Balloonist to establish Trans-Atlantic Crossing record


Tuesday, July 3, 2007

David Hempleman-Adams left St. John’s at approximately 9:30 p.m. local time on July 2, 2007 from St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador in a small helium filed balloon in an attempt to make the Trans-Atlantic crossing in the smallest balloon ever to make such a crossing. The final destination of the landing is not known and will be determined as the flight nears its end. The craft is made of light weight material with just enough space for necessary equipment and cooking implements. The basket is small and has openings in the side for Hempleman-Adams to extend his legs as he sleeps. Hempleman-Adams is hoping to make the crossing in three to four days and reach Europe by July 5 or 6th.

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BDSM as business: Interviews with Dominatrixes


Sunday, October 28, 2007

Whether the Civil War, World War II or the Iraq War, it can be challenging to face how conflict penetrates the psyche of a nation and surfaces in the nuances of life. There are thousands—if not millions—of individuals who indulge in fantasies others would deem perverse that have their nascence in some of the darkest moments of human history. It is possible someone you know pays a person to dress like a German Nazi to treat them like a “dirty Jew”, or to force them to pick cotton off the floor like a slave.

An S&M dungeon is a place where these individuals act out such taboos. Businesses that operate to meet their needs are often hidden, but they do exist and are typically legal. The clients want to remain confidential for fear of ostracism in their respective communities. As Sigmund Freud wrote, “Anyone who has violated a taboo becomes taboo himself because he possesses the dangerous quality of tempting others to follow his example.”

Last week Wikinews published the first in a two part series on the BDSM business: an interview with Bill & Rebecca, the owners of Rebecca’s Hidden Chamber. This week we publish the second part: an interview with three dungeon employees, Mistress Alex, Mistress Jada and Mistress Veronica. In their world, BDSM is a game, a harmless pursuit of roleplaying exercises that satiate the desires of the tabooed. These Dominatrixes are the kind of women men fantasize about, but they all look like they could be babysitting your children this Saturday night. Most likely, they will not be.

Mistress Alex has a distinctive sheen when David Shankbone walks into the room. Her moist skin cools quickly from the blow of the air conditioner she stands in front of. Just having finished an hour and a half session, she is dressed in a latex one-piece skirt and matching boots. Mistress Jada, a shapely Latina dressed in red, joins the conversation and remains throughout. When Alex needs to tend to a client, Mistress Veronica, who looks like she would be as comfortable teaching kindergarten as she would “tanning a man’s hide”, takes over for her.

The interview was neither sensational nor typical, but what you read may surprise, repulse, or even awaken feelings you never knew you had. Below is David Shankbone’s interview with three Dominatrixes.

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Reflections, Lichtenstein, two new exhibitions at Edinburgh’s Modern One


Saturday, March 14, 2015

This weekend saw the opening of two new exhibitions at Edinburgh’s National Gallery of Modern Art. Wikinews attended Thursday’s press preview for the event where a full contingent of the capital’s press turned out to see the striking collection of paintings, photographs, and other works. Presented below are a selection of images captured at the preview.

REFLECTIONS: A Series of Changing Displays of Contemporary Art, billed as a showcase of a “diverse range of internationally-renowned contemporary and modern artists” is to display major works from the Gallery’s permanent collection, alongside important loans. Alongside this broad range of works, a three-room display of pieces on-loan from the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation — with a dramatic painted steel relief, ‘borrowed’ from the Tate in London — runs from March 14 through to January 10 next year.

Admission to both exhibitions is free; being located in Dean, to the north-west of Edinburgh’s city centre, a free Gallery bus service is available.

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University of Chicago’s Mansueto Library suffers power outage


Monday, May 30, 2011

The University of Chicago’s Joe and Rika Mansueto Library was shut down by a power outage for a short time on Saturday, preventing library personnel from providing full services to its patrons.

The US$81 million library, which opened May 16, includes a 180-seat reading room under a 691-panel glass dome. Five stories underground, a system of five cranes retrieves books sorted into bins, carrying a maximum of about 3.5 million volumes. As of 3:50 p.m. CDT, the automated storage and retrieval system, along with staff computers at the circulation desk, were shut down, preventing patrons from retrieving materials stored underground.

The glass ceiling normally allows enough natural light to pass, but rain clouds in the area darkened the room. Patrons began to flip light switches in front of their seats, but to no avail, and a circulation clerk announced that there had been a power outage. Some patrons then moved to the adjacent Regenstein Library, which still had power. Power was still running along the corridor linking Mansueto and Regenstein Libraries, along with the nearby restrooms and Special Collections Research Center.

An electrician arrived at the building at around 3:50 p.m., and power had been restored by 5:45 p.m.

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Niece of Scientology’s leader goes public with criticism


Wednesday, February 6, 2008

The niece of the Church of Scientology‘s top leader David Miscavige has come forward publicly with criticism of the organization and of Scientology practices. Jenna Miscavige Hill, daughter of David Miscavige’s older brother Ron Miscavige, described Scientology policies which broke apart her family and continue to keep members of her family from talking to each other. Hill criticized Scientology practices in a letter to a public relations spokeswoman for the Church of Scientology and in a broadcast of the television program Inside Edition which aired Tuesday, and was interviewed by an investigative journalist for the New York Post.

Hill wrote an open letter addressed to Karin Pouw, Public Affairs Director of the Church of Scientology International, in response to a 15-page statement issued by Pouw on January 14 which was highly critical of Andrew Morton‘s new book on prominent Scientologist Tom Cruise, Tom Cruise: An Unauthorized Biography. Hill’s letter was posted to the Internet newsgroup alt.religion.scientology on January 25, and has since been widely posted on other Internet message boards.

I am absolutely shocked at how vehemently you insist upon not only denying the truths that have been stated about the church in that biography, but then take it a step further and tell outright lies.

In Pouw’s statement on Morton’s book, she called it a “bigoted defamatory assault replete with lies”. In her letter to Pouw, Hill responded “I am absolutely shocked at how vehemently you insist upon not only denying the truths that have been stated about the church in that biography, but then take it a step further and tell outright lies.” Specifically, Hill rebuked the Church of Scientology’s denial of a practice called “disconnection“, where members are instructed to sever all ties with friends and family who are critical of Scientology and deemed a “Suppressive Person“, or SP.

Hill wrote that it was this particular policy which broke up her family when she was 16, going on to detail how the Church of Scientology restricted her communications with her parents: “Not only was I not allowed to speak to them, I was not allowed to answer a phone for well over a year, in case it was them calling me.”

The church does not respond to newsgroup postings.

When contacted for a comment on Hill’s letter, Karin Pouw told the Agence France-Presse: “The church stands by its statement of 14 January. The church does not respond to newsgroup postings.” Hill explained her motivation for writing the letter to the Agence France-Presse: “My intention is to put it on a public forum so they are pressured into changing their ways — even if it is just to cover for themselves.”

In a broadcast of the television program Inside Edition which aired Tuesday, Hill spoke with reporter Les Trent about Scientology’s disconnection policy. Hill described a pregnant friend whose parents are still members of the Church of Scientology; but will not speak with her: “She lives in L.A. – her parents live right around the hill from her, you know she tried to call them when she was having her first child, and they were like: ‘No, sorry, I can’t speak to you.'” The Church of Scientology told Inside Edition that the allegation made by Hill is “the opposite of what the church believes and practices.” Hill last spoke to her uncle David Miscavige four years ago, around the same time that she viewed a promotional video featuring Tom Cruise, at an awards ceremony. This video was recently leaked to the Internet and appeared on the video sharing site YouTube. YouTube took the video down due to a legal complaint from the Church of Scientology, but though the website Gawker.com received a similar legal complaint, Gawker has stated that the video is newsworthy and will not be removed.

Just as L. Ron Hubbard’s family was rocked with turmoil, so it seems is Miscavige’s.

Prominent free speech activist and critic of Scientology David S. Touretzky commented on these recent developments, in an interview Wednesday with Wikinews reporter Nicholas Turnbull: “She has nothing to do with Chanology [the recent anti-Scientology movement that has gathered on Internet message boards], but what we’re seeing here is a “perfect storm” of entheta [material considered negative by Scientology]. It’s all coming together in a chain reaction: The Tom Cruise video, Andrew Morton’s bio, Kirstie Alley’s craziness, Kimora Lee Simmons, Jenna Miscavige, and there’s more to come!” Another critic of Scientology, Mark Bunker of the website XenuTV.com, compared the recent revelations to troubles in Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard‘s family: “Just as L. Ron Hubbard’s family was rocked with turmoil, so it seems is Miscavige’s.” Bunker commented on the Inside Edition piece: “This is a jaw-dropping TV segment — although Inside Edition clearly didn’t understand just how important a story they had.”

In an interview published Wednesday in the New York Post, Hill stated that she has been harassed by the Church of Scientology for speaking out against the organization: “The church has contacted several of my friends, telling them that I am smearing the church and I am going to be declared a suppressive person and asking my friends if they would disconnect from me and, in at least one case, insisting that they do.” The New York Post attempted to contact Karin Pouw for a comment, but she did not respond in time for their publication.

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2006 U.S. Congressional Elections


Wednesday, November 8, 2006

As of 10:00 p.m EST November 8, 2006, the Democratic Party is projected to have gained control of both the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate in the 2006 United States general elections. MSNBC projects that the Democrats now control 234 seats in the House of Representatives, 16 more seats than the 218 needed to control the House of Representatives as all 435 seats were up for election. In the Senate, where the balance of power is closer, one-third of all seats were up for grab. As of 10:00 p.m. EST, AP and Reuters were projecting that the Democrats had picked up all six seats they needed to retake the Senate, including the seats of incumbents Rick Santorum (Penn.), Lincoln Chafee (R.I.), Jim Talent (Missouri), Mike DeWine (Ohio), Jon Tester (Montana), and Jim Webb (VA). The Tester victory by less than 3,000 votes was projected at approximately 2 p.m. EST after the State of Montana announced the results of overnight recounts. Democrat Jim Webb has prevailed in that race by slightly more than 7,000 votes, though his opponent has not conceded and a recount may still occur.

Retrieved from “https://en.wikinews.org/w/index.php?title=2006_U.S._Congressional_Elections&oldid=4696685”

Saturn moon Enceladus may have salty ocean


Thursday, June 23, 2011

NASA’s Cassini–Huygens spacecraft has discovered evidence for a large-scale saltwater reservoir beneath the icy crust of Saturn’s moon Enceladus. The data came from the spacecraft’s direct analysis of salt-rich ice grains close to the jets ejected from the moon. The study has been published in this week’s edition of the journal Nature.

Data from Cassini’s cosmic dust analyzer show the grains expelled from fissures, known as tiger stripes, are relatively small and usually low in salt far away from the moon. Closer to the moon’s surface, Cassini found that relatively large grains rich with sodium and potassium dominate the plumes. The salt-rich particles have an “ocean-like” composition and indicate that most, if not all, of the expelled ice and water vapor comes from the evaporation of liquid salt-water. When water freezes, the salt is squeezed out, leaving pure water ice behind.

Cassini’s ultraviolet imaging spectrograph also recently obtained complementary results that support the presence of a subsurface ocean. A team of Cassini researchers led by Candice Hansen of the Planetary Science Institute in Tucson, Arizona, measured gas shooting out of distinct jets originating in the moon’s south polar region at five to eight times the speed of sound, several times faster than previously measured. These observations of distinct jets, from a 2010 flyby, are consistent with results showing a difference in composition of ice grains close to the moon’s surface and those that made it out to the E ring, the outermost ring that gets its material primarily from Enceladean jets. If the plumes emanated from ice, they should have very little salt in them.

“There currently is no plausible way to produce a steady outflow of salt-rich grains from solid ice across all the tiger stripes other than salt water under Enceladus’s icy surface,” said Frank Postberg, a Cassini team scientist at the University of Heidelberg in Germany.

The data suggests a layer of water between the moon’s rocky core and its icy mantle, possibly as deep as about 50 miles (80 kilometers) beneath the surface. As this water washes against the rocks, it dissolves salt compounds and rises through fractures in the overlying ice to form reserves nearer the surface. If the outermost layer cracks open, the decrease in pressure from these reserves to space causes a plume to shoot out. Roughly 400 pounds (200 kilograms) of water vapor is lost every second in the plumes, with smaller amounts being lost as ice grains. The team calculates the water reserves must have large evaporating surfaces, or they would freeze easily and stop the plumes.

“We imagine that between the ice and the ice core there is an ocean of depth and this is somehow connected to the surface reservoir,” added Postberg.

The Cassini mission discovered Enceladus’ water-vapor and ice jets in 2005. In 2009, scientists working with the cosmic dust analyzer examined some sodium salts found in ice grains of Saturn’s E ring but the link to subsurface salt water was not definitive. The new paper analyzes three Enceladus flybys in 2008 and 2009 with the same instrument, focusing on the composition of freshly ejected plume grains. In 2008, Cassini discovered a high “density of volatile gases, water vapor, carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide, as well as organic materials, some 20 times denser than expected” in geysers erupting from the moon. The icy particles hit the detector target at speeds between 15,000 and 39,000 MPH (23,000 and 63,000 KPH), vaporizing instantly. Electrical fields inside the cosmic dust analyzer separated the various constituents of the impact cloud.

“Enceladus has got warmth, water and organic chemicals, some of the essential building blocks needed for life,” said Dennis Matson in 2008, Cassini project scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

“This finding is a crucial new piece of evidence showing that environmental conditions favorable to the emergence of life can be sustained on icy bodies orbiting gas giant planets,” said Nicolas Altobelli, the European Space Agency’s project scientist for Cassini.

“If there is water in such an unexpected place, it leaves possibility for the rest of the universe,” said Postberg.

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Burning debris from satellites spotted over several US cities


Sunday, February 15, 2009

On Tuesday, February 10, the American civilian communications satellite Iridium 33, launched in 1997, and the defunct Russian military communications satellite Kosmos-2251, launched in 1993, collided over Siberia. Five days after the collision, reports have surfaced that burning debris from the collision has been spotted over several U.S. cities from New Mexico to Kentucky.

Calls to 9-1-1 began to come in to Williamson County, Texas sheriff’s office around 12:30 p.m. (CT) that burning debris and fireballs were seen falling from the sky onto parts of Austin, Houston, Waco and San Antonio. Residents reported their homes and windows shaking and large explosions. After a search of several areas, the Williamson county sheriff’s office reported that no debris or impact sites were found. Earlier unconfirmed reports had said the debris could have been the result of a small plane exploding.

Steve Thornton, a resident in Austin told KEYE-TV that he “saw something burn up in the atmosphere going east to west at 40 degrees in the horizon looking north” which was “about the size of a half moon and as bright as a welders torch”. Other residents reported to KEYE-TV that they saw an “egg-shape with an orange center and bluish outer aura; a silvery-white tail.” Some report the incident lasting about 10 minutes.

On February 13, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issued an alert following reports of “explosions and earthquakes” along with “flashes in the sky” in Jackson and Louisville, Kentucky. There were no injures and authorities could not locate any damage.

“The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reported to local law enforcement on Friday that these events are being caused by falling satellite debris. These pieces of debris have been causing sonic booms, resulting in vibrations felt by some residents, as well as flashes of light across the sky,” said the NOAA in a public information statement on February 13. The FAA also warns that the debris could cause damage to aircraft in areas reporting falling debris.

“Aircraft are advised that a potential hazard may occur due to reentry of satellite debris into the Earth’s atmosphere. It is critical that all pilots/crew members report any observed falling space debris,” said the FAA on February 13. Both the NOAA and FAA alerts are in place until further notice and cover an area from New Mexico to Kentucky.

However, Dr. Marco Ciocca, a professor at Eastern Kentucky University told WKYT in Kentucky it would “be months” before any of the satellite wreckage enters the Earth’s atmosphere. “The debris doesn’t simply fall out of its orbit. It will either vaporize or stay in orbit for some time before falling into Earth’s atmosphere.”

The satellites, both of which weighed in excess of 1,000 pounds, and traveling at approximately 17,500 miles per hour, collided 491 miles above the Earth. Scientists say the explosion caused by the collision was massive. They are still trying to determine just how large the crash was and how the Earth will be affected. The United States Strategic Command of the U.S. Department of Defense office is tracking the debris. The result of plotting analysis will be posted to a public website.

 This story has updates See US military says ‘fireballs’ spotted over Texas are not related to satellite collision 
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Former Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian released on bail


Saturday, December 13, 2008

Taiwan’s former President, Chen Shui-bian (???), has been conditionally released on bail, some ten hours after he was indicted for corruption. Speaking to media at the Taipei District Court, he said: “I want to thank my lawyers, members of the Democratic Progressive Party and my supporters who have given me huge encouragement. I am grateful to those who cared for, supported and looked after me so I could get through the hardest and loneliest 32 days of my life in prison.” He earns the historical distinction of being the first ex-president of the Republic of China to be indicted for criminal offenses and could suffer life imprisonment if convicted.

Along with 13 other family members and close associates, including his wheelchair-bound wife, son Chen Chih-Chung, and daughter-in-law Huang Jui-ching, Chen was indicted Friday on charges of embezzling government funds and laundering money or ill-gotten bribes. The panel of three judges ruled he should appear at future court hearings and must not leave the country nor change his address.

Prosecutor Lin Che-hui accused Chen of having “embezzled 104 million New Taiwan dollars ($3.12 million) from a special presidential fund, and received bribes of $11.73 million in connection with a government land procurement deal and a separate construction project; the damning piece of evidence was the presence of NT$740 million ($22.2 million) in cash stashed in a Taipei bank safety vault held by the Chens.” Yuanta Securities director Tu Li-ping said, “she hand delivered NT$200 million ($6 million) in cash to Wu at the presidential residence in 2006 on behalf of executives of an affiliated bank; the money was an incentive for Wu not to interfere with a merger the bank was pursuing.”

Chen insists on his innocence. Contradicting the 100-page indictment, he said that “the $21 million his wife wired to their son’s Swiss bank accounts came from leftover campaign donations. Taiwanese law permits such donations to be kept by political candidates.”

In 1975, Chen married Wu Shu-chen (???), the daughter of a physician. The couple has a daughter, Chen Hsing-yu (???), who is a dentist; and a son, Chen Chih-Chung (???), who, having received a law degree in Taiwan, studied at and graduated with a M.A. degree from the University of California in 2005.

In November 2006, Chen’s wife Wu Shu-chen and three other high ranking officials of the Presidential Office were indicted for corruption, charged with misappropriating NT$14.8 million (USD$450,000) of government funds using falsified documents. Due to the protection from the Constitution against prosecution of the sitting president, Chen could not be prosecuted until he left office, and he was not indicted, but was alleged to be an accomplice on his wife’s indictment.

Chen’s term as President of the Republic of China ended in May 2008. Immediately thereafter, prosecutors began investigating him regarding allegations that he misused his discretionary “state affairs fund”, as well as his connection to the first family’s money-laundering activities. He resigned from the Democratic Progressive Party on August 15, 2008, one day after admitting to falsifying past campaign expenses and wiring campaign contributions to overseas accounts.

In November 2008, Chen was escorted by a security staff, into the Taipei prosecutor’s office for questioning. After 6 hours, he left the Supreme Court prosecutor`s office in handcuffs, was arrested and detained. The charges each carry a minimum penalty of 5 years imprisonment. Following a 6 day hunger strike while in detention, Chen collapsed and was rushed to Taipei’s Far Eastern Memorial Hospital, where he was later transferred to Panchiao Hospital for force-feeding. Despite Chen’s lack of interest in appealing, his lawyer Cheng Wen-long completed a motion seeking his release from detention and filed a notice of appeal of the court’s decision, along with a petition for constitutional interpretation to restrain actions violative of the Constitution.

Prosecutor General, Chen Tsung-ming said that after Chen’s case had been removed to the Taipei Local Court, he would re-file a petition for Chen’s detention. Chen and the main opposition DPP have accused President Ma Ying-jeou‘s administration of “using the scandals to plan a political plot against the former leader.”

Meanwhile, The Straits Times reported that “prosecutors are to investigate former President of the Republic of China and Chairman of the Kuomintang from 1988 to 2000, Lee Teng-hui on suspicion of money laundering, based on allegations made by Chen during his own questioning recently that his predecessor transferred large funds abroad through dummy accounts.” Mr. Lee angrily denied the accusations concerning “a suspected transfer of 50 million Taiwan dollars (US$2.26 million) to Mr Lee from a local stock investor via overseas dummy accounts.” Charges also included transactions made at the end of Lee’s tenure and at the beginning of Chen’s term, including “one billion Taiwan dollars that had been wired to various countries including Singapore.”

The China Post calls for calm and urges fair trial for Chen. “All the people should wait patiently for the outcome of the trial … They shouldn’t do anything to influence the judges in any way, because the rule of law in Taiwan is at stake. We should show the world that Taiwan is a democracy where anybody who commits a crime, be he a man on the street or a former president, is duly punished.” it said.

Retrieved from “https://en.wikinews.org/w/index.php?title=Former_Taiwanese_President_Chen_Shui-bian_released_on_bail&oldid=4529771”

Wikinews interviews Democratic candidate for the Texas 6th congressional district special election Daryl Eddings, Sr’s campaign manager


Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Wikinews extended invitations by e-mail on March 23 to multiple candidates running in the Texas’ 6th congressional district special election of May 1 to fill a vacancy left upon the death of Republican congressman Ron Wright. Of them, the office of Democrat Daryl Eddings, Sr. agreed to answer some questions by phone March 30 about their campaigns and policies. The following is the interview with Ms Chatham on behalf of Mr Eddings, Sr.

Eddings is a federal law enforcement officer and senior non-commissioned officer in the US military. His experience as operations officer of an aviation unit in the California National Guard includes working in Los Angeles to control riots sparked by the O. J. Simpson murder case and the police handling of Rodney King, working with drug interdiction teams in Panama and Central America and fighting in the Middle East. He is the founder of Operation Battle Buddy, which has under his leadership kept in touch with over 20 thousand veterans and their families. He was born in California, but moved to Midlothian, Texas. He endeavours to bring “good government, not no government”. Campaign manager Faith Chatham spoke to Wikinews on matters ranging from healthcare to housing.

An Inside Elections poll published on March 18 shows Republican candidate Susan Wright, the widow of Ron Wright, is ahead by 21% followed by Democrat Jana Sanchez with 17% and Republican Jake Ellzey with 8% with a 4.6% margin of error among 450 likely voters. The district is considered “lean Republican” by Inside Elections and voted 51% in favour of Donald Trump in last year’s US presidential election. This is down from 54% for Trump in 2016’s presidential election, the same poll stated.

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