Australian man arrested after dragging dead possum behind car

Filed Under (Uncategorized) by 5C6bgX on 23-08-2019

Monday, June 26, 2006

Police in the Australian state of New South Wales have arrested a 22-year-old man following an incident in Narrabeen, a Northern suburb of Sydney on Saturday. Police allege the man dragged a dead possum behind his car along a busy Sydney road.

According to a police statement, a number of citizens contacted them after seeing a vehicle driving along the Wakehurst Parkway in Narabeen with what appeared to be an animal tied to the rear. The police were told that the animal was dragged for several hundred metres before breaking free from the rope.

After receiving further information from the public, police found the body of a brush tail possum on the side of the road. Witnesses then provided police with further information that assisted them to locate a 22-year-old male, believed to have been driving the vehicle the possum was tied to.

Police attended a house where the man was staying and took him to Dee Why police station where he was interviewed. Police have stated that another three youths have been interviewed regarding the incident.

The 22 year-old man was charged with offensive conduct and is to appear in court on a later date. Under NSW law, the maximum penalty the man faces is 3 months in jail or an AUD$660 fine.

Police and the RSPCA will conduct an autopsy on the possum, which they expect will confirm that the possum was already dead before being dragged.

Bomb hits northwestern Pakistan; at least 30 killed

Filed Under (Uncategorized) by 5C6bgX on 11-08-2019

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A suicide car bomb attack in northwestern Pakistan has killed at least 30 people, including some children.

Investigators say the bomb exploded Tuesday on a busy street near a market in the city of Charsadda, 40 kilometers north of Peshawar. The blast wounded dozens of people and destroyed several buildings.

“The death toll has gone up to 32 and more than 100 people have been wounded in this suicide attack,” said Bashir Bilour, the Senior Minister of North West Frontier Province.

Hazrat Ali, a shopkeeper, was a witness to the event. He recounted his experiences to the Agence France-Presse news agency. “I was buying something before closing my shop. A car was parked on the other side of the road and all of a sudden there was a huge blast. There was smoke and darkness everywhere. I passed out.” Ali sustained shrapnel injuries to his forehead and torso.

This was the third bombing in the area in three days. On Monday, a suicide bomber in a rickshaw blew himself up at a checkpoint in Peshawar, killing three people. A suicide bomber killed thirteen people in a crowded market outside the city on Sunday.

Wikinews Shorts: December 1, 2008

Filed Under (Uncategorized) by 5C6bgX on 11-08-2019

A compilation of brief news reports for Monday, December 1, 2008.

Contents

  • 1 150 beached whales die
  • 2 Gunmen kill 8 at Mexican restaurant
  • 3 PD-L takes lead in Romanian elections
 Contribute to Wikinews by expanding these briefs or add a new one.

Approximately 150 whales have died after being beached in a remote coastal area of Australia’s Tasmania island state. They were discovered on Saturday. Many of the whales had been badly cut by jagged rocks lying on the shore.

Rescuers managed to save a pod of thirty whales that were trapped in shallow reefs by shepherding them out to the open sea by boat.

Last week another 60 whales were also stranded on another part of the island.

Sources


A group of at least twelve gunmen have murdered eight people at a seafood restaurant in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, a city along the border with the United States.

According to Chihuahua state prosecutor’s office spokesman Alejandro Pariente, the gunmen arrived at the restaurant in three separate cars, approached a group of people, and started shooting. Pariente added that no arrests were made.

Juárez has seen escalating levels of violence this year, mostly connected to the illegal drug industry.

Sources


The Democratic Liberal Party (PD-L) claimed victory in the first nationwide Romanian national elections since the country joined the European Union. With 71% counted, the PD-L has 33% of the vote.

Preliminary results suggest that the Social Democratic Party obtained approximately 32% of the vote, while the National Liberal Party received 18%. Voter turnout in the election was about 39%.

The results are not yet official.

Sources


Oil prices drop as inventories grow

Filed Under (Uncategorized) by 5C6bgX on 11-08-2019

Thursday, October 16, 2008

  • NYMEX/WTI: $70.61/barrel $-3.93 (-5.27%)
  • ICE/Brent: $65.43/barrel $-4.15 (-5.96%)
16:00, 16 October 2008 (UTC)
Prices displayed in U.S. dollars.

International oil prices sank on Thursday as investors worried that a looming global recession will lower demand.

Crude oil for future delivery fell to below US$71 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange, its lowest price in more than a year. In London, Brent crude oil for November dropped below $66 a barrel.

Oil prices have dropped more than 50 percent since hitting a record high of $147 a barrel in July. A report released today showed an unexpected increase in inventories. Analysts expected only a 1.9 million barrel increase last week, but the actual amount was 5.6 million barrels

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) cut its estimate for crude oil demand next year in a report released Wednesday. OPEC, which was planning on having an emergency meeting next month on the issue of lower oil prices, pushed forward the meeting to next week. The cartel is expected to cut production by 500,000 barrels a day, in a bid to boost oil prices. Saudi Arabia, which initially did not support the cut a few weeks ago, now supports such a move.

Some Asian governments are under pressure to reduce domestic fuel prices in light of the decline of the price of oil. In China, some drivers are paying more for gas than drivers in the United States, which last occurred several years ago. India, China, and Indonesia appear to be to content to keep the price at the same level; however, some other Asian governments have lowered the price already. Malaysia and Vietnam have cut prices and are expected to do the same if oil drops some more.

Briscoe scores first NASCAR Xfinity win of season at Iowa

Filed Under (Uncategorized) by 5C6bgX on 04-08-2019

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Chase Briscoe took his first win of the 2019 NASCAR Xfinity Series auto racing season on Saturday at the Iowa Speedway in Iowa, United States, passing Christopher Bell in the final laps after using pit strategy. This is Briscoe’s first win at an Xfinity Series race on a Midwestern US short track. He spent much of his early auto racing career on short tracks in the region.

Briscoe, 24, of Mitchell, Indiana, took his second career victory in his 36th series start. Bell was left in second place after leading 234 of the race’s 250 laps.

Bell was attempting to win his third Xfinity Series race at Iowa Speedway, and looked to do so for a significant portion of the race, leading 232 of the race’s first 240 laps. Briscoe used a late restart on lap 229 to work his way up from the fourth position, eventually getting past Bell and leading the final seven laps of the race. He credited his pit crew for saving his last set of tires for later in the race, as compared to other competitiors who were finishing the race on old, worn-out tires. With the win, Briscoe snapped the streak of the Xfinity Series’ “Big Three” of Bell, Cole Custer and Tyler Reddick, who had won nine of the series’ last ten races.

The race may have looked different, however, if all of regular players were there for the end. Twelve cars retired from the race, including three drivers currently in position to make the NASCAR Xfinity Series playoffs (Custer, Austin Cindric and Brandon Jones). While many of the DNFs were for routine issues like on-track scuffles or mechanical issues, one of them stuck out: Dillon Bassett, making his third series start, crashed into a cleanup truck while trying to enter pit road in the latter stages of the race. Bassett was forced to retire from the race from front-end damage resulting from the incident.

In part due to the attrition, a number of drivers scored career efforts. Shane Lee finished seventh, the first top-ten finish for team H2 Motorsports, who debuted at this track earlier this year. Ryan Vargas, making his series debut, finished seventeenth for JD Motorsports. In his first race with RSS Racing, Camden Murphy finished 24th for his best Xfinity Series finish.

[edit]

Australia sends more troops to Afghanistan

Filed Under (Uncategorized) by 5C6bgX on 04-08-2019

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

The Australian government has confirmed it will send an extra 200 troops to Afghanistan as part of a security and reconstruction team. Prime Minister John Howard says troops will leave from late July and will spend about two years in Afghanistan separate from the Special Forces and commandos already serving there. In a press conference in Canberra today, Mr Howard said the deployment was “further evidence of the government’s ongoing commitment to assist the people of Afghanistan in consolidating their embrace of democracy and resisting any attempt on the part of the Taliban to come back.”

The Australian Greens oppose the deployment of new troops. In a press release, Senator Bob Brown voiced his opinion on the matter, and said the following about Australia’s deployment: “The announcement that Australia will be sending 200 more troops to Afghanistan comes hard on the heels of the Bush administration announcing the withdrawal of 3000 troops from the same theatre,” he said. “Without the US withdrawal there would be no Australian deployment. This is John Howard once again using the ADF to meet the Bush administration’s political shortcomings. Our troops should be kept at home.”

“The ADF contribution will be a mixed security and reconstruction taskforce of approximately 200 personnel and will be deployed over a period of two years,” Howard told reporters. The Australian Defence Force (ADF) troops will be deployed from late July and work alongside Dutch soldiers as part of a NATO force. The extra 200 troops will bring the number of ADF personnel to more than 500.

Australia sent 1,550 troops to Afghanistan in 2001, including special forces, to join the U.S.-led strikes against the Taliban regime. Australia’s only fatality in Afghanistan came in February 2002 when a soldier was killed after his vehicle hit a land mine. Violence has intensified in Afghanistan in recent months, particularly in the south and east, with a wave of raids, roadside and suicide bombings killing dozens of people.

Wikinews interviews three figures from Donald Trump’s political past

Filed Under (Uncategorized) by 5C6bgX on 04-08-2019

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Wikinews spoke with three people associated with the early political career of U.S. businessman Donald Trump, the front-runner for the Republican Party’s 2016 presidential nomination. Those interviewed include longtime political operative Roger Stone, a close associate of Trump and director of Trump’s 2000 presidential exploratory committee; journalist Dave Shiflett, co-writer of Trump’s 2000 campaign book The America We Deserve; and political consultant Russ Verney, who served as chairman of the Reform Party of the United States of America which Trump briefly joined.

In Trump’s highly publicized 2016 campaign, he has run under the banner of Make America Great Again, advocating a Mexican-funded wall along the U.S.–Mexico border, renegotiation of trade terms with other nations, and a temporary halt on the immigration of Muslims to the United States. He holds a considerable lead in Republican National Convention delegates over his opponents, winning 15 of the first 24 primary and caucus contests. Though this is Trump’s most visible campaign, it is not his first foray into electoral politics. He flirted with Republican presidential runs: first in 1987, when he purchased newspaper advertisements on foreign policy and delivered a campaign-like speech in the first-in-the-nation primary state of New Hampshire; and then in 2011, when he briefly led nationwide opinion polls for the presidential nomination after questioning the citizenship of President Barack Obama. Trump’s most extensive campaign before now came during the 2000 presidential election when he opened an exploratory committee to consider seeking the presidential nomination of the Reform Party.

For 2000, Trump conducted various speeches and media appearances in support of his potential presidential campaign. He placed Stone in charge of his exploratory committee and hired Shiflett to work on what would become The America We Deserve. His chief opponent for the nomination was paleoconservative icon and eventual nominee Pat Buchanan who entered the race after ending his third unsuccessful campaign for the Republican presidential nomination. Based on Buchanan’s comments against American involvement in World War II, Trump attacked Buchanan as a “Hitler lover” and anti-Semite. Trump’s campaign received support from then-Minnesota governor Jesse Ventura, the highest ranking elected official in the Reform Party. This placed Trump at odds with the faction of industrialist Ross Perot, the party’s founder and two time presidential candidate. Verney, a Perot confidante, was chairman of the party during Trump’s exploration. Though initially dismissive of the campaign, Verney eventually welcomed Trump into the race. However, the deep divisions within the party precipitated the exit of Ventura, and Trump did not seek the nomination. Despite leaving the race, Trump still appeared on Reform Party presidential primary ballots in California and Michigan, winning both states.

Over a five month period, Wikinews reporter William S. Saturn contacted the three previously involved in Trump’s politics to get their thoughts on his current presidential campaign, learn more about Trump’s political past including the true nature of his 2000 effort, and obtain details on his personality.

Contents

  • 1 Roger Stone
  • 2 Dave Shiflett
  • 3 Russ Verney
  • 4 Related news
  • 5 Sister links
  • 6 Sources
  • 7 External links

Interview with U.S. Republican Presidential candidate Tom Tancredo

Filed Under (Uncategorized) by 5C6bgX on 27-07-2019

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Tom Tancredo has been a member of the United States House of Representatives since 1999, representing the 6th Congressional District of Colorado. He rose to national prominence for his strong stance against illegal immigration and his announcement that he was a Republican candidate in the 2008 Presidential election. David Shankbone recently spoke with the Congressman and posed questions from Wikipedia editors and Wikinews reporters:

DS: Throughout my life my father, a lifelong Republican and an avid listener of Rush Limbaugh, told me that all we needed in this country was a Republican Congress, Republican Senate and a Republican White House to get this country on the right track. Last year he expressed his disappointment to me. So many Republicans, like my father, feel lied to or let down by the party. The rationale for the Iraq War, the sex and bribery scandals, the pork barrel projects, and, as Alan Greenspan recently pointed out, the fiscal irresponsibility. People feel there have been many broken promises. Why should someone vote Republican today?

TT: The best reason I can give: we’re not the Democrats. The best thing we have going for us is the Democrats. Maybe that’s as far as I can go; I hope that there are candidates out there who will reflect and carry out the values that your father believes in when he votes Republican. To the extent you can ferret those people out from the others, that’s who he should vote for. The party was taught a pretty harsh lesson in this last election. I have noticed in the last several months we have done a better job of defending Republican principles as the minority than we ever did in the majority. I feel more in tune with the party now than I have throughout the Bush Presidency. Even before he came in, we were in the majority and we were still spending too much. Hopefully we can say that we were spanked by the American public and that we learned our lessons. There are true believers out there who will stick to their guns, and it’s a matter of principle. What’s the alternative? Hillary Clinton?

DS: You yourself said you would only serve three terms in Congress, but then broke that promise. What caused you to reverse yourself?

TT: What happened was this: having ‘lame duck’ stamped on your forehead in Congress when they know you are not going to be around. Then the committee assignments become less meaningful. That was just one of the factors. Far more significant was my becoming the most visible Congressional member on the immigration issue. When I came into Congress I approached Lamar Smith, who was “The Man” on immigration, and said to him, “I’ve come to help you on this issue.” I felt it was one of the most serious we face as a nation. Lamar said, “It’s all yours! I’ve had it with 10 years of busting my head against the wall!” I started doing special orders—that’s when you speak to an empty chamber and whoever is watching CSPAN–and I did that night after night and wondered if it was worth it; was anyone paying attention? Then I’d go back to my office to pick up my keys and I’d see all the telephone lines illuminated, and the fax machine would be going, and a pile of e-mails would be handed to me the next day. I realized: people pay attention. I started picking it up, speaking around the country, leading the caucus on it. In time it became apparent there was nobody to hand the baton to; there were supporters, but not one single soul was willing to take it on as their issue. It was the first year of my second term that I sent a letter to every supporter I had. I said I had come to this conclusion that at the end of my third term (which is three years away) I don’t know if I will run again or not, but that the decision would not be based upon the term limit pledge, because immigration issue makes me feel I have a responsibility I can not shirk. I said that if anybody who gave me money based upon my term limits pledge wanted it back, I would do so. I received maybe three requests.

DS: There are an estimated 12 million illegal aliens in the U.S. To round up and deport millions of people would be a major government undertaking, requiring massive federal spending and invasive enforcement. What level of funding would be necessary for U.S. Immigration and Customs to achieve the level of enforcement that you’d like to see?

TT: Only a relatively slight increase because the only thing you have to do, other than building a barrier on the southern border, is go after employers. We need to go aggressively after the employers, and try to identify some of the more high profile employers who are hiring illegal aliens. Go after them with fines, and if they are not only hiring them but also conspiring to bring them in, then they could go to jail. A perp walk would have a chilling effect. If you break that magnet, most illegal aliens would go home voluntarily. An article in the Rocky Mountain News stated there has been an employer crackdown in Colorado, and that they are going home or moving on to other states. If we did it nationally, they will return home, because the jobs are no longer available. It doesn’t have to happen over time or instantaneously. The costs to the American public for 12 million illegals are enormous and far more than are paid for by the illegal immigrants themselves in taxes.

DS: How long would full enforcement take for you to succeed?

TT: It would be a couple of years before employers were weaned off illegal immigrants and then a couple more years before you saw a really significant reduction.

DS: Can you explain your remarks about bombing the Islamic holy sites of Mecca and Medina as a deterrent to terrorists operating against the United States.

TT: The question I was answering was “What would you do if Islamic terrorists set off on or more nuclear devices in the United States?” My response was that we would need to come up with a deterrent, and that deterrent may very well be a threat to take out their holy sites if they did something like that in the United States. I still believe it is something we must consider as a possible deterrent because at the present time there are no negative consequences that would accrue to the people who commit a crime such as a nuclear, chemical or biological attack. There are no negative consequences; they may die in the attack but that is not a negative consequence for them. Usually they aren’t going to be state actors.

DS: But wouldn’t an attack on Mecca and Medina be an attack on a sovereign state?

TT: You are not attacking the state, but the religious ideology itself. Holy sites are not just in Saudi Arabia; there’s a number of them. In fact, Iran has one of the holiest cities in Islam. And I never used the word nuclear device; I was talking about taking out a physical structure. The reason I suggested it as a possible deterrent is because it is the only thing that matches the threat itself. The threat is from a religious ideology. Not just from Islam, but from a nation whose requirements include jihad against infidels, and we are a threat to their culture, which is why they believe we need to be destroyed. We must understand what motivates our opponents in order to develop a successful response. I’ve received death threats, enormous criticism, and I’ve been hung in effigy in Pakistan, but nobody has given me an alternative strategy that would be a deterrent to such an event. I guarantee when you read the national intelligence estimates, you would be hard pressed to not walk away from doing something.

DS: Aside from becoming President, if you could be granted three wishes, what would they be?

TT: It was the other night that I saw for the third or fourth time Saving Private Ryan and in the last scene Private Ryan asks, “Have I been a good man, have I earned it?” My greatest wish is to be a good father and to have earned everything I have been given in this life. And to be a better Christian.

DS: Farmers rely heavily on seasonal manual labor. Strict enforcement of immigration laws will inevitably reduce the pool of migrant labor and thus increase costs. Do you support tariffs or other government intervention to keep American farm products competitive?

TT: No, I don’t , because I challenge the premise of the question. The ability for farmers to obtain workers in the United States is only minimally hampered by the immigration process because there is, in fact, H-2A, the visa that is designed specifically for agricultural workers. We can bring in 10,000,000 if we want to. There are no caps. There are restrictions in terms of pay and healthcare benefits, and that’s what makes hiring illegal aliens more attractive. The costs would increase for certain agricultural interest, but it would be regional. You would also see a very aggressive movement toward the mechanization of farm work. We are seeing it today in a lot of areas. We saw it in the tomato industry with the Bracero Program. That was a program many growers relied heavily upon: workers, primarily from Mexico would come up seasonally, work, and then went back home. It was successful. But liberals ended the program as a bad idea because the immigrants couldn’t bring their families. When that happened, tomato growers said they’d go out of business. Lo and behold they developed machinery that can harvest citrus fruit, and now they are genetically engineering trees that have a thicker bark but are more flexible so they can be shaken by these machines. You’ll see it more and more.

DS: Do you agree that our forefathers intended birthright citizenship?

TT: No, the Fourteenth Amendment, upon which the concept of birthright citizenship is based, was a response to the Dred Scott decision.
During the original Senate debate there was an understanding that it wouldn’t be provided to people simply because they were born here, but instead to people under our jurisdiction. For instance, nobody assumes a child born to an embassy employee or an ambassador is a citizen of this country. There was an understanding and a reference to “under the jurisdiction” of the United States.

DS: You and Karl Rove engaged, in your words, in a screaming match over immigration, and Rove said that you would never again “darken the doorstep of the White House.” Are you still considered persona non grata at the White House?

TT: Yeah, even though he is gone, the President’s feelings about my criticism of him have not changed. It wasn’t my stand on immigration, it was my criticisms of the President that have made me persona non grata.

DS: Psychologist Robert Hare has discussed in his work the use of doublespeak as a hallmark of psychopaths, and social scientists have pointed out that the use of doublespeak is most prevalent in the fields of law and politics. Do these two trends alarm you?

TT [Laughs] Yes and no. Unfortunately doublespeak is all too characteristic of people in my profession.

DS: What is the proper role of Congress in the time of war?

TT: To first declare it, and then to fund it or not.

DS: Politics is dominated by lawyers. What other group of people or professions would you prefer to see dominate the field of politics and why?

TT: I can’t think of a particular profession from which I would be more comfortable drawing politicians from.

DS: Do you think lawyers are better for handling legislation and as politicians?

TT: No, they don’t offer anything particularly advantageous to the process. I don’t think it should be dominated by one profession. I’ll tell you what this profession is, and it doesn’t matter what field you come out of. There’s something I noticed here. I tell every single freshman I come across that there are very few words of wisdom, having only been here for ten years, that I can pass along to you but there is one thing I can tell you: this place is Chinese water torture on your principles. Every single day there is another drip, and it comes from a call from a colleague asking you to sign on to a bill you wouldn’t have signed on to; but it’s a friend, and it’s not that big a deal. Or a constituent who comes in and asks you to do something and you think it wouldn’t be such a big deal; or a special interest group that asks you to vote for something you wouldn’t vote for. After time it erodes the toughest of shells if one isn’t careful doesn’t think about it. Even if you recognize that these small steps lead to a feeling that remaining here is the ultimate goal; that the acquisition of power or the maintenance of power is the ultimate goal, that really does… it doesn’t matter if you are a lawyer or not, it does seem to have an impact on people. It’s a malady that is very common in Washington, and you have to think about it, you really do, or you will succumb to it. I don’t mean to suggest I’ve been impervious to these pressures, but I’ve tried my best to avoid it. One reason I am persona non grata at the White House is not just because of immigration, but because I refuse to support him on his trade policy, his education policy, Medicare and prescription drugs initiatives. I remember leaving that debate at 6:30 on a Saturday morning , after having the President call every freshman off the floor of the House to badger them into submission until there were enough votes to pass it. I remember a woman, a freshman colleague, walking away in tears saying she had never been through anything like that in her life. Here was a Republican Congress increasing government to an extent larger than it had been increased since Medicare had come into existence. Your dad should have been absolutely mortified, because it was against all of our principles. And I know the leadership was torn, but we had the President pressing us: we had to do it, we had to stay in power, the President is asking us to do it. Principles be damned. There were people who caved in that night who I never in a million years thought would.
And the threats! “You like being Committee Chairman?” Yes I do. “Do you want to be Chairman tomorrow?” And that’s how it happens. I was called into Tom Delay’s office because I was supporting Republican challengers to Republican incumbents. I had a group called Team America that went out and did that. He called me and said to me, “You’re jeopardizing your career in this place by doing these things.” And I said, “Tom, out of all the things you can threaten with me that is the least effective because I do not look at this place as a career.”

DS: You have supported proposed constitutional amendments that would ban abortion and same-sex marriage. You are also a strong supporter of the Second Amendment. Why do you believe that the U.S. Constitution should regulate medical procedures and personal relationships, but not gun ownership?

TT: The issue of medical procedures and relationships: I don’t really believe the federal government or any level of government has any business in determining about who I care about, or who anybody cares about, but I do believe they have a legitimate role, and the federal government has a responsibility, because of reciprocity. We are only one federal judge decision away from having gay marriage imposed on all states. That’s why there is a need for a Constitutional Amendment. I really believe a family–male, female, rearing children–I believe that is an important structure for the state itself, the way we procreate, which hopefully provides a stable environment for children. That is important to the state, and that’s why I think it’s legitimate. The reciprocity clause forces us into thinking about a Constitutional Amendment. I believe Roe v. Wade should be overturned because I think it’s lousy law, and many liberal jurists think it’s lousy because it read into the Constitution a right to privacy. I don’t’ see a connection between these things and the 2nd Amendment. Same-sex marriage and abortion, perhaps, but I don’t see a connection to the Second Amendment question. I support the 2nd Amendment because it is one of the most important we have. It’s a right we have to protect a lot of our other rights. And in our urban centers…and I don’t’ believe as some Second Amendment radicals believe that every single person has that right. I don’t think so! If you have committed a felony, or if you are a danger to yourself or someone else, then you shouldn’t be able to obtain a firearm, but law-abiding citizens should because it gives them a sense of security and protection against people who would do you harm. I don’t believe urban communities are more dangerous because people are allowed to own guns, but because dangerous people have guns. I would feel more comfortable if in the District of Columbia I could carry a concealed gun. I have a permit.

DS: You recently spoke out against the Black and Hispanic Congressional caucuses, stating, “It is utterly hypocritical for Congress to extol the virtues of a color-blind society while officially sanctioning caucuses that are based solely on race. If we are serious about achieving the goal of a colorblind society, Congress should lead by example and end these divisive, race-based caucuses.” Do you also believe there is no longer a need for the NAACP?

TT: No, I think it’s fine, because it’s a private organization, and people can belong to whatever private organization they want, and the need will be determined to a great extent by reality. If in fact people feel committed to an organization that they believe represents their interest, and it’s a voluntary association, that’s fine. All I’m saying is that for Congress to support these things, that run on money that is appropriated–though they fund them in a convoluted way, but it gets there– my point was about leading by example. If people said we don’t think it’s a good idea, maybe that would have an impact on how people feel about things like the NAACP. I would hope there would be, and I would assume Martin Luther King hoped–that’s his quite about a colorblind society–that there will come a time we don’t need them. That it’s an anachronistic organization. I also don’t believe in the creation of districts on race.

DS: You were one of a handful of Republicans who voted for a bill proposed by Maurice Hinchey and Dana Rohrabacher to stop the Department of Justice from raiding medical marijuana patients and caregivers in states where medical marijuana is legal, citing states’ rights concerns. On the other hand, you have suggested state legislators and mayors should be imprisoned for passing laws contrary to federal immigration law, and you support the Federal Marriage Amendment to ban gay marriage nationally. How do you reconcile these seemingly contradictory positions?

TT: We are talking about issues that are legitimately based upon the Constitutional roles of the state and federal government. I believe there is no Constitutional provision that suggests the federal government has a role to play in preventing states, or punishing states, over laws with regards to medical marijuana. I believe absolutely there is a role for the federal government for punishing states or laws when they contravene federal jurisdiction. For instance, protecting states against invasion. Immigration is federal policy, and there’s a law actually called “Encouragement”: you can’t encourage people to come in illegally or stay here illegally. I believe that is constitutionally a federal area.

DS: If you had to support one of the Democratic candidates, which one would it be and why?

TT: Although I couldn’t vote for him, if I had to support one for a nominee it would be Obama, and I would do so because first, I believe we could beat him [laughs], but secondly, and less cynically, I think it would be very good to have a black man, a good family man, and a very articulate man, to have him as a role model for a lot of black children in this country.

Tax evasion investigators raid Google’s Paris headquarters

Filed Under (Uncategorized) by 5C6bgX on 27-07-2019

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Dozens of tax investigators raided Google’s offices in French capital Paris yesterday as part of a probe into the company’s alleged tax evasion.

The raid was conducted by investigators from the state financial prosecutor’s office assisted by 25 information technology (IT) experts, according to officials. “The investigation aims to verify whether Google Ireland Ltd has a permanent base in France” the prosecutor’s office said, “and if, by not declaring parts of its activities carried out in France, it failed its fiscal obligations[…]”.

Google, a subsidiary of Alphabet Inc., reports most of its sales in Ireland. Google claims most sales contracts are closed in its Dublin offices. If investigation finds sales are being concluded in other countries, Google may need to pay additional taxes in these countries.

In 2014 Google reported a total yearly revenue in France of €225.4 million with a profit of just €12.2 million, paying only €5 million in corporate tax according to the Financial Times. A Google spokesperson said the company is co-operating with French authorities and fully complies with French law.

According to Reuters, a source from the French finance ministry said French tax authorities are also separately pursuing Google for €1.6 billion in back taxes.

Petition pressures City of Edinburgh Council to review clause affecting live music scene

Filed Under (Uncategorized) by 5C6bgX on 05-07-2019

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Live music venues in Edinburgh, Scotland are awaiting a review later this year on the 2005 licensing policy, which places limitations on the volume of amplified music in the city. Investigating into how the policy is affecting the Edinburgh music scene, a group of Wikinews writers interviewed venue owners, academics, the City of Edinburgh Council, and local band The Mean Reds to get different perspectives on the issue.

Since the clause was introduced by the government of the city of Edinburgh, licensed venues have been prohibited from allowing music to be amplified to the extent it is audible to nearby residential properties. This has affected the live music scene, with several venues discontinuing regular events such as open mic nights, and hosting bands and artists.

Currently, the licensing policy allows licensing standards officers to order a venue to cease live music on any particular night, based on a single noise complaint from the public. The volume is not electronically measured to determine if it breaches a decibel volume level. Over roughly the past year there have been 56 separate noise complaints made against 18 venues throughout the city.

A petition to amend the clause has garnered over 3,000 signatures, including the support of bar owners, musicians, and members of the general public.

On November 17, 2014, the government’s Culture and Sport Committee hosted an open forum meeting at Usher Hall. Musicians, venue owners and industry professionals were encouraged to provide their thoughts on how the council could improve live music in the city. Ways to promote live music as a key cultural aspect of Edinburgh were discussed and it was suggested that it could be beneficial to try and replicate the management system of live music of other global cities renowned for their live music scenes. However, the suggestion which prevailed above all others was simply to review the existing licensing policy.

Councillor (Cllr) Norma Austin-Hart, Vice Convenor of the Culture and Sport Committee, is responsible for the working group Music is Audible. The group is comprised of local music professionals, and councillors and officials from Edinburgh Council. A document circulated to the Music is Audible group stated the council aims “to achieve a balance between protecting residents and supporting venues”.

Following standard procedure, when a complaint is made, a Licensing Standards Officer (LSO) is dispatched to investigate the venue and evaluate the level of noise. If deemed to be too loud, the LSO asks the venue to lower the noise level. According to a document provided by the City of Edinburgh Council, “not one single business has lost its license or been closed down because of a breach to the noise condition in Edinburgh.”

In the Scotland Licensing Policy (2005), Clause 6.2 states, “where the operating plan indicates that music is to be played in a premises, the board will consider the imposition of a condition requiring amplified music from those premises to be inaudible in residential property.” According to Cllr Austin-Hart, the high volume of tenement housing in the city centre makes it difficult for music to be inaudible.

During the Edinburgh Festival Fringe during the summer, venues are given temporary licences that allow them to operate for the duration of the festival and under the condition that “all amplified music and vocals are controlled to the satisfaction of the Director of Services for Communities”, as stated in a document from the council. During the festival, there is an 11 p.m. noise restriction on amplified music, and noise may be measured by Environmental Health staff using sophisticated equipment. Noise is restricted to 65dB(A) from the facades of residential properties; however, complaints from residents still occur. In the document from the council, they note these conditions and limitations for temporary venues would not necessarily be appropriate for permanent licensed premises.

In a phone interview, Cllr Austin-Hart expressed her concern about the unsettlement in Edinburgh regarding live music. She referenced the closure of the well-known Picture House, a venue that has provided entertainment for over half a century, and the community’s opposition to commercial public bar chain Wetherspoon buying the venue. “[It] is a well-known pub that does not play any form of music”, Cllr Austin-Hart said. “[T]hey feel as if it is another blow to Edinburgh’s live music”. “[We] cannot stop Wetherspoon’s from buying this venue; we have no control over this.”

The venue has operated under different names, including the Caley Palais which hosted bands such as Queen and AC/DC. The Picture House opened in 2008.

One of the venues which has been significantly affected by the licensing laws is the Phoenix Bar, on Broughton Street. The bar’s owner, Sam Roberts, was induced to cease live music gigs in March, following a number of noise complaints against the venue. As a result, Ms Roberts was inspired to start the aforementioned petition to have Clause 6.2 of the licensing policy reviewed, in an effort to remove the ‘inaudibility’ statement that is affecting venues and the music scene.

“I think we not only encourage it, but actively support the Edinburgh music scene,” Ms Roberts says of the Phoenix Bar and other venues, “the problem is that it is a dying scene.”

When Ms Roberts purchased the venue in 2013, she continued the existing 30-year legacy established by the previous owners of hosting live acts. Representative of Edinburgh’s colourful music scene, a diverse range of genres have been hosted at the venue. Ms Roberts described the atmosphere when live music acts perform at her venue as “electric”. “The whole community comes together singing, dancing and having a party. Letting their hair down and forgetting their troubles. People go home happy after a brilliant night out. All the staff usually join in; the pub comes alive”. However licensing restrictions have seen a majority of the acts shut down due to noise complaints. “We have put on jazz, blues, rock, rockabilly, folk, celtic and pop live acts and have had to close everything down.” “Residents in Edinburgh unfortunately know that the Council policy gives them all the rights in the world, and the pubs and clubs none”, Ms Roberts clarified.

Discussing how inaudibility has affected venues and musicians alike, Ms Roberts stated many pubs have lost profit through the absence of gigs, and trying to soundproof their venue. “It has put many musicians out of work and it has had an enormous effect on earnings in the pub. […] Many clubs and bars have been forced to invest in thousands of pounds worth of soundproofing equipment which has nearly bankrupted them, only to find that even the tiniest bit of noise can still force a closure. It is a ridiculously one-sided situation.” Ms Roberts feels inaudibility is an unfair clause for venues. “I think it very clearly favours residents in Edinburgh and not business. […] Nothing is being done to support local business, and closing down all the live music venues in Edinburgh has hurt financially in so many ways. Not only do you lose money, you lose new faces, you lose the respect of the local musicians, and you begin to lose all hope in a ‘fair go’.”

With the petition holding a considerable number of signatures, Ms Roberts states she is still sceptical of any change occurring. “Over three thousand people have signed the petition and still the council is not moving. They have taken action on petitions with far fewer signatures.” Ms Roberts also added, “Right now I don’t think Edinburgh has much hope of positive change”.

Ms Roberts seems to have lost all hope for positive change in relation to Edinburgh’s music scene, and argues Glasgow is now the regional choice for live music and venues. “[E]veryone in the business knows they have to go to Glasgow for a decent scene. Glasgow City Council get behind their city.”

Ms Martina Cannon, member of local band The Mean Reds, said a regular ‘Open Mic Night’ she hosted at The Parlour on Duke Street has ceased after a number of complaints were made against the venue. “It was a shame because it had built up some momentum over the months it had been running”. She described financial loss to the venue from cancelling the event, as well as loss to her as organiser of the event.

Sneaky Pete’s music bar and club, owned by Nick Stewart, is described on its website as “open and busy every night”.”Many clubs could be defined as bars that host music, but we really are a music venue that serves drinks”, Mr Stewart says. He sees the live music scene as essential for maintaining nightlife in Edinburgh not only because of the economic benefit but more importantly because of the cultural significance. “Music is one of the important things in life. […] it’s emotionally and intellectually engaging, and it adds to the quality of life that people lead.”

Sneaky Pete’s has not been immune to the inaudibility clause. The business has spent about 20,000 pounds on multiple soundproofing fixes designed to quell complaints from neighboring residents. “The business suffered a great deal in between losing the option to do gigs for fear of complaints, and finishing the soundproofing. As I mentioned, we are a music business that serves drinks, not a bar that also has music, so when we lose shows, we lose a great deal of trade”, said Mr Stewart.

He believes there is a better way to go about handling complaints and fixing public nuisances. “The local mandatory condition requiring ‘amplified music and vocals’ to be ‘inaudible’ should be struck from all licenses. The requirement presupposes that nuisance is caused by music venues, when this may not reasonably be said to be the case. […] Nuisance is not defined in the Licensing Act nor is it defined in the Public Health Act (Scotland) 2008. However, The Consultation on Guidance to accompany the Statutory Nuisance Provisions of the Public Health etc (Scotland) Act 2008 states that ‘There are eight key issues to consider when evaluating whether a nuisance exists[…]'”.

The eight key factors are impact, locality, time, frequency, duration, convention, importance, and avoidability. Stewart believes it is these factors that should be taken into consideration by LSOs responding to complaints instead of the sole factor of “audibility”.He believes multiple steps should be taken before considering revocation of licenses. Firstly, LSOs should determine whether a venue is a nuisance based on the eight factors. Then, the venue should have the opportunity to comply by using methods such as changing the nature of their live performances (e.g. from hard rock to acoustic rock), changing their hours of operation, or soundproofing. If the venue still fails to comply, then a board can review their license with the goal of finding more ways to bring them into compliance as opposed to revoking their license.

Nick Stewart has discussed his proposal at length with Music is Audible and said he means to present his proposal to the City of Edinburgh Council.

Dr Adam Behr, a music academic and research associate at the University of Edinburgh who has conducted research on the cultural value of live music, says live music significantly contributes to the economic performance of cities. He said studies have shown revenue creation and the provision of employment are significant factors which come about as a result of live music. A 2014 report by UK Music showed the economic value generated by live music in the UK in 2013 was £789 million and provided the equivalent of 21,600 full time jobs.

As the music industry is international by nature, Behr says this complicates the way revenue is allocated, “For instance, if an American artist plays a venue owned by a British company at a gig which is promoted by a company that is part British owned but majority owned by, say, Live Nation (a major international entertainment company) — then the flow of revenues might not be as straightforward as it seems [at] first.”

Despite these complexities, Behr highlighted the broader advantages, “There are, of course, ancillary benefits, especially for big gigs […] Obviously other local businesses like bars, restaurants and carparks benefit from increased trade”, he added.

Behr criticised the idea of making music inaudible and called it “unrealistic”. He said it could limit what kind of music can be played at venues and could force vendors to spend a large amount of money on equipment that enables them to meet noise cancelling requirements. He also mentioned the consequences this has for grassroots music venues as more ‘established’ venues within the city would be the only ones able to afford these changes.

Alongside the inaudibility dispute has been the number of sites that have been closing for the past number of years. According to Dr Behr, this has brought attention to the issue of retaining live music venues in the city and has caused the council to re-evaluate its music strategy and overall cultural policy.

This month, Dr Behr said he is to work on a live music census for Edinburgh’s Council which aims to find out what types of music is played, where, and what exactly it brings to the city. This is in an effort to get the Edinburgh city council to see any opportunities it has with live music and the importance of grassroots venues. The census is similar to one conducted in Victoria, Australia in 2012 on the extent of live music in the state and its economic benefit.

As for the solution to the inaudibility clause, Behr says the initial step is dialogue, and this has already begun. “Having forum discussion, though, is a start — and an improvement”, he said. “There won’t be an overnight solution, but work is ongoing to try to find one that can stick in the long term.”

Beverley Whitrick, Strategic Director of Music Venue Trust, said she is unable to comment on her work with the City of Edinburgh Council or on potential changes to the inaudibility clause in the Licensing Policy. However, she says, “I have been asked to assess the situation and make recommendations in September”.

According to The Scotsman, the Council is working toward helping Edinburgh’s cultural and entertainment scene. Deputy Council Leader Sandy Howat said views of the entertainment industry needs to change and the Council will no longer consider the scene as a “sideline”.

Senior members of the Council, The Scotsman reported, aim to review the planning of the city to make culture more of a priority. Howat said, “If you’re trying to harness a living community and are creating facilities for people living, working and playing then culture should form part of that.”

The review of the inaudibility clause in the Licensing Policy is set to be reviewed near the end of 2016 but the concept of bringing it forward to this year is still under discussion.

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