Ukraine celebrates Independence Day
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Ukraine celebrates Independence Day

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Ukraine celebrates its independence day today, 15 years after it broke away from the Soviet Union in 1991.

Ukrainian president Victor Yuschenko told a crowd at an event to mark the occasion: “By the will of the people, our country’s course toward membership in the European Union and NATO will be carried through … and most importantly, I reiterate and guarantee that Ukraine’s democratic, liberal, and national choice is irreversible and unconditional.”

Yuschenko told the press yesterday that he would insist on the rehabilitation of those who raised the Ukrainian flag in Ternopil in 1973.

The Russian president Vladimir Putin sent a message of congratulations to his Ukrainian counterpart and offered reassurances about Russo-Ukrainian relations. His note to Yuschenko said: “I am convinced that on the basis of mutual understanding and compromise on unresolved issues we can reach the level of true strategic partnership, a fundamental principle recorded in the treaty of friendship, cooperation and partnership.”

Lobby groups oppose plans for EU copyright extension
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Lobby groups oppose plans for EU copyright extension

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The European Commission currently has proposals on the table to extend performers’ copyright terms. Described by Professor Martin Kretschmer as the “Beatles Extension Act”, the proposed measure would extend copyright from 50 to 95 years after recording. A vast number of classical tracks are at stake; the copyright on recordings from the fifties and early sixties is nearing its expiration date, after which it would normally enter the public domain or become ‘public property’. E.U. Commissioner for the Internal Market and Services Charlie McCreevy is proposing this extension, and if the other relevant Directorate Generales (Information Society, Consumers, Culture, Trade, Competition, etc.) agree with the proposal, it will be sent to the European Parliament.

Wikinews contacted Erik Josefsson, European Affairs Coordinator for the Electronic Frontier Foundation (E.F.F.), who invited us to Brussels, the heart of E.U. policy making, to discuss this new proposal and its implications. Expecting an office interview, we arrived to discover that the event was a party and meetup conveniently coinciding with FOSDEM 2008 (the Free and Open source Software Developers’ European Meeting). The meetup was in a sprawling city centre apartment festooned with E.F.F. flags and looked to be a party that would go on into the early hours of the morning with copious food and drink on tap. As more people showed up for the event it turned out that it was a truly international crowd, with guests from all over Europe.

Eddan Katz, the new International Affairs Director of the E.F.F., had come over from the U.S. to connect to the European E.F.F. network, and he gladly took part in our interview. Eddan Katz explained that the Electronic Frontier Foundation is “A non-profit organisation working to protect civil liberties and freedoms online. The E.F.F. has fought for information privacy rights online, in relation to both the government and companies who, with insufficient transparency, collect, aggregate and make abuse of information about individuals.” Another major focus of their advocacy is intellectual property, said Eddan: “The E.F.F. represents what would be the public interest, those parts of society that don’t have a concentration of power, that the private interests do have in terms of lobbying.”

Becky Hogge, Executive Director of the U.K.’s Open Rights Group (O.R.G.), joined our discussion as well. “The goals of the Open Rights Group are very simple: we speak up whenever we see civil, consumer or human rights being affected by the poor implementation or the poor regulation of new technologies,” Becky summarised. “In that sense, people call us -I mean the E.F.F. has been around, in internet years, since the beginning of time- but the Open Rights Group is often called the British E.F.F.

Contents

  • 1 The interview
    • 1.1 Cliff Richard’s pension
    • 1.2 Perpetual patents?
    • 1.3 The fight moves from the U.K. to Europe
    • 1.4 Reclaiming democratic processes in the E.U.
  • 2 Related news
  • 3 Sources
  • 4 External links
India, China reopen Nathu La pass
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India, China reopen Nathu La pass

Thursday, July 6, 2006

India and China reopened the Nathula Pass in the Himalayan state of Sikkim, on Thursday. The pass had been closed for the last 44 years, following the Sino-Indian War.

India and China finalised the agreement to open the pass in June 19, as part of an effort to improve diplomatic relations between the two. The opening comes only a few days after China inaugurated the Qinghai-Tibet Railway, which links Tibet to the rest of China.

The opening of the pass was marked by a ceremony on the Indian side attended by officials from both sides, including Sikkim Chief Minister Pawan Kumar Chamling – the chief guest, the Chinese ambassador to India, and the Chairman of the Tibet Autonomous Region, C Phuntsok. A delegation of 100 traders from India, and 100 Tibetans crossed the border to the respective trading towns. Despite heavy rain and chilly winds, the ceremony was marked with the attendance of many officials, locals, and international and local media.

At present, trade will be restricted to a small number of permitted goods, such as rice, tea and spices from India and goat and sheep skins, yak tails and silk from China. But the opening is expected to stimulate the economy of the region, and also bolster Indo-Chinese trade, which amounted to $7 billion in 2004. India hopes that the trade volumes between the two nations will grow to Rs. 206 crore (44.6 million US$) by 2007, and Rs. 12,203 crore (2.6 billion US$) by 2015.

News briefs:July 20, 2010
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News briefs:July 20, 2010
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Navy helping New Orleans pets
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Navy helping New Orleans pets

Saturday, September 17, 2005

The Spanish word “tortuga” means “turtle.” But in the wake of the New Orleans disaster, the USS Tortuga is helping other animals.

For nearly two weeks now, sailors from Tortuga’s repair division have devoted much of their time during this disaster relief operation to ensure the health and comfort of displaced pets.

September 4th, just after the ship moored to a pier at Naval Support Activity (NSA) New Orleans, HT1(SW) Mark Hanley and DC1(SW) Antony Graves gathered materials from the repair shop on board to construct a kennel along the levee. The facility they made soon became a popular shelter for the homeless animals of the storm.

Tortuga’s search and rescue team brought aboard more than 170 displaced citizens during this past week, providing them with food, water, medical aid and a place to sleep.

Tortuga’s makeshift kennel, named ‘Camp Milo & Otis,’ has housed as many as 90 dogs, eight cats, one rabbit, one guinea pig, a pair of parakeets and a flightless pigeon during the past week of operation.

Currently, there are 14 dogs that remain in Tortuga’s care, as many of the other pets have been taken to animal shelters in the area for extra medical attention, or been claimed by their owners upon arrival to Tortuga. The pets that Tortuga has registered have all been in the hands of professional veterinarians assigned to provide expert medical attention to the members of Camp Milo & Otis.

Dr. Kelly Crowdis and Dr. Latina Gambles, both from Tuskegee University and Christian Veterinary Missions, have treated many of the pets for infection, dehydration, malnourishment and broken bones at the Camp during the past week.

“The animals were bathed and assessed before physical interaction with the sailors,” said Dr. Crowdis. “They’ve been given immunizations, antibiotics and medications based on their medical needs.”

Dr. Crowdis added, “What these sailors have done on their own has been such a heart-warming thing. As an animal lover, it is so comforting to know that everyone cares about the animals in addition to the human lives rescued from the storm. I’m very pleased with these guys for taking the initiative to construct this kennel.”

Graves, Hanley and other members of their division have consistently bathed, fed, walked and given special attention to every dog, every day.

“We play with them,” said Hanley. “We take them out of their kennels to give them attention every day. And we’ll continue to do that for as long as our ship’s mission keeps us here.”

September 11th, the Agricultural Center at Louisiana State University donated supplies to “Camp Milo & Otis” in support of Tortuga’s efforts to help the animal victims.

”We got medical supplies, bowls, food, cages, leashes, collars, toys, cat litter and cleaning supplies from these people yesterday,” said Graves. “It’s nice to know that so many people out there have heard about what our ship is doing, and responded by donating so much to support us the best they can.”

A photo gallery of unclaimed pets is on the USS Tortuga’s web site.

As part of disaster plans, the Department of Homeland Security has also deployed Veterinary Medical Assistance Teams to provide medical care to pets and livestock, as well as provide any needed veterinary medical care for search and rescue dogs.

There are over 3,850 animals being sheltered around the state. If someone is looking for a pet they should contact their nearest Humane Society or go online to http://www.petfinder.org// . More information is also available at http://www.vetmed.lsu.edu//.

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Former Canadian PM still recovering after heart surgery
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Former Canadian PM still recovering after heart surgery

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Jean Chrétien, one of Canada’s former prime ministers, received quadruple heart bypass surgery yesterday at Montreal’s Heart Institute.

“I just talked to him a few minutes ago. He’s well and he’s recuperating very well at the moment. His outcome is excellent,” said Chief of surgery, Dr. Michel Pellerin.

He could have risked his life as he was diagnosed with unstable angina. It is caused by obstructed arteries, which causes heart pain in a person’s body.

Pellerin performed the surgery on Chrétien, 73, early Wednesday morning. It took 73-minutes to 90-minutes.

However, hospital doctors say Chrétien is expected to stay in the hospital for up to seven days, and it could take up to three months for a full recovery.

Chrétien was at the recent Presidents Cup at the Royal Montreal Golf Club, when he asked another golfer with whom he was golfing with at the time, luckily a cardiologist, for help.

The golfer told him to see a doctor as soon as possible.

“He was very lucky. He had a bit of discomfort and mentioned it because there was a doctor there,” said a friend of Chrétien, Eddie Goldenberg. “The doctor asked him a couple of questions and said, ‘You better come and see me.’ “

Chrétien’s mother, who had heart disease, means that it could have been a genetic link, doctors say.

He had to postpone his speech at the Asia-Pacific mining conference in Vancouver, B.C..

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Dungog, Australia residents celebrate continued protection of local forest
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Dungog, Australia residents celebrate continued protection of local forest

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Local residents of Dungog, a small country town in New South Wales (NSW), Australia, held a celebratory nature walk on Sunday after they received assurance that their local forest was deemed worthy of “enduring protection.” Previously, a proposal before the NSW government to log over one million hectares of protected national park forests had caused alarm among nature conservationists.

To celebrate the continued protection of national parks in NSW, a free guided walk was held on Sunday in the Black Bulga Range Conservation Area. This family-friendly nature ramble meandered along the mountain’s ridge, with locals enjoying the forest, sharing a cup of billy tea and knowledge about the local forest’s ecology and history. The physical presence of the locals in the forest demonstrated their continued use of this area and the importance of national parks for the community.

Since early 2012, the possibility of logging for commercial timber in NSW national parks had been emerging. A state government inquiry on the management of public land in NSW received submissions and evidence from both the Australian and NSW Forest Products Associations (FPA). The FPA’s recommendation to “tenure swap” between national parks and state forests in order to sustain the timber industry were included in the final governmental report.

The process began in April 2012 when the NSW Legislative Council —the upper house of the parliament of NSW— established an inquiry into the management of public land in New South Wales, conducted by the General Purpose Standing Committee No. 5. According to a media release from the Legislative Council at the time, the primary purpose of the inquiry was to “scrutinise the management of the State’s public land and review the process and impact of converting Crown Land, State Forests or agricultural land into National Park estate.”

By August that year, the committee had received a recommendation from Mr. Grant Johnson of the Australian Forests Products Association for the “re-introduction of harvesting activities in forest areas previously set aside for conservation.” The following month, Mr. Johnson and Mr Russell Alan Ainley, Executive Director, NSW Forest Products Association, were invited before the committee. At this hearing, the chair, Mr. R. L. Brown, member for the Shooters and Fishers Party, asked Mr. Ainley for “a calculation of the area currently in [national parks] reserve that would need to be returned [to state forest] to be available for timber extraction”. In response, Mr. Ainley suggested “a little more than one million hectares.”

On May 15, the NSW Legislative Council published a Final Report on the management of public land in New South Wales. Among its key recommendations was that “the NSW Government immediately identify appropriate reserved areas for release to meet the levels of wood supply needed to sustain the timber industry, and that the NSW Government take priority action to release these areas, if necessary by a ‘tenure swap’ between national park estate and State forests. In particular, urgent action is required for the timber industry in the Pilliga region.”

A “tenure swap” would reserve areas of NSW state forest where logging is now allowed, in exchange for opening areas of national parks for logging.

Environment groups such as The Nature Conservation Council of NSW and The Wilderness Society announced that these government documents signaled an immediate threat of logging in national parks in NSW. This information raised concerns of other community and activist groups because logging is not conducted in national parks in Australia. According to the NSW Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water, a national park is an area designated to “protect Australia’s plants, animals, ecosystems, unique geology and Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal cultural connections to the land.”

The Black Bulga State Conservation Area was one of many parks listed by the environment group Save Your National Parks as potentially vulnerable for “tenure swap”. This forest covers 1554 hectares and connects Dungog Shire to the World Heritage listed Barrington Tops National Park, part of a green corridor from the ocean to the mountains.

Residents living near the forest were concerned by the proposal for logging in their area. A local information day held in June, at the Settlers Arms, Dungog, motivated local action. As a consequence of the event, over forty hand-written letters were posted to the Premier and local MPs. In a recent reply from the NSW government, the Minister for the Environment, Robyn Parker, stated: “The Government does not support commercial logging in national parks and reserves, including Black Bulga State Conservation Area, and has no plans to allow it. The NSW Government recognises that our national parks and reserves are special and unique places that deserve enduring protection. The Government is committed to their important role in conserving native flora and fauna and cultural heritage, and to improving community well-being through increased opportunities for recreation and tourism”.

As reported in the Dungog Chronicle, Jo New of the Black Bulga Range Action Group was thrilled by the government’s response to a community-driven campaign. “It goes to show what a wonderful impact local people can have after they do something simple, like posting a letter”.

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Kulov declares newly elected parliament legitimate, Kyrgyz parliamentary conflict deepens
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Kulov declares newly elected parliament legitimate, Kyrgyz parliamentary conflict deepens

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Kyrgyzstan‘s parliamentary conflict intensified Sunday as Felix Kulov, appointed acting minister of securities by the reconvening former parliament, endorsed the newly elected parliament and threatened to “take measures to arrest” MPs of the former parliament that would not step down peacefully.

“The new parliament is legitimate and the old parliament’s term has expired,” Kulov, who was freed from prison by protesters following the overrunning of the presidential palace, said.

“According to the law, the new parliament has to start work… There are people whom I don’t like in the newly elected parliament, but I am a law-abiding citizen and will obey the new parliament.” He said that he had lost an election because of the interference of deposed president Askar Akayev‘s authorities, “But despite this, I acknowledged my defeat. We’re not hicks here, we’re members of the UN.”

“Your term has expired. You had been elected for five years. A new parliament has to be elected. Whether you like it or not, I will obey its orders,” Kulov said to the former MPs. “If you attempt to call people to go on the streets, I will be forced to arrest you; please don’t take offence.”

His threats were challenged by acting Prosecutor General Azimbek Beknazarov who said, “These are the people who freed you, will you arrest them?”

Kulov, appearing to apologize for his remarks, responded “I am tired; I apologize for that.”

Beknazarov, closely allied with acting Prime Minister and President Kurmanbek Bakiyev, admitted the newly elected parliament was officially recognized. But Alevtina Pronenko, a member of Bakiyev’s acting cabinet, said of the situation, “I think that the people will not stand for this.” She said the decisions of the former parliament should be considered valid.

“If we can’t agree, we will not avoid a civil war,” Beknazarov said.

The Supreme Court declared the new parliament illegitimate and endorsed the former parliament several days ago on March 24, but the Central Election Commission voted to endorse the new parliament, saying the Supreme Court’s decision was illegal.

The OSCE is sending legal and constitutional experts to unravel the parliamentary conflict. The OSCE also rejected the recently declared June 26 election date. “I don’t believe this [date] is realistic because it’s a very short period of time. There are still a lot of questions unresolved — constitutional questions,” Markus Mueller, the OSCE’s envoy to Kyrgyzstan, said. “If it does not become quieter, elections will just add to the instability.” Its secretary general, Jan Kubis, arrived in Bishkek on Sunday. Kubis, who was involved in negotiations in the Ukraine last year, met with Bakeyev and other opposition leaders.

Bakiyev said Akayev remained the president under the constitution but ways of removing him as president legally were being examined. He also offered Akayev immunity were he to return to Kyrgyzstan.

Kulov said that he was “too busy” to even think about running in the new election, which Bakayev has said is planning on running in.

Ousted interior minister Keneshbek Dushebayev’s announced plans to march on the capital with Akayev supporters did not come to fruition. About 700 protesters supporting Akayev gathered about 50 miles from Bishkek, in Akayev’s native area of Kemin, and about 150 of them blocked a main road into the capital before dispersing. They said they did not accept Bakiyev as their leader.

“We have not and will not arrest our political opponents or former officials,” Kulov said.

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Celebrity plastic surgeon Dr. Frank Ryan dies in car accident aged 50
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Celebrity plastic surgeon Dr. Frank Ryan dies in car accident aged 50

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Plastic surgeon to the stars Dr. Frank Ryan has died in a car accident at age 50. It is reported that the Jeep Ryan was driving crashed over the side of the Pacific Coast Highway and landed on rocks. Lifeguards were first on the scene and unsuccessfully tried to rescue Ryan. It is thought that no other vehicle was involved in the incident.

Dr. Ryan, a celebrity in his own right, performed plastic surgery on several stars including Janice Dickinson, Gene Simmons, Shauna Sand and Adrianne Curry. He appeared on several television shows and became one of the first people to perform plastic surgery on television in 1995.

A representative for Janice Dickinson released a statement about the death of Ryan. She said “Janice is deeply, deeply anguished! She is stunned and wants the world to know what a genius Dr. Ryan was.”

Ryan was traveling with his pet dog at the time of the crash; the dog was found seriously injured in the ocean and was transported to a local veterinarian. Dr. Ryan was pronounced dead at the scene.

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