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Mother’s plea to U.S. president gains widespread attention

November 9th, 2019

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Sunday, August 14, 2005

Cindy Sheehan, the grieving mother of a fallen soldier in Iraq, has gained national attention for her efforts to demand the President of the United States speak with her personally. “What I want to ask is, ‘What noble cause did my son die for?’ And if he says that it was to get rid of Saddam or liberate the Iraqi people, I’m not going to buy it.” Mrs. Sheehan told Salon.com reporters. Prompted by President George W. Bush’s announcement that Americans in Iraq have died for a ‘noble cause’, Sheehan has been camping near Bush’s Texas ranch for the past week to demand a private conversation with the President. “I don’t want comfort,” she told Cox Newspapers, “I want the truth.”

Mr. Bush said he was aware of the pleas of the grieving mothers, “But whether it be here or in Washington or anywhere else, there’s somebody who has got something to say to the President, that’s part of the job. And I think it’s important for me to be thoughtful and sensitive to those who have got something to say. But I think it’s also important for me to go on with my life, to keep a balanced life.”

Cindy has been joined in Crawford by hundreds of supporters, including many other mothers of fallen soldiers, who are camping out with her and joining her in calling “for the truth” about why their sons had to die. Rallies of support are also taking place and being scheduled across the nation, and contributions from citizens across the world are flowing into the “Peace House”, a nearby cottage providing shelter and support for the mothers.

Casey’s grandparents and other members of her extended family issued a statement emailed to the Drudge Report website, which reveals their disagreement with the actions and statements that Mrs. Sheehan has made and accuses her of using her son’s death to promote a personal agenda:

The Sheehan Family lost our beloved Casey in the Iraq War and we have been silently, respectfully grieving. We do not agree with the political motivations and publicity tactics of Cindy Sheehan. She now appears to be promoting her own personal agenda and notoriety at the expense of her son’s good name and reputation. The rest of the Sheehan Family supports the troops, our country, and our President, silently, with prayer and respect.

Mrs. Sheehan has responded by saying that political views within her extended family have always been diverse, but she is happy that her husband and children share her views and are supporting her efforts. She says her husband Pat, couldn’t bear having Casey’s things at home and put most of them in storage. “We grieved in totally different ways. He wanted to grieve by distracting himself. I wanted to immerse myself.”

Mrs. Sheehan and her husband were part of a group that met with the President following her son’s death last year; a meeting that President Bush began with what she thought was an insultingly insensitive greeting; “Who we’all gonna honor today.” Mrs. Sheehan says she had mixed feelings about Bush’s demeanor at the meeting, but kept quiet. When more information came out about the planning for the war, however, she started to feel utterly betrayed. “I want the kind of meeting that holds him accountable for the words he’s actually said.”, Sheehan told Time magazine reporters.

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Wikinews investigates the reconstruction of Pichilemu, Chile after February earthquake

November 9th, 2019

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Sunday, October 24, 2010

Left: A recently constructed kiosk with the new design. Image: Diego Grez.Right: The original design of the kiosk, as shown in the plans by the Municipality. Image: Ilustre Municipalidad de Pichilemu.

Eight months after a catastrophic earthquake, Wikinews has investigated the devastation caused in February and the reconstruction of Pichilemu, Chile. The February 27 earthquake and a subsequent tsunami completely destroyed Pichilemu’s most coastal street and its oldest villages. Wikinews has also had access to the original design plans of the new kiosks in Pichilemu, and conducted an interview with merchant Alejandro Mella, known locally as the King of the Cochayuyo (“El Rey del Cochayuyo”), who lost his kiosk after the earthquake.

Pichilemu is a coastal city in the O’Higgins Region of Chile, known as one of the “best surfing spots” in South America. Its current Mayor is Roberto Córdova Carreño, who was elected internally by the Councillors of the city in September 2009, after several political controversies that ended with three Mayors being displaced.

The territory of Pichilemu has a surface of 7,491 square kilometers, and comprises at least 24 villages, such as Ciruelos, Rodeíllo and Espinillo (the latter two also severely damaged by the March 11 earthquake). Pichilemu is the most popular beach in O’Higgins Region, and many tourists visit it every summer.

The earthquake took place in what is considered the “last weekend in the summer;” on Saturday, February 27, 2010 at 03:34 local time (06:34 UTC), while almost all Chileans were sleeping. Hours earlier, on Friday, thousands of people had arrived at Pichilemu. “The house moved from side to side. I really thought it was going to fall. It was 3 or 4 minutes long,” Diego Grez, a Chilean student who was in Pichilemu at the time of the quake, told Wikinews in an interview.

A concert was being held at the One Discotheque when the earthquake occurred. It is said that the audience panicked and fled outside the discothèque, and then to the La Cruz Hill. Most tourists fled outside the city right after the earthquake occurred, but many others opted to stay in the La Cruz Hill or the village of Pueblo de Viudas, which are the higher points in the city.

“Pichilemu is the symbolic beach resort in the Sixth Region [of O’Higgins], so it was not strange to even think that [during] the last weekend before the entrance to school, many people would be going to take advantage of it to take a vacation; and that’s what happened,” reported El Rancagüino, the most important newspaper in O’Higgins Region, on February 28.

The only radio broadcasting in the area was Entre Olas, directed by Jorge Nasser, which also helped Pichileminians know what happened in other affected places by the earthquake, as they re-broadcasted the audio of Televisión Nacional de Chile (National Television of Chile). On the day of the earthquake, the station reported that a local police truck had crashed near La Cruz Hill. There was no tsunami warning, and Mayor Córdova was away on holiday when the earthquake struck.

“Those who live in Pichilemu, and those who were visiting it, were surprised by the giant waves that annihilated its beach and reached the city’s square, destroying everything on their way,” reported El Morrocotudo on February 28. “The most tough thing occurred when the firefighters’ alarms sounded twice, and the people in the hill began to yell ‘tsunami!’,” journalist Tania Arce told the newspaper.

The earthquake destroyed one of Pichilemu’s oldest and iconic buildings, the post office, which was demolished in July. The urban centre of Pichilemu was not severely damaged by the earthquake, but its subsequent tsunami caused most of the destruction. The Agustín Ross architecture in the city (three of his buildings are National Monuments of Chile) was damaged. Agustín Ross Balcony was completely destroyed.

According to SHOA, the Hydrographic and Oceanographic Service of the Chilean Navy, the tsunami triggered by the earthquake first reached Pichilemu, at 03:48 (06:48 UTC). A second wave came at 04:15 (07:15 UTC).

Policeman José Arévalo was the only person to warn residents that a tsunami was approaching. Arévalo was patrolling the Las Terrazas beach, when the earthquake occurred. He told El Rancahuaso there were around 25 people in the beach. “Right after the quake, he noticed the sea had shrank around 500 meters inside. He took his megaphone, and shouted people should leave the place instantly.” “The sea is coming out! The sea is coming out!,” he shouted. “The warning was also preceived by nightclubs and pubs surrounding the costanera. Then, the tragedy occurred. The sea destroyed everything on its way,” El Rancahuaso reported. “It all was really quick. Everyone is safe, luckily [..] It’s something unforgettable to me, I’m proud I saved all of those lives,” Arévalo added.

The tsunami destroyed restaurants, hotels, kiosks, the Fishermen Store (Caleta de Pescadores), surf schools, the Agustín Ross Balcony (located right in front of the Las Terrazas beach) and houses near the costanera (the nearest street to the beach), and flooded the building of the Government of Cardenal Caro Province, the boarding school of Pichilemu, the city square (Arturo Prat Square), and the Supermarket El 9.

A local worker, Ricardo Vivanco, also known as “El Gordo” (“The Fat one”), almost was killed by a tsunami, ignoring warnings by the Police and the Fire Bureau. Vivanco was drunk, and went down to the Las Terrazas beach with his friends. The wave washed him away, and was hit on the Agustín Ross Balcony’s wall. His friends recorded a video and uploaded it to YouTube.

It was reported by Radio Entre Olas on February 27, that the tsunami had provoked massive damage in Punta de Lobos, Pichilemu’s most popular beach. The owner of Entre Mar, an hotel and restaurant in that beach, said the tsunami had destroyed all of his buildings there.

The village of Espinillo was badly damaged, and approximately 600 people were made homeless by the earthquake, Teletrece reported on March 16. “We are keeping the government informed, we’re also organized with some churches [sic, religious organizations] that are working voluntarily in Espinillo, Los Boldos, Alto Ramírez […] We thank a lot their work, that is not to give them mediaguas [temporary tenements], but something definitive, but I also think they need resources to do it,” Mayor Córdova said.

On March 11, Chile was hit by a second earthquake, that reached a magnitude of 6.9, and that occurred 40 kilometers southwest of Pichilemu. It occurred at 11:39 local time (14:39 UTC), while the new President Sebastián Piñera was sworn in.

A tsunami warning was issued by SHOA, between Coquimbo and Los Lagos regions. People in Pichilemu fled again to La Cruz Hill. Military authorities assured people in the hill they were going to be safe there, and that it was unlikely a tsunami was going to hit again Chile’s coast. The tsunami warning was lifted at 15:50 local time (18:50 UTC).

People stayed in La Cruz Hill for a longer time than after the previous earthquake, and several activities were made there, such as a concert by Chilean-Brazilian singer Joe Vasconcellos. People were also given food, wood (mostly remains from the destroyed kiosks), and electricity.

“We are here because we fear about our safety. We don’t want it [a possible tsunami] to catch us. We have to settle down here and to accommodate,” Edith Larraín told to Wikinews. Mayor Córdova estimated that at least 2,000 people were staying at La Cruz Hill. Militaries and provincial authorities asked them to leave the hill on March 15, but most refused the deal. People eventually left the hill, due to complaints by the Mayor.

On March 20, in collaboration with the Governor of Cardenal Caro Julio Ibarra, Colonel Raúl Melo, and the Mayor of Litueche Bernardo Cornejo, Mayor of Pichilemu Roberto Córdova announced a “tourism revival campaign” of Pichilemu, promoting the surf practice, whose goal was “to make the city go back to the normality.”

On April 4, the first monument was erected in memory of the earthquake and tsunami victims. The monument was created by local artisans, with rocks from several places of the Cardenal Caro Province. “We wanted to create this monument so we don’t forget it [the earthquake] […] This is the beginning of the reconstruction,” said Julio Ibarra. The monument was placed in front of the beach, near the building of the Cardenal Caro Government. Mayor Roberto Córdova said that “it definitely will help us reconstruct [ourselves] espiritually, [and that] is essential.”

On October 20, with the help of the Government, SERCOTEC (Technical Cooperation Service, Servicio de Cooperación Técnica) and FOSIS (Solidarity and Social Investment, Fondo de Solidaridad e Inversión Social), the Fishermen Store (Caleta de Pescadores) began to be reconstructed. Caleta de Pescadores is administered by the Independent Labour Union of Fishermen of Pichilemu (Sindicato de Trabajo Independientes de Pescadores Artesanales), which has twenty-three members.

“The Government of President Sebastián Piñera has been worried about the fishing area, carrying out several actions in help of them, after all that they’ve suffered after the earthquake and tsunami that hit them […] This area is working normally again,” Governor Ibarra said.

On October 6, the Municipality of Pichilemu published the design of kiosks that were going to be constructed, as replacement of those destroyed by the earthquake. As of October 23, four kiosks have been constructed in Pichilemu, specifically on Las Terrazas beach, and two more are being constructed. According to Mauricio Grez, a construction engineer, the construction of one kiosk would cost up to US$ 2,500 (CLP 1,000,000).

Alejandro Mella, locally known as “el Rey del Cochayuyo” (“the King of the Cochayuyo”), is a merchant of Pichilemu, who promotes the cochayuyo (durvillaea antarctica), and lost his kiosk after the February earthquake and tsunami. “I was given my [former] kiosk by the Mayor Orlando Cornejo, back in 1993. It was right in front of us [in front of Las Terrazas beach, near “the grotto of the Virgin”], and was made smithereens by the tsunami,” he told Wikinews.

“I have always worked on selling cochayuyo here, and the terrain where my kiosk was located before has been disputed by private people, and the municipality approved that. I talked with the Mayor and he said ‘I don’t know what’s going on the beach’; that left me perplexed. […] I like the new design of the kiosks, they are larger, and we can do more things with it, but they are way too expensive,” he added. Mr. Mella also gave Wikinews a sample of his work as “the King of the Cochayuyo”, an essay called “El cochayuyo es una mina repleta de nutrientes y sales minerales” (“Cochayuyo is a mine full of nutrients and mineral salts”, pictured below), which he sells for 200 Chilean pesos (0.41 US$), and that contains “tips and information about the plant, and some recipes.”

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A kiosk in Pichilemu, in 2007. The design is considerably different to the recently published one. Image: Diego Grez.

Isometrical view of the new Pichilemu kiosks. Image: Ilustre Municipalidad de Pichilemu.

Construction of kiosks in Las Terrazas Beach, on October 22. Image: Diego Grez.

Front page of Alejandro Mella’s essay “El cochayuyo es una mina repleta de nutrientes y sales minerales” (“Cochayuyo is a mine full of nutrients and mineral salts”), which he published under the nickname of “the king of the Cochayuyo of Pichilemu”. Image: Alejandro Mella/Diego Grez.

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Sprint Nextel customer service rep. harasses client; Sprint cancels his account

October 30th, 2019

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Sunday, July 22, 2007

Virginia – Joshua Brady, a former Sprint Nextel customer, has had his cellular phone account shut off, but not because he wasn’t paying the phone bill, or even because he was late on payments, but because a customer service representative who assisted him, began to call him outside of her job, and make death threats to him in September of 2006. She was never fired for her actions, Brady says.

Brady has agreed to be interviewed by Wikinews to tell his story. All information and claims have been logged with Brady’s attorney and federal authorities.

The representative from Sprint Nextel, who for safety reasons is only being identified as Jessica, was working at the company’s call center in Ontario, Canada where Brady’s call to customer service was directed. According to Brady, Jessica then began to call him outside of her job duties at the call center after their first contact.

Brady called the center around 6:00 p.m. (eastern time) on a Saturday and attempted to receive help on a billing question and to find a way to stop prank calls. Brady requested a “soc code”, a code placed into the phone, that would allow for the number that was pranking him to be blocked. Unfortunately, Jessica did not know what that was, but tried unsuccessfully to find it. According to Brady, the only thing she could find was “the ANI feature call centers have.”

Brady then described to Jessica the billing issue he was having. He was being charged “for text messages I was not making”, even though he had unlimited text messaging with his billing plan. Meanwhile, Jessica called for a supervisor to help locate the code. As this customer service request over the phone was taking quite a bit of time, the two of them then started to discuss what two people would normally discuss if just chatting; sports, the weather, movies and music and if Virginia was a nice place to go on vacation. The supervisor then came by Jessica’s station with no luck on finding a code.

Later that night, around 10:30 p.m., Brady received a call. He answered it and much to his surprise, it was Jessica. He answered the phone with the usual “hello” and the voice on the other end answered with “hello Josh.” Brady was “surprised” that she had not said “hello Mr. Brady.”

“I then asked who it was, and she said Jessica. She told me about her day, and hoped that I did not mind her calling.” Then according to Brady, she started to describe how much she hated working in a call center, and how the job “pays the bills”, and asked if she could “come visit me sometime”. Brady said that he “immediately started to record” the call. Brady also stated that Jessica was not aware she was being recorded, and that further conversations were recorded without her knowing.

The call lasted about 15 minutes, but Brady said she “spoke so fast and moved along through things” that he “didn’t have a chance to talk if I wanted to. It [the call] ended with me interrupting her and telling her I had to go to dinner with a friend.”

Brady immediately called customer care back and reported Jessica’s actions to a supervisor (Jason), and the Floor Manager (Also named Jessica) at the Coos Bay call center, which is where his call happened to be directed. The advice he received was to “play along” and continue to report her actions until they could locate someone “better equipped” to handle the situation.

Jessica then began to call “about every other day or so” which turned out to be almost 30 calls, according to Brady who reported each call she made to Sprint Nextel.

Sprint Nextel then told Jessica to cease and desist all contact with Brady, but that didn’t stop Jessica from contacting him. She somehow found out the screen-name of his AOL Instant Messenger account, and left messages threatening to kill him. Brady logged the messages and faxed them to Sprint, who about a week later sent Brady a letter, saying that his accounts have been terminated.

“The purpose of this letter is to inform our that our office has received a complaint regarding your recent questionable interactions with our customer care group. Recent interactions with our company have prompted us to formally contact you. Sprint Nextel terms and conditions state that “termination of services. consistent with this agreement…”, said the letter from Sprint Nextel.

Brady states that Jessica is still employed with Sprint Nextel, despite the fact that all instant messages left by Jessica were forwarded to Sprint Nextel.

As recently as July 10, 2007, as many as 1,000 accounts were terminated by Sprint Nextel because customers were complaining too much and asking too many questions about billing.

“While we have worked to resolve your issues and questions to the best of our ability, the number of inquiries you have made to us during this time had led us to determine that we are unable to meet your current wireless needs,” said one letter to a sprint customer as recent as June 29, 2007. The letter states that the service will be terminated just one day after the letter was written despite saying they “understand switching to a new carrier causes an inconvenience.”

Two weeks ago, Sprint addressed the media about the mass-cancellations. “These accounts have been researched very carefully,” Sprint spokeswoman Roni Singleton said. “We feel strongly that the decisions we made, we stand by them. These decisions weren’t made lightly.”

“If the average person is calling less than once per month and these people are calling 40 or 50 times more, that takes away from customer service,” Singleton said. “Our priority is to improve the customer experience.”

Wikinews sent e-mails to Sprint Nextel on July 20 regarding the Brady incident; to date no response has been received.

Update: On July 23, 2007, Wikinews received an email response from a Sprint representative, going to some length to explain the termination of the customers who were calling up to hundreds of times a month. No information was given on the Brady case covered in this article; “customer privacy considerations” were cited as the reason and “no comment” was Sprint’s reply.

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Canadian trio claim South Pole record for trans-Antarctic trip

October 30th, 2019

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Saturday, January 10, 2009

A trio of Canadian trekkers said Friday they completed the fastest unaided on-foot trek using the traditional route from Hercules Inlet on the Ronne Ice Shelf to the South Pole in a record time of 33 days, 23 hours and 30 minutes. Ottawa ultra-runner Ray Zahab, age 39, adventure journalist and architect Kevin Vallely, age 44, of Lynn Valley, North Vancouver and North Pole expeditionist Richard Weber, age 49, said they completed the 700-mile (1,130-kilometer) journey, at 10,000 feet altitude, finally arriving early Wednesday morning.

They endured a white-out but survived on a 7,000-calorie-a-day diet of pemmican, Gatorade drink powder, outdated salami, deep-fried bacon, cheese and butter. “If you took a cloud, wrapped it around your head and then duct-taped it, that’s what a white-out is like,” Mr Zahab, explained. The trio also suffered altitude sickness, vertigo, massive, painful blisters, and temperatures as low as minus 40. Zahab had to pull 170-lb (77-kg) sleds of equipment, traveling on foot and on snowshoes while the other two men skied.

According to ExplorersWeb.com’s founder, Tom Sjogren, the trio erased the previous record of 39 days, 7 hours and 49 minutes, which was set by American Todd Carmichael, the first American to cross Antarctica to the South Pole alone, on foot and with no assistance. He arrived at The Pole on December 21, 2008. “They have definitely broken the record,” said Sjogren. Guinness World Records spokesman, Damian Field, in London, however, said that “Guinness monitors a category for fastest unsupported trek to the South Pole, but it has no record currently listed.”

Prior to Carmichael, the record was held by Briton Hannah McKeand. In the fastest journey to the South Pole (600 nautical mile journey), she completed solo and in just 39 days, 9 hours and 33 minutes. In March 2008 she attempted to reach the North Pole alone and unsupported but had to abandon the trip after falling through the ice and badly damaging her shoulder.

Ray Zahab is a Canadian ultramarathon runner, personal trainer, and motivational speaker. He lives in Chelsea, Quebec, and is famous for his 4,300-mile (6,920-kilometer) epic run across the Sahara Desert in 2007, which was the subject of a documentary narrated by actor Matt Damon‘s “Running the Sahara.” He heads Impossible2Possible, a nonprofit organization which advocates planet protection. “I started looking at impossible places on the planet in the past year, and I said Antarctica is one of those impossible places, and if we can create an expedition, perhaps we can inspire a bunch of young people to realize they can achieve,’ Zahab said.

Richard Weber, M.S.M. (born June 9, 1959 in Edmonton, Alberta) is a world-renowned Canadian Arctic and polar adventurer, from Alcove (near Wakefield). From 1978 to 2006, he participated in, lead and organized more than 45 Arctic expeditions. Richard is the only person to have completed six full North Pole expeditions. He has therefore trekked to the North Pole more than anyone in history.

The trio were waiting out a storm before boarding a flight to Chile for Ottawa. “I’m pretty tired, actually,” said Kevin Vallely, calling from Patriot Hills, Antarctica. During the saga, Vallely was solely burdened with carrying the high-tech gear in his sled consisting of video cameras, satellite phones, hand-held computers, different kinds of solar panels, batteries and wires chargers. “Had we not brought all that stuff we probably would have got it done faster because we wouldn’t have had to carry all that weight, but then it doesn’t matter as much,” he explained. Vallely said he also intends to produce a documentary of the expedition.

With US mid-term elections fast approaching, three prominent Democrats announce retirement

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With US mid-term elections fast approaching, three prominent Democrats announce retirement

October 30th, 2019

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Thursday, January 7, 2010

With this year’s November midterm elections fast approaching, three prominent United States Democrats announced their plans for retirement from public service on Wednesday.

Powerful and influential—yet controversial for his alleged close ties to the financial sector and his handling of last year’s bailout—Senator Christopher Dodd of Connecticut announced that he would not be seeking a sixth term this year.

In a speech to his supporters in East Haddam, Connecticut, the sixty-five-year-old senior senator—with his family at his side—said, “I have been a Connecticut senator for thirty years. I’m very proud of the job I’ve done and the results delivered. But none of us is irreplaceable. None of us is indispensable.”

He then went on to say, “Over the past twelve months, I’ve managed four major pieces of legislation through the United States Congress, served as chair and acting chair of two major Senate committees, placing me at the center of the two most important issues of our time—health care and reform of financial services.”

In addition to highlighting some personal travails, Dodd alluded to his precarious political situation, “I lost a beloved sister in July, and in August, Ted Kennedy. I battled cancer over the summer, and in the midst of all of this, found myself in the toughest political shape of my career.”

Despite this, Dodd adamantly maintained that none of the above reasons were the causes for his retirement. He said that his reasons were more “personal,” and that his retirement would hopefully give him a much-wanted opportunity to spend more time with his family.

Senator Byron Dorgan of North Dakota announced that he would not run for re-election this year either.

“Although I still have a passion for public service and enjoy my work in the Senate, I have other interests and I have other things I would like to pursue outside of public life,” said the sixty-seven-year-old, three-term senator who said he came to this decision after discussing his future with his immediate family over Christmas.

Governor of Colorado, Bill Ritter announced that he too would not seek a second term. The fifty-three-year-old freshman governor said that although he felt his race was “absolutely winnable,” after some deep “soul searching,” he realized that he truly wanted to retire from politics nonetheless. This due to the fact that he felt his main priority should be to be a better husband to his wife as well as a better father to their four children.

When asked to comment on Senator Dodd’s retirement on behalf of the Administration, Vice President Joseph Biden said Dodd would “be long recognized as one of the most significant senators of my generation.”

He furthermore stated, “I believe the nation will miss his wisdom, wit and compassion. I count myself lucky because I know he’s not going too far and will always be a source of advice and counsel.”

Biden gave similar comments and expressed like sentiments about the retirement of his other two Democratic colleagues as well.

Oscar Foreign Film race narrowed to nine films

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Oscar Foreign Film race narrowed to nine films

October 28th, 2019

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Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Nine films have advanced to “Phase II” of the 80th Academy Awards Foreign Language Film race, out of 63 international films entered.

They are:

Several hundred Los Angeles-based members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science, which hosts the “Oscars”, screened the eligible films to determine the shortlist. The nominees will be decided by 10 random members from the “Phase I” group, and ten Los Angeles and New York members specially invited to participate. They will view the screenings in marathon viewings, from Friday, January 18 to Sunday, January 20, in both cities.

Nominations will be announced Tuesday, January 22, 2008 at the Samuel Goldwyn Theatre at the AMPAS headquarters. The award ceremony, if not interrupted by the WGA writers’ strike, will air Sunday, February 24, 2008, at the Kodak Theatre.

Gastric bypass surgery performed by remote control

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Gastric bypass surgery performed by remote control

October 18th, 2019

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Sunday, August 21, 2005

A robotic system at Stanford Medical Center was used to perform a laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery successfully with a theoretically similar rate of complications to that seen in standard operations. However, as there were only 10 people in the experimental group (and another 10 in the control group), this is not a statistically significant sample.

If this surgical procedure is as successful in large-scale studies, it may lead the way for the use of robotic surgery in even more delicate procedures, such as heart surgery. Note that this is not a fully automated system, as a human doctor controls the operation via remote control. Laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery is a treatment for obesity.

There were concerns that doctors, in the future, might only be trained in the remote control procedure. Ronald G. Latimer, M.D., of Santa Barbara, CA, warned “The fact that surgeons may have to open the patient or might actually need to revert to standard laparoscopic techniques demands that this basic training be a requirement before a robot is purchased. Robots do malfunction, so a backup system is imperative. We should not be seduced to buy this instrument to train surgeons if they are not able to do the primary operations themselves.”

There are precedents for just such a problem occurring. A previous “new technology”, the electrocardiogram (ECG), has lead to a lack of basic education on the older technology, the stethoscope. As a result, many heart conditions now go undiagnosed, especially in children and others who rarely undergo an ECG procedure.

Cleveland, Ohio clinic performs US’s first face transplant

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Cleveland, Ohio clinic performs US’s first face transplant

October 10th, 2019

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Thursday, December 18, 2008

A team of eight transplant surgeons in Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, USA, led by reconstructive surgeon Dr. Maria Siemionow, age 58, have successfully performed the first almost total face transplant in the US, and the fourth globally, on a woman so horribly disfigured due to trauma, that cost her an eye. Two weeks ago Dr. Siemionow, in a 23-hour marathon surgery, replaced 80 percent of her face, by transplanting or grafting bone, nerve, blood vessels, muscles and skin harvested from a female donor’s cadaver.

The Clinic surgeons, in Wednesday’s news conference, described the details of the transplant but upon request, the team did not publish her name, age and cause of injury nor the donor’s identity. The patient’s family desired the reason for her transplant to remain confidential. The Los Angeles Times reported that the patient “had no upper jaw, nose, cheeks or lower eyelids and was unable to eat, talk, smile, smell or breathe on her own.” The clinic’s dermatology and plastic surgery chair, Francis Papay, described the nine hours phase of the procedure: “We transferred the skin, all the facial muscles in the upper face and mid-face, the upper lip, all of the nose, most of the sinuses around the nose, the upper jaw including the teeth, the facial nerve.” Thereafter, another team spent three hours sewing the woman’s blood vessels to that of the donor’s face to restore blood circulation, making the graft a success.

The New York Times reported that “three partial face transplants have been performed since 2005, two in France and one in China, all using facial tissue from a dead donor with permission from their families.” “Only the forehead, upper eyelids, lower lip, lower teeth and jaw are hers, the rest of her face comes from a cadaver; she could not eat on her own or breathe without a hole in her windpipe. About 77 square inches of tissue were transplanted from the donor,” it further described the details of the medical marvel. The patient, however, must take lifetime immunosuppressive drugs, also called antirejection drugs, which do not guarantee success. The transplant team said that in case of failure, it would replace the part with a skin graft taken from her own body.

Dr. Bohdan Pomahac, a Brigham and Women’s Hospital surgeon praised the recent medical development. “There are patients who can benefit tremendously from this. It’s great that it happened,” he said.

Leading bioethicist Arthur Caplan of the University of Pennsylvania withheld judgment on the Cleveland transplant amid grave concerns on the post-operation results. “The biggest ethical problem is dealing with failure — if your face rejects. It would be a living hell. If your face is falling off and you can’t eat and you can’t breathe and you’re suffering in a terrible manner that can’t be reversed, you need to put on the table assistance in dying. There are patients who can benefit tremendously from this. It’s great that it happened,” he said.

Dr Alex Clarke, of the Royal Free Hospital had praised the Clinic for its contribution to medicine. “It is a real step forward for people who have severe disfigurement and this operation has been done by a team who have really prepared and worked towards this for a number of years. These transplants have proven that the technical difficulties can be overcome and psychologically the patients are doing well. They have all have reacted positively and have begun to do things they were not able to before. All the things people thought were barriers to this kind of operations have been overcome,” she said.

The first partial face transplant surgery on a living human was performed on Isabelle Dinoire on November 27 2005, when she was 38, by Professor Bernard Devauchelle, assisted by Professor Jean-Michel Dubernard in Amiens, France. Her Labrador dog mauled her in May 2005. A triangle of face tissue including the nose and mouth was taken from a brain-dead female donor and grafted onto the patient. Scientists elsewhere have performed scalp and ear transplants. However, the claim is the first for a mouth and nose transplant. Experts say the mouth and nose are the most difficult parts of the face to transplant.

In 2004, the same Cleveland Clinic, became the first institution to approve this surgery and test it on cadavers. In October 2006, surgeon Peter Butler at London‘s Royal Free Hospital in the UK was given permission by the NHS ethics board to carry out a full face transplant. His team will select four adult patients (children cannot be selected due to concerns over consent), with operations being carried out at six month intervals. In March 2008, the treatment of 30-year-old neurofibromatosis victim Pascal Coler of France ended after having received what his doctors call the worlds first successful full face transplant.

Ethical concerns, psychological impact, problems relating to immunosuppression and consequences of technical failure have prevented teams from performing face transplant operations in the past, even though it has been technically possible to carry out such procedures for years.

Mr Iain Hutchison, of Barts and the London Hospital, warned of several problems with face transplants, such as blood vessels in the donated tissue clotting and immunosuppressants failing or increasing the patient’s risk of cancer. He also pointed out ethical issues with the fact that the procedure requires a “beating heart donor”. The transplant is carried out while the donor is brain dead, but still alive by use of a ventilator.

According to Stephen Wigmore, chair of British Transplantation Society’s ethics committee, it is unknown to what extent facial expressions will function in the long term. He said that it is not certain whether a patient could be left worse off in the case of a face transplant failing.

Mr Michael Earley, a member of the Royal College of Surgeon‘s facial transplantation working party, commented that if successful, the transplant would be “a major breakthrough in facial reconstruction” and “a major step forward for the facially disfigured.”

In Wednesday’s conference, Siemionow said “we know that there are so many patients there in their homes where they are hiding from society because they are afraid to walk to the grocery stores, they are afraid to go the the street.” “Our patient was called names and was humiliated. We very much hope that for this very special group of patients there is a hope that someday they will be able to go comfortably from their houses and enjoy the things we take for granted,” she added.

In response to the medical breakthrough, a British medical group led by Royal Free Hospital’s lead surgeon Dr Peter Butler, said they will finish the world’s first full face transplant within a year. “We hope to make an announcement about a full-face operation in the next 12 months. This latest operation shows how facial transplantation can help a particular group of the most severely facially injured people. These are people who would otherwise live a terrible twilight life, shut away from public gaze,” he said.

Wikinews interviews Joe Schriner, Independent U.S. presidential candidate

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Wikinews interviews Joe Schriner, Independent U.S. presidential candidate

October 10th, 2019

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Saturday, April 17, 2010

Journalist, counselor, painter, and US 2012 Presidential candidate Joe Schriner of Cleveland, Ohio took some time to discuss his campaign with Wikinews in an interview.

Schriner previously ran for president in 2000, 2004, and 2008, but failed to gain much traction in the races. He announced his candidacy for the 2012 race immediately following the 2008 election. Schriner refers to himself as the “Average Joe” candidate, and advocates a pro-life and pro-environmentalist platform. He has been the subject of numerous newspaper articles, and has published public policy papers exploring solutions to American issues.

Wikinews reporter William Saturn? talks with Schriner and discusses his campaign.

Everything You Need To Know About Camping Trailers

October 10th, 2019

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By Terry Roberts

A great alternative to “roughing it” while camping is to rent or purchase one of the many models of camping trailers available on the market. Camping trailers can range from a hard-top tent trailer that requires some set-up and will easily pull behind even a small sized car through to a larger, all-in-one unit that is literally a home away from home on wheels. Each type of camping trailer has pros and cons to ownership, but one of the largest factors with any type of trailer is the cost.

The pop-up or fold down tent trailer is a less expensive option for campers that will be camping in established campgrounds or at least in areas where there is access by road. These camping trailers have an aluminum and steel or fiberglass and steel bottom with a lid or top that securely fastens while the trailer is being stored or moved. The trailer lid or top is raised through a crank mechanism to its full height of about eight feet over the bed area of the trailer. There are two or three bunks or sleeping platforms that then fold out, giving the appearance of a tent. These areas are usually large enough to comfortably hold two adults each and are roughly the size of a very large double bed. There may also be extensions that can be used to provide even more sleeping and relaxing space.

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Most models of the camping trailer will also include permanent storage cupboards within the bed area. These are ideal for storing utensils, supplies and even clothing. In many models, small fridges and freezers, sinks, countertops and even cooking surfaces are built in to provide all the comfort of home. The central area has a collapsible table and a bench-like arrangement providing lots of seating. The newer models of tent trailers may also be wired for electricity and can easily be hooked to a generator for the full conveniences of home.

The more deluxe versions of a camping trailer are the fifth-wheel trailer and the travel trailer. These are completely rigid body trailers that are very comparable to a small apartment that is rectangular in shape and contains all the comforts of home. Most fifth-wheel and travel-camping trailers have showers, indoor toilet facilities, separate sleeping areas and even a full, apartment sized kitchen area. Many of these trailers have a generator in the design of the unit and there may even be options for television sets, entertainment units and even wireless internet connections.

Choosing the right camping trailer does require some thought and consideration, as well as some attention to your budget and spending requirements. Both types of trailers are relatively durable and will last for many years with proper care and maintenance. Storage for the smaller tent style camping trailers is easier for most people than trying to store the large fifth-wheel trailers and travel trailers. Spend some time looking around or even consider renting some different camping trailers to try out before you decide on the model and brand that is right for you and your family.

About the Author: Terry Roberts is a professional translator and linguist, with a wide range of interests. To read more about camping trailers, and about camping in general, please visit his web page: Camping Now.

Source: isnare.com

Permanent Link: isnare.com/?aid=173771&ca=Travel