15 June

“World Can’t Wait” protesters rally outside the White House

Friday, February 10, 2006

Washington, D.C. —

On a rainy Saturday, February 4, 2006, several thousand protesters gathered in a corner of the Ellipse in Washington, D.C. to protest the current administration’s stance on the War in Iraq and to demand that President Bush be impeached or resign as Commander-in-Chief.

Saturday’s demonstration that lasted through five hours of rain ended with a march around the White House was organized by a group called World Can’t Wait – Drive out the Bush Regime. The group organized a smaller rally near the Capital during the State of the Union.

Demonstrators came from as far away as Hawaii; New York sent 12 buses. However the crowd was significantly less than the 30,000 protesters that organizers had anticipated. The actual numbers were more like 2,000 to 3,000 and varied with the strength of the rain. Park Police refused to comment on the size of the crowd.

A series of speakers included a 96 year old great grandmother, and a Georgetown law student that led a protest against a speech given by Attorney General Gonzales. The speeches were followed by the dropping of a 30 foot wire effigy of President Bush from the stage. The crowd, which had already been in a frenzy, chanted in unison: “Bush step down! Bush step down!” After it fell, protesters kicked and cursed at the fallen mass of chicken wire and construction paper.

Some protesters got more visual and burned a mock US flag that contained corporate logos instead of stars as at least one protester yelled that the flag burners were “FBI Plants.”

The rally ended with a march around the White House through closed streets escorted by the Capital Police and the Uniformed Division of the United States Secret Service. A group of ten to fifteen counter-protesters waited in front of the White House and although cursing was traded, the obvious police presence kept the scene peaceful.

14 June

Obama signs healthcare bill for 9/11 emergency workers

Monday, January 3, 2011

Yesterday, United States President Barack Obama signed into law a five-year benefit package to provide healthcare treatment for emergency workers including police, firefighters, and rescue workers affected by illness and respiratory problems contracted while working at the site of the World Trade Center attacks in New York City on September 11, 2001.

The bill—the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, which is named after a police officer who died of a respiratory illness he got during a rescue operation at the World Trade Center — will provide $4.2 billion over the next five years. This money will be raised by increasing a levy on foreign companies that win procurement contracts from the United States government.

The new legislation also provides new funding for the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, a federal program for victims of the attacks.

President Obama signed the bill in Kailua, Hawaii, where he is staying on vacation. In a statement, Obama said: “We will never forget the selfless courage demonstrated by the firefighters, police officers and first responders who risked their lives to save others. I believe this is a critical step for those who continue to bear the physical scars of those attacks.”

The law was the only one that passed through Congress during the lame-duck session in December, with some Republican opposition. New York Senators and Congressmen have praised the passage of the measures.

“The heroes who rushed to Ground Zero in the hours and days after the attacks will not be forgotten. These first responders were like veterans, and this law keeps with a time-honored tradition of standing by our veterans when they get harmed answering the call.” said Charles Schumer, Democratic Senator from New York. He also vowed to “begin work immediately to make sure this law gets renewed for another five years”.

New York Republican congressman Peter T. King said that “Justice is finally being served”, and that the passing of the law marked “A great day for America.”

Democratic congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney said that “The Zadroga law will save lives and fulfills our moral obligation to care for those who rose to the defense of America in a time of war.”

14 June

Wikinews 2014: An ‘Original reporting’ year in review

Wednesday, December 24, 2014With the English-language Wikinews continuing to increase the amount of original content published, we take a look back at some of the eighty-plus original reports from our contributors during 2014.

14 June

How To Write A Better Press Release}

How To Write A Better Press Release

by

Brian KonradtA press release is the most effective way to generate free publicity for your business or organization. A well-written press releases can generate mountains of coverage, and most of the time, that coverage will be more in-depth than any ad. Writing press releases are tricky; since they’re targeted mostly to journalists, the focus, style and tone is different from the typical business document. The following tips will help you craft a clear, creative press release.THE BASICSLike any news story or announcement, a press release must be spun” — that is, it must have a particular angle interesting to journalists and, subsequently, to readers. Sure, the opening of a new office might mean big things for your company, but it’s of little interest to the rest of the community if you don’t tell them why they should care. Consider the following elements of a good press release and incorporate them into your work:RELEVANCE: This is the most basic concern you need to address; how is your news relevant to the publication’s demographic? Are you providing jobs or new services? Is a prominent community figure involved? Does it relate somehow to a recent hot topic? Always know your release’s relevance before writing.TIMELINESS: A journalist will rarely pay attention to a release if it isn’t timely. Does your release relate specifically to a holiday or event? Did it happen recently or will it happen soon?DISTINCTIVENESS: What makes your news unique? Is it something interesting, or different, enough that people outside your company or organization would want to read about it? Would you?LACK OF COMPETITION: Think carefully about other news or events taking place at the time of your release. Are you competing with holiday news when your release isn’t at all holiday related? Will publications have bigger stories with which to concern themselves? If so, hold off on releasing your story until there’s a bigger gap in the news cycle. THE FORMATHow you write your press release is equally as important as the information you choose (or choose not) to include. Follow these steps when writing your press release, and keep them in mind as you create a personal template for future releases. RELEASE DATE: This should be the first thing under your letterhead. Include the exact date if the material is restricted to a specific time, or use the words FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE if time isn’t a factor.HEADLINE: A strong headline will draw attention to your release, much like a strong headline draws attention to any news story. This should be one line only, in all caps and indicative of your release’s exact point.LEAD PARAGRAPH: In three sentences or less, immediately summarize your story. This paragraph is often called a nut graf” in the newspaper business — it tells the story in a nutshell.BODY PARAGRAPH(S): The remaining paragraphs elaborate on your story and often include quotes from prominent people within the company or in your community. Keep the writing short and snappy, using familiar words and eliminating any clichs or redundancies. Remember: you’re essentially writing for journalists, so use a style similar to that of the publication you’re approaching. This should be no more than two paragraphs, which keeps your entire release to one double-spaced page.END: A closing paragraph or summary (like the kind found in letters or reports) isn’t necessary for a release; remember, this is similar to a news story. End with either ###, -end- or -30-.

Brian Konradt has been a professional freelance writer for more than a decade. To read more articles on

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14 June

EPA declares ’emergency’ asbestos cleanup in Montana town

Saturday, June 20, 2009

For the past ten years, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been overseeing the asbestos clean-up in the small town of Libby, Montana, which has been on the EPA’s Superfund National Priorities List since 2002.

On Wednesday, the Obama administration declared Libby and the immediate area a “public health emergency”. Under this state of emergency the EPA is increasing clean-up assistance and medical care. According to federal prosecutors, asbestos has taken 200 lives and is the root cause of at least 1,000 illnesses in the surrounding area.

“This is a tragic public health situation that has not received the recognition it deserves by the federal government for far too long,” according to EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson.

In the 1920’s The Zonolite Company began producing vermiculite, a mineral that is often used in insulation. Between 1963 and 1990, W.R. Grace & Company took over the mine operations. Tremolite asbestos was discovered in the vermiculite product. A study conducted by the Agency for Toxic Substance and Disease Registry discovered that the incidence of asbestosis in the population of the mine site area is far higher than the national average.

Airborne asbestos exposure can lead to mesothelioma, a cancer which develops in the sac surrounding the lungs and chest cavity, the abdominal cavity, or the sac surrounding the heart. Prolonged exposure can lead to lung scarring, asbestosis, and lung cancer. Patients diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma generally are left with six months to a year before death.

We will continue to push until Libby has a clean bill of health.

The tremolite dust from the mine began leaking into the air from the plant in 1919. This resulted in a hazy asbestos dust cloud covering lawns, cars, clothing, and school athletic fields, creating an issue that citizens of Libby had to deal with on an everyday basis. The large amount of dust gave the impression of the aftereffects of a light sandstorm.

W. R. Grace and Company did not deny that asbestos was found contaminating the vermiculite in the old mine. They said they proceeded in a responsible manner to clean up contamination following the mine closure. Grace will reimburse the EPA for US$250 million of the US$333 million that the EPA and the Department of Health and Human Services has set aside for medical expenses and asbestos clean-up. This money will be invested over the next five years, and does not include the millions in medical costs already footed by the company for residents of Libby and the nearby town of Troy.

“Today is the day that after years of work we were able to succeed in getting this [emergency declaration] done,” Senator from Montana Max Baucus said, speaking at the EPA press conference. “We will continue to push until Libby has a clean bill of health.”

14 June

Polish soldier killed in eastern Afghanistan

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A Polish soldier was killed yesterday by a roadside bomb in eastern Afghanistan. Sgt. Kazimierz Kasprzak was killed in the province of Ghazni when a roadside bomb exploded underneath the patrol vehicle in which he was travelling. His death was announced by the Polish Defence Ministry and Lt. Sebastian Kostecki, a spokesman for the Polish military.

Kasprzak was airlifted to a military base after the explosion but died during surgery. He was 32 years old. With his death the toll of Polish forces killed in Afghanistan has risen to 21. Polish forces joined NATO in their fight with the Taliban in March 2002.

President of Poland Bronislaw Komorowski has said he has planned to pull Polish troops out of Afghanistan by 2012. Many Polish citizens favor pulling troops out of the war zone. Poland has around 2,600 troops currently in Afghanistan.

14 June

Congressional computers continue to be used to vandalize Wikipedia

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

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

Wikinews contributors have discovered that members of the United States Congress or members of their staff have recently been making questionable edits to Wikipedia, the free online encyclopedia anyone can edit. This continues the trend identified by four exclusive Wikinews reports over a four-year period exposing questionable and fraudulent edits made beginning in 2005 by Congress members or staff.

Beginning in 2006, Wikinews reported that members of Congress or their staff were vandalizing Wikipedia by removing critical information in various articles, or adding false or offensive information. These edits were and continue to be done using computers owned or operated by the United States government.

Sorry–House of Reps IPs should not be editing Wikipedia, even other office’s pages on lunch break.

In this new investigation, Wikinews has found that at least two of the three major Internet Protocol Addresses (IP) attached to computers used by members of the U.S. House of Representatives and their staff have been the source of Wikipedia edits for several years. As recently as April 2009 they have been adding or removing false and/or offensive information from articles related to political figures or members of Congress.

Although the IP addresses belong exclusively to the U.S Congress as a whole, they are linked to many different computers throughout the U.S. which are used by many different House representatives or their staff members. In response to an edit, another Wikipedia contributor posts a message on the user discussion page for the IP address, advising anyone that may view the page that the address belongs to Congress.

In January, one individual using a Congressional computer removed a source in an article. Five minutes later, using the same congressional IP address, someone replaced the source with an apology saying, “sorry–House of Reps IPs should not be editing [Wikipedia], even other office’s pages on lunch break.” Despite the advisories, Wikinews has found that the individuals continued to make vandal-like edits to the encyclopedia.

In one instance, Wikinews found that someone with one of the IP addresses, 143.231.249.141, began to edit the Wikipedia article for Steve Austria, the Republican representative for Ohio’s 7th congressional district. The individual began to edit on March 18, 2009 at 23:32 UTC. He or she used the official House of Representatives gateway to remove a section of information relating to inaccurate comments Austria made about The Great Depression. Austria stated in an interview with The Columbus Dispatch in February that Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal in 1933 caused the U.S. to go into a depression.

“When Roosevelt did this, he put our country into a Great Depression. … He tried to borrow and spend, he tried to use the Keynesian approach, and our country ended up in a Great Depression. That’s just history,” said Austria during the February 11 interview. He later admitted that his statement was wrong, saying Roosevelt’s spending “did not have the desired effect,” which caused the depression. Exactly two minutes later on March 18, the same IP address removed information relating to bloggers accusing Austria of plagiarism in 2008. They accused him of taking credit for a column that was published in his name in the Xenia Gazette on September 2, 2008. Bloggers had discovered that the column was a direct copy of a report on the history of Labor Day originally published by the U.S. Department of Labor. The edits were reverted, the last being over four hours after the information was removed. Despite some constructive edits, such as correcting the spelling of Wisconsin congressman Steve Kagen’s name and correcting grammatical errors, the same IP removed the information in both sections a total of six times from March 18 to April 24, 2009.

After seeing the suspicious edits, Wikinews examined the edit history for Austria’s article to see if any other suspicious edits were made. After a brief search, Wikinews discovered that the IP address 65.189.244.162 removed the same information just 15 days earlier on March 3, being the first address to remove the information. Only one edit has been made to Wikipedia from that IP address so far. After tracing the address, Wikinews discovered the person who made the edits lives in or near Fairborn, which is located 8.5 miles from Beavercreek, where Austria currently resides. Austria also grew up in Xenia which is located just 12 miles from Fairborn and only 8 miles from Beavercreek.

Another individual, with the IP address 75.187.63.132, also removed the allegations of plagiarism from Austria’s article in February. The individual removed what they called “Politically Motivated BS [bullshit]” from the article of Deborah Pryce, former congresswoman for Ohio’s 15th congressional district. The information was related to fundraisers between 2001 and 2004 that were held at restaurants belonging to convicted felon and former lobbyist Jack Abramoff. After tracing the IP address, Wikinews found that the edit was made from a computer located in Columbus, Ohio, the location of Pryce’s offices and one of the cities in Pryce’s district. Wikinews contacted Austria by e-mail for a statement, but so far there has been no response.

Following those discoveries, Wikinews investigated another IP address used by the U.S. House of Representatives. On April 30, 2009, the address 143.231.249.138 made an edit that listed Devin Nunes, the representative for California’s 21st congressional district, as being a member of the Nazi Party. The address also made less questionable edits, but after investigating further, it was discovered that the IP address removed critical information on April 29 from the article of Gregory Meeks, the representative for New York’s 6th congressional district. The information removed was related to a column by the the New York Times which stated that Meeks initially supported former 2008 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton over Barack Obama in the race for the White House. According to the Times, Meeks changed his support to Obama because he was part of “a young black political class [which was] seeking to assert the neighborhood’s power against what it sees as an older establishment, based in Harlem, that has long exercised disproportionate influence in New York City.”

The address 143.231.249.138 was also responsible for adding highly biased statements to articles related to abortion. On March 16, 2009 it altered the Wikipedia article Crisis pregnancy center, adding that the centers were “abortion mills, which exist only to kill people, also present themselves as medical facilities.” On March 20, the IP changed the Project Rachel article to include, “millions of women have deep regrets and, often, suffer psychological problems after undergoing an abortion–a fact the abortion industry and mass media will not admit.” 143.231.249.141 also added racial slurs and references to gay pedophilia into William A. Donohue’s article in February, saying he has “participated in the controversial act of ‘tabeling’, in which he takes a small child, places him upon a table, and ‘puts the lord inside him.'”

In an attempt to find out where the edits were being made and by whom, Wikinews contacted the Electronic Frontier Foundation to receive advice on how to file an information request with the U.S. government under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The request would have been made to release the names of the individuals and offices responsible for the edits. However, according to Marcia Hofmann, a staff attorney for the EFF, who specializes in FOIA related matters, the U.S. government is not required to provide the information.

“None of the U.S. open government laws extends to records in the possession of members of Congress or their employees. Put differently, it’s not so much a question of what the information is (identities of congressional staff) as where the information is (in congressional offices, which aren’t covered by open government laws),” said Hoffmann in an exclusive interview with Wikinews. She also added that “FOIA [requests] cover records in executive branch agencies and departments” only.

Suspicious and/or fraudulent edits to Wikipedia made by Congress and other government entities were first reported by Wikinews in February 2006, after the U.S. government engaged in Wikipedia vandalism and other forms of perceived biased editing of articles. The House of Representatives IP addresses were briefly banned from editing Wikipedia articles in the wake of the initial controversy. A few days later, Wikinews reported that staff members of the offices of United States Senators, using Senate-linked IP addresses, also edited Wikipedia, in some cases, removing facts and sourced material from articles. In 2008, Wikinews also reported that staff members for then 2008 candidates for U.S. president Barack Obama and John McCain made questionable edits to Wikipedia.

14 June

‘Bloody Sunday Inquiry’ publishes report into British Army killing of activists in Northern Ireland

Thursday, June 17, 2010

File:Civil Rights Mural SMC May 2007.jpg

On Tuesday, the “Bloody Sunday Inquiry” published its report into 1972 British Army killing of fourteen civil rights activists in Northern Ireland.

The Saville Inquiry, a twelve-year-long public inquiry into the fatal shooting, published their 5,000-page report; stating, the deaths were “unjustified”.

The events of “Bloody Sunday” in 1972 saw soldiers open fire on civilians during a civil rights march. Family members and supporters of the victims reacted positively to the report, as they gathering outside the Guildhall in Derry.

“What happened on Bloody Sunday was both unjustified and unjustifiable. It was wrong”, British Prime Minister David Cameron told the House of Commons. He also said, “[t]he Government is ultimately responsible for the conduct of the armed forces, and for that, on behalf of the Government, indeed on behalf of our country, I am deeply sorry”, and that “[t]here is no doubt. There’s nothing equivocal, there are no ambiguities”.

Cameron said the Saville report states that those killed did not pose a threat and some of those killed and injured were clearly fleeing or going to help those injured or dying. Some of the key findings were;

  • “The firing by soldiers of 1 Para caused the deaths of 13 people and injury to a similar number, none of whom was posing a threat of causing death or serious injury”;
  • “Despite the contrary evidence given by soldiers, we have concluded that none of them fired in response to attacks or threatened attacks by nail or petrol bombers”;
  • Accounts by soldiers were rejected and some had “knowingly put forward false accounts”;
  • The paratroopers shot first and later members of the official IRA fired a number of shots but this “did not provide an explanation for why soldiers targeted and hit people”;
  • Northern Ireland’s Deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness of Sinn Fein, was “probably armed with a sub-machine gun” on the day, but did not engage in “any activity that provided any of the soldiers with any justification for opening fire”.

Twenty-seven civil rights activists were shot by the British Army’s Parachute Regiment (of which “1 Para” was identified as the regiment mainly responsible) during an illegal Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association (NICRA) march in the Bogside area of Derry in 1972. The NICRA was an organisation, formed in early 1967, which campaigned against discrimination of the Roman Catholic minority in Northern Ireland and had five key demands: “one man, one vote”; an end to gerrymandering, housing discrimination, public authority discrimination and the abolition of the B Specials police reserve.

In the aftermath of Bloody Sunday, an inquiry by the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Widgery, justified British army actions on the day and claimed that many of the activists were armed with guns and nail bombs. Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) leader MP Mark Durkan said, “[t]he families have waited a long time for justice and for a long time the reputations and innocence of their loved ones have been smeared by the findings of Widgery”.

The shootings lead to the strengthening of Irish republicans’ anti-British army arguments in the Nationalist community and provided the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) with queues of new recruits for its “long war”, which resulted in 30 years of The Troubles.

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The 12-year inquiry is the longest-running and most expensive public inquiry in British judicial history, costing around £200 million. Around 2,500 people gave testimony, including 505 civilians, nine experts and forensic scientists, 49 journalists, 245 military personnel, 35 paramilitaries or former paramilitaries, 39 politicians and civil servants, seven priests and 33 Royal Ulster Constabulary officers. Evidence included 160 volumes of data with an estimated 30 million words, 13 volumes of photographs, 121 audio tapes and 10 video tapes.

The victims included Patrick Doherty (32), Hugh Gilmour (17), Jackie Duddy (17), John Young (17), Kevin McElhinney (17), Michael Kelly (17), Gerald Donaghey (17), William Nash (19), Michael McDaid (20), Jim Wray (22), William McKinney (27) and Bernard “Barney” McGuigan (41). John Johnston (59) died four months later.

13 June

News briefs:July 16, 2010

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13 June

Condo Living Is An Investment For Great Returns

By Adriana J. Noton

With today’s tough economy real estate has really gone down tremendously. This would be a great time to invest in rental properties if one can afford it. For the family that currently has a home of their own that may or may not have been paid off, this could be a great opportunity to think about purchasing another piece of property. Condo living is an investment and could bring in great rental income if one were interested in this kind of arrangement.

The prices of condo’s have dropped so drastically and is really much more reachable for most folks now. This is an excellent opportunity for individuals who have been saving and waiting for just the right time. Some say like the stock market timing is everything and one should buy low and sell high. This is true with real estate as well and can be a great way to invest in something more solid.

One of the benefits of home ownership is the tax benefits one will receive. This could be a tremendous benefit for the individual who works out of their home and itemizes on a regular basis on their tax returns. Most home owners who do their taxes this way get back very healthy returns.

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One of the first steps to make would be to get pre-approved for a mortgage loan. This is a step that lets the seller know that he is dealing with a serious potential buyer. This can make all the difference in the world especially when one is really interested in a particular piece of real estate and the other competitors might not have been pre-approved.

The next steps would be to find a resourceful and hardworking Realtor. This licensed professional will have to get an idea of what one is looking to buy as each client has a different set of preferences. For instance how many bedrooms and bathrooms would be necessary might be one of the must have’s.

The location of a property is very important as well. One might want to consider what supermarkets, dry cleaners, gas stations, schools and banks are close by. These things might not seem as important on the surface but when one is tired from commuting or not feeling well, most will not want to travel great distances to get the basics for everyday living.

The length of commuting from home to work should also be of concern. If one takes public transportation to work currently does this city have bus stops that are close to the new residence of interest. How often will it run and is it a twenty four hour type service or does it have a cut off time.

Condo living is an investment and can become a great resource for additional funds if one found a great opportunity. This can also be a great residence for an individual who is not interested in maintaining a larger back yard. This is especially true if the yard where furnished with flowers and plants that needed plenty of attention.

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