David Witt, father-in-law of Floyd Landis, commits suicide


Thursday, August 17, 2006

David Witt, father-in-law of Floyd Landis, the winner of the 2006 Tour De France, has died. Witt was found dead in his car in a parking garage on August 16. He died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, San Diego Police said. He was 57.

Witt who was married to Rose, the mother of Amber, Floyd Landis’ wife, introduced Amber to Landis. Witt was an amateur cyclist who became friends with Landis after having the same coach. At one time, they were even roommates.

Witt and his wife co-own the “Hawthorn’s” restaurant in San Diego and it is adorned with Landis memorabilia, including his jerseys and magazine covers. The two had also attended the Tour de France where they witnessed Floyd’s victory.

Floyd Landis did win the 2006 Tour de France, but the result is contested after he tested positive in a doping test. He is widely expected to be stripped of the title.

Bank of England governor warns housing market is biggest threat to UK economy


Sunday, May 18, 2014

The governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, has warned that the state of the housing market in the United Kingdom is the current biggest domestic threat to the country’s economy, due to lack of house building, and regulatory issues.

In an interview to be aired on Sky News today, he said the housing market is the “biggest risk” to the economy and has “deep, deep structural problems”. Of house building he said: “There are not sufficient houses built in the UK. To go back to Canada, there are half as many people in Canada as in the UK, twice as many houses are built every year in Canada as in the UK and we can’t influence that.”

“We’re not going to build a single house at the Bank of England. We can’t influence that. What we can influence […] is whether the banks are strong enough. Do they have enough capital against risk in the housing market?”

Carney also said the Bank of England would look into the procedures used to issue loans and mortgages to see if they were being granted appropriately: “We’d be concerned if there was a rapid increase in high loan-to-value mortgages across the banks. We’ve seen that creeping up and it’s something we’re watching closely.”

Kris Hopkins responded to Carney on behalf of the government, saying the government “inherited a broken housing market, but our efforts to fix it are working”. “We’ve scrapped the failed top-down planning system, built over 170,000 affordable homes and released more surplus brownfield sites for new housing. We’ve also helped homebuyers get on the housing ladder, because if people can buy homes builders will build them. Housebuilding is now at its highest level since 2007 and climbing. Last year councils gave permission for almost 200,000 new homes under the locally-led planning system and more than 1,000 communities have swiftly taken up neighbourhood planning. It’s clear evidence the government’s long-term economic plan is working.”

Earlier this month, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development called on the UK government to “tighten” access to the ‘Help to Buy’ scheme introduced by George Osborne and the coalition government in 2013. ‘Help to Buy’ has also recently been criticised by three former Chancellors of the Exchequer — the Conservatives Norman Lamont and Nigel Lawson, and former Labour Chancellor Alistair Darling. Darling said: “Unless supply can be increased substantially, we will exacerbate that situation with schemes like Help to Buy.”

Dance party broken up by police in Utah, USA


Monday, August 22, 2005

About 90 law enforcement officers from multiple agencies broke up what they said was a rave party on public and private property in the Diamond Fork area of Spanish Fork canyon, an hour outside of Salt Lake City, Utah, at about 11:30 p.m. Saturday (5:30 Sunday UTC).

According to the county, the Sheriff’s Office had been investigating similar parties since the beginning of the season. In a press release from the Sheriff’s Office in Utah County, the department states that previous allegations of sexual abuse at other raves, as well as various firearm and theft violations, were reasons for the investigation. The release continues on to state that the proper permit was not obtained before the event started.The promoters deny this allegation and insist that all permits were legally obtained before the event.

Armed with semi-automatic assault rifles, tasers, and tear gas, the police used dogs to sweep the crowd for narcotics. At least one helicopter was used in the operation, which served as a large spotlight for the ground teams. Prior to raiding the show, several unnamed police informants had reportedly told police that they had observed some “illegal activities”.

The promoter says the party took place on private property, named Child’s Ranch, with express permission from the owner. The property owner has apparently had at least one previous lawsuit with police over a similar event. Utah County requires a permit, bond and county commission approval for all gatherings with more than 250 people present and which can be expected to continue for 12 hours or more. DJ time slots and Pro Audio and Lighting contracts show that the party was scheduled to go on for no more than ten hours. According to a DJ at the event, “They presold 700 tickets and they expected up to 3,000 people total.” He added that by the time police arrived “the crowd was about 1,500”.

The police have publicly stated that only a permit from the health department was obtained, and that a Utah mass gathering permit was needed. The promoters have stated that they had the required permit, and have given a permit number (# 2005-11). Jay Stone, who handles mass gathering permits for the Utah County Health Department’s Bureau of Environmental Health Services, has confirmed that the permit was applied for and granted for the party. Officials also claim that the party had spilled over onto public land, and that more than 60 arrests were made in total – for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, underage drinking, drug possession and distribution, resisting arrest, assault on a police officer, disorderly conduct, and one instance of a weapons offense, a pistol which was found in the home of the private property owners. Among the confiscated items and drugs found were cocaine, ecstasy, marijuana, mushrooms, alcohol, and drug paraphernalia. Some of the drugs may include those confiscated from attendees by private security guards – who were also arrested.

Amateur video from the scene shows a number of SWAT police (Sheriff’s press release places the figure at 90) screaming orders at the DJs to “Shut it down now!” and yelling at others to “get out now, or I’ll kick your ass in jail.” Armed police are also seen tackling two attendees, Alaisha Matagi and Paul Maka. It is unclear from the video footage whether these actions were provoked or not. However, those shown on the two-minute long footage that are being forced to the ground do not appear to be resisting arrest. Both Matagi and Maka are charged with failure to obey a police officer and resisting arrest – Maka is also charged with interfering with police. Sheriff Jim Tracy stated in an email that both of them were tackled and arrested after assaulting a deputy, however, neither of them are being charged with assaulting a police officer.

A first hand account from a DJ booked to play at the party stated that while police were arresting a man accused of possession, the suspect was beaten to the ground and continually “kicked in the ribs” by four armed “soldiers” dressed in camouflage. The item was not shown on the video footage. According to the account, nobody resisted the policemen, and the crowd was orderly, but tear gas was thrown at the partiers as they attempted to leave as instructed. The DJ also states that police were attempting to confiscate video equipment, but an amateur video has still surfaced on the internet (see sources below). The video appears to have been taken near the DJ stand before it was moved to show more of the action.

Several attendees felt they should have the right to attend an event where drugs may be present, so long as they don’t personally use them. “While it may be true that some individuals choose to take drugs at said events like this, myself as well as many others choose to go for the music. Just like anything, you have bad apples, but you shouldn’t cut down the tree,” said one attendee. “Raves are not the only musical gatherings where drugs are used and distributed,” said another.

Other event-goers felt that the use of force in the shutdown was excessive – numerous eyewitness accounts by concertgoers describe people being beaten, tasered, or attacked with dogs. An email from Sheriff Jim Tracy stated that dogs and tasers were present at the raid, however, he also states that the tasers were not used on anyone, and that no dogs were deployed against concertgoers.

One account from an attendee, identified as “Colby”, states:

“I saw at least two people being beaten on the ground while barking, snarling dogs are held just a few feet from them. Weapons were being pointed at unarmed, peaceful civilians. A friend of mine was forced at gunpoint to put his hands on his head and turn around, because he asked if he could get his things from the tent.”

Utah County sheriff’s Sergeant Darren Gilbert also alleged that a 17-year-old girl was found overdosed on ecstasy, and was treated and released to her parents. According to an advertisement for the event, an attorney was present at the party. The local sheriff is scheduled to appear on Utah TV.

This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.
This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.

UK energy companies announce that prices for bills could increase


Saturday, September 19, 2009

Six energy companies in the United Kingdom have announced that it is likely that the prices for energy bills could increase over the course of 2010.

The companies, which are nicknamed the “big six” in the United Kingdom, did not pass on information that there would be price cuts in energy bills despite increasing profits. However, the companies have in fact sent a message in response saying that the prices of bills may even increase over the course of the next year. Energy company watchdog the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem) have estimated that energy companies will make gross margins of £170 ($276) per dual fual customer over the course of the next twelve months, due to the recent fall in wholesale energy costs.

Ofgem have said: “Our analysis shows that based on an 18-month hedging strategy and assuming that retail prices remain unchanged, projected gross margin is set to increase by around £80 for dual fuel customers over the next six months.”

The “big six” energy companies in the United Kingdom are British Gas, E-on, Npower, Scottish and Southern Energy, Scottish Power, and EDF Energy. British Gas stated: “Prices [are] likely to remain at historically high levels, and in fact likely to increase as non-commodity costs rise ever upwards.”

EDF Energy said: “[We] would of course be prepared to reduce tariffs if market conditions allowed.” Scottish Power stated: “There are no immediate signals that would indicate a fall in retail prices for this winter, and risks of an increase next year.” Scottish & Southern Energy commented: “With forward annual wholesale prices significantly higher, and with upward pressures in terms of distribution, environmental and social costs, seeking to avoid an increase between now and the end of 2010 is an important goal.”

Meanwhile, a study by Consumer Focus in early September 2009 suggested that “energy companies were overcharging customers by £100 ($162) every year. A spokesperson for Ofgem said that there was no evidence of any cartel in operation, or evidence of profiteering. The spokesperson commented: “It is up to the companies themselves to decide whether to cut their bills. Consumer Focus data suggests that Scottish Power has increased dual fuel prices by the most since 2003 – up 148% – while decreasing prices by 0.6% so far this year. RWE’s Npower has increased tariffs by 132% since 2003, but has reduced bills by 2.7% in 2009.”

Man uses home-made flamethrower to set relatives on fire


Sunday, October 5, 2008

An Austrian man is in jail after authorities say he used a flamethrower to burn his two elderly in-law parents to death as they slept in their home located in Hartberg in the state of Styria.

The man, 48, is said to have first doused the bedroom with gasoline and then used a canister filled with propane to light the room on fire.

The victims, a woman and man in their 80’s, were sleeping when the suspect lit them on fire. The woman was bed ridden due to advanced diabetes and had previously had her legs amputated, and died where she slept. Her husband was able to escape where authorities found him dead, lying on a bench in the couple’s garden.

The suspect left the scene of the crime, but was apprehended by police shortly after the incident. In the process, the man stabbed himself in the stomach in an apparent suicide attempt. He is currently in a drug induced coma at a local hospital.

Police are investigating the incident to determine a motive.

Ian Thorpe starts to recover from chest pains


Friday, March 3, 2006

Australian swimmer Ian Thorpe is reported to be feeling much better after suffering from chest pain for some time.

The Olympic gold medalist was due to swim in the 100m and 200m freestyle and in three relays at the Commonwealth Games, but due to his complaints his fitness has been in doubt. He has been unable to take the drugs needed to overcome his pain as they are banned from the Games.

Thorpe told the media Thursday “It’s actually the best I’ve felt in a while; the antibiotics are starting to work.”

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US Justice Department to withdraw Stevens charges


Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The United Stated Department of Justice has asked for corruption charges against former Alaska Senator Ted Stevens to be dropped because evidence was withheld from the defense team by the original prosecutors. The Justice Department has stated that they will not retry Stevens.

In a statement, US Attorney General Eric Holder said, “After careful review, I have concluded that certain information should have been provided to the defense for use at trial. In light of this conclusion, and in consideration of the totality of the circumstances of this particular case, I have determined that it is in the interest of justice to dismiss the indictment and not proceed with a new trial.”

Stevens was convicted in October on seven felony counts of lying on senate disclosure forms about gifts, largely in the form of free renovations to his home, received from an oil service company; his conviction is thought to have been a large factor in his November electoral defeat to former Anchorage mayor Mark Begich, the current junior Senator from Alaska. Stevens immediately appealed his conviction and has maintained his innocence.

The prosecution case has met with a number of procedural difficulties, with US District Court judge Emmet G. Sullivan holding the prosecution in contempt in March for failing to turn over documents concerning an FBI whistleblower’s reports of mishandling of the case. The Justice Department has since replaced the case’s prosecutors, and the allegations of misconduct have held up sentencing from the original convictions.

The filed papers indicate that notes were never turned over from an interview that has the oil contractor estimated the house renovation for far less then he specified at trial.

The original trial team was removed, but in the end Attorney General Eric Holder thought it would be best if the case was dropped. NPR’s source indicate that Holder wish to forcefully transmit that prosecutorial misconduct will not be tolerated. The trying prosecutors are under investigation by the Justice Department for their conduct in the matter.

Stevens, now 85, served as Alaska’s Senator from 1968 to 2009.

Auto Accident Attorney Tulsa


byAlma Abell

When you are in a car accident, it is important to establish fault so that damages can be rightfully paid for. Sometimes, it is clear who is at fault. Other times, it is nearly impossible to tell. The plaintiff in the case must prove that the defendant was negligent to establish that they are at fault. Luckily for the defendant, he or she can reduce or eliminate their liability by having a strong defense to the accident. This is why an Professional Auto Accident Attorney Tulsa is important for both the plaintiff and the defendant.

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The law has systems of comparative and contributory negligence for car accidents in which both parties have been negligent. The way that liability is treated for each party depends on where you live. Your state may use a contributory negligence system, but many use a comparative negligence system. It is important to consult with your Auto Accident Attorney Tulsa to determine which system is in place in your state and how it works.

The comparative negligence system is considered a partial defense. Fault is divided between the two parties when the defendant can prove that the plaintiff was partially responsible for the accident. The rules for comparative negligence are different from state to state, but many use two rules: pure comparative negligence and modified comparative negligence. Pure comparative negligence allows victims to be awarded some compensation even when they were negligent or they are more at fault than the defendant. Modified comparative negligence has specific rules for each state, but the overall idea is that the victim’s compensation is limited if the victim is a fault passed a certain degree. For example, some states only allow victims to recover damages if they are 49 percent or less responsible for the accident.

Contributory negligence is only used in Alabama, Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. The defendant may be able to avoid any liability by proving that the victim’s negligence played a factor in the car accident. The victim will not be able to receive any compensation if they contributed to the accident in any way. In any case, comparative or contributory, it is beneficial to have a strong defense and prove that you are not solely responsible for the accident.

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Australian Minister ‘leaks’ draft of anti-terror bill


Saturday, October 15, 2005Jon Stanhope, the Australian Capital Territory Chief Minister, has posted a confidential draft of the proposed Australian anti-terror bill to his website. Mr Stanhope says he hopes posting draft counter-terrorism laws on his website will open community debate about the issue and has stated that he will not comply with instructions from the Commonwealth to remove the document. The Australian Labor Party is backing his actions.

The main impetus for the action appears to be the short amount of time the Senate committee will have to debate the bill; just one day. In particular the Greens Senator Bob Brown has accused the Government of engineering the circumstances that only allow a one-day inquiry.

“It was an extraordinary premeditated attack on the Senate committee system and effectively made the committee system a farce,” said Senator Brown. Others, including the Australian Law Council, have expressed concerns about the scope of the proposed bill.

Prime Minister John Howard has defended the process, saying “It’s important for the security of Australia, it was unanimously agreed to by me with the eight Labor premiers and chief ministers, and we can’t have any undue delay that the legislation will be exposed for public scrutiny and it will reflect that agreement.”

Human Rights Watch and the International Federation of Journalists have also criticised the proposed laws, saying that they will impede press freedom, “severely threaten Australians’ civil liberties and violate international law”.