Aerosmith sued over late cancellation of gig in Maui, Hawaii

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Fans of the American hard rock band Aerosmith have launched legal action against the band in response to a late cancellation of a scheduled concert on the Hawaiian Island of Maui.

Attorney Brandee Faria filed a class action suit in Hawaii Circuit Court on October 19. The suit alleges that the band’s cancellation cost fans between US$500,000 (€349,944) and $3 million (€2.1 million) in travel and accommodation costs, as well as other related expenses.

The sold-out September 26 Maui concert – originally planned months before as the final show of a world tour that began in Brazil in April – was canceled by the band on the basis that they could not make it to the island in time after a September 24 concert in Chicago. The Chicago concert, which attracted 18,000 people, was rescheduled at the last minute after the original September 10 concert date had been postponed due to illness.

The band canceled the show at Maui’s War Memorial Stadium, which was set to be attended by 9,000 people, and apologized to fans. The band’s management company, HK Management Inc., gave no initial reason when they canceled on September 20, but blamed logistical reasons by the next day.

However, just days later, on September 29, the band traveled to the neighbor island of Oahu to play a corporate event in Honolulu for Toyota car dealers and private guests. An audience of 6,000 people celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Japanese automobile manufacturer at the University of Hawaii, with Toyota paying $500,000 (€349,944) to hire the campus. Aerosmith received $1 million (€700,000) to perform at the event. Faria alleges that Aerosmith abandoned the scheduled public concert on Maui in favor of the more lucrative corporate event on Oahu.

“…Defendants simply canceled the only public performance by Aerosmith in favor of the larger Chicago venue and the lucrative, private concert for the Toyota car dealers,” the complaint states.

Local officials had hoped the concert would attract other big names to the island.

Faria said that “I’ve had people contact me being out of pocket at much as $800 or $900,” adding that if the cancellation is found to be deceptive ticket holders may be eligible for a minimum of $1,000 each. The complaint also says that those aged 62 or over should receive at least $5,000 each. Currently about a dozen ticket holders are involved with the suit. If the action is approved by a judge, steps will be taken to contact everyone who purchased a ticket.

 

Two-millenia-old Chinese guard gets unwanted new recruit

Friday, September 22, 2006

Legendary Emperor Qin Shi Huang of China had one more terracotta warrior guarding his tomb, recently. Pablo Wendel, an art student from Germany, disguised himself as one of the clay sculptures surrounding Qinshihuang in his final resting place, now a museum.

Police protecting the northern China museum searched for an extended period of time, as Wendel stood silently, among several thousand sculptures. When police found the 26-year-old performance artist, who later told them he was fascinated by the monumental display, they carried him away “as if he were a log.”

China was united by Emperor Qin Shi Huang over 2,200 years ago. The tomb in Xian, once the capital of China, is open to the public as a museum.

 

Car maker DeLorean dies at 80

Monday, March 21, 2005

Automobile industry pioneer, John DeLorean, died Saturday in a New Jersey hospital by complications from a stroke.

DeLorean was born in 1925 in Detroit, Michigan to European immigrant parents. He received an education in automotive engineering and quickly rose through the ranks of Packard and later General Motors (GM). DeLorean was credited with the development of the Pontiac GTO, which helped introduce the era of “muscle cars”. By 1965, DeLorean led the entire Pontiac division, and four years later was promoted to the prestigious position of leading GM’s Chevrolet.

In 1973, DeLorean quit General Motors and started his own company, the De Lorean Motor Company. The company’s product was the DMC-12, an unusual car featuring an unpainted, stainless-steel exterior and gull-wing doors. The company started production in 1981 but failed less than two years later, having produced under 9,000 vehicles. Despite the company’s failure and the car’s dismal sales, the car itself gained a cult following after the release of the 1985 movie Back to the Future which featured the car as a time-travel machine.

DeLorean himself was in nearly as much trouble as his company. In 1982 he was arrested for attempting to sell $24 million worth of cocaine to undercover police, and after his company’s failure, he became involved in a multitude of lawsuits alleging investor fraud. Though DeLorean successfully resolved the cocaine case after claiming entrapment, his other legal cases would drag on until 1999, when he declared bankruptcy.

 

Holocaust survivor and Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel dies aged 87

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

On Saturday, acclaimed writer Elie Wiesel died in New York City at age 87, his family said, following a lengthy illness.

Wiesel was born 1928 in the town of Sighet in Romania. Twelve years later, in 1940, his town was included in an annexation by Hungary. In 1944, Wiesel, fifteen at the time, and his family, along with the entire Jewish population in Sighet, were sent to Auschwitz concentration camp. He was freed in 1945, only to realize his mother and sister died in death chambers and his father from disease and starvation. Elie Weisel, on the advice of an older Jew, had lied to the Nazis about his age, as an eighteen-year-old would be useful to them as a worker.

Ten years after his freedom, he wrote the famous book Night — written in Yiddish, first published in French translation — detailing his experience in the camp and his regret of survival. His book sold only about a thousand copies in the first year it was published, however today the book has been translated into 30 different languages with more than ten million copies sold. In 2006 TV personality Oprah Winfrey added it to her book club, prompting the swift selling of three million copies.

Wiesel wrote around 60 books, two plays, and two cantatas.

Wiesel first started a career in journalism in 1948 for the French newspaper L’Arche, which sent him as a correspondent to Israel. He also became a Paris correspondent for Israeli newspaper Yediot Ahronot and he was encouraged by an interviewee to write about his experience in the camp.

In 1972, Wiesel was a professor of Judaic Studies at the City College of New York for four years until he became a professor of Humanities at Boston University, where he remained.

Wiesel then became an activist and advocate during many conflicts, such as the Bosnian genocide of the 1990s. He advised the actions of several U.S. presidents, including then-President Ronald Reagan. During his acceptance of the Congressional Gold Medal, he advised Reagan not to visit a Bitburg military cemetery containing Waffen-SS graves. Reagan, however, continued with his trip, which created much controversy. Former President Jimmy Carter also appointed Wiesel as Chairman of the Presidential Commission on the Holocaust.

In 1986, Wiesel won the Nobel Peace Prize as an advocate for racial and religious groups and a spiritual leader.

Wiesel also helped in the creation of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. He was the chairman of the organization that collected funds from other survivors of the Holocaust to create the museum.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called him “a ray of light and an example of humanity that believes in the goodness of man”. U.S. President Barack Obama called him a “living memorial”. French President Francois Hollande called him a “grand humanist” and a “tireless defender of peace”.

He is survived by his wife Marion and his son Elisha.

 

Study says to clean your sponge, microwave it

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Studies done on germs and bacteria performed by researchers at the University of Florida show that a dirty kitchen sponge can be cleaned and “sterilized” by microwaving it for 2 minutes, but researchers warn to wet the sponge first.

“People often put their sponges and scrubbers in the dishwasher, but if they really want to decontaminate them and not just clean them, they should use the microwave,” said the professor who was in charge of the study that discovered the results, Gabriel Bitton.

“Basically what we find is that we could knock out most bacteria in two minutes. The microwave is a very powerful and an inexpensive tool for sterilization,” added Bitton.

The sponges that researchers studied, were placed in “raw wastewater” and then put into a microwave to be “zapped,” according to Bitton. The wastewater was a “witch’s brew of fecal bacteria, viruses, protozoan parasites and bacterial spores, including Bacillus cereus spores,” said Bitton.

Researchers say that at least 99% of the bacteria, viruses, spores and parasites in kitchen spongees can be destroyed or “inactivated” by simply microwaving the wet sponge, on the highest power, for two minutes.

 

BBC spends £3.4m on sell-off

Friday, June 27, 2008

Newspaper The Guardian reports today that the sale of the BBC subsidiary BBC Resources Ltd., has cost £3.4m in consultancy fees — over £1m more than the £2.3m trading profit the commercial division is estimated to have made for the last financial year. Details of the failed privatisation were released by the BBC following a freedom of information request, and prior to publication of its annual report on July 8.

Fourteen months after advisers were appointed to try to sell BBC Resources Ltd., only one of the three main business units has been sold — its Outside Broadcast division to Satellite Information Services Limited (SIS), for an estimated £20m. On March 7, 2008 it was also announced that the studios operation would remain in BBC ownership and in early June, the fate of the third business was put on hold with the BBC stating that “like Studios, Post Production will remain within BBC Resources, which will continue to operate as a wholly-owned commercial subsidiary of the BBC.”

BBC Resources Ltd. made an operating profit of £6.1m for 2005-06, down from £7.4m the year before, with the BBC accounting for 83.3% of its turnover, down from 87.4% for 2004-05. Last year’s published figure for 2006-07 was £5.2 million — with BBC business at 80% of turnover.

BECTU Assistant General Secretary Luke Crawley is quoted as saying: “It’s fairly outrageous that around half the profit of the company [announced last year] has been spent trying to sell it. It’s an inordinate amount of money. The BBC was promised big returns if it sold BBC Resources but it’s only managed to sell outside broadcasts and we do not know how much it made out of that. We think the £3.4m is a poor investment.”

Contents

  • 1 Background to the Resources sale
    • 1.1 BBC Costume and Wigs
  • 2 Related news
  • 3 Sources
  • 4 External links
 

FAA orders review of Boeing 787 Dreamliners following week of incidents

Sunday, January 13, 2013

The United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) ordered a review Friday into the design and manufacture of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, following five incidents in five days involving the aircraft and two Japanese airlines.

On Monday, an electrical fire broke out aboard a Japan Airlines 787 at Boston’s Logan International Airport, when a battery pack which powers the auxiliary power unit, for when the plane is on the ground, caught fire. The fire was discovered by maintenance workers after passengers and crew disembarked following their flight from Tokyo’s Narita Airport.

The next day, a separate Japan Airlines 787, also at Logan International Airport, heading to Tokyo, suffered a fuel leak that spilled around 40 gallons, which was spotted by the crew of the aircraft taxiing behind them. “That Japan Air may know it, but they’ve got fuel or something spilling out the outboard left wing. Quite a bit,” said the pilot of aircraft behind them on local air traffic control frequencies.

Wednesday, in Japan, an All Nippon Airways 787, the launch customer for the aircraft, cancelled a flight after a brake problem was reported.

Earlier Friday, two All Nippon Airways suffered separate incidents in Japan. An oil leak was noticed in the engine after one aircraft had landed in Miyazaki, coming from Tokyo’s Haneda Airport. Another flight, flying between Haneda Airport and Matsuyama said the pilot’s side window in the cockpit suffered a crack.

The FAA in a statement said “In light of a series of recent events, the FAA will conduct a comprehensive review of the Boeing 787 critical systems, including the design, manufacture and assembly.” Further adding, “The purpose of the review is to validate the work conducted during the certification process and further ensure that the aircraft meets the FAA’s high level of safety.”

According to the statement, “The review will also examine how the electrical and mechanical systems interact with each other.” The Boeing 787 relies more on electrical, as opposed to mechanical, systems than past aircraft from the manufacturer including having electronics operate hydraulic pumps and using electric brakes. Large portions of the plane’s structure use lightweight carbon fiber composite instead of more traditional metal airframe.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said, “The safety of the traveling public is our top priority […] This review will help us look at the root causes and do everything we can to safeguard against similar events in the future.”

“We are confident that the aircraft is safe. But we need to have a complete understanding of what is happening,” said newly sworn-in FAA Administrator Michael P. Huerta. “We are conducting the review to further ensure that the aircraft meets our high safety standards.”

Boeing released a statement saying, “[The company] is confident in the design and performance of the 787. It is a safe and efficient airplane. The airplane has logged 50,000 hours of flight and there are more than 150 flights occurring daily.”

 

State Farm Insurance allegedly destroying papers

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Zach Scruggs, a lawyer for United States Senator Trent Lott, says that State Farm Insurance Company is destroying records related to claims for damage from Hurricane Katrina.

The records allegedly contain information saying that State Farm fraudulently denied insurance claims made by its policy holders, including Lott, that had homes there were damaged or destroyed when Hurricane Katrina came ashore on the Gulf Coast.

Scruggs said that Lott has “good faith belief” that many employees of the insurance company in Biloxi, Mississippi are destroying engineer’s reports that were inconclusive as to whether or not water or wind was the main cause of damage to the buildings affected by the hurricane.

Lott is among thousands of home and/or business owners who had their property damaged or destroyed during the hurricane and had their claims denied because State Farm claimed that their policies don’t cover damage caused by floods or water that was driven by the wind.

State Farm has not issued a statement on the matter so far.

 

Coordinated terrorist attack hits London

Thursday, July 7, 2005

Three bomb explosions have hit London Underground trains, and a further bomb destroyed a bus in the city centre. The Metropolitan Police Service has initially confirmed that 33 people have been killed in the four explosions on London‘s transport system this morning, and said the overall number of wounded was as high as 700, in what are believed to be terrorist attacks. (See later reports in the box at the side for later announcements made on following days.)

The first reports were of an explosion at 08:49 BST (UTC+1) on the Hammersmith & City Line between Liverpool Street station and Aldgate East. Explosions also occurred on a train between King’s Cross and Russell Square and another at Edgware Road. The explosions are currently being reported, and described by Prime Minister Tony Blair, as being “terrorist attacks.” Traces of explosives were found at two of the sites according to the BBC.

Scotland Yard has confirmed one explosion onboard a double decker red London bus travelling south outside the British Medical Association on Tavistock Square. Police cannot confirm whether this bomb was intended for another train and accidentally detonated aboard the bus instead.

Pundits are speculating the attack was co-ordinated by al-Qaeda. Dr. Shane Brighton, an intelligence expert at the Royal United Services Institute for Defence, claims that, “If what we are looking at is a simultaneous bombing — and it does look like that — it would very certainly fit the classic al Qaeda methodology.” Two militant Islamist groups are reported to have claimed responsibility for the blasts.

In a special news conference at 15:30 BST, July 7, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Brian Paddick of the Metropolitan Police confirmed 33 fatalities so far, 45 critical/serious injuries and approximately 300 minor injuries.

At 08:51 BST a bomb exploded on a Circle Line Underground train 91 metres/100 yards into the tunnel from Liverpool Street. Seven are known to be dead.

At 08:56 BST a bomb detonated on a Piccadilly Line train between King’s Cross and Russell Square. Twenty-one are dead; it is believed more bodies remain in the tunnel, which is one of the deepest on the Underground network.

At 09:17 BST a bomb exploded on another Circle Line train between Edgware Road Station and Paddington. The blast blew a hole in a wall, and another train was hit by debris from it. A third train is also involved. Five are known to be dead.

At 09:47 BST a No. 30 bus (Hackney – Marble Arch) blew up at the junction between Tavistock Square and Woburn Place outside the BMA building. It has been estimated that thirteen people died.

Earlier, quoting the Associated Press, Yahoo News had reported “at least 40 people were killed and more than 350 wounded”. Also, the same report says “two U.S. law enforcement officials said at least 40 people were killed”.

Several hotlines have been set up for those concerned about friends or relatives. A list of these numbers are below. The agencies setting up these hotlines stress that callers should try to reach their friends or relatives first before contacting the hotline. In addition, to prevent swamping, they also have asked that only genuine callers use the hotlines.

The first reports that came in were from London’s Liverpool Street station talking of an explosion on the Metropolitan Underground line and the station being evacuated. Later a BBC and a Wikinews reporter spoke of a bus being destroyed by a bomb blast in Tavistock Square outside the British Medical Association offices.

The initial reports of explosions were believed to have been the result of power surges. This was because the first indication of any disturbance was the opening of circuit breakers in the Underground, which was observed in the control room. This is usually due to a power surge, but in this case the actual cause was damage to the track circuits by bombs.

At approximately 10:50 BST reports were made that there was an additional, as yet unidentified explosion along Houndsditch, near Liverpool Street Station. Police were also warning pedestrians at Russell Square that a series of controlled explosions would be made shortly.

BBC News 24 has reported additional unspecified incidents at Brighton, Luton, and Swindon. These stations have been closed and there has been no official confirmation of the nature of the incidents, if any actually occurred.

The Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Sir Ian Blair told London Live that there have been “events” at Edgware Road, Kings Cross, Liverpool Street, Russell Square, Aldgate East and Moorgate.

At 11:30 BST (UTC+1) St. Mary’s Hospital released a statement that they have admitted 4 critical, 8 severe and several minor injures. Injuries are limb damage, cuts, burns, head injuries and chest problems.

The exact causes of the explosions are still unknown. Initially, it was thought that it was some technical fault. However, the police later suspected terrorist attacks. Police are still unsure if the bombs were simply left in packages or whether there were some sort of suicide attacks.

According to the Associated Press, a senior Israeli official said Scotland Yard told Israel minutes before the explosions that it had received warnings of possible “terror attacks”. Sky News says this has been denied by Scotland Yard. Sir Ian during his interview with Sky stated that there had been no specific intelligence.

German news magazine Der Spiegel (as well as unconfirmed information from CIA) has reported that a letter from an organization calling itself “Secret organization – Al Qaeda in Europe” has appeared, claiming responsibility for the bombings. See our related story for more details.

A broadcast interruption on MTV Thursday at 16:00 UTC said a group naming itself “Al Jihad Network in Europe” claimed responsibility for the bombings.

A police spokeswoman has confirmed two deaths at Aldgate station. Television and radio reports are now saying there have been four separate incidents with up to 150 casualties, speculating that the blasts may be related to terrorist activity.

The Associated Press is reporting that a US law enforcement official has put the toll at 40 killed.

Emergency Services press conference at around 15:15 BST (UTC+1) confirms at least 33 fatalities, not including those resulting from the incident on the number 30 bus.

The CBC reports at least 52 fatalities, including 17 from the incident on the number 30 bus according to media reports.

It has been reported that in the early stages of the attack, information was only distributed to civilians within the center of London, and authorities had a specific policy of not providing information to the global media, in case any information provided to the media could be used by additional terrorists to target vulnerable locations during an evacuation procedure. This was probably partly to blame for the early confusion amongst the media.

Emergency services are also attending King’s Cross and Liverpool Street Station.

The entire tube network and all buses within zone 1 have been suspended and many buses are now being used to ferry the ‘walking wounded’ to the hospitals. The underground will be closed for an indefinite period of time, but according to Fox News Channel United States, the closure will last at least for all of today.

All emergency services are responding en-masse to a “major incident” and are responding only to life-threatening emergency calls. Patients are being turned away at hospitals to free room for those injured by the attacks.

The London Congestion Charge has been suspended for the 7th and 8th of July.

The Jerusalem Post reports that the Army was dispatched to seal off the Israeli Embassy as Israel’s Finance Minister is present for a conference. The army have reportedly been involved with rescues at Covent Garden. Police have denied this report (originally made on Sky News).

The police have cordoned off roads around Upper Woburn Place following a massive explosion on a bus in the vicinity. Traffic is at a standstill in many places in the capital. Defra‘s security branch are reporting that police are advising everyone in London not to use any public transport and the Cabinet Office are advising staff to remain in offices until further notice. A further email sent to all staff by Defra’s permanent secretary indicates that Charing Cross and Waterloo mainline railway stations have been closed down for police searches, and that other stations could close for similar reasons later today.

As at 09.30 BST, Kings Cross Thameslink was experiencing delays and overcrowding but no serious difficulties.

Businesses have been hit by the uncertainty of the events – the FTSE had fallen almost 3.5% by 11.47UTC ([1]), but started to recover a little by early afternoon. The value of the pound has dipped, and the London crude oil price has dropped. International markets are also suffering, with falls in share indexes felt as far as South Africa. See our related story for more details.

According to Fox News Channel United States, all London schools are in lockdown and students are being kept in schools.

The Authorities are asking people in London to stay where they are, indoors if possible. Take inside any bins or bags of rubbish they have left out for collection, providing they check their contents first. Arrangements are also being made for when schools finish as schools have been asked to keep pupils safe inside until the usual school closing time.

The UK Highways Agency has stated that at the request of the police, the message “Avoid London – Turn on Radio” is being displayed on electronic motorway message signs on the M25 and other major routes approaching London.

The US Homeland Security Department asked authorities in major cities for heightened vigilance of major transportation systems. Department spokesman Roehrkasse indicated that the department had not received any indications of plans that this type of attack is planned in the United States. Later, the department raised the terror alert level to orange. See our related story for more details.

A joint statement of the G8 leaders was made by Tony Blair at a press conference, also attended by US President George Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin. See our related story for more details.

The Queen and many other world leaders have also issued statements. See our related story for more details.

Mayor Ken Livingstone’s full statement on the London bombings 07-07-2005:

 

Modern technology maps new sections of the Great Wall of China

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Using infrared laser rangefinders and global positioning system modern technology, a survey released that the Ming Dynasty section of the Great Wall of China is 8,851.8 kilometers (5,500 mi), some 2,551 kilometers (1,585 mi) longer than previous estimates.

Historical accounts put the wall’s length around 5,000 kilometers (3,107 mi), however it was not actually physically measured. The actual constructed wall measurements come to 6,259 kilometers (3,889 mi). The remaining 2,595.2 kilometers (1,613 mi) of the defensive wall system are trenches, hills and rivers according to the survey project which traversed mountains and deserts.

Sandstorms buried some sections of the wall, and these hills of dirt and sand may erode completely in 20 years. The new technologies helped to discover some of these wall areas which were buried.

The Great Wall of China was declared a World Heritage Site in 1987. In 2005, a conservation project began to preserve the Great Wall. The last two years involved mapping and surveying by the State Administration of Cultural Heritage and the State Bureau of Surveying and Mapping, and will see completion in another 18 months. So far only the portion of the wall built during the Ming Dynasty (1368 to 1644 AD) has been measured, and the remaining sections constructed in the Qin Dynasty (221 – 206 BC) and Han Dynasty (206 BC – 9 AD) have yet to be investigated. Besides discovering hitherto unknown sections of the Great Wall, researchers analysed its construction and the challenges presented to preserve it. Many areas of the wall have undergone restoration processes since 1949.

The wall was constructed of packed earth in places, however the majority was brick and stone construction. Sandstorms, extreme weather, highway construction, commercial expansion, and tourism are the main threats to the Great Wall of China.