Bill restricting Post Office closures defeated in UK Parliament; MP tells Wikinews why she supported the bill

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Yesterday, the U.K. Labour Party successfully prevented a bill restricting the closure of post offices from being passed, although the governing Labour party only had a majority of 20 due to 19 of its MPs’ voting against the party line. One of these was Diane Abbott, who told Wikinews why she voted for the bill.

She told Wikinews: “Post offices are central spaces within a community.” She added that they provided invaluable services and a point of contact for vulnerable people. She also claimed they were more important in places like her constituency which has a large number of elderly people.

She added: “they are particularly important [in] places in areas like Hackney where there are fewer bank branches and a large elderly population who rely on the post office to collect their pensions.” She was “appalled” to hear of the Post Office closures in her constituency.

The Shadow Minister for Business, Enterprise & Regulatory Reform Alan Duncan of the Conservative Party was also contacted by Wikinews. He directed Wikinews to his website for more information on his opinion. On his website he says that it is “simply not good enough” to allow post offices to close.

News briefs:July 26, 2010

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Glasgow cannabis enthusiasts celebrate ‘green’ on city green

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Coinciding with Easter Sunday, Glasgow Cannabis Social Club’s annual 420 event was held on Glasgow Green, under sunny blue skies, and overlooking the river Clyde. Despite the city’s council attempting to revoke permission for the gathering at the last minute, police were happy for it to go-ahead with approximately a dozen officers attending in high-visibility vests.

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The Daily Record reported five arrests were made for minor offences, likely smoking and possession of small quantities of cannabis. Taking a less-sensational — and more accurate — line of reporting, the Monday edition of Glasgow’s Evening News stated five were referred to the Procurator Fiscal who is responsible for deciding if charges should be brought.

Official figures provided by the police were that 150 attended. With people coming and going, Wikinews reporters estimated upwards of 200 attended, compared to nearly 700 who had signed up for the event on Facebook. Hemp goods were advertised and on sale at the event, and some attendees were seen drinking cannabis-themed energy drinks.

“I was searched and charged under the Misuse of Drugs Act (which is a lot of bollocks)” one attendee noted online, adding “not fair to happen on a brilliant day like it was, other than that I had a great day!” A second said they were openly smoking and ignored by police, who “were only really focusing on people who looked particularly young”.

Cannabis seeds were openly and legally sold at the event and a hydroponics supplier brought a motortrike towing an advertising trailer. Actually growing cannabis is, however, illegal in the UK.

With the event openly advocating the legalisation of cannabis, speakers put their arguments for this to a receptive crowd. Retired police officer James Duffy, of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, spoke of the failed United States alcohol prohibition policy; stressing such policies needlessly bring people into contact with criminal elements. Highlighting other countries where legalisation has been implemented, he pointed out such led to lower crime, and lower drug use overall.

One speaker, who produced a bottle of cannabis oil he had received through the post, asserted this cured his prostate cancer. Others highlighted the current use of Sativex by the National Health Service, with a cost in-excess of £150 for a single bottle of GW Pharmaceuticals patented spray — as-compared to the oil shown to the crowd, with a manufacturing cost of approximately £10.

Similar ‘420’ pro-cannabis events were held globally.

Built To Last: The Top 3 Picks For Long Lasting Residential Flooring In Minneapolis, Mn

byAlma Abell

If you’re designing or remodeling your Minneapolis home to last a lifetime, there are certain flooring choices that are better than others. Ideally, you’ll want to choose Vinyl Flooring in Minneapolis, MN that will last at least 50-100 years to get the most for your investment. Below are the best picks for flooring materials when you have longevity in mind.

HardwoodHardwood flooring is classic, durable and built to last. If you invest in a quality product, hardwood flooring will still look attractive centuries later. As an added bonus, hardwood is one of the only flooring materials that can boost the resale value of your home. While the actual numbers will vary depending on the housing % more valuable than comparable homes that primarily feature carpeting. What species of wood will last the longest? According to experts, all domestic and exotic species have a similar life expectancy, although some species like maple are more resistant to humidity changes.

Natural StoneAccording to the International Association of Home Builders, quality natural stone flooring like granite will last 100 years or longer. At around $25 per square foot, high-end granite tiles are definitely an investment, but they add a sophistication that can attract potential buyers if you plan to sell in the future. The trick to making sure your stone floors stay stain-free and attractive over the years is to make sure they’re sealed properly on a regular basis. According to experts, your granite should be professionally sealed every year to maintain its longevity.

If you invest in the right flooring for your home, you’ll never need to worry about replacing it again. Long-lasting flooring materials like hardwood, natural stone and vinyl can last a lifetime and add significant resale value to your home.Click here for more information.

City of Edinburgh Council seek to improve local music scene

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

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Yesterday evening saw the Usher Hall in Edinburgh host a meeting between representatives of the City of Edinburgh Council (CEC) and the local rock and pop music scene. The meeting was dominated with local musicians’ complaints over the “zero tolerance” policy Edinburgh is viewed as having adopted towards amplified music.The meeting began with the leading panel — Norma Austin Hart, vice-convener for Culture and Sport; John Stout, promoter from Regular Music; Kevin Buckle, of local store Avalanche Records; and Karl Chapman, manager of the Usher Hall — introducing themselves and outlining the purpose of the meeting. This being best-summarised as a desire to emulate the vibrant music scene of places as far-flung as Austin, Texas and Sydney, Australia.

Councillor Hart indicated officials from Austin had already offered to get involved in improving the live music scene in the city; although none were present from Austin, US-born local musician Pat Dennis provided his frank opinion on where Edinburgh fails to nurture the local music scene: that failure to support a grass-roots, small venue, music scene prevents the city being capable of organising events similar to Austin’s South by Southwest festival outwith August, when Edinburgh hosts the Festival and Fringe.

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Coming in for the lion’s share of criticism, staff from CEC’s Licensing Board were visibly uncomfortable when the topic of the “single complainant” was brought up time and time again. Unlike any other business within the city, or residential properties, noise pollution within premises permitted to sell alcohol is not managed by environmental health staff. That responsibility is bundled with the alcohol license, which leaves publicans fearful that their premises will be forced to close if they do not comply with demands to cease use of any amplification, or hosting live music. This was characterised as a ‘tyranny of the minority’, a most-undemocratic approach where one person — for example, recently moved into a property adjacent to a long-established premises hosting live music — could force the closure of a business which has hosted local talent for 30+ years.

Taking heed of the strength of feeling from the majority present, Councillor Hart made a number of personal commitments towards the end of the meeting. Those included setting up a working group, Music is Audible, to look at how the council could better work with venues, and to have a follow-up meeting in March next year.

Foot-and-mouth source confirmed as research laboratory

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

A report released tonight by the Health and Safety Executive has confirmed that there is a “strong possibility” that the cause of the recent foot-and-mouth outbreak is contamination, most probably by human movement, from a nearby research facility in Guildford, Surrey, UK.

The labs in Pirbright, where both private firm Merial and the governmental Institute for Animal Health operate, have been subject to ongoing investigations since the discovery of a new foot-and-mouth outbreak on Friday. The strain of the disease had already been identified as an O1 BFS67-like virus, which was isolated in a 1967 outbreak and was being used at the labs for research and the production of vaccines. It is not yet known whether the virus escaped from the Merial or the IAH lab.

Since foot-and-mouth was confirmed in cows at a Surrey farm, more than 200 cattle have been culled as a preventative measure. A protection zone has been set up around the affected areas and rules preventing the movement of livestock have been introduced throughout the country, with the aim of stopping further spread of the contagious disease. Restrictions on the import of English beef have already been imposed.

The last outbreak of foot-and-mouth in the UK, in the spring and summer of 2001, resulted in total losses estimated at £8bn. Seven million animals were slaughtered, and tourism was also badly hit.

Tips For Bed Bug Control

byAlma Abell

There is no question that just the thought of bed bugs is enough to make any homeowner squirm. However, there are a number of steps that can be taken to ensure Bed Bug Control. Knowing what these are will help ensure that your home is completely pest free.

Be Sure it’s Really Bed Bugs

One of the first things you should do if you suspect bed bugs, is ensure that it is really these bugs and not ticks, fleas or some other type of insect. The best way to do this is by comparing the bug to pictures of a bed bug. You can also contact your local exterminator, who will be able to accurately evaluate the situation.

Avoid Panic

There is no question that it can be difficult to completely get rid of bed bugs, but it is not something that is completely impossible. You should not throw out all of your items because you do not think that they will respond to treatment. The fact is that throwing out your stuff is costly, and actually may not completely eradicate the issue.

Consider the Treatment Options

You need to consider all of the Bed Bug Control options that are available. Talking with a pest control specialist will help you better understand the options that are available to you. Also, be sure that if pesticides are the selected treatment option, you use them carefully and as instructed by the directions.

Remove Clutter

Another way to effectively remove bed bugs is to remove any clutter that has accumulated in your home. The fact is that clutter provides places for the bugs to hide. This means that you need to eliminate the clutter and help eliminate the bed bug infestation that you have.

When it comes to bed bugs, there is no question that they are creepy and something that all homeowners dread. However, taking the steps here will help you to successfully eliminate them, for good. Be sure to contact Wildcat Exterminating for additional information about bed bugs and how to successfully get rid of them, as well as steps that can be taken to ensure they do not return.

Earthquake hits Turkey, hundreds reported dead

Monday, October 24, 2011

At least 264 people were killed, said Interior Minister Idris Naim Sahin, in a 7.2 magnitude earthquake that struck Turkey yesterday. The quake was the strongest to hit Turkey in ten years. The city of Van has been heavily affected. The death toll was expected to rise.

A number of aftershocks has rattled Turkey since then, with the strongest one having a magnitude of 6.0. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan reported 55 buildings destroyed in Ercis, north of Lake Van. He said “because the buildings” in affected villages not yet reached “are made of adobe, they are more vulnerable to quakes. I must say that almost all buildings in such villages are destroyed.”

Rescue efforts are being affected due to power outages due to power line damage from the quake.

Over 1,300 people were reported injured.

Woman finds human finger in bowl of chili at Wendy’s restaurant

Thursday, March 24, 2005

San Jose, California — A woman eating a bowl of chili at a Wendy’s restaurant bit into a chewy bit that turned out to be a human finger. She immediately spat it out, warned other patrons to stop eating, and upon recognizing the object as a finger, vomited.

“I’m more of a Carl’s Jr. person,” the 39-year-old Las Vegas woman, Anna Ayala, told Knight Ridder. She said this incident was her first visit to a Wendy’s restaurant. Ayala described how she found the finger, “Suddenly something crunchy was in my mouth,” she continued, “and I spit it out.”

According to Devina Cordero, 20, after Ayala found the finger, she ran up to her and Cordero’s boyfriend and said, “Don’t eat it! Look, there’s a human finger in our chili.”

“We went up to the counter and they told us it was a vegetable,” Cordero continued. “The people from Wendy’s were poking it with a spoon.”

The restaurant is located at 1405 Monterey Highway, just south of downtown San Jose.

Wikinews reporter David Vasquez drove his car up to the drive-thru menu and found that chili was still on the menu, at a price of US$1.19 for a small serving. He also witnessed workers unloading supplies from a semi-trailer truck in the restaurant’s parking lot, and carting them into the back door of the establishment.

According to Ben Gale, director of environmental health for Santa Clara County, the finger did not come from any of the employees at the restaurant. “We asked everybody to show us they have 10 fingers and everything is OK there,” he said. The found portion of the finger likely belonged to a woman because of its long and manicured fingernail, also found in the food.

Officials seized the food supply at the restaurant and are tracing it back to the manufacturer, where they believe the finger may have gotten mixed in with the raw ingredients used to prepare the chili. The restaurant’s operators were later permitted to re-open after preparing new chili prepared from fresh ingredients.

As this story was filed, there was no mention of the incident on the Wendy’s corporate web site. Wendy’s issued a statement through a spokesman.

“Food safety is of utmost importance to us,” said Wendy’s spokesman Joe Desmond. He referred to the incident as an “unsubstantiated claim.”

“We are cooperating fully with the local police and health departments with their investigation. It’s important not to jump to conclusions. Here at Wendy’s we plan to do right by our customers,” Desmond said.

According to county health officials, the unfortunate woman who bit into the finger is doing fine, despite her initial reaction. Officials also noted that the finger would have been cooked at a high enough temperature to destroy any viruses.

The Santa Clara county medical examiner reported that the finger had a solid fingerprint, although investigators did not say if a search of fingerprint databases would be performed to find the owner of the finger.

This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.
This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.

Florida man charged with stealing Wi-Fi

Update since publication

This article mentions that Wi-Fi stands for “Wireless Fidelity”, although this is disputed.

Thursday, July 7, 2005

A Florida man is being charged with 3rd degree felony for logging into a private Wi-Fi (Wireless Fidelity) Internet access point without permission. Benjamin Smith III, 41, is set for a pre-trial hearing this month in the first case of its kind in the United States.

This kind of activity occurs frequently, but often goes undetected by the owners of these wireless access points (WAPs). Unauthorized users range from casual Web browsers, to users sending e-mails, to users involved in pornography or even illegal endeavours.

According to Richard Dinon, owner of the WAP Smith allegedly broke into, Smith was using a laptop in an automobile while parked outside Dinon’s residence.

There are many steps an owner of one of these access points can take to secure them from outside users. Dinon reportedly knew how to take these steps, but had not bothered because his “neighbors are older.”