Vestas delays closure of Newport plant

Posted by YXs94d on October 22, 2018 - 2:43 am

Friday, July 31, 2009

Vestas Wind Systems, whose closing wind turbine blade manufacturing centre in Newport, Isle of Wight, England remains the site of a occupation now in its 11th day, has suddenly announced that the consultation period preceding the closure of the plant has been extended, and that the plant will remain open until mid-August.

The announcement, which was reported not by Vestas but by the RMT, was described by RMT General Secretary Bob Crow as “another significant milestone in the fight to save the factory and 625 skilled manufacturing jobs in green energy.” The plant had been due to close today.

News of the delay comes hours after confused reports that Vestas was withholding redundancy payment for at least 525 of the workers whose jobs were lost. According to a report by the local newspaper the Isle of Wight County Press, cheques which employees had been expecting today did not arrive; instead, workers who contacted Vestas management were told they would not receive payment until an interview process had been completed, and that if they began new jobs before the interview process was over they would not receive their money. However, according to Ventnorblog, a local Isle of Wight blog which has been following the Vestas closure closely, the layoff process was being delayed because a majority of the Vestas employees were refusing to agree to the management’s redundancy plan.

The delay of the closure allows more time for the negotiation of potential solutions for the Newport plant to remain open. The Vestas occupiers and labour groups continue to favour nationalisation of the plant, with Socialist Party spokesman Nick Chaffey saying:

The courageous stand of the Vestas occupation and the huge support that stands alongside it from Vestas workers and beyond has rocked management and the government. With the vital support of the RMT and wider support from the trade union movement including PCS, POA and FBU, the workers’ demand for nationalisation is the only way to resolve this crisis.

In addition to the Vestas occupiers’ proposal that the factory be nationalised, Caroline Lucas, the MEP for South East England and a member of the Green Party, has proposed that Vestas employees should form a workers’ co-operative with government aid in order to keep the plant running. The Tory-dominated Isle of Wight Council has unanimously endorsed a resolution saying that the plant should stay open, and has called for new investors to take the Vestas plant over, as was done at a smaller Vestas plant in Scotland recently.

The news of the delay comes as workers at the plant accused Vestas management of harassing the families of the 24 remaining occupiers of the plant. Families of some occupiers were served with legal papers at their homes. One of the occupiers, Luke Paxton, left the factory on Thursday night in order to be re-united with his family; Paxton was checked for malnutrition and low blood sugar by paramedics but was not hospitalized, instead opting to go home. Paxton complained that Vestas management, while now providing hot food to the occupiers, were still under-feeding them; the RMT, which is providing legal aid to the Vestas workers, has accused Vestas management of violating the Human Rights Act by attempting to “starve the workers at Vestas into submission”.

Protesters in fancy dress were successful in sending food into the plant yesterday. Protesters dressed as a fantasy wizard and can-can dancers distracted police and company security guarding the fence which has been erected around the site while other protesters flung a bag of food and an electric kettle onto the balcony outside the office which has served as the occupiers’ home base inside the factory. No arrests were made but the protesters were removed from the factory grounds.

Requests for comment from Vestas management received no reply.

German intelligence participated in U.S. bombing of Iraq, media alleges

Posted by YXs94d on October 22, 2018 - 2:40 am

Friday, January 13, 2006

The Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND) helped the U.S. military during the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the daily Süddeutsche Zeitung, ARD‘s Panorama magazine and the Los Angeles Times concordantly reported on Thursday.

According to their information, two agents of the BND stayed in Baghdad during the war even after the German embassy was evacuated on March 17, 2003. A former “high-ranking official” in the U.S. Department of Defense told Panorama that the agents helped to track down targets throughout the Iraqi capital for the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) as they didn’t have enough reliable sources in Baghdad. A BND official, also speaking on condition of anonymity, told the Süddeutsche Zeitung that there was “no dumbness between the BND and DIA” during that time and that it was part of the BND’s “job” in Iraq to identify “non targets” like hospitals or embassies. He said this was authorized by the chancellor’s office.

The Pentagon informant of Panorama however said that the German agents were much more involved. A common saying during the war was supposedly: “Do we have anything from the Germans?” According to him, they drove to a restaurant in Mansur district of Baghdad on April 6th where Saddam Hussein was assumed to be dining. The BND agents reported back to the DIA that many Mercedes cars were parking there. As those cars were presumed to be of Saddam Hussein, the U.S. military conducted an air strike on the location. Hussein escaped, but twelve civilians were killed.

The BND confirmed that two of its agents operated in Iraq during the war but denied all other reports. A spokesperson told Panorama that it’s agency “did not provide target information or target coordinates to the warfaring parties.” The intelligence committee of the Bundestag exculpated the BND. Its chair Norbert Röttgen said that the in secret sitting committee, controlled by government parties, concluded with two-third majority that there are no indications that the agents aided the U.S. in selecting targets.

German foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier called the accusations “schizophrenic” while opposition parties are demanding an parliamentary investigation committee. And during a visit of German chancellor Merkel to the White House, U.S. president Bush said in a response to a reporter’s question whether he knew anything about the allegations: “The truth of the matter is, the Chancellor brought this up this morning. I had no idea what she was talking about. The first I heard of it was this morning, truthfully”.

Category:May 16, 2010

Posted by YXs94d on October 22, 2018 - 2:34 am
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Wikinews interviews the Socialist Alliance about the upcoming Queensland State election

Posted by YXs94d on October 22, 2018 - 2:03 am

Monday, March 2, 2009

With a Queensland state election coming up in Australia, many minor parties will be looking to hold balance of power and making the major parties listen to what they have to say. The Socialist Alliance (SA) is one of these parties.

SA is a left-wing political party. There stated describes itself as an anti-capitalist party which believes in “a democratic society that is run by and for working people, not the tiny, greedy, destructive elite that now rules.”

It should be noted that SA is not registered for Queensland elections due to what they describe as “restrictive rules for registration.” Their candidates will run as independents. They are, however, registered for federal elections and elections in other states.

Queensland’s unicameral parliament is up for election on March 21. The election campaign will run for a total of 26 days following the issue of the writs by Governor Penelope Wensley.

Wikinews held an exclusive interview with the SA. Answering on behalf of the party was Queensland State Gonvenor Paul Benedek.

The Wii, Nintendo’s next generation console, launches in North America

Posted by YXs94d on October 21, 2018 - 2:26 am

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Nintendo has released its newest video game console in North America. Known as the Wii, the system and games have an MSRP of US$249.99 and US$49.99 respectively. The North American release is to be followed by the December 2nd launch in Japan and the December 8th launch in Europe.

Launched officially at midnight, more than a thousand people gathered in New York’s Time Square to be among the first to buy one of the Wii. In contrast to the crowds that have challenged crowd control officials over the last two days in connection with the launch of Sony’s Playstation 3, the Wii crowds have been much calmer. Many observers attribute this to the fact that Nintendo had more than ten times as many Wii consoles available on launching day than Sony did for their PS3 that had been hounded by part shortages in manufacturing right up to the day of launch.

Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime said that several tough choices had been made in the design of the Wii. The company decided to develop a new way of playing games with revolutionary controllers instead of following the PS3 and the Xbox down the road of stunning graphic and multimedia options. This produced a console with a much talked-about sensor/controller design and the lowest price point of the three major consoles. While not having a DVD player or high-definition TV capabilities, the Wii retails for about $250 while its competitors the Xbox 360 and PS3 retail for about $400 and $600 respectively.

While the Wii will launch with several games available, one of its advertised advantages is that the new console is largely compatible with older games made for the GameCube, giving the new console an instant and extensive launching library. A GameCube controller will be needed to play GameCube games with the Wii. Several hardware items that GameCube games may be expecting, such as the modem or broadband adapter or the GameBoy player are not supported on the Wii.

Across the country in Los Angeles about 500 people were waiting for the doors to open at Universal City Walk’s Game Stop store. Fearing that the Wii introduction might be as contentious as the PS3 debut just a few days ago, the store handed out numbered wristbands to the throng. No problems were reported.

News briefs:May 27, 2010

Posted by YXs94d on October 19, 2018 - 2:22 am
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SEABL Canberra Capitals win over Bendingo Braves in a thriller

Posted by YXs94d on October 19, 2018 - 2:14 am

Monday, July 16, 2012Belconnen, Australian Capital Territory —

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The Canberra Capitals Academy won 71–68 against the Bendigo Braves Saturday in the Round 16 South East Australian Basketball League (SEABL) game at the Belconnen Basketball and Sports Centre.

From a narrow half time lead of 36–35, the Capitals managed to extend their lead to 46–37 before Bendigo pegged them back to 48–47 at three quarter time. Not far into the final quarter, the scores were tied at 55 all. With a little over two minutes left, the score was 63–66. The Capitals’ Michaela Dalgleish scored a three point shot to tie the score, but Bendigo’s Renae Camino replied with a two point basket to make it 66–68. The Capitals’ Mikaela Dombkins managed a three pointer, and was decked in the process. Sent to the free throw line, she converted one shot to make the score 70–68. With only twenty seconds left, instead of scoring, Bendigo fouled, sending the Captials’ Alyce Shearing to the free throw line. She missed both shots, giving Bendigo one last chance. Bendigo attempted a three point shot to win the game, but turned the ball over, and drew another foul that sent the Capitals’ Tessa Lavey to the free throw line. She scored one point. In the dying seconds of the game, Bendigo was unable to score, giving the Capitals a win.

With a median age of 19, the Capitals were somewhat younger than their opponents. Nonetheless, the team of Brianna Dalgleish, Michaela Dalgleish, Claire King, Abbie Davis, Tessa Lavey, Alyce Shearing, and Mikaela Dombkins conceded nothing in ball-handling skills.

The Capitals’ next home game is against Ballarat Rush on July 28 at the Belconnen Basketball and Sports Centre.

Author of My Billion Year Contract reflects on life in elite Scientology group

Posted by YXs94d on October 18, 2018 - 2:43 am

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Wikinews interviewed author Nancy Many about her book My Billion Year Contract, and asked her about life working in the elite Scientology group known as the “Sea Org“. Many joined Scientology in the early 1970s, and after leaving in 1996 she later testified against the organization. Published in October, Many’s book has gone on to become one of the top selling new books on Scientology at Amazon.com.

Canadian Government apologises for Residential Schools

Posted by YXs94d on October 18, 2018 - 2:21 am

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Stephen Harper, Canada’s Prime Minister, apologized on behalf of the Canadian Government for its role in the Indian Residential School System in front of Aboriginal Leaders, elders, and more than 1000 outside the Parliament Building. Harper proclaimed, “The treatment of children in Indian residential schools is a sad chapter in our history. Today, we recognize that this policy of assimilation was wrong, has caused great harm, and has no place in our country.” This apology was seen at more than 30 event around the country, and broadcast live on CBC Newsworld and CTV Newsnet.

The residential school system was created based on the Gradual Civilization Act (1857) and the Gradual Enfranchisement Act (1869), which assumed the superiority of British Ways, prompting the need for Aboriginals to become “civilized” by becoming English-speakers, Christians, and farmers. The funding of the schools was provided by the Indian Act (1876) and by the federal government department, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, and operated with the support of churches, generally the Roman Catholic Church and the United Church of Canada.

In the 1920s, attendance became compulsory for all children aged 6 to 15, and families who refused to cooperate were at risk of having the children removed by the government, and the parents sent to prison. The school systematically tried to destroy the aboriginal language and way of life, raising the idea of cultural genocide. Students were forbidden to speak their native languages, even outside the classroom, as to install the English or French language (and as result, to “forget” their native language), punishable by unreasonably severe corporal punishment. Practicing non-Christian faiths was also punishable by corporal punishment.

In the late 1990s, allegations of sexual abuse, as well as several physical and psychological abuse, arose, leading to large monetary payments from the federal government and churches to former students. The government also established the Aboriginal Healing Foundation, providing $350 million to fund community-based healing projects, and provided another $40 million in 2005.

On February 13, 2008, Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd made a similar apology in the Australian House of Parliament.

On June 21, 2008, Indian Residential School Museum of Canada is scheduled to open on Long Plain First Nation, near Portage La Prairie, Manitoba.

Race to save Chilean miners trapped underground from spiralling into depression continues

Posted by YXs94d on October 16, 2018 - 2:44 am

Thursday, September 2, 2010

It has emerged that the 33 Chilean miners trapped underground after the mine they were working in collapsed could be brought to the surface in a shorter time than was initially feared. While officials publicly announced that the men would not be brought to the surface until Christmas, sources inside technical meetings have revealed that they could in fact be on the surface by early November. The news comes as families were allowed to speak by radio-telephone to their trapped loved ones on Sunday. Over the weekend, video images filmed by the miners emerged showing the miners playing dominoes at a table and singing the Chilean national anthem. The miners also used the camera to send video messages to their families on the surface, saying that they regularly broke into tears, but were feeling better having received food and water.

The grainy nightvision images, filmed on a high definition camcorder that was sent down a small shaft to the mine, show the men in good spirits, chanting “long live Chile, and long live the miners.” They are unshaven and stripped to the waist because of the heat underground, and are seen wearing white clinical trousers that have been designed to keep them dry. Giving a guided tour of the area they are occupying, Mario Sepúlveda, one of the miners, explains they have a “little cup to brush our teeth”, and a place where they pray each day. “We have everything organized,” he tells the camera. Gesturing to the table in the center of the room, he says that “we meet here every day. We plan, we have assemblies here every day so that all the decisions we make are based on the thoughts of all 33.” Another unidentified miner asks to rescuers, “get us out of here soon, please.” A thermometer is shown in the video, reading 29.5C (85F).

As the film continues, it becomes evident that the miners have stuck a poster of a topless woman on the wall. The miners appear shy, and one man puts his hand to his face, presumably dazzled by the light mounted on the cameraman’s helmet. One miner sent a message to his family. “Be calm”, he says. “We’re going to get out of here. And we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your efforts.” Another said that the miners are “sure that there are people here in Chile that are big people, that are powerful people, that are intelligent people, and they have the technology and they will all work together to get us out of here.” Speaking to the camera, one says: “we have had the great fortune that trapped in this mine there are good, professional people. We have electricians, we have mechanics, we have machine operators and we will let you know that while you are working to rescue us on the surface, we are down here ready to help you too.” It has been reported that Mario Gómez, 63, has become the group’s “spiritual leader”, having worked in the mines for over fifty years. He has requested that materials to build a shrine be sent down to the cavern.

Upon seeing the video in a private screening, family members, who are living in a small village of tents at the entrance to the San José copper-gold mine—which they have named Camp Hope—were elated. “He’s skinny, bearded and it was painful to see him with his head hanging down, but I am so happy to see him alive”, said Ruth Contreras, the mother of Carlos Bravo, who is trapped in the mine. The video, of which only a small portion has been released to the public, shows the miners, many of them wearing helmets, cracking jokes and thanking the rescuers for their continued efforts. The supplies are being sent to the men through a small shaft only twelve centimeters wide, and a laboratory has been set up with the purpose of designing collapsible cots and miniature sandwiches, which can be sent down such a narrow space.

CNN reported on Friday that “officials are splitting the men into two shifts so one group sleeps while the other works or has leisure time .. On average, each man has lost 22 pounds (10 kilograms) since they became trapped three weeks ago, and dehydration remains a threat. But a survey of the men indicates that at least nine miners are still too overweight to fit through the proposed rescue shaft. Initially, the miners survived by draining water from a water-cooled piece of equipment. To stay hydrated in the 90-degree mine, each miner must drink eight or nine pints of water per day.”

But while there are jubilant celebrations on the surface that the miners are alive, officials are now nervous that the miners could become depressed, trapped in a dark room the size of a small apartment. Chilean health minister Jaime Mañalich said that, on the video, he saw the telltale signs of depression. “They are more isolated, they don’t want to be on the screen, they are not eating well”, he said. “I would say depression is the correct word.” He said that doctors who had watched the video had observed the men suffering from “severe dermatological problems.” Dr. Rodrigo Figueroa, head of the trauma, stress and disaster unit at the Catholic University in Santiago, Chile, explained that “following the euphoria of being discovered, the normal psychological reaction would be for the men to collapse in a combination of fatigue and stress … People who are trained for emergencies – like these miners – tend to minimize their own needs or to ignore them. When it is time to ask for help, they don’t.” NASA has advised emergency workers that entertaining the miners would be a good idea. They are to be sent a television system complete with taped football matches. Another dilemma facing Mañalich is whether the miners should be permitted to smoke underground. While nicotine gum has been delivered to the miners, sending down cigarettes is a plan that has not been ruled out.

With the news that drilling of the main rescue tunnel was expected to begin on Monday, officials have informed the media that they hope to have the miners out of the mine by Christmas—but sources with access to technical meetings have suggested that the miners could actually be rescued by the first week of November. A news report described the rescue plan—”the main focus is a machine that bores straight down to 688m and creates a chimney-type duct that could be used to haul the miners out one by one in a rescue basket. A second drilling operation will attempt to intercept a mining tunnel at a depth of roughly 350m. The miners would then have to make their way through several miles of dark, muddy tunnels and meet the rescue drill at roughly the halfway point of their current depth of 688m.” Iván Viveros Aranas, a Chilean policeman working at Camp Hope, told reporters that Chile “has shown a unity regardless of religion or social class. You see people arriving here just to volunteer, they have no relation at all to these families.”

But over the weekend, The New York Times reported that the “miners who have astonished the world with their discipline a half-mile underground will have to aid their own escape — clearing 3,000 to 4,000 tons of rock that will fall as the rescue hole is drilled, the engineer in charge of drilling said Sunday … The work will require about a half-dozen men working in shifts 24 hours a day.” Andrés Sougarret, a senior engineer involved in operating the drill said that “the miners are going to have to take out all that material as it falls.”

The families of those trapped were allowed to speak to them by radio-telephone on Sunday—a possibility that brought reassurance both the miners and those on the surface. The Intendant of the Atacama Region, Ximena Matas, said that there had been “moments of great emotion.” She continued to say that the families “listened with great interest and they both felt and realized that the men are well. This has been a very important moment, which no doubt strengthens their [the miners’] morale.” The phone line is thought to be quite temperamental, but it is hoped that soon, those in the mine and those in Camp Hope will be able to talk every day. “To hear his voice was a balm to my heart … He is aware that the rescue is not going to happen today, that it will take some time. He asked us to stay calm as everything is going to be OK … He sounded relaxed and since it was so short I didn’t manage to ask anything. Twenty seconds was nothing”, said said Jessica Cortés, who spoke to her husband Víctor Zamora, who was not even a miner, but a vehicle mechanic. “He went in that day because a vehicle had broken down inside the mine … At first they told us he had been crushed [to death].”

Esteban Rojas sent up a letter from inside the mine, proposing to his long-time partner Jessica Yáñez, 43. While they have officially been married for 25 years, their wedding was a civil service—but Rojas has now promised to have a church ceremony which is customary in Chile. “Please keep praying that we get out of this alive. And when I do get out, we will buy a dress and get married,” the letter read. Yáñez told a newspaper that she thought he was never going to ask her. “We have talked about it before, but he never asked me … He knows that however long it takes, I’ll wait for him, because with him I’ve been through good and bad.”