News briefs:June 2, 2006

The time is 18:00 (UTC) on June 2nd, 2006, and this is Audio Wikinews News Briefs.

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Greek demonstrators protest austerity measures

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Protestors in Greece, rallying against austerity measures, have clashed with police in the capital of Athens.

Some people participating in the rally — attended by thousands of teachers and students — threw stones at riot police, who responded by employing pepper spray, although the BBC described the protests as being generally peaceful. Demonstrators say that a recent austerity proposal, which is to include pension cuts and an increase in taxes, will adversely affect the education sector.

Teachers, along with hospital workers and public servants, have started a two-day strike over the measures. Also present were 150 members of the armed forces, who protested having their bonuses lowered.

Meanwhile, earlier on Tuesday, approximately a hundred demonstrators with the Communist Party broke through locks at the Acropolis and hung up banners saying: “Peoples of Europe — Rise Up”.

Communist Member of Parliament Nikos Papaconstantinou commented: “We want to send a message to the farthest reaches of Greece and Europe. Similar measures that eliminate social security are taken across Europe. But popular anger will rattle imperialist organisations.”

The austerity plan comes shortly after the Greek government said it would introduce spending cuts to obtain a loan package by the EU and International Monetary Fund, aimed at helping Greece recover from a financial crisis.

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US fans turn out for 2012 Phoenix Comicon

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Phoenix, Arizona — Last weekend, Phoenix fans of comics, science fiction, horror, fantasy, cos-play, anime and manga, Society for Creative Anachronism, and more, marked a milestone as the city held its tenth annual Phoenix Comicon at the Phoenix Convention Center. The event — which is entirely the work of more than 700 volunteers according to coordinator Colin Aprill — generated around US$5 million for the “Valley of the Sun” during its four-day run. Wikinews was there.

As one unknown source from the crowd was overheard saying, “It’s all about the fans.” Descending into the hall by escalator gave a sense of the scale to the creativity in the center. Fans could be seen scattering about in a flurry of motion on their way from one event to another and producing their own spectacle, most in costume, on their way.

This year the four-day convention in the Valley was estimated to set a new attendance record as 30,000 visitors showed. Most were clothed in costumes that transformed themselves into Batmans, creeper box heads, furries, Lady and Knight couple, pirates, pixies, Star Trek officers, Star Wars’ Empire troopers, Superwomen, and zombies. One of the most common activities at Comicon was people taking photos of each other while they took turns posing or snapping shots.

The Camp family stopped intermittently to have their photos taken by others. The Camps were led by eldest brother Jim “Batman” Camp. He attended Comicon with his sister Tina “Good Witch” Camp, who brought her daughter Katie “Super Woman.” Sibling Tony Camp, who attended with his daughter Stella “Bat Girl,” was said to be “the instigator” behind the family’s turnout at Comicon. “You get to be dressed up and can act goofy, and you don’t feel weird because everybody is dressing up, too,” said Tony about the family-friendly event.

The exhibit hall was filled with artists and merchants selling comic books, trinkets, memorabilia, wares and keepsakes. Amidst the shoppers, the photo opportunities continued to attract the most attention. For all the star-studded autograph booths and an artist alley with famed comic book artists, the most fun was simply enjoying the presence of other fans in costume.

The Thirteenth Floor Haunted House took advantage of the photo-op activity by supplying monsters “Nemesis” and “Collosus” for more of this activity. Manager Tim Pugsley says the company owns five out of the top 1300 haunted houses in the United States. The monsters’ human counterparts remained anonymous on purpose. “The characters don’t get ruined that way,” said a handler.

Montana E. had his picture taken with “Nemesis” by friend Joey Deihl, while Eddie Deleon and young Raquel Munguia posed with “Collosus.”

Fans also gathered Saturday for a flash mob event, in which people danced or acted to Michael Jackson’s mega-hit song “Thriller”. An entertainment group calling themselves “The Zombie Chicks” attended the flash mob and then later drifted in trance through the exhibitor hall of the convention center. “We’re here for the performance, not for the stuff,” said Tori Hoganson, who pointed like a bored consumer at the trinkets in a stall. She was careful to use as few words as possible to speak her mind out of character before going back mindfully to her mindless performance. She was accompanied by her friends, who in human form are known as Emmalaine Wright and Lyle Yanak. The group was watched closely and held at bay by “The Keeper” Ben Fondren, who lurked nearby as a faceless shadow.

The fans also turned out to see big stars, like William Shatner, who portrayed Captain Kirk in the original Star Trek series; LeVar Burton, who is synonymous with the ship’s engineer Geordi La Forge in Star Trek: The Next Generation; or Jon Bernthal, who was the sometimes hero and sometimes anti-hero Shane Walsh in the TV series The Waking Dead.

Father and son John and David Phelps, who are both Star Trek fans, attended the event together and were excited to see Shatner. “He can be funny, but he’s also fun to laugh at,” said John Phelps with a smile. His son David liked to laugh at Shatner when the artist attempted to sing. Shatner has had an alternative “tongue-in-cheek” career singing hits such as “Common People” on the 2004 album Has Been.

Hunter Lewis got Jon Bernthal’s autograph, which came penned with the message, “I F@&#’in hate Zombies.” Zombies were the main source of the angst that bedeviled characters in his hit TV show. Hunter’s friends Justin Rose, Ryan Scola and Taylor Fagen also met with Bernthal in the autograph line. This was just one of many examples of how friends and family were bonding and sharing together in the spectacle throughout the convention center.

There were also breakout sessions for classes, performances, gaming, and crafts. Nyki Robertson Crosby, a.k.a. “Lady Thunder,” who is the matriarch of one of the largest houses for the Society for Creative Anachronism in the Phoenix area, sponsored a class on creating a “Basic T-shirt Tunic” so that anyone who wanted to attend an S.C.A. event in costume could fit in with a minimal investment in time, effort and money. She said the secret is to create a costume that could be one someone would wear between 600–1600 A.D. “We’re the Society of Creative Anachronism and not the Society of Creative Accuracy,” Robertson Crosby said.

The Phoenix Comicon was carnivalesque in its look and feel. And it spread well beyond the convention center as knights and Wonderland characters and more walked the streets of Phoenix and lunched and dined with the “civilians”. The civilians were the ones who kept asking, “What’s going on?”

They may have been “out of towners” visiting the “Valley of the Sun” between May 24–27, because after ten years, Phoenix now has an established tradition.

This year’s largest Comicon is to be Comic-Con International San Diego 2012, July 12–15 in California.

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Penis Health Creme Top Solution To Protect A Mans Valued Assets}

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Submitted by: J Dugan

Mechanics all over the world swear by routine maintenance. As long as the chassis is kept bright and shiny, and the engine is lubricated and balanced with care, the car can keep on running with no break in the action. Unfortunately, while most men are willing to take their precious car in for care, few may think of dealing with the other little machine they own.

That’s right: The penis also needs a little TLC in order to stay in tip-top shape, without needing a trip to the doctor for a little specialized penis care. One of the best ways to provide that specialized care involves a quick rubdown with a penis health creme, each and every night.

Moisturizing Help

Most lotions are designed to help the skin to stay soft and supple, and typically, they’re used on parts of the body that are exposed to the sun. Noses, fingers and the tips of the ears can become cracked and dry when they’re beaten by the sun day in and day out, and a lotion can help that dry skin to flake away so softer skin can come to the surface.

While a man’s Johnson might never be extremely cracked and dry, it might have microscopic tears that impact performance. Each rough brush with a towel and each bout of love from a partner that’s executed without lube can leave its mark, and in time, that dry skin might be a little less elastic. At a time when a man wants to be most impressive, his dry skin my hold back a precious millimeter or two. Moisturizing could be vital in order to protect the width and length a man’s expected to deliver.

Soothing Sensations

While intimate sessions require a man to do certain things for the benefit of others, some movements are made just for him. Unfortunately, if his skin isn’t properly nourished, all of those sweet sensations could pass him right by.

Nerve cells are nutrient gobblers, and the cells that line the penis need a particular bath of vitamins and minerals in order to function at peak capacity. Taking a multivitamin can help, but adding vital elements directly to the vital organ is a much better option, as the digestive tract is eliminated and the nutrition goes right where it’s needed. In time, the nerves can fire with ease and all of the pleasures a penis can deliver will be at a man’s fingertips.

Improving Hygiene

Washing, scrubbing and patting can keep the groin fresh and tidy, but leftover droplets of water and tiny molecules of soap can cause lingering sensations of pain that don’t seem to abate with time. Adding in a post-towel moisturizing step provides a man with yet another opportunity to wipe irritants away, leaving nothing but soothing sensations behind. This step could bring intense benefits, including:

Improved scent

Reduced risk of pain and swelling

Improved visual appearance

Reduced risk of cheesy discharge from the foreskin

Getting Started

All penis health products are not created equal. In fact, some products are designed to address some specific penis ailments, rather than supporting underlying good health that could make those problems fade away before they begin. A proper penis health creme (health professionals recommend Man1 Man Oil) for a healthy man will provide a vital mix of emollients for skin health, spiked with the vitamins and minerals that will support healthy tissue turnover. A creme like this isnt used to cure a disease, and it shouldnt be used in place of a personal lubricant, but it can be a man’s secret weapon. A quick tune-up after a shower, involving nothing more than a quick rub with a soft lotion, can keep a man’s engine purring and his pistons firing right on schedule.

About the Author: For additional information on most common penis health issues, tips on improving penis sensitivity, and what to do to maintain a healthy penis, visit:

. John Dugan is a professional writer who specializes in men’s health issues and is an ongoing contributing writer to numerous online web sites.


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Prison officers’ strike ends in England and Wales

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Prison officers in England and Wales are on strike today as part of a continuing dispute over pay rates with employers, the Ministry of Justice.

The Prison Officers’ Association (POA) announced the strike, the first in its history, at 0600 (BST) on the morning of the 29th of August, just an hour before it was due to start. As the morning progressed, officers at most public prisons across the two countries locked prisoners in their cells (a “lockdown”) and walked out, aiming to remain on strike until 0700 on the 30th.

The strike has been condemned by the Ministry of Justice, as a breach of the Industrial Relations Act, with Justice Secretary Jack Straw calling it “deeply regrettable and wholly unjustifiable”. Immediately following the announcement of the action, the Ministry commenced proceedings to gain a High Court injunction against the POA. Such an injunction was granted by Mr Justice Ramsey, who said that there was “overwhelming case” for it, after the court heard evidence that a Joint Industrial Relations Procedural Agreement, agreed to prevent industrial action, had been broken.

Despite the court proceedings, the strike continued largely unabated, and was expected to run its full course.

Inmates were at one point reported to have been seen on the roof of Liverpool Prison, however the situation was brought under control without any escapees.

In Wormwood Scrubs Prison, London, all 1,300 prisoners were being looked after by just eight governors, while atCardiff, as prisoners, locked in their cells, shouted “You’re breaking the law” to the officers standing in the car park. As a result of the lack of staff, prisoners could not be transported to court, were fed in their cells, could not be visited and could not take part in any rehabilitation or community service courses. In addition, 900 prisoners had to be accommodated elsewhere, unable to be admitted to public prisons.

This evening, this strike was called off by the POA, who issued an order to all of its members to return to work, with further pay discussions expected to come on Friday.

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CEO of GM outlines plan for “New GM” after auto company declared bankruptcy

Thursday, June 4, 2009

In a New York press conference at 16:15 UTC, June 1st, Fritz Henderson, the Chief Executive Officer of General Motors, which filed for bankruptcy and Chapter 11 protection from its creditors earlier today, outlined a plan for what he called a “New GM”.

Speaking to the press under safe harbor provisions of U.S. law, Henderson described the events of today as a “defining moment” in the history of General Motors. Speaking to the public he said that “The GM that let you down is history,” and described a “New GM” that he expected to result from the bankruptcy process.

Henderson stated that he envisioned the bankruptcy process would take between 60 and 90 days. He stressed several times his view that the process would be one that is executed quickly, saying that not just a sense of urgency but “pure unadulterated speed” was his expectation of the process. He emphasized that “GM remains open for business” during the bankruptcy period, continuing to sell and to support its products, and that day one motions had been filed in the bankruptcy court in order to allow this.

Regarding the bankruptcy process he said, “We will do it right. And we will do it once.”

He stated that the plan for General Motors had the support of the United Auto Workers union, the Canadian Auto Workers union, the GM VEBA, and a majority of the unsecured bondholders of GM. He also mentioned that GM had already received €1.5 million in bridge financing from the German government.

In response to questions about the possibility of the United States federal government, a majority shareholder in the restructured company, dictating future product development and strategy, such as the sale of more fuel-efficient and green vehicles; he first observed that the federal government had already stated to him that it had “no real interest in running our business” and that he expected that still to be his job. Of the specific hypothetical scenario where the management of GM wants to make one type of car, because it thinks that it is the right thing for the business, and the U.S. government wants to make another type of car, he stated that “I don’t think it’s going to happen.” Expanding on that point he stated that he expected the “New GM” to focus upon “highly fuel-efficient and green technology”, and that operating both in accordance with U.S. environmental laws and in response to customer demand would naturally result in the New GM producing the types of vehicles that the U.S. government would encourage.

The “New GM” he also expected to focus on “four core brands”, and will size its dealership to match that. He stated that GM would offer a “deferred termination” package to dealers, to allow them to cease dealing in GM vehicles in a managed and gradual way.

He stated that the bankruptcy filings did not cover General Motors’ businesses in Latin America, Europe and the Middle East, and Asia and the Pacific. Of GM’s profitable ventures in China, specifically, he stated that they were “a critical part of the New GM”. In response to questions of whether the New GM would import cars from China to the U.S., he stated the formative company’s core principle that “We build where we sell” applied in both directions, with GM building in China to sell in China and building in the U.S. to sell in the U.S., stating that this shortened supply chains.

He declined to predict when the New GM would return to profitability, stating that the goal was rather to lower the break-even EBIT point for the company. He also declined to speculate upon when the U.S. government would sell its stake in the company, saying that that was a question “better addressed to the U.S. Treasury”, and merely saying that he expected it to be “years, not months” when the U.S. Treasury felt it would give “the right return for taxpayers.”

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Financial Aid: How You Can Qualify For Student Financial Assistance

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By M.J. Joseph

With the ever-changing workforce and the salary gap between college graduates and high school graduates expanding, more and more people are looking to further their education. However, some think they do not have enough money to go to college. Most are simply unaware of money for college that they could get. With the need for a college education on the rise, more and more college students are finding a way to pay for their education with financial aid. Financial aid can come in many different forms, such as scholarships, grants, loans and employer reimbursements.

With financial aid, college students have many different options: Trade schools, career schools, state universities and private universities are just a few. With the current fast-paced way of life and people becoming more technologically savvy, more students are turning to accredited online universities to earn their college degree. And, with a congressional decision in 2006 on the 50-50 rule, online universities can offer financial aid for many students hoping to earn their online degree.

1. Scholarship Opportunities

Scholarships are available to students for many different kinds of reasons, ranging from writing an essay to making duct tape fashionable at prom. The great thing about scholarships is that they do not have to be repaid. The federal government also provides scholarship opportunities to students with academic, athletic, artistic or other areas of demonstrated excellence. There are many web sites to assist you in the scholarship search and application process. Scholarships are also available to students intending on pursuing certain areas of study. No matter what your skill or talent, you have the opportunity to apply for a number of different scholarships.

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2. Federal Grants

Grants are also available to students who need financial assistance and are pursuing an undergraduate degree. Like scholarships, grants do not have to be repaid. Federal Pell Grants, for instance, are awarded by the U.S. Department of Education to participating schools.

3. Student Loans

Loans are available to most students who are U.S. citizens. Loans must be repaid, but typically do not require a repayment until six months after you are out of school. The interest rate for federal student loans is typically very low, and the loans have reasonable monthly payment plans after you graduate. Private student loans and parent loans are also available through banks or other private lenders.

4. Employer Reimbursements

Going back to college and getting your degree not only helps you, it helps your employer, as well. The pursuit of an online degree helps you learn new information and hones your skills, making you more valuable to your company. Some employers offer reimbursement plans to employees for continuing and completing their college degree. Check with your human resources department to see if you qualify for employer reimbursements for your continuing education.

Each year, the U.S. Department of Education and the Federal Student Aid program disperse more than $80 billion to students through their schools. According to a 2006 U.S. Census Bureau press release, more than half of all college students receive financial aid from sources outside of their families.To receive consideration for federal financial aid, you must fill out a FAFSA form (Free Application for Federal Student Aid), which you can find on the financial aid home page. With the help of scholarships, grants, loans or your employer, you, like many college students, can achieve your goals of a college degree.

About the Author: M.J. Joseph is a freelance writer from Kansas City, MO. You can read more of his articles about distance learning, online education and general education at

. For more information on colleges in your area, visit



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England: Multi-storey carpark in Liverpool gutted by fire, 1,300 vehicles destroyed

Thursday, January 4, 2018

A fire on Sunday night in the seven-storey carpark for the Echo Arena in Liverpool, England destroyed almost all the vehicles parked inside and led to cancellation of the final evening of the Liverpool International Horse Show and evacuation of nearby blocks of flats. The blaze reportedly started with a parked Range Rover Discovery.

Investigators with the fire brigade stated that they believe the fire began with an accidental engine fire in the Range Rover at about 4.30 pm. The first call was made at 4.42 and firefighters arrived eight minutes after that. Ultimately twelve engines and 85 firefighters were involved in combatting the blaze. Aerial appliances were used and also three high-volume pumps. Fed by the fuel in vehicles parked inside, the temperature of the fire in the carpark is believed to have reached as high as 1,000°C. It was too hot to be extinguished with water from hydrants, so a high-volume pump was used to draw water from the River Mersey, and two more were brought from other fire brigades in the region.

The carpark has seven storeys and a capacity of 1,600 vehicles, and approximately 1,300 were parked in it when the fire broke out. According to Dan Stephens, chief fire officer for Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service, almost all of them were destroyed, with the exception of a few parked on the top level and at corners. “With these very high temperatures, you were never going to put the fire out without the whole building taking hold. The speed at which the fire spreads means you simply aren’t going to put it out,” said Stephens.

The carpark itself was severely damaged; according to Joe Anderson, the mayor of Liverpool. It is not in danger of collapsing but will have to be demolished, which will be difficult with the many burned-out cars still inside it, Anderson told the BBC.

According to Stephens, there were no serious injuries: one woman injured her hand, and two people were treated for smoke inhalation. A spokesman for the Echo Arena also stated that all animals were safe. All horses were successfully evacuated from the carpark and then removed from the stables after smoke spread to them. Six dogs were also rescued unharmed, two on a lower level in the early stages of the fire and four that had been left in a car on the top level, freed by firefighters on Monday after the fire was put out.

The final evening of the four-day Liverpool International Horse Show had been scheduled to begin at 7.30, and had to be cancelled. Many attendees were stranded in the city on New Year’s Eve night. Merseyside police directed people to the Pullman Hotel, where Red Cross assistance was available, and the Liverpool City Council set up an assistance centre at the Lifestyles Gym. A spokesman for the Association of British Insurers has said that insurance companies will “move very quickly” to reimburse owners whose vehicles were destroyed.

Nearby blocks of flats were evacuated because of the smoke. Eyewitnesses reported hearing what they at first thought were firecrackers, then “multiple explosions”, “bangs and popping”, “the bangs of car windows exploding”. People reported leaving everything in their cars, including their cellphones, and running for their lives.

Mayor Anderson tweeted that cuts to fire services over the last two years made it significantly harder to fight the fire and might have caused it not to be controllable. He also suggested that fire safety in multi-storey carparks had not been sufficiently considered and that installing sprinklers in them might help stop future fires before they become unmanageable, in a letter to Nick Hurd, a member of Parliament.

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Al Sharpton speaks out on race, rights and what bothers him about his critics

Monday, December 3, 2007

At Thanksgiving dinner David Shankbone told his white middle class family that he was to interview Reverend Al Sharpton that Saturday. The announcement caused an impassioned discussion about the civil rights leader’s work, the problems facing the black community and whether Sharpton helps or hurts his cause. Opinion was divided. “He’s an opportunist.” “He only stirs things up.” “Why do I always see his face when there’s a problem?”

Shankbone went to the National Action Network’s headquarters in Harlem with this Thanksgiving discussion to inform the conversation. Below is his interview with Al Sharpton on everything from Tawana Brawley, his purported feud with Barack Obama, criticism by influential African Americans such as Clarence Page, his experience running for President, to how he never expected he would see fifty (he is now 53). “People would say to me, ‘Now that I hear you, even if I disagree with you I don’t think you’re as bad as I thought,'” said Sharpton. “I would say, ‘Let me ask you a question: what was “bad as you thought”?’ And they couldn’t say. They don’t know why they think you’re bad, they just know you’re supposed to be bad because the right wing tells them you’re bad.”

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