Pakistan’s ban on YouTube lifted

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Pakistan has lifted a ban on the video-sharing website YouTube, which was said to be brought in after a video offensive to Islam was uploaded to the site. According to the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), the offending material was in relation to a trailer for a film by Geert Wilders, a Dutch politician.

The PTA ordered the country’s 70 internet service providers to ban YouTube. However, their actions mistakenly blocked the site on other international ISPs, preventing many countries’ access to the popular site for around two hours.

Wilders is expected to release a movie about violence in Islamic culture. The film called Fitna would be set ‘inside’ the Koran, with a book frame surrounding the images and a mix of Koran verses with footage of executions and other violence in Islamic countries such as Iraq, Iran and Saudi Arabia.

In the United States, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) fear that the release of the movie might trigger a worldwide surge of violence. It is expected that the film will show the destruction of a Koran, which is “tantamount to heresy” in Islam, according to the FBI/DHS report. The Dutch Prime Minister has said that the movie has caused a serious crisis situation, with several Dutch embassies and companies abroad worrying about safety. Wilders has previously declared that the Koran should be banned, and he has compared it to Hitler‘s Mein Kampf.

The PTA has also blocked websites depicting the controversial cartoons of Muhammad published by a Danish newspaper in 2006 that also sparked violence in the Muslim world. Some of the cartoons have recently been reprinted.

This is not the first time a country has moved to block YouTube. Turkey and Thailand both chose to temporarily ban the sites, as did Morocco which blocked the site after a video criticising the country’s treatment of Western Saharans was uploaded.


Portuguese Culture Ministry suspends opening of Afonso I’s tomb

Thursday, July 6, 2006

The Portuguese Ministry of Culture suspended today the opening of King Afonso Henriques‘ tomb. The opening of the tomb would allow investigators to reconstruct a biological profile of the first King of Portugal, who died 821 years ago.

This afternoon the Portuguese Institute of Architectural Patrimony (IPPAR) announced its decision to suspend the project for the reconstruction of the biological profile of Afonso I. For which the opening of the tomb at the Santa Cruz Monastery, in Coimbra, was scheduled for today at 5 p.m. local time (1600 Thursday, UTC).

The note released by the Institute said that after consulting the “respective internal process it was evident that the adequate and necessary procedures were not fulfilled” which include the “authorization of this institute and of the minister of Culture for the accomplishment of the related exhumation”.

When contacted by TSF news agency, the responsible of IPPAR Ilísio Summerville explained that they “had consulted the process and verified that neither the current direction of IPPAR, nor the previous one had given authorization for the act [of the opening of the tomb], because there was missing a series of authorizations, between them the authorization of the minister of Culture.”

The responsible clarified that the investigation will be authorized as soon that “all formalities are fulfilled”.

The original authorization to open the tomb consists of a letter sent by the regional director of IPPAR, José Maria Tadeu Henriques, on June 23, to Professor Eugénia Cunha, an specialist in Anthropology Biology of the Faculty of Sciences & Technology of the University of Coimbra and responsible for the investigation.

The team of investigators, lead by the anthropologist Eugénia Cunha, is composed of another two anthropologists of the University of Coimbra, Ana Carina Marques and Sónia Codinha, by the medic and anthropologist Miguel Botella (University of Granada), by the medic Bertrand Ludes and the geneticist Christine Kayser (University of Strasbourg), and by the historian José Mattoso (New University of Lisbon).

By analysing the bones and other remains, like hair and nails, of Portugal’s founder, the investigators would be able to determinate his stature, genetic profile, diet and any diseases that he might have had.


Concorde crash trial begins

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

A French court Tuesday launched the trial of five men and a US airline over the Concorde disaster. 113 people were killed when the supersonic jet struck a hotel near Paris in 2000.

The prosecution case agrees with the facts set out in the final accident report, which, by international law, was written from an entirely different investigation and thus cannot be introduced in court. It alleges that improper maintenance of an American airliner and failure to detect design flaws with the Concorde were responsible for the Air France jet’s crash, to an extent that makes the six defendants guilty of involuntary manslaughter.

Both official investigations found that a Continental Airlines McDonnell Douglas DC-10 had taken off five minutes before Concorde with an improvised repair. A metal strip had been machined by mechanics instead of using a certified part. This strip dropped off the aircraft, leaving a 43cm (17in) piece of titanium on the runway.

Prosecutors and investigators concluded that as Concorde struck the part on takeoff a tyre burst and ripped apart, sending chunks of rubber flying. A large piece slammed into the underside of the wing hard enough to trigger a pressure wave that ruptured the fuel tank. Damaged wiring is believed to have been responsible for igniting this, creating a trailing fireball as the aircraft took off bound for New York.

Concorde’s pilots attempted to circle round for an emergency landing back at Charles de Gaulle Airport, but instead struck a hotel approximately three kilometres (two miles) from the airport. All 109 passengers and crew were on board, as well as four people in the hotel, were killed. The majority of victims were Germans heading to meet up with a cruise liner for a Caribbean holiday, the remainder of the 100 passengers were from Austria.

John Taylor, the Continental mechanic who is alleged to have built and fitted the nonstandard part, and his boss Stanley Ford, have been targeted for prosecution. Both individuals and their employer deny responsibility. Also charged are two members of the UK-French firm behind Concorde – Aérospatiale, who have since merged into Airbus parent EADS. Henri Perrier was head of testing for Concorde and the aircraft’s chief engineer was Jacques Herubel; both have been charged for a perceived failure to locate and rectify design flaws with Concorde. The former chief of civil aviation, Claude Frantzen, is facing charges on the same basis.

Each individual can be imprisoned for up to three years and fined up to 50,900 (US$71,000. Continental face a fine of up to €375,000 (US$520,000). The airline’s defence claims the part on the runway had no role to play in the accident. TV channel Canal+ previously suggested the investigations and prosecution were a coverup of more serious issues with Concorde.

Nothing was allowed to disturb Air France […] orders came from very high in the administration

The broadcast alleged Concorde erupted into flames long before getting as far down the runway as the strip. Continental’s lawyers say they can call 28 witnesses to give similar evidence and told the Le Parisien that they would seek a dismissal of the charges today. The case opened with judge Dominique Andreassier reading out every one of the 113 names of the deceased, followed by the charges against the six, in the court in Pontoise.

There are 80,000 pages of documents to be presented at trial, and 543 items are to be presented as evidence. The case is split into 90 volumes and is expected to take four months. The judge cautioned against losing touch with the human aspect of what is anticipated to be a very technical trial. The estimated cost is expected to be in excess of 3 million Euro (US$4.2 million).

The investigation found some contributory causes that can be linked to Air France. Four days before the crash an important tyre spacer was left off the Concorde by mechanics, and the plane was overloaded. The airport itself was also criticised for having cancelled a scheduled sweep of the runway. Air France lawyer Fernand Garnault, an aviation specialist, was adamant that Continental did play the main role in the accident; “[i]t is clear that a piece from a Continental plane fell on the runway. It is clear that the origin of the accident was this. This is my personal conviction and of course that of Air France.”

Few families are represented at the trial, because all the passengers struck a deal with Air France to accept compensation in exchange for waiving their right to take legal action, leaving only those killed in the hotel and the crew. However, French group Fenvac are representing the families, and spokesman Stephane Gicquel said that the families would be observing keenly, that “[t]his tragedy is part of their personal history and of their family history.”

Captain Christian Marty’s family’s lawyer, Roland Rappaport, said outside court today that, “[t]his accident should have been avoided. The weaknesses of the Concorde had been known for twenty years,” while Air France’s lawyers stated the inquiries had not located any evidence to suggest that Concorde had indeed encountered problems before reaching the metal debris.

Daniel Soulez Larivière, who represents Frantzen, said, “this accident was unforeseeable,” and the original investigations should have agreed. Concorde suffered a string of similar incidents in the 1970s including one in Washington that came close to triggering a fire. “They [the authorities] wanted to protect Concorde, the image of France that it projected. They should have stopped service then [1979],” said Olivier Metzner, representing Continental. The plane was not grounded until after the accident, although it returned to service before being retired in 2003.

Metzner told the court that former French air accident investigator Michel Bourgeois was to be a key witness. Bourgeois recently alleged that authorities were indeed hiding flaws with the airliner, saying “[n]othing was allowed to disturb Air France […] orders came from very high in the administration,” and that investigations into Concorde’s safety were shut down by the government.


New movies, 9 September 2005

Friday, September 9, 2005

A look at some of the movies set to be released in North America, the week of 9 September, 2005.

Note, “fresh” or “rotten” refer to the movie’s Rotten Tomatoes rating, based on North American critical reviews. The higher the percentage, the greater the percentage of critics that liked the movie.


  • 1 The Exorcism of Emily Rose
  • 2 The Man
  • 3 Also new to theatres
  • 4 Sources


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Five police officers killed in Dallas, Texas during sniper attack

Sunday, July 10, 2016

On Thursday, five police officers were killed and seven were injured after a sniper attacked a public protest march in downtown Dallas, Texas. Sources indicate at least three other people were taken into custody for questioning relating to the attack. The march was held to protest the shooting deaths of Alton Sterling in Louisiana and Philando Castile in Minnesota during engagements with police officers.

Police identified 25-year-old Micah Johnson as the suspect. Johnson had previously served in the US army, and police reported he said he wanted to exact revenge upon police officers after news of Sterling and Castile’s deaths. Ammunition and weapons were found inside Johnson’s home. Dallas Police reported the policemen were shot at from a height. Officials said two civilians were also injured in the attack.

Micah Johnson served for the United States Army Reserve from 2009 until early 2015, including a tour of Afghanistan. Johnson had no criminal record. His attack was reported to be a lone mission.

After the attack earlier on Thursday, police killed Micah Johnson in El Centro College’s parking lot by a bomb explosion.

Hillary Clinton, 2016 United States presidential election candidate and favorite for the Democratic nomination this July, said, “There is too much violence, too much hate, too much senseless killing, too many people dead who shouldn’t be. No-one has all the answers. We have to find them together.”

After Johnson was killed, Mike Rawlings, Dallas’ mayor, said “We believe now the city is safe”.


Video game’s secret sex scenes spark outrage

Saturday, July 9, 2005

The National Institute on the Media and the Family (NIMF), a media watchdog group based in Minneapolis, Minnesota issued a “nationwide parental alert” today. This came after finding out about hidden sex scenes in the popular video game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.

The game also has been criticised as being too violent. This is not limited to San Andreas: the entire series has come under fire for its content, mostly the last two games, Grand Theft Auto 3 and Grand Theft Auto: Vice City.

The sex scenes come in the form of a “mini-game” in which the player controls the male with the task of maximising his cohort’s “excitment.” The hidden game in GTA: San Andreas is not advertised or easy to find but can be unlocked by modifying the game using a program which has been widely available on the Internet for weeks. But for NIMF and the Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB), the organization which rates video games and rated GTA: San Andreas ‘M’ for Mature, the hidden mini-game came as a surprise. As such, the ESRB has launched an investigation into the matter.

To unlock the hidden sex mini-game on the Playstation 2 requires an Action Replay or Gameshark. These devices cannot transfer new content to a console but can enable content already contained on the game disc. The presence of this minigame on an unmodified retail version implies that it was created by the game’s creators rather than hackers or the mod community.

Rockstar Games, the game’s publisher, refused to comment on whether the sex scenes were inserted by their programmers. Rockstar Games has also said, “We thoroughly support the work of the ESRB, and believe that it has an exemplary record of rating games and promoting understanding of video game content. We also feel confident that the investigation will uphold the original rating of the game, as the work of the mod community is beyond the scope of either publishers or the ESRB.”

In the game the character may have girlfriends, and at a certain point in his stats he can entertain his girlfriend with some “coffee”. However, the “hot coffee” modification unlocks the secret sex scenes after the two share a drink.

The sex scene portrays oral sex and coitus, but genitals are not shown. A video of the secret sex scene can be found here[1] (warning: contains mature content).

It’s interesting to note that modifying a video game’s source code is a violation of the software licensing agreement. Rockstar announced that it may pursue legal proceedings against Action Replay, whose device enables the hacking of the console version of San Andreas. When it comes right down to it, its much easier (and quicker) to find free adult content on the internet, or download pornographic movies from a P2P network, than it is to crack a video game.

Rockstar Games may be subject to a Mandatory Recall.


Wikinews Shorts: June 5, 2007

A compilation of brief news reports for Tuesday, June 5, 2007.


  • 1 Moderate earthquake shakes central Greece
  • 2 Flemish Minister-President will not call Armenian massacre ‘genocide’
  • 3 Mudslide buries Valley of Geysers
  • 4 Back to the wild for pygmy kangaroos

A 5.3-magnitude earthquake struck near Patras and its surrounding areas in central Greece on Tuesday afternoon, just before 3 p.m. local time (1200 GMT). There were no reports of injuries or damage.

“The strong earthquake was measured at 5.3 with the epicenter on the edge of Trichonida lake, some 110 kilometres [70 miles] west of Athens,” an Athens Geodynamic Institute official said.


Minister-President of Flanders Yves Leterme in an interview with the Turkish newspaper Zaman showed a hesitation to call the Armenian Genocide a genocide.

“Before a politician can judge if something is a genocide, the international institutions must speak out about it. …As a politician it is not wise to speak about a genocide until experts have judged it. I don’t stand alone with my view and I have nothing to add to this,” Leterme said.

The matter of the so-called Armenian Genocide lies very sensitive with some Belgian voters of Turkish descent. The situation reminds of the Dutch elections, when Wouter Bos from the Dutch Labour Party (PvdA) refused to speak of an “Armenian genocide”. The polls project that Leterme’s party CD&V is to become the biggest political party of Flanders in the upcoming federal elections in Belgium next Sunday.

Related news

  • “French parliament approves bill on Armenian Genocide denial” — Wikinews, October 12, 2006


Russia’s Valley of Geysers, Eurasia’s only geyser field and the second largest concentration of geysers in the world, was largely destroyed by a mudslide on Sunday.

Millions of cubic meters of mud and rocks fell into the 6-kilometre-long basin, wiping out about two-thirds of the valley, which contains around 90 geysers and many hot springs. Located in the Kamchatka Peninsula in the Kronotsky Nature Reserve, the valley wasn’t discovered until 1941, and had only opened to foreign tourists in 1991.


Indonesia’s foresty ministry said Tuesday it will release 17 endangered Dusky Pademelons into the wild in the remote Papua province on New Guinea.

Also known as pygmy kangaroos (similar Red-Necked Pademelon pictured), the animals have been rescued over time from illegal animal traders and from people’s homes, where the little kangaroos were kept as pets. The species, Latin name Thylogale brunii, belongs to a family of seven kangaroo-like mammals that are found in forests of Papua, Western New Guinea and Papua New Guinea.



Five Ways For Touring Musicians To Stay Faithful On The Road}

Five Ways for Touring Musicians to Stay Faithful on the Road


Jansen Simmons

1.When approached by that inevitable someone while on that road that says something like, I bet it gets solonely on the road, in a really seductive voice, possibly while stroking your bicep longingly, the best defense is a good offense. Take it as an opportunity to whine about how much you miss your significant other, and how they would never cheat on you while you are away. So of course you would never even consider cheating on them!

2.Are hand jobs cheating? Consider lowering your standards of what constitutes cheating. How could a happy ending ever be sad? In all seriousness, having a real discussion of what is permissible on the road with your significant other is the best way to create boundaries of what behavior would be hurtful with your partner.

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3.Try being more anti-social. If you lower the quantity of opportunities for indulgence, keeping it in your pants could have a higher success rate.Abstentionfrom social activities like seeing how many drinks it takes before you strip, and run out in public will have similar faithfulness inducing benefits as well. If you aren’t tired, but the show is over, and you really should get some rest, trying using some sleep time supplements (melatonin, diphenhydramine, or lunesta.) You’re a musician, why not download music iPod, and get all self-absorbed listening to your own album you bought oniTunes?

4.You could always try using your religion to stay faithful on the road as well. Boring, I know. If you are aChristian rock bandlike Petra this might sound way more appealing though. However, if you’re in a Thelemic metal band like Behemoth this has totally different implications, I’d imagine. Either which way there is always the chance that whatever your brand of temptation you could find refuge in the belief system you have constructed for yourself. This probably seems like a no-brainer, but this guide is all about positive re-enforcement. Whether your faith only consists in the idea of a faith based on carnival ride instability or you talk to your god on the regular, using this to your advantage is highly recommended.

5.Finally, you could use replacement behavior. It’s pretty simple. Whenever you see yourself going down that path of infidelity, you can just use a pre-designated behavior that asserts faithfulness. For instance, you are somehow in the corner of the bar with a beautiful young someone making suggestive eyes at you, and the moment of kissing is imminent. Since you have ingrained in your mind, that whenever cheating is on the verge of occurring you will run outside and call your significant other, you can narrowly avoid the pleasure of the unwanted company that would soothe the loneliness in your soul. At least until the phone call is over.

Jansen Simmons is a big music fan and writes on some of his favorite topics. His tastes runeclectic from bands like Jimmy Eat World to singer-songwriters like Patty Griffin.

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Five Ways for Touring Musicians to Stay Faithful on the Road }

Chinese government approved Nanjing purchase of MG Rover

Monday, March 13, 2006

The Chinese National Development and Reform Commission approved today the plans by Nanjing Automobile Group to revive the MG Rover brand.

Nanjing Automobile are planning to annually produce 200,000 cars, 250,000 engines and 100,000 gearboxes on the assembly lines purchased from MG Rover.

The first MG produced in Pukou in Nanjing in the east of China will be the sedan version of MG-75, in the first half of 2007.