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Judge to decide on Nigerian election re-run

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

A result is expected today on the possibility of an election re-run in Nigeria. Opposition parties claim that current President Umaru Yar’Adua’s People’s Democratic Party (PDP) fixed the results of the 2007 election in his favour and are calling to have the result annulled. So far, the tribunal has rejected one out of the two petitions calling for the annulment.

International suspicions were also raised at the time, with some voicing concern over the election.

A Nigerian judge is currently delivering the ruling on the case of granting the opposition parties a re-run, neither of which claim to have won the previous election. The decision could have negative impacts – if another election is called, it could be seen as an admittance of a ‘false democracy’ occurring in the last election and therefore undermining the political process in Nigeria. However, if no re-run of the election is called, it could cause instability between political rivals and may spark protests.

Emma Esau, of the Alliance for Credible elections, told the BBC: “We have faith the judges will give us a good ruling, and in any case we don’t believe there will be violence after the decision is announced. This will not take Nigeria to the brink.”

Yar’Adua assumed office on 29th May 2007 after the election in April, where he won 70% of the vote. Since then, he has became the first Nigerian leader to declare his personal assets, as well as overturning hikes in petroleum and tax made by the previous government. Despite these positive steps, he has also been surrounded by controversy, with several governors who served him before 2007 being charged by the EFCC, the anti-corruption commission.

Election annulments have already been passed for seven of thirty-six state governors and even the senate president, David Mark.

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How the Army Corps of Engineers closed one New Orleans breach

Friday, September 9, 2005

New Orleans, Louisiana —After Category 4 storm Hurricane Katrina slammed into New Orleans, on the night before August 29, 2005, several flood control constructions failed. Much of the city flooded through the openings. One of these was the flood wall forming one side of the 17th Street Canal, near Lake Pontchartrain. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is the primary agency for engineering support during such emergencies. A USACE team was assessing the situation in New Orleans on the 29th, water flow was stopped September 2nd, and the breach was closed on September 5th.

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Wikinews interviews 0 A.D. game development team

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

0 A.D. is a historical, open source, strategy game, published by Wildfire Games. It focuses on the period between 500BC and 500AD. The game will be released in two parts: the first covering the pre-AD period, and the second running to 500AD. With development well underway, Wikinews interviewed the development team.

Aviv Sharon, a 24-year-old Israeli student responsible for the project’s PR, compiled the below Q&A, which the full team approved prior to publication.

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Wikinews holds Reform Party USA presidential candidates forum

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Three men are currently seeking the presidential nomination of the Reform Party of the United States of America: small business owner Andre Barnett, Earth Intelligence Network CEO Robert Steele, and former college football coach Robby Wells. Wikinews reached out to these candidates and asked each of them five questions about their campaigns. There were no space limits placed on the responses, and no candidate was exposed to another’s responses before making their own. The answers are posted below in unedited form for comparison of the candidates.

The Reform Party is a United States third party that was founded in 1995 by industrialist Ross Perot. Perot ran as the party’s first presidential nominee in 1996, and won over eight percent of the popular vote, the highest percentage for a third party candidate since. In 1998, professional wrestler Jesse Ventura ran on the Reform Party ticket and was elected Governor of Minnesota. The party fell in prominence during the lead-up to the 2000 presidential election when it was plagued by infighting between ideological factions. In 2000, paleoconservative Pat Buchanan won the presidential nomination, and went on to receive only 0.4 percent of the popular vote in the general election. In 2004, the party opted to endorse consumer advocate Ralph Nader, but ended the year nearly bankrupt. In 2008, Ted Weill won the party’s presidential nomination, but appeared on the ballot in only one state and won a total of 481 votes.

The party is currently trying to rebuild and has opened several new state chapters. They will attempt to appear on the ballot in more states for the 2012 presidential election. The party is expected to nominate its presidential ticket during the National Convention this summer.

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ANZACs remembered ninety years after assault on Gallipoli

Monday, April 25, 2005

Australians and New Zealanders throughout the world stood still for their national war memorial days in remembrance of the failed Australian and New Zealand Army Corps — ANZAC — attack on Gallipoli, Turkey that began on 25 April 1915. The fateful attack was designed to end the First World War more quickly by creating a supply line to Russia. A hundred-thousand died in the battle, remembered every year as ANZAC Day by both nations.

The British-directed battle of Gallipoli is often seen as the defining moment in the ‘birth’ of Australia and New Zealand. With New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark saying “For New Zealand as for Australia it was at Gallipoli that our young nations came of age.” [1]. This being the 90th anniversary of the attack, Clark, Australian Prime Minister John Howard and Britain’s Prince Charles are all at Gallipoli to remember that fateful campaign.

Some controversy has been created about Australian Prime Minister John Howard not attending the New Zealand ceremony at Chunuk Bair on the Gallipoli Peninsula. This has upset many people as it is a break in a tradition that the Prime Ministers attend the ceremonies of both countries.

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Wikipedia founder embroiled in affair and financial allegations

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

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

The implosion of a relationship between Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales and journalist Rachel Marsden has resulted in controversy and international headlines. Associated Press and ABC News have also reported on questionable activity by Wales involving Wikimedia Foundation expenses. The Wikimedia Foundation is a donor-supported non-profit organization which runs Wikipedia.

Marsden had contacted Wales two years ago about concerns she had over the article about her on Wikipedia, and Wales determined the article was not compliant with Wikipedia’s standards. The tech blog Valleywag revealed Wales had a personal relationship with Marsden, and posted supposed transcripts of their instant message conversations on its site, www.valleywag.com. Wales and Marsden met in February, and The Times reported that “An apparent transcript of their conversations before that meeting suggests that, although Mr Wales had withdrawn from the editing process, he was still influencing the editors.” The Times quoted Wales from the chat logs as having stated to Marsden “The truth is of course a much worse conflict of interest than that; but that will do.” — in reference to his conflict of interest regarding Marsden’s article on Wikipedia.

Wales posted a public statement on Saturday on Wikipedia addressing the matter, and stated that his relationship with Marsden was over: “First, while I find it hard to imagine that anyone really cares about my sex life, the facts are: I am separated from my wife. I considered myself single at the time of my one meeting with Rachel Marsden on Feb. 9, 2008 … I am no longer involved with Rachel Marsden. Gossipy stories suggesting that I have been in a relationship with her ‘since last fall’ are completely false … I care deeply about the integrity of Wikipedia, and take very seriously my responsibilities as a member of the board and as a member of the Wikipedia community. I would never knowingly do anything to compromise that trust.” With regard to the conflict of interest in Marsden’s article, Wales had acknowledged to a team of Wikipedia editors in February 2008 that he and Marsden “became friends … and that we would be meeting about that,” and stated “I recused myself from any further official action with respect to her biography.”

On Sunday, The Canadian Press reported that Marsden had posted photos of herself on Ebay, and was selling items that Wales had left at her New York City apartment. In her Ebay posting, Marsden stated: “Hi, my name is Rachel and my (now ex-) boyfriend, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, just broke up with me via an announcement on Wikipedia … It was such a classy move that I was inspired to do something equally classy myself, so I’m selling a couple of items of clothing he left behind, here in my NYC apartment, on eBay. Jimbo was supposed to come visit me in a couple of weeks and pick up some of his stuff, but obviously that won’t be happening now.” Marsden told The Canadian Press “It didn’t really help matters that Jimmy chose to announce the breakup to the entire world via Wikipedia (which apparently now is an online encyclopedia that doubles as a personal soapbox?) rather than to me directly (which he did much later, in an instant message discussion).”

I care deeply about the integrity of Wikipedia, and take very seriously my responsibilities as a member of the board and as a member of the Wikipedia community. I would never knowingly do anything to compromise that trust.

Marsden placed a t-shirt and sweater which she said were left at her apartment by Wales up on Ebay, and started the bidding for each at ninety-nine cents, with the auctions set to end on March 12. By Monday, bidding on the t-shirt had reached US$300, and by Tuesday the highest bid had reached $12,200. In an email to The Globe and Mail, Marsden stated “My only focus right now, to be really honest, is on my career and finding a way to get back into print, TV, or radio here in NYC,” she wrote. “All of this other personal stuff is just an unfortunate distraction.”

Jay Walsh, the Wikimedia Foundation’s head of communications, told the San Jose Mercury News that Wales’ actions in relaying Marsden’s concerns about her Wikipedia article to a team of trusted editors was within his “routine” role. When asked by the San Jose Mercury News if Wales’ actions regarding the Marsden article could compromise his role with the Wikimedia Foundation and Wikipedia, Walsh responded “No, absolutely not.”

On Tuesday, ABC News carried a story by Wired News reporter Megan McCarthy regarding allegations of “excessive spending” by Wales, and Associated Press also reported on questions involving Wikimedia Foundation expenses. McCarthy reported that former Wikimedia executive Danny Wool, who had left the foundation last year, criticized Wales’ use of Wikimedia Foundation expenses in a blog post. Wool stated that Wales had tried to expense $300 bottles of wine, a $1,300 dinner for four at a Florida steakhouse, and visits to Moscow massage parlors to the foundation, and that the foundation rescinded Wales’ corporate credit card in 2006. Wool also stated that Wales paid the foundation $7,000, after being short $30,000 on receipts for expenses.

Wool told EPICENTER that “There were occasions where he used [the Wikimedia Foundation] for personal advancement under the guide [sic] of the mission. And, as someone who was in there for the mission part of it, I found that rather distressful.” Wool commented in an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle: “Originally, it was carelessness … But as things developed, it became more apparent and obvious that he was taking advantage of the foundation credit card. It was almost like his personal piggy bank.”

Jimmy has never used Wikimedia money to subsidize his personal expenditures. Indeed, he has consistently put the foundation’s interests ahead of his own.

In an instant message exchange with Associated Press, Wales denied that the Wikimedia Foundation had taken away his corporate credit card, and asserted that he had made the decision to stop expensing business travel for the foundation. Wales highlighted a statement by the foundation’s executive director Sue Gardner: “Jimmy has never used Wikimedia money to subsidize his personal expenditures. Indeed, he has consistently put the foundation’s interests ahead of his own.” In an email to Associated Press, Brad Patrick, a former attorney for the Wikimedia Foundation, stated “Danny seems interested in blogging his way straight to a lawsuit”.

Florence Devouard, who chairs the Wikimedia Foundation, told Associated Press that Wales had been “slow in submitting receipts,” and that the foundation had rejected Wales’ expense at the Florida steakhouse. Devouard told fellow foundation board members in a private email that she had convinced Associated Press that “the money story was a no story,” and told Wales “I find (it) tiring to see how you are constantly trying to rewrite the past. Get a grip!” Wales told Associated Press: “The board, the current executive director, the previous executive director, and independent auditors have reviewed our books and publicly agree that all of my expenses were appropriate and fully accounted for.”

Media reports speculated on how the controversy would end up being represented in Wikipedia itself. On Wednesday, the St. Petersburg Times wrote: “Wales’ Wikipedia page said only this about Marsden: ‘Wales had a brief relationship with Canadian journalist Rachel Marsden.'” An article in The Australian surmised: “History will decide whether Mr Wales broke his own principles, but before that happens there may well be a Wikipedia page devoted to the controversy.”

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Anti-Olympic protesters break into office of British Columbia premier

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Three anti-Olympic games protesters, posed as a flower delivery service, quickly ransacked British Columbia, Canada premier Gordon Campbell‘s downtown Vancouver, British Columbia office yesterday afternoon, breaking windows and throwing pictures, office documents, and various other items.

After the suspects were caught, they said that they were upset over Campbell’s support for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, British Columbia. They also claimed to work for “The Anti-Poverty Committee”.

They are now facing charges for property damage and uttering threats during or after the incident. Police are only identifying them as a 23-year-old man, a 29-year-old man, and a 17-year old female. The 23-year-old faces a third charge of assault by trespassing.

“The Anti-Poverty Committee”, which claims to help the homeless and poor in the city, are opposed to the 2010 Winter Olympics and have said they would ransack offices and homes of board members of the 2010 Winter Olympics organizing committee.

Poor citizens are losing their homes due to the money spent and developments near the city on preparation for the long-awaited 2010 Winter Olympics, they believe.

Vancouver Mayor Sam Sullivan cited his concerns over the organization saying, “I think it gives the city a black eye. It doesn’t make Vancouver look good.”

This event follows an incident, last Saturday, during which anti-poverty activist David Cunningham was arrested. A police officer posed as a journalist for news source Vancouver 24 hours conducting what Cunningham believed to be a legitimate interview in downtown Vancouver. Cunningham was later arrested for alleged harassment, at a protest last Wednesday, to the 2010 Winter Olympic Games organizing committee.

The Canadian Association of Journalists (CAJ) said on Monday that they are disappointed with the police officer who posed as a journalist for 24 Hours.

…They’ve shown a callous disregard for the media’s ability to do its job…

“The police’s actions in this case were reprehensible,” CAJ President Paul Schneidereit concerned. “They’ve shown a callous disregard for the media’s ability to do its job, which can only be undermined by these foolish, play-acting escapades by police officers who should know better.”

“It is astonishing that police don’t seem to think the implications of these things through before they act. Even the police spokesman who explained what happened at a press conference Sunday expressed misgivings about using such a tactic,” Schneidereit said. “Impersonating a journalist is destructive on several levels. First, potential sources may refuse to speak to a reporter in the future, fearing they are not who they claim. That means information vital to the public interest may never get publicized. Second, journalists trying to do their jobs could now be in greater danger from those who, believing those journalists may be police officers, then threaten their physical well-being.”

24 Hours editor-in-chief, Dean Broughton, this week also expressed some disappointment at the actions of the police. Broughton said he is issuing a complaint with British Columbia’s Police Complaint Commissioner. “We strongly object to the police using such tactics. It undermines our credibility.”

According to information from CanadaNewsWire, British Columbia police, in November 2005, posed as the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), made friends and drank wine with a man from a Kamloops, British Columbia jail, John Bjornstrom, who escaped after being arrested for ransacking cottages for approximately two years, then arrested him 5 hours later.

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Rally organizer arrested in Caledonia, Ontario

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Two men were arrested today by the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) at a Caledonia rally at about 12:00 p.m. ET after entering the disputed land in Caledonia, Ontario waving Canadian flags. One was Gary McHale, a Richmond Hill, Ontario man who entered the occupied land in Caledonia, Ontario to organize a rally against the ongoing aboriginal occupation. Mark Vandermaas of London, Ontario was also arrested. Vandermaas was forced to the ground by police officers, who ripped the flag out of his hand when he crossed the police line. There were approximately 100 protesters rallying with McHale.

According to news reports, McHale intended to put the Canadian flag across the street from DCE (Douglas Creek Estates) where the aboriginal occupation has been ongoing for 10 months. Back in late October the aboriginals had already put up their flags across from the DCE property and the OPP made no attempt to stop them. However, on Dec. 2 residents of Caledonia attempted to put up Canadian flags with Yellow ribbons in various areas in Caledonia. When they tried to put up a Canadian Flag across from DCE property the OPP sent in 100 officers to stop them.

Mr. McHale called for people to gather on Dec. 16 to try to put up Canadian Flags across from DCE property on the same hydro poles that Natives already had put up their flags. Mr. McHale stated, “I have asked 2 dozen OPP officers why it is legal to have a Native Flag up along the highway but illegal for a Canadian Flag to be up and I have never received an answer.”

“The OPP set up a line just about a hundred yards away from that site and several people were able to cross that line. They got through a farmer’s field on far left side of where I’m standing here,” said CTV reporter Joel Bowey. “We’re hearing that Mr. McHale got in the middle of the street and put a flag down there, and that’s when he and the other man from London, Ont. were arrested. So far all we know is that those two men have been arrested and there are no other arrests at this point.”

The OPP said the men were arrested for “breaking the peace” and noted that it is not a criminal offence. Police had warned them about crossing into the disputed land before.

“I’ve now said that Mr. McHale’s plans were counterproductive and potentially dangerous to what we’ve been trying to do there, and that is to reach a peaceful settlement,” said David Ramsay, Ontario’s minister of aboriginal affairs. “I’ve twice now offered Mr. McHale the opportunity to protest at Queen’s Park [the site of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario building]. In fact, I said I would sponsor his rally and set up a platform and a microphone, a PA system for him.”

Mayor Marie Trainer of Haldimand County, were Caledonia is located, said: “The next meeting or two will be wasted on frivolous stuff again instead of getting down to business.” Trainer also says that he should not be entering the town and did not specify what side she is on or if she is not taking any side.

This was not the first time Gary McHale entered the disputed land. On October 15, 2006, McHale with approximately 2000 (as reported by local newspapers) participants rallied in Caledonia, but the OPP blocked the entrance to the occupied site.

“Our fight is not with the natives, we’re just trying to be equal in a democratic Canada,” said Christine McHale, wife of Gary McHale.

“When a native commits a serious crime or any crime, they stand by and watch the crime take place and will not do anything to stop the crime. When a resident does the simplest thing, even putting up a Canadian flag or drinking a coffee in a lawn chair across some magic line, they will send in scores of officers to arrest the person,” said Gary McHale. “We have to take a stand and say to police forces that there is one set of laws for all citizens.”

“Police have one set of policies for natives and another set of policies for non-natives,” he said before the rally. “It’s against our Charter of Rights, that clearly says there’s not to be any discriminations based on their religion, beliefs, race or their skin colour.”

McHale has been long critical of the Ontario Provincial Police over the land claim saying that they treat aboriginals differently. McHale and his wife operate a website called Caledonia Wake Up Call.com, were they detail what they describe as police bias.

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Romney announces presidential candidacy

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney formally announced his presidential candidacy yesterday outside of Detroit.

“I don’t believe Washington can be transformed from within by lifetime politicians, there’ve been too many deals, too many favors, too many entanglements — and too little real world experience managing, guiding, leading,” said Romney, who was a successful businessman before entering politics. Romney focused on his leadership experience outside of government.

Romney made the announcement at the Henry Ford Museum, something which the National Jewish Democratic Council heavily criticized saying that they were, “deeply troubled by Governor Romney’s choice . . . to kick (off) his presidential campaign on the former estate of a well-known and outspoken anti-Semite and xenophobe.” A spokesman for Romney said, “Governor Romney believes our country needs to put innovation at the forefront if we are to ensure a stronger, safer and more prosperous America, the Ford Museum embodies that bold, innovative spirit.”

Romney’s record as a moderate and his Latter-day Saint faith are expected to be his primary campaign challenges.

Romney, born in Detroit, the son of former Michigan Governor, Republican Presidential candidate, and automotive pioneer George Romney, attended Cranbrook School of Michigan and Harvard Business and Law Schools. Romney ran against senior Massachusetts senator and Kennedy family member, Ted Kennedy. Romney won 41% percent of the vote against Kennedy in the closest election in Kennedy’s entire tenure in the United States Senate. Romney was also CEO of the Salt Lake Organizing Committee which was in charge of planning the 2002 Winter Olympics from 1999 to 2002, he took charge after the 2002 Winter Olympic bid scandal. He also sat on the board of Massachusetts-based office supply giant, Staples, Inc.

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Malaysian government warns citizens about Uncyclopedia

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

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Satire site Uncyclopedia, a parody of online encyclopedia Wikipedia, has been labeled by the Malaysian government as dangerous. The Internal Security Department of Malaysia issued the warning today, saying that the site has “messages and information insulting Malaysia”.

The warning notes the creation date of the website as being 5 January 2005, and hosted by Wikia, Inc., both of which are correct. However, it claims Wikia owns Wikipedia; Wikipedia is a charitable non-profit website owned by the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation, while Wikia is an independent, for-profit company.

The report evidently mentions that Uncyclopedia covers Malaysian “history, culture, the political leaders, the government, the national song and the name / history of the national flag,” none of which is “correct”. They accuse the website of helping to reinforce a bad international image of their country.

There are no reports of the site being blocked from access within the country, only this statement, which urges Malaysians not to circulate the content.

Uncyclopedia’s article on Malaysia begins:

Essentially the penis of Asia which is located to the north of their cousins who live on an even smaller island Singapore, Malaysia (also known as Bolehland) is a young nation of diverse cultures and races such as F1 Formula-1 and Nascar. The timezone of Malaysia is unique because it follows the system of +1/+2 PMT (Predetermined Meeting Time) which is 1 or 2 hours later than PMT. Most foreigners have difficulty adjusting to this new timezone as they tend to show up 1 or 2 hours earlier than the local counterparts. The nation is moving forward with a vision towards becoming a developed nation by the year 2020, 3030, 4040 or whatever catchy number.

…Another common state that Malaysians have is denial (no lah, where got?), which incidentally, is a river in Egypt.

The site has fired back with a parody article posted at the site under their UnNews section, titled Uncyclopedia Internal Security Department warns on Malaysia. The article suggests that the “Internal Security Department of the Uncyclomedia Foundation,” which is a facetious and fictitious parent organization of Uncyclopedia, identifies Malaysia “as a dangerous country… It warned its people not to use the country today.”

There are forty-seven individual language editions of Uncyclopedia, including Tolololpedia, which is written in Bahasa Melayu, the Malay language. This is in addition to fictional “language” editions which include Oscar Wilde, Newspeak, N00b, White Supremacist, and Re: PharmaccgRy.

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