American Indian Movement spokesperson dies, age 75


Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Vernon Bellecourt, once the primary spokesperson for the American Indian Movement, died recently at age 75. Bellecourt, an Ojibwa who fought for Native rights, was perhaps best known for his opposition to Native names and mascots for sports teams.

First in the headlines in 1972, Bellecourt organized a cross-country caravan of the Movement, to Washington. Once there, members of the group occupied the Bureau of Indian Affairs offices. His goal of international recognition for Aboriginal nations and their treaties found him meeting with figures like Libyan Colonel Muammar el-Qaddafi, and Palestine’s Yasir Arafat. In 1977 Leonard Peltier was convicted and sentenced to two consecutive life terms for the murder of two FBI Agents during a 1975 shoot-out on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation; Bellecourt led the campaign to free him.

Most recently, he visited Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, to discuss getting free or cheap heating oil for reservations.

His work as president of the National Coalition on Racism in Sports and Media made a much wider known mark, though. Bellecourt emphasized that he believed such names perpetuated racial stereotypes, clouding the real identities and problems facing natives.

Teams with native-related names could almost guarantee on Bellecourt showing up at major games. He twice burned an effigy of Chief Wahoo, the Cleveland Indians baseball team mascot, and both times was arrested. When the Washington Redskins of the National Football League made the Super Bowl, Vernon was there to protest. The United States Commission on Civil Rights was critical of such names by 2001, calling them “insensitive in light of the long history of forced assimilation”. Some newspapers have stopped using the names of teams with Native origins.

None of his “big four” targets have shown any indication of changing: the Washington Redskins, the Kansas City Chiefs, the Cleveland Indians or the Atlanta Braves.

Post-season use of American Indian mascots were banned by the National Collegiate Athletic Association in 2005, suggesting the names are “hostile or abusive”. Bellecourt was pleased with the NCAA sanctions, but suggested such actions were only going “half way”.

The Florida State Seminole and the Illinois Illini were among the 18 colleges affected by the ban. Florida president T.K. Wetherell threatened legal action in response. The Florida Seminole tribes have endorsed the University’s usage of the name, but some out-of-state tribes were “not supportive”, according to the NCAA vice president for diversity and inclusion.

Born WaBun-Inini, Bellecourt died from complications of pneumonia on October 13, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States.

On the campaign trail in the USA, October 2016


Sunday, November 6, 2016

The following is the sixth and final edition of a monthly series chronicling the U.S. 2016 presidential election. It features original material compiled throughout the previous month after an overview of the month’s biggest stories.

In this month’s edition on the campaign trail: the Free & Equal Foundation holds a presidential debate with three little-known candidates; three additional candidates give their final pleas to voters; and past Wikinews interviewees provide their electoral predictions ahead of the November 8 election.

Contents

  • 1 Summary
  • 2 Free & Equal Debate
  • 3 Final pleas
  • 4 Predictions
  • 5 Related articles
  • 6 Sources

Dress code threats close Peshawar schools


Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Schools in the city Peshawar, Pakistan were closed for two days at the end of last week after anonymous threats were received warning female students to wear veils in class.

The threats, believed originating from members of the Taliban movement, along with the detention of two would-be suicide bombers before they exploded themselves, raised tensions and closed the schools out of safety concerns for the students.

One of the two suicide bombers was a woman who attempted enter the Koochi Bazaar, a market in Peshawar, the capital of Pakistan’s North-West Frontier Province. Purses carried by women are routinely searched before entering the market. Explosives were discovered in the purse carried by a woman who refused the search and tried to walk away.

This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.
This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.

Dog’s throat cut in Cairns, Australia


Thursday, July 15, 2010

In what the RSPCA calls a “horrific” case of animal cruelty, a dog’s jaw was taped shut, and its throat cut, in Cairns, Australia.

The Staffordshire mix, who was found by police in a critical condition last Thursday, was reportedly struggling to breath and bleeding heavily due to her throat being slashed and her muzzle being bound.

“The way they cut was almost down to the larynx, so muscles were cut but luckily they missed the jugular veins,” said Sarah Gill, the vet who stitched the 10 cm long, 3 cm deep cut.

In a statement reported on Tuesday, Inspector Cameron Buswell, a law enforcement officer with the RSPCA animal welfare charity, said it is hard to comprehend that there are people in the community capable of this level of cruelty.

“This would have to be up there as one of the more horrific cases we’ve dealt with […]The poor dog must have been petrified. How she didn’t die is miraculous.” he said.

Named ‘Franky’ by rescuers, the dog is progressing well along her road to recovery, has a warm, loving and kind nature, and has begun to come out of her shell, Buswell said.

“She is a really nice natured animal and she loves being with people.”

This has become apart of string of violent attacks on pets in Queensland. Another dog in North Queensland named ‘Boof’ was beaten and left to die with a 30 kg chain around his neck in January. In May, a family dog in Toowoomba had its throat slit and a rubber band placed around the wound, twice.

The RSPCA is appealing for information from the public regarding the person or persons responsible for the latest attack.

Gastric bypass surgery performed by remote control


Sunday, August 21, 2005

A robotic system at Stanford Medical Center was used to perform a laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery successfully with a theoretically similar rate of complications to that seen in standard operations. However, as there were only 10 people in the experimental group (and another 10 in the control group), this is not a statistically significant sample.

If this surgical procedure is as successful in large-scale studies, it may lead the way for the use of robotic surgery in even more delicate procedures, such as heart surgery. Note that this is not a fully automated system, as a human doctor controls the operation via remote control. Laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery is a treatment for obesity.

There were concerns that doctors, in the future, might only be trained in the remote control procedure. Ronald G. Latimer, M.D., of Santa Barbara, CA, warned “The fact that surgeons may have to open the patient or might actually need to revert to standard laparoscopic techniques demands that this basic training be a requirement before a robot is purchased. Robots do malfunction, so a backup system is imperative. We should not be seduced to buy this instrument to train surgeons if they are not able to do the primary operations themselves.”

There are precedents for just such a problem occurring. A previous “new technology”, the electrocardiogram (ECG), has lead to a lack of basic education on the older technology, the stethoscope. As a result, many heart conditions now go undiagnosed, especially in children and others who rarely undergo an ECG procedure.

2009 was worst year for airlines, says International Air Transport Association


Thursday, January 28, 2010

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) said on Wednesday that 2009 was the “worst year” that the airline industry has ever seen since 1945.

“In terms of demand, 2009 goes into the history books as the worst year the industry has ever seen,” said IATA boss Giovanni Bisignani. “We have permanently lost 2.5 years of growth in passenger markets and 3.5 years of growth in the freight business.”

According to the group, passenger traffic was down by 3.5% compared to a year earlier, and freight by 10.1%. The group estimated that the airline industry lost a total of US$11 billion in 2009 last year, and will lose another $5.6 billion in 2010.

Airlines in Africa had the biggest passenger demand drop, at 6.8%; North American airlines and Asian carriers had demand go down 5.8%. European airlines saw a drop of 5%. Middle Eastern and Latin American carriers, however, had rises in demand, with gains of 11.3% and 0.3%, respectively. According to the Agence France-Presse news agency, part of the reason Middle Eastern carriers performed better is because of their position between Asia, Africa, and Europe, resulting in more connecting flights through hubs.

“While both North American and European carriers saw demand improvements in the first half of the year, the second half was basically flat,” said IATA.

IATA represents 230 airlines, accounting for 90% of scheduled air traffic, although some budget carriers are not included.

The IATA boss said that, although the worst appeared to be over due to the global economic recovery airlines would have to keep their costs low. “Revenue improvements will be at a much slower pace than the demand growth that we are starting to see,” he noted.

“Profitability will be even slower to recover and airlines will lose an expected 5.6 billion dollars in 2010. The industry starts 2010 with some enormous challenges. The worst is behind us, but it’s not time to celebrate. Adjusting to 2.5 to 3.5 years of lost growth means that airlines face another spartan year, focused on matching capacity carefully to demand and controlling costs,” Bisignani continued.

Costs for security were also an issue. Bisignani said: “Governments and industry are aligned in the priority that we place on security. But the cost of security is also an issue. Globally, airlines spend US$5.9 billion a year on what are essentially measures concerned with national security. This is the responsibility of governments, and they should be picking up the bill.”

Analysts, however, say that cost cutting measures, intended to attract more customers, would also harm airline profits. Saj Ahmad, an independent airline analyst, commented: “Continued fare wars between airlines mean that yields and profitability will be low. Airlines are struggling to fill their airplanes and discounted ticketing has done little to alleviate the pressures on their costs,” as quoted by the BBC.

“Capacity has come out of the global airline system, but until a few airlines perhaps exit the industry through bankruptcy or mergers, there is still a very long road until we see serious stability, let alone growth,” Ahmad added.

Train accident in China kills at least 43


Sunday, July 24, 2011

Two high-speed bullet trains crashed close to Wenzhou in the Zhejiang province of eastern China on Saturday. At least 43 passengers were found dead and over 200 are injured, according to the China state-run news agency Xinhua, with 12 in critical condition.

The collision occurred on a bridge after one train was struck by lightning, forcing it to stop, and was subsequently struck by a second train around 2030 local time (1230 UTC). The trains involved were the D3115 service from Hangzhou to Fuzhou, the train that was stopped at the time of the collision, and the D301 service from Beijing to Fuzhou.

As a result of the collision, two cars from the first train fell off the bridge, as well as four cars from the second train. One of the cars landed on its side, and another ended up lying vertically against the bridge. According to CCTV, a state-run broadcaster, upwards of 1,400 people were on the two trains: more than 900 on the stopped train and more than 500 on the second one.

One passenger, Liu Hongtao, is reported as saying: “The train suddenly shook violently, casting luggage all around. Passengers cried for help but no crew responded.”

The government have said they will be launching an “urgent overhaul” of rail safety following the crash, the first derailment since the introduction of 155 miles per hour high-speed rail service in China four years ago, and three railway officials were also fired by the ministry of railways, which said the officials may be investigated.

On Sunday, rescuers found a small child unconscious in the wreckage, about 21 hours after the crash, who was sent to a hospital. According to a rescue worker, the child, four years old, “could still move his hands” when he was located.

New Zealand PM drops in on Microsoft


Monday, April 2, 2007

Prime Minister Helen Clark of New Zealand visited Microsoft‘s corporate headquarters in Seattle last week. She was welcomed by CEO Steve Ballmer, senior vice-president and CFO Chris Liddell, a New Zealander, and Microsoft New Zealand managing director Helen Robinson.

During the visit, they looked at ways technology could help the continuing growth of New Zealand’s economic development. Ms Clark also examined Microsoft’s newest productivity software, mainly including offerings in the areas of video conferencing and online collaboration tools. “There is no comparison” between Microsoft’s technology and that of the Beehive, Clark said after the meeting.

This disparity she blamed “unquestionably” on the state of New Zealand broadband Internet access, which still uses the outdated copper ‘local loop’ system. She also referred to the importance of fibre optic networks, which “some are now calling the ‘fourth utility’.”

Mr Liddell responded that despite New Zealand being behind in some areas, “…the rate of change is such that that is not really such a big issue. …I don’t see New Zealand at a disadvantage and one of the great things about New Zealand is we are early adopters of technology. Attitude is as important as current status.”

“We have got what is radical telecommunications legislation reform, but you can’t stand still and think that will do the trick either. We have got a lot of technological challenges but I think the will to address them,” Ms Clark said.

Unlike other guests, Ms Clark was not given a copy of the new Windows Vista during her visit. Instead, she was given a glass plate and a paperweight.

The visit to Microsoft follows her meeting with United States President Bush.

Arkansas Democratic party chairman assassinated by gunman


Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Bill Gwatney, chairman of the Democratic Party of Arkansas, died this afternoon at 3:59 pm CDT (UTC-5) after having been shot earlier this morning.

“He [the gunman] came in and went into this office and started shooting,” said police Lt. Terry Hastings, speaking to reporters outside the party headquarters.

The suspect is Tim Johnson, a white male, described by Gwatney’s secretary as wearing “khaki pants, white shirt, silver-gray hair, late 40s.” He reportedly walked into the party headquarters facilities in Little Rock, Arkansas, conversed with the Chairman’s secretary, refused her offer of bumper stickers, and then walked past her saying he had to see the Chairman.

After the shooting, Johnson got into his blue Chevrolet pickup truck and led police on a 25-mile chase. The end result was the shooting of the suspect, who was airlifted to a hospital and eventually died of his wounds.

According to The New York Times, Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton issued a joint statement saying, “We are stunned and shaken by today’s shooting at the Arkansas Democratic Party where our good friend and fellow Democrat Bill Gwatney was critically wounded … Bill is not only a strong chairman of Arkansas’ Democratic Party, but he is also a cherished friend and confidante.”

Gwatney was also a car dealership owner and former state senator.

Canada’s St. Paul’s West (Ward 21) city council candidates speak


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 St. Paul’s West (Ward 21). One candidate responded to Wikinews’ requests for an interview. This ward’s candidates include John Adams, Tony Corpuz, Joe Mihevc (incumbent), and John Sewell.

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