Oct 18 2019

1 million people welcome 2007 in Sydney

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Monday, January 1, 2007

A crowd of approximately 1 million has welcomed the new year in Sydney overnight. Many of the crowd had camped out since 6 AM AEDT (7PM UTC) to ensure they had the best vantage point for the fireworks displays at 9 PM and 12 AM. Earlier predictions of rain failed to dampen enthusiastic revellers and fortunately did not eventuate.

According to police, vantage points were Circular Quay and Sydney Opera House closed around 7 PM.

This year’s theme was “A diamond night in Emerald City” and celebrated the Sydney Harbour Bridge’s diamond anniversary of 75 years which will fall in March.

As usual, the bridge became the centre piece of Sydney’s celebrations with a question mark turning into a coat hanger during the 9 PM fireworks show before a diamond appeared at 11 PM.

Entertainment was held in the city throughout the day, culminating in a spectacular fireworks display at midnight. Revellers counted down the final seconds of 2006 with numbers on the side of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

The festivities are estimated to have cost AUD $4 million and organisers claim their fireworks display is “the largest in the world”. Sydney’s celebrations were broadcast on television live around the world as other countries prepared their New Year’s Eve celebrations.

Despite the large crowd, police made only 58 arrests for offences including offensive conduct, stealing, assaulting police, goods in custody, assault, drink driving and affray.

Ambulance officers were called to 1,139 incidents in Sydney with another 900 in country areas.

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Oct 15 2019

Virtual orchestra opens in London

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Saturday, August 19, 2006

A virtual orchestra opened in London on August 19th 2006 outside the Royal Festival Hall on London’s South Bank. But unlike a normal orchestra, this one features 58 specially designed cube-shaped seats which activate a musicical note. As more people sit down on the seats, more of the score is revealed.

The music will be added to an online sample library. Jude Kelly, Artistic Director of South Bank Centre, said: “This is exactly the way we are looking at developing our site by fusing the community with the artistic world of ideas and technology in our many versatile spaces.”

Alistair Mackie, chairman of the Philharmonia Orchestra, said: “Central to the Philharmonia Orchestra’s vision is exploiting new media to take music out to the widest possible audience, breaking down the barriers which have stood in the way of their access and enjoyment.”

Bethany, aged 10, went to the orchestra launch and she said: “It is a good experience. You get to see what it’s like to be in a real orchestra.” One of the main aims of the virtual orchestra is to get more people interested in classical music.

Every Saturday, a musician from the Philharmonic Orchestra will be visiting and they will bring their sound recording equipment.

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Oct 10 2019

Software giant Adobe Systems to acquire Magento Commerce for US$1.68 billion

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Wednesday, May 23, 2018

On Monday, San Jose, California, US-based software company Adobe Systems announced their plans to acquire California-based e-commerce handling web service Magento Commerce for 1.68 billion US dollars (USD). After Adobe made the announcement via their official website, Adobe’s stocks rose by around one percent, ending Monday extended trading at USD 238.10 per share.

Magento provides services for the creation of digital ads and handling of online transactions. Magento’s services are used by Nestlé, Coca-Cola, Warner Music, and Canon. The acquisition, which is expected to take place in the third fiscal quarter of this year, is to be an all-cash deal. Adobe is to acquire Magento from Permira equity firm. In 2015, Permira bought Magento from eBay, an eCommerce website. Adobe, in their official statement, said, “Magento Commerce Cloud will enable commerce to be seamlessly integrated into the Adobe Experience Cloud”.

Adobe also announced a buyback of shares worth USD eight billion by 2021. Magento’s CEO Mark Lavelle said, “Adobe and Magento share a vision for the future of digital experiences that brings together Adobe’s strength in content and data with Magento’s open commerce innovation […] We’re excited to join Adobe and believe this will be a great opportunity for our customers, partners and developer community”.

After the announcement, stocks of Magento’s competitors Shopify, Inc dropped by about 4.8%. They finished extended trading at USD 137.60 after the announcement.

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Oct 10 2019

Commonwealth Bank of Australia CEO apologies for financial planning scandal

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Thursday, July 3, 2014

Ian Narev, the CEO of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, this morning “unreservedly” apologised to clients who lost money in a scandal involving the bank’s financial planning services arm.

Last week, a Senate enquiry found financial advisers from the Commonwealth Bank had made high-risk investments of clients’ money without the clients’ permission, resulting in hundreds of millions of dollars lost. The Senate enquiry called for a Royal Commission into the bank, and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).

Mr Narev stated the bank’s performance in providing financial advice was “unacceptable”, and the bank was launching a scheme to compensate clients who lost money due to the planners’ actions.

In a statement Mr Narev said, “Poor advice provided by some of our advisers between 2003 and 2012 caused financial loss and distress and I am truly sorry for that. […] There have been changes in management, structure and culture. We have also invested in new systems, implemented new processes, enhanced adviser supervision and improved training.”

An investigation by Fairfax Media instigated the Senate inquiry into the Commonwealth Bank’s financial planning division and ASIC.

Whistleblower Jeff Morris, who reported the misconduct of the bank to ASIC six years ago, said in an article for The Sydney Morning Herald that neither the bank nor ASIC should be in control of the compensation program.

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Oct 10 2019

Scottish Justice Secretary ‘acutely aware of unusual publicity’ in Kular case

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Thursday, February 13, 2014

Wikinews has obtained a letter by Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill to former Conservative justice spokesman John Lamont in response to questions raised by our correspondent about the Mikaeel Kular murder case. Wikinews has investigated possible contempt by media publishing potentially prejudicial material, and MacAskill wrote he has “been following the case of Mikaeel Kular and [is] acutely aware of the unusual publicity this case has attracted.”

When Mikaeel Kular, three, vanished from his Edinburgh home last month police and volunteers scoured the capital for him. His body was found in Fife just before midnight on January 17, and his mother was arrested on January 18. That’s when Wikinews first reported on possible widespread contempt by UK and Scottish media.

Our correspondent is based in Scotland and has been advised by a lawyer not to identify anybody detained until they have appeared in court, even if they have been arrested and charged. Professor James Chalmers of the University of Glasgow has since reviewed our coverage and confirmed this position. Despite that a large number of major media outlets identified Rosdeep Adekoya, nee Kular, 33, as the arrested individual.

Adekoya has since been in Edinburgh Sheriff Court charged with murdering her son. She is in custody pending indictment and trial, but any eyewitness evidence may be tainted because her image has been widely published. This is common practice elsewhere in the UK but Scottish justice works differently and courts have viewed publication of photos as potentially prejudicial. Professor Pamela Ferguson of the University of Dundee notes “journalists do seem to be walking a dangerous line if publishing photos etc of suspects.” Crown Office, which is in overall charge of prosecutions, has indicated to journalists that no further comment will be made at least until indictment.

MacAskill however expressed confidence in the Scottish court system to deal with the situation. “I am confident… the courts themselves will intervene if they believe publicity is in danger of being prejudicial.” He also wrote to Lamont that he has faith in the court to successfully direct any jury that may try the case in order to maintain fairness.

The courts have said that the only safe route to avoid committing a contempt is to avoid publishing a photograph

The Contempt of Court Act 1981 is designed to prevent prejudicial material going in front of juries before trial. Although UK-wide legislation, the law is interpreted differently north of the border than in England and Wales. Witnesses in Scotland may be asked to identify accused persons standing in the dock. The BBC College of Journalism advises legal advice be sought ahead of publishing photos and notes it has previously been ruled contempt. The BBC used the accused’s photo prominently in their own online coverage.

Chalmers explains: “It may be a contempt of court to create a substantial risk of serious prejudice to someone’s right to a fair trial. A photograph might do this in a case where identification is an issue; on the face of it, that does not seem especially likely in this case, but it is impossible to know for certain at this point. The courts have said that the only safe route to avoid committing a contempt is to avoid publishing a photograph, but that does not mean that publishing a photograph is automatically a contempt.” MacAskill noted “the kind of issue that publicity might raise may become apparent only during the trial itself.”

Contempt has been a considerable issue in the UK in recent years after high-profile cases. In one instance a charge against serial killer Levi Bellfield was dropped owing to publicity while the jury were deliberating; in another, newspapers were fined and sued for libel over reporting on the arrest of a suspect who turned out to be innocent in a prominent investigation.

A proposal was mooted to ban identification of suspects arrested anywhere in the UK, but this was subsequently shelved. MacAskill confirmed “the Scottish Government is content with the way the courts are operating the rules on contempt of court in Scotland at the moment and has no plans to make changes.” He also wrote of the difficulties with trying to individually cover all eventualities with prescriptive legislation, saying “A trial for a sexual offence will raise very different issues — particularly of protecting victims — from those that are raised by a tax fraud trial.”

MacAskill says it is the Scottish Government’s position that the task of “counterbalancing the public interest in reporting with upholding the criminal law should be left to those whose job it is to do so — the courts and the judiciary, acting in the individual circumstances of the case”.

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Oct 10 2019

Honda Civic tops Canada’s list of most stolen cars

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Wednesday, November 22, 2006

The 1999 and 2000 year model Honda Civic SiR tops the list of Canada’s most stolen cars.

Consumer popularity also assures the cars will be popular with thieves. Its the second year in a row the Honda SiR has topped the list.

Rick Dubin Vice President of Investigations for the Insurance Bureau of Canada said “The Civics are easy targets.”

Dubin said that once stolen, the cars are most often sold to “chop shops” where thieves completely dismantle the vehicles. The automobile’s individual parts are worth more than the entire car.

The sheer numbers of the cars and their lack of theft deterrent systems make them thieves’ preferred choices.

1999 and 2000 Honda Civics do not come with an electronic immobilizer, however all Hondas from 2001 and onward are equipped with an immobilizer. Immobilizers will be mandatory on all new cars sold beginning September 2007. The devices enable an engine computer to recognize an electronic code in the key. If the code in the key and the engine don’t match exactly, the vehicle can’t be started.

In third place was the 2004 Subaru Impreza, while the 1999 Acura Integra came in fourth, with the 1994 Honda Civic rounding out the top five.

In sixth place, the 1998 Acura Integra, and the 1993 Dodge Shadow completed seventh.

When asked why early model vehicles are selected, he said that, “auto thieves continue to find it easier to steal older vehicles lacking an IBC-approved immobilizer. We’ve seen this trend developing for several years, and these results confirm it.”

Another Honda automobile, the 1996 year model Civic filled eighth place, with the 2000 German Audi TT Quattro in ninth.

The American 1996 Chevrolet/GMC Blazer rounded out the top ten.

None of the above cars had an electronic immobilizer.

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Oct 10 2019

Best Coogi Plus Size Ladies Urban Clothing Wholesaler

By Randy Mark

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Sep 18 2019

China threatens to take action over US-Taiwan deal

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Sunday, January 31, 2010

China has stated that they will cease all military exchanges with the United States in response to a US$6.4 billion (NT$204 billion) weapons deal with Taiwan going ahead. He Yafei, Chinese Vice-Foreign Minister, said that there would be a “serious negative impact” with regards to the relationship between the US and China.

…a seriously negative impact on many important areas of exchanges and co-operation between the two countries…

Taiwan and mainland China have been ruled by separate governments since 1949, and neither recognize each other’s independence. In an effort to regain control of Taiwan, the government in Beijing has been open to running the island like Hong Kong, in a “one country, two systems” manner, but people in Taiwan support the status quo. The Chinese defense ministry said that they had “decided to suspend planned mutual military visits”. They “strongly demand” that the United States “respect the Chinese side’s interests,” calling for the proposal to be rejected.

China summoned the US Ambassador to China, Jon Huntsman, to warn the US Government about the consequences, and to urge for cancellation of the deal. The Pentagon proposed the deal, that was first promised during the later days of the Bush administration, to Congress earlier.

Yafei issued a statement on the Foreign Ministry website stating that “the United States’ announcement of the planned weapons sales to Taiwan will have a seriously negative impact on many important areas of exchanges and co-operation between the two countries.”

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However, the US is defending itself. “Such sales contribute to maintaining security and stability across the Taiwan Strait”, Laura Tischler, spokeswoman for the US State Department, said.

Beijing is threatening to review co-operation on major issues and impose sanctions on companies selling arms, even though US companies are banned from selling arms to China as a result of the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989, so it is not clear what the effect will be. A Chinese defence ministry spokesman said that the sanctions reflected the “severe harm” the deal would have. A foreign ministry spokesman stated that there would be “repercussions that neither side wishes to see” if the deal went ahead.

Taiwan, one of Asia’s few functioning democracies, welcomed the proposal, with Taiwanese president Ma Ying-jeou being quoted as saying “It will let Taiwan feel more confident and secure so we can have more interactions with China.”

The arms deal includes UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters, communications equipment and MIM-104 Patriot missiles, but does not include the F-16 fighter jets that Taiwan’s military were looking for. The US is legally obliged to supply Taiwan with defensive weapons under the Taiwan Relations Act 1979.

In 2003, an unnamed US briefing stated that “[the US] would have to get involved if China tried to use coercion or force to unilaterally change the status of Taiwan”.

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Sep 18 2019

Firefighters rescue nearly a dozen animals in Buffalo, New York house fire

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Friday, June 22, 2007

Buffalo, New York —A three alarm fire at a house owned by John and Evelyn Bencinich, two of the initiators of a lawsuit filed against the Elmwood Village Hotel proposal in Buffalo, required firefighters to rescue eight cats and two dogs in Buffalo, New York today.

At about 8:30 (eastern time) firefighters were called to the home on 48 Granger Place to put out a fire that had started in the basement. It quickly spread to the first floor where the main bathroom was destroyed. The fire did not spread to the second floor or attic.

Initial calls said that many animals were inside the house and firefighters quickly worked to rescue all the cats and dogs. At least one cat and one dog had to receive CPR and oxygen, but both are reported to be in stable condition. At least 3 cats are unaccounted for, but after a search of the house, the cats were not believed to have been inside at the time the fire started.

One elderly woman, Anna Bencinich, the mother of Evelyn, was rescued by neighbors who helped her from the burning house.

“There was smoke all over the house. The fire started in the basement and spread to a small portion of the first floor. Two firefighters were injured while fighting the fire and were transported to Erie County Medical Center,” said Division Fire Chief Thomas Ashe who also said that sections of the kitchen wall at the back of the house had to be torn out to stop the fire from spreading through the walls.

One firefighter is being treated for bite injuries to his face that he received while attempting to rescue a dog. The other firefighter was treated for injuries he received to his hand, which was believed to have been caused by glass or a cat scratching him. The names of the injured firefighters are not known. The injuries are said to not be life threatening.

According to witness reports, the home owners had a new water heater installed just last week, but it is not known if the fire was caused by the heater.

“We believe the fire was caused by an electrical (malfunction). An investigation is being conducted,” said Battalion Chief Joe Fahey who also added that they did not believe arson was the cause.

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Sep 03 2019

News briefs:July 16, 2010

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