China and Russia continue joint army exercise

Friday, August 19, 2005

Russian and Chinese armed forces began their first ever joint military exercises since the Korean War, when Russia was still part of the Soviet Union, on Thursday. The exercises are expected to last for eight days.

10,000 troops — about 1800 Russians, the rest Chinese — are participating in the war games. The exercises simulate United Nations-mandated police action to restore order in a fictitious country torn by ethnic unrest. They began in the eastern Russian port-city of Vladivostok and are supposed to culminate in a mock invasion involving beach landings and paratrooper drops off the coast of the Jiaodong peninsula in eastern China.

Russian and Chinese officials have framed the exercises as promoting international cooperation, but some in the US and elsewhere see the exercises as preparation for a possible future invasion of Taiwan, and as a challenge to US dominance in Asia — particularly in Afghanistan. The exercises come amid increasing speculation in the US that China may come to replace the US as the world’s greatest superpower.

Russia and China are working together to help form of a world order that will be based on multipolarity, respect for international law, and a leading role for the UN, Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Alexeyev said on Monday, August 15, 2005.[1]

“The exercise will be carried out in the framework of the fight against international terrorism and extremism, to respond to new threats and challenges,” said Liang Guanglie, chief of staff of China’s armed forces.[2]

But others citing the use in the operation of advanced aircraft atypical of a peacekeeping operation, say the countries have ulterior motives. “The main target is the US. Both sides want to improve their position for bargaining in terms of security, politics and economics,” said Jin Canrong, professor of international relations at the People’s University of China.[3]

A Taiwanese official quoted by Mosnews.com said, China’s involvement in the operations represents “the biggest security threat in the Asiatic-Pacific region.” [4]

However other analysts speculate that Russia’s motivations for using the aircraft, including Tu-95 strategic bombers and Tu-22M long-range bombers, in the exercises may be to promote their sale to the Chinese.

“Military cooperation is linked with political and economic cooperation as part of a bigger package,” said Robert Karniol, Asia-Pacific editor for Jane’s Defence Weekly. “It’s not an adversarial posture.”[5]

Many have noted that the joint exercises are an emblem of increasingly warm relations between China and Russia since the dissolution of the Soviet Union. But writing In an editorial for the International Herald Tribune, Phillip Bowring disagrees, saying that the primary purpose of the operations is as a warning to the US. “The current Russia-China joint military exercises are not so much a symbol of trust and friendship between the two as a symptom of American overstretch. The two are reminding the United States of the limits of its unilateral global power.”[6]

Despite speculation into the motives of Russia and China, the US has given at least token support to the idea that the exercises could promote international interests. “We are following the exercises,” U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said this week. “We expect that they will be conducted in a manner that supports some mutual goal of regional stability shared by the United States, China and Russia.”[7]

Others say the operations are mainly a response to separatism and Islamic extremism in Russian Chechnya and the Chinese Xinjiang.

“The exercises are the logical continuation of the first signs of cooperation between Russia and China in the struggle against ‘orange revolutions,’ separatism and the dominant influence of the U.S. in the Euroasiatic sphere,” the Gazeta.ru news website wrote Thursday. Orange was the color adopted by supporters of last year’s revolution in Ukraine, which along with mass demonstrations in Georgia and Kyrgyzstan, brough pro-Western administrations to power. [8]

The war games have been called “Peace Mission 2005“.

Hitler doll story found to be hoaxed

Saturday, May 3, 2008

It has been revealed that a story concerning ‘Adolf Hitler dolls’ going on sale in Ukraine and aimed at children was a hoax. Many news outlets picked up the false story, including Wikinews.

Also fooled were BBC News, The Telegraph and other major publications. The story quickly spread as various media outlets quickly picked up and passed on the falsified report. Now news services have been forced to retract the story.

This article has been retracted. This article has been deemed a hoax.

The hoax first appeared two weeks ago and was spread rapidly, when a journalist found a model of Asian origin aimed at adult collecters in a specialist shop in Kiev, and misrepresented the find by failing to give basic details of the facts of the case when he publicised his find. The story propagated and expanded from there.

Wikinews issued a retraction by saying that “This article has been retracted. This article has been deemed a hoax.” while TheTrumpet.com said that “the source material that the article was based on was both inaccurate and misleading.”

The 40cm doll was reported to be available in Kiev with a £100 (GBP) price tag and come with a large range of accessories in a presentation box with the dates of Hitler’s birth and death.

BBC News Online had footage suggesting that some stores were already selling the dolls. The video turned out to be a hoax at a later date.

A ‘saleswoman’ who was allegedly marketing the false dolls said that “it [the doll] is like Barbie. Kids can undress fuhrer, pin on medals and there’s a spare head in the kit to give him a kinder expression on his face. He has glasses that are round, in the manner of pacifist John Lennon.”

Athletes prepare for 2012 Summer Paralympics at the Paralympic Fitness Centre

Monday, August 27, 2012

London, England — As Paralympians ready for the Games which are set to open later this week, they have access to a world class fitness center inside the Paralympic Village which is designed to maximise their pre-Game preparations.

According to volunteers staffing the center, instead of being a single large room, as in Beijing, the building has numerous rooms. It, along with the adjacent Village Services Centre, is designed to be converted into a school after the games conclude. Rooms have been structured as a gym, an auditorium, and science laboratories.

Gym equipment is supplied by Technogym, an Italian firm that has supplied gym equipment for the Olympics since 2000. Equipment has been provided not just for for the Fitness Centre, but for gyms at all the Olympic venues. The newest equipment is oriented toward maximum flexibility, allowing athletes to exercise the particular muscles that they most require for their sport.

In addition to the equipment, the Fitness Centre also provides instructors trained in the use of the equipment, the likes of which athletes from many countries have never seen before. There are also a number of instructors available to provide motivational training.

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Daughter of Yuko Ikeda kidnapped to ransom in Tokyo; freed 13 hours later

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Ikeda Kanako, a 21-year-old senior student of the Meiji Gakuin University and the first daughter of celebrity surgeon Yuko Ikeda, was kidnapped at about 1225 (UTC+9), June 26, 2006, in Shibuya, Tokyo.

A bullet was fired and one officer slightly cut when police stormed a Kawasaki apartment to rescue the girl.

Kanako was dressed in a white light half-sleeved cardigan, blue jeans with a bistre belt made of leather, a spring green camisole and carried a bag of Vuitton when she was abducted at a bus stop.

She was found unharmed 13 hours later by Japanese police at a condominium located in Nakahara-ku, Kawasaki, Kanagawa. The young woman’s make-up was not disordered; Kanako’s long brown fringe was not disheveled at all and she was wearing what she had been when she was kidnapped.

The kidnapping of Kanako was a big story in Japanese media in June, 2006. The story appeared in many newspapers as the front-page news on June 27, 2006.

Kanako and her kidnappers had been in touch with her mother using Kanako’s mobile phone. The effort to free her was helped greatly by a woman who witnessed the moment Kanako was taken; she wrote down the license plate of the van and other details.

Police traced mobile phone calls and were able to locate the van in Kawasaki where they detained two of the kidnappers as they went shopping.

One conspirator Li Yong, 29, from China, led the policemen to the apartment and tricked Kaneo Ito, 49, from Japan, to open the door. Ito managed to discharge one bullet before being restrained by an assistant police inspector, the first man in the room.

The other man involved in the kidnap of Kanako was Choi Gi Ho, 54, from South Korea. Kanato was freed unharmed.

The Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department arrested three men on suspicion of conspiring to kidnap a woman and hold her to a reported 300 million yen ransom.

Why You Should Invest In Great Home Windows In Fort Worth

byAlma Abell

One of the great joys of having a home of your own is being able to do whatever you want with it from a décor standpoint. When you are stuck renting, that’s simply not the case. There are typically rules to what you can and can’t do when renting an apartment or condominium and the former in particular tends to have a cookie-cutter style. Even if you rent a house, you are subject to the whims of your landlord.

By contrast, when you own a home, you truly are master of your domain. You get to do whatever you want with your property and a great place to start is by upgrading one of the most important yet understated and underrated elements of your home — your windows!

So, why should you invest in great home windows in Fort Worth? The Aesthetic Upside

From an aesthetic perspective, installing new home windows is a great way to upgrade your exterior and interior décor. After all, windows and lighting play a huge role in the latter, while the former forms the first impression that people generally have of your home. Clean, well-crafted windows can thus help ensure that the first impression is a good one.

The Functional and the Financial Upside

In addition, installing different types of home windows can add extra functional benefits to your home. For example, casement windows can be opened and utilized in a variety of ways. What’s more, well-insulated windows can do wonders for your home’s energy bill.

Speaking of finances, investing in home windows can be a savvy move there as well. Again, one of the big upsides to owning a home is being able to own the financial rewards that come with decorating and investing in that property. Windows for your home are the type of long-term investment that can add to your property’s overall value.

Visit Aaa-glass.com and invest in your home’s future today!

Senior UK politicians talk at Confederation of British Industry conference

Monday, November 21, 2016

UK Prime Minister Theresa May and opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn both spoke at the annual Confederation of British Industry conference today, talking about Britain after its planned ‘Brexit’ from the European Union, and future plans for business.

May formally announced plans to cut corporation tax from 20%, without giving details, in order to discourage businesses from leaving the UK post-Brexit. Corbyn said in his speech he believes investment by the government on things such as infrastructure improvements is shared ground between Labour and businesses but “businesses will need to contribute” meaning “some increase in corporation tax” under his administration.

Theresa May also toned down plans to put ordinary workers on corporate boards, a campaign promise from running to become leader of the ruling Conservative Party. She said she is working to create a “model that works for everyone” after consulting firms and the general public, with possible plans including panels or advisory committees. The General Secretary of the Trades Union Congress responded by saying “Theresa May made a clear promise to have workers represented on company boards […] This is not the way to show that you want to govern for ordinary working people.” Jeremy Corbyn also criticised this announcement saying “we need to see genuine employee representation at board level, which the prime minister promised, but I see is already backing away from.”

Theresa May also announced she wishes to spend £2Bn annually in research and development, as well as plans to start a small business research initiative to look into helping innovators get ahead. Jeremy Corbyn however said he plans to spend 3% of the UK’s GDP on R&D, significantly more than specified by May.

Jeremy Corbyn’s plans for the UK’s economy focussed on investment. Speaking at the conference he said “First and foremost, a Labour government will prioritise investing in our economy.” As well as the investment in research, Corbyn also promised funds for areas including house building and infrastructure. This would be controlled by the proposed “National Investment Bank”. Corbyn said “Our National Investment Bank will deliver long term strategic investment in our under-powered infrastructure and provide the patient finance that our businesses need across the country.”

May told the conference she would not give “a running commentary on every twist and turn” of the Brexit negotiations. This comes after allegation in the press that she she has no plan to keep under wraps, a claim that has been backed up by an alleged leaked internal government memo that talks about a “lack of overall negotiation strategy” within government.

Cleveland, Ohio clinic performs US’s first face transplant

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A team of eight transplant surgeons in Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, USA, led by reconstructive surgeon Dr. Maria Siemionow, age 58, have successfully performed the first almost total face transplant in the US, and the fourth globally, on a woman so horribly disfigured due to trauma, that cost her an eye. Two weeks ago Dr. Siemionow, in a 23-hour marathon surgery, replaced 80 percent of her face, by transplanting or grafting bone, nerve, blood vessels, muscles and skin harvested from a female donor’s cadaver.

The Clinic surgeons, in Wednesday’s news conference, described the details of the transplant but upon request, the team did not publish her name, age and cause of injury nor the donor’s identity. The patient’s family desired the reason for her transplant to remain confidential. The Los Angeles Times reported that the patient “had no upper jaw, nose, cheeks or lower eyelids and was unable to eat, talk, smile, smell or breathe on her own.” The clinic’s dermatology and plastic surgery chair, Francis Papay, described the nine hours phase of the procedure: “We transferred the skin, all the facial muscles in the upper face and mid-face, the upper lip, all of the nose, most of the sinuses around the nose, the upper jaw including the teeth, the facial nerve.” Thereafter, another team spent three hours sewing the woman’s blood vessels to that of the donor’s face to restore blood circulation, making the graft a success.

The New York Times reported that “three partial face transplants have been performed since 2005, two in France and one in China, all using facial tissue from a dead donor with permission from their families.” “Only the forehead, upper eyelids, lower lip, lower teeth and jaw are hers, the rest of her face comes from a cadaver; she could not eat on her own or breathe without a hole in her windpipe. About 77 square inches of tissue were transplanted from the donor,” it further described the details of the medical marvel. The patient, however, must take lifetime immunosuppressive drugs, also called antirejection drugs, which do not guarantee success. The transplant team said that in case of failure, it would replace the part with a skin graft taken from her own body.

Dr. Bohdan Pomahac, a Brigham and Women’s Hospital surgeon praised the recent medical development. “There are patients who can benefit tremendously from this. It’s great that it happened,” he said.

Leading bioethicist Arthur Caplan of the University of Pennsylvania withheld judgment on the Cleveland transplant amid grave concerns on the post-operation results. “The biggest ethical problem is dealing with failure — if your face rejects. It would be a living hell. If your face is falling off and you can’t eat and you can’t breathe and you’re suffering in a terrible manner that can’t be reversed, you need to put on the table assistance in dying. There are patients who can benefit tremendously from this. It’s great that it happened,” he said.

Dr Alex Clarke, of the Royal Free Hospital had praised the Clinic for its contribution to medicine. “It is a real step forward for people who have severe disfigurement and this operation has been done by a team who have really prepared and worked towards this for a number of years. These transplants have proven that the technical difficulties can be overcome and psychologically the patients are doing well. They have all have reacted positively and have begun to do things they were not able to before. All the things people thought were barriers to this kind of operations have been overcome,” she said.

The first partial face transplant surgery on a living human was performed on Isabelle Dinoire on November 27 2005, when she was 38, by Professor Bernard Devauchelle, assisted by Professor Jean-Michel Dubernard in Amiens, France. Her Labrador dog mauled her in May 2005. A triangle of face tissue including the nose and mouth was taken from a brain-dead female donor and grafted onto the patient. Scientists elsewhere have performed scalp and ear transplants. However, the claim is the first for a mouth and nose transplant. Experts say the mouth and nose are the most difficult parts of the face to transplant.

In 2004, the same Cleveland Clinic, became the first institution to approve this surgery and test it on cadavers. In October 2006, surgeon Peter Butler at London‘s Royal Free Hospital in the UK was given permission by the NHS ethics board to carry out a full face transplant. His team will select four adult patients (children cannot be selected due to concerns over consent), with operations being carried out at six month intervals. In March 2008, the treatment of 30-year-old neurofibromatosis victim Pascal Coler of France ended after having received what his doctors call the worlds first successful full face transplant.

Ethical concerns, psychological impact, problems relating to immunosuppression and consequences of technical failure have prevented teams from performing face transplant operations in the past, even though it has been technically possible to carry out such procedures for years.

Mr Iain Hutchison, of Barts and the London Hospital, warned of several problems with face transplants, such as blood vessels in the donated tissue clotting and immunosuppressants failing or increasing the patient’s risk of cancer. He also pointed out ethical issues with the fact that the procedure requires a “beating heart donor”. The transplant is carried out while the donor is brain dead, but still alive by use of a ventilator.

According to Stephen Wigmore, chair of British Transplantation Society’s ethics committee, it is unknown to what extent facial expressions will function in the long term. He said that it is not certain whether a patient could be left worse off in the case of a face transplant failing.

Mr Michael Earley, a member of the Royal College of Surgeon‘s facial transplantation working party, commented that if successful, the transplant would be “a major breakthrough in facial reconstruction” and “a major step forward for the facially disfigured.”

In Wednesday’s conference, Siemionow said “we know that there are so many patients there in their homes where they are hiding from society because they are afraid to walk to the grocery stores, they are afraid to go the the street.” “Our patient was called names and was humiliated. We very much hope that for this very special group of patients there is a hope that someday they will be able to go comfortably from their houses and enjoy the things we take for granted,” she added.

In response to the medical breakthrough, a British medical group led by Royal Free Hospital’s lead surgeon Dr Peter Butler, said they will finish the world’s first full face transplant within a year. “We hope to make an announcement about a full-face operation in the next 12 months. This latest operation shows how facial transplantation can help a particular group of the most severely facially injured people. These are people who would otherwise live a terrible twilight life, shut away from public gaze,” he said.

First Active offer 100% mortgages in Ireland

Thursday, July 14, 2005

First Active has become the first financial institution to offer 100% mortgages in the Republic of Ireland. The bank previously offered 100% financing to professionals in finance and medicine, but is now to offer this product to anyone who can afford to meet the repayments.

The development is a huge boost for first time home buyers who have been struggling to get on the Irish property market in recent years due to the rapid increase in house prices. A typical first time buyer in Dublin with 92% financing would normally have to put down a deposit of €20,000-€30,000 in cash, but now have the option to produce no deposit.

First Active has said that 100% mortgages will be available across its entire range of mortgage products.

Note however that this is not necessarily an entirely positive development.

The United States and most of Europe have experienced a housing price bubble in recent years. A bubble occurs when buyers purchase a property not because its price is appropriate for its actual value but because they expect the price to significantly rise in the short term permitting resale with a profit.

In other words, the prices people pay for properties becomes divorced from the real value of the property; the purchase is speculative and depends purely upon the expectation that people will continue to buy properties in this way (e.g. without proper consideration of their real value).

The terrible weakness in this is that when the market corrects itself and prices fall to a level where properties are being priced at their actual realistic value, anyone holding a property loses a great deal of money, since the price they paid does not reflect the actual realistic value of the property.

This kind of shock to the housing market is extremely undesirable. Significant write downs in the value of property often significantly depress the economy as a whole.

Less than 100% mortgages force buyers to invest a significant amount of money in the act of purchasing their house, which tends to discourage purely speculative purchasing, thus helping to mediate house price bubbles.

With 100% financing, anyone who can meet repayments can speculatively purchase a property. This naturally encourages pricing bubbles.

Gay Talese on the state of journalism, Iraq and his life

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Gay Talese wants to go to Iraq. “It so happens there is someone that’s working on such a thing right now for me,” the 75-year-old legendary journalist and author told David Shankbone. “Even if I was on Al-Jazeera with a gun to my head, I wouldn’t be pleading with those bastards! I’d say, ‘Go ahead. Make my day.'”

Few reporters will ever reach the stature of Talese. His 1966 profile of Frank Sinatra, Frank Sinatra Has a Cold, was not only cited by The Economist as the greatest profile of Sinatra ever written, but is considered the greatest of any celebrity profile ever written. In the 70th anniversary issue of Esquire in October 2003, the editors declared the piece the “Best Story Esquire Ever Published.”

Talese helped create and define a new style of literary reporting called New Journalism. Talese himself told National Public Radio he rejects this label (“The term new journalism became very fashionable on college campuses in the 1970s and some of its practitioners tended to be a little loose with the facts. And that’s where I wanted to part company.”)

He is not bothered by the Bancrofts selling The Wall Street Journal—”It’s not like we should lament the passing of some noble dynasty!”—to Rupert Murdoch, but he is bothered by how the press supported and sold the Iraq War to the American people. “The press in Washington got us into this war as much as the people that are controlling it,” said Talese. “They took information that was second-hand information, and they went along with it.” He wants to see the Washington press corp disbanded and sent around the country to get back in touch with the people it covers; that the press should not be so focused on–and in bed with–the federal government.

Augusten Burroughs once said that writers are experience junkies, and Talese fits the bill. Talese–who has been married to Nan Talese (she edited James Frey‘s Million Little Piece) for fifty years–can be found at baseball games in Cuba or the gay bars of Beijing, wanting to see humanity in all its experience.

Below is Wikinews reporter David Shankbone’s interview with Gay Talese.

Contents

  • 1 On Gay Talese
  • 2 On a higher power and how he’d like to die
  • 3 On the media and Iraq
  • 4 On the Iraq War
  • 5 State of Journalism
  • 6 On travel to Cuba
  • 7 On Chinese gay bars
  • 8 On the literary canon
  • 9 Sources

Woman in Buffalo, New York accidentally sets herself on fire

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Buffalo, New York —A woman in Buffalo, New York in the United States is in critical condition tonight at Sisters Of Charity Hospital after she accidentally set herself on fire.

The unnamed elderly woman was receiving oxygen for medical problems in her home and lit a cigarette, and the oxygen coming from her mask facilitated the ignition of her clothing, setting her on fire.

Despite her “severe” burns as described by firefighters on radio communications, she was still able to dial the emergency line in the U.S., 911.

In the U.S. only 4% of all residential fires were reportedly caused by smoking materials in 2002. These fires, however, were responsible for 19% of residential fire fatalities and 9% of injuries. The fatality rate due to smoking is nearly four times higher than the overall residential fire rate; injuries are more than twice as likely. Forty percent of all smoking fires start in the bedroom or living room/family room; in 35% of these fires, bedding or upholstered furniture are the items first ignited.

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