News briefs:June 9, 2010

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Countryside Alliance lose legal case on UK fox hunting ban

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Wednesday, February 16, 2005The British Countryside Alliance has lost its legal bid to keep hunting with hounds after the High Court rejected their appeal, which had been made on the grounds that the Parliament Act 1949 was invalid. The High Court rejected this, ruling that the 1949 Act was valid. This means hunting with dogs for foxes, hares and badgers will be illegal from Friday 18 February in England and Wales in accordance with the Hunting Act 2004.

The Countryside Alliance has said it is challenging the decision in the House of Lords (the highest court in English Law) and the European Court of Human Rights.

The RSPCA has said the arguments were “wafer thin”.

However the CA as said that the police would have difficulty in policing the law. The League Against Cruel Sports has said it is setting up a “crimewatch service” to police the ban.

Politicians and protesters prepare for G20 summit

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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

World leaders and protesters are heading to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in the eastern United States for the G20 summit set to begin this Thursday in Pittsburgh. Politicians at the summit will be discussing ways to help solve the global financial crisis while protesters will advocate everything from universal health care to an end to capitalism.

Activists met in Pittsburgh on Saturday to discuss the issues they wanted to push. Speakers included state senator Jim Ferlo of Pittsburgh who rebuked what he called the myth of the free market.

“I want to unite people in peaceful speech and peaceful discussion,” Ferlo said. “I encourage each one of you to take to the streets this week.”

An extra 4,000 police have been transported to Pittsburgh ahead of the summit, and between 100 and 200 nonviolent prisoners were released from the local jail to make room for protesters.

Meanwhile the G20 leaders are sparring over whether or not to cap banker bonuses in financial industries. G20 ministers also plan to discuss rising protectionism.

At the Group of 8 meeting earlier this year in London the group decided to pledge $750 billion to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The IMF is seeking for more money from the G20 and is responsible for loaning money to countries in exchange for the implementation of free market policies. G20 countries are responsible for 80% of the world’s trade.

US Senate passes new bankruptcy bill

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Saturday, March 12, 2005

In a vote of 74-25 last Thursday, the US Senate passed a measure that would change bankruptcy laws, making it harder for individuals seeking relief from their debt burden to avoid repayment. Almost twenty Democrats joined Republicans, who currently hold a majority of the seats in the US Senate, in passing the bill.

Lobbyists for credit card companies and financial services firms have worked for the bill during the last two administrations. A similar measure passed both the Senate and House during the previous administration, but then President Bill Clinton pocket-vetoed the measure in 2000.

Democrats sought to soften the bill by allowing bankruptcy filers to negotiate directly with lenders for relief, but the amendments were defeated by the Republican-controlled Senate. Proponents of the bill claim the rise of bankruptcy filings to nearly 1.5 million a year shows that abusers of credit use the filings to shield themselves from irresponsible practices.

“There has been an explosion of bankruptcy,” said Iowa Republican Sen. Charles E. Grassley, the bill’s sponsor. “We preserve the principle of a fresh start, but we also establish a principle that if you have the ability to repay some of your debt, you are not going to get off scot-free.” However, Massachusetts Democratic Sen., Edward M. Kennedy said, “This legislation makes the bankruptcy courts of the United States the collection agency for the credit-card industry.”

The bill impacts a broad spectrum of bankruptcy law, but the most significant impact is on personal bankruptcy filings. Individuals who get behind in repaying credit card debt face high interest charges and stiff late payment fees. By only meeting minimum payment requirements, borrowers remit to the lender over the life of the loan an amount in interest and other fees that can far exceed the value of the principal balance of the loan. This can put consumers who run up high balances on various cards at financial risk of default. Critics of the bill blame these aggressive lending practices as a contributing factor in the rising trend of bankruptcy filings from 1996.

The proposed bill doesn’t only affect debtors with credit card debt.

It also affects debtors who have run up large medical bills.

Patients with a past medical history that disqualifies them from full medical coverage, can easily find themselves facing insurmountable medical bills after just a short stay in the hospital. These individuals will no longer be able to get a fresh start after these personal disasters, and will be forced to live in poverty until they can pay off their medical bills as part of their Chapter 13 filing. (Prior to this bill, they would have been able to file Chapter 7, completely discharging their debt.)

Chapter 7, which accounts for 70% of bankruptcy filings, allows individuals to eliminate most non-secured debts after liquidating assets, with the notable exemption of one’s principle residence in most states. The Senate passed bill would change Chapter 7 eligibility by applying a means-test, where those with a median income higher than the state average would be required to file under Chapter 13 provisions. Under Chapter 13 protection, an individual’s debt is not forgiven; rather it is restructured for payment under more lenient terms.

This was the first major overhaul of federal bankruptcy law in many years.

Under the old bankruptcy law, a personal bankruptcy attorney could not be held financially responsible for his clients mendacity. Under the new bankruptcy law, the bankruptcy attorney is responsible for his client’s lies to the Court about his assets and the bankruptcy attorney and his insurance carrier can be held responsible by the Bankruptcy Court.

The result is that personal bankruptcy attorneys (this does not apply to corporate bankruptcy attorneys) are likely to flee the personal bankruptcy field when the new law takes effect. Their insurance companies will not offer the sort of coverage that they would need to continue to practice.

So when consumers need to file personal bankruptcy under the new law, they will be unlikely to find a bankruptcy attorney to represent them. Consumers will have to file pro se: such consumers will be likely to fail due to the complexity of the law.

The bottom line is that the field of personal bankruptcy law as a practice area of law will cease to exist when the new bankruptcy law takes effect, and consumers will be unable to secure legal counsel and so consumers will lose what legal protections counsel now affords them.

Under the new bankruptcy law about one half million Americans will be forest to pay for at lest 5 years on longer they will be held in servitude as chattel they will be completely subservient to a dominating influence of the company that holds the loan. Their loan will be put on the market for sale for profit. The people will be forced to work harder. People who fail to go to court will have a arrest warrant made out in their name and people who refuseto pay. They will be subject to fines and or jail. About fifty thousand Americans will punished by a fine and or about three thousand Americans every year will go to jail under the new bankruptcy law. For some people this will be a third strike they will be put in jail for life.

The bill has the support of President Bush, and its passage in the House sometime next month seems likely. If enacted into law, lending companies will recover more money on what otherwise would be written off as bad loans. Those persons of median and higher income seeking relief would be required to file under Chapter 13 status and pay up to $100 per month under court imposed conditions. It is expected the proposed changes would cause a sharp increase in filings before the new law could take effect.

News briefs:January 04, 2008

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Contents

  • 1 Wikinews News Brief January 04, 2008 23:35 UTC
    • 1.1 Introduction
    • 1.2 Israeli troops kill 9 in Gaza
    • 1.3 Georgian President faces election challenge
    • 1.4 US unemployment hits two-year high
    • 1.5 Israel plans crackdown on West Bank settlement outposts
    • 1.6 Transaven Airlines plane carrying 14 people crashes off Venezuelan coast
    • 1.7 Sportswriter Milt Dunnell dies at 102
    • 1.8 2007 was particularly good year for aviation safety
    • 1.9 U.S. Senator Dodd bows out of presidential race
    • 1.10 Intel ends partnership with One Laptop Per Child program
    • 1.11 British Investigators arrive in Pakistan to join Bhutto investigation
    • 1.12 Disgorge bassist Ben Marlin dies from cancer
    • 1.13 Egypt lets 2000 pilgrims through Rafah
    • 1.14 Launch of Space Shuttle Atlantis once again delayed
    • 1.15 Study suggests hospitals are not the best place for cardiac arrest treatment
    • 1.16 US dollar no longer accepted at Taj Mahal and other Indian historical sites
    • 1.17 Footer

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John Constable painting location mystery solved after 195 years

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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The mystery of the location of a viewpoint used by English painter John Constable has been solved, after nearly 200 years. The Stour Valley and Dedham Church was painted in Suffolk, England, between 1814 and 1815, but changes to the landscape meant that the spot he chose was not known, despite the best efforts of historians and art experts.

Now the puzzle has been answered. Martin Atkinson, who works for the National Trust as property manager for East Suffolk, used clues from the painting and looked at old maps to track down the viewpoint. Trees had grown, a hedgerow had been planted and boundaries had moved or disappeared, but Atkinson eventually worked out where Constable had stood. He said, “When I discovered that I had worked out the location where Constable painted this particular masterpiece, I couldn’t believe it. All the pieces of the jigsaw finally fitted together.”

Atkinson used an 1817 map of East Bergholt, where Constable grew up, as a reference point, but found that the view would have changed not long after the painting was completed. “The foreground didn’t fit at all, it was quite unusual as we know Constable painted it in the open air so he would have been standing in the scene. The hedgerow in his work no longer exists and there’s another hedgerow that runs across the scene today which wasn’t there. When you stand on the road on which he would have stood, and use the oak tree as a reference point, you see the same view. It’s great to see where an old master stood – and be inspired by the same view,” he said.

Suffolk, where Constable painted many of his finest paintings, is often called “Constable country”. Most, but not all, of the locations that Constable depicted are known. The picture is now housed in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Massachusetts.

San Francisco mother of 12-year-old boy who was mauled to death charged with child endangerment

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Sunday, June 26, 2005

Maureen Faibish of 711 Lincoln Way San Francisco, CA was arrested on June 24, 2005 on the charge of child endangerment in the actions leading up to the death of her son, 12-year-old Nicholas Faibish, who was mauled by one or both of her two pit bull dogs, Rex 2 and Ella.

Nicholas was discovered dead in the front bedroom of her home at approximately 15:15 PDT on June 3, 2005, by his mother, who had left the house to run some errands. She had locked her son in the basement to keep him away from the dogs. “I put him down there, with a shovel on the door.”, Faibish said in a telephone interview to the San Francisco Chronicle. “He had a bunch of food. And I told him, ‘Stay down there until I come back.’ Typical Nicky, he wouldn’t listen to me.”

Faibish stated that she believes that her son had walked in when Rex 2, a male pit bull, was attempting to mate with Ella, a female pit bull who was in heat at the time. She stated that Rex 2 had been acting possessively prior to the incident. A police officer shot and killed Ella in order to gain entry to the apartment. Rex 2 was captured and removed to an animal shelter. “The police killed the wrong dog if you ask me.”, Faibish said.

Sweden’s Crown Princess marries long-time boyfriend

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Monday, June 21, 2010

Sweden’s first royal wedding since 1976 took place Saturday when Crown Princess Victoria, 32, married her long-time boyfriend and former personal trainer, Daniel Westling, 36. The ceremony took place at Stockholm Cathedral.

Over 1,200 guests, including many rulers, politicians, royals and other dignitaries from across the world, attended the wedding, which cost an estimated 20 million Swedish kronor. Victoria wore a wedding dress with five-metre long train designed by Pär Engsheden. She wore the same crown that her mother, Queen Silvia, wore on her wedding day 34 years previously, also on June 19. Victoria’s father, King Carl XVI Gustaf, walked Victoria down the aisle, which was deemed untraditional by many. In Sweden, the bride and groom usually walk down the aisle together, emphasising the country’s views on equality. Victoria met with Daniel half-way to the altar, where they exchanged brief kisses, and, to the sounds of the wedding march, made their way to the the silver altar. She was followed by ten bridesmaids. The couple both had tears in their eyes as they said their vows, and apart from fumbling when they exchanged rings, the ceremony went smoothly.

Following the ceremony, the couple headed a fast-paced procession through central Stockholm on a horse-drawn carriage, flanked by police and security. Up to 500,000 people are thought to have lined the streets. They then boarded the Vasaorden, the same royal barge Victoria’s parents used in their wedding, and traveled through Stockholm’s waters, accompanied by flyover of 18 fighter jets near the end of the procession. A wedding banquet followed in the in the Hall of State of the Royal Palace.

Controversy has surrounded the engagement and wedding between the Crown Princess and Westling, a “commoner”. Victoria met Westling as she was recovering from bulemia in 2002. He owned a chain of gymnasiums and was brought in to help bring Victoria back to full health. Westling was raised in a middle-class family in Ockelbo, in central Sweden. His father managed a social services centre, and his mother worked in a post office. When the relationship was made public, Westling was mocked as an outsider and the king was reportedly horrified at the thought of his daughter marrying a “commoner”, even though he did so when he married Silvia. Last year, Westling underwent transplant surgery for a congenital kidney disorder. The Swedish public have been assured that he will be able to have children and that his illness will not be passed on to his offspring.

Westling underwent years of training to prepare for his new role in the royal family, including lessons in etiquette, elocution, and multi-lingual small talk; and a makeover that saw his hair being cropped short, and his plain-looking glasses and clothes being replaced by designer-wear.

Upon marrying the Crown Princess, Westling took his wife’s ducal title and is granted the style “His Royal Highness”. He is now known as HRH Prince Daniel, Duke of Västergötland. He also has his own coat-of-arms and monogram. When Victoria assumes the throne and becomes Queen, Daniel will not become King, but assume a supportive role, similar to that of Prince Phillip, the husband of the United Kingdom’s Queen Elizabeth II.

Wikinews interviews World Wide Web co-inventor Robert Cailliau

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Thursday, August 16, 2007

The name Robert Cailliau may not ring a bell to the general public, but his invention is the reason why you are reading this: Dr. Cailliau together with his colleague Sir Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web, making the internet accessible so it could grow from an academic tool to a mass communication medium. Last January Dr. Cailliau retired from CERN, the European particle physics lab where the WWW emerged.

Wikinews offered the engineer a virtual beer from his native country Belgium, and conducted an e-mail interview with him (which started about three weeks ago) about the history and the future of the web and his life and work.

Wikinews: At the start of this interview, we would like to offer you a fresh pint on a terrace, but since this is an e-mail interview, we will limit ourselves to a virtual beer, which you can enjoy here.

Robert Cailliau: Yes, I myself once (at the 2nd international WWW Conference, Chicago) said that there is no such thing as a virtual beer: people will still want to sit together. Anyway, here we go.

Contents

  • 1 History of the WWW
  • 2 Future of the WWW
  • 3 Final question
  • 4 External links

Stabbing at Massachusetts high school leaves one dead

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Friday, January 19, 2007

In the United States, a stabbing at the Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School in Sudbury, Massachusetts has left a 15-year old student dead.

The stabbing happened around 7:20 am EST, before classes had started. A fight broke out in a boys’ bathroom between the 15-year old victim, James Alenson and 16-year-old suspect John Odgren, the fight spilled out in the hallway, where the stabbing occurred.

The school was sent into a “lockdown” and students were ushered into the gym, cafeteria and various classrooms. Alenson was rushed to Emerson Hospital where he was pronounced dead at 8:15 am EST. Odgren admitted to the stabbing and was in the principal’s office saying “I did it, I did it,” to police. However, Odgren also reportedly said “Is he OK? I don’t want him to die,” according to a police report.All students were released at 10:20 am EST.

Odgren was diagnosed with severe Asperger’s syndrome, an autistic spectrum disorder has been on medication for years, was a special education student at the school and had no history of violence according to his lawyer, Jonathan Shapiro. He is being charged with “murder, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, and carrying a knife onto school property” and was arraigned in Framingham District Court where he pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Shapiro also asked if his client could go to secure facility at Children’s Hospital in Boston. Judge Paul Healy denied the request saying he did not have “enough assurance that Children’s Hospital would be secure.” Instead, he will be held at Middlesex Jail in Cambridge outside of the general population.

According to the school’s website, there will be a community meeting tonight in the school’s auditorium at 7pm EST.

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