News briefs:June 30, 2006


The time is 20:00 (UTC) on June 30th, 2006, and this is Audio Wikinews News Briefs.

Contents

  • 1 Headlines
    • 1.1 Interior Ministry, Fatah offices in Gaza hit by Israeli airstrikes
    • 1.2 Palestinian PM: Israel aims to topple gov’t
    • 1.3 Portuguese Minister of Foreign Affairs Freitas do Amaral resigns
    • 1.4 French Parliament adopts controversial copyright bill
    • 1.5 Police crackdown on illegal tow operations in Sydney
    • 1.6 Amsterdam to open a “Chocolate Factory”
    • 1.7 Australian shot in Thailand
    • 1.8 Germany master penalties to beat Argentina to semi-final spot
    • 1.9 Ullrich and Sevilla suspended from Tour de France
  • 2 Closing statements

[edit]

Belgian bus company knows solution for car parking problems


Monday, May 21, 2007

Do you have a hard time finding a parking space? Take the bus or tram if you go to the city. That’s the message Belgian bus company De Lijn (The Line) is sending to promote public transport as a solution for car parking problems. As a part of their media campaign, they have jokingly suggested that people use the top of the busses as parking space.

Another idea they are using in their media campaign: maybe you could park your car on the bottom of a canal? The bus company is using an invented diving company called Cardive, which has divers that offer to dump your car in the canal. The divers walk around in cities and hand out free bus tickets and maps of the bus network.

To reach car drivers who are not using public transport, the media campaign has several radio commercials that present other solutions to the car parking problem. You could use “asphalt-spray” to camouflage your car, making it invisible for policemen (although you then need to remember where you’ve parked). Or you could use the “flat tire kit”, which comes with a fake flat tire and an inflatable dummy, so it looks like you’re replacing your flat tire. The final idea the bus company has is to use a View-Master to fool parking guards into believing that your car has been stationed correctly.

A survey among 4000 customers of De Lijn shows that two out of three car owners who use public transport, do so to avoid parking space troubles, and in cities this percentage rises to 90%. The survey further shows that 39% use the bus to go shopping.

During the month of May, the auto-bus and the divers tour several cities in Flanders (Leuven, Hasselt, Ghent, Bruges and Antwerp).

Wikinews’ overview of the year 2008


Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Also try the 2008 World News Quiz of the year.

What would you tell your grandchildren about 2008 if they asked you about it in, let’s say, 20 years’ time? If the answer to a quiz question was 2008, what would the question be? The year that markets collapsed, or perhaps the year that Obama became US president? Or the year Heath Ledger died?

Let’s take a look at some of the important stories of 2008. Links to the original Wikinews articles are in all the titles.

Australian police seize one tonne shipment of ecstacy


Friday, April 15, 2005Police in Melbourne have seized over a tonne of ecstacy in a shipment of tiles from Italy. Four were arrested on Thursday and early Friday relating to the shipment, which the Australian Federal Police has called the biggest shipment of street-ready ecstacy pills in the world.

The four men were charged with aiding and abetting a prohibited import, according to ABC radio. Five million tablets were seized, with a reported street value of US$190 million (AU$250m). Two were additionally charged with attempting to possess a prohibited import.

Federal police were continuing to investigate a crime ring behind the shipment, a spokesperson told News24.com.

Federal Agent Mike Phelan said: “The AFP is now working with its counterparts in Italy and other parts of Europe to identify any overseas links with this latest seizure.”

X-rays taken of the shipment, which arrived in Port Melbourne earlier in the week, had revealed anomalies inside eight pallets which were stacked with tiles, said a report from Australian Associated Press.

Police then monitored the shipping container until it was delivered on Thursday to a suburban Melbourne factory, where two men were arrested, according to the News24.com report. Agents searched a dozen homes and businesses across Melbourne and arrested two more men early on Friday. All four suspects were due to appear in court later on Friday.

Federal Justice Minister Chris Ellison praised the AFP, the Australian Customs Service and the Australian Crime Commission involved in the operation, which he told Australian Associated Press had been ongoing since January.

“This big seizure sends a very clear message to those who want to traffic drugs to Australia, you will be caught and face very serious penalties,” Senator Ellison told the news agency, saying the shipment “could have wreaked havoc”.

“Anyone who says this sort of seizure does not slow the supply of drugs is quite obviously out of touch with reality.”

The previous largest Australian ecstasy haul occurred in November 2004 in Sydney, when 1,800 pounds of ecstasy tablets and powder were seized, Australian Federal Police (AFP) told Reuters, compared to this shipment’s weight of 2,240 pounds.

Top exorcist says schoolgirl was kidnapped for Vatican sex ring


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Gabriel Amorth, the Roman Catholic Church’s leading exorcist, has suggested missing schoolgirl Emanuela Orlandi was kidnapped for sexual abuse at orgies attended by foreign diplomats and arranged by Vatican police. Orlandi was fifteen when she vanished in 1983.

Amorth, 85, who was appointed by the late Pope John Paul II, makes his remarks as Italian police try to determine if bones buried near the body of a mobster belong to Orlandi. Anonymous claims have suggested the tomb of Enrico “Renatino” De Pedis contains clues to her disappearance.

Investigators are examining bones removed from his burial site in the Basilica of Sant’Apollinare. Buried in a nearby crypt, the bones are thought to be centuries old but forensic tests are ongoing. One theory is Pedis kidnapped Orlandi to press Vatican officials over a financial dispute, with his onetime lover claiming her body was disposed of in a cement mixer.

Amorth refutes this explanation, and also an alleged “international dimension”; another theory is that the kidnapping was to try and secure freedom for Mehmet Ali Agca of Turkey, who shot at the pope in 1981. Orlandi’s vanishing “was a crime with a sexual motive” says Amorth. “Parties were organised, with a Vatican gendarme [policeman] acting as the ‘recruiter’ of the girls.”

He further told La Stampa “The network involved diplomatic personnel from a foreign embassy to the Holy See. I believe Emanuela ended up a victim of this circle”. “It has already previously been stated by [the late] monsignor Simeone Duca, an archivist at the Vatican, who was asked to recruit girls for parties with the help of the Vatican gendarmes.”

Orlandi has not been seen since she set off from the family apartment in the Vatican City, heading for a Rome music lesson. Orlandi’s father worked for the Holy See. Amorth is a controversial priest who lays claim to thousands of exorcisms and has criticised activities such as yoga and children reading Harry Potter books as spiritually harmful.

Leonard Skinner, namesake of rock group Lynyrd Skynyrd, dies at age 77


Monday, September 20, 2010

Leonard Skinner, the namesake of rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd, has died at the age of 77. Skinner was a gym teacher and basketball coach and taught members of the group. His death was announced by his son, also named Leonard Skinner, who also said that he was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.

Skinner died at the St. Catherine Laboure Manor nursing home in Riverside at 02.30 a.m. His son said that he had a bowl of ice cream shortly after midnight. He had been at the home for about a year.

The coach taught the members of the group in the 1960s and was reportedly hard on the students. He later said in a 2009 interview that “he was just following the rules”. He disputed the rumours that he was extra tough on them or that he kicked them out of school.

In later years he opened up his own bar and became friends with some members of the group and even introduced them at one of their concerts in Jacksonville.

Canada’s Don Valley West (Ward 25) city council candidates speak


Friday, November 3, 2006

On November 13, Torontonians will be heading to the polls to vote for their ward’s councillor and for mayor. Among Toronto’s ridings is Don Valley West (Ward 25). Three candidates responded to Wikinews’ requests for an interview. This ward’s candidates include John Blair, Robertson Boyle, Tony Dickins, Cliff Jenkins (incumbent), and Peter Kapsalis.

For more information on the election, read Toronto municipal election, 2006.

Finnish metal band win 51st Eurovision Song Contest


Sunday, May 21, 2006

Lordi, described as “cartoon metalheads” wearing latex monster masks, beat runner-up Russian “heart throb” Dima Bilan to win this year’s 51st Eurovision song contest held in Athens, Greece. Bosnia’s Hari Mata Hariwas came third.

In a spectacular show, hosted by Maria Menounos and Sakis Rouvas, Lordi amassed 292 points after a public vote – 44 ahead of Russia. Greece’s singer Anna Vissi, who was one of the favourites to win, came 9th, followed by Ireland’s Brian Kennedy. From the start of the song contest as well as during the televoting, the Greek organisers presented viewers choreographies and dances inspired by Greek culture and music, both ancient and modern. In addition, the world famous Greek singer Nana Moushouri was presented by the hosts and gave the sign for the start of televoting.

Wielding spark-spewing instruments, the “Monster-themed” rock band beat 23 other competitors, scoring 292 points from telephone voters in 38 countries with its song “Hard Rock Hallelujah” in a performance that both shocked and amused viewers.

A spokesperson for Lordi said: “We won the contest, looking like this,” he said. “It just goes to show that Europe is not such a bad place.” The Finnish band thanked viewers for voting for their song, which featured the lead singer hoisting a double-headed-axe microphone stand above his head. The win has been dubbed as a “radical departure” from the catchy pop tunes, folk songs and emotional ballads normally associated with Eurovision.

Complete with distorted guitars, a catchy chorus and “mock-demonic imagery,” Lordi is reminiscent of 1970s American band Kiss – an inspiration acknowledged by lead singer Mr Lordi. “What this has shown is that there are different styles of music than just pop and rock,” Mr Lordi told news media after the surprise victory. “That should be the goal of Eurovision,” he said.

Mr. Lordi, whose real name is Tomi Putaansuu, hails from Lapland and says his band’s masked personas are just characters. “The guys behind the masks are not interesting – underneath, there’s just a boring, normal guy who walks the dogs, goes to the supermarket, watches DVDs and eats candies. You really don’t want to see him.” he said. But the characters “live on stage and they live in a fantasy world”, he said. “This element of mystery is one of the cornerstones of Lordi.”

The band has upset many Finns with their outrageous behaviour. “This is a victory for rock music… and also a victory for open-mindedness,” Mr Lordi said. “For the millionth time, we’re not Satanists or devil worshippers. This is entertainment. The masks are like our calling card and we’ll never perform without them. It would be like Santa Claus handing a child his gifts at Christmas time and then pulling off his beard…”

The 51st annual Eurovision was broadcast live across Europe, watched by an estimated 100 million viewers. Regarded by many as the “contest good taste forgot,” Eurovision is adored by fans of kitsch and camp everywhere.

Lordi join the likes of Abba, Bucks Fizz, Dana and Celine Dion on the elite list of Eurovision winners.

Because of Lordi’s first place finish, next year the 52nd Eurovision Song Contest will take place, for the first time, in Helsinki, Finland.

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art buys Edward Hopper valued at over $25 million


Monday, March 26, 2012

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) has purchased the painting Intermission, by American artist Edward Hopper. The piece, created in 1963, is one of the last paintings created by Hopper.

Hopper’s realist style, which visually examined American urban and rural life in the first half of the 20th century, made him one of the most influential and important American artists of the modern era. The painting, which was sold by a private collector, is believed to be valued at over $25 million.

Intermission shows a woman sitting alone in the front row of a theater. The theater is empty, and is described, by San Francisco Chronicle art critic Kenneth Baker as expressing emotion and social isolation, a standard theme in Hopper’s works. The inspiration for the painting came to Hopper while he was watching a film.

Hopper’s wife, Josephine, had scheduled Hopper to create the painting in a theater, however Hopper would complete the painting at his studio in New York City. Original sketches of Intermission show a second person sitting in the third row — a figure that never made it into the final painting. Baker calls Intermission a “prime example of Hopper’s austere realist vision”.

[This is] a necessary practice in an art market where prices for historically important art continue to rise steeply.

SFMOMA will not disclose how much they paid for Intermission. When the painting Hotel Window, which is of similar size and from the same period, sold at auction in 2006, it sold for $26.9 million. It is believed that “Inspiration” is worth just as much, if not more. Intermission was purchased with the help of donor funds, and acquired through the San Francisco-based Fraenkel Gallery, which sold if on behalf of a private collector.

In exchange for the acquisition of Intermission, SFMOMA is selling another Hopper painting: Bridal Path, from 1939. A lesser known work of Hopper’s, Bridal Path shows a horseback riding path in Central Park. By selling Bridal Path, SFMOMA is able to help fund the acquisition of the more well known Intermission. This practice is slowly gaining popularity within a museum and art market that previously disapproved of the sale of lesser known works for more popular acquisitions. Baker acknowledges the past practices, but believes that this is “a necessary practice in an art market where prices for historically important art continue to rise steeply.”

Intermission goes on display for the public on Friday, at SFMOMA.

Blown for Good author discusses life inside international headquarters of Scientology


Friday, November 13, 2009

Wikinews interviewed author Marc Headley about his new book Blown for Good, and asked him about life inside the international headquarters of Scientology known as “Gold Base“, located in Gilman Hot Springs near Hemet, California. Headley joined the organization at age seven when his mother became a member, and worked at Scientology’s international management headquarters for several years before leaving in 2005.