Jun 20 2018

Wikinews Shorts: September 6, 2006

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Wednesday, September 6, 2006

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Jun 20 2018

City to sue owner of partially collapsed 19th century livery in Buffalo, New York

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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Buffalo, New York —Two weeks after a 19th century stable and livery on Jersey Street partially collapsed and caused 15 homes to be evacuated in Buffalo, New York, residents still do not have answers from the city despite a court order to work with them and come to an agreement on a way to save some or all of the building, Wikinews has learned. Despite the frustration from residents, the city is planning on suing the building’s owner. A rally was held at the stable’s site where residents are hoping to bring more awareness to the situation and gain more support to save the building.

On June 11, a significant portion of the stable’s right side wall collapsed into the yard of a resident’s home. Authorities, including the Buffalo Fire Department were called to the scene to evaluate the collapse and evacuate 15 homes of residents surrounding the stable as a precautionary measure. The following day, the city ordered an emergency demolition on the building, which was stopped by a restraining order residents with Save The Livery (www.savethelivery.com) won on June 14. Two weeks later, five homes are still evacuated and residents don’t know when they will be able to return.

On June 19, Judge Justice Christopher Burns of the New York State Supreme Court ordered a halt to the emergency demolition and ordered the city and residents to come to an agreement to save the building, or at least a significant portion of it. Despite a court date today, no agreement has yet been reached between the two parties.

“It is in the interest of the city to have a safe environment–but also important to maintain a sense of historical preservation,” stated Burns in his June 19th ruling. The court ruled that a limited demolition could take place and that the city was only allowed to remove material in immediate danger to residents and pedestrians, but stated that the demolition could only be performed with “hand tools.” The court also ordered that any rubble which had fallen into neighboring yards when the building collapsed, to be removed. Since then, most of not all the significantly damaged portions of the building or portions in immediate danger of falling have been demolished. The roof has also been removed to put less stress on the stable’s walls.

“Its been over three years since we have been having problems with part of the livery falling down. There was an implosion two weeks ago and suddenly the city wanted to have an emergency demolition,” said Catherine Herrick who lives on Summer Street immediately behind the stable and is the main plaintiff in the lawsuit against the city. Many homes on Summer are small cottages which were used as servants quarters when the stable was in operation, many of which were built in the 1820’s. At least seven homes on Summer border the stable’s back walls. Residents in those homes have significant gardens which have been planted against the building and growing for decades.

“Both parties are to continue to work together to see how we can meet everybody’s needs. This is the third time we have been in that courtroom, and that is what we were basically told to do,” added Herrick who said the rally was held today because this “is Buffalo’s history. Buffalo is a wonderful place to live because of its history and this is a historical, beautiful building and we need to keep those beautiful buildings.”

Herrick states that the city is working with residents, but also believes that its “slow moving” and they are allowing the owner to get away with neglect on the property.

“I believe right now that they are letting the owner get off. The owner was negligent for 20 years, and hasn’t done anything to it despite what he has claimed to say. Now that this is an emergency situation, the city has a lot to say about it,” added Herrick.

Currently the building is owned by Bob Freudenheim who has several building violations against him because its poor condition. He has received at least five violations in three months and residents who live near the building state that Freudenheim should be “100% responsible” for his actions.

Freudenheim gave the city permission to demolish the building on June 12 during an emergency Preservation Board meeting, because he would not be “rehabilitating the building anytime soon.” Freudenheim, along with his wife Nina, were part-owners of the Hotel Lenox at 140 North Street in Buffalo and were advocates to stop the Elmwood Village Hotel from being built on the Southeast corner of Forest and Elmwood Avenues. They also financially supported a lawsuit in an attempt to stop the hotel from being built. Though it is not known exactly how long Freudenheim has owned the stable, Wikinews has learned that he was the owner while fighting to stop the hotel from being built. Residents say that he has been the owner for at least 22 years. Attorneys for Freudenheim confirm that the city is starting proceedings against him for his violations beginning as early as Wednesday June 25. Freudenheim has not released a statement and could not be reached for comment.

Many residents want the building preserved and Herrick states that their engineer can have it stable in “four days” as opposed to the 14-30 days it would take to demolish the building and “at a lesser cost than what it costs to demolish it.”

It will cost the city nearly US$300,000 to demolish the building which is paid for with tax money collected from residents in the city. The Buffalo News reports that fees are approaching $700,000. Though reports say there is a potential buyer of the stable, Wikinews cannot independently confirm those reports.

Residents say the stable was designed by Richard A. Waite, a 19th century architect, and was first owned by a company called White Bros., used as a stable and housed at least 30 horses at any given time. It also stored “coaches, coupes, broughams, Victorias and everything in the line of light livery,” stated an article from the West Side Topics dated 1906. According to the article, The company first opened in 1881 on Thirteenth Street, now Normal Avenue, and later moved into the Jersey building in 1892. The Buffalo Fire Department believes the building was built around 1814, while the city property database states it was built in 1870. It is believed to be only one of three stables of this kind still standing in the country.

At about 1950, the stable was converted into an automobile body shop and gasoline station.A property record search showed that in 1950 at least four fuel storage tanks were installed on the property. Two are listed as 550 square feet while the other two are 2,000 square feet. All of the tanks are designated as a TK4, which New York State says is used for “below ground horizontal bulk fuel storage.” The cost of installing a tank of that nature according to the state, at that time, included the tank itself, “excavation and backfill,” but did not include “the piping, ballast, or hold-down slab orring.” It is not known if the tanks are still on the property, but residents are concerned the city was not taking the precautions to find out.

Wikinews has called the city along with the Mayor’s office several times, but both have yet to return our calls. There are conflicting reports as to the date of the next hearing. According to Herrick, the next hearing is July 1, 2008 though the Buffalo News states the next hearing is July 8. The News also states that Burns will make a final ruling on the stable at this time.

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Jun 20 2018

NASA’s InSight lander and MarCO craft launch in new mission to Mars

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Monday, May 7, 2018

On Saturday, United Launch Alliance launched a Atlas V 401 rocket carrying NASA’s InSight Mars lander and two Mars Cube One (MarCO) miniature spacecraft known as cubesats. The pre-dawn launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base Space Launch Complex 3E in Lompoc, California was declared a success. This was the very first deep space launch from the west coast of the United States, and aimed to send a lander to the surface of the planet Mars to study its interior.

Launched alongside InSight were two MarCO cubesats, the first to be sent beyond Earth, nicknamed ‘WALL-E’ and ‘Eve’ after the protagonists of the 2008 animated science fiction film WALL-E. They were designed as a dual telecommunications relay for InSight during the spacecraft’s descent through the Martian atmosphere.

Traditionally, NASA launched interplanetary spacecraft at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on the United States’ east coast. There, rockets were sent eastward over the Atlantic Ocean, borrowing the Earth’s rotational velocity to shoot their payloads out into the solar system. Due to congestion on the launch calendar at Canaveral, NASA chose to launch the spacecraft from from Vandenberg Air Force Base on the country’s west coast instead. A launch eastward from Vandenberg would have been dangerous due to densely populated areas being located downrange. Instead, rockets launched from Vandenberg were sent in a south-southeast trajectory. For Insight and MarCO, the spacecraft was placed in a temporary polar orbit after the launch, with the pair being shot towards Mars during a escape burn performed over the North Pole.

Despite a heavy fog settling in at the rocket’s launch pad in Lompoc, the United Launch Alliance declared a “100% chance of favorable weather for liftoff”. Spectators in Lompoc were treated to a mostly obscured view of the launch, though they were witness nonetheless to the sound and shock waves of the Atlas V’s Common Core first stage as it lifted the spacecraft off the ground on-schedule at 4:05 PDT (1105 UTC). People along the coast of southern California and northern Baja California, however, were in clear view of the Atlas V’s main engine burn and the first burn of the rocket’s Centaur upper stage. People in Orange County, California were treated to the sight of InSight and the Centaur almost eclipsing the planet Jupiter in the night sky.

The recently-inaugurated Administrator of NASA, Jim Bridenstine, congratulated the InSight team in an address televised live on NASA TV after the launch, along with the United Launch Alliance on what was their 128th successful launch in a row. The InSight mission part of NASA’s Discovery program, a class of low-cost solar system exploration missions. It was selected to launch in the program after beating the Comet Hopper and Titan Mare Explorer proposals amongst responses to a 2010 request.

Both InSight and the MarCO cubesats are en route to Mars. InSight carries eight scientific instruments, including a seismometer known as Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure (SEIS). The SEIS instrument will be recording the very first seismic measurements of Mars, which scientists hope will shed light on the structure of Mars beneath its surface. The lander was equipped with two cameras, based on the architecture of the Mars Exploration Rover’s navigation camera and hazard avoidance camera, to allow mission scientists to monitor the activity of the instruments. NASA scheduled a November 26 landing for InSight on a broad plain in the planet’s northern hemisphere, known as Elysium Planitia.

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Jun 19 2018

China-EU financial relations are growing

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Friday, December 4, 2009

Chinese President Hu Jintao met with the European Union’s leaders Jose Manuel Barroso and Fredrik Reinfeldt in Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, China. The EU leaders were in China to attend Monday’s twelfth China-European Union (EU) summit. Barroso said China-EU relations are “more mature, deeper” then before.

China-EU trading relations have grown over the last 35 years. The volume of trade between the pair reached US$425.58 billion in 2008, an increase of 19.5% over the prior year. Bilateral relations are far closer now than in previous years.

Swedish Prime Minister, Fredrik Reinfeldt, said the Lisbon Treaty would help strengthen EU-China relations. Summit attendees also talked about nuclear non-proliferation, disarmament, human rights, climate change, combating financial crisis and financial investments.

Before the twelfth China-EU summit, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao met with EU delegates in Nanjing, and the trading partners celebrated the 35th anniversary of diplomatic relations.

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Jun 19 2018

Arson charge for man who cleaned home with gasoline

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Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Ernest Krajniak from Chilton, Wisconsin in the United States has been charged with arson after a lit cigarette ignited gasoline soaked clothes, setting his apartment ablaze.

On Friday April 3, Krajniak, 47, cleaned his entire apartment with about five gallons of gasoline, wiping everything down with the soaked clothes. After he was finished, he piled the soaked clothes in the center of his bedroom, lit a cigarette and then threw what was left of the still lit cigarette, into the pile.

Krajniak never called the fire department and never pulled the alarm. Instead he yelled ‘fire’ a few times then walked to the police station where an ambulance took him to a local hospital for the treatment of minor burns. The fire department later arrived to put out the blaze and his apartment was extensively smoke damaged. 11 other apartments were also damaged, leaving the occupants without a place to stay for at least a week.

“I should have never used that,” said Krajniak during a court appearance on Monday. He admitted to knowing that gasoline was highly flammable. He was arrested and his bond has been set a US$2,500. Krajniak’s next court appearance is scheduled for Monday, April 13. According to WISinfo.com, Krajniak has no prior criminal record.

The careless smoking of cigarettes has been blamed for thousands of fires across the U.S. In January 2008, an unnamed elderly woman in Buffalo, New York was receiving oxygen for medical problems in her home and lit a cigarette and began to smoke it. The oxygen coming from her mask then facilitated the ignition of her clothing, setting her on fire.

In the U.S. in 2002, only 4% of all residential fires were reportedly caused by smoking materials. These fires, however, were responsible for 19% of residential fire fatalities and 9% of injuries. The fatality rate due to smoking is nearly four times higher than the overall residential fire rate; injuries are more than twice as likely. Forty percent of all smoking fires start in the bedroom or living room/family room; in 35% of these fires, bedding or upholstered furniture are the items first ignited.

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Jun 19 2018

Fake impotence drugs linked to low blood sugar outbreak

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Thursday, February 12, 2009

An article in the February 12 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine reports on an unusual cause for an outbreak of low blood sugar among men in Singapore: illegal use of sexual performance enhancement drugs that were contaminated with a diabetes drug.

Between January and May 2008, 149 men and one woman between 19 and 97 (mean age 51) were admitted to five public hospitals for unexplained low blood sugar. Similar cases were reported in media reports from Hong Kong. Seven Singaporean patients remained in a coma because of prolonged sugar starvation of the brain, and four subsequently died. The diabetes drug glyburide was found in blood and/or urine samples in 85% of cases; 30% admitted having used illegal sexual performance enhancers.

The contaminated products were a counterfeit version of the drug Cialis (meant for the treatment of genuine erectile dysfunction), and three purported herbal preparation (the affected brands included Power 1 Walnut and Santi Bovine Penis Erecting Capsule). All four preparations additionally contained Viagra in varying concentrations. Two herbal products contained traces of the weight loss drug sibutramine, a compound related to amphetamines.

The drug packaging mentioned names of non-existent overseas production facilities, so the source of the contamination with the diabetes drug could not be established.

The authors underline the risks that is known to be associated with purchasing drugs from unreliable providers or from online resellers. The clandestine use of impotence drugs as sexual performance enhancers seems to have provided a good illustration of this problem. They further call for more efforts by national and international health and law enforcement agencies to curb the manufacturing, international transport and sales of untrustworthy medication.

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Feb 19 2018

Canada women’s national wheelchair basketball team gets its first win of London Paralympics

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Sunday, September 2, 2012

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London, England — Yesterday at London’s Basketball Arena, the Canada women’s national wheelchair basketball team earned their first victory of the London Paralympics when they defeated the Australia women’s national wheelchair basketball team 57–50.

Canada took a one point lead into the second half, when the scores were 33–32 because of a last minute foul that sent Canada to the free throw line where they capitalized by making one of their shots. 4.5 point player Janet McLachlan and 2 point player Katie Harnock dominated in minutes played for Canada during the first half, playing all 20 minutes and leading their team in scoring with 11 first half points for McLachlan and 12 for Harnock. The Canadian team was loudly supported by spectators, earning more cheering from the largely Great Britain supporting fans than the Australians.

The second half saw Canada slowly increase their lead, keeping tied with Australia 4–4 in the first half of third, 6–4 in the last half of the third, 6–4 in the first half of the fourth, and 8–6 in the last half of the fourth. McLachlan finished the game as Canada’s leading scorer with 28 total, 17 in the second half. Harnock had a quieter second half only scoring 2 points to finish with 14. Cindy Ouellett was the team’s third leading scorer, finishing the game with ten.

The Canadian team supported their team from the bench, chanting “Get it out! Get it out!” when on defense and “Let’s go Canada” when on the offense. Other times, one player led the team in chanting support for their players on the court. The team was consistently louder than the Australian bench.

Throughout the game, the Canadians tipped themselves over more in their chairs than the Australians. Ouellett tipped once, and bounced in her chair, with a wheel leaving the ground as she attempted to block shots and steal the ball. Ouellett and Australian Cobi Crispin locked wheels, and required a break in the game where Australia’s coach came on to the court and removed Ouellett’s wheel to detach the pair before putting it back on again.

Following the game, Australia’s Amber Merritt said of playing Canada, “I have the utmost respect for Canada. They’re a great team, but we’ll refocus on the game tomorrow [against the Netherlands] and go out and play like we know we can, the Australian way.”

Prior to the start of the game, McLachlan was the team’s dominating player in the competition. She was ranked eighth in the competition in field goal percentage, and was Canada’a highest ranked player in this category. She ranked second in the tournament in total field goals made per game, with 12. Teammate Katie Harnock ranked eighth. Tara Feser ranked fourth in the tournament for 2 point field goal percentage at 57.1%, while McLachlan ranked ninth with 50.0%. McLachlan was second in 2 point field goals made per game, at 12. Harnock was tied for first with Mexico’s Floralia Estrada Bernal in the competition for 3 point field goal percentage at 20%, and was ranked second in the tournament for most 3 point field goals made with one.

As a team coming into the game, Canada was ranked sixth in total field goal percentage, eighth in free throw percentage, sixth in average rebounds per game, second in fouls, and last in turnovers.

Coming into this game, Canada had lost their first game 70–59 to the Netherlands. They are scheduled to play Brazil today.

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Feb 19 2018

Millions of old New Zealand coins still to be handed in

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Wednesday, October 25, 2006

On November 1, 2006 the old five, ten, twenty and fifty cent coins will be illegal tender, but the Reserve Bank of New Zealand says there are still at least 100 million still to be returned.

According to the Reserve Bank, most of the old coins have been lost in drains or buried in rubbish. “We think there is still another 100 million sitting around in people’s homes,” Brian Lang, currency manger for the Reserve Bank, said.

Lang said: “So far, just over 280 million coins have been returned, but there are more out there. Since 1967 the Reserve Bank has issued more than a billion of the old ‘silver’ coins. So if you don’t want to be stuck with loads of old coin – there’s never been a better time to empty your coin jars, sweep the car glove box and rummage behind the couch cushions.”

The coins still awaiting to be handed in, by either spending them, taking them to a bank or donating them to charity, are estimated to be worth between NZ$5 million and $50 million.

“A last-minute burst of publicity may convince people to bring the coins in. It’s a bit of a hassle though. Human nature being what it is, people just don’t care,” Lang said. The Karori Wildlife Sanctuary located in Wellington say that they have collected over $9,000 in old coins. Sanctuary spokesman, Alan Dicks said: “The campaign was particularly fitting because the old coins depicted tuataras and kiwis, both of which can be found living at the sanctuary. The money will go towards supporting general ecological restoration of the sanctuary. We want to get over ten grand, but the more the better.”

Lang said: “Though the coins will no longer be legal tender, banks will continue to exchange them until at least the end of the year,” and the Reserve Bank will always exchange them. “We are still getting people coming in with two-dollar notes,” Lang added.

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Feb 19 2018

Cleaning Brick Pavers To Improve Their Appearance

Published by under Furniture

byAlma Abell

When a homeowner has a patio made of brick pavers, they most likely enjoy the appearance they give to their property. Cleaning Brick Pavers will help the homeowner avoid a patio that looks drab or lackluster to those who visit. Here are some steps one can take to ensure their brick pavers look their best.

Prepare The Area

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It is best to use a tarp to cover any surrounding landscaping as chemical agents are needed to clean pavers effectively. Remove any furniture from the patio area, so it does not become damaged. A stiff-bristled brush can be used to remove any weeds or moss that has grown between the pavers. The pavers should then be rinsed in their entirety, so the cleaning agent does not cause a filmy substance to adhere to the brick pieces.

Adding The Cleaning Solution

After the pavers are moistened, a cleaning solution can be brushed directly to each paver using the same stiff-bristled brush to work it into the bricks. Some find that a mild solution made of half dish soap and half water will work effectively for dirt removal. If the pavers appear stained, a commercial product can be purchased to be applied. It is important to read the instructions on the commercial products, so they are not kept on the pavers for too long, as they are acidic in nature. The pavers can then be rinsed using a pressure washer to remove the cleaning agent.

Add New Sand

After the pavers are cleaned, there may be a need to add more sand between each one. Simply pour sand in the joint areas between the pavers to replace what had washed away. Use a broom to sweep away excess sand. Afterward, use a garden hose on a mist setting to moisten the sand slightly. This will help push it into place.

If someone is interested in finding out more about Cleaning Brick Pavers effectively, they can call a landscaping company for more information. Take a look at fgmlandscaping.com to learn more about different patio enhancement choices or to make an appointment to repair existing patio to new brick pavers if desired. You can also follow them on Twitter for more information.

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Feb 19 2018

Icelandic government passes Icesave deal; €12,000 debt per citizen

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Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Icelandic Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir and her coalition government narrowly escaped a commitment to resign as a €3.8 billion bill to repay British and Dutch savers following the collapse of Icesave online banking passed. The vote margin was only three votes.

Only a matter of hours before the anticipated final vote, Wikileaks announced the disclosure of one of 23 documents suppressed by the Icelandic Minister of Finance: an apparent legal summary of meetings between Icelandic and EU representatives held in Brussels in November 2008. The leaked document discusses the then-assessed liabilities of Iceland at 60% of GDP, considerably higher than the reported 40% which repaying Icesave deposit holders entails.

Amongst the other details in the report is emphasis of the deep-seated anger of the Icelandic people at the situation around the financial collapse, particularly the UK’s use of anti-terrorism legislation in its approach to the country’s banks. Iceland’s interpretation of the situation, and its financial treaty obligations with the EU, considered foreign deposits lost through force majeure. All 27 EU members disagreed with Iceland’s interpretation and Peter Mandelson, although he resigned from the Barroso Commission in October, presented the legal position that Iceland could not pass legislation that did not ensure treaty-mandated minimum balance returns from failed Icelandic banks.

Leaked private communication from Ingibjörg Sólrún Gísladóttir, Iceland’s then-foreign minister, compared the potential liabilities the country faced with the reparations imposed on Germany by the Treaty of Versailles in the wake of World War I.

Three banks failed in the financial crisis: Kaupthing, Glitnir, and Landsbanki. As the list of creditors emerged it was found that, among others, UK councils had around £900 million with the banks. Landsbanki agreed to repay the majority of funds held, giving council depositors priority status. Approximately £200 million on deposit with Glitnir is at-risk; the bank has stated the councils will be treated equally with all other creditors seeing them likely to only recover 30% of the amount Glitnir held.

Kaupthing faces other difficulties. The UK’s Serious Fraud Office began an investigation earlier this month into the bank’s UK activities. At issue are allegations savers were misled into selecting one particular account type, plus suspicious financial activity suggesting substantial amounts were moved out of the bank in the days prior to its collapse.

At present, UK councils have received little more than ten percent of their over £900 million deposits. They are among over 8,500 creditors claiming a staggering total of £20 billion. The largest single claimant is the British Depositors’ and Investors’ Guarantee Fund seeking €5 billion, and, of some note, Formula One racing team Williams claiming around £10 million in unpaid sponsorship from Glitnir who took on the liability from the Icelandic buyers of Hamleys.

This article is a featured article. It is considered one of the best works of the Wikinews community. See Wikinews:Featured articles for more information.

Debt to 84% government-owned Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) by Glitnir stands at around £500 million; much of the actual debt written off in 2008 as RBS posted £24 billion losses. Further write-offs by the bank are expected to total less than £50 million.

Icelanders resented the discovery that fifteen senior ex-employees of Landsbanki claim €14 million between them, including a single claim of €2.7 million. Suspicion exists that the banks arranged substantial interest-free loans for various of their shareholders and executives.

Today’s announcement of the Icelandic government’s agreement to pay out €3.8 billion keeps their application for EU membership on-track, although each one of the country’s 320,000 citizens effectively faces a €12,000 debt.

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