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Physicist John Wheeler dies at age 96

Monday, April 14, 2008

Theoretical physicist John Archibald Wheeler died of pneumonia at his residence in Hightstown, New Jersey yesterday. Wheeler is most known in the popular culture for popularizing the term “black hole” to describe stars which had become so dense that nothing, not even light, could escape their gravitational pull. Although Wheeler initially objected to the idea, he later accepted the idea and coined the term “black hole” to describe such objects.

Wheeler was also known for his work along with Richard Feynman and others in the Manhattan Project, which produced the first nuclear fission bomb. He was later involved in the work to build the first fusion bomb. As much as he was known for his research, Wheeler was known for his skill and accomplishment in teaching.

Wheeler was born July 9, 1911, in Jacksonville, Florida and went on to earn his doctorate in physics at the early age of 21. He then went on to work in Copenhagen with Niels Bohr and later returned to the United States to become part of the Manhattan Project during World War II.

Wheeler continued to work in physics after the war and was involved in the United States Matterhorn project to build a hydrogen bomb before the Soviet Union. His politics were more militaristic than many of his fellow scientists at the time, in that he supported the Vietnam War and the building of the hydrogen bomb.

For a long time Wheeler was at Princeton University as the doctoral adviser for many prominent physicists including Kip Thorne and Nobel Prize winner Richard Feynman. Wheeler went on to the University of Texas at Austin in 1976 when Princeton’s mandatory retirement age neared.

Wheeler continued to work until near his death. Physicists both young and old have paid tribute to Wheeler; cosmologist Max Tegmark told the New York Times that Wheeler had been “the only physics superhero still standing”.

He is survived by three children, along with grandchildren and great-grandchildren.



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East Timor – Australia problematic billion-dollar gas and oil accord

Saturday, December 3, 2005

Australia and East Timor officials signed a billion-dollar gas and oil accord, which is necessary because of a current maritime border dispute between the countries, which covers a major oil field. Although the accord has to be ratified by East Timor’s parliament which is ruled by Fretilin with 55 seats the biggest block in parliament, but all the smaller parties are said to be working together to veto the deal.

In 1975, Portugal abandoned East Timor and the people declared self-independence only to be invaded by Indonesia with out any intervention from Australia or the United States. Indonesia then agreed on no formal maritime boards but on a joint exploitation zone splitting profits 50/50. Indonesian rule in East Timor was marked by extreme violence and brutality and following a UN-sponsored agreement between Indonesia, Portugal and the US, East Timor held a referendum and gained independence, but violent Indonesian sponsored militia took hold. A peacekeeping force (INTERFET, led by Australia) then intervened putting a stop to the violence. The exploitation zone splitting profits was then changed to 60% in favour of Australia, but now a new deal has been proposed 90/10 in favour of Timor. In the mean time Australia has been accused of profiting by up to 2 billion dollars between the deals by activist groups like http://www.timorseajustice.org/ whose campaigning saw Woodside suspended oil pumping in the affected area.

Contemporary International law asserts that the area under dispute belongs to East Timor. Australia has withdrawn from the maritime division of the International Court of Justice, which could have settled this matter, instead opting to try to settle the matter without the court.

The previous deal has caused political infighting within East Timor about why such a smaller percentage was accepted.



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Church of Scientology: ‘”Anonymous’ will be stopped”

Monday, February 4, 2008

Claiming that “actions are being taken”, a person replying to emails to the Church of Scientology has responded exclusively to Wikinews regarding the recent attacks on their web sites from the nebulous “Anonymous” group. In an effort to get the Church’s side of the story, Wikinews freelance journalist Brian McNeil located a contact address, knowledge@lrh.org. A “Laetitia” responded, ignoring a detailed list of questions that would have given information on the damage inflicted on the Church and action taken. Instead non-specific comments about how the Church is handling the issue were given. She first started by asking if Wikinews was “part of Anonymous or are you pro-Scientology?”

“Activities of Anonymous have been reported to the Authorities and actions are being taken. Their activities are illegal and we do not approve of them. At the same time, our main work is to improve the environment, make people more able and spiritually aware. … yes, we are taking action,” said Laetitia.

‘Anonymous’ first came to public attention when the group launched denial-of-service attacks against the Church’s website, following the Church’s attempts to remove a promotional video featuring Scientologist Tom Cruise from YouTube. Although YouTube is complying with the requests to remove the video, other sites such as Gawker.com have stated that they will continue hosting the video.

Fielding expert opinions on the Church’s response, Wikinews turned to Andreas Heldal-Lund, the creator of the Operation Clambake project, as well as a former Scientologist who wished to remain anonymous.

“I believe strongly in freedom of speech and, living in the best country in the world, I came to the conclusion that I had to help protest this cult. To me CoS [Church of Scientology] was then, and still is, a fascistic organization and a real threat to our democratic principles,” said Andreas Heldal-Lund, the creator of Operation Clambake.

“The strategy was to disarm the cult; if they took down something I linked to, I had made preparations to link to another copy or host it myself. The more they resisted it the more attention we got, the more the information was spread and the more people got involved. It felt like a cat and mouse game for many years. What for me started as a weekend stunt grew far beyond my initial scope and Operation Clambake became the site most critics linked and referred to,” added Heldal-Lund.

Heldal-Lund states that the effort of the Church to remove criticism of its organization from the web is failing.

“The cult ‘Orgs’ are ‘dead’. Recruiting in most western countries where they once experienced a healthy organic growth is very hard. All their most secret documents are spread beyond recall and easily available for anybody interested. More people than we ever dreamed now know about Scientology and at least that it ‘smells fishy’. All the information we once fought day and night to protect is now easily available for free and on the top of Google. The cult has even given up threatening us,” added Heldal-Lund who also said that there are “no major lawsuits ongoing or pending” against Operation Clambake.

“We are taking action, Anonymous will be handled and stopped, but not to the detriment of us stopping all community outreach activities. We’ve had people throw attacks at us in the past as they do not agree with the betterment of people. History is strewn with such people who start wars, wreak havoc etc. and they never continue to exist in the long run as their purpose is one of destruction. That’s a statistical and historical fact,” stated Laetitia.

Laetitia had earlier stated that Wikinews was not allowed to use the quotes that they provided saying they, “have a problem with [Wikinews] quoting this. You are writing on a help website and it isn’t the right source for the “Scientology opinion,” but later acknowledged that the inquiries were of a press nature stating, “you have made it clear [that you are a journalist] and I appreciate you being upfront on the matter.”

An expert evaluation on the e-mails by a former Church member and expert on the religion reveals that Laetitia may have slipped, providing information that she may not have been authorized to provide.

“The person you were speaking to was from the ‘Planetary Dissemination Org’ (PDO), a unit within the Sea Org responsible for promoting Scientology to new recruits which is responsible for Scientology’s websites. Most probably, the person that you were talking to did not have permission to talk to the press, which is why the person got edgy when publication was talked about. Judging by the way she responded, I am of the opinion that she felt that Wikinews was ‘PTS’ [Potential Trouble Source] as a result of being connected to whoever Scientology believes ‘Anonymous’ is, thus was attempting to handle Wikinews’ suppressive tendencies that they believe would occur as a result. It is also interesting to note that she followed a Scientology training document entitled ‘BTB 10 DEC 1969 REPORTER TRs’,” said the expert who wishes to remain totally anonymous.

“‘Then using different questions, the PRO [Public Relations Officer] gives ‘no answers’. The trick is to appear to answer the question by giving generalized statements in simple terms so that the reporter doesn’t realize his question hasn’t been answered’. Aside from being an obvious filibuster, it also shows she has been trained to deal with reporters,” added the expert who also said that the question the Church asked Wikinews: ‘Are you part of Anonymous or are you pro-Scientology’, “I find this particularly interesting as an example of Scientological for-or-against logic. In other words, if you aren’t pro-Scientology, the writer reasoned, you must be a member of Anonymous because you wouldn’t be writing to her.”

As the war between the Internet and Scientology rages on, the owner of 711chan.org says that he is prepared to “re-enter the CoS scene”, and respond to The Regime, a hacker group which attempted to shut down 711chan using keylogging to gain an administrator password to 711chan. Prior to the site coming back online this morning, Plasma, the owner and operator of 711chan.org, had this to say;

“The g00ns, one of our allies, are working on getting “The Regime” and told us to get right back into the CoS scene — which means as soon as 711chan is back online, we will be re-entering raid mode.” Also, despite earlier claims and suspicions that The Regime might have been hired by or be part of the Church of Scientology, Plasma told Wikinews that The Regime “are not part of the Church. g00ns [organization] have a long history with ‘immortal’, and what ‘immortal’ is trying to do is get at g00ns by using 711chan. It’s nothing against us.”

The website came back online this morning, and already over 18,000 posts have been made on its functioning imageboards. The owners have, via a message posted on the homepage of the site, promised to restore the other boards in the coming weeks dependent on which boards the users would like to see revived. One Anonymous user of the site had this to say about the revival, “711 is patched up and ready to take it’s place among the Legion.”

Worldwide protests have been scheduled by ‘Anonymous’ to take place against the Church on February 10, 2008. There are expected to be at least 217 protests taking place on the 10th at Church headquarters around the globe.

In a poll conducted by Wikinews on 816 internet news readers, 80% (660) said that The Internet will win the war against Scientology. 7% (63) said that the Church would win. 8% (66) said neither side will win and 3% (27) didn’t care.



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Australian Muslim killed by her hijab in go-carting accident

Sunday, April 11, 2010

A Muslim woman has been killed by her religious apparel during a freak go-cart accident in Port Stephens, Australia. Mariam Dadoun, a 26-year-old mother, was out with her two children and husband enjoying their vacation time. While visiting Port Stephens Go-Karts, the vehicle had twisted her flowing hijab in the wheel’s axle.

Peter Fox of Port Stephens Local Area Command said, “the scarf was pulled across her throat […] from one side of the body to the other side”.

Medical professionals on the scene succeeded in reviving Dadoun. However, she shortly died of severe neck and throat injuries after being airlifted in a Westpac rescue helicopter to the nearby John Hunter Hospital.

The track has since been closed pending further investigation and a lack of proper licensing. The go-cart used in the accident has similarly been taken away for forensic examination by police authorities.

The spokesman of the New South Wales division of WorkCover, an organization tasked with ensuring the safety of amusement devices, commented that, “[Go-carts are] classified as amusement devices that have to be registered for safety purposes”. One go-cart on the property was found to lack proper guarding while the other had not been certified for use.

Sharon and Scott Taylor were waiting in line with their children at the time. Scott said that the injuries were clearly severe as the paramedics began helping her. He added, “Her clothing had wrapped around her neck”. “The cart hit the wall and stopped and she was just slumped over,” remarked Sharon.

Dadoun was the mother of two children, aged six and four. According to her aunt, she was a devoted caregiver and had been always willing to help others. More specifically, she remarked, “If anyone needed help, she wouldn’t say no. She did a lot for everybody – for her friends, her family, her relatives.” Strongly said, “You can’t describe Mariam. She was the best.”



Honeymoon Cabins In Gatlinburg

By Jason Gluckman

Surrounded by the romantic and beautiful Smoky Mountains, a Gatlinburg cabin is the perfect spot for a honeymoon vacation. Each year hundreds of newlyweds enjoy their memorable first days alone in Gatlinburg. So many people have recognized Gatlinburg as an ideal honeymoon location that the town has been nicknamed a Garden of Eden for lovers.

Gatlinburg is a honeymoon paradise every season of the year. Spring is an especially beautiful time of year to honeymoon in Gatlinburg, as wildflowers bloom throughout the town. The classic honeymoon season is summer, when newlyweds enjoy all the outdoor fun that Gatlinburg has to offer. Fall in the Smokey Mountains offers a fantastic display of color, as well as fresh weather perfect for vigorous outdoor activities. Winter is a great choice for those who enjoy winter sports and who might desire some privacy away from larger crowds, as well as all of the benefits a private cabin has to offer.

Honeymooners in Gatlinburg cabins can expect many luxuries, including a bed of roses, a romantic picnic, and a candlelight dinner for two. Gatlinburg honeymoon cabins are outfitted with all of the necessary amenities designed for an unforgettable honeymoon, including hot tubs, balconies, and fireplaces.

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Gatlinburg honeymoon cabins packages often include at least two nights, with others extending up to a full week. The price of such packages tend to range from $400 to $1,000, and often include dinner, candles, and discounted admission to local attractions, such as Dollywood, Ober Gatlinburg, and Ripleys Aquarium.

A Gatlinburg honeymoon cabin also makes a wonderful wedding location. Each year couples say their vows in a traditional Gatlinburg wedding chapel, in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, or in their own romantic Gatlinburg cabin rental before beginning their honeymoon. In addition, combined wedding and honeymoon packages are available, starting from approximately $700 and up. Such packages typically include a photographer, minister, wedding cake, and at least two nights in a Gatlinburg cabin.

Many Gatlinburg honeymoon cabin packages can be researched and purchased online.

About the Author: Gatlinburg Cabins provides information on Gatlinburg cabins, Gatlinburg cabin rentals, properties for sale, weddings and related topics. For more information go to

e-gatlinburgcabins.com

and/or visit its sister site at

e-pigeonforgecabins.com

for related information.

Source:

isnare.com

Permanent Link:

isnare.com/?aid=13553&ca=Travel



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Still no action in standoff in Ontario town

Monday, April 17, 2006

Seven weeks after citizens of the Six Nations of the Grand River reserve repossessed land near Caledonia, Ontario, on February 28, the Ontario Provincial Police, who have authority from a court to arrest the protesters for contempt of court, have yet to act.

On April 11, more than 50 police cruisers, two paddy wagons, and several vans gathered outside an abandoned school on Unity Road in Caledonia. However, reports from last night are that visible police presence is minimal, with just a few police cruisers parked down the road from the protest site.

Before the site was blocked, Henco Industries had begun construction on 10 luxury homes out of a total of 71 scheduled to be built as part of the $6 million Douglas Creek Estates subdivision.

The tract of land under dispute was registered as a land claim by the Six Nations Band Council in 1987 but its status has yet to be settled. The land originally made up part of a large land grant given in 1784 to the Six Nations for services rendered during the American War of Independence. The government and the developer claim that the Six Nations surrendered title in 1841, but the Band disputes this.

The protesters are demanding a nation-to-nation dialogue with the Canadian government and continue to call for a peaceful resolution. Some protesters, however, have stated that if the OPP forcefully try to remove them, they will defend their land with force.

“If they break the peace, we’ll do what we have to do,” said protester Dick Hill. “Things are very tense. We are trying to defend our lands, which were taken from us. Every time we try to stand up for who we are and what we are, they come and drag us away.”

An injunction was issued to the development company a month ago that allowed for the protesters to be removed. Police have not enforced the injunction.

However, David Ramsay, Ontario’s Aboriginal Affairs Minister, said that the province was going to have a meeting with both protesters and developers in an attempt to address their concerns.

“This is a very serious situation. I have to be very hopeful that we’re going to see a peaceful end to this situation. We think we can resolve this by negotiating, and by talking so that’s what we’re doing,” added Ramsay.



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Repeal of ministerial control of RU486 bill passes Australian Senate

Thursday, February 9, 2006

The bill on whether the Australian Federal Health Minster Tony Abbott should not exercise ministerial control of the abortifacient RU486 has passed the Australian Senate February 9, 2006. If the bill passes the Australian House of Representatives, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) will exercise control and evaluation of the suitability of the drug for use in Australia.

Senators were allowed a free vote on the issue. The result of the vote on the third reading, the final stage of the bill, was 45 for to 28 in favour of TGA exercising control. 23 of the 26 female senators voted in favour of the bill, while numbers were more evenly split between the male senators; 21 of them voted for the bill and 25 were against.

The bill will be debated in the House of Representatives on February 14, 2006.



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Honda Civic tops Canada’s list of most stolen cars

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

The 1999 and 2000 year model Honda Civic SiR tops the list of Canada’s most stolen cars.

Consumer popularity also assures the cars will be popular with thieves. Its the second year in a row the Honda SiR has topped the list.

Rick Dubin Vice President of Investigations for the Insurance Bureau of Canada said “The Civics are easy targets.”

Dubin said that once stolen, the cars are most often sold to “chop shops” where thieves completely dismantle the vehicles. The automobile’s individual parts are worth more than the entire car.

The sheer numbers of the cars and their lack of theft deterrent systems make them thieves’ preferred choices.

1999 and 2000 Honda Civics do not come with an electronic immobilizer, however all Hondas from 2001 and onward are equipped with an immobilizer. Immobilizers will be mandatory on all new cars sold beginning September 2007. The devices enable an engine computer to recognize an electronic code in the key. If the code in the key and the engine don’t match exactly, the vehicle can’t be started.

In third place was the 2004 Subaru Impreza, while the 1999 Acura Integra came in fourth, with the 1994 Honda Civic rounding out the top five.

In sixth place, the 1998 Acura Integra, and the 1993 Dodge Shadow completed seventh.

When asked why early model vehicles are selected, he said that, “auto thieves continue to find it easier to steal older vehicles lacking an IBC-approved immobilizer. We’ve seen this trend developing for several years, and these results confirm it.”

Another Honda automobile, the 1996 year model Civic filled eighth place, with the 2000 German Audi TT Quattro in ninth.

The American 1996 Chevrolet/GMC Blazer rounded out the top ten.

None of the above cars had an electronic immobilizer.



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Concern about sovereign debt of some EU members roils markets

Friday, February 5, 2010

Global stock markets fell steeply on Thursday on investor concerns about the growing sovereign debts of European Union member states Greece, Portugal, and Spain. A report of a rise in weekly jobless claims in the United States contributed to the market gloom. The MSCI World index fell the most in over nine months. Currency and commodities markets also posted major moves.

If other European countries are having trouble like Greece, then it’s a big problem for banks, and the banks are the foundation for everything.

The euro fell more than one percent against the US dollar to an eight-month low; against the yen it fell 2.2%, approaching a one-year low. The price of crude oil fell 5% to US$73.14 per barrel and gold slid 4.4% to US$1,063 per ounce.

Greece’s Prime Minister, George Papandreou, announced an austerity program, but that is now threatened by plans by the largest trade union for a national strike. In 2009, Greece’s budget deficit was 12.7% of the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP). Papandreou’s plan called for that to drop to 3% by 2012.

Gary Jenkins of Evolution Securities told the Financial Times, “[t]he risk aversion trade is back on as the debt problems of Europe are for the first time bringing down global markets. Corporate earnings may come in strongly [in the US], but investors are more concerned about the possible default of a sovereign European nation.”

“This is a sovereign problem, and it’s hitting everything,” said Keith Springer of Capital Financial Advisory Services to Reuters. “If other European countries are having trouble like Greece, then it’s a big problem for banks, and the banks are the foundation for everything. European banks will be in trouble and that will carry over to all stocks.”

“The focus is shifting toward Spain and Portugal, where the deficit-reduction plans have been far less ambitious than Greece,” said Kornelius Purps of UniCredit Markets & Investment Banking to Bloomberg.

Concerns in Portugal centered on political tension surrounding a regional spending bill. In Spain, the source of worry was reportedly because the government backed down from promised pension reform.

European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet sought to ease investor fears, in part by noting that the deficit in the US is expected to hit 10% of GDP in 2010, compared with about 6% in the eurozone. He said that he was “confident” that Greece is moving in the right direction.

Trichet did admit that it is of “paramount importance” for Greece, Portugal and Spain to get their public finances under control.



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