Controversy over translation of Norwegian national anthem

Sunday, May 21, 2006

A suggestion to translate the national anthem of Norway into Urdu is causing controversy. The Progress Party opposes the idea, saying that people who cannot understand Norwegian could just hum with the Norwegian citizens. Norway celebrated Syttende Mai, its Constitution Day on May 17 with traditional children’s parades last week. The song is usually sung on this occasion.

The editor of Utrop, a newspaper for the minorities in Norway, suggested the translation of the national anthem in an editorial in the national paper Vårt Land. Such a translation, he said, would allow immigrants of Pakistani origin to show their love for Norway by singing the Norwegian national anthem. The title of the national anthem is after all “Ja vi elsker (dette landet)” which translates as “Yes, we love (this country).”

“This is integration in reverse,” said Per-Willy Amundsen, the Progress Party spokesman on issues dealing with immigration. According to him, “the best gift that the immigrants could give to Norway would be learning the language of their new homeland.”

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17 October

Apple releases iPhone SDK, announces upcoming update

Thursday, March 6, 2008

During a media event held at its Cupertino headquarters, Apple released the long awaited iPhones Software Development Kit (SDK) and the associated iTunes “App Store” and iPhone Developer Program. The SDK will allow third party software developers to create applications for the iPhone and then distribute them on the iTunes Apps Stores. Any members of the iPhone Developer Program can add applications to the store for free; the program costs $99 (USD) to join. Developers will be able to set the price of the applications or release them for free. All applications will have to be approved by Apple before being allowed on the store. Some of the disallowed categories are”porn”, excessive bandwidth users and anything malicious or illegal. VoIP applications would be allowed over Wi-Fi only. Enterprises can setup private pages on the store to distribute internal applications.

At the event several third party developers that had been given early access to the SDK demonstrated their applications. Among the applications demonstrated were EA‘s Spore, AOL‘s AIM instant messenger and a client for epocrates, a drug reference service.

The company also announced the iPhone 2.0 update that was released as a closed beta for developers and is scheduled for public release in June. In the new version Apple has been focusing on enterprise features in an attempt to compete with rivals like RIM‘s BlackBerry and Microsoft’s Windows Mobile. The update adds support for ActiveSync, which Apple has licensed from rival Microsoft, WPA2 and virtual private network support. The update will also be available to iPod Touch users for what Steve Jobs described as “a nominal charge”, as Apple have done in the past with the previous iPod Touch and MacBook Wi-Fi updates.

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17 October

Robber holds retired NYC police officer at gunpoint during convention

Sunday, March 29, 2009

John Comparetto, a retired New York City Police Department lieutenant, was held at gunpoint on Friday morning by an armed nineteen year old in a hotel bathroom who demanded Comparetto’s money and cellphone.

Comparetto handed over both to the thief. When the criminal took off with the money, Comparetto drew his gun from an ankle holster and immediately chased after the robber. Comparetto asked the hotel desk clerk which way the suspect went, and told the clerk to alert officers at a police convention that a fellow policeman was “in need of assistance”.

A police officer’s convention was being held at the Holiday Inn near Harrisburg Friday for 300 narcotics police officers in attendance from Pennsylvania and Ohio.

The teen departed the scene in a taxi cab outside the hotel.

Comparetto said, “I stopped the cab at gunpoint. Ten other cops came running out and we arrested probably the dumbest criminal in Pennsylvania.”

Jerome Marquis Blanchett is being held at Dauphin County Prison following his arrest.

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16 October

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16 October

Lesbians, heterosexuals banned from gay bar in Australia

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The Peel Hotel, located in Melbourne, Australia has been given permission by the Victorian State Civil and Administrative Tribunal to ban lesbians and heterosexuals from going into their bar which is catered specifically for gay men.

Owner of the hotel Tom McFeely, said he went to the tribunal in order to protect gay males by providing them with a bar that has a friendly atmosphere and where the men can be in a “non-threatening” situation.

“If I can limit the number of heterosexuals entering the Peel, then that helps me keep the safe balance. Heterosexuals have other places to go to; my homosexuals do not,” said McFeely adding that there are over 2,000 bars and clubs around Australia for heterosexuals to attend.

The hotel’s commissioner says that many of the gay men who attend the bar felt uncomfortable and felt like zoo animals.

“(They) also have felt as though they’ve been like a zoo exhibit with big groups of women on hens’ parties coming to the club,” said the Peels Hotel Commission Chief, Helen Szoke who also said that many of the bars gay men have been harassed or have been threatened with violence.

Lesbians and heterosexual individuals are still allowed to stay at the hotel.

Cate McKenzie, who is the chief of the Victorian Human Rights and Equal Opportunities Commission also supports the ruling saying, “This would undermine or destroy the atmosphere which the company wishes to create. Sometimes heterosexual groups and lesbian groups insult and deride and are even physically violent towards the gay male patrons. To regard the gay male patrons of the venue as providing an entertainment or spectacle to be stared at, as one would at an animal at a zoo, devalues and dehumanizes them.”

The Victorian Gay and Lesbian Lobby Group says that the ruling makes the Peel Hotel one of the only two establishments in Melbourne to cater specifically to gay men.

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15 October

Wikinews interviews Joe Schriner, Independent U.S. presidential candidate

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Journalist, counselor, painter, and US 2012 Presidential candidate Joe Schriner of Cleveland, Ohio took some time to discuss his campaign with Wikinews in an interview.

Schriner previously ran for president in 2000, 2004, and 2008, but failed to gain much traction in the races. He announced his candidacy for the 2012 race immediately following the 2008 election. Schriner refers to himself as the “Average Joe” candidate, and advocates a pro-life and pro-environmentalist platform. He has been the subject of numerous newspaper articles, and has published public policy papers exploring solutions to American issues.

Wikinews reporter William Saturn? talks with Schriner and discusses his campaign.

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15 October

MetLife to acquire Travelers Life and Annuity from Citigroup

Monday, January 31, 2005

Metlife announced on 01/31/05 that they were going to acquire Travelers Life and Annuity from Citigroup. Travelers Life and Annuity is an insurance underwriter. MetLife is a large life insurance and annuities underwriter. MetLife will have to borrow a lot of money to pay for the company, so rating agencies like S&P warn that the AA credit rating of MetLife might be lowered. This would cause the interest rates at which all of MetLife’s debt must be repaid to increase.

Citigroup committed to continue distributing Travelers life insurance and annuities through its Smith Barney stock brokers, Primerica agents, and Citibank branches.

Citigroup was previously known as Travelers Insurance before it bought Citicorp. First the Property and Casualty business of Travelers was spun off, and now the life insurance division has been sold off. This is primarily because insurance underwriters get a lower price to earnings multiple from the stock market because of the cycles and uncertainty associated with the insurance business. Also, having an insurance underwriter and a bank together does not usually create “cross-sell” opportunities, because consumers and businesses almost always buy life insurance and annuities through brokers who have a duty to give them other options. Citigroup will continue to sell insurance through its brokers as before.


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15 October

Google announces plan to shut down Google Plus for individual use, leave it on for businesses

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

United States technology giant Google announced on Monday on their official blog they would be closing their Internet-based social network Google+ for individual use. They said this announcement followed several months of Google analyzing how Google+ is used, which showed a low rate of “usage and engagement” while the platform incurred a maintenance burden for maintaining its security. The platform would continue to be available for business use, according to the announcement.

According to the analysis, in 90 percent of cases, people reportedly used Google+ for less than five seconds at a time, Google said. The closure of Google+ would apply only to individuals who would have ten months to transition and be provided with information about how to retrieve their data from the service.

Ben Smith, a Google vice president for engineering, wrote in a blog post, “Given these challenges and the very low usage of the consumer version of Google+, we decided to sunset the consumer version of Google+.” Additionally, he announced Google is increasing security for its apps that ask for access to user data, giving the users the ability to select what is being shared.

In the announcement Google also referred to a vulnerability of the Google+ web site found in March, which had reportedly exposed the private data of up to 500,000 users. The data-exposure was reportedly minimal and limited to names, email addresses, occupation, gender, and age of the consumer. Other data like phone numbers, messages, Google Plus posts or data from other Google accounts are unexposed, the company had said. Google had resolved this problem. However, it was not announced to the public at that time, which caused some amount of public criticism. According to the official blog post by Google, this incident was indicative of the software maintenance effort and legal risks required to continue running the platform.

In the announcement, Google said in the future it would focus on services for enterprise and businesses.

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13 October

Seeds placed in Norwegian vault as agricultural ‘insurance policy’

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Svalbard Global Seed Vault, a vault containing millions of seeds from all over the world, saw its first deposits on Tuesday. Located 800 kilometers from the North Pole on the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen, the vault has been referred to by European Commission president José Manuel Barroso as a “frozen Garden of Eden“. It is intended to preserve crop supplies and secure biological diversity in the event of a worldwide disaster.

“The opening of the seed vault marks a historic turning point in safeguarding the world’s crop diversity,” said Cary Fowler, executive director of the Global Crop Diversity Trust which is in charge of collecting the seed samples. The Norwegian government, who owns the bank, built it at a cost of $9.1 million.

At the opening ceremony, 100 million seeds from 268,000 samples were placed inside the vault, where there is room for over 2 billion seeds. Each of the samples originated from a different farm or field, in order to best ensure biological diversity. These crop seeds included such staples as rice, potatoes, barley, lettuce, maize, sorghum, and wheat. No genetically modified crops were included. (Beyond politics they are generally sterile so of no use.)

It is very important for Africa to store seeds here because anything can happen to our national seed banks.

Constructed deep inside a mountain and protected by concrete walls, the “doomsday vault” is designed to withstand earthquakes, nuclear warfare, and floods resulting from global warming. Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg called it an “insurance policy” against such threats.

With air-conditioned temperatures of -18 degrees Celsius, experts say the seeds could last for an entire millennium. Some crops will be able to last longer, like sorghum, which the Global Crop Diversity Trust says can last almost 20 millenniums. Even if the refrigeration system fails, the vaults are expected to stay frozen for 200 years.

The Prime Minister said, “With climate change and other forces threatening the diversity of life that sustains our planet, Norway is proud to be playing a central role in creating a facility capable of protecting what are not just seeds, but the fundamental building blocks of human civilization.” Stoltenberg, along with Kenyan Nobel Peace Prize laureate Wangari Maathai, made the first deposit of rice to the vault.

“It is very important for Africa to store seeds here because anything can happen to our national seed banks,” Maathai said. The vault will operate as a bank, allowing countries to use their deposited seeds free of charge. It will also serve as a backup to the thousands of other seed banks around the world.

“Crop diversity will soon prove to be our most potent and indispensable resource for addressing climate change, water and energy supply constraints and for meeting the food needs of a growing population,” Cary Fowler said.

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13 October

E. coli outbreak kills 1, sickens nearly 100

Friday, September 15, 2006

An E. coli outbreak linked to fresh bagged spinach in at least 20 states, has killed 1 person, a 77 year old woman in Wisconsin and has made more than 95 sick, some severely and affecting people anywhere from 3 to 84 years old. Michigan, Oregon, New Mexico, New York, Indiana, Ohio, Wisconsin, Idaho, Connecticut, Kentucky and Utah all report human cases of the illness linked to the contaminated spinach. All individuals sickened by the outbreak have the same strain, E. coli O157:H7. Officials are currently investigating cases in Washington, Pennsylvania and California to determine if the new cases are linked to the current outbreak.

“Based on the current information, FDA advises that consumers not eat bagged fresh spinach at this time. Individuals who believe they may have experienced symptoms of illness after consuming bagged spinach are urged to contact their health care provider,” said a statement on the Food and Drug Administration‘s website.

Health officials report that the symptoms from eating any contaminated spinach are kidney failure or Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome [HUS] which can occur easily in children and elderly people, bloody diarrhea, mild fever and in some cases death. At least 14 of the infected have suffered kidney failure.

“Given the severity of this illness and the seriousness of the outbreak, FDA believes that a warning to consumers is needed. We are working closely with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC] and state and local agencies to determine the cause and scope of the problem,” added the statement.

Consumers are urged to throw out any fresh spinach they may have as washing it does not help, but officials say that cooking the spinach could kill the bacteria though officials still urge consumers to throw out all spinach.

“We are telling everyone to get rid of fresh bagged spinach right now. Don’t assume anything is over,” said Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle. Wisconsin has seen the worst of the outbreak with one death reported and over 30 people infected.

“If you wash it, it is not going to get rid of it,” said the Center for Food Safety and Nutrition director, Robert Brackett.

Health officials also say that they do not know what caused the contamination and do not know where the spinach originated from. Officials believe that the contamination was not “deliberate.”

“It is too early to say where the spinach has come from. This is an active investigation and we will provide more information as it becomes available. We have no evidence that this was deliberate,” said a spokeswoman for the FDA, Laura Alvey.

A company which produces natural foods in California is suspected to be the source of the illness. Natural Selection Foods LLC. located in San Juan Bautista, California has recalled all of their spinach voluntarily, including any food items containing the vegetable. Some of those infected with the illness have reported eating spinach which came from the company, but officials say that the outbreak may not be entirely isolated to just Natural Selection and that the investigation into the origin of the outbreak is still ongoing.

“We have temporarily stopped shipping spinach products, and have taken spinach out of our salads that contain them. Everyone at Earthbound Farm is terribly upset about these illnesses and death and their potential relationship to a product that is ordinarily a very healthy food choice. We are committed to producing exceptionally fresh and healthy produce. Quality and food safety continue to be our top priorities,” said Natural Selections in a statement on its website. Natural Selections is operated by Earthbound Farm.

“It is possible that the recall and the information will extend beyond Natural Selection Foods and involve other brands and other companies, at other dates,” said chief medical officer with the FDA’s Center for Food Safety, Doctor David Acheson.

Natural Selection sells many different brand names of spinach including Dole, Trader Joe’s, Green Harvest, Ready Pac, Earthbound Farm, Rave Spinach and their own brand of spinach, Natural Selections.

Officials say that more cases are expected to be reported, but many individuals will recover from the illness within a week.

E. coli, on average, affects more than 75,000 people a year and can kill as many as 60.

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12 October