News briefs:July 14, 2010


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House of Supreme Court Justice threatened


Monday, January 23, 2006

In the town of Weare, New Hampshire, a movement is under way to force Supreme Court Justice David Souter to sell his home for “public benefit,” an expansion of the eminent domain provision in the Fifth Amendment of the US Constitution that the Supreme Court legalized in the controversial 5–4 decision in Kelo v. New London where Souter was on the majority side. In the June 2005 decision this majority ruled that “public use” included “public benefit,” stating that a local council could use the Fifth Amendment to compulsorily acquire private property for the express purpose of selling it to other private parties whose use was expected to yield increased tax revenues. The decision left many worried that homes would be seized for commercial enterprises or that the decision could be used as a means to remove minority property owners deemed inconvenient.

The campaign to have Souter’s house removed is headed by Logan Clements, who is petitioning to replace it with the Lost Liberty Hotel, a tongue-in-cheek name for what he says will be a memorial to lost freedom. Clements already has 188 signatures to put the issue on a ballot, and only 25 are needed. Once it is on the ballot, the measure can be approved as soon as March. Weare has 8,500 residents.

So far, neither Justice Souter nor Kathy Arberg, Supreme Court spokeswoman, have commented on the matter.

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Tyco executives found guilty


Saturday, June 18, 2005

The former CEO of Tyco International, Dennis Kozlowski, as well as CFO Mark Swartz are convicted of taking more than $600 million from the company. Charges include grand larceny, securities fraud, conspiracy, and falsifying business records.

The first trial ended in a mistrial after one juror received a threatening letter. Nancy Salomon says of the second trial that the “Defense was counting on the jury not reaching a verdict; they had used their challenges during the jury selection process to kick almost every potential juror who had a college degree, or had any business experience or Wall Street experience off the jury … they were hoping that this case was just going to be too confusing for the jury.” While the jury did take 11 days to arrive at their decision, they found Kozlowski and Swartz guilty on 22 of the 23 counts. To combat the aggressive jury selection strategy undertaken by the defense, the prosecution “basically gave the jury several credit hours worth of an MBA“, teaching them about following paper trails and detecting falsification of business records. It paid off during deliberation as the jury requested over 100 documents to review.

Kozlowski and Swartz directly stole approximately $150 million USD from Tyco and acquired $430 million more by inflating the company’s stock value and then secretly selling company shares. Bail was set at $10 million each. The two former executives face a minimum of eight years in prison, up to a maximum of 25 years. In addition, Kozlowski is accused of evading $1 million in sales taxes on six paintings that he bought in 2001 in a separate New York State case, and Swartz faces tax evasion charges in New Hampshire. If convicted in these cases as well, they would face up to 30 years in prison.

New earthquake hits Chile


Friday, May 21, 2010

A strong earthquake hit Chile at approximately at 14:52 local time (1852 UTC) on Friday. The United States Geological Survey first reported it reached a preliminary magnitude of 5.5, and the epicenter was located very close to Pichilemu, a coastal town in the O’Higgins Region. Exact distances were: 102 kilometers to the northwest of Talca; 165km to the southwest of Santiago de Chile and 167km to the south of Valparaíso. The earthquake lasted approximately 30 seconds.

SHOA (Hydrographic and Oceanographic Service of the Chilean Army), reported it reached a magnitude of 5.5. USGS updated their information later, and specified the earthquake reached a 5.7 magnitude, with a depth of 10 kilometers, and the epicenter was located 70km at the northwest of Curicó, 85km southwest of Rancagua, 95km south of San Antonio, 140km southwest of Santiago.

Wikinews reporter Diego Grez, who was in Santa Cruz at the time of the tremor, reported that the power went out for approximately 30 minutes and people evacuated their houses quickly. In Pichilemu, the power also went out, but came back in a few minutes. Desperate people quickly ran to the now well-known La Cruz Hill.

USGS’ Did you feel it? users have reported the earthquake was felt in Colina, Santiago (Santiago Metropolitan), Curicó (Maule), Machalí, Rengo, Rancagua (O’Higgins), and Valparaíso (Valparaíso).

ONEMI (Chile’s National Emergencies Office) has reported no casualties or structural damage; and reported the earthquake was felt between the Metropolitan Region and Bío Bío. The Mercalli scale intensities were: Pichilemu, Constitución and Paredones: V; San Fernando, Santa Cruz, Navidad, Curicó, Río Claro, Linares, Molina, Longaví and Rancagua: IV; San Javier and San Clemente: III; Concepción, Coelemu and Cauquenes: II.

The University of Chile Geological Survey reported the epicenter of the earthquake was located 28 kilometers at the south of Pichilemu, and it is most likely an aftershock to the March 11 earthquake. UCGS also reported it reached a magnitude of 5.6, at a depth of 7.3 kilometers.

UN carries out first review of US human rights record


Saturday, March 19, 2011

The United Nations has completed its first ever assessment of the United States human rights record, which began last November. They made 228 recommendations for improvements. On Friday, the U.S. accepted about 174 of these, agreeing to such recommendations as the humane treatment of terror suspects and repudiation of torture, but rejected the recommendation to drop the death penalty.

The Legal Adviser of the Department of State, Harold Koh, listed nine core areas in which the U.S. agreed to make improvements, including civil rights, immigration, and the humane treatment of suspects held at Guantanamo Bay detention camp. Koh said President Obama agreed to push for ratification of conditions under the Geneva Conventions and to add protections for international armed conflict detainees. Koh refused to drop the death penalty as many European countries requested, arguing that it was legal under international law.

Some nations wanted the U.S. to reduce prison overcrowding, prevent racial profiling, and ratify international treaties protecting the rights of women and children. China and Russia wanted Guantanamo to be shut down. Cuba, Iran and Venezuela said the U.S. was ignoring too many recommendations.

The Obama administration joined the 47-nation UN Human Rights Council two years ago, allowing for increased international scrutiny. This is the first time the five-year-old council has reviewed the U.S. record of human rights. Nations are held accountable to make the improvements in the recommendations that they agree to.

In criticism of the U.S., the director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s human rights program, Jamil Dakwar, noted that the U.S., unlike 100 other countries, lacks an independent human rights monitoring commission.

HIV-positive man receives 35 years for spitting on Dallas police officer


Sunday, May 18, 2008

An HIV-positive man was sentenced to 35 years in prison Wednesday, one day after being convicted of harassment of a public servant for spitting into the eye and open mouth of a Dallas, Texas police officer in May 2006. The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that no one has ever contracted HIV from saliva, and a gay-rights and AIDS advocacy group called the sentence excessive.

A Dallas County jury concluded that Willie Campbell’s act of spitting on policeman Dan Waller in 2006 constituted the use of his saliva as a deadly weapon. The incident occurred while Campbell, 42, was resisting arrest while being taken into custody for public intoxication.

“He turns and spits. He hits me in the eye and mouth. Then he told me he has AIDS. I immediately began looking for something to flush my eyes with,” said Waller to The Dallas Morning News.

Officer Waller responded after a bystander reported seeing an unconscious male lying outside a building. Dallas County prosecutors stated that Campbell attempted to fight paramedics and kicked the police officer who arrested him for public intoxication.

It’s been 25 years since the virus was identified, but there are still lots of fears.

Prosecutors said that Campbell yelled that he was innocent during the trial, and claimed a police officer was lying. Campbell’s lawyer Russell Heinrichs said that because he had a history of convictions including similarly attacking two other police officers, biting inmates, and other offenses, he was indicted under a habitual offender statute. The statute increased his minimum sentence to 25 years in prison. Because the jury ruled that Campbell’s saliva was used as a deadly weapon, he will not be eligible for parole until completing at least half his sentence.

If you look at the facts of this case, it was clear that the defendant intended to cause serious bodily injury.

The organization Lambda Legal (Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund), which advocates for individuals living with HIV, says that saliva should not be considered a deadly weapon. Bebe Anderson, the HIV projects director at Lambda Legal, spoke with The Dallas Morning News about the sentence. “It’s been 25 years since the virus was identified, but there are still lots of fears,” said Anderson.

The Dallas County prosecutor who handled the trial, Jenni Morse, said that the deadly weapon finding was justified. “No matter how minuscule, there is some risk. That means there is the possibility of causing serious bodily injury or death,” said Morse. Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins stated: “If you look at the facts of this case, it was clear that the defendant intended to cause serious bodily injury.”

Contact with saliva, tears, or sweat has never been shown to result in transmission of HIV.

A page at the CDC’s website, HIV and Its Transmission, states: “HIV has been found in saliva and tears in very low quantities from some AIDS patients.” The subsection “Saliva, Tears, and Sweat” concludes that: “Contact with saliva, tears, or sweat has never been shown to result in transmission of HIV.” On Friday the Dallas County Health Department released a statement explaining that HIV is most commonly spread through sexual contact, sharing needles, or transfusion from an infected blood product.

Scientology protest group celebrates founder’s birthday worldwide


 Correction — March 19, 2008 The next protest is scheduled for April 12, 2008. The article below states April 18 which is incorrect. 

Saturday, March 15, 2008

The Internet group Anonymous today held further protests critical of the Church of Scientology.

The global protests started in Australia where several hundred protesters gathered at different locations for peaceful protests.

In a global speech, the Internet protest movement said Scientology “betrayed the trust of its members, [had] taken their money, their rights, and at times their very lives.” The protesters welcomed the public interest their protests have led to, and claimed they witnessed “an unprecedented flood of Scientologists [joining] us across the world to testify about these abuses.” The group said it would continue with monthly actions.

In a press statement from its European headquarters, Scientology accused the anonymous protesters of “hate speech and hate crimes”, alleging that security measures were necessary because of death threats and bomb threats. This also makes the Church want to “identify members” of the group it brands as “cyber-terrorists”.

Wikinews had correspondents in a number of protest locations to report on the events.

Anonymous states that the next protest is scheduled to take place on April 18, which happens to be the birthday of Suri, the daughter of Tom and Katie Cruise.

Contents

  • 1 Location reports
    • 1.1 Adelaide, Australia
    • 1.2 Atlanta, Georgia
    • 1.3 Austin, Texas
    • 1.4 Boston, Massachusetts
    • 1.5 Brussels, Belgium
    • 1.6 London, England
    • 1.7 Manchester, England
    • 1.8 New York, New York
    • 1.9 Buffalo, New York
    • 1.10 Seattle, Washington
    • 1.11 Sydney, Australia
    • 1.12 Portland, Oregon
  • 2 Related news
  • 3 Sources

Ontario Votes 2007: Interview with Green Party candidate Lloyd Helferty, Thornhill


Sunday, October 7, 2007

Lloyd Helferty is running for the Green Party of Ontario in the Ontario provincial election, in the Thornhill riding. Wikinews’ Nick Moreau interviewed him regarding his values, his experience, and his campaign.

Stay tuned for further interviews; every candidate from every party is eligible, and will be contacted. Expect interviews from Liberals, Progressive Conservatives, New Democratic Party members, Ontario Greens, as well as members from the Family Coalition, Freedom, Communist, Libertarian, and Confederation of Regions parties, as well as independents.

White House press center evacuated after bomb scare


Monday, June 18, 2007

A press room across the street of the White House was evacuated after a bomb sniffing dog had a reaction to a van it was searching. The van was believed to be a transport vehicle for Israeli Prime Minster Ehud Olmert, but some reports also say that it is not known to whom the van belongs.

The evacuated space is where the press gathers before they enter the Press Briefing Room in the West Wing of the White House. It is around the corner from Blair House.

“Police were called, they are on the scene currently attempting to clear the vehicle. The vehicle is part of the delegation that is staying at the Blair House,” said Darrin Blackford, a spokesman for the Secret Service.

Police searched the van using a robot and blocked off streets around the area to vehicle traffic, but at 4:30 p.m. (eastern time), authorities gave the “all-clear” for personnel to be allowed back into the building.

The “suspicious” van was parked in front of Lafayette Park. Other areas near the White House were also evacuated including Pennsylvania Avenue, on which the White House is located, and the Jackson Square Press Center, because “of an abundance of caution.”

Olmert is currently a guest in the Blair House which is located across the street from the White House. Olmert is expected to meet with United States President George W. Bush to discuss the Palestinian government and other issues. It is not known if Olmert was inside the house at the time of the incident.

It is not known why the dog reacted to the van, but nothing was found inside it after the Secret Service searched it.