Among the 155 passengers and seven crew flying from Surabaya to Singapore are three Koreans, one Malaysian, and one person variously reported as a French or UK national. The rest are Indonesians. There are sixteen children and an infant. The plane was diverting around weather formations over the Java Sea when contact with air traffic control (ATC) in Jakarta was lost.

Local search and rescue have been told the flight last spoke to controllers at 6:12 local time seeking to climb from 32,000ft to 38,000ft. The flight vanished from radar at 6:17. The transponder ceased to be received a minute later. ATC issued a series of escalating alerts in response. It was due to enter Singaporean airspace at 6:52 and land by around 8:30.

The Indonesian Navy, police forces, and National Search and Rescue Agency are focusing on an area 20 nautical miles from East Belitung. The plane went missing in the vicinity of Pulau Belitung Island. A rescue boat with a crew of 22 has been dispatched, with water police providing an additional vessel. The Indonesian Civil Aviation Authority is overseeing the efforts. Searches are presently suspended until morning.

The flight path of the missing flight.
Image: Andrew Heneen/Natural Earth.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore is “ready to provide any assistance to support the search and rescue effort” according to a statement. The Singaporean military has sent two C-130 aircraft to assist. The Indian Navy has reportedly placed three ships and a Boeing P8-1 on standby to help.

Australia has also offered assistance. Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop telephoned her Indonesian equivalent, Retno Marsudi, to offer support. Bishop has also offered Australian assistance to South Korea, Singapore, and Malaysia. Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott contacted Indonesian President Joko Widodo to offer sympathies and a P3 Orion plane.

Areas for families and friends have been set up at Changi Airport where the flight was headed and at Juanda International Airport where it departed. The airline said in a statement they would “keep all parties informed as more information becomes available” about “the status of the passengers and crew members on board”.

“I hope I can get information soon on the whereabouts of our family members,” one weeping woman at Juanda told Antara. She said she has four relatives on board and heard about the disappearance from news reports.

The area where the plane vanished around 40 minutes into its trip was experiencing thunderstorms. Some clouds were as high as 50,000ft. The aircraft, Airbus A320-200 registration PK-AXC and serial number 3648, was six years old. It was undertaking flight designation QZ8501 and last underwent maintenance in November. Management company Doric own and lease the aircraft.

Cquote1.svg I hope I can get information soon on the whereabouts of our family members Cquote2.svg

—Woman awaiting news at Juanda Airport

Pilot Iriyanto and co-pilot Remi Emmanuel Plesel have over 8,000 hours experience between them. Airbus released a statement saying the plane had accumulated 23,000 flying hours on 13,600 flights. The French-based airframer said it would assist investigators. The BEA, which investigates aviation mishaps in France, is liaising with their Indonesian counterparts at the National Transportation Safety Committee to provide assistance.

The engines were built by CFM International, a joint enterprise between US firm General Electric and French engineering company Safran. The US connection means the US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) can also join the probe.The NTSB says it is ready and willing to assist if required.

Cquote1.svg Our priority is looking after all the next-of-kin for my staff and passengers Cquote2.svg

—AirAsia owner Tony Fernandes

A screenshot apparently leaked from an ATC radar screen shows the flight ascending through 36,000ft with a ground speed of 353knts. The aircraft would normally be travelling faster, with an Emirates jet also on the screen showing a ground speed of 503knts at 36,000ft.

“My only thought are with the passengers and my crew” said AirAsia boss Tony Fernandes. He said he is heading to Surabaya and thanked Malaysian, Singaporean, and Indonesian authorities for emergency efforts. Fernandes bought AirAsia for a symbolic price from the Malaysian government in 2002. By 2010 it had expanded from two aircraft to 86.

“I am touched by the massive show of support especially from my fellow airlines” said Fernandes. “This is my worst nightmare.” He urged staff to “Pray hard. […] Our priority is looking after all the next-of-kin for my staff and passengers.”

Djoko Murjatmodjo, acting head of transportation in Indonesia, said “We don’t dare to presume what has happened except that it has lost contact.” Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said he is “saddened” and his “thoughts are with the passengers and their families”. Pope Francis used today’s address in St. Peter’s Square, the Vatican to say he was praying for the missing. Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak called the news “Very sad to hear[…] My thoughts are with the families. Malaysia stands ready to help.”

The British Embassy in Jakarta has acknowledged reports a UK citizen may be missing. US President Barack Obama has also been briefed. Initial reports claim AirAsia did not include British when listing the nationalities missing, but the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office say a UK victim’s next of kin have been informed.

The present version of AirAsia’s statement lists a UK passenger and a French crewmember. France24 identifies co-pilot Plesel as French.

AirAsia is based in Malaysia. 2014 has been a year of air disasters for the country; Malaysia Airlines flight 370 has been missing since March with 239 on board and in July Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was shot down in Ukraine with 298 casualties. Both involved Boeing 777 aircraft.

AirAsia has a good record with no previous major crashes.

Exquisite-Modem.png
AirAsia Emergency Contact Number: +622129850801
Juanda Airport: [031] 8690945


 
This story has updates
 
See AirAsia disaster: Bodies, wreckage found, December 30, 2014
 

Related news

  • “Next phase of search for MH 370 begins” — Wikinews, October 9, 2014
  • “Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 shot down over eastern Ukraine, killing 298” — Wikinews, July 19, 2014

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  • Wikipedia-logo-v2.svg Indonesia AirAsia Flight 8501

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December 27, 2014

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders to announce presidential ambitions by March

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders to announce presidential ambitions by March

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Saturday, December 27, 2014

Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont.
Image: United States Congress.

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, an independent who caucuses with Democrats, revealed through the Associated Press (AP) yesterday that he plans to announce by March whether to run for President of the United States in the 2016 election. Sanders, a self-identified Socialist who champions against income inequality, says he will make a “gut decision” about whether to run. Though often touted as a potential presidential candidate, Sanders has never made a run for the presidency.

Sanders, 73, entered politics in the 1970s, running for various races in Vermont as a member of the anti-war Liberty Union Party. He was elected Mayor of Burlington, Vermont in 1981 as an independent and won re-election three successive times. In 1990, he was elected to the United States House of Representatives, representing Vermont. After serving in that capacity for 16 years, Sanders won election to the United States Senate, where he has remained.

Sanders cites the United States wealth gap as “collapsing” the nation’s middle class, but says a cure exists in his twelve step solution, which includes infrastructure projects, fair trade, and alternative energy. Nevertheless, Sanders told the AP his decision on 2016 rests on whether he believes he can win the election.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who ran unsuccessfully for president in 2008, figures to be the frontrunner for the 2016 Democratic nomination. Experts are divided on how a Sanders candidacy would affect her prospects.

Democratic National Committee member Kathy Sullivan says Sanders may be “a step too far for the mainstream” of the party. But former New Hampshire State Senator Peter Burling argues Sanders can deliver with passion, something he says that Clinton lacks.

Other potential candidates for the Democratic nomination include Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Maryland governor Martin O’Malley, New York governor Andrew Cuomo, and Vice President Joe Biden. Former Senator Jim Webb of Virginia has opened an exploratory committee to determine whether he will run in 2016.

If Sanders decides to run for president, question remains on whether he runs as a Democrat or an independent.



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December 24, 2014

Wikinews 2014: An \’Original reporting\’ year in review

Wikinews 2014: An ‘Original reporting’ year in review

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Wednesday, December 24, 2014 With the English-language Wikinews continuing to increase the amount of original content published, we take a look back at some of the eighty-plus original reports from our contributors during 2014.

January

18th: UK media apparently conflict with Scots law in Mikaeel Kular case

Mainstream press risked contempt of court charges in publishing a suspect’s name.
Image: The Guardian.

Media organisations in the United Kingdom focused on Edinburgh early in the year, following the disappearance of three-year-old Mikaeel Kular. As police found a body Wikinews found evidence suggesting media had been caught out by Scottish contempt of court law.

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 more strictly north of the border than in England and Wales. Wikinews subsequently received correspondence from Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill in which he expressed confidence in the court system to handle the issue. Legal experts confirmed to Wikinews the potential difficulties in which the media had placed themselves.

21st: Cold as ice: Wikinews interviews Marymegan Daly on unusual new sea anemone

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.

Opening of University of Southern Indiana’s Andy Warhol Polaroids and screen prints exhibit.
Video: Miharris & Acphillips.

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 described in a PLOS ONE paper last December. Daly gave Wikinews an exclusive insight on how research into these mysterious creatures is developing.

28th: Warhol’s photo legacy spread by university exhibits

January 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.

The program is cultivating new interest in Warhol’s photographic legacy. Student Wikinews reporters attended the opening and spoke to donors, exhibit organizers, and patrons.

February

A special Wikinews video report on the parliament visit.
Video: Brian McNeil.

11th: Wiki loves the European Parliament in Strasbourg

Wikimedia-logo.svg This section mentions the Wikimedia Foundation, one of its projects, or people related to it. Wikinews is a project of the Wikimedia Foundation.

In February fifty volunteers, from nine countries covering nineteen languages, spent four days at the European Parliament buildings in Strasbourg photographing and filming members of the parliament (MEPs). This being an effort to significantly increase the audio-visual content available in Wikipedia and other Wikimedia Foundation projects.

Over 1,000 new, high-quality, photographs were taken and uploaded for use on Wikimedia projects during the visit. Once photographed, MEPs were encouraged to make video introductions in languages they were comfortable speaking in. In excess of 200 video clips of MEPs introducing themselves were captured; this providing freely-reusable audio and video records available via Wikimedia Commons.

March

5th: Wikinews interviews specialists on Russian intervention in Ukraine

March saw Russian troops enter Crimea, a territory now disputed between Russia and Ukraine in what has become one of the more prominent and enduring stories of the year. Wikinews interviewed five experts on Russian foreign policy and international law at the start of the conflict.

16th: Glasgow-Oban and Mallaig train diverted onto wrong track in points mixup

A Wikinews reporter found himself at the centre of a rail mishap when a ScotRail train travelling from Glasgow to the towns of Oban and Mallaig in Scotland accidentally diverted onto the wrong track. Some passengers initially thought the train had derailed when it swerved and braked hard at Ardlui. Points had to be inspected for damage before the train could continue.

April

Dr Roth gave an overview of the Sumatran rhino project at USI less than a week after Suci’s death.
Video: Rfshipman1.

4th: Death of captive rhino halts propagation efforts in US

After the death of the Cincinnati Zoo’s female Sumatran rhinoceros, Dr. Terri Roth, the director of the zoo’s research facility specializing in propagation, told Wikinews her organization remained committed to the Sumatran rhinos, an animal that is currently listed by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature as critically endangered. The only other Sumatran rhino in the States is male and their native Indonesia has indicated no more will be sent to the US.

Roth told Wikinews the species was “going to be a tough one to save.” With only 100 left she outlined what she saw the future as holding for those efforts.

8th: Western Australian school performance undisrupted by WBC

Wikinews was able to verify the Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church (WBC) failed to follow through on threats to picket a Western Australian high school’s performance of The Laramie Project. Margaret River Senior High School was able to perform the play based on the 1998 beating and death of gay student Matthew Shepard to a sold-out audience without disruption.

The WBC twice threatened to picket and even posted a photo of a ‘protestor’ on Twitter, which turned out to be a student performing in the show. The school told Wikinews the WBC did not appear at any time.

10th: Deaths of Adrianne Wadewitz and Cindy Ashley-Nelson

Video of Wadewitz discussing Wikipedia’s impact.
Image: Vgrigas.

Wikimedia-logo.svg This section mentions the Wikimedia Foundation, one of its projects, or people related to it. Wikinews is a project of the Wikimedia Foundation.

News broke on the morning of April 10 that Wikipedian activist Adrianne Wadewitz had died whilst rock climbing.

Wadewitz was well known in the Wikimedia community for her activism drawing attention to the lack of female contributors on Wikipedia. She was also very involved in the Wiki Education Foundation, serving as a member of its board of directors. Wadewitz was one of the most high-profile women highlighting the under-representation of women amongst contributors to Wikipedia.

The same day Cynthia Ashley-Nelson died whilst attending a Wikimedia Conference in Berlin, Germany.

As as active member of the Wikimedia movement, she was named vice-chair of Wikimedia’s Affiliations Committee the day prior to her death, having only having joined the Committee earlier in the year. The day prior, she spent a lot of time talking to a number of the event’s attendees and spent time with several members of the Affiliations Committee. She too counted the Wikimedian gender gap amongst her fields of interest.

Glasgow’s 420 event, from the far side of the Clyde.
Image: Iain Macdonald.

22nd: Glasgow cannabis enthusiasts celebrate ‘green’ on city green

Coinciding with Easter Sunday, Glasgow Cannabis Social Club’s annual 420 event was held on Glasgow Green, under sunny blue skies, and overlooking the river Clyde. Despite the city’s council attempting to revoke permission for the gathering at the last minute, police were happy for it to go-ahead with approximately a dozen officers attending. Two Wikinews reporters travelled to Glasgow to cover and photograph the event.

May

Video from the anti-UKIP protest on Friday, May 9, 2014.
Video: Brian McNeil.

10th: 300 protesters greet Farage’s return to Edinburgh

Roughly 300 protesters turned up for the May return of Nigel Farage, leader of the UK Independence Party, to Edinburgh after last year’s disastrous attempt at a press conference in a pub at the foot of The Canongate. Unseen by protesters or public, Farage is believed to have left the venue around 7:30pm.

Farage’s last visit saw protesters leaving him barracked in the bar by police, with several taxis refusing to take the party leader and Member of the European Parliament (MEP) for South East England to the airport. Wikinews was on hand for this year’s return, photographing protestors and watching the event unfold.

16th: Small protest seeking justice for victims of Franco held in Madrid

On Fiestas de San Isidro Labrador in Madrid, Spain, a small protest demanding justice for victims of the Franco regime was held in Puerta del Sol for an hour. The protest started with speakers on a megaphone, and was followed by a march around the plaza several times with the leaders holding a large banner, all while police watched on. Wikinews was on the scene and photographed the protest from start to finish.

18th: Anti-budget protest descends on Brisbane Australia

An anti-budget protest descended on Brisbane, Australia in response to the previous week’s federal budget. Among the speakers at the pre-march rally were Australian Labor Party senator Claire Moore and former Australian Democrats senator — and current Queensland Greens convenor — Andrew Bartlett. Wikinews was at the scene photographing and videoing the protest.

August

Tourists passing sign advertising Edinburgh’s Auld Reekie Tours (Fringe venue 129).
Image: Brian McNeil.

27th: Wikinews wanders the Referendum-year Edinburgh Festival Fringe

With many venues reporting sell-out shows, the 68th year of the Edinburgh Festival attracted visitors from around the globe. Wikinews‘ Brian McNeil roamed the city for the four weeks of the event, capturing the colour, spectacle, and comedy, in photos.

October

23rd: Wikinews interviews Kristian Hanson, producer-director of indie horror film ‘Sledge’

As Halloween approached, 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.

November

A ‘Scottish-Anonymous’ banner.
Image: Brian McNeil.

7th: Edinburgh’s ‘Million Mask March’ flies distinctly Scottish colours

Anonymous protesters gathering at Scottish Parliament.
Image: Brian McNeil.

Amongst other Guy Fawkes Night partying, the now-regular march to the Scottish Parliament by Anonymous saw significantly higher attendance at this year’s event. With Catalan flags and pro-Independence Saltires flying, activist numbers had clearly been swelled by the referendum result. Scottish voters had rejected independence in September.

Our reporter in Edinburgh was once again on-the-scene to photograph the event.

Wikinews on sport

Wikinews attended a large number of sporting events this year. Several reporters were present at the 2014 Winter Paralympics in Sochi, Russia, successfully producing ten exclusive articles. Mere days before the games began, Wikinews noted rail links remaining open between Russia and Ukraine; although tensions between the countries over the disputed territory of Crimea continued to escalate.

Paralympic flag being raised during opening ceremony.
Image: Laura Hale.

Early-on in the year, Wikinewsie Laura Hale began her Paralympics preparation by interviewing Tina McKenzie, a former member of the Australia women’s national wheelchair basketball team, known as the Gliders. McKenzie, a silver and bronze Paralympic medalist in wheelchair basketball, retired from the game after the 2012 Summer Paralympics in London. Wikinews caught up with her in a cafe in the leafy Melbourne suburb of Preston for an extensive interview.

At the Paralympics, with the Russia-Ukraine border still open, opening ceremony preparations were soon underway. Wikinews was at a press conference by International Paralympic Committee President Sir Philip Craven in which he insisted the games should not be politicised amongst talk of boycotts. The Ukrainian delegation ultimately decided not to boycott the Games.

Celebrating victory in Sunshine Coast Rugby Union.
Image: Patrick Gillett.

Once the opening ceremony concluded the Games got started. First up for Wikinews was sledge hockey, with Wikinews attending the narrow Norwegian defeat of the Czech Republic, Canada’s comprehensive defeat of Sweden, and the US victory over Italy. Wikinews also witnessed Ukrainian Lyudmyla Pavlenko claim gold in the women’s 12km sitting skiing race and an action-packed day of wheelchair curling.

Also attended was the 2014 Women’s World Wheelchair Basketball Championship. Our reporter caught up with the event on day five and watched Germany, the Netherlands, Canada and the US reach the semi-finals. Germany and Canada then went through to the closely-contested final which was won by Canada. Wikinews conducted an extensive interview with Australian coach Tom Kyle during the competition.

The Sunshine Coast Rugby Union’s 2014 season produced yet more sporting drama, with Wikinews there throughout. Eighteen articles resulted, with exclusive photo and video contributions.



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December 23, 2014

Egypt opens Rafah border crossing for additional day

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

Egypt opens Rafah border crossing for additional day

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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Palestine
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File photo of Rafah border crossing, 2009.
Image: gloucester2gaza.

On Sunday, Egypt opened the Rafah border crossing for two days, allowing many people, who had been waiting since it closed two months ago following a terror attack in the Sinai peninsula, to cross the border with the Gaza Strip in both directions. On Monday, Egyptian authorities announced they were opening the border crossing for another day.

During the first two days, almost 1,000 people passed through the border crossing, about two thirds of them from the Gaza Strip to Egypt and a third in the opposite direction. Gaza citizens who had been stuck in Egypt as they were unable to enter the Gaza Strip, were able to return home. Director of Gaza Strip border corssings Maher Abu Sabha said those who crossed to the Egyptian side were people in need of medical treatment or who hold an overseas stay permit, only.

On October 24, a car bomb detonated in northern Sinai, causing the death of 31 Egyptian security personnel and injuring 30 or more. Following the attack and as part of the Egyptian authorities’ long-term fight against militant islamism in the Sinai peninsula, the Rafah border crossing was closed, and opened for only two days in late November.



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  • “Sisi: Egypt willing to send stabilizing forces to future Palestinian State” — Wikinews, November 24, 2014
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December 22, 2014

Multiple fatalities in bin lorry crash in Glasgow, Scotland

Multiple fatalities in bin lorry crash in Glasgow, Scotland

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Monday, December 22, 2014

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At least six fatalities have resulted this afternoon from a bin lorry crashing in the centre of Glasgow, Scotland.

The accident occurred at about 1430 UTC today, when the vehicle hit multiple pedestrians on Queen Street, then crashed into Millennium Hotel alongside George Square, located in the city centre. BBC Scotland reporter Laura Bicker reported witness accounts the vehicle “careered out of control” and the driver “slumped over the wheel” when the crash occurred.

It is not yet clear how many people have been killed or injured, although Police Scotland have reported “a number of fatalities and people injured”, with “all casualties, including the driver of the bin lorry”, alternately being taken to Southern General Hospital, Western Infirmary and Glasgow Royal Infirmary. They later said on Twitter at least six people have died and eight people are receiving hospital treatment. Police Superintendent Stewart Carle said at least seven people suffered serious injury, although the total number of those injured may be greater than this. Sky News has reported six fatalities and a larger number of people injured.

Superintendent Carle further explained that police will investigate what the force has described as a “major incident” for the rest of the day and overnight, although they do not suspect there was any “sinister” activity behind it. They told the council to leave Christmas lights on to help the investigation; the council had offered to switch them off as a mark of respect. A winter wonderland attraction has been operating in the area this month. Anyone with photos or video is asked to email the police at georgesquareincident@scotland.pnn.police.uk.

Social media is abuzz with Scots and their loved ones checking each other are safe, and offering condolences. “Absolutely gutted for the families of the people killed today, to think[…] I could’ve been killed too is a shock,” said one woman, who passed the scene shortly before the crash. She added she had “seen people in body bags” and was reluctant to go to get her train in Queen Street Station “incase I see more bodies”. “Genuinely don’t care about Xmas shopping now[, I] was getting so stressed over silly things when other people are losing their family… will be thinking of them at Xmas” she said, later telling well-wishers “Thanks so much guys send your good vibes to their families though they’re the ones that really need it”.

Another local woman said she is “stunned” and she had “stood in that exact spot yesterday afternoon. Taking pictures of the lights”. She says the city now faces “Another sad Christmas.” She was referring to a police helicopter that crashed into a Glasgow pub on November 29 last year. Three on board and seven on the ground were killed.

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Individuals concerned about the welfare of family and friends in Glasgow can call Police Scotland on 01786 289070



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Jordan ends eight-year stay on executions, hangs eleven

Jordan ends eight-year stay on executions, hangs eleven

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Monday, December 22, 2014

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Jordan yesterday ended a moratorium on executions that had stood since 2006, executing eleven men.

The Interior Ministry made the announcement via official news agency Petra. The ministry did not identify the men, but said all had been convicted of murder in either 2005 or 2006. All were Jordanian citizens and had exhausted all appeals, according to the ministry. None, it said, were convicted of politically motivated murder.

A hangman’s noose, from file.
Image: Chris 73.

The men were executed at a prison in the south early in the morning. All were hung. The executions were spurred by lawmakers requesting action to curb rising crime rates. Agence France-Presse quoted a prison-system source as saying most were in their 40s. “Some of the prisoners asked to have their final words passed on their families, others asked only to smoke a cigarette,” said the source.

Since the stay began in 2006, 122 convicts have been added to death row, including militants. Interior Minister Hussein al-Majali said previously executions could resume following “major debate”, claiming “the public believes that the rise in crime has been the result of the non-application” of death sentences.



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December 20, 2014

Istanbul court acquits bomb accused Pinar Selek for fourth time

Filed under: Archived,Asia,Europe,Turkey — admin @ 5:00 am

Istanbul court acquits bomb accused Pinar Selek for fourth time

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Saturday, December 20, 2014

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A court in the Turkish capital Istanbul yesterday cleared exiled academic Pinar Selek of killing seven in a bomb attack in 1998. It is the fourth time the courts have cleared her.

File photo of Selek.
Image: Streetpepper.

Forensic investigators blamed the explosion, which also injured 127, in the city’s Spice Bazaar on an inadvertent gas leak. Selek was arrested two days after the explosion. She spent two years in prison but has been acquitted at each of three trials. Following exonerations in 2006 and 2008 she headed to Europe.

Initially travelling to Germany, Selek, now 43, then headed to France. She is a researcher at the University of Lyon. She resides in Strasbourg and is involved with feminist activism. Selek specialises in the Kurdish people.

In addition to the bombing, Selek was accused of aiding Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militancy. She has been free since the 2000 publication of a report rejecting the bombing claim in favour of a gas leak.

Another acquittal came in 2011. That was set aside the following year and in January 2013 a conviction was substituted with a life sentence. The sentence followed a conviction in which chief judge Vedat Yılmazabdurrahmanoğlu indicated he did not accept the evidence proved a bombing but was outvoted by two fellow judges.

That sentence was cancelled in June this year by the Supreme Court of Appeals. A warrant for her arrest was cancelled in October. Turkey had previously sought extradition from France.

Cquote1.svg We have been waiting in front of courtrooms for sixteen years Cquote2.svg

—Selek supporter and activist Füsun Demirel

Selek has also refused to identify to police rebels met in the course of research. Defence lawyer Akın Atalay had submitted the evidence did not prove a bombing had occurred, and that the repeated prosecutions violate Turkish and international fair trial standards prohibiting double jeopardy. He was countered by Istanbul public prosecutor Yılmaz Kıstı who earlier this month sought a new life sentence in the case.

The case has attracted supporters of Selek in Turkey and France. They claim the prosecution is politically motivated to prevent her from conducting sociological research. At the start of the appeal in April this year Turkish and French protestors gathered outside the Çağlayan Courthouse, waving banners demanding “Justice for Pinar Selek”.

Protestors were there on December 5 when the request for a new life sentence was made. “We have been waiting in front of courtrooms for sixteen years”, activist Füsun Demirel told journalists at the protest. “Pınar has resisted this ruthlessness, this injustice, by trying to live as fully as she can.”

Also acquitted yesterday was Abdulmecit Ozturk. The court said there was no “exact and convincing” evidence against the pair. Selek has indicated a desire to return to Turkey with her name cleared. “We will be standing guard on her behalf until she returns here”, Demriel promised at the December 5 protest.



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December 18, 2014

Nation mourns, world condemns Taliban attack on Pakistan army school

Nation mourns, world condemns Taliban attack on Pakistan army school

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Thursday, December 18, 2014

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In the wake of Tuesday’s high-school attack by the Pakistani Taliban (TTK) on an army public school, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif announced a three-day period of official mourning. In addition to condemnation from world leaders — who include UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, the President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz, and Deputy director David Griffiths of Amnesty International — news agency Reuters are reporting the Afghan Taliban have also issued a statement condemning the attack.

The statement carried by Reuters, claiming to be from Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid, reads: “The intentional killing of innocent people, children and women are against the basics of Islam and this criteria has to be considered by every Islamic party and government.” Tuesday’s attack on the Army Public School in Pakistan‘s north-western city of Peshawar claimed the lives of 132 children, and nine staff from the school.

Official reports, following police and military action against the attackers, insist seven people took part in the school attack; although a statement, issued by the TTK, insists there were only six, their targets being older pupils. The attack began in the mid morning local time, with the assailants observed entering the compound wearing suicide vests. Shortly thereafter, shots were heard with survivors reporting the gunmen were shooting people indiscriminately, going from classroom to classroom, killing teachers and students as they found them.

The massacre sparked a public outcry, both national and international; which, press speculate, led to the TTK stressing the intent to only target older students at the army school.

Turkey announced one day of national mourning. Described as impossible to justify and “blood-curdling” by the UN Secretary-General, EU Parliamentary President Schulz labelled the attack “abominable and cowardly [demonstrating] the inhuman attitude of the Taliban, their inhuman ideology, their remorseless fanaticism”, and Indian Nobel Prize-winner Kailash Satyarthi, condemned the attackers as “enemies of Allah” and stated: “The militants, be they Taliban or any other militants, who kill children, are the enemies of humanity. This attack is a blot on humanity”.

In addition to a three-day period of national mourning, President Sharif reintroduced Pakistan’s death penalty.



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