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Anthrocon 2007 draws thousands to Pittsburgh for furry weekend

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Anthrocon 2007 draws thousands to Pittsburgh for furry weekend

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania — Local caterers get ready for big business, as almost three thousand fans converge on the David L. Lawrence Convention Center over the Independence Day weekend for the world’s largest ever furry convention, Anthrocon 2007.

Many hope to renew acquaintances, or meet new friends. Others look to buy from dealers and artists, or show off new artwork or costumes. Some attend to make money, or even learn a thing or two. But one thing unites them: They’re all there to have fun.

Contents

  • 1 Costly expansion
  • 2 Programming and entertainment
  • 3 Audience
  • 4 Art show and dealers
  • 5 Charity and volunteers
  • 6 Local impact
  • 7 Related news
  • 8 Sources

More US recalls: Fish pool toy rips fingernail off child, numerous toys with excessive lead

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More US recalls: Fish pool toy rips fingernail off child, numerous toys with excessive lead

Saturday, November 10, 2007

The U.S Consumer Product Safety Commission has recalled more products over the last few days, though not all because of excessive lead.

While American toy companies have been rocked in the last few months by numerous unsafe Chinese-made products, mostly due to excessive amounts of lead in paint, a few of the latest recalls were actually due to design flaws.

Also recently recalled are sunglasses and toy cars from the Dollar General chain of price-point retailers.

Two UN contract workers kidnapped in Somalia

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Two UN contract workers kidnapped in Somalia

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Two foreign aid workers attached to a United Nations (UN) project were kidnapped in southern Somalia on Tuesday. The UN stated that the two men, one British and one Kenyan, were abducted at gunpoint while conducting a survey of local rivers. The men were taken hostage on a road leading to Bu’aale, in the southern Lower Jubba region of Somalia.

Briton Murray Watson was abducted along with his Kenyan colleague, Patrick Amukhuma, by six armed militiamen who ambushed their armed convoy. The abduction took place on a main road between Saakow and Bu’aale.

Gunfire was exchanged between Somali bodyguards and militia members. According to Agence France-Presse, local elders said that the gunmen fired shots during the attack and wounded one of the hostages, and The Daily Telegraph reported that witnesses said Watson was wounded in the leg.

Local district commissioner Ibrahim Noleye spoke with Agence France-Presse about the incident: “two foreign aid workers from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) were intercepted by armed militiamen on their way to Buale … We believe they are being held hostage”.

Amos Nyaoro of Somalia Water and Land Information Management, the UN-supported agency where Watson was working, told The Daily Telegraph: “We are attempting to make contact with the people who abducted our colleagues. It is unclear why this attack has taken place. We understand that Mr Watson has been hurt, but we don’t know the extent of his injuries.”

Reuters has reported that local militias were pursuing the kidnappers in an attempt to free the hostages, and local clan elders are pressing for their release. Hajir Bille, an official from the Juba region in Somalia, told the Associated Press that security forces were looking for the abductors.

Witnesses on the ground say there was gunfire when the men were taken, but there is no information to suggest that any serious injury was sustained by either man.

A statement released by the UN country office for Somalia addressed reports that one of the men kidnapped had been wounded: “Witnesses on the ground say there was gunfire when the men were taken, but there is no information to suggest that any serious injury was sustained by either man.” Reuters has reported that the hostages are being held “in or near” the town of Jilib.

UN officials in Rome, Italy said that the two men worked for an Indian-based group sub-contracted to do aerial survey work for the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), a United Nations agency. The men are not themselves members of the FAO, but are employees of Genesys International Corporation, an information technology company in Bangalore, India.

Genesys International Corporation performs aerial surveys in Somalia which help the area population deal with flooding due to a rise in water level of the Juba and Shabelle rivers.

Western companies and organizations have paid ransoms to free their employees, and kidnappings in the area have increased as a result. In recent months attacks on foreigners in Somalia have increased, but had been localized to the northern region of Puntland. Médecins Sans Frontières withdrew its international staff from the country after three workers were killed by a bomb in February.

Attacks against Somalia’s weak government and its Ethiopian military backers have increased in the last six months. Somalia’s government has not been functional since civil war began in 1991, when dictator Mohamed Siad Barre was overthrown and rival warlords then turned on each other.

Over one million citizens in Somalia depend on foreign aid, and UN aid helps millions of Somalians each year.

Search-and-rescue dog that found 9/11 survivor to be cloned

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Search-and-rescue dog that found 9/11 survivor to be cloned

Thursday, July 3, 2008

A German shepherd who recovered the last survivor of the September 11, 2001 attacks is to be cloned. His owner, James Symington, a former police officer from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada entered an essay writing contest about why his dog should be cloned.

Trakr, the 15 year old German shepherd suffering from degenerative neurological disorder, was the subject of a contest-winning essay about why Trakr should be cloned that was written by Symington. Trakr and Symington received Humanitarian Service Awards from Jane Goodall for their heroics at Ground Zero. Symington is now an actor of film and television, sometimes credited as Peter James.

BioArts International sponsored the essay-writing contest. Five more dogs are to be cloned by its Best Friends Again program. While Trakr will receive free replication, the other dogs will have to participate in an auction with a starting bid of US$100,000.

BioArts is going to send the DNA of the 6 dogs to Sooam Biotech Research Foundation in Seoul, South Korea. A Sooam researcher said that the dog should be born in November.

Bomb discovered in toilet on Iranian plane; defused safely

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Bomb discovered in toilet on Iranian plane; defused safely

Sunday, May 31, 2009

A bomb on an Iranian domestic passenger aeroplane was successfully defused by authorities on Saturday, according to officials.

The bomb was found aboard a Kish Air flight departing from Ahvaz, bound for the Iranian capital of Tehran.

“15 minutes after the plane with 131 passengers took off, flight security guards found a handmade bomb placed in the lavatory. The plane landed immediately at Ahvaz airport and the bomb was defused,” said the Fars news agency.

The plane made an emergency landing at its departure airport at Ahvaz. After the bomb was defused, the flight took off again.

“The suspicious package and the details of the sabotage operation in the Tehran-Ahvaz Boeing is under investigation,” said the head of the Revolutionary Guards air security operation, to the Iranian IRNA news agency.

“I do not confirm a link between this and the Zahedan operation. But we believe our enemies want to create a threatening environment before the presidential election and exploit the open space in the country and spark despair among people,” he said.

These are the latest in a series of attacks coming ahead of next month’s presidential elections. The incident comes two days after a bomb attack on a mosque killed 25 people on Thursday. On Saturday three men were hanged for that attack, which officials blamed on al-Qaeda, the United States and Israel.

Party video game banned in UK for having offensive word

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Party video game banned in UK for having offensive word

Friday, July 13, 2007

Employees of British video game retailer GAME are reporting an email sent around stores to remove the popular Wii board party game Mario Party 8 and all applicable advertising due to the game having a word considered to be offensive in Britain.

The word is “spastic,” and can be seen on the “Shy Guy’s Perplex Express” board. If a player lands on one of several certain green spaces, Magikoopa will appear and, before rearranging the train cars, will say, “Magikoopa magic! Turn the train spastic Make this ticket tragic!”

Nintendo is currently developing an updated version of the game without the offending word.

This is not the first time a video game has been banned in the UK for including the word “spastic.” Last month, Ubisoft announced a recall of its PSP brain-training game Mind Quiz after a mother of a child with cerebral palsy complained because the game called her a “spastic” for not doing well.

Three babies dead within one week at Madrid Hospital

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Three babies dead within one week at Madrid Hospital
By | Posted in Uncategorized

Sunday, March 4, 2007

A Spanish hospital reported today that three premature babies have died within one week from the same infection. The babies, who were being cared for in the neonatal intensive care unit of Madrid‘s 12 de Octubre Hospital, all died after being infected with Klebsiella pneumoniae bacterium. Authorities also suspect that a fourth baby has become infected with the bacterium. The Spanish patients’ association ADEPA has asked the public prosecutor of the Madrid Region, Manuel Moix, to open an investigation into the matter.

This morning, hospital authorities stated that the first death occurred on 26 February. A baby born eight weeks prematurely and weighing just under one kilo died due to septic shock arising from the infection, which was unconnected with the symptoms of his premature birth, according to hospital reports.

Shortly afterwards, two babies in the same unit died on 2 March. They appear to have died from the same infection; however the hospital stated that they are still waiting for confirmation of the cause of death. A fourth baby has been found to have the bacteria on his skin, but as yet there is no confirmation of whether he has been infected. The hospital states that although the baby is in a serious condition, this is to be expected when a baby is born so premature, and that his condition is also due to other factors, unrelated to the bacterium, which have arisen since his birth.

The hospital authorities have asserted that all of the babies in its care are under close supervision, and are being periodically monitored by the Preventive Medicine Centre, in order that the most up-to-date information may be had on the state of any and all patients in the hospital.

To prevent further infections, the hospital has taken several measures. The first is of course rigorous medical hygiene. High-risk patients are referred to other hospitals. The hospital has been divided into two separate zones, one for those already infected and the other for those who have not yet been affected. As a consequence, 25 children who were staying in the hospital while the 3 premature babies died, remain separate from the others, to make sure newly admitted children are not exposed. The nursing staff has also been restricted to one or other of these two areas. Visits from specialists of other hospital services, and from families, has been restricted. Furthermore, an epidemiological study is being undertaken to determine the origin of the situation.

The newspaper El País reports that the bacterium Klebsiella pneumoniae is to be found in hospitals as a matter of course and is often contracted by those who have been in hospital for prolonged periods (termed a nosocomial infection). The mortality rate from the bacterium is extremely high in those cases where it’s contracted by people with serious illnesses, as is often to be expected in the case of a premature birth, which can result in newborn babies weighing less than 500 grammes.

According to the Spanish daily, this type of bacterium is prevalent in hospitals throughout the world, but the incidence of infection in Madrid hospitals is lower than the Spanish average. The head of the Neonatal Unit at 12 de Octubre Hospital, Carmen Payás, explained that the bacterium is very adaptable “and keeps on learning”. The father of the dead baby, an Ecuadorian named Angel Marcelo, was quoted as saying that the progress of the baby had at first been “tremendous”, and that he had even been taken off the respirator, but that a few days later he began to cough up blood, dying soon afterwards.

The chair of ADEPA, Carmen Flores, has appealed to the Madrid public prosecutor to open an investigation into the situation and to find those responsible. ADEPA have suggested that the investigation centre on the number of casualties among infants in the hospital, and on the question of whether conditions in the neonatal unit were a direct contributor to the incidence of the infection.

José Quero, head of the Neonatology Department of the La Paz hospital in Madrid said that, “sadly enough”, this situation was “not something exceptional,” but rather something neonatologists have to watch out for.

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Saudi Arabia fears Hajj swine flu outbreak as four pilgrims die

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Saudi Arabia fears Hajj swine flu outbreak as four pilgrims die
By | Posted in Uncategorized

Sunday, November 22, 2009

As the annual Muslim Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca gets underway, Saudi Arabian authorities have expressed concern swine flu could impact pilgrims. Four, with underlying health issues, have already died.

Two men and a woman in their seventies and a seventeen-year-old girl have died, according to the Health Ministry. The men from India and Sudan, the older woman from Morocco, and the teen from Nigeria. None were vaccinated against the virus.

One died in Mecca, the others in Medina. All had conditions including cancer and respiratory ailments. The World Health Organisation puts the current swine flu death toll at 6,750. Four more people are in Saudi hospitals in critical condition and a further twelve are recovering in hospital.

Each year around three million make the pilgrimage. And, Saudi authorities are concerned about the possible spread of the virus. At least one pilgrimage to Mecca is deemed mandatory for every Muslim capable of doing so. Fifteen thousand extra medical staff are deployed, ports and airports screen incomers with thermal cameras, and hundreds of extra hospital beds have been set aside. Visa requirements specify only those vaccinated against the flu strain can apply.

In September, Egypt forbade hundreds of Muslims from leaving Cairo for the Hajj after an Egyptian woman returning from a more minor pilgrimage last July became the first swine flu fatality in both Africa and the Middle East. For Ramadan, pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia was banned by Iran for the same reason.

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Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal gets final approval by city Planning Board

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Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal gets final approval by city Planning Board
By | Posted in Uncategorized
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

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Buffalo, New York —The proposed Elmwood Village Hotel got the final approval it needed from the city of Buffalo’s Planning Board this morning.

In a unanimous vote, the Board approved most of the design and site plan of the hotel.

The Elmwood Village Hotel is a proposed hotel by Savarino Construction Services Corporation and is designed by architect Karl Frizlen of the Frizlen Group. It is to be placed on the corner of Elmwood and Forest Avenues in Buffalo and will require the demolition of at least five properties (1109-1121 Elmwood).

Despite the fact that today’s meeting was not a “public hearing”, several citizens lashed out at the Board after the approval.

“Thanks for destroying Buffalo,” said one man.

“[I am] disgusted. Because they did not allow the community to speak, it is the bastardization of the concepts of justice and democracy, and that’s what happened [today],” said Clarence Carnahan, a local business owner and concerned citizen, to Wikinews. He also referred to some board members as “immoral pigs.”

“[I feel] frustration because no one could speak. I was going to address the displacement of all the shops that are there and that they should be grand-fathered into the new space. We did not get to say that. [I am disappointed] that they are endorsing this enormous monstrosity.” said Nancy Pollina, co-owner of Don Apparel with Patty Morris at 1119 Elmwood.

Although the Board approved the hotel proposal, Savarino Construction must still go before the board to approve things such as signage and lighting. The Planning Board meets again on April 11, 2006 at 8:00a.m., but it is unknown if the hotel proposal will be on the agenda.

Pano Georgiadis, owner of Pano’s Restaurant at 1081 Elmwood and owner of 605 Forest Avenue in Buffalo, threatened to sue Savarino Construction at a public meeting on March 15, 2006 saying, “if you try to get a variance to change the code, I will sue you. This is my home, number one. If you go against city code, and you try to do the most rooms with a minimal amount of parking, again, I will sue you.”

Today, Georgiadis confirmed to Wikinews that he is “definitely” suing, but that his “situation is different” as compared to others looking into legal action. “This is my property. They did it [changed the code] without my approval.”

Last week, the Common Council voted and approved the rezoning of all five properties including 605 Forest.

Some are also considering taking the case to the New York State Supreme Court to “seek an injunction”and would go “pro se, meaning I am going to present the case myself,” said Carnahan.

Despite the approvals by the Common Council and Planning Board, organizers schedulaed another protest for Saturday April 1, 2006 at 2:00p.m. on the proposed site at Forest and Elmwood.

“We are not going to go down without a fight. We are going to go kicking and screaming,” said Pollina.

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Drug-resistant staph deaths surpass AIDS in the United States

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Drug-resistant staph deaths surpass AIDS in the United States
By | Posted in Uncategorized

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), a drug-resistant strain of bacteria, killed nearly 19,000 Americans in 2005 alone, according to a new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association. That is more people than were killed by AIDS in the United States. More than 94,000 Americans were afflicted with MRSA infections in 2005.

Although the supergerm, or superbug, is primarily found in hospitals, a growing number of cases have been contracted at public gyms and schools. In Moneta, Virginia, a high school senior died from an infection that spread to his kidney, liver, lungs and heart. In Bedford County, where Moneta is located, school officials have reported five cases of the Methicillin-resistant strain of the Staph bacteria. County officials closed the schools to clean them.

“Certainly, MRSA now has to be viewed as a very important target for prevention and control,” said Dr. David A. Talan, an infectious diseases specialist at Olive View-UCLA Medical Center.

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