CIA chief to testify before Congress on interrogations

Sunday, December 9, 2007

The United States Congress has launched its own inquiry into a decision by the U.S spy agency to destroy tapes of interrogations of terror suspects, with Central Intelligence Agency chief Michael Hayden testifying before lawmakers this week.

The Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Democrat Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia, says Hayden will appear before his panel.

“CIA director Michael Hayden is going appear before our committee on this coming Tuesday and talk about interrogation and techniques,” said Rockefeller.

During an appearance on the CBS television program Face the Nation, Rockefeller made clear members have a lot of questions about the destroyed videotapes.

“Were there things on those tapes that they did not want to have seen, that did not conform to what the attorney general would allow them to do?” he said.

Rockefeller indicated the session will take place behind closed doors, to enable law makers to delve into areas that are still considered top secret, and have to do with specific interrogation procedures.

The CIA director disclosed the destroyed videotapes last Thursday, after he got word that their existence had been uncovered by the news media. The tapes which were made in 2002, showed the interrogation of top terror suspects. They were destroyed in 2005, and Congressional critics charge that could amount to tampering with legal evidence and obstruction of justice.

Democrat Joe Biden of Delaware, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and former chair of the Judiciary panel, says the preliminary joint inquiry by the Justice Department and the CIA announced yesterday is not enough.

Biden, who is running for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination, was interviewed on ABC’s This Week.

“I think that Hayden is not to be the judge of whether or not his condoning the destroying of the tapes was lawful. It appears as though there may be an obstruction of justice charge here, tampering with evidence, destroying evidence,and I think this is one case where it really does call for a special counsel,” said Biden.

Hayden told CIA employees Thursday the tapes were destroyed out of fears that if they ever became public, the identities of the interrogators would be revealed and their lives would be in danger.

President Bush gave the intelligence community the go-ahead to use enhanced interrogation techniques on terror suspects following the September 11th 2001, attacks on the United States.

The Bush administration has refused to specify which methods are permitted, but critics charge some amount to torture, including a procedure known as waterboarding, which simulates drowning.

Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona has called for the White House to publicly disavow the use of harsh interrogation techniques.

He appeared on the Fox News Sunday television program.

“What this does in a larger sense is it harms the credibility and the moral standing of America in the world again,” said McCain. “There will be skepticism and cynicism all over the world about how we treat prisoners and whether we practice torture or not.”

Senator McCain, a former Vietnam War era prisoner of war, has been one of the most outspoken members of Congress on the treatment of detainees in the war on terror. He is campaigning to become the Republican Party’s presidential nominee.


Maintaining A Fire Protection System

byAlma Abell

If you own a business, you need to keep it protected and safe. To reduce risks, you also need to make sure you have an all-inclusive fire safety system in place. Without this system, you can lose your business overnight. It is also important for staying compliant with building codes.

That is why any inspection of a fire protection system should adhere strictly to fire code and inspection processes. Fire inspection technicians should also be knowledgeable in maintenance, codes, and standards.

Keeping Your Business and Its Occupants Secure

Because you do not use your fire protection equipment regularly, it is important to have routine evaluations made. Whether you need to schedule an inspection or testing for an alarm or sprinkler system, you need to know that your business and occupants are secure.

Always Be Prepared

When you use a company that features inspections, testing, and maintenance, you only have to go to one source for the maintenance of your fire protection system. Without inspections or servicing, your fire safety system will eventually become useless. That is always why you should be prepared for a fire. By being prepared, you will pay less in business liability coverage and increase your overall level safety.

Do You Have a Fire Protection Plan in Place?

Inspecting your fire protection system should be combined with the development of a fire protection plan. If you have not yet contemplated the use of a protection plan for your business, you need to start the process immediately. When you can count on a full-service company for your fire protection needs, it makes this type of transition even easier.

Who to Call

If you have questions about implementing a fire safety system for your business, you need to contact a company, such as Elite Fire Services Inc. Working with a full-service company will ensure that you remain building-code compliant and that you and your employees will stay safe. You can pay a visit to Facebook page for more information.


British ISPs restrict access to Wikipedia amid child pornography allegations

Sunday, December 7, 2008

This article mentions the Wikimedia Foundation, one of its projects, or people related to it. Wikinews is a project of the Wikimedia Foundation.

Wikinews has learned at least six of the United Kingdom’s main Internet Service Providers (ISPs) have implemented monitoring and filtering mechanisms that are causing major problems for UK contributors on websites operated by the Wikimedia Foundation, in addition to 1,200 other websites. The filters appear to be applied because Wikimedia sites are hosting a Scorpions album cover which some call child pornography. Scorpions are a German hard rock band who have used several controversial album covers and are perhaps best known for the song Rock You Like a Hurricane.

The measures applied redirect traffic for a significant portion of the UK’s Internet population through six servers which can log and filter the content available to the end user. A serious side-effect of this is the inability of administrators on Wikimedia sites to block vandals, and other troublemakers, without potentially impacting hundreds of thousands of innocent UK contributors who work on WMF sites in good faith.

The filtering is in response to the Internet Watch Foundation‘s list of websites that host content reported to contain inappropriate images of naked children. The IWF considers those images child pornography. However, in the United States, where the websites of the Wikimedia Foundation are hosted, it is not considered obscene under the criteria of the Miller test, which requires that an obscene work lack “serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value” – as album art is used to “brand” the album, it is considered to be artistic.

Contributors or individuals attempting to view an affected image or file, depending on their ISP, may get a warning saying, “we have blocked this page because, according to the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF), it contains indecent images of children or pointers to them; you could be breaking UK law if you viewed the page.” Other ISPs provide blank pages, 404 errors, or other means of blocking the content. Due to a configuration mistake at one Internet service provider, some users have reported being totally unable to access Wikimedia sites to the Wikipedia technical help desk.

Is this action on the part of the IWF and various UK ISPs appropriate?
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“The Protection of Children Act 1978 as amended in the Sexual Offences Act 2003, makes it an offence to take, make, permit to be taken, distribute, show, possess with intent to distribute, and advertise indecent photographs or pseudo-photographs of children under the age of eighteen. The ‘making’ of such images includes downloading, that is, making a copy of a child sexual abuse image on a computer, so, in the UK, accessing such content online is a serious criminal offence,” says the IWF on their website in an article updated on November 28. The IWF say there are at least 800 to 1,200 websites on the list of those who host or contain offensive material. The list is not public and the IWF never notified Wikimedia Foundation about the blocking of Wikipedia content. The affected page does not display any message informing the user about blocked content on most ISPs, instead, a technical error message is shown.

However, Demon Internet redirects users to a block message on the IWF’s site explaining that the page was blocked as the organization suspects child porn or links to it to be present. The IWF states that, “we do not notify site owners that their websites are on our list.”

The concern for Wikimedia is for some images like an album cover from a 1976 record of the Scorpions titled Virgin Killer. It displays an underage girl, posing nude, with a lens crack crossing over her genitals, but nothing blocking out her breasts. The girl appears to be around ten years old. In the U.S., the band later replaced the image with one of the group. The cover was uploaded to Wikipedia in 2006, but Wikinews learned that on May 9, 2008 at (21:17 UTC), despite a result of strong consensus to ‘keep’ in a deletion request, the image was deleted, however for a different reason. It was deleted due to a claim by an administrator that it violated Wikipedia’s policy for dealing with copyrighted images, which require that any images used under the doctrine of fair use must alongside other criteria, “significantly increase readers’ understanding of the topic, and its omission would be detrimental to that understanding”, with the administrator claiming that the article “lacked meaningful discussion” of the album art. This result was overturned using the deletion review process. Earlier, on December 6, the image was put back up for a deletion request, but it was later closed as Wikimedia “does not censor”.

Another image that is questionable could be a screenshot from the 1938 film Child Bride. Its goal was to bring to light the attempts at banning child marriages. In the article on Wikipedia, a screenshot appears of then 12-year-old Shirley Mills partially naked after skinny dipping. In the photo, at least one of her breasts can be seen.

Other albums featuring nudity below the age of sixteen have previously caused controversy; Blind Faith attracted criticism as did Houses of the Holy, and Nirvana’s Nevermind.

Multiple companies have gone public stating that they implement the recommendations of the Internet Watch Foundation. Not all of these are known to have implemented measures against Wikimedia sites; the major UK ISPs thought to have affected Wikimedia sites are Telefonica O2/Be Unlimited, Virgin Media, Easynet, Plusnet, Demon, and Opal Telecommunications (TalkTalk).

Wikinews has contacted Wikimedia’s legal counsel, Mike Godwin and the IWF for a statement, but neither have replied as of this time.

 This story has updates See Wikimedia, IWF respond to block of Wikipedia over child pornography allegations 

Former ‘Top Model’ contestant Whitney Cunningham defends plus size models, celebrates the “regular woman”

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Once you get a chance to talk to West Palm Beach, Florida native Whitney Cunningham, who placed seventh on the eighth cycle of the popular reality TV series America’s Next Top Model, you begin to understand what host Tyra Banks meant when she described her as the “full package.”

First of all, she is confident and headstrong, which is a must on these kinds of shows, almost as much as it is to take a beautiful modelesque picture. Second, she turns that confidence into drive. She has been receiving steady work as a model since leaving the show, and still believes that her goal of being the first woman to wear a size ten dress on the cover of Vogue is in reach. Third, and probably most important to television viewers, she obliterates the age-old model stereotype that to be pretty and photograph well, one must also be vapid and without a thought. A graduate of Dartmouth College, Cunningham also dreams of becoming a writer, and is working toward dual goals: a model who can express herself like no other model before her.

Cunningham recently sat down with Wikinews reporter Mike Halterman in an impassioned interview, taking hours to field questions from the reporter as well as from fans of America’s Next Top Model. Always in high spirits, Cunningham shows that she is a distinct personality who has carved her own niche in the Top Model history books. At the same time, she exhibits a joie de vivre that is oddly reminiscent of earlier Top Model fan favorite Toccara Jones, who showed America just how to be “big, black, beautiful and loving it.” However, Cunningham is quick to remind everyone that she isn’t big at all; she is simply a regular woman.

This is the first in a series of interviews with America’s Next Top Model contestants. Interviews will be published sporadically.


  • 1 Whitney’s beginnings, and looking back
  • 2 Impact Top Model has on society
  • 3 Whitney’s views on production and editing
  • 4 Whitney takes more fan questions
  • 5 Where Whitney is today
  • 6 Source

#1 Real Estate Investing Mistake Of 2005

By Jeanette Joy Fisher

Over the past few years, real estate investors, hungry for break-even or positive cash flow rental properties, purchased income properties out of state. California investors bought houses in Florida, Texas, and Oklahoma. Florida investors purchased houses in Louisiana. Texas investors purchased in Las Vegas. Many of these investors made millions of dollars because of the appreciation in hot markets.

On the other hand, in 2005, some beginning investors lost their hard-earned investment capital or only made a meager profit because

they failed to do their homework on the out-of-state area’s real estate market and customs


If you ‘re thinking about buying investment properties in a different state than you’re accustomed to, beware of these five surprises.

Surprise # 1 – ‘These (extra) costs are the norm in this state!

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Besides extra closing costs like pricey surveys, common in Florida but rare in California, other surprise costs included higher transfer fees and taxes. Property taxes in Florida cost much more for investors in Florida than in California. On the other side of the country, out-of-state investors were shocked by California’s state tax held in escrow: 3.8% of the property’s SALES price, no matter the actual profit made. In other words, an investor who made a quick profit of $20,000 on a fast flip could have more than the profit held until the next year’s income tax filing.

Surprise # 2 – ‘You can’t lease this property!

New home developers and many Homeowners’ Associations (HOA)s prohibit property owners from leasing their properties. Some of these restrictions got passed, without the investor being notified, during the property purchase phase. You must read the fine print to see if any clauses prevent the rental of the property. Home builders, to keep the value of the neighborhood up, added restrictions requiring the purchaser to occupy the home as a primary or secondary residence.

Surprise # 3 – ‘This house will only rent for $750 per month, not $1200!

This was one of the top mistakes made in 2005. Large real estate investing groups, selling out-of-state properties to local investors, inflated the rental income. Because so many houses were purchased in a limited area by investors, a rental glut lowered the expected income. This created hardships for investors who suddenly had to pay out hundreds of dollars a month instead of reaping promised profits.

Surprise # 4 – ‘You can’t sell this house, now!

Some investors who couldn’t rent the out-of-state property decided to sell because the values did rise significantly while the house was built or during the purchase time. However, many investors were stunned when they were told they couldn’t sell the property within the first year after purchase. Restrictions prohibiting real estate investors from quick-turning their properties is a trend that is growing increasingly popular with some developers.

Surprise # 5 – ‘Houses don’t appreciate 30% per year here!

Perhaps you’ve attended or been invited to a high-power investment seminar that promotes out-of-state real estate investing. Some of these ‘investor clubs’ really are promoters who receive kick-backs in real estate commissions, property management fees, mortgage loan fees, and even fire insurance premiums. They tell stories of huge appreciation gains, which are probably true. However, not all areas enjoy significant appreciation–year after year.

Don’t make the costly mistake of not fully researching the complete market customs and restrictions in the area where you’re thinking about investing. If you can’t afford to go check out the area in person, choose another area that you can visit.

Copyright 2006 Jeanette J. Fisher

About the Author:

Jeanette Fisher

offers FREE “How to Start Real Estate Investing Teleseminar,” free ebook, “The Truth about Making Money Flipping Houses”


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Woman dies when pet camel tries to mate with her

Monday, August 20, 2007

An unnamed woman from Mitchell, Queensland, Australia has died after her pet camel knocked her down to the ground, stomped on her, and then laid on top of her, in what police suspect was an attempt by the camel to mate with her. The woman was found at 18:30 (AEST) by her husband after he finished feeding his stock at the family ranch.

The woman in question had a fondness for exotic pets, and received the camel as a 60th birthday present. The camel was ten months old, and weighed 152 kg (336 lbs). Camels have lived in Australia since they were transported there in the 1840s. Camels are not normally aggressive, but can become more dangerous if treated as pets.

According to the police, the camel displayed possible mating behaviour. Craig Gregory, Detective Senior Constable for Queensland Police said, “I’d say it’s probably been playing, or it may be even a sexual sort of thing.” One camel expert, Chris Hill, claimed that the animal’s behaviour was definitely sexual.


USA beats NZ in the Wheelchair Rugby Championships 2006

Saturday, September 16, 2006

The United States of America have beaten the New Zealand Wheel Blacks to win the 2006 Wheelchair Rugby Championships, the fourth championship ever held.

The final score was 34-30 at Christchurch, New Zealand’s Westpac Stadium. The Americans had led by one point following the first quarter, 9-8, and went into half time with the US leading 16-15, but the lead spaced further apart going into the final quarter, 25-23.

US and New Zealand, the Athens 2004 paralympic champions, had played each other previously in the tournament with US coming out winner 42-34.

Grant Sharman, New Zealand Wheel Blacks coach, said: “The Wheel Blacks did not quite have their ‘A game’ in the final today and the Americans played extremely well.”

US played a near-faultless game of wheelchair rugby, which won them the match.

The defending champions, Canada, finished third place overall by defeating Great Britain 23-19.

The final standings were:

  1. USA
  2. New Zealand
  3. Canada
  4. Great Britain
  5. Japan
  6. Australia
  7. Germany
  8. Belgium
  9. Sweden
  10. Netherlands
  11. Switzerland
  12. Denmark

What Services Do Most Dentists Offer?

byAlma Abell

Dentists in Hartford county, MD are often asked—along with many dentists around the country—exactly what services they offer, apart from check-ups. Most dentists have a specialty area that they prefer to work with or are particularly excellent at, but most dentists will do most dental work. For instance, most dentists can and will do fillings, dental hygiene, x-rays, cleaning, whitening, and general dentistry.

Extractions are an everyday part of the job of a dentist and this applies to all teeth, as well as wisdom teeth. In fact, some wisdom teeth are so impacted that the dentist will actually refer the patient to a hospital for general surgery to remove them. Other dentists concentrate on prosthetics such as dentures bridges and crowns, and patients are referred to them because the orthodontist can deal better with difficult cases. One of the other most important parts of extractions is care of the extraction site. Dry socket is common occurrence when people fail to take proper care after the tooth is removed. It can be extremely uncomfortable and very painful.

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Other Conditions and Services Offered

Many dentists also offer solutions for teething issues such as grinding at night. Many people grind their teeth when they sleep and are completely unaware that they are harming their teeth and jaws until they wake up sore. Dentists can offer personalized molds that are used to create teeth guards to be worn at night. These work in much the same as a boxer’s gum guard to stop the teeth grinding together.

Other patients might experience severe pain or aching when they close and open their mouths. This can be a symptom of TMD which is a dental disorder connected to the jaw bones. They may also have trouble chewing, teeth grinding, popping or clicking of their jaw and headaches. A dentist can diagnose and treat TMD—temporomandibular Disorder.

Other areas of dentistry that your own dentist may also be able to assist you with is endodontics—root canal—work. It doesn’t sound so bad when given its proper name but the idea of root canal can instill fear into many a patient in the dentist’s chair. Anything to do with serious dentistry can scare the daylights out of some people, but most dentists will do their best to put you at ease.

For reliable dentists in Hartford County, MD contact for a list of services offered and to brighten your smile today.


Florida man charged with stealing Wi-Fi

Update since publication

This article mentions that Wi-Fi stands for “Wireless Fidelity”, although this is disputed.

Thursday, July 7, 2005

A Florida man is being charged with 3rd degree felony for logging into a private Wi-Fi (Wireless Fidelity) Internet access point without permission. Benjamin Smith III, 41, is set for a pre-trial hearing this month in the first case of its kind in the United States.

This kind of activity occurs frequently, but often goes undetected by the owners of these wireless access points (WAPs). Unauthorized users range from casual Web browsers, to users sending e-mails, to users involved in pornography or even illegal endeavours.

According to Richard Dinon, owner of the WAP Smith allegedly broke into, Smith was using a laptop in an automobile while parked outside Dinon’s residence.

There are many steps an owner of one of these access points can take to secure them from outside users. Dinon reportedly knew how to take these steps, but had not bothered because his “neighbors are older.”


Legislators in US states call for the impeachment of President Bush

Tuesday, May 2, 2006

Legislators in three states have introduced resolutions calling for the impeachment of U.S. President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney.

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US state legislators Karen Yarbrough of Illinois, Paul Koretz of California, and David Zuckerman of Vermont have each introduced resolutions to begin impeachment proceedings. Yarbrough and Koretz are Democrats, and Zuckerman is a member of the Vermont Progressive Party.

Yarbrough’s resolution charges Bush with directing the National Security Agency to perform surveillance without a warrant in violation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act; violating the torture conventions of the Geneva Convention, and “leaking classified national secrets to further an agenda.” Koretz’ similar resolution also calls for Cheney to be impeached.

Zuckerman introduced a resolution last Tuesday in the Vermont House of Representatives that asks Congress to “initiate impeachment proceedings against President George W. Bush.” The resolution says “George W. Bush has committed high crimes and misdemeanors as he has repeatedly and intentionally violated the United States Constitution and other laws of the United States.” Twelve Vermont state representatives (Democrats, Progressives, 1 Independent) have endorsed the resolution.

The Illinois resolution invokes Section 603 of Jefferson’s Rules for the national House and Senate, which allows for the introduction of impeachment charges “by charges transmitted from the legislature of a State or territory.” Section 604 also states that an impeachment charge brought by any means would be a privileged motion, superseding most other business in the U.S. House of Representatives.

As of April 30, the Illinois resolution has been referred to the Rules Committee and has been sponsored by 17 representatives including Yarbrough.

In response to the Vermont resolution, the state’s Republican Party Chairman James Barnett said, “If this is the best they can do at this late hour of the legislative session, then it’s time to close down shop and go home for the summer so they can explain to their constituents that they didn’t reform health care because they were too busy trying to impeach the president.”

According to a CBS poll, the President’s public approval rating has steadily declined, and is so far at an all time low of 33%.