18 January

News briefs:June 30, 2006

The time is 20:00 (UTC) on June 30th, 2006, and this is Audio Wikinews News Briefs.

Contents

  • 1 Headlines
    • 1.1 Interior Ministry, Fatah offices in Gaza hit by Israeli airstrikes
    • 1.2 Palestinian PM: Israel aims to topple gov’t
    • 1.3 Portuguese Minister of Foreign Affairs Freitas do Amaral resigns
    • 1.4 French Parliament adopts controversial copyright bill
    • 1.5 Police crackdown on illegal tow operations in Sydney
    • 1.6 Amsterdam to open a “Chocolate Factory”
    • 1.7 Australian shot in Thailand
    • 1.8 Germany master penalties to beat Argentina to semi-final spot
    • 1.9 Ullrich and Sevilla suspended from Tour de France
  • 2 Closing statements

[edit]

18 January

Wikinews investigates disappearance of Indonesian cargo ship Namse Bangdzod

Thursday, January 10, 2019

In late December, Indonesian cargo ship MV Namse Bangdzod vanished in local waters. The tanker, gross tonnage around 1,150 and loaded with crude palm oil, had over ten crewmembers. Wikinews examined data and contacted experts and local authorities in an effort to establish further details.

The exact date of disappearance is unclear, with industry publications reporting either December 27 or December 28. Crew totals are also unclear, with both eleven and twelve reported by industry sources while The Jakarta Post reports a captain and eleven other crew. Wikinews has contacted the Command and Control Centre of the Coast Guard seeking to clarify, among other things, the date of the disappearance and is awaiting a response.

Wikinews is also awaiting responses from both the Coast Guard and the National Search and Rescue Agency detailing the efforts being made to find the ship, which was last known to be in the Java Sea. MV Namse Bangdzod sailed with cargo from Sampit, a port town on a river in Borneo; it was last bound for Jakarta. It is owned and operated by Indonesian companies and also registered in Indonesia. The 75 m (250 ft) ship was built in 1993 in Japan.

Ships broadcast their position and other information via both the Automatic Identification System (AIS) and the Long Range Identification and Tracking (LRIT) system. AIS is a ship-to-ship safety system, but can also be detected from further afield by satellites. Marine Traffic’s AIS tracking database shows a reestablishment of AIS contact by MV Namse Bangdzod on January 6, with a pattern described by Marine Bulletin as “rather hectic and kind of confused”. In addition to asking local authorities, Wikinews sought expert input on the AIS data.

Dr. Tristan Smith of University College London, a shipping researcher with expert experience interpreting AIS results, explained to Wikinews that crews might turn their AIS transponders off on purpose for security reasons, such as “in certain sea areas where piracy is a risk” in order to “avoid attracting unwanted attention. This can involve them being turned off for several days at a time.” Doug Miller of Milltech Marine, a firm specialising in AIS, told our correspondent an AIS transponder will broadcast automatically provided it has power and antennae, even if the crew abandoned the vessel.

Baslan Damang, a security official from the port of departure, on Tuesday told The Jakarta Post radio broadcasts were being used to alert other traffic such as fishing vessels to look out for MV Namse Bangdzod. He added authorities “are still waiting for updates on the tanker’s condition, so please refrain from speculating that it had been hijacked”. As of yesterday, no oil slicks or other evidence of accidents have been found along the scheduled route the vessel was due to take. A major search continues.

Miller and Smith both acknowledged faults with the AIS system on-board as possible explanations, with Miller describing issues with the signal between the transponder and the satellite receiving it as one potential scenario for intermittent data reception. He too suggested a hypothetical scenario, in which “the AIS equipment has been tampered with or has been turned off for some of the time — either intentionally or accidentally or due to a power malfunction.” Smith called the disappearance an “interesting” case; Miller said “It is a little hard to definitively say what’s going on”. Miller explained that while transponders generally transmit every ten seconds “even if the transponder is transmitting there is no guarantee that other vessels or MarineTraffic can see it”. “It could also be a power supply issue or faulty transponder”, said Smith.

Smith told Wikinews “There are also some operations done on ships containing hazardous cargoes[…] where all risks of sparking/arcs need to be removed and radio transmitting equipment is sometimes turned off for this reason.” He said this applied to product tankers, but the long duration of AIS downtime would in this instance be unusual if this is the reason. Smith had one more theory: Namse Bangdzod could be the victim of identity theft, with a second vessel conducting manoeuvres it wished to conceal while falsely transmitting information identifying itself as Namse Bangdzod. Smith told Wikinews this might happen in cases of illegal fishing. He stated “In this scenario, it would normally be expected that both the legal and illegal transmission would be received but depending on how Marine Traffic handle this, it’s possible the two signals could be confused.”

Smith drew attention to LRIT as another method for search and rescue personnel to find the tanker. Unlike AIS, which is a safety and tracking system, LRIT is used for maritime security by seagoing nations. Created under the auspices of the International Maritime Organization, LRIT allows states to examine data about ships bearing their flag, visiting their ports, or in or near their waters.

Like all vessels exceeding 300 tons, Namse Bangdzod is required to transmit LRIT data. Search and rescue bodies can also access this information; Smith told Wikinews he believed this would include foreign navies with ships in the Java Sea. Singapore, India, and Australia have in the past conducted emergency searches of the Java Sea: All three nations offered military assistance after Indonesia AirAsia Flight 8501 vanished in December 2014.

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Marine Traffic’s website’s most recently publicly available AIS result, as of Tuesday, showed the ship underway a few miles off Jakarta. VesselFinder listed no AIS results for the last month. Vessel Tracker’s database had no sighting of the ship within the last 59 days on Tuesday; the website noted the AIS signal received from Jakarta but declared the ship was not actually there. Maritime Connector has an entry for the ship in its database but has no location data available.

Local authorities, according to Maritime Bulletin, have noted other unusual AIS data. The website yesterday suggested piracy, perhaps to obtain the valuable cargo, is now the most prominent theory. The Indonesian Palm Oil Producers Association reports a value of US$473.60 per metric ton of crude palm oil as of November 2018, with the price decreasing that month. “Its plausible that an explanation [why] the AIS transponder is not transmitting is that it had been turned off by pirates who wanted to hamper the efforts of a rescue mission” Smith told Wikinews yesterday.

Yesterday the Search and Rescue Agency told The Jakarta Post it was intending to end its search on the basis of piracy, which is outside its remit; the paper also spoke to the Navy, who told it this was as-yet uncomfirmed and noted no ransom has been sought and the ship vanished from an area without previous piracy problems. Four Navy ships assisted by aircraft are searching. “We will continue searching until we find it,” 1st Fleet Command’s Navy Information Agency head Arba Agung told The Jakarta Post, which also today reported location data falsely showing the ship in Sunda Kelapa Port after its inaccurate position in Jakarta Bay was recorded.

17 January

Irish CAO releases 2005 university offers to students

Monday, August 22, 2005

The Central Applications Office in Ireland has released the first round of offers for places on third level courses to over 60,000 Irish Leaving Certificate students (graduating secondary school students).

The offers are given out based on a highly competitive points system whereby students receive from

  • 100 points for an A1 to 45 points for a D3 at higher level.
  • 60 points for an A1 to 5 points for a D3 on lower level.

Points from a student’s best six subjects are added up to make his or her total points. This year 145 students achieved the maximum 600 points. Students achieveing this are generally regarded as the top students academically in the country.

Points required for courses in medicine and nursing have risen again leaving many candidates disappointed. Due to the huge popularity of medicine and the low supply of courses, points for entry into medicine are in the region of 580 points. Points for arts, engineering and commerce have fallen marginally.

While the points system is often attacked for placing too much pressure on students, it has avoided the problem of grade inflation that has occurred in the UK and USA. The Leaving Certificate exam has remained largely unchanged since its inception in 1924. It is often joked that the same questions reappear on the papers every 30 or 40 years.

16 January

Retired U.S. vets sue Donald Rumsfeld for excessive service cutbacks

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

One thousand residents of the Defense Department-managed Armed Forces Retirement Home in Washington, D.C. filed a class-action lawsuit on May 24, asserting that the cut-backs in medical and dental services imposed by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld are illegal. The operating budget for the home was reduced from $63 million in 2004 to $58 million for 2005. The residents cite cuts in on-site X-ray, electrocardiogram, physical and dental services, and the closing of the home’s main clinic and an on-site pharmacy.

Chief Financial Officer Steve McManus responded that the changes not only save money but also achieved improved efficiencies. “We’re really trying to improve the benefits to our residents,” he said.

Most of the home’s costs are paid for by a trust fund and monthly fees paid by residents. By law, the Armed Forces Retirement Homes are required to fund, “on-site primary care, medical care and a continuum of long-term care services.”

16 January

Philippine typhoon toll may hit 1,000

Sunday, December 3, 2006

Philippine president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo declared a state of national calamity Sunday in the wake of Typhoon Durian, allowing the government to more rapidly release funds needed to bolster search and rescue efforts. Relief efforts in the Philippines faced delays Sunday for survivors, as fears grew of a rising death toll in the archipelago nation from last week’s storm.

Red Cross officials recorded a death toll of at least 406, with 398 others missing and another 489 as injured, based on figures provided by mayors of devastated towns in the eastern Philippines, where Durian hit with 139 mph winds and torrential rains on Thursday.

Canada pledged $870,000 and the Netherlands Red Cross pledged $53,000 to help the country deal with the aftermath of the storm that triggered massive flooding and volcanic mudslides. The United States also promised an undetermined amount of aid.

Many provinces lost power, making communication virtually impossible. In one of the worst hit provinces, Albay, two villages were buried by volcanic mudslides and volunteers were working to recover bodies from the wreckage.

According to the Red Cross, rescue boats were used to survey the damage and take people to the 305 evacuation centers. The Red Cross estimated about 66,616 people were now homeless based upon the number of homes destroyed in the wake of Durian.

Earlier, the National Disaster Coordinating Council said 38,473 displaced people were in evacuation shelters.

The Philippines’ location in the northwestern Pacific puts it right in the pathway of the world’s top typhoon generator, according to meteorologists. Durian is the fourth devastating typhoon to strike the Philippines in the past four months, covering the Mayon volcano with so much wind and rain that ash and boulders cascaded down its slopes in walls of black mud that swamped entire villages Thursday.

Hemmed in by geography and poverty, the Philippines has tried to minimize the damage caused by the 20 or so typhoons that hit the sprawling archipelago every year. Nationwide in 2001-05, 2,892 people were killed and 909 others went missing in typhoons and other storms, which caused damage totaling US$521 million, says the National Disaster Coordinating Council.

Anthony Golez, the council’s deputy chief, notes that the estimate doesn’t include losses to employment and other economic opportunities, and that Filipinos should be “bombarded” with disaster information, including stories of the Indian Ocean tsunami two years ago and the February 2006 landslide in the central Philippine village of Guinsaugon that killed more than 1,000.

Senator Richard Gordon, who heads the Philippine National Red Cross, said better planning is needed. “The big problem here in our country is we don’t plan our communities. It’s every man for himself.”

16 January

Three men arrested under suspicion of organising dog fights in southern Finland

Wednesday, August 15, 2007File:240-dogFighting.jpg

Three Finnish men have been arrested as part of an investigation by the Finnish National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) into apparent illegal dogfights in various locations in the south of the country.

Dog fights, in which two dogs are pitted head-to-head for the entertainment of spectators and for gambling, is illegal in Finland, and is covered by Finland’s animal protection laws, as dogs often sustain severe or even fatal injuries. It is believed this case also involved gambling, thus rendering the suspects, if convicted, in breach of gambling laws also.

The investigation was started in July after the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) forwarded information to the NBI, claiming that during an investigation of its own for a programme it was making into dog fighting in the United Kingdom, they had uncovered connections to comparable activity in Finland.

“We are trying to find out when the activity has started and how widespread it has been. Apparently, just a small gang of people has been involved.” said Detective Chief Inspector Göran Wennqvist, adding that “We are now trying to find out whether or not this is part of a larger international organisation or just local criminal activity.”

It is believed the dogs went through training fights to test if they were suitable for fighting prior to actual events. A number of animals thought to have been used for fighting have been examined by a veterinarian to determine the types of injuries sustained by the dogs.

Despite the fact that dog fighting is known to have occurred in various countries – including countries close to Finland, such as Sweden, Norway, and Russia – neither the police or the Finnish Kennel Club were aware of any previous incidents occurring in Finland, although chairman of the board of the Finnish Kennel Club Martti Mannersuo told reporters that he recalled a rumour “many years ago” of domestic dog fights occurring in Finland, although this went unconfirmed. Wennqvist, however, independently told YLE “In other Nordic countries, they have seen incidents of dog fighting since the 90’s, but I haven’t come across any cases in Finland in 32 years,” although it is unclear if this was a confirmed case or if it were linked to the rumour Mannersuo had reported.

15 January

Australian House of Representatives grows heated over industrial relations legislation

Thursday, November 3, 2005

Australian industral relations reform legislationmade up of 700 pages of bill legislation and 500 additional pages of explanatory memoranda was introduced into the Federal House of Representatives November 2, where the Opposition heatedly attempted to address their perceived problem of the Government’s lack of discussion and debate over the matter.

The first reading of the bill was the first order of the day, and when Kevin Andrews tried to do so, Opposition member Stephen Smith, responsible for workplace relations, immediately moved a motion deferring the bills to the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Employment, Workplace Relations and Workforce Participation. The Leader of the House, Tony Abbott moved that Smith and the necessary supporter — viz., Julia Gillard — be not further heard (cloture). The Government’s majority in the House ensured that this would happen. However, Opposition members attempted to use House standing orders necessitating that copies of the bill to be “available to Members”, with argument arising whether “available to Members” meant all members or simply whether some copies should be available; this ended up in a dissent motion moved against the Speaker of the House.

Later, in a heated Question Time, where six members of the Opposition, (Kelly Hoare, Julia Irwin, Anthony Albanese, Bernard Ripoll, Catherine King, and Gavan O’Connor), were removed from the Chamber during Question Time under standing orders for disruption — Jill Hall quipped that she was “glad to be still here to ask [her] question” — nearly all questions to the Government put by the Opposition, the subsequent time for matters of public importance, and some members in the adjournment debate, was all on the topic of the industrial relations reform.

To implement and fund the legislation, the government will “spend an additional $486million on industrial relations changes over four years, or $121million a year. This spending would be in addition to the present annual budget of $86million.” said an unnamed government source for The Australian.

The government will need to use its corporation powers to remove the powers from the states to alter the award conditions and other employee employer related conditions. But the New South Wales premier Morris Iemma has received legal advice that the legislation maybe unconstitutional, the reason being its being used to end the role of the states and territories Australian States in the industrial relations system. “It is our view that the Commonwealth is misusing this law to achieve exactly what it was designed to prevent”, Iemma said. Mr Iemma will be challenging the changes in the high court with Peter Beattie Premier of Queensland supporting his challenge in the High Court.

15 January

Shimon Peres discusses the future of Israel

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

This year Israel turns sixty and it has embarked upon a campaign to celebrate its birthday. Along with technology writers for Slate, PC Magazine, USA Today, BusinessWeek, Aviation Weekly, Wikinews was invited by the America-Israel Friendship League and the Israeli Foreign Ministry to review Israel’s technology sector. It’s part of an effort to ‘re-brand the country’ to show America that there is more to Israel than the Palestinian conflict. On this trip we saw the people who gave us the Pentium processor and Instant Messaging. The schedule was hectic: 12-14 hours a day were spent doing everything from trips to the Weizmann Institute to dinner with Yossi Vardi.

On Thursday, the fifth day of the junket, David Saranga of the foreign ministry was able to arrange an exclusive interview for David Shankbone with the President of Israel, Nobel Peace Prize recipient Shimon Peres. For over an hour they spoke about Iranian politics, whether Israel is in danger of being side-lined in Middle Eastern importance because of Arab oil wealth, and his thoughts against those who say Israeli culture is in a state of decay.

The only crime I committed was to be a little bit ahead of time. And if this is the reason for being controversial, maybe the reason is better than the result.

Shimon Peres spent his early days on kibbutz, a bygone socialist era of Israel. In 1953, at the age of 29, Peres became the youngest ever Director General of the Ministry of Defense. Forty years later it was Peres who secretly gave the green light for dialogue with Yassir Arafat, of the verboten Palestine Liberation Organization. It was still official Israeli policy to not speak with the PLO. Peres shares a Nobel Peace Prize with Yitzak Rabin and Arafat for orchestrating what eventually became the Oslo Accords. The “roadmap” that came out of Oslo remains the official Israeli (and American) policy for peace in the Palestinian conflict. Although the majority of Israeli people supported the plans, land for peace was met with a small but fiery resistance in Israel. For negotiating with Arafat, former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shouted at Peres, “You are worse than Chamberlain!” a reference to Hitler’s British appeaser. It was during this time of heated exchanges in the 1990s that Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated by Yigal Amir, a Jew who thought it against Halakhic law to give up land given by God (Hashem).

Peres is the elder statesman of Israeli politics, but he remembers that he has not always been as popular as he is today. “Popularity is like perfume: nice to smell, dangerous to drink,” said Peres. “You don’t drink it.” The search for popularity, he goes on to say, will kill a person who has an idea against the status quo.

Below is David Shankbone’s interview with Shimon Peres, the President of Israel.

Contents

  • 1 Israeli technology
  • 2 The future of the peace process in Israel
  • 3 The waning importance of history
  • 4 Is Israel a united society?
  • 5 Iran: will Israel strike first?
  • 6 The 2006 Lebanon War
  • 7 On American politics
  • 8 Peres on his Presidency and learning from the future, not the past
  • 9 Related news
  • 10 Sources
14 January

Hitler doll story found to be hoaxed

Saturday, May 3, 2008

It has been revealed that a story concerning ‘Adolf Hitler dolls’ going on sale in Ukraine and aimed at children was a hoax. Many news outlets picked up the false story, including Wikinews.

Also fooled were BBC News, The Telegraph and other major publications. The story quickly spread as various media outlets quickly picked up and passed on the falsified report. Now news services have been forced to retract the story.

This article has been retracted. This article has been deemed a hoax.

The hoax first appeared two weeks ago and was spread rapidly, when a journalist found a model of Asian origin aimed at adult collecters in a specialist shop in Kiev, and misrepresented the find by failing to give basic details of the facts of the case when he publicised his find. The story propagated and expanded from there.

Wikinews issued a retraction by saying that “This article has been retracted. This article has been deemed a hoax.” while TheTrumpet.com said that “the source material that the article was based on was both inaccurate and misleading.”

The 40cm doll was reported to be available in Kiev with a £100 (GBP) price tag and come with a large range of accessories in a presentation box with the dates of Hitler’s birth and death.

BBC News Online had footage suggesting that some stores were already selling the dolls. The video turned out to be a hoax at a later date.

A ‘saleswoman’ who was allegedly marketing the false dolls said that “it [the doll] is like Barbie. Kids can undress fuhrer, pin on medals and there’s a spare head in the kit to give him a kinder expression on his face. He has glasses that are round, in the manner of pacifist John Lennon.”

14 January

Pupils fed through gates, school criticised

Friday, September 15, 2006

Schoolchildren at Rawmarsh Comprehensive School in South Yorkshire, England, are being fed fish and chips by their parents through the school gates at lunchtimes because parents do not believe their children are being given enough choice of food at lunchtime.

The parents are standing outside the school gates in a cemetery to take the orders of food from the children, and then go and pick up the food for them. Parents say that this is because the children do not like the quality of food being served in the school cafeteria, and so the parents are only giving the children what they want – which is a hot and tasty lunchtime meal.

Head Teacher John Lambert has lashed back at the parents, calling the delivery of food through the gates immoral and stating that it is not “helping the children or their school” by bringing the junk food in. He also stated that “[The School] aims to provide good quality food which is within government healthy eating guidelines and helps the children’s learning in the afternoon”. Parents have defended the delivery of food by saying that not only are they receiving orders for burgers and chips, but also for salad rolls, jacket potatoes, and other healthy foods.


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