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Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal threatened by possible lawsuit

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Buffalo, New York — The property at 605 Forest in Buffalo was the center of attention at last night’s public meeting held at the offices of Forever Elmwood on Elmwood Avenue in Buffalo. Eva Hassett, Vice President of Savarino Construction Services Corporation, confirmed last night that the company will be seeking a variance for the 605 Forest property. Originally, both the 605 and 607 Forest Avenue properties were going to have variances placed on them. As it stands, 607 Forest will not be directly affected by the proposal, should it go forward. Both 605 and 607 are currently occupied by residents.

During Monday night’s meeting, Pano Georgiadis, owner of 605 Forest and owner of Pano’s Resuraunt at 1081 Elmwood Avenue in Buffalo, threatened to “sue” Savarino Construction if they tried to obtain a variance on his property to build the Elmwood Village Hotel.

The Elmwood Village Hotel is a proposal by Savarino Construction that would be placed on the corner of Forest and Elmwood in Buffalo. In order for the project to move forward, at least five buildings (1119-1121 Elmwood) which include both residences and businesses will have to be demolished. The hotel was designed by architect Karl Frizlen of the Frizlen Group. Although the properties are “under contract,” according to Hassett, it is unclear whether Savarino Construction owns the properties. Hans Mobius, a resident of Clarence, New York and former Buffalo Mayoral candidate, is still believed to own them.

Currently, none of the properties is zoned for a hotel.

A freelance journalist writing for Wikinews asked Hassett what kind of zoning permit they [Savarino] would be applying for and, if 605 Forest is included, what zone that would be.

Buffalo, N.Y. Hotel Proposal Controversy
Recent Developments
  • “120 year-old documents threaten development on site of Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal” — Wikinews, November 21, 2006
  • “Proposal for Buffalo, N.Y. hotel reportedly dead: parcels for sale “by owner”” — Wikinews, November 16, 2006
  • “Contract to buy properties on site of Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal extended” — Wikinews, October 2, 2006
  • “Court date “as needed” for lawsuit against Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal” — Wikinews, August 14, 2006
  • “Preliminary hearing for lawsuit against Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal rescheduled” — Wikinews, July 26, 2006
  • “Elmwood Village Hotel proposal in Buffalo, N.Y. withdrawn” — Wikinews, July 13, 2006
  • “Preliminary hearing against Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal delayed” — Wikinews, June 2, 2006
Original Story
  • “Hotel development proposal could displace Buffalo, NY business owners” — Wikinews, February 17, 2006

“There is a ‘special development plan’ in front of the council, which changes only one thing about the zoning. It allows one permitted use for just a hotel. The rest of the zoning remains as it is under the current Elmwood Business District zoning. 605 and 607 Forest are not required for the project. They are not part of the footprint for the project. Let me answer this question again. This is on the record, in council: 605 needs to be rezoned in order to facilitate the project because of the sideyard requirement. Anything in C-2 is excluded besides the hotel. So we’ve taken the C-2 and included the hotel as a permitted use, and excluded everything else and everything else remains the same.”

However, during the February 28 Common Council meeting, Hassett was quoted as saying that the two properties were “off the agenda.”

“Now Karl said, at the last meeting, that they will build this hotel right on the borderline [property line]. If a wall forty-five to fifty feet high goes next to this house, of course it’s not right. You really have to go with whatever the city code says, so you have to get back as many feet as the city code says,” said Georgiadis.

“If you try to get a variance to change the code, I will sue you. This is my home, number one,” added Georgiadis. “First of all I think we are all wasting our time here, you [Savarino], have already made up your mind, but if you go against city code, and you try to do the most rooms with a minimal amount of parking, again, I will sue you. If you build a hotel, in my idea its going to fail. It’s doomed, ok. [If] it’s going to be a home for the disabled, for the homeless, for recovery people, but that’s another story. Then how is it going to be when we say, well I told you so? You will be over and done with. Its very hard to take a four story building [hotel] down.”

Georgiadis stated last night that he was against the proposal and signed a petition to stop it, jokingly saying, “this isn’t a paper to sign to build the hotel, is it? Don’t make me sign the wrong thing.”

Joseph Golombeck, district councilman, was at Monday’s public meeting and said, “we also did request this and the reason we are doing this as a special business district is so that it has to be this specific plan. They [Savarino] can’t go halfway through it and in six months decide that [the hotel] it’s going to be three floors. They can’t decide it’s going to be five floors. It has to be, per law, exactly what it is that they brought to us [the public] so far, and then ultimately to the City of Buffalo Common Council when it’s approved. So if it gets approved, it has to be this specific, exact project. They couldn’t make it fifty parking spots, they couldn’t make it thirty. It has to be specifically what they have right here.”

A man who lives on Granger Street in Buffalo attended the meeting, speaking in favor of the hotel development. He claimed, “There are a lot of low property values. Hopefully if we embrace development, our property values, for those of us who have property, will go up. There are a lot of people unfortunately, who are working hard, that do not get a chance to come to these meetings. I myself was at work and wasn’t able to go to the last two meetings. I express that we appreciate that you [Savarino] invest in the City of Buffalo and for what you hope, because I do not think Savarino is into losing money. These people are not in business to be losing money here. They are hoping for the success of this [the hotel] more than any one of us. They are hoping that the property values in this area will go up more than any one of us, because it will benefit them [the residents and business owners], more than any one of us. I want this city to develop. I don’t think anybody else is here understanding that we’re looking for development in this city, we are looking for the city to get better. The councilman here is not interested in Buffalo failing.”

Evelyn Bencinich, resident of Granger Street, would have the hotel directly behind her home, if it were to be built.

“What about construction [time]? Is that just for the exterior, the nine months? Or does that include the interior? Is there going to be blasting through bedrock? Is there property protection for damage? Are you [Savarino and the Frizlen Group] responsible?”, asked Bencinich.

According to Frizlen, there is a layer of solid bedrock at least 30 feet from the surface of the land saying, “we anticipate that the bedrock is at least thirty feet down.” He also admitted that “we haven’t done any soil sporrings,” but did say “the bedrock is somewhere in between twenty-five and thirty feet [down], we don’t need to go that deep. So blasting is most likely out of it [the question].”

“Personally, I can only speak from the city side, but a few years ago we rebuilt Vulcan Street, in the northwest corner of Buffalo, and there were a couple of properties that were damaged and they [the owners] were able to file a claim against the company that did the work and they won in each case. It was the same thing with a school that was built on Military Road. There were a couple of problems with foundations on a couple of properties, and they weren’t sure if caused by the school or not, but the insurance company ended up paying them,” answered Golombeck.

“I would assume that Savarino is insured with someone. So if there is a problem with anything that happens to your properties, what I would recommend is that anybody that lives on Granger Place, if this does go through, that you get pictures taken of your basement and of your foundations, because God forbid if there is a problem, you want to have an[sic] before and after [picture]. You don’t want to come afterwards and there’s a crack in there [foundation] and you have no way of proving that it happened,” added Golombeck.

According to Golombeck, the properties that Mobius owns have been “in housing court on several occasions, but has a date of April 11, 2006 that he is going back [to court] for these properties. So it is in housing court and I wouldn’t know Mr. Mobius if he walked in this room right now,” stated Golombeck.

“I’ve gone after him on numerous occasions and everytime he gets out of housing court with a slap on the wrist. If I am a conspiracy theorist and say that there is a lot more going on than meets the eye. I can only get him into housing court. Once he’s in housing court, the judge rules on it. Now I don’t mean to take any shots at previous administrations, but I am hoping with the new administration, being in here, that the inspections department is going to be a much better department than it has been for the previous several years.”

The city’s Planning Board on March 14, 2006, agreed to send the Elmwood Village Hotel proposal back to the Common Council so that it may “be opened back up to discussion from the public.”

On March 2, 2006 the Common Council sent the proposal “to committee” for further discussion and also requesting that the public be “engaged further.”

During that meeting, Justin Azzeralla, Executive Director for Forwever Elmwood, said that the organization “supports the hotel project.”

Also on March 2, the planning board agreed to table, or postpone, any decision on the hotel proposal for at least thirty days, also citing the need for the public to be “more engaged.”

The Common Council is expected to meet on March 21, 2006 at 2:00pm local time where they may approve or deny the proposal.

According to The Buffalo News, at least six Common Council members support the hotel project and are pledging to vote to approve it at the meeting on Tuesday, March 21.

However, the city’s Planning Board will get the final say on the project.



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Wikinews international report: “Anonymous” holds anti-Scientology protests worldwide

Sunday, February 10, 2008

The Internet group Project Chanology today held protests critical of the Church of Scientology. The protests marked what would have been the 49th birthday of Lisa McPherson, who is claimed to be a victim of the Church of Scientology’s practices. Lisa died in 1995 during a running of what Scientologists refer to as an Introspection Rundown, a procedure intended to help Church members deal with a psychotic or deeply traumatic event.

Protests were planned throughout the day in 14 countries and over 50 different cities. The estimation of total protesters world wide for Feb. 10, 2008 is 9,250 people.

Wikinews had correspondents at a number of protest locations to report on the events. This article was updated throughout the day with reports from around the globe.

Contents

  • 1 Location Reports
    • 1.1 Adelaide, Australia
      • 1.1.1 Adelaide Gallery
    • 1.2 Atlanta, Georgia
      • 1.2.1 Atlanta Photo Gallery
    • 1.3 Austin, Texas
      • 1.3.1 Austin Photo Gallery
    • 1.4 Boston, Massachusetts
      • 1.4.1 Boston Photo Gallery
    • 1.5 Brisbane, Australia
      • 1.5.1 Brisbane Gallery
    • 1.6 Brussels, Belgium
      • 1.6.1 Brussels Photo Gallery
    • 1.7 Buffalo, New York
      • 1.7.1 Buffalo Photo Gallery
    • 1.8 Chicago, Illinois
      • 1.8.1 Chicago Photo Gallery
    • 1.9 Clearwater, Florida
    • 1.10 Dallas, Texas
      • 1.10.1 Dallas Photo Gallery
    • 1.11 Edinburgh, Scotland
      • 1.11.1 Edinburgh Photo Gallery
    • 1.12 Honolulu, Hawaii
      • 1.12.1 Honolulu Photo Gallery
    • 1.13 Houston, Texas
    • 1.14 London, England
      • 1.14.1 London Photo Gallery
    • 1.15 Los Angeles, California
      • 1.15.1 Los Angeles Photo Gallery
    • 1.16 Manchester, England
      • 1.16.1 Manchester Photo Gallery
    • 1.17 Melbourne, Australia
      • 1.17.1 Melbourne Photo Gallery
    • 1.18 Minneapolis, Minnesota
    • 1.19 Milwaukee, Wisconsin
      • 1.19.1 Milwaukee Photo Gallery
    • 1.20 New Orleans, Louisiana
      • 1.20.1 New Orleans Photo Gallery
    • 1.21 New York City, New York
      • 1.21.1 New York City Photo Gallery
    • 1.22 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
    • 1.23 Phoenix, Arizona
      • 1.23.1 Phoenix Photo Gallery
    • 1.24 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
      • 1.24.1 Pittsburgh Photo Gallery
    • 1.25 Plymouth, England
      • 1.25.1 Plymouth Photo Gallery
    • 1.26 Portland, Oregon
      • 1.26.1 Portland Photo Gallery
    • 1.27 San Antonio, Texas
    • 1.28 San Diego, California
      • 1.28.1 San Diego Photo Gallery
    • 1.29 Seattle, Washington
      • 1.29.1 Seattle Photo Gallery
    • 1.30 Sydney, Australia
      • 1.30.1 Sydney Photo Gallery
    • 1.31 Toronto, Canada
      • 1.31.1 Toronto Photo Gallery
    • 1.32 Vancouver, Canada
    • 1.33 Vienna, Austria
    • 1.34 Winnipeg, Canada
      • 1.34.1 Winnipeg Photo Gallery
    • 1.35 The Internet
      • 1.35.1 Internet gallery
    • 1.36 Other locations
      • 1.36.1 Stories from other locations
  • 2 Related news
  • 3 Sources


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US Senate unanimously passes genetic nondiscrimination bill

Thursday, April 24, 2008

In a unanimous 95-0 vote Thursday, the United States Senate passed a bill that would forbid employers and health insurance companies from discriminating against someone based on information learned through genetic testing.

The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, described by Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy as “the first major new civil rights bill of the new century,” will now be sent back to the House of Representatives, where it could be approved as early as next week. President George W. Bush, who would have to sign the bill for it to become law, has voiced his support for the legislation.

The bill forbids employers from firing, refusing to hire, or otherwise discriminating against employees based on genetic information, such as a family history of a hereditary disease. It also makes it illegal for employers to request genetic information of an employee or the employee’s family.

Health insurance companies are also addressed in the bill, which forbids them from requesting genetic information or using such information to set premium rates or determine enrollment eligibility. However, insurance companies would still have the right to base one’s health coverage on the actual presence of a genetic disease.

Americans can now be confident that their genetic information cannot be used by health insurers or employers in harmful or hurtful ways.

“For the first time we act to prevent discrimination before it has taken firm hold and that’s why this legislation is unique and groundbreaking,” said Maine Senator Olympia Snowe, who sponsored the bill along with Sen. Kennedy and Sen. Mike Enzi. Snowe fears the threat of discrimination may discourage people from undergoing genetic testing, which can help to diagnose a wide range of diseases and lead to lifesaving therapy.

Kathy Hudson, director of the Genetics and Public Policy Center, reports that 92 percent are worried that information gained in genetic testing may be used against them. “After a very long wait,” she says, “Americans can now be confident that their genetic information cannot be used by health insurers or employers in harmful or hurtful ways.”

One part of the bill addresses this concern. “Federal legislation establishing a national and uniform basic standard is necessary to fully protect the public from discrimination and allay their concerns about the potential for discrimination,” the bill reads, “thereby allowing individuals to take advantage of genetic testing, technologies, research, and new therapies.”

Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn initially blocked Senate action on the bill, warning that it could potentially lead to excessive lawsuits against employers and insurers. But after changes were made to the bill to ease his concerns earlier this week, he supported the legislation and allowed the Senate to vote on it. “We certainly improved the bill from a liability standpoint,” said Coburn, an obstetrician.

Similar bills were unanimously passed by the Senate in 2003 and 2005, but in both years the bill stalled in the House. The current bill was passed in the House of Representatives a year ago by a 420-3 vote. A genetic nondiscrimination bill was first introduced 13 years ago by New York Representatives Louise Slaughter, who says the House will “get it out to the White House as quickly as we can.”



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Wikinews interviews Jim Babka, chair of Libertarian organization Downsize DC

Thursday, April 3, 2008

A reporter from Wikinews recently interviewed Jim Babka, chair of Libertarian organization Downsize DC. The organization claims to have arranged for 22,158 people to send a message regarding the “American Freedom Agenda Act” proposed by Ron Paul, in addition to supporting many other laws. The full text of the interview can be found below.



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Dubai receives bailout from Abu Dhabi

Monday, December 14, 2009

The government of Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates has agreed to give US$10 billion to its neighboring emirate, allowing the state-owned Dubai World conglomerate to repay its immediate debt obligations. Dubai says more than $4 billion of the injection will be given to Dubai World’s property firm, Nakheel, to repay its Islamic bond that matures Monday. The remaining funds will go towards additional expenses.

News of the last-minute bailout caused Asian stocks to rebound and pushed European shares up, which saw gains for a third straight session. Markets in the UAE also rose, with Dubai’s index moving up by 10 percent and Abu Dhabi’s jumping by seven percent. Despite the good news, Algebra Capital Managing Director Dino Kronfol says Dubai is not out of the woods yet. “This is not something that is going to be resolved in a matter of weeks. It’s going to take some time,” Kronfol said. “It’s going to involve restructuring and we’ll have to see how that transpires. But nonetheless, this is a positive development today.”

The situation is completely different from just a few weeks ago, when Dubai World shook up global markets by asking for a standstill on its $26 billion debt. The government of Dubai made matters worse when it announced it would not guarantee the state-owned company’s bills.

Dubai World’s creditors still need to approve the standstill and effectively have until December 28 to make a decision. That is when the grace period of Nakheel’s bond ends. The government of Dubai has issued a new law allowing the conglomerate to file for bankruptcy if its restructuring is not successful. But Kronfol says, if the process focuses on necessary aspects, it will succeed.

“If the restructuring actually deals with Dubai’s contingent liabilities,” Kronfol said, “as a long-term solution, this actually really will help put the whole debt situation of Dubai behind us and really allow the markets to look more positively at 2010 and beyond.”

Government sources say Dubai World’s restructuring process could include asset sales, but they would be limited to the Nakheel and Limitless companies and not include Istithmar World, which owns U.S. Luxury retailer Barneys.



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Copiapó, Chile mining accident: in depth

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The rescue of the Chilean miners trapped in the San José Mine in Copiapó, codenamed Operación San Lorenzo (San Lorenzo Operation), began on Tuesday night, at around 20:00 local time (23:00 UTC).

Florencio Ávalos was the first miner to be rescued, at 00:12 local time (03:12 UTC) on Wednesday. He was wearing a shirt signed by all his fellow miners. “The first miner is already with us. We saw it all, him hugging his wife Monica and his son Byron,” said President Piñera shortly after the first rescue. “We still have a long journey.”

“This will be recorded on every single Chilean heart forever,” Piñera added. “I hope the miners’ hope stay with us, just like the [February] earthquake victims’ [hope] and what the earthquake took off. We know that the disasters unite us all.”

All the 33 miners were rescued. The last miner, Luis Urzúa, was rescued at 21:55 Chile time (00:55 UTC). “It is a pleasure to be Chilean, [I’m] proud,” said Luis Urzúa to President Piñera. “In honour of the miners, their families, the rescuers […] let’s sing our national anthem. Viva Chile Mierda!,” said Piñera. Urzúa thanked Mining Minister Golborne and the First Lady Cecilia Morel for “fighting for their lives.” “I’m proud of my fellow miners,” Urzúa added.

Six rescuers, including a miner and a paramedic, descended to the miners’ shelter using the Fénix 3 capsule which was specially constructed for the rescue. They performed check-ups and talk with the miners before taking them back to the surface. The rescuers still don’t leave the mine.

The Fénix 3 capsules are 3.95 metres in height and weigh about 460 kilograms. They have an armour, an oxygen tube and a microphone. The occupants helmets contain an intercom to keep them in contact with the rescue team on the surface.

President of Chile Piñera assisted to the rescue. Bolivian President Evo Morales could not attend Carlos Mamani’s rescue. Mamani is the only Bolivian miner in the group.

A mass for the miners was conducted at 18:00 local time (21:00 UTC). The rescue takes between 15 and 20 minutes for each miner.

On Tuesday, Mayor of Copiapó Maglio Cicardini announced that the municipal schools in the city will have no classes this Wednesday “to transform the rescue of the Atacama’s 33 in a familiar meeting,” Radio Cooperativa reported.

“The miners will be taken to the Copiapó Regional Hospital for medical checkup, where they will have to stay for 48 hours,” Health Minister Mañalich said to Televisión Nacional de Chile.

Celebrations are taking place in several Chilean cities. In Santiago de Chile, people gathered in one of the most important points of the city, Plaza Italia. In Pichilemu, tens of cars are passing over its most important streets. In Copiapó, people gathered in its main square to assist a massive concert.

On August 5, 33 miners were trapped more than 700 meters (2,300 ft) underground, in the San José copper–gold mine, located about 40 kilometers north of Copiapó, Chile.

The youngest trapped miner is 19 years old, and the oldest is 63. There were several rescue attempts before reaching the miners’ shelter on August 22. The National Emergencies Office of Chile (ONEMI) released a list of the trapped miners on August 6, which included Franklin Lobos Ramírez, a retired footballer.

Chile is the worlds top producer of copper, according to The Economist. The San José Mine is owned by the San Esteban Mining Company (Empresa Minera San Esteban). The mine was closed down in 2007, after relatives of a miner who had died sued the company executives, but the mine was re–opened in 2008.

It was originally estimated that “it would take three to four months to complete the rescue of the trapped miners”. There were three plans to reach the miners: “Plan A” using a Strata 950 drill, “Plan B” using a Schramm T130XD drill, and “Plan C” using a RIG-422 drill. The first to reach the miners was “Plan B”, early on Saturday 9.

The last step of their rescue, announced by Health Minister Jaime Mañalich, was originally due to begin on Tuesday. Laurence Golborne, Minery Minister said “If it is possible, and the cement sets before and we don’t have any impediments to doing it, it would be wonderful,” in a press conference on Monday. The men will be extracted in a steel rescue capsule 54 cm (21 inches) in diameter.

On September 4, Chilean filmmaker Rodrigo Ortúzar announced plans to film a movie about the accident, called “Los 33” (“The 33”). The film will be released in 2011.

One miner is Bolivian, and the other 32 are Chilean.

Raúl Bustos, 40 years old, is an hydraulics engineer. He left his job in Talcahuano after the February 27 earthquake to work in the mine.

Daniel Herrera, 27 years old, is a lorry driver. He has acted as paramedic assistant in the mine. He said to La Tercera “the miners were unhappy with the psychologist in the rescue team.”

Claudio Acuña, miner, is fan of the Colo-Colo football club. The BBC reports he is aged 56, but El Comercio says he is 44.

Pedro Cortez is aged 24. He joined the mine with his friend Carlos Bugueño. Cortez is an electrician, and lost a finger in the mine a year ago.

File:Juan Aguilar with President Piñera.jpg

A native of Los Lagos, Juan Aguilar is 49 years old. Aguilar is married to Cristy Coronado, according to El Comercio. Aguilar works as a supervisor.

Mario Sepúlveda is a 39 years old electrician native of Parral; he is married. He has been the spokesman of the most of the miners’ videos. Mario Sepúlveda was the second miner to be rescued, on Wednesday at 01:10 local time (04:10 UTC).

Víctor Zamora is a 33 years old auto mechanic. Zamora is married to Jéssica Cortez, who confirmed she was pregnant while he was in the mine.

Osman Araya is 30 years old, and married. He began working as miner four months before the accident.

Florencio Ávalos is 31 years old. He is the brother of Renán Ávalos, who is also trapped in the mine. He worked as driver in San José. Ávalos filmed videos, sent later to his relatives.

Ávalos was the first miner to be rescued, on Wednesday at 00:10 local time (03:10 UTC).

Jorge Galleguillos, 56 years old, has worked all his life in the mine. He said in one video he was feeling unwell; he takes medication for hypertension.

Carlos Barrios is a 27 years old miner. His father, Antenor Barrios, told Agence France-Presse: “I find he’s very strong and has enthusiasm. He spoke loud and clear. I was excited.”

Franklin Lobos Ramírez is a 53 years old retired footballer. He played for Cobresal, Deportes Antofagasta, Club de Deportes Santiago Wanderers and Unión La Calera, and briefly for the Chile national football team. Lobos had worked as a truck driver in the mine.

Yonni Barrios, called “The Doctor”, is a 50 years old electrician. He has knowledge of first aid, and was given responsibility for monitoring the health of his colleagues. “I felt I was in hell,” Barrios said in a letter to his wife.

Carlos Bugueño, 27 years old, joined the mine with Pedro Cortez. Previously, he worked as a watchman.

Alex Vega Salazar is a 31 years old heavy machinery mechanic. He is married to Jessica Salgado, and celebrated his birthday in the mine on September 22.

Ariel Ticona is a 29 years old miner. His wife, Margarita gave birth to his daughter on September 14. She was named Esperanza (Hope), at Ticona’s request.

Richard Villarroel is a 27 years old mechanic from Coyhaique.

Edison Peña is a 34 years old miner. “I want to go out soon,” he said on his first contact with his relatives. “I want to be free, I want to see the sun,” he added. He is a fan of Elvis Presley.

Claudio Yáñez is 34 years old, and works as drill operator.

José Ojeda, 46 years old, is the master driller. Ojeda is widowed and diabetic.

Luis Urzúa is a 54 year old topographer. He is the shift-leader, and was the first miner to talk with authorities. He is known as Don Lucho among the miners. He draw plans of the area of the mine where they are trapped.

Urzúa will be the last miner to leave the mine.

José Henríquez is a 54 years old drill master. He is also an evangelical preacher, and has worked in mines for 33 years.

Víctor Segovia is a 48 years old electrician. He is in charge of writing down everything that happens in the mine.

Pablo Rojas is a 45 years old explosives loader. Married, he had been working less than six months in the mine.

Juan Illanes is a 51 year old miner. He was a sergeant in the Beagle border conflict between Chile and Argentina in 1978, the incident which almost provoked a war between the countries.

Illanes was rescued on Wednesday, at 02:07 local time (05:07 UTC).

Jimmy Sánchez, 19, is the youngest miner. He had been working in the mine for five months before the accident. His role is to check the temperature and humidity in the mine.

Samuel Ávalos is a 43 years miner. His wife Ruth said “he was addicted to the cocaine.” His role in the rescue is to check air quality in the area the miners are living. According to the BBC, “Ávalos has worked in the mine for five months.”

Mario Gómez, aged 63, is the oldest of the miners. He has worked 51 years as miner. His father was also a miner, and is nicknamed “El Navegao” (“The Sailed One”). He was thinking of retiring in November.

Gómez also wrote the message “Estamos bien en el refugio los 33” (“We are fine in the shelter the 33 [of us]”).

Segovia is 48 years old. He is married to Jessica Chille, who said “To hear his voice was a confort to my heart,” after talking with him for the first time in 24 days. His sister María, was nicknamed “La Alcaldesa” (“The Mayoress”) for her leading role at Campamento Esperanza. His father, Darío Senior, was trapped in a mine for a week, and suffered serious injuries after two other mining accidents, according to the BBC.

Carlos Mamani is a 23 years old heavy equipment operator. He is also the only non-Chilean miner; Mamani is Bolivian. He began working in the mine just five days before the accident.

He was rescued at 03:11 local time (06:11 UTC) on Wednesday.

Renán Ávalos is a 29 years old miner, single, who had been working for five months in the mine before the accident. Florencio Ávalos is his brother.

Omar Reygadas is a 56 year old electrician. He began working in the mine shortly before the accident.

Esteban Rojas is a 44 years old miner. Rojas is married to Jessica Yáñez.



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Prisons in New Zealand to introduce mobile phone jamming technology

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

A successful 12-month trial of mobile phone blocking technology in New Zealand prisons has just been completed, according to the Minister of Corrections, Vodafone and Telecom.

Corrections Minister, Damien O’Conner, described this technology as a world first and a significant milestone for the Department of Corrections.

The mobile phone blocking technology is being implemented to help prevent the growing problem of inmates using mobile phones which they are currently prohibited from. One case included a Mt Eden prisoner using a mobile phone to organise NZ$1 million worth of methamphetamine (commonly known in New Zealand as P) being smuggled in. Other cases at Mount Eden Prison included posting of pxts on the Internet, and ordering meals of KFC.

Vodafone, Telecom and the Department of Corrections signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) stating that they will help prevent the use of mobile phones inside prisons. In a joint statement Greg Patchell, Group Technology Officer for Telecom, and Tom Chignell, Corporate Affairs General Manager for Vodafone, said, “With the technical trials completed, and the MoU Agreement in place, work can now begin to apply the most effective technologies to combat unauthorised cellphone use in each prison site in New Zealand.”

Hawke’s Bay Prison will be the first prison to get the new technology due to its high level of gang members. The technology will be implemented in the next six weeks.

However, some prisons, including Mt Eden Prison, might not have this technology implemented due to different characteristics of each prison. Simon Power, Corrections Spokesperson for the National Party, said, “The technology won’t work around all prisons, the most notable being Mt Eden, which has had significant contraband problems.” Patchell and Chignell said, “…we have now identified a package of technical solutions which the Department of Corrections believes could be deployed with effectiveness in some of its facilities.”

The prison and if the mobile phone service of anyone living near a prison will be affected, will determine the type of mobile phone jamming technology used.

As well as the new mobile phone jamming technology, new legislation is being written which will mean if an inmate, prison contractor, or staff member is found carrying a mobile phone, they will face either a fine of $5,000 or a year in jail. As well as tighter security of prisons, including only one point of access into them.



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Illinois man charged in Facebook harassment case

Monday, February 8, 2010

A man from the Naperville, Illinois, United States area has been accused of allegedly threatening to kill his ex-girlfriend and her current boyfriend via messages posted on her Facebook account. 

Nineteen-year-old Christopher J. Bensfield was arrested Jan. 28 at his home in unincorporated DuPage County near the far west-central part of Naperville. He is being held on a $12,500 bond at the DuPage County Jail in Wheaton. He is scheduled to appear at the DuPage County Circuit Court on a felony charge of harassment via electronic communication. Police Sergeant Gregg Bell said the ex-girlfriend, a Naperville-resident, asked Bensfield to stop sending the messages many times before she submitted printed copies of the threatening messages to Naperville police.

Court records indicate Bensfield is already on probation after pleading guilty last September to possession of a controlled substance. He was arrested in August 2008 after disobeying a stop sign in Naperville. Police searched his car and found marijuana and drug paraphernalia. This was the third time Benfield had been arrested for having marijuana since April 2007, when drugs were found in his possession at Naperville Central High School. Last October, a judge issued a fine and required him to join the DuPage County Sheriff’s Work Alternative Program. He has also received five tickets within three months in 2008 for driving violations, including speeding, driving without insurance, transportation of an open alcohol container, and driving too fast for conditions.

Bensfield’s mother also has an order of protection against him. Ms. Bensfield stated that he asked her for money in late December; he then broke into her home in Naperville’s far southeast-side, punching holes in the walls and breaking various items before leaving. Christopher was arrested Dec. 29 and faced a misdemeanor charge of criminal damage to property. He “suffers from bipolar disorder and has not been taking his medication,” according to information the Naperville Daily Herald has received from Ms. Bensfield.