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New Zealand dollar hits new high versus the United States dollar

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New Zealand dollar hits new high versus the United States dollar

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

File:New Zealand money.jpg

The New Zealand dollar (NZD) value rose and, for a short amount of time, was worth US$0.7932, the highest level in New Zealand since the dollar was floated in 1985 — 22 years ago.

The value then dropped a little and as of 11.40 a.m. was trading at US$0.7925. This was due to the Reserve Bank of New Zealand announcing that it will intervene next week at their Official Cash Rate review if the dollar continued to rise.

Economists are predicting that the NZD will now go above US$0.80.

The cause of this rise was mainly due to the release of the June quarter retail sales data. The consumer price index data showed that sales increased by 1.2%, instead of the predicted 0.4%. The bigger than expected sales data were mainly due to supermarket, car and petrol purchases. In May, the core sales figures showed a 0.8% rise, these figures excluded car and fuel sales.

Economist correspondents for Radio New Zealand have also said that a weak US dollar is also to blame for the rising New Zealand dollar. Danika Hampton, currency analyst for the Bank of New Zealand, says the NZD is looking expensive and doubts if it will maintain its current high figure.

Michael Cullen, the finance minister of New Zealand, has said that investors will be hurt when the New Zealand dollar does fall. Dr Cullen personally believes that the NZD is currently overvalued.

The Wellington Chamber of Commerce has called for the New Zealand Government to slow down it’s spending. Charles Finny, from the Chamber of Commerce, says this is one of the core factors, more than the oil and housing markets, despite speculation. Worldwide oil prices are at a current 11-month high.

The retails sales figures also resulted in Government bonds being weakened. The two-year and ten-year Government bonds are at 7.61% and 6.82% respectively.

The Official Cash Rate is currently at 8%, due to other interventions by the Reserve Bank.

The NZD is also trading well against the Australian dollar and Japanese yen.

Steve Kubby, co-author of California Proposition 215, grows dangerously ill in US custody

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Steve Kubby, co-author of California Proposition 215, grows dangerously ill in US custody

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Steve Kubby who was facing extradition from Canada, returned to California, was arrested, and is now in custody in Placer County, California Jail, pending a hearing today. He is a medical cannabis patient who relies on the drug to regulate the symptoms of malignant phenochromocytoma, a cancer of the adrenal gland which can cause the level of adrenaline in his system to fluctuate out of control. If left unregulated, this can result in sudden, fatal heart attack, stroke, pneumonia, and a variety of other conditions.

Kubby was arrested on arrival at San Francisco International Airport Thursday night on behalf of the Placer County Sheriff’s Department, having exhausted his extradition appeals in Canada. He was taken to San Mateo County Jail, pending transport to Placer County Jail. While at San Mateo County Jail, he was reportedly denied access to medication and sufficient bedding. On arrival at Placer County Jail, his blood pressure was dangerously high, and so was given Marinol, a THC synthetic.

Communication with Kubby is highly restricted. According to his wife, Michele, Kubby has been placed in solitary confinement, denied access several times to sufficient bedding to keep him warm, and denied access to the cannabis which, according to several experts on his universally fatal condition, has been solely responsible for keeping him alive for decades. The Marinol he is being given partially mitigates his symptoms, but does not completely control them. He now grows dangerously ill.

In particular, he relates how he was ordered by prison medical staff to take beta-blockers for his blood-pressure. Due to the episodic nature of the adrenaline spikes causing the high blood-pressure, according to all of his doctors, the beta-blockers would likely kill him once the spikes dropped. In an interview by phone with journalist Pat McCartney over the weekend, Kubby reported that, for refusing the beta-blockers, he was coerced into signing a waiver absolving the prison of liability, and has since been refused all care, including even Tylenol for pain management.

Activists concerned with medical marijuana, human rights and prison reform will hold a rally at noon today in front of the Placer County Superior Courthouse, where Steve Kubby is scheduled to be arraigned on violation of probation charges.

Kubby was a co-author of California’s Compassionate Use Act of 1996, also known as Proposition 215. He fled to Canada in 2001 to escape the possibility of incarceration for an extended period without access to cannabis, a possibility which, in both his and expert medical opinion, would certainly prove fatal.

Canada’s Don Valley West (Ward 26) city council candidates speak

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Canada’s Don Valley West (Ward 26) city council candidates speak
This exclusive interview features first-hand journalism by a Wikinews reporter. See the collaboration page for more details.

Friday, November 3, 2006

On November 13, Torontonians will be heading to the polls to vote for their ward’s councillor and for mayor. Among Toronto’s ridings is Don Valley West (Ward 26). Four candidates responded to Wikinews’ requests for an interview. This ward’s candidates include Muhammad Alam, Bahar Aminvaziri, Orhan Aybars, Michele Carroll-Smith, Mohamed Dhanani, Abdul Ingar, Geoff Kettel, Debbie Lechter, Natalie Maniates, John Masterson, John Parker, David Thomas, Csaba Vegh, and Fred Williams.

For more information on the election, read Toronto municipal election, 2006.

Contents

  • 1 Geoff Kettel
  • 2 Natalie Maniates
  • 3 John Parker
  • 4 Csaba Vegh

categories Uncategorized | January 17, 2019 | comments Comments (0)

Mozilla, Creative Commons, Wikimedia Foundation announce Bassel Khartabil Free Culture fellowship following execution of open culture activist

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Mozilla, Creative Commons, Wikimedia Foundation announce Bassel Khartabil Free Culture fellowship following execution of open culture activist
This article mentions the Wikimedia Foundation, one of its projects, or people related to it. Wikinews is a project of the Wikimedia Foundation.

Monday, August 14, 2017

On Friday, several free knowledge, culture and open source oriented organisations — Creative Commons, Mozilla, and the Wikimedia Foundation, amongst others — collectively announced a three-year commitment for a free-culture fellowship to honour Bassel Khartabil’s continuing influence on the open web, during the Wikimedia’s annual conference Wikimania in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Palestinian-Syrian Khartabil was held in captivity under the Syrian government starting in 2012 and went silent in prison in 2015. Early this month his wife confirmed Khartabil had been executed in 2015.

Khartabil worked as a computer engineer and contributed to Mozilla and Wikipedia. A supporter of free access to knowledge and culture, Khartabil co-founded Syria’s first hackerspace, Aiki Lab, and led Creative Commons’ Syrian project.

The fellowship to honour Khartabil aims to promote free culture in various forms, including art, music, software, and community. On their official blog, Creative Commons said they would encourage applications from the Levant, Middle East, and North Africa.

Amazon Web Services is to act as a supporting partner and the fellows would receive a stipend of US$50 thousand over the course of ten months. The fellowship is to be awarded on a one-year basis, which could be renewed. Additionally, the organisations are to provide up to US$3000 for the candidates to purchase equipment and software.

Promoting candidates from “closed societies” from the countries with a history of oppression of freedom of expression and access to free knowledge, the fellowship laid three requirements for the eligibility. The applicants must have a history of contribution to the open source/access or free culture communities, and propose in their application an initiative promoting free culture values, and in which the fellowship would be their primary work focus. The fellowship applications are to be accepted from February, and the fellowship is to be awarded in April.

Apart from contributing to Mozilla and Red Hat, Bassel Khartabil developed “Aiki”, an open source framework which is currently used by Open Clip Art and Open Font Library. He was listed among Top Global Thinkers by Foreign Policy, and given a Digital Freedom Award by the Index on Censorship.

Khartabil was arrested by the Syrian military in March 2012. Following time in a Syrian General Intelligence Directorate facility, nine months after his arrest he was transferred to Adra Prison, and permitted family visits. He was relocated to an undisclosed facility in October 2015, and executed soon after. His wife, Noura Ghazi Safadi, confirmed Khartabil’s death on August 1 via a Facebook post.

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Distributed malware attacks Dyn DNS, takes down websites in US

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Distributed malware attacks Dyn DNS, takes down websites in US

Monday, October 24, 2016

On Friday, a network of diverse Internet-connected devices targeted the Dyn domain registration service provider. It took down Dyn clients, including several popular websites such as Twitter, Netflix, Spotify, Reddit, New York Times, and Wired.

The attack involved targeting Dyn’s domain name system servers with a large volume of requests, rendering it incapable of serving replies to legitimate requests — a DDoS (distributed denial of service) attack. Users’ browsers and other clients sent requests to Dyn to resolve the respective web sites’ domain names to an IP, but did not get a reply within the time required.

The first attack started at about 7am local time (UTC-4) and was resolved in two hours. A second attack started at mid-day, and a third attack started at about 4pm local time. Tens of millions of malicious request sources were observed, interfering with legitimate Dyn traffic.

The reports noted the malicious devices included internet-connected devices — not only servers and desktops, but also webcams, digital video recorders, routers — referred to as the Internet of Things.

On Friday evening Dyn said a security company Flashpoint and a cloud services provider Akamai identified symptoms of malware Mirai participating in the attacks. The malware infects the devices by brute forcing their passwords. This strategy may work as a consequence of users’ negligence towards password security of stationary devices, which the users do not directly interact with in their everyday life while leaving them exposed to the Internet.

Matthew Prince, the CEO of an Internet infrastructure company Cloudflare said it’s a known issue, “There’s nothing really new about [this type of DDoS attack]. We’ve seen them for at least the last three years, they tend to be difficult to stop”.

Public release of Mirai source code was announced at Hackforums on September 30.

Dyn’s corporate headquarters are in New Hampshire.

categories Uncategorized | January 16, 2019 | comments Comments (0)

HIV-positive man receives 35 years for spitting on Dallas police officer

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HIV-positive man receives 35 years for spitting on Dallas police officer

Sunday, May 18, 2008

An HIV-positive man was sentenced to 35 years in prison Wednesday, one day after being convicted of harassment of a public servant for spitting into the eye and open mouth of a Dallas, Texas police officer in May 2006. The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that no one has ever contracted HIV from saliva, and a gay-rights and AIDS advocacy group called the sentence excessive.

A Dallas County jury concluded that Willie Campbell’s act of spitting on policeman Dan Waller in 2006 constituted the use of his saliva as a deadly weapon. The incident occurred while Campbell, 42, was resisting arrest while being taken into custody for public intoxication.

“He turns and spits. He hits me in the eye and mouth. Then he told me he has AIDS. I immediately began looking for something to flush my eyes with,” said Waller to The Dallas Morning News.

Officer Waller responded after a bystander reported seeing an unconscious male lying outside a building. Dallas County prosecutors stated that Campbell attempted to fight paramedics and kicked the police officer who arrested him for public intoxication.

It’s been 25 years since the virus was identified, but there are still lots of fears.

Prosecutors said that Campbell yelled that he was innocent during the trial, and claimed a police officer was lying. Campbell’s lawyer Russell Heinrichs said that because he had a history of convictions including similarly attacking two other police officers, biting inmates, and other offenses, he was indicted under a habitual offender statute. The statute increased his minimum sentence to 25 years in prison. Because the jury ruled that Campbell’s saliva was used as a deadly weapon, he will not be eligible for parole until completing at least half his sentence.

If you look at the facts of this case, it was clear that the defendant intended to cause serious bodily injury.

The organization Lambda Legal (Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund), which advocates for individuals living with HIV, says that saliva should not be considered a deadly weapon. Bebe Anderson, the HIV projects director at Lambda Legal, spoke with The Dallas Morning News about the sentence. “It’s been 25 years since the virus was identified, but there are still lots of fears,” said Anderson.

The Dallas County prosecutor who handled the trial, Jenni Morse, said that the deadly weapon finding was justified. “No matter how minuscule, there is some risk. That means there is the possibility of causing serious bodily injury or death,” said Morse. Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins stated: “If you look at the facts of this case, it was clear that the defendant intended to cause serious bodily injury.”

Contact with saliva, tears, or sweat has never been shown to result in transmission of HIV.

A page at the CDC’s website, HIV and Its Transmission, states: “HIV has been found in saliva and tears in very low quantities from some AIDS patients.” The subsection “Saliva, Tears, and Sweat” concludes that: “Contact with saliva, tears, or sweat has never been shown to result in transmission of HIV.” On Friday the Dallas County Health Department released a statement explaining that HIV is most commonly spread through sexual contact, sharing needles, or transfusion from an infected blood product.

categories Uncategorized | January 15, 2019 | comments Comments (0)

Wikinews Shorts: September 25, 2007

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Wikinews Shorts: September 25, 2007

A compilation of brief news reports for Tuesday, September 25, 2007.

Canadian workers with the Canadian Auto Workers Union have gone on strike due to 70,000 American employees of United Auto Workers Union (UAW) forced to strike against General Motors (GM), just one day ago.

GM Canada’s Windsor, Ontario plant, which employs 1,400 people shut down on Monday. On Tuesday Car Plant 1 in Oshawa, Ontario, which employs 3,000, closed at 3:00am ET. Car Plant 2, also in Oshawa, which employs 2,500 workers, could make a speedy close today or tomorrow. Other GM car plants in Ontario are also feared to close during the strike.

If the strike in the U.S. stays, up to 100,000 Canadian UAW workers could be laid off, according to Buzz Hargrove, president of the Canadian Auto Workers Union. Eighty-thousand Canadians work for the auto-parts industry in Canada, and 40,000 could be laid off, Hargrove also says.

According to the BBC, analysts say the strike will only last for two weeks. The UAW last called a national strike on GM 30 years ago.

Related news

  • “70,000 General Motors employees go on strike” — Wikinews, September 24, 2007

Sources


Findings on a new “sleep survey” seem to be mixed as a sleep analysis of 10,308 government workers over seventeen years was recently made public. The study was conducted by the University of Warwick and the University College London in the United Kingdom.

The participants were aged 35-55. Researchers examined the participants’ sleeping habits between the years of 1995 to 1998, and 1992 to 1993, and mortality rates until 2004. It also compared the social lives of the participants to sleeping habits.

The study shows that, if a person cuts their sleep from seven hours to five hours they ultimately risk an increase of death and death from cardiovascular problems. But sleeping more than eight hours doubles the risk of death, and death would be triggered from non-cardiovascular diseases. Sleeping less than five hours per night increases a risk of weight gain, Type 2 diabetes, and other diseases, which could end up in leading to death.

“A third of the population of the UK and over 40 percent in the U.S. regularly sleep less than five hours a night, so it is not a trivial problem,” said Francesco Cappuccio, professor of cardiovascular medicine at the University of Warwick. “The current pressures in society to cut out sleep, in order to squeeze in more, may not be a good idea — particularly if you go below five hours.”

“This change, largely the result of sleep curtailment to create more time for leisure and shift-work, has meant that reports of fatigue, tiredness and excessive daytime sleepiness are more common than a few decades ago. Sleep represents the daily process of physiological restitution and recovery, and lack of sleep has far-reaching effects,” he said on the university’s website.

“In terms of prevention, our findings indicate that consistently sleeping around seven hours per night is optimal for health,” Cappuccio added.

The new findings have been published on medical journal SLEEPs website. It will officially be published in the magazines next issue.

Sources

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Bomb attack in Londonderry, Northern Ireland injures two police officers

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Bomb attack in Londonderry, Northern Ireland injures two police officers

Friday, October 8, 2010

A bomb exploded early on Tuesday morning in Londonderry, Northern Ireland, injuring two police officers. Investigations into the identity of the bombers and their motive are continuing. The Real Irish Republican Army a paramilitary group that aims to bring about a united Ireland, has claimed responsibility.

The explosion on Culmore Road caused serious damage to nearby buildings, including Da Vinci’s hotel and a branch of the Ulster Bank. A telephone warning was given an hour beforehand and the area, including the hotel, was cleared. The officers, standing near the edge of the exclusion zone, suffered injuries to their necks and ears when they were blown over by the blast.

Chief Superintendent Stephen Martin from the Police Service of Northern Ireland asked for anyone who had seen the Vauxhall Corsa car in which the bomb was hidden before the explosion to come forward. Although the bomb, thought to be over 200lb, was left near the bank, Mr Martin did not think it was the intended target and said that the bomb may have been left because of the presence of police in the area.

The Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland, Martin McGuinness, called the bombers “Neanderthals” and “conflict junkies”, and added that they were “failing miserably” to destroy the peace process in Northern Ireland. He is attending the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham; the Daily Mail reports he refused to comment on if the attack was to coincide with his absence. The city’s mayor, Colm Eastwood, who was at the scene, said he was “disgusted”, adding “I do not know what these people are hoping to achieve. They say they love their country but they spend time trying to destroy it.”

categories Uncategorized | January 14, 2019 | comments Comments (0)

Former US Speaker of the House Hastert planning to retire

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Former US Speaker of the House Hastert planning to retire

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Republican officials announced today that Rep. Dennis Hastert of Illinois will be leaving the United States Congress when his present congressional term concludes at the end of next year.

Hastert has served in Illinois’ 14th district since 1987 and his time as Speaker makes him longest serving Republican Speaker in history. Party officials have scheduled a formal announcement of Hastert’s retirement for Friday, August 17.

Hastert’s decision has been expected since the Republicans lost the elections last November and he was removed as Speaker. For eight years, he’s been second in line of presidential succession behind only the vice-president.

The party officials who discussed his planned retirement did so on condition of anonymity because there had been no public announcement yet.

categories Uncategorized | January 13, 2019 | comments Comments (0)

United States: At least fifteen dead in Southern California after rain causes mudslides and floods

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United States: At least fifteen dead in Southern California after rain causes mudslides and floods

Thursday, January 11, 2018

On Tuesday, the first major rain storm of the year in Southern California led to flooding that has caused at least fifteen deaths, mainly in Santa Barbara County. The flooding was exacerbated by last month’s wildfires; particularly hard-hit was the wealthy community of Montecito, downstream of the site of the Thomas Fire, where at least six houses were destroyed. More than 160 people have been hospitalized, four in critical condition.

According to the United States National Weather Service, five and a half inches of rain has fallen over two days in parts of Ventura County, and more than four inches in parts of Santa Barbara County. In areas burned by the wildfires, ground cover that would have reduced runoff had been destroyed, and an impermeable layer of ash and burned soil had been created. As a result, torrents of mud ran downhill and inundated places such as Montecito. Mike Eliason, a spokesman for the Santa Barbara County Fire Department, said homes in the wealthy community had been “wiped away from their foundations” by mudflows, which also burst a gas main, leading to a fire that destroyed another building.

Sections of the 101 freeway were closed by flooding; a driver told television station KTLA that mud came “out of nowhere” and covered the highway in “about five seconds” and that he was glad he was still alive. James Cook, the Los Angeles correspondent for BBC News, reported that roads were being blocked by “boulders the size of small cars” which had tumbled down the hills. BBC also reported, 300 people had been trapped in Romero Canyon. Bill Brown, the Sheriff of Santa Barbara County, said at mid-afternoon that the number of deaths had reached thirteen and might rise. He described the flood-ravaged areas as looking “like a World War I battlefield” and said that emergency dispatchers had fielded some 600 calls between 3:00 and 6:00 am.

Emergency services including the Ventura County Aviation Unit were kept busy rescuing people. The Coast Guard sent aircraft to assist. Spokesmen reported fifty people had been rescued in each of Los Angeles and Santa Barbara Counties. Montecito resident, Berkeley Johnson, told the Santa Barbara Independent that he and his wife had taken refuge on the roof of their house but climbed came down when they heard a child crying. With a fireman’s help were able to dig out a two-year-old girl, who looked like a “muddy doll” according to Johnson.

Officials issued evacuation orders on Monday for thousands of people living in Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, and Ventura counties, but Montecito was under only voluntary evacuation. Some of the evacuation orders were lifted later on Tuesday as the rain became lighter.

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