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Ralph Nader calls out Democrats for financial bailout
Jan 29
 Correction — Aug 2, 2010 Nader referred to the 1999 repeal of the 1933 Glass-Steagal Act. The Wikinews article omitted the word “repeal” from the account of Nader’s speech. 

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Independent U.S. presidential candidate Ralph Nader had harsh words for the Democrats who engineered yesterday’s passage of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, a bailout of the U.S. financial system. At a campaign stop in Waterbury, Connecticut on Saturday, Nader said that Democrats passed up a chance to enact re-regulation of the financial system and instead gave Wall Street everything it wanted.

According to Nader, Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT), Representative Barney Frank (D-MA), and other Democrats considered but rejected measures such as a tax on transactions of derivatives (a “speculation tax”) because of their financial ties to Wall Street and its lobbyists. He said that Representative Chris Murphy (D-CT), who represents Waterbury, had “become a toady” of Nancy Pelosi. He drew enthusiastic applause by calling Murphy “a dynamic fraud”, and referred to Senator Joe Lieberman as “the Hermaphrodite of American Politics”. For Murphy and Representative Chris Shays (R-CT), Nader said, supporting the bailout despite the opposition of constituents was a “profile in betrayal”. Because there were no public hearings where taxpayers and experts could weigh in on the bailout, Nader characterized it as a return to “taxation without representation“—under “King George IV” 225 years after the 13 colonies were taxed under King George III.

Asked about causes of the financial crisis, Nader pointed to the deregulation of the financial sector with the 1999 Glass-Steagall Act and further deregulation in 2000, as well as the rise of overly complex financial derivatives. He outlined a four-part reform plan:

  1. Re-regulation of financial markets
  2. Increasing shareholder control of corporations
  3. Taxpayer equity as part of any bailout, as in the 1979 bailout of Chrysler Corporation
  4. Making speculators pay by enacting a 0.1% tax on derivatives transactions (which Nader said will amount to over $500 trillion this year)

Regarding the equity warrants included in the passed bailout, Nader relayed word from an unnamed source that Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson had told Wall Street executives “don’t worry, it’s not enforceable”.

Nader told reporters that he had abandoned the Green Party because “Greens are not disciplined, and they’re not mature”, and also lack the fund-raising capabilities to break into mainstream political discussions. “They bicker and bicker,” he said, pushing out their best people. However, he endorsed several local Green Party candidates, including Chris Murphy’s opponent Harold Burbank.

The virtual media blackout for third party campaigns by national newspapers and networks has been a source of continual frustration for the Nader campaign, as well as the campaigns of Libertarian Bob Barr and Green Cynthia McKinney and the post-campaign activities of Republican Ron Paul. According to Nader, reporters tell him that editors of national media are “very bigoted against third party and independent candidacies”. Even journalists for taxpayer-supported media, such as National Public Radio‘s Terry Gross and the Public Broadcasting Service‘s Jim Lehrer, have shut him out during this campaign. Debates, he lamented, are controlled by corporate interests through the Commission on Presidential Debates.

Nader spoke to a supportive crowd of about 60 people and his campaign raised over $2000 at the event, their third visit to Waterbury. The event took place in the former building of a closed-down bank.

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Ingrid Newkirk, co-founder of PETA, on animal rights and the film about her life
Jan 28

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Last night HBO premiered I Am An Animal: The Story of Ingrid Newkirk and PETA. Since its inception, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has made headlines and raised eyebrows. They are almost single-handedly responsible for the movement against animal testing and their efforts have raised the suffering animals experience in a broad spectrum of consumer goods production and food processing into a cause célèbre.

PETA first made headlines in the Silver Spring monkeys case, when Alex Pacheco, then a student at George Washington University, volunteered at a lab run by Edward Taub, who was testing neuroplasticity on live monkeys. Taub had cut sensory ganglia that supplied nerves to the monkeys’ fingers, hands, arms, legs; with some of the monkeys, he had severed the entire spinal column. He then tried to force the monkeys to use their limbs by exposing them to persistent electric shock, prolonged physical restraint of an intact arm or leg, and by withholding food. With footage obtained by Pacheco, Taub was convicted of six counts of animal cruelty—largely as a result of the monkeys’ reported living conditions—making them “the most famous lab animals in history,” according to psychiatrist Norman Doidge. Taub’s conviction was later overturned on appeal and the monkeys were eventually euthanized.

PETA was born.

In the subsequent decades they ran the Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty against Europe’s largest animal-testing facility (footage showed staff punching beagle puppies in the face, shouting at them, and simulating sex acts while taking blood samples); against Covance, the United State’s largest importer of primates for laboratory research (evidence was found that they were dissecting monkeys at its Vienna, Virginia laboratory while the animals were still alive); against General Motors for using live animals in crash tests; against L’Oreal for testing cosmetics on animals; against the use of fur for fashion and fur farms; against Smithfield Foods for torturing Butterball turkeys; and against fast food chains, most recently against KFC through the launch of their website kentuckyfriedcruelty.com.

They have launched campaigns and engaged in stunts that are designed for media attention. In 1996, PETA activists famously threw a dead raccoon onto the table of Anna Wintour, the fur supporting editor-in-chief of Vogue, while she was dining at the Four Seasons in New York, and left bloody paw prints and the words “Fur Hag” on the steps of her home. They ran a campaign entitled Holocaust on your Plate that consisted of eight 60-square-foot panels, each juxtaposing images of the Holocaust with images of factory farming. Photographs of concentration camp inmates in wooden bunks were shown next to photographs of caged chickens, and piled bodies of Holocaust victims next to a pile of pig carcasses. In 2003 in Jerusalem, after a donkey was loaded with explosives and blown up in a terrorist attack, Newkirk sent a letter to then-PLO leader Yasser Arafat to keep animals out of the conflict. As the film shows, they also took over Jean-Paul Gaultier‘s Paris boutique and smeared blood on the windows to protest his use of fur in his clothing.

The group’s tactics have been criticized. Co-founder Pacheco, who is no longer with PETA, called them “stupid human tricks.” Some feminists criticize their campaigns featuring the Lettuce Ladies and “I’d Rather Go Naked Than Wear Fur” ads as objectifying women. Of their Holocaust on a Plate campaign, Anti-Defamation League Chairman Abraham Foxman said “The effort by PETA to compare the deliberate systematic murder of millions of Jews to the issue of animal rights is abhorrent.” (Newkirk later issued an apology for any hurt it caused). Perhaps most controversial amongst politicians, the public and even other animal rights organizations is PETA’s refusal to condemn the actions of the Animal Liberation Front, which in January 2005 was named as a terrorist threat by the United States Department of Homeland Security.

David Shankbone attended the pre-release screening of I Am An Animal at HBO’s offices in New York City on November 12, and the following day he sat down with Ingrid Newkirk to discuss her perspectives on PETA, animal rights, her responses to criticism lodged against her and to discuss her on-going life’s work to raise human awareness of animal suffering. Below is her interview.

This exclusive interview features first-hand journalism by a Wikinews reporter. See the collaboration page for more details.
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Bucharest to be ‘rebranded’ for 800 million euro
Jan 27

Wednesday, March 2, 2005

Bucharest, Romania — The city centre of Bucharest, the capital of Romania, is set to get a major facelift due to a real estate project called Esplanada (The Esplanade), which will be constructed by TriGranit Development Corporation. The total investment in the project will be greater than 800 million euro and aims to build a modern commercial pedestrian area in downtown Bucharest, with several shopping malls, office buildings, hotels and dwellings. It will be the largest real estate program in Romania since the fall of Communism in 1989.

Bucharest is currently looking at possibilities to improve its appearance and rebrand itself as a lively, creative and vibrant city. Many initiatives have sprung up to improve the city, including the organisation of CowParade later this year. Additionally, the old town centre will be restored. Due to Romania’s current economic boom, several other major construction projects are taking place.

Bucharest City Hall has blocked traffic in the city center due both to the old town restoration and to the Esplanada project.

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Fidel Castro temporarily hands power to his brother Raul
Jan 24

Tuesday, August 1, 2006

President Fidel Castro of Cuba has temporarily handed duties, including command of the military forces, to his brother, Raúl Castro. Fidel Castro is undergoing intestinal surgery for gastrointestinal bleeding, and is temporarily unable to govern. 75-year-old Raúl Castro has been the Vice-President of Cuba and number two in the Communist Party of Cuba. Fidel Castro is 79 years old and has ruled since the 1959 revolution.

The power change was reported on Cuban television Monday night by Carlos Balenciago, Castro’s secretary. According to the letter of Castro’s that he read, the reason for the operation was stress and the President of Cuba will need to spend several weeks in bed.

Over 70% of Cuba’s population was born after Castro’s rise to power, who has served as president ever since. It is unknown how the population will react to such an unexpected change. However, a recently signed White House bill has allocated $30 million US dollars for the transition to a new Cuban regime in the case of just such an event.

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Riots in Tonga
Jan 21

Friday, November 17, 2006

Rioting erupted in Tonga today in protest at the slow pace of democratic reform, with rampaging protesters setting fire to buildings and overturning police and government vehicles. The violence erupted two months after the death of the South Pacific nation’s conservative king.

Rioting crowds overturned cars, looted and set fire to shops and offices, and stoned government buildings including the prime minister’s office.

“Five or possibly six people appear to have been killed,” Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said.

Downer said the situation was serious, and Australia and New Zealand had troops and police on standby to fly to Tonga, but Tongan authorities have said they can control the situation.

Chinese-owned shops were being targeted and the police had been powerless to help, he said.

“It’s scary,” witness Linny Folau told the Matangi Tonga online magazine, saying rioters were jumping and dancing to loud music in a park opposite parliament.

Clouds of black smoke hung over large areas of the normally sleepy capital, including the offices of the company Shoreline, partly owned by King George Tupou V, one witness told Reuters.

The rioting began after parliament went into recess for the year without voting on proposals for sweeping democratic reforms to Tonga’s semi-feudal system.

Late on Thursday evening, however, the Tonga-Now website quoted prominent pro-democracy member of parliament Akilisi Pohiva claiming victory and urging demonstrators to stop looting and go home.

New Zealand and Australia condemned the violence and warned their nationals in Tonga to stay away from large gatherings.

Winston Peters said New Zealand, which has long-standing links with Tonga and a large expatriate Tongan community, would help the island nation to recover from the violence and damage, but for now the issue was a domestic matter.

In August 2005 public servants staged a six-week strike over pay that halted services at hospitals and schools.

There are no universal elections in Tonga, where 10 of the 14 cabinet posts in government are appointed by the monarchy for life. However it appears now that the government has agreed to new elections in 2008 in which a majority of the parliament would be directly elected by popular vote.

When he succeeded his late father in September, King Tupou V signalled some democratic changes.

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Police station attacked by car bomb in Basque Country, two officers injured
Jan 20

Friday, August 24, 2007

A police station of the Spanish Guardia Civil was attacked today Friday by a car bomb in the Basque city of Durango, injuring two policemen. It is believed to be the first serious attack of the separatist group ETA since it unilaterally ended a cease-fire in June. The blast caused serious damage to the police barracks in Durango, shattering windows and damaging police cars parked outside. Several nearby apartment buildings were also damaged. Police sources believe the bomb, estimated to contain between 80 and 100 kilograms of explosives, was detonated remotely by one of the two attackers who fled in another vehicle. Another car exploded about one hour later in the town of Amorebieta, possibly the one used by the activists to flee.

ETA detonated two small explosive devices on July 25 along the route that the Tour of France used when the race dipped into northern Spain for a few hours.

ETA called the cease-fire in March 2006, but grew frustrated with a lack of government concessions in ensuing peace talks, and set off a huge bomb in a parking area at Madrid’s airport on December 30, killing two people. It insisted then that the truce was still in effect, but finally declared it formally over in June, and Spanish security forces have been on alert ever since.

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Category:Lockerbie bombing
Jan 18

This is the category for the Lockerbie bombing, in which a US passenger airliner was destroyed over Lockerbie, Scotland in 1988.

Refresh this list to see the latest articles.

  • 1 February 2013: British Prime Minister David Cameron makes unannounced visit to Libya
  • 23 May 2012: Lockerbie convict Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi buried after dying at Libyan home
  • 21 October 2009: Scottish lawyer denies death of Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi
  • 2 September 2009: UK denies pressuring Scotland into Lockerbie release
  • 20 August 2009: Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi released on compassionate grounds
  • 18 August 2009: Lockerbie bombing appeal dropped
  • 15 August 2009: Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi moves to drop Lockerbie bombing appeal
  • 11 August 2009: Scotland denies bail to terminally ill man convicted of Lockerbie bombing
  • 11 August 2009: Lockerbie convict’s family among protesters for justice in Edinburgh
  • 21 December 2008: 20 years on: Lockerbie victims’ group head talks to Wikinews

From Wikinews, the free news source you can write.


The wreckage of Pan Am 103 in 1988 (Image: AAIB)


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Pages in category “Lockerbie bombing”

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Plants may adapt faster to climate change than previously thought, new study shows
Jan 18

Thursday, August 12, 2010

A new study suggests that plants can adapt to changing climatic conditions more efficiently than previously thought, making the onset of climate change less of a concern for plant species around the world. Jodrell Laboratory in the London Botanical Gardens has discovered that plants can alter specific components of their genetic make-up to suit rising temperatures and varying levels of rainfall that would otherwise take hundred of years to develop through natural selection, via a process known as epigenetics.

This newly discovered ability suggests that mass plant extinction brought on by climate change may not happen to the extent that scientists previously predicted. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change claimed in 2007 that “20 to 30 per cent of species assessed so far are likely to be at increased risk of extinction if increases in global average warming exceed 1.5C to 2.5C”, a statement that now needs re-evaluating.

The study focused on three species of common spotted orchid that grow in varying environments. These plants had nearly identical genetic heritage, but thrived under very different conditions. Mark Chase of Jodrell Laboratory claims that “[their] results are particularly relevant in the present context of widespread environmental challenges and give us more hope in the adaptive potential of organisms […] it is not instantaneous, but it is much faster than we thought previously”.

It is still unclear whether plants would adapt in the same way under “extreme” climate change.

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Steve Wright, killer of five women in Suffolk, England, sentenced to life imprisonment
Jan 17

Friday, February 22, 2008

Steve Wright, yesterday convicted of the murder of five women in Ipswich, Suffolk, England, has today been sentenced at Ipswich Crown Court to life imprisonment. The bodies of the five women who worked as sex workers in Ipswich were found around the town in December 2006.

The judge, Mr Justice Gross said that a “substantial degree of pre-meditation and planning” was involved meaning the requirments for a whole life sentence for Wright was met. He said, “This was a targeted campaign of murder. It is right you should spend your whole life in prison.”

Speaking after the sentencing, Deputy Chief Constable of Suffolk Police, Jacqui Cheer said, “At the start of the inquiry we could not have asked for anything more. It is a tribute to all the people who have been involved – not only police officers but their support teams and all the members of the public who phoned-in offering information.”

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South Gippsland, Australia local council candidate Sue Plowright speaks with Wikinews about environment, education, and other local issues
Jan 15

Saturday, September 4, 2021

Since June 2019, the people of South Gippsland Shire, located at the southernmost tip of Australia, have been without a local council, after a state government inquiry found “high levels of tension” within the council. Administrators were appointed by the Victorian state government in July 2019, who have governed the shire since then. However, South Gippsland’s council is scheduled to be restored with an election to be held via post from October 5-22, 2021.

Wikinews interviewed one of the candidates standing in this election, Sue Plowright. She is an independent contesting the Coastal-Promontory ward, which covers towns such as Venus Bay, Waratah Bay, Yanakie, Foster, Port Welshpool, and Toora. The Coastal-Promontory Ward elects three councillors to the South Gippsland Shire Council.

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