Flooding in Slovenia leaves six dead

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Six people are confirmed dead after Tuesday’s heavy rains in Slovenia. Up to 300 mm of rain fell in just a few hours across the country, with swollen rivers, torrential streams and landslides sweeping away cars, houses, bridges, and whole sections of roads. In some areas, public services have not yet been restored, and healthcare and drinking water are being provided by mobile units. Some major roads are still closed. The damage includes the destruction of the resistance Hospital Franja, a museum site from the Second World war.

Worst hit was the valley town of Železniki, where three people died, 350 houses were flooded and over a hundred cars were swept away by the swollen river Sora. The dead included a woman who was swept away by the river in her car. The local health facilities and the elementary school are closed. Road communication to several surrounding villages was cut off by landslides. The flood also badly damaged local industry. The lower-lying town of Škofja Loka was also badly hit by the flood. A 31-year-old volunteer fire fighter was killed during the rescue effort in Cerklje.

Other badly affected areas include those along the rivers Sava, Savinja and Dravinja. All three rivers and many of their tributaries overflowed and flooded fields and towns. The low-lying parts of Celje, Laško and Nazarje were flooded by up to 2 meters of water. A 34-year-old man and a 24-year-old woman were killed in Podgorje near Braslov?e when their house was buried in a landslide. Two older people managed to leave the house unharmed.

Damage was widespread across the country and many roads were blocked by landslides. Velenje was cut off from the world for more than a day. The main road connecting the mountainous Bohinj valley to the central part of the country was closed, leaving only the mountain road to Tolmin.

Near the town of Cerkno, which was itself flooded, the museum site of Hospital Franja was nearly completely destroyed. The partisan resistance hospital from the Second World War, situated in a narrow mountain canyon above the town and named after the young doctor who worked at the site, treated hundreds of wounded resistance fighters and remained undiscovered by the Wehrmacht throughout the war. The hospital consisted of 12 wooden cabins and a miniature hydroelectric power plant. The power plant and all but one of the wooden cabins and were swept away by the swollen stream. Hundreds of exhibits, including medicine containers, locally produced medical equipment and an x-ray machine were lost or badly damaged.

The government of Slovenia directed €500,000 from the emergency fund to immediate rescue and repair operations, and has promised to help the affected municipalities and population with funds from the budget. The government has also pledged to rebuild the Hospital Franja museum site.

[edit]

Retrieved from “https://en.wikinews.org/w/index.php?title=Flooding_in_Slovenia_leaves_six_dead&oldid=4691831”
Posted in Uncategorized

Armstrong announces retirement from professional cycling

Monday, April 18, 2005

At a press conference Monday, Lance Armstrong announced his intention to retire from professional cycling after going for his 7th Tour de France title in July 2005.

“Ultimately, athletes have to retire,” said the 33 year-old American. “The body doesn’t just keep going and going.”

Speculation on the retirement of the six-time Tour de France winner had been growing in recent months. The Texan had hinted at wanting to spend more time with his children and his cancer charity, the Lance Armstrong Foundation. There was talk he may marry his well-known girlfriend, rock-star singer Sheryl Crow.

Armstrong battled with testicular cancer in 1996 before coming back to win the 1999 edition of the legendary French race. He went on to win the next five Tours de France and is now widely regarded as one of the greatest riders in the history of the sport.

Asked about his chances for Tour success, he expressed hope tempered with praise for his opponents. “Can I win this year? I’m not sure, but I’ll try… This will be a different year for the Tour with Jan Ullrich looking better and a host of young riders coming up,” he said.

Should Armstrong follow through with his plans, he will begin his final race in the United States tomorrow at the first stage of the Tour de Georgia. He has successfully used the springtime race in the past as a tune-up to the Tour de France in the summer. The contract with his new team sponsor, the Discovery Channel, obligates him to compete in one more Tour de France.

Retrieved from “https://en.wikinews.org/w/index.php?title=Armstrong_announces_retirement_from_professional_cycling&oldid=4577603”
Posted in Uncategorized

Iraqi restaurant hit by suicide bomber

Thursday, December 11, 2008

A suicide bombing in Iraq has killed at least 55 people and injured at least 120 more, according to local police.The suicide bomber struck at a restaurant located about 2 miles north of the ethnically mixed city of Kirkuk on Thursday morning. The Abdullah restaurant, where the explosion took place, is popular among Kurdish officials. The attack comes on the Muslim religious holiday Eid al-Adha, known in English as the “Festival of Sacrifice”.

At the time the restaurant was struck, it was full of families marking the final day of Eid. Five women and three children were among the dead.

Kirkuk is the scene of ongoing ethnic tensions, although the reasons for this attack in particular are currently unknown.

Salam Abdullah, 45, was one of the people in the restaurant at the time of the attack. “I held my wife and led her outside the place. As we were leaving, I saw dead bodies soaked with blood and huge destruction,” he stated, commenting on his experiences. “We waited outside the restaurant for some minutes. Then an ambulance took us to the hospital.”

Awad al-Jubouri, who was injured in the incident, condemned the bombers. “I do not know how a group like al-Qaida claiming to be Islamic plans to attack and kill people on sacred days like Eid. We were only meeting to discuss our problems with the Kurds and trying to impose peace among Muslims in Kirkuk.” Jubouri is a tribal leader, who was attending a lunch that was intended to precede a meeting discussing was to lessen tensions between local communities.

Last July, an affiliated restaurant of the same name was the site of a suicide bombing which claimed the lives of six and wounded twenty five.

Retrieved from “https://en.wikinews.org/w/index.php?title=Iraqi_restaurant_hit_by_suicide_bomber&oldid=4460625”
Posted in Uncategorized

Eurovision ’04 winner Ruslana discusses her paths as singer, spokesmodel, stateswoman and source of inspiration

Monday, March 30, 2009

First becoming famous in her native Ukraine in the 1990s, long-haired self-described “AmazonRuslana gained international recognition for winning the 2004 Eurovision Song Contest with her song “Wild Dances,” inspired by the musical traditions of the Hutsul people of the Ukrainian Carpathian Mountains.

In the five years since, Ruslana has decided to use her name and public status to represent a number of worthy causes, including human trafficking, renewable energy, and even the basic concept of democratic process, becoming a public face of Ukraine’s Orange Revolution and later serving in Parliament.

Currently, she is on an international publicity tour to promote her album Wild Energy, a project borne out of a science fiction novel that has come to symbolize her hopes for a newer, better, freer way of life for everyone in the world. She took time to respond to questions Wikinews’s Mike Halterman posed to her about her career in music and her other endeavors.

This is the fifth in a series of interviews with past Eurovision contestants, which will be published sporadically in the lead-up to mid-May’s next contest in Moscow.

Retrieved from “https://en.wikinews.org/w/index.php?title=Eurovision_%2704_winner_Ruslana_discusses_her_paths_as_singer,_spokesmodel,_stateswoman_and_source_of_inspiration&oldid=3548877”
Posted in Uncategorized

Edmund White on writing, incest, life and Larry Kramer

Thursday, November 8, 2007

What you are about to read is an American life as lived by renowned author Edmund White. His life has been a crossroads, the fulcrum of high-brow Classicism and low-brow Brett Easton Ellisism. It is not for the faint. He has been the toast of the literary elite in New York, London and Paris, befriending artistic luminaries such as Salman Rushdie and Sir Ian McKellen while writing about a family where he was jealous his sister was having sex with his father as he fought off his mother’s amorous pursuit.

The fact is, Edmund White exists. His life exists. To the casual reader, they may find it disquieting that someone like his father existed in 1950’s America and that White’s work is the progeny of his intimate effort to understand his own experience.

Wikinews reporter David Shankbone understood that an interview with Edmund White, who is professor of creative writing at Princeton University, who wrote the seminal biography of Jean Genet, and who no longer can keep track of how many sex partners he has encountered, meant nothing would be off limits. Nothing was. Late in the interview they were joined by his partner Michael Caroll, who discussed White’s enduring feud with influential writer and activist Larry Kramer.

Retrieved from “https://en.wikinews.org/w/index.php?title=Edmund_White_on_writing,_incest,_life_and_Larry_Kramer&oldid=4520289”
Posted in Uncategorized

Race to save Chilean miners trapped underground from spiralling into depression continues

Thursday, September 2, 2010

It has emerged that the 33 Chilean miners trapped underground after the mine they were working in collapsed could be brought to the surface in a shorter time than was initially feared. While officials publicly announced that the men would not be brought to the surface until Christmas, sources inside technical meetings have revealed that they could in fact be on the surface by early November. The news comes as families were allowed to speak by radio-telephone to their trapped loved ones on Sunday. Over the weekend, video images filmed by the miners emerged showing the miners playing dominoes at a table and singing the Chilean national anthem. The miners also used the camera to send video messages to their families on the surface, saying that they regularly broke into tears, but were feeling better having received food and water.

The grainy nightvision images, filmed on a high definition camcorder that was sent down a small shaft to the mine, show the men in good spirits, chanting “long live Chile, and long live the miners.” They are unshaven and stripped to the waist because of the heat underground, and are seen wearing white clinical trousers that have been designed to keep them dry. Giving a guided tour of the area they are occupying, Mario Sepúlveda, one of the miners, explains they have a “little cup to brush our teeth”, and a place where they pray each day. “We have everything organized,” he tells the camera. Gesturing to the table in the center of the room, he says that “we meet here every day. We plan, we have assemblies here every day so that all the decisions we make are based on the thoughts of all 33.” Another unidentified miner asks to rescuers, “get us out of here soon, please.” A thermometer is shown in the video, reading 29.5C (85F).

As the film continues, it becomes evident that the miners have stuck a poster of a topless woman on the wall. The miners appear shy, and one man puts his hand to his face, presumably dazzled by the light mounted on the cameraman’s helmet. One miner sent a message to his family. “Be calm”, he says. “We’re going to get out of here. And we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your efforts.” Another said that the miners are “sure that there are people here in Chile that are big people, that are powerful people, that are intelligent people, and they have the technology and they will all work together to get us out of here.” Speaking to the camera, one says: “we have had the great fortune that trapped in this mine there are good, professional people. We have electricians, we have mechanics, we have machine operators and we will let you know that while you are working to rescue us on the surface, we are down here ready to help you too.” It has been reported that Mario Gómez, 63, has become the group’s “spiritual leader”, having worked in the mines for over fifty years. He has requested that materials to build a shrine be sent down to the cavern.

Upon seeing the video in a private screening, family members, who are living in a small village of tents at the entrance to the San José copper-gold mine—which they have named Camp Hope—were elated. “He’s skinny, bearded and it was painful to see him with his head hanging down, but I am so happy to see him alive”, said Ruth Contreras, the mother of Carlos Bravo, who is trapped in the mine. The video, of which only a small portion has been released to the public, shows the miners, many of them wearing helmets, cracking jokes and thanking the rescuers for their continued efforts. The supplies are being sent to the men through a small shaft only twelve centimeters wide, and a laboratory has been set up with the purpose of designing collapsible cots and miniature sandwiches, which can be sent down such a narrow space.

CNN reported on Friday that “officials are splitting the men into two shifts so one group sleeps while the other works or has leisure time .. On average, each man has lost 22 pounds (10 kilograms) since they became trapped three weeks ago, and dehydration remains a threat. But a survey of the men indicates that at least nine miners are still too overweight to fit through the proposed rescue shaft. Initially, the miners survived by draining water from a water-cooled piece of equipment. To stay hydrated in the 90-degree mine, each miner must drink eight or nine pints of water per day.”

But while there are jubilant celebrations on the surface that the miners are alive, officials are now nervous that the miners could become depressed, trapped in a dark room the size of a small apartment. Chilean health minister Jaime Mañalich said that, on the video, he saw the telltale signs of depression. “They are more isolated, they don’t want to be on the screen, they are not eating well”, he said. “I would say depression is the correct word.” He said that doctors who had watched the video had observed the men suffering from “severe dermatological problems.” Dr. Rodrigo Figueroa, head of the trauma, stress and disaster unit at the Catholic University in Santiago, Chile, explained that “following the euphoria of being discovered, the normal psychological reaction would be for the men to collapse in a combination of fatigue and stress … People who are trained for emergencies – like these miners – tend to minimize their own needs or to ignore them. When it is time to ask for help, they don’t.” NASA has advised emergency workers that entertaining the miners would be a good idea. They are to be sent a television system complete with taped football matches. Another dilemma facing Mañalich is whether the miners should be permitted to smoke underground. While nicotine gum has been delivered to the miners, sending down cigarettes is a plan that has not been ruled out.

With the news that drilling of the main rescue tunnel was expected to begin on Monday, officials have informed the media that they hope to have the miners out of the mine by Christmas—but sources with access to technical meetings have suggested that the miners could actually be rescued by the first week of November. A news report described the rescue plan—”the main focus is a machine that bores straight down to 688m and creates a chimney-type duct that could be used to haul the miners out one by one in a rescue basket. A second drilling operation will attempt to intercept a mining tunnel at a depth of roughly 350m. The miners would then have to make their way through several miles of dark, muddy tunnels and meet the rescue drill at roughly the halfway point of their current depth of 688m.” Iván Viveros Aranas, a Chilean policeman working at Camp Hope, told reporters that Chile “has shown a unity regardless of religion or social class. You see people arriving here just to volunteer, they have no relation at all to these families.”

But over the weekend, The New York Times reported that the “miners who have astonished the world with their discipline a half-mile underground will have to aid their own escape — clearing 3,000 to 4,000 tons of rock that will fall as the rescue hole is drilled, the engineer in charge of drilling said Sunday … The work will require about a half-dozen men working in shifts 24 hours a day.” Andrés Sougarret, a senior engineer involved in operating the drill said that “the miners are going to have to take out all that material as it falls.”

The families of those trapped were allowed to speak to them by radio-telephone on Sunday—a possibility that brought reassurance both the miners and those on the surface. The Intendant of the Atacama Region, Ximena Matas, said that there had been “moments of great emotion.” She continued to say that the families “listened with great interest and they both felt and realized that the men are well. This has been a very important moment, which no doubt strengthens their [the miners’] morale.” The phone line is thought to be quite temperamental, but it is hoped that soon, those in the mine and those in Camp Hope will be able to talk every day. “To hear his voice was a balm to my heart … He is aware that the rescue is not going to happen today, that it will take some time. He asked us to stay calm as everything is going to be OK … He sounded relaxed and since it was so short I didn’t manage to ask anything. Twenty seconds was nothing”, said said Jessica Cortés, who spoke to her husband Víctor Zamora, who was not even a miner, but a vehicle mechanic. “He went in that day because a vehicle had broken down inside the mine … At first they told us he had been crushed [to death].”

Esteban Rojas sent up a letter from inside the mine, proposing to his long-time partner Jessica Yáñez, 43. While they have officially been married for 25 years, their wedding was a civil service—but Rojas has now promised to have a church ceremony which is customary in Chile. “Please keep praying that we get out of this alive. And when I do get out, we will buy a dress and get married,” the letter read. Yáñez told a newspaper that she thought he was never going to ask her. “We have talked about it before, but he never asked me … He knows that however long it takes, I’ll wait for him, because with him I’ve been through good and bad.”

Retrieved from “https://en.wikinews.org/w/index.php?title=Race_to_save_Chilean_miners_trapped_underground_from_spiralling_into_depression_continues&oldid=4377226”
Posted in Uncategorized

Maryland Judge throws out law banning gay marriages

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Judge M. Brooke Murdock of the Baltimore Circuit Court in Maryland struck down a 1973 law banning same-sex marriage yesterday, ruling the measure violated a state constitutional amendment prohibiting sex discrimination.

The decision will not allow gay couples to be immediately eligible for marriage licenses because Murdock stayed the order pending an appeal. The state’s attorney general’s office filed the appeal right after the ruling was made.

“Although tradition and societal values are important, they cannot be given so much weight that they alone will justify a discriminatory statutory classification,” the judge stated in the ruling. “When tradition is the guise under which prejudice or animosity hides, it is not a legitimate state interest.”

In making the decision, Judge Murdock wrote, “the court is not unaware of the dramatic impact of its ruling.”

Ken Choe, a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union’s (ACLU) Lesbian and Gay Rights Project, said “men and women were indeed treated differently under the law Judge Murdock struck down. A man can marry a woman, but a woman can’t marry a woman. Same-sex couples need the same protections for their families that opposite-sex couples do.”

The ACLU hailed the ruling, calling it “a historical step toward allowing same-sex couples to legally marry in Maryland.” She considered but dismissed all the state’s arguments for the restriction, noting “Prevention of same-sex marriage is not rationally related to the state’s interests in promoting stable families and protecting the best interests of children. … These arguments are illogical and inaccurate.”

Governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. released a statement saying that that the state will “begin a vigorous appeals process. I firmly believe the institution of marriage is for one man and one woman only.”

Governor Ehrlich had sent to Attorney General J. Joseph Curran Jr. (D), a letter in response to the ruling advising him to appeal the decision and offered additional resources to support the appeal.

“We have noted an appeal and think it appropriate that the court stayed the operation of its order,” said Kevin J. Enright, a spokesman for Curran, in a statement. “We await having the decision of Maryland’s appellate courts.”

The Maryland House of Delegates scheduled hearings for January 31, 2006 on proposals dealing with same-sex marriages, including a proposed constitutional amendment.

John Lestitian, a plaintiff in the case, said Murdock’s decision was “a step in a very long process. As a 40-year-old man, I should be able to decide who my family is.”

“This is such an exciting moment,” said Lisa Polyak. Her partner of 24 years, Gita Deane, was a plaintiff in the case. “Our participation in this lawsuit has always been about family protections for our children. Tonight, we will rest a little easier knowing that those protections are within reach.”

The equal rights amendment in Maryland’s State Constitution was ratified by voters in 1972. The marriage law which defined marriage as only between one man and one woman was approved the following year.

The lawsuit leading to the decision started when nine gay and/or lesbian couples and one individual sued court clerks in five Maryland counties for denying marriage licenses to them, citing legal, financial, and emotional harm. In July of 2004, the ACLU filed the suit challenging the state ban on same-sex marriage.

Same-sex marriages are only legal in the state of Massachusetts in the United States, with the states of Vermont and Connecticut recognizing other civil unions. Hawaii and New Jersey offer some legal protections to same-sex couples, while 13 states have appoved constitutional amendments rejecting recognition of same-sex marriage. Courts in California, New Jersey, New York and Washington State are facing cases on the issue.

Retrieved from “https://en.wikinews.org/w/index.php?title=Maryland_Judge_throws_out_law_banning_gay_marriages&oldid=4467361”
Posted in Uncategorized

Woman fined in Spain under new ‘Gag Law’

Monday, August 17, 2015

A woman in Spain has been fined €800 after posting a photograph to her Facebook account of a police vehicle parked in space reserved for disabled/handicapped drivers. She was located and fined within two days of posting the photograph. The incident has now gained international attention.

The woman, who has not been named, saw the police vehicle parked in a reserved spot in Petrer and snapped a photo. She posted the photo with the caption: “Park where you bloody well please and you won’t even be fined.” ((es))Spanish Language: ?Aparcas donde te sale de los cojones y encima no te multan…

Fernando Portillo, a local police spokesperson, told local media the vehicle was parked there because police were responding to an emergency. After the story was reported on a local news website, it began to be reported internationally.

On July 1, the “Citizens’ Security law” went into effect. The law was written in response to violent protests. Even before its enactment it saw widespread criticism. It was dubbed the “gag law” ((es))Spanish language: ?ley mordaza or the “gagging law”. The law prohibits “the unauthorized use of images of police officers that might jeopardize their or their family’s safety or that of protected facilities or police operations” ((es))Spanish language: ?El uso no autorizado de imágenes o datos personales o profesionales de autoridades o miembros de las Fuerzas y Cuerpos de Seguridad que pueda poner en peligro la seguridad personal o familiar de los agentes, de las instalaciones protegidas o en riesgo el éxito de una operación.

Judge Joaquim Bosch, Judges for Democracy spokesperson, said: “It is not a law for citizens’ security, but a law for the government to avoid citizens’ protests. All opinion polls indicate that the Spanish society is not at all preoccupied by security but by the economic situation and political corruption.”

Amnesty International condemned the law in a report: “With threats of fines or threats of being beaten, the government is trying to stigmatize and criminalize people who are just practicing their rights.” Virginia Álvarez, who wrote the report, noted, “instead of listening to their demands, instead of starting a dialogue, authorities are doing everything they can to impede people from protesting”.

The part of the law which prohibits “the unauthorized use of images of police officers that might jeopardize their or their family’s safety” is cited as the reason for the fine, however, police spokesperson Fernando Portillo said it was up to police officers involved and under the new law they could do this. “We would have preferred a different solution but they have the legal right to impose the fine,” Portillo said, but the public posting of the photo impugned the officers’ sense of honor.

Retrieved from “https://en.wikinews.org/w/index.php?title=Woman_fined_in_Spain_under_new_%27Gag_Law%27&oldid=3771308”
Posted in Uncategorized

Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch to be auctioned off

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Neverland Valley Ranch, owned by Michael Jackson, is to be sold at auction on March 19, 2008, unless Jackson pays over US$24 million.

Financial Title Company, the trustee of his Santa Barbara County, California, home and amusement park, has foreclosed on the property. They notified Jackson of the foreclosure and sale on Monday. Jackson had only just recently paid an overdue property tax bill of $600,000.

The court filing, addressed to Jackson, says, “You are in default of a deed of trust … Unless you take action to protect your property it may be sold at a public sale.” Fox News published the filing.

The foreclosure includes the ranch and all possessions on the property, inside or out.

The foreclosure auction will take place in front of the Santa Barbara County Courthouse in Santa Barbara. Jackson has until then to pay $24,525,906.61 he owes the title company.

In 2006, Jackson refinanced previous loans that had been bought up by Fortress Investment Group. The $300-million loan was secured with the aid of Sony Music Entertainment. However, the Neverland property was not part of that deal.

Jackson has not lived at Neverland since June 30, 2005, when he moved to Bahrain after a rape charge and subsequent acquittal.

Retrieved from “https://en.wikinews.org/w/index.php?title=Michael_Jackson%27s_Neverland_Ranch_to_be_auctioned_off&oldid=742241”
Posted in Uncategorized

Malaysia bans film “The Last Communist”

Monday, May 29, 2006

Malaysia — Manjit Kaur of the Malaysian Star reports the controversial documentary The Last Communist or Lelaki Komunis Terahkir has finally been banned by the Home Ministry under the Film Censorship Act 1991.

The film was passed without any cuts by the National Film Censorship board in March but the Home Ministry retracted the approval ten days before film was scheduled to start screening.

The film is described as a “semi-musical documentary” and is inspired by the leader of the disbanded Malayan Communist Party, Chin Peng and the Malayan Emergency during which over ten thousand Malayan and British troops and civilians lost their lives.

The film features “interviews with the people in the towns [Peng] lived from birth to national independence” that is “interspersed with specially composed songs in the mould of old-fashioned propaganda films.” The film made its world debut at the Berlin Film Festival. It also appeared at this year’s Seattle International Film Festival and the London Film Festival.

The ban comes after Berita Harian, a conservative Malay daily, printed a series of articles critical of the film and the Censorship board. In the first article, the reporters ask government ministers and professors to comment on the impact of the film.

Retrieved from “https://en.wikinews.org/w/index.php?title=Malaysia_bans_film_%22The_Last_Communist%22&oldid=1408409”
Posted in Uncategorized