Singer Britney Spears faces hit and run charges

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Saturday, September 22, 2007

The Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office said yesterday that pop music super-star Britney Spears was facing charges for a hit and run offence and driving without a valid drivers’ license.

Charges were filed following an accident in which police allege Spears smashed her car into another vehicle in a parking area in August of 2007.

She could face a maximum of six months in jail and US$2,000 in fines if convicted.

A group of paparazzi recorded a video Britney steering her car into another vehicle on August 6 as she tried to pull into a parking spot in a Studio City lot.

Kim Robard-Rifkin was the owner of the other car and she filed a police report three days after the accident. The 59-year-old nurse found out that it was Spears who ran into her car after watching a video on a celebrity website.

Robard-Rifkin said, “I simply want my car fixed, the same as I would fix somebody’s car if I had done that.”

Spears will be arraigned on October 10.

Pennsylvania cop on trial for allegedly murdering girlfriend’s estranged husband

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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The trial began today for a Pennsylvania state trooper accused of killing his girlfriend’s estranged husband.

Kevin Foley, 43, is accused of cutting the throat of John Yelenic, a dentist who was in the final stages of finalizing a divorce from his wife, Michele. According to prosecutors, Foley “loathed Dr. Yelenic” so much that he asked another fellow trooper to help him commit the alleged murder, which occurred in Yelenic’s Blairsville home.

Deputy Attorney General Anthony Krastek told an Indiana County jury that Foley also prayed Yelenic would die, and spread false rumors that Yelenic molested his adopted son.

“You will see Kevin Foley has the motive, the opportunity and the ability to commit this crime, almost to the exclusion of anybody else,” Krastek said.

Foley’s defense attorney, Jeffrey Monzo, said during opening statements that DNA evidence was not conclusive. Monzo admitted to the jury that Foley did not like Yelenic, but said that does not mean he murdered him.

“Kevin Foley is innocent,” he said.

Prosecutors said they could call as many as 70 witnesses to try and prove Foley wanted Yelenic to die. The trial, at the Indiana County Courthouse, is expected to last about three weeks.

Foley, who is on unpaid suspension from the Pennsylvania State Police, is charged with criminal homicide. The jury has the option of convicting him of first-degree murder, which could put Foley in prison for life without parole, or of a lesser degree charge, like manslaughter.

John Yelenic was found dead in his home on April 13, 2006, one day before he was planning on signing his divorce papers. Prosecutors said Foley killed Yelenic after going to the dentist’s house to confront him over the terms of the divorce. Prosecutors claim Foley slashed Yelenic several times with a knife and pushed his head through a small window, causing a further gash on his neck. Yelenic bled to death.

Foley had been living with Michele Yelenic for two years at the time of the alleged homicide. Krastek said Michele also helped perpetuate rumors that Dr. Yelenic molested their son. John and Michele Yelenic had been separated in 2002. Michele Yelenic stood to collect Dr. Yelenic’s estate and a $1 million life insurance policy, and could lose about $2,500 a month in support if the divorce was finalized, a Pennsylvania grand jury previously determined.

Michele Yelenic is expected to testify that Foley was home with her when the alleged murder occurred. Krastek told the jury DNA under Yelenic’s fingerprints will ultimately link him to the murder, as will bloody shoe prints found at the crime scene that match athletic shoes Foley is known to wear.

Monzo also said authorities have failed to investigate several other suspects, including Yelenic’s neighbor. Monzo said Yelenic was on very friendly terms with the neighbor’s wife, which could have given him a motive to commit the murder.

Prior to the trial, Foley’s defense attorneys unsuccessfully sought a change of venue because an overwhelming majority of the jury pool was familiar with the allegations. The change was denied when jurors insisted they had not formed an opinion about the charges.

Glasgow cannabis enthusiasts celebrate ‘green’ on city green

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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Coinciding with Easter Sunday, Glasgow Cannabis Social Club’s annual 420 event was held on Glasgow Green, under sunny blue skies, and overlooking the river Clyde. Despite the city’s council attempting to revoke permission for the gathering at the last minute, police were happy for it to go-ahead with approximately a dozen officers attending in high-visibility vests.

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The Daily Record reported five arrests were made for minor offences, likely smoking and possession of small quantities of cannabis. Taking a less-sensational — and more accurate — line of reporting, the Monday edition of Glasgow’s Evening News stated five were referred to the Procurator Fiscal who is responsible for deciding if charges should be brought.

Official figures provided by the police were that 150 attended. With people coming and going, Wikinews reporters estimated upwards of 200 attended, compared to nearly 700 who had signed up for the event on Facebook. Hemp goods were advertised and on sale at the event, and some attendees were seen drinking cannabis-themed energy drinks.

“I was searched and charged under the Misuse of Drugs Act (which is a lot of bollocks)” one attendee noted online, adding “not fair to happen on a brilliant day like it was, other than that I had a great day!” A second said they were openly smoking and ignored by police, who “were only really focusing on people who looked particularly young”.

Cannabis seeds were openly and legally sold at the event and a hydroponics supplier brought a motortrike towing an advertising trailer. Actually growing cannabis is, however, illegal in the UK.

With the event openly advocating the legalisation of cannabis, speakers put their arguments for this to a receptive crowd. Retired police officer James Duffy, of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, spoke of the failed United States alcohol prohibition policy; stressing such policies needlessly bring people into contact with criminal elements. Highlighting other countries where legalisation has been implemented, he pointed out such led to lower crime, and lower drug use overall.

One speaker, who produced a bottle of cannabis oil he had received through the post, asserted this cured his prostate cancer. Others highlighted the current use of Sativex by the National Health Service, with a cost in-excess of £150 for a single bottle of GW Pharmaceuticals patented spray — as-compared to the oil shown to the crowd, with a manufacturing cost of approximately £10.

Similar ‘420’ pro-cannabis events were held globally.

Transit strike affects 100,000 in Helsinki

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Monday, March 6, 2006

In Helsinki, the Finnish trade union for bus and truck drivers has gone on strike on Sunday evening, mainly over the use of part-time labor. The strike is estimated to affect 100,000 people in the capital area, crowding the remaining transit system on Monday morning. The strike is halting almost half of all bus traffic in and around Helsinki, especially hurting travellers commuting from outlying cities Espoo and Vantaa, where over 60% of bus traffic will be stopped.

The strike also affects 4,000 of Finland’s 55,000 delivery trucks, as well as waste management in many areas. The strike is not affecting trains, trams or the underground, but heavy crowding is to be expected. Authorities are also warning of traffic jams during rush-hours as people use personal cars instead of public transportation.

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

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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.

German hotels step up boycotts against online travel agency HRS

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Thursday, March 15, 2012

A third call for boycott and second boycott hit the German online travel agency Hotel Reservation Service (HRS) this week. After a recent boycott against HRS in Münsterland, a boycott in Bremerhaven was next and is soon to be followed by the next round in Bremerhaven starting in the middle of March.

Hotels in the city of Bremerhaven already have to pay a new “bed tax” to the state of Bremen of 2.14 euro per person per night, whilst HRS is trying to increase their commission payments for its service from thirteen to fifteen percent. Further criticism of HRS focused on a preferential treatment clause that denied hotels the right to offer better prices through any other booking channel. The European umbrella organization of the catering facilities HOTREC had already criticized this type of clause and similar contract clauses in May 2011 in a position paper.

Piet Rothe, hotel owner and second chairman of the German Hotel and Restaurant Association (DEHOGA) Bremerhaven, explained that in his hotels the boycott hat not decreased bookings, merely shifted their volume to other channels such as, for instance, booking.com, who would only ask for twelve percent commission.

Rüdiger Magowsky, manager of the boarding house in Jaich, confirmed the observation that the volume of bookings had not decreased.Martin Seiffert, manager of the hotel Haverkamp, explained HRS had denied his hotel access to the system because he participated in the boycott. The access has been restored but he is considering participation in the next round of the boycott anyway.

On February 15 the higher regional court of Düsseldorf had ordered HRS in a preliminary injunction not to enforce its preferential treatment clause. Already on February 10 the German Federal Cartel Office had admonished the company for violating §§ 1 and 20 of the German Act against Restraints of Competition.

Meanwhile Markus Luthe, the CEO of the German International Hotel Association (IHA), recommended establishing a “Hotelwiki” as a yellow pages directory of the hotel industry.

Oil prices drive new investment in clean technology

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Monday, April 24, 2006

Investors are rushing to fund new ventures in renewable energy as Americans continue to see rising gasoline prices at the pump. The price for crude oil continues to rise to new record highs ($75 per barrel of crude oil on NYMEX as of Friday’s close). According to the results of a survey reported by the San Francisco Gate, in the 1st Quarter of 2006 investments in the clean technology sector has increased by 13% to $3.36 Billion in the US. In addition to attracting venture capital, clean technology companies are receiving a buzz from high profile investors.

Bill Gates, Founder of Microsoft, announced last week that his venture group (Cascade Investments) initiated the purchase of 25.5% ownership in Pacific Ethanol Inc. Pacific Ethanol is an ethanol production company that plans to expand operations by opening a new facility in California. Gates is not alone in high profile investments into the clean energy market, Bob Metcalfe (Founder of 3COM and Inventor of Ethernet), who acts as the managing partner of Polaris Ventures, announced the VC’s first investment into the energy market. Polaris, which manages over $3 Billion in funds, invested $6.8 million into GreenFuel Technologies Corporation of Cambridge, MA. GreenFuel Technologies is an emissions to biofuels company, that utilizes natural algae in their patented bioreactors to turn greenhouse gas emissions from power plants into rich bio fuel. Polaris’s investment into GreenFuel was part of the company’s $18 Million Series B financing round that also included a high profile venture capital investor: Draper Fisher Jurvetson. When asked about the new industry venture, Bob Metcalfe said, “Energy has got to be one of the top five problems the world faces, and it’s been frustrating to watch activists and politicians fail to solve the problem,…Now it’s time for the entrepreneurs and scientists to give it a try.”

According to the International Energy Association, demand for renewable energy fuels will more than quadruple in the next decade. The current jump in oil prices is fueling investment into this relatively new market as investors view clean technology as an emerging opportunity rather than a public relations campaign. As gasoline prices continue to rise, alternative fuels become respectively cheaper and more attractive. In his latest State of the Union Address, President Bush outlined a plan to direct new investment into ethanol production and other clean technologies. According to a poll conducted by CBS News, Americans now see gas prices as one of their top three main concerns. With pressure coming from constituents, politicians are beginning to exert pressure on new spending on renewable technology to promote energy independence. Yet another front in this debate is that of environmental concern. With global warming on the rise, and many European governments eagerly searching for a Carbon Dioxide solution, the promise of reducing these emissions by 46% (as claimed by GreenFuel’s bio reactor system) begins to resonate as a promising environmental and business opportunity.

Pest Control In Auburn, WA And Dealing With Mice

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byAlma Abell

Did you just purchase your first investment property and are you feeling overwhelmed? It is not uncommon to feel overwhelmed when you discover a rodent problem. For example, your contractor may have just taken down a wall, in order to open the kitchen up, and that is when he may have first discovered the mice problems. Fortunately, this problem can be addressed by the best pest control in Auburn WA.

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Mice can carry diseases, and they can be the cause of house fires. When mice make their nests inside of the walls of homes, they chew up wiring. For this reason, a fire can occur at any time. You may have even discovered the mice in the attack and were alarmed by the number. Mice have families, and when their families take over your investment property, you need to get help quickly to get the problem taken care of. The best pest control in Auburn WA will take the job on. They have the equipment and experience to ensure that the job is done right.

Clearly, you cannot show the home to buyers or risk a fire. That is why getting rid of the rodent problem should be your main focus. When you speak consultant, you can tell him what you and your contractor discovered and where. He will be glad that you called for help, and he will book an appointment for you. The consultant understands that you are working on a deadline, and you want to get your investment property on the market fast. For this reason, the professionals will show up when they say they will, and they will bring everything that they need to get the job done right.

Who will you call for help? You will find the best professionals at Independent Pest Solutions. With this in mind, there is no reason to wait. You should make the call today and book your appointment. When the work has been completed, you will be happy that you do not have to worry about diseases, fires or any rodent problem when your investment property is being shown to home buyers. Instead, you will feel confident as each buyer walks in.

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Emaar Properties claims Burj Dubai as world’s tallest building

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Sunday, July 22, 2007

United Arab Emirates (UAE) developer Emaar Properties has claimed that their Burj Dubai commercial and residential tower, currently under construction, has become the world’s tallest building, reaching a height of 512.1 metres (or 1,680 feet) and 141 storeys.

The current official record holder, Taipei 101 of Taiwan, has a height of 508 metres and 101 storeys, and will retain the “tallest building” title for some time to come. The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat sets the criteria for achieving height records for buildings, and will not evaluate the Burj Dubai until construction is complete in late 2008. Although final height details have been kept secret by the developer, the Burj Dubai is expected to reach nearly 700 metres in height, with approximately 160 storeys.

The current record holder for the world’s tallest free-standing structure is the CN Tower in Toronto, Canada. It has a height of 553 metres. The Burj Dubai, therefore, would claim both records when it is completed.

Once the Burj Dubai is completed, it will have required 330,000 cubic metres of concrete, 39,000 tonnes of steel and 142,000 square metres of glass, according to Emaar Properties. The building will have 56 lifts (elevators) that can move at a rate of speed of 1.75 to 10 metres per second.

Dubai is undergoing a construction boom currently with the Burj Dubai as the planned centrepiece of a $US20 billion project, which will eventually realize some 30,000 apartments and boast the world’s largest shopping mall.

There have been criticisms of the working conditions for construction workers in the UAE. A majority of the estimated 500,000 construction workers in the UAE are foreign workers from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

In a 2006 report on the UAE’s treatment of migrant workers, entitled Building Towers, Cheating Workers, Human Rights Watch documented abuses in UAE such as, “extremely low wages, several years of indebtedness to recruitment agencies for fees that UAE law says only employers should pay, the withholding of employees’ passports, and hazardous working conditions that result in apparently high rates of death and injury.”

In October of last year, Human Rights Watch delivered specific recommendations to the UAE government for improvement of working conditions. The UAE government acted swiftly on the report and put in place several improvements, which were applauded by Human Rights Watch.

However, the salaries of migrant construction workers remain in the range from $106 to $250 per month, while the national average wage is over $2,000 per month. Trade unions remain illegal in the UAE.

Pfizer and Microsoft team up against Viagra spam

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Sunday, February 13, 2005

New York –”Buy cheap Viagra through us – no prescription required!” Anyone with an active email account will recognize lines like this one. According to some reports, unsolicited advertisements (spam) for Viagra and similar drugs account for one in four spam messages.

BACKGROUND

Spamming remains one of the biggest problems facing email users today. While users and systems administrators have improved their defenses against unsolicited email, many spammers now insert random words or characters into their letters in order to bypass filters. The Wikipedia article Stopping email abuse provides an overview of the various strategies employed by companies, Internet users and systems administrators to deal with the issue.

Ever since pharmaceutical giant Pfizer promised to cure erectile dysfunction once and for all with its blue pills containing the drug sildenafil citrate, spammers have tried to tap into male anxiety by offering prescription-free sales of unapproved “generic” Viagra and clones such as Cialis soft tabs. Legislation like the U.S. CAN-SPAM act has done little to stem the tide of email advertising the products.

Now Pfizer has entered a pledge with Microsoft Corporation, the world’s largest software company, to address the problem. The joint effort will focus on lawsuits against spammers as well as the companies they advertise. “Pfizer is joining with Microsoft on these actions as part of our shared pledge to reduce the sale of these products and to fight the senders of unsolicited e-mail that overwhelms people’s inboxes,” said Jeff Kindler, executive vice president at Pfizer.

Microsoft has filed civil actions against spammers advertising the websites CanadianPharmacy and E-Pharmacy Direct. Pfizer has filed lawsuits against the two companies, and has taken actions against websites which use the word “Viagra” in their domain names. Sales of controlled drugs from Canadian pharmacies to the United States are illegal, but most drugs sold in Canada have nevertheless undergone testing by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. This is not the case for many of the Viagra clones sold by Internet companies and manufactured in countries like China and India. While it was not clear that CanadianPharmacy was actually shipping drugs from Canada, Pfizer’s general counsel, Beth Levine, claimed that the company filled orders using a call center in Montreal, reported the Toronto Star.

For Microsoft’s part, they allege that the joint effort with Pfizer is part of their “multi-pronged attack on the barrage of spam.” As the creator of the popular email program Outlook, Microsoft has been criticized in the past for the product’s spam filtering process. Recently, Microsoft added anti-spam measures to its popular Exchange server. Exchange 2003 now includes support for accessing so-called real-time block lists, or RTBLs. An RTBL is a list of the IP addresses maintained by a third party; the addresses on the list are those of mailservers thought to have sent spam recently. Exchange 2003 can query the list for each message it receives.