Pop culture celebrated at Fan Expo Canada 2016 in Toronto

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

The 22nd Fan Expo Canada took place at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre this weekend, attracting thousands to the event, one of the most popular in North America. Crossing between the genres of science fiction, horror, anime, fantasy and comics, the event sprawled throughout all corners of the facility. Hundreds of vendors offered products new and old, joined by celebrity guests like Stan Lee, Mark Hamill, and Margaret Atwood. Various local fan organizations were there in a charitable capacity, and thousands of fans donned costumes, many of which they themselves created.

Atwood, a Booker Prize-winner, was there to launch her graphic novel Angel Catbird, with illustrator Johnnie Christmas. Lee was making his final Canadian convention appearance, part of a larger farewell tour. Hamill’s schedule included a panel with Kevin Conroy, the voice of Batman in Batman: The Animated Series, in which the Star Wars lead played the Joker.

Ubisoft, Microsoft, and PlayStation VR all had large areas set up for attendees to try their latest games. In the 20-minute PlayStation VR demonstration of Batman: Arkham VR, players are dropped down a secret elevator in Bruce Wayne’s manor, to the Bat Cave, to suit up. From there, the demonstration took players to investigate the murder of Nightwing.

The Northern Arena Esports Championship ran throughout the weekend, facing off teams of video gamers in a packed hall. Even in early rounds, the event was well attended, with the stands full of gamers, watching the matches with live colour commentary. The finals saw US team Cloud9 and Immortals, from Brazil, face off in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. Both unbeaten teams going in, the Brazillian team won the championship and $50,000.

Gameplay was delayed during the “third map” (third round) of the finals, when one Immortals player was caught with their headset off. After nearly half an hour, the team was deducted a point, leading to a sudden but temporary rush of success by the US team.

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The Canadian garrison of 501st Legion returned with their setup of photo-ops, with proceeds to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Volunteer organization Comic Corps of Canada collects donations of comics, to distribute to children and youth in the hospital. Along with collecting comics on-site, the group was fundraising through raffles and button sales.

Other charitable fan-based groups included The Ontario Ghostbusters, Doctor Who Society of Canada, and Klingon Assault Group.

File:Fan Expo Canada 2016 Epic Mickey IMG 0133.jpg

The thousands of cosplay outfits on parade around the various halls offered a tremendous cross-section of genres and eras of pop culture. The majority of outfits involved at least some elements made from scratch, a fantastic display of craftsmanship. Of the thousands, Wikinews spoke with a cosplayer going by the name “The Katherinator”. She was outside the building in the gardens, waiting for a photographer she had arranged to shoot her new Epic Mickey costumed character-style outfit. With shoes as wide as a forearm, and a rigid torso of carved foam, she remained exuberant even when caught in the traffic between halls, many hours into wearing the outfit.

Disney

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Superheroes

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Anime

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Video games, movies, and more

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Wikinews Shorts: September 6, 2010

Monday, September 6, 2010

President Alvaro Colom says torrential downpours causing flooding and landslides have undone the country’s reconstruction from Tropical Storm Agatha in May. Up to eighteen people are reported killed in rain-related incidents across the country as weather systems in both the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific batter the region, and forecasters expect another 48 hours of precipitation. At least ten people were killed, 20 rescued, when a landslide buried a bus as it traveled on the Inter-American highway in the worst single-incident.

Sources

Five people are dead, 39 injured after a suicide bombing in the Dagestan Republic of the North Caucasus. The information is still unfolding, and earlier reports had three killed, 26 injured. The attack occurred at 00:30 local time (20:30 UTC) when a Zhiguli car packed with explosives drove into the gates of a military base near Buynaksk. AFP reports a second explosion nearby on a nearby highway, but with no injuries.

Sources

The Arizona Cardinals US football team has released Heisman trophy-winner Matt Leinart after being unable to find a favorable trade. Leinart had been unable to break out of the back-up quarterback role with the team after early injuries kept him on the sideline for a couple years, and expressed his frustration publicly on Monday. The Cardinals, forced to trim their team roster to 53 players, cut Leinart leaving him without a team.

Sources

After driving away from police, a thirteen-year-old driver struck a pole, plowed through a couple of fences, and bumped a parked car into the house before coming to a rest at the front door. Police spokesperson Ros Wetherall reported officers attempted to stop the Holden Commodore around 1 a.m. local time (5 p.m. UTC), but had to search for the vehicle which they found crashed into the home on Grovelands Drive, Camillo. The driver and one other youth in the car were uninjured. The young man will appear in court on charges of reckless driving, failing to stop and not having a driver’s licence.

Sources

Several groups seek to purchase Saturn auto brand

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Penske Automotive Group, Inc., an Ohio-based investment group and Telesto Ventures have indicated separately that they are interested in purchasing the Saturn auto brand from General Motors (GM).

According to The Wall Street Journal, Nissan-Renault is interested in purchasing Saturn. Bloomberg, however, indicated that Nissan-Renault may be a partner of Penske’s potential bid. If Penske acquired the brand, they would distribute Saturn vehicles and outsource the assembly.

GM revealed that the Saturn brand along with Saab and Hummer were up for sale when unveiling their restructuring plans to Congress for governmental loans. While the Pontiac brand was originally to be a niche brand, GM had changed their plans recently and decided to eliminate the brand.

Telesto Ventures is an investment group that includes private equity firm Black Oak Partners LLC of Oklahoma City and several Saturn dealerships. Initially, Telesto will purchase Saturn branded cars from GM then act as a general retailer for foreign brands. Telesto is in talks with several foreign manufacturers.

The Ohio group includes many former senior auto company managers plus private financial backers, chemists and engineers who live in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana and Florida. This group plans to initially purchase cars from GM then purchase existing but closed plants due to automaker restructuring. Additionally, one of the partners indicated a willingness to accept some “legacy” cost in relation to the United Auto Workers. The Ohio group is also pursuing possible loans or other support from national and state governments.

GM is reviewing several offers for Saturn. GM has contracted with S.J. Girsky & Co. to advise them on the sale.

Criticism over Qingzang Railway as opening nears

Friday, April 28, 2006

            Claimed by Tibetan exile groups.
Tibetan areas designated by PRC.
Tibet Autonomous Region (actual control).
Claimed by India as part of Aksai Chin.
Claimed by the PRC as part of TAR.
Other historically culturally-Tibetan areas.

The Qingzang Railway is a project by the Chinese Government to build a unique railway linking Tibet with Mainland China. The railway will include sections at high altitude, crossing 5000 metre high mountains, long tunnels and lots of track laid on permafrost. The railway is being hailed in China as “an engineering miracle”, but has attracted criticism from across the world over fears that the railway, the first to link it to outside the region, will increase Chinese control over the Tibetan autonomous region and will erode Tibetan culture and traditions.

Currently, Tibet can only be reached by air and by road. Departing from lower-altitude airports to fly into Tibet carries the risk of experiencing high altitude sickness, and the landing at Lhasa can be ‘hair-raising’. Travelling by road means several days on a bus or hitchhiking on trucks over windy mountain roads. When the Quingzang Railway opens, it is expected that direct trains will run from Beijing and other cities.

China has long received criticism over its treatment of Tibet. The Tibet Autonomous Region excludes many areas claimed to be part of ‘historic Tibet’, and the former government of Tibet, headed by the Dalai Lama, now live in exile in India. China claims that the railway will bring greater freedoms and economic opportunities to the people of Tibet. For an area that has long been in relative isolation though, the railway is bound to have a profound effect. Locals may worry about what would happen to their trade if they were suddenly forced to compete with businesses from Mainland China. Much of Tibet is also ancient, with old buildings and traditional practices, which may be under threat from the new physical link with China.

There are also concerns from environmentalists. The passage between Tibet and China contains some unique flora and endangered animal species, such as Tibetan antelope, which may be threatened by the railroad. Construction of the railway will generate 7,000 tons of rubbish from 20,000 builders. Some of this rubbish will have been buried on the spot whilst some forms of non-degradable rubbish which may pollute water is said to have been transported to Golmud or Lhasa for treatment. A bridge is also said to have been built at Wudaoliang Basin to enable animals to cross. Once open the railway will generate more waste, and whilst the carriages are said to be enclosed, preventing passengers from throwing out rubbish, it remains to be seen what additional impact the running of the railway will create.

As well as passengers, the railway will also have a strong use in transporting freight, currently carried on trucks. This will mean that more coal and petroleum-based products will be brought into Tibet. Whilst China claims that this will enable Tibetans to stop logging pine trees for fuel, aiding the local ecology, the railway will accelerate Tibet’s use of climate-damaging fossil fuels.

Some Canadian student groups had called for a boycott of the Bombardier Transportation group, who has a contract with China to provide some of the carriages.

Most of the line is now complete, ahead of schedule. Signaling equipment is currently being installed, with trials said to begin in July. The railway is scheduled to open fully in 2007. Luxury carriages will carry tourists, with sleeping compartments and oxygen tanks to enable breathing within the high-altitude areas.

Two killed, two seriously injured after boulder collapses onto house in Stein an der Traun, Germany

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

I have never seen anything like this.

Two people were killed and two others were seriously injured yesterday when a boulder collapsed onto a house in the German town of Stein an der Traun, south-east of Munich. A family of four were said to have been watching television together in the lounge when a large lump of rock, about 50 tons, broke off from a 50 foot cliff above the house.

The boulder fell from about 15 metres above the residence and landed on top of the house, crushing it. The cause of the rock fall is unknown, but police have said that there had been no prior signs that the cliff was unstable.

The accident, which happened at approximately 1940 local time, killed a 45-year-old father and his 18-year-old daughter. A 40-year-old mother and her 16-year-old son were seriously injured and were taken to hospital for treatment, after a rescue operation that lasted into the early hours of the following morning. The task involved up to 250 rescue personnel, some with sniffer dogs.

An official from the international humanitarian movement the Red Cross said “[w]e made contact with them early on and kept talking with them through the night as we pulled away at the debris.” Joachim Herrmann, the Bavarian Interior Minister, spoke of his thoughts about the incident. “I have never seen anything like this,” he was quoted as saying. “This is an extremely sad and terrible day.”

Scottish budget rejected

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Scottish Parliament has narrowly rejected the Scottish government‘s proposed £33 billion budget.

The devolved parliament was tied 64-64 on the motion to approve the budget after two Green Party MSPs switched away from backing the minority Scottish National Party (SNP) administration. The Presiding Officer (speaker) of the parliament, Alex Fergusson, used his casting vote to reject the budget. Finance Secretary John Swinney of the SNP announced that he would immediately reintroduce it. The budget had the backing of the Scottish Conservatives.

Green MSPs had sought a £100 million, 10-year home insulation scheme, whilst the Scottish government had offered a smaller pilot scheme. This offer was increased as the vote approached but failed to convince the Greens to back the budget.

If a new budget is not in place by the start of the financial year in April, the current budget will rollover. However, Scottish ministers say this will cause a £1.8 billion cut in spending.

Scotland’s GDP fell by 0.8% in the last quarter.

British police shoot man in anti-terrorism raid

Friday, June 2, 2006

At dawn this morning a team of 250 policemen stormed a building in Forest Gate, London, England. A part of the police teams were armed, while others were equipped with chemical weapons gear. Two men were arrested and one was shot in the raid made under the 2000 Terrorism Act.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Peter Clarke, the Metropolitan Police’s anti-terror chief, said he had acted on specific intelligence, “we planned an operation that was designed to mitigate any threat to the public either from firearms or from hazardous substances.”

The injury to the man who was shot was not life threatening and the Independent Police Complaints Commission, who have opened an investigation into the incident, say a single shot was fired. At Royal London Hospital where the man, later arrested, was taken armed guards were seen at the entrances.

The man, said to be 20 years old, who was not shot, has been questioned at Paddington Green police station. Others at the address have been moved out – two residents have been treated in hospital for shock.

The search at the house in Lansdown Road is said to be ongoing. Police have closed Lansdown Road, Rothsay Road and Prestbury Road and a blind has been erected around the premises. The Civil Aviation Authority report a four-day “no fly area” below 2,500ft is in force over east London.

The British intelligence agency, MI5, and the Health Protection Agency also had a role in the operation, which British Prime Minister Tony Blair had been told about. The raid is not thought to be linked to the London tube and bus bombings in July 2005.Saturday, June 3, 2006Police say the raid was carried out in search of a ‘suicide vest’ that could be used to release poison gas. Police say MI5 believe there exists ‘firm intelligence’ that such a vest exists.

As of Friday evening, police had yet to discover weapons, chemicals or any other evidence of a planned attack.

The two men arrested are believed to be 23 and 20 year old brothers, Mohammed Abdul Kahar and Abdul Koyair, both of Bangladeshi origin. Abdul Kahar was shot in the shoulder during the raid, his injury is said to be non life threatening.

Eurovision 2008: First semi-final held in Belgrade

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Last night saw the first semi final of this year’s Eurovision Song Contest in Belgrade, Serbia. The entries from Israel, Azerbaijan, Norway, Poland, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Armenia, Finland, Romania, Russia and Greece are through to the final, leaving the representatives from Montenegro, Estonia, Moldova, San Marino, Belgium, Slovenia, Ireland, Andorra and the Netherlands failing to qualify for this weekend’s final.

The aforementioned countries join host nation Serbia, automatically through as is last year’s winner, and the ‘big four’ – the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Spain. The other entries will compete in the second semi final tomorrow. Below is a summary of each entry in running order:

Eva Hassett, VP of Savarino Construction Services Corp. answers questions on Buffalo, N.Y. hotel redesign

Buffalo, N.Y. Hotel Proposal Controversy
Recent Developments
  • “120 year-old documents threaten development on site of Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal” — Wikinews, November 21, 2006
  • “Proposal for Buffalo, N.Y. hotel reportedly dead: parcels for sale “by owner”” — Wikinews, November 16, 2006
  • “Contract to buy properties on site of Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal extended” — Wikinews, October 2, 2006
  • “Court date “as needed” for lawsuit against Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal” — Wikinews, August 14, 2006
  • “Preliminary hearing for lawsuit against Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal rescheduled” — Wikinews, July 26, 2006
  • “Elmwood Village Hotel proposal in Buffalo, N.Y. withdrawn” — Wikinews, July 13, 2006
  • “Preliminary hearing against Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal delayed” — Wikinews, June 2, 2006
Original Story
  • “Hotel development proposal could displace Buffalo, NY business owners” — Wikinews, February 17, 2006

Monday, February 27, 2006

Buffalo, New York —Wikinews was the first to tell you that the Elmwood Village Hotel development in Buffalo, New York was to undergo “significant changes”.

The Elmwood Village Hotel is a proposed project that would be placed at Elmwood and Forest Aves. in Buffalo. In order for the development to take place, at least five buildings that house both businesses and residents, must be demolished.

To confirm and to get more information about the changes, Wikinews interviewed Eva Hassett, Vice President of Savarino Construction Services Corporation, the development company in charge of building the hotel.

Wikinews: The hotel proposal is being redesigned. Could you comment on that? What changes are being made? Are they significant?

Eva Hassett: The hotel has been resized as a 72-room, four story building. This is 10% smaller in number of rooms and a full story lower. We are also redesigning the facades in a way that will minimize the mass – more of a vertical feeling than horizontal. Different materials, windows, details. The smaller size of the hotel also makes the number of on-site parking spaces more appropriate and hopefully represents less of a challenge to an already difficult parking situation.

WN: Will you still be going before the city’s planning board as scheduled on February 28? Same for the Common Council?

Hassett: We will be on the Planning Board agenda this Tuesday morning but I do not expect that the Board will vote on the item that morning. I think we will be mainly explaining the new design and hearing input/questions.

WN: Will there be anymore public meetings?

Hassett: We would be happy to do one more big public meeting. We will be talking to Forever Elmwood about that on Monday (February 27, 2006). We would like to see if there is support for the new design and we also want to honor the public’s request for another meeting. I am hopeful that meeting can take place the week of March 6th.

WN: Is Savarino considering Mr. Rocco Termini’s design/proposal? If no, do you (Savarino) support/oppose?

Hassett: We are hopeful that we can build the hotel as redesigned. We think it would be a great addition to the Elmwood Ave. area, a good way for out-of-towners to see what Buffalo offers and a big help to the businesses there.

WN: Are you considering more time for the community to make a judgment?

Hassett: As I mentioned above, we expect to have one more meeting to get public reaction to the new design, and I think the Planning Board may want an additional meeting to make their determination. We do however, have constraints that will limit the amount of extra time. We still think it is a great project for the City and Elmwood; and we still want it to be something that the community wants as well.

So far, the City of Buffalo’s City Planning Board is still scheduled to meet at 8:00 a.m. (Eastern) on February 28, 2006 followed by the Common Council meeting at 2:00 p.m. on the same day.

Images of the design are not yet available. “We are working on the renderings this weekend, but I will likely have some early in the week,” stated Hassett.

Charlottetown, P.E.I. residents rally to support restaurant

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

The owners of the Noodle House Restaurant of Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island (P.E.I.), Canada were overwhelmed by community support Tuesday when the restaurant overflowed with customers, cards, flowers, and personal pleas to not leave the province.

According to CBC News Prince Edward Island, the recent outpouring of support occurred after Tommy and Lina Ko, the restaurant owners, announced they would close the restaurant and leave the province following an incident two weeks ago, when groups of up to 200 teens from two nearby schools surrounded the restaurant, pelting it with snowballs, and threatening the Kos. Charlottetown Police Chief Paul Smith told CBC PEI that his force is ready to take whatever action is necessary to crack down on the behaviour and last week started videotaping over lunchtime when most of the misbehaviour has taken place. Police noted that they have received complaints from other businesses, pedestrians, and drivers in the busy “fast food alley” and intend to seek co-operation from the schools in identifying the main culprits.

However, a CBC PEI story from October, 2002, reported the Kos asking police to do more to stop the littering and other vandalism in the area including having signs smashed, windows broken, and fireworks set off in front of their restaurant. At that time, Deputy Chief Richard Collins told CBC PEI: “You can’t have upwards of 1,500 to 2,000 students in and around that area at dinner hour and not expect for some of them to misbehave,” but promised to continue patrols and try to teach the students respect of property.

Tommy Ko told CBC News that he was overwhelmed by the support this week and in thanks put on a surprise free buffet, though customers insisted on paying anyway. Nevertheless, after fighting the harassment for some five years, the Kos say they still are not sure they want to stay.

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