Florida’s Walt Disney World launches revamped attractions

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

ORLANDO, Florida – Alien Encounter and The Living Seas at the Walt Disney World Resort are to open today with a makeover.

The Alien Encounter attraction at Tomorrowland in the Magic Kingdom has been revised to include Experiment 626 from the movie Lilo & Stitch. Now called Stitch’s Great Escape!, the dog-like blue creature will lash out of its tube and terrorise the audience. The Galactic Federation’s Grand Councilwoman, Captain Gantu and Agent Pleakley appear in this show, essentially a prequel to the movie.

At the Living Seas, Crush the sea turtle from the Disney/Pixar movie Finding Nemo will host a new exhibit called Turtle Talk, joining smaller Nemo exhibits, a mainstay at the attraction for several months. Vegetarian shark Bruce will soon become part of a shark education exhibit.

According to publicity, the Turtle Talk show will run every 15 minutes, from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm. A sign language interpreted performance will run on Fridays at 10:30 am.

Disney is holding the Stitch’s Great Escape! Sweepstakes, with prizes including a five-day, four night trip for four to Walt Disney World Resort.

Ukrainian ship MV Faina with cargo of tanks freed by pirates

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Pirates in Somalia have released the MV Faina, a Ukrainian ship carrying a cargo of 33 T-72 tanks, along with 20 of its crew of 21, the Russian captain having been killed by hypertension during the hijack.

A ransom of US$3.2 million was paid for the ship’s release, compared to the $20 million previously demanded and also down from the initial request for $35 million after the capture in September. By January 16 the ransom sought was $5 million, with negotiations occurring directly between the pirates and the ship’s owner. In October the pirates threatened to blow the ship up unless this was paid within days, and stated they were willing to die and take the crew with them, but this threat was never carried out.

The ransom came in on Wednesday, and after counting the money the pirates left the vessel on Thursday. One pirate, Segule Ali, said of the payment that “no huge amount has been paid, but something to cover our expenses.”

No huge amount has been paid, but something to cover our expenses

The ownership of the cargo, which includes ammunition, rocket launchers, small arms and spare parts as well as tanks, is uncertain. Although the shipment was said to be for Kenya, as acknowledged by the Kenyan government, the pirates claim to have documents proving they were destined for Sudan, currently the subject of a United Nations arms embargo. Sudan denies this.

At one point, with the ship anchored off Harardhere, the pirates claimed they had put down an attempted revolt by the crew. However, the Faina’s owner has expressed doubts about the veracity of this report, which originated with the pirates themselves.

The remaining crew are reported to be healthy by the Ukrainian Presidency and the ship is now heading to Mombasa under US Navy escort. There are 17 Ukrainians, two Russians and a Latvian on board.

Tactical Gear Can Help You Carry Many Different Types Of Airsoft Weapons


Military-grade equipment doesn’t just have to be just for the professionals. If you are an airsoft enthusiast, you probably know the value of tactical gear for carrying your weapons. For those who practice technical strategy, gear is invaluable in securing and transporting your weapons. You might be surprised, though, at the extreme versatility of such gear when it comes to airsoft weaponry.

Tactical gear can describe any gear that you use for your technical strategy play. Whether a pair of boots, a munitions vest, or a specialized belt, these items are intended to stow your items safely and securely while freeing up your hands for other activities. The best designed kits can carry weaponry ranging from rifles to pistols to customized guns.

By far the most popular piece of tactical apparel for many airsoft weapons users is a specialized belt. Many belts come equipped with pistol holsters, ammunition pouches, and accessories clips. Hardcore airsoft strategists often prefer these belts to other pieces of equipment, as they are light-weight and easily accessible. For those who carry airsoft rifles or a secondary weapon, upper-body gear is indispensable.

If you are passionate about airsoft weaponry, you probably realize the importance of realism. Often manufacturers of gear miss adding real-life components to gear. That doesn’t have to be the case. These days, realistic and functional equipment is available online and in stores. Regardless of your airsoft weapon of choice, tactical gear helps keep you safe during strategy play. Neck protection, masks, and gloves help to supplement the gear that you use to stow your weapons.

Tactical gear can help you carry many different types of airsoft weapons. For users of this equipment, versatility is key. If you engage in airsoft weapon strategy play, be sure to have the best gear possible to transport your weapons and keep you safe.

Rescue workers search wreckage of Brazilian air crash

Tuesday, October 3, 2006

Gol Transportes Aéreos Flight 1907 crashed 1,750km (1,100 miles) north-west of Rio de Janeiro killing all people onboard, on Friday September 29. National Civil Aviation Agency (ANAC) has confirmed that the crashed Brazilian airplane did crash into a smaller aircraft. Rescue workers and air force personnel are searching the wreckage for bodies

First winter snowfall in New Zealand

Saturday, June 4, 2005

Overnight Friday a Southerly storm brought snow to both the Southern Alps and the central North Island mountains of New Zealand for the first time this year, closing major roads and stranding travellers at the start of the Queens Birthday holiday weekend. Police and the AA urged motorists to drive with extra care and to the conditions this weekend.

In the North Island, State Highway 1 between Waiouru and Rangipo, the Desert Road was closed by deep snow at 3 PM on Friday afternoon. Other roads in the area, including other parts of State Highway 1 between Bulls and Turangi, State Highway 4, via National Park, and 49, via Ohakune, were closed at 8 PM.

These road closures stopped all traffic through the centre of the North Island. About 200 travellers were reported to have spent the night at the Waiouru Army Camp, being accommodated in the Marae and the Barracks. Grit trucks and snow ploughs worked overnight to clear the snow and reopen roads, with the Desert Road finally being reopened about 12:30 PM Saturday.

Together with a slip threatening to close State Highway 3 in the Manawatu Gorge and damage to State Highway 2 after floods in the Bay of Plenty a couple of weeks ago, the only reliable alternative route for travellers around the North Island was via Wanganui and Taranaki.

In the South Island, Police and the AA advised that chains were essential when travelling over the mountain passes.

Yesterday, Mount Hutt skifield announced it would be opening Saturday morning. Early Saturday morning, skiers were reported to be queuing at the gates of Mount Hutt skifield, eager to get the first opportunity to hit the slopes in 2005. Other South Island ski fields were also indicating June opening dates.

The weather outlook is for cold southerly winds and rain over the Queens Birthday holiday weekend, with snow down to 400m in the South Island.

Lithuania plans to adopt euro in 2007

Monday, January 24, 2005

Riga, Latvia — The Central Bank of Lithuania announced that it plans to adopt the common European currency, the euro in 2007, and replace its national currency, the litas.

Lithunia intends to introduce the use of the euro as an official currency on January 1, 2007, where it will be used alongside the litas until January 15. From January 15, the euro would become the only official means of payment.

Lithuania joined the European Union in 2004, and like the other new member states, it is obliged to adopt the euro when it is ready. However, in order to adopt the euro, a country must be part of the EU’s Exchange Rate Mechanism II (ERM II) for at least two years. During that time, the currency must not fluctuate more than 2.25% in relation to the euro. Additionally, the budget deficit should be under 3% of gross domestic product.

Lithunia became part of ERM II in June 2004, meaning that the earliest it could join the euro would be in June 2006. However, its target is 2007, which, at the present moment, seems to be achievable, considering the country’s low inflation and budget deficit. The litas has been pegged to the euro, since February 2002, at a rate of 1 euro = 3.45 litas.

So far, only 12 out of the 25 members of the European Union have adoped the euro. However, in the next decade, it is expected that most, if not all, of the ten new member states will adopt the currency. Lithuania is expected to be the first to adopt the currency, in 2007. Estonia and Slovenia, which are the only other new member states that are part of ERM II, are also expected to join the common currency at this time.

Larger countries like Hungary, Czechia and Poland, which are not yet part of ERM II, may have to wait until 2010 at least, due to their large budget deficits.

Lithuania has been one of the most enthusiastic new member states concerning European integration. Besides its early adoption of the euro, it was the first country in the EU to ratify the European Constitution.

Ousted Honduran president says crisis deal has failed

Friday, November 6, 2009

An aide to ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya said that a deal designed to end the country’s political crisis has failed, after interim leader Roberto Micheletti announced the formation of a new cabinet.

Micheletti said late on Thursday that he is installing a national unity government without the participation of Zelaya, who has declined to name any cabinet members. The two signed an agreement last week to resolve the four-month political standoff. A new government was set to begin Thursday.

Zelaya warned on Thursday the accord was at risk of collapsing unless the Honduran Congress held a vote to restore him to power immediately to serve out his term that ends in January. Honduras elects a new president on November 29.

Congress must vote on Zelaya’s restitution, but has not yet done so. The recently signed pact does not stipulate a deadline for the Congressional vote.

The United States, a major broker in the mediation efforts, said this week the next step in the political crisis is up to Honduras. The governments of several countries have threatened not to recognize the presidential elections if Zelaya is not first returned to power.

Zelaya was ousted in a military-backed coup in June, but returned to Honduras in September, where he has taken refuge in the Brazilian embassy in Tegucigalpa.

Senator Ted Stevens loses re-election bid in Alaska ballot

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Alaskan U.S. Senator Ted Stevens, who turned 85 yesterday, narrowly lost his re-election bid to Mark Begich, the Democratic Mayor of Anchorage, Alaska.

Meanwhile, as Alaska’s counting of the November 4 election is almost complete, Democratic challenger for the US House of Representatives, Ethan Berkowitz, conceded to incumbent Don Young, the Republican Party nominee.

With this result, the Democrats are two seats away (assuming that independents Bernie Sanders and Joe Lieberman continue to caucus with them) from a filibuster-proof supermajority in the United States Senate, with two races (Minnesota and Georgia) as yet uncalled. That would allow the Democrats to invoke cloture, limiting filibusters to a further 30 hours, an ability last attained in the 95th Congress of 1977-79.

Stevens is entitled to request a recount at his campaign’s expense, and has not yet made a statement. After the completion of counting yesterday, Begich had defeated Stevens by 3,724 votes, a margin of over one percent. 2,500 special absentee and postal ballots remain to be counted on November 25.

Begich released a statement on his win saying, “I am humbled and honored to serve Alaska in the United States Senate. It’s been an incredible journey getting to this point, and I appreciate the support and commitment of the thousands of Alaskans who have brought us to this day.”

Young won his race by 16,280 votes, a margin of five percent.

Stevens recently became a convicted felon on seven counts for lying on Senate disclosure forms about accepting $250,000 in gifts and home renovations from VECO, an oil services company. He has asked President George W. Bush not to grant him a presidential pardon.

John Reed on Orwell, God, self-destruction and the future of writing

Thursday, October 18, 2007

It can be difficult to be John Reed.

Christopher Hitchens called him a “Bin Ladenist” and Cathy Young editorialized in The Boston Globe that he “blames the victims of terrorism” when he puts out a novel like Snowball’s Chance, a biting send-up of George Orwell‘s Animal Farm which he was inspired to write after the terrorist attacks on September 11. “The clear references to 9/11 in the apocalyptic ending can only bring Orwell’s name into disrepute in the U.S.,” wrote William Hamilton, the British literary executor of the Orwell estate. That process had already begun: it was revealed Orwell gave the British Foreign Office a list of people he suspected of being “crypto-Communists and fellow travelers,” labeling some of them as Jews and homosexuals. “I really wanted to explode that book,” Reed told The New York Times. “I wanted to completely undermine it.”

Is this man who wants to blow up the classic literary canon taught to children in schools a menace, or a messiah? David Shankbone went to interview him for Wikinews and found that, as often is the case, the answer lies somewhere in the middle.

Reed is electrified by the changes that surround him that channel through a lens of inspiration wrought by his children. “The kids have made me a better writer,” Reed said. In his new untitled work, which he calls a “new play by William Shakespeare,” he takes lines from The Bard‘s classics to form an original tragedy. He began it in 2003, but only with the birth of his children could he finish it. “I didn’t understand the characters who had children. I didn’t really understand them. And once I had had kids, I could approach them differently.”

Taking the old to make it new is a theme in his work and in his world view. Reed foresees new narrative forms being born, Biblical epics that will be played out across print and electronic mediums. He is pulled forward by revolutions of the past, a search for a spiritual sensibility, and a desire to locate himself in the process.

Below is David Shankbone’s conversation with novelist John Reed.


  • 1 On the alternative media and independent publishing
  • 2 On Christopher Hitchens, Orwell and 9/11 as inspiration
  • 3 On the future of the narrative
  • 4 On changing the literary canon
  • 5 On belief in a higher power
  • 6 On politics
  • 7 On self-destruction and survival
  • 8 On raising children
  • 9 On paedophilia and the death penalty
  • 10 On personal relationships
  • 11 Sources
  • 12 External links

Interested In Invisalign In Manassas? Read This First!

byAlma Abell

Invisalign is a virtually invisible method to straighten teeth, achieving the smile you have always wanted. Using a sophisticated 3D computer technology, Invisalign in Manassas allows you to represent your entire treatment plan, from the advice of your orthodontist. This starts from the initial position of your teeth to their desired final position. Then a series of transparent aligners are custom-made for your teeth.

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Each line must be worn for about two weeks before being replaced by the next set in the series. This is done so until your teeth have reached their final position. The duration of your treatment is determined by your orthodontist, depending on specific needs. These aligners are virtually transparent. No one will notice you are wearing them, which allows them to never interfere with your daily activities, nor your social life, in any way.

Invisalign is removable. Unlike fixed traditional braces, you can drink and eat whatever you desire during treatment. All you have to do is remove the aligners. You can remove them to brush your teeth, as well. This is vital to maintain oral hygiene and fresh breath. These devices are comfortable and, unlike traditional fixed braces, Invisalign in Manassas has no bracket or wires that may cause irritation. It also means you spend less time with your dentist when making adjustments. Finally, you can view a virtual image of the outcome before it begins.

Practitioners have successfully used removable devices for years. But thanks to 3D Align Technology, and custom manufacturing on a large scale, the Invisalign system can be used to treat virtually all patients who wish to straighten their teeth. While these devices can be used by all practitioners, it requires specific training. All practitioners who wish to offer Invisalign to their patients should be trained with Invisalign before treating patients. More than 58,000 practitioners worldwide are already Invisalign providers.

Clear aligners move the teeth with precision and controlled movements. Unlike traditional braces, Invisalign not only controls the movement, but also its speed. At each stage, only certain teeth can move, as specified by the orthodontist’s treatment plan. This allows exerting forces effectively to move the teeth to the desired target position.