Controversial Queensland Premier of 19 years dies at 94

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Controversial Queensland Premier of 19 years dies at 94

Saturday, April 23, 2005Queensland Australia’s Sir Joh Bjelke Petersen, a controversial figure who served as the State’s Premier for 19 years and reigned over the government that later became the subject of the Fitzgerald Inquiry, has died in hospital at Kingaroy, aged 94.

“By any measurement, Sir Joh was an exceptional state builder who will be remembered for consistently placing Queensland first,” said the Australian Governor General, Major General Jeffery, in a statement.

Australian Prime Minister, John Howard: “He was certainly a strong political figure and I extend my condolences to his wife and his family.”

But not all voices were sympathetic, prominent Queensland Aboriginal activist Sam Watson for example: “Aboriginal people will always remember him as a racist, a thug and a dictator.”

Having suffered severe ill-health for some weeks, and declining health for years, Sir Joh passed away at around 6pm AEST. He was surrounded by his family, who had been summoned yesterday by Lady Flo, his wife and one-time Senator, for final goodbyes.

Phrases such as “Don’t you worry about that” and “Goodness gracious me” were like trademarks to the maverick leader.

Known simply as ‘Joh’ to many, he would famously describe press conferences as ‘feeding the chooks’. Today Kingaroy locals taunted waiting press with cries from “You’re chooks, you’re chooks, ha ha” to “Go home, ya vultures”, and some obscenities, reported the Courier-Mail of Brisbane.

His fall from power at the end of the 80s was surrounded in controversy, with the state embroiled in corruption findings going to the level of his deputies, and Bjelke Petersen’s claims of ignorance coming under challenge with charges of perjury. The case was never heard due to a controversial hung jury: the foreman of the jury, Luke Shaw, had been an office-bearer of the Young Nationals — an arm of Bjelke Petersen’s National Party — as well as a member of a group calling themselves ‘Friends of Joh’.

Having had his start in life as a peanut farmer in remote Kingaroy, the former Premier was fit up until the very end, but palsy was paralyzing his muscles and organs, to which he eventually succumbed.

“Throughout his life Sir Joh combined enormous energy, vision and an immense capacity for hard work, most especially during his 19-year term as Premier of Queensland,” the Governor General said.

“What looked to us to be huge risks at the time turned out to be nation building,” said Bob Katter, a former minister of Joh’s Government, who credited Sir Joh with starting the Queensland coal, aluminum and tourism industries.

He is also remembered for dismantling many of the State’s unions, and for a somewhat totalitarian and heavy handed style of keeping control.

Under Joh, street protests were banned and Special Branch monitored extensively those the authoritarian leader saw as subversives, measures prompting Queenslander, Australian Civil Liberties Council, Terry O’Gorman, to comment Sir Joh was “the most appalling premier Queensland has ever had in terms of civil liberties and human rights”.

Joh was also influential in the famous case of the Dismissal by the Governor General of then-Prime Minister Gough Whitlam, in 1975.

In his last years as Premier, he had taken his cause to the nation’s capital, with the “Joh for PM” campaign. But this distraction has been credited with the downfall of his government, with corruption investigations at last being conducted by his stand-in, Bill Gunn.

The body of Sir Joh, who was of Lutheran faith, is to be buried at Bethany, the family property near Kingaroy.

Unsolicited quotes from ordinary Australians, many ex-Queenslanders seeking refuge in southern states, on hearing the news:

“Outrageous bastard! Oh God! That was polite!” — “Karen”

“Guilty as Hell. And that’s where he is now.” — “Michael”

“Yay! Good riddence to bad rubbish” — “Liza”

“The dictator is gone our time 2 sing” — “John. H.”

“Yeah he took a while — about 90 f*cking years overdue!” — “Hose Man”

“The pope an joh at least somethin going right” — “Helen”

“Corrupt f*cking sh*teating Bible-bashing f*ckw*t is dead. And thank f*ck. I haven’t been so happy since September 11!” — “Greg”

“I don’t drink but I’ll be having a red whilst dancing on his grave.” — “Cellest”

“Ding dong the d*ck is dead!” — anon.

“Yeahhh!!! Fucking finally” — “Leo”

“It’s a great day today the Rednecks are silent a great victory has been won” — “Zenner”

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.
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  • Last British volume car manufacturer closes down

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    Last British volume car manufacturer closes down

    Friday, April 15, 2005

    The last British-owned volume car manufacturer, MG Rover, has closed down, with the loss of 5,000 jobs.

    International accounting firm PriceWaterhouseCooper was brought in last week to put the company into administration. Today PwC announced that MG Rover’s only hope, the Chinese car company SAIC, had no interest in buying the ailing firm. With no further source of revenue, PwC has closed the company’s factory in Longbridge, Birmingham and has laid off 5,000 workers.

    Some 1,000 workers will continue for a while to complete the remaining cars left on the production line.

    The BBC reported PwC joint administrator Tony Lomas as saying “We’ll explore what we would describe as the break-up of the business, we will carry on with the interested parties who want to talk about pieces of the business.”. PwC said around 70 offers for various parts of the company had been made but no serious offers of money made.

    Recent efforts to save the company had been centered on convincing SAIC (Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp.) to buy the company as a going concern, but the Chinese company stated it would only buy the company if it’s financial position could be guaranteed to be secure for at least two years. The British government could not make such a commitment due to European Union trade and competition rules.

    The SAIC company did buy the designs for the 75 and 25 models and for the K-Series engines for £67m.

    The Rover car company has a long but troubled history. It was formed in 1968 after a series of mergers of existing car manufacturers, and was nationalized in 1975 after it ran into financial difficulties. In 1979 a long-running deal to collaborate on developing new vehicles was established with the Japanese company Honda. In 1988 the company was privatized and was bought by British Aerospace. In 1994 British Aerospace sold the business to BMW, who then sold the Land Rover brand to Ford and finally sold the company in 2000 for just £10, retaining the well-known Mini brand for themselves. The MG Rover company was run by a private group until its collapse.

    MG Rover has not launched a new model since the 75 was introduced in 1998 during the period of ownership by BMW. Their next newest model was the 25, originally launched as the 200 series some ten years ago. Rover also produced the 45, which dates from 1990, and the ZF sports car first launched in 1995. Sales of Rover cars accounted for just 3% of the UK car market in 2004.

    Tony Blair announced a £150 million support package for the recently unemployed workers of the MG Rover plants, though it has been claimed that his generous offer may be more as a result of the nearby marginal seats in the upcoming elections than compassion on his part.

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    Organizing Your Paper Mail

    Posted in Cabinets | July 5th, 2019

    Click Here For More Specific Information On:

    Organizing Your Paper Mail

    by

    Roger Elliott

    Developing technology has brought electronic mails or emails as the most favorite, the fastest way to share information. Although all people all over the world tend to use emails for private and business uses, paper mails still have their essence, making them irreplaceable.

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    You may have a job that requires you to receive paper mails that fill your desk. At the end of the day, you could be too lazy to collect and organize them. Actually, the things you should do are so simple and easy, in which firstly, you will need to prepare a box, container, or just anything to collect the mails temporarily. You can also choose any unused space, a tray, or a basket. It is good to use something with a not too big, regarding to the fact that the too big one will add your laziness, depends on the “wider” space for throwing a couple week’s worth of mail into it. Remember that you only need to sort the mails temporarily before finding a time which is enough for you to organize them. For example, you can simply take mornings at the office to sort through the mails, so you can trick it by coming earlier. Choosing a day in the middle of the week is also a good idea since sometimes the mails require your immediate attention on that day. However, it is different if you plan to organize private mails that come to your house, in which you will need a time on Sunday to do this. After collecting all the weekly mails, you can divide them based on three categories: To Do, Pending, and To File. In To Do category, you can put some that need your attention such as work files, clients’ mails, bills, and kids’ school forms. The second category, the Pending category, is ideal for holding anything that does not need immediate attention. Things that can be categorized into this type are the things you need to address at a later date, for example are shipment confirmations of products to receive and subscriptions. The To File category is perfect for storing things that need to be designated elsewhere, such as account updates, subscription confirmations, or catalogs. To do the categorization correctly, you can use a file sorter. Designate the first three-shelves for three categories of sorting mentioned above and the fourth shelf for garbage can or recycling bin which is perfect for junk mails. However, before you throw the papers away into the trash bin, remember to destroy all the data written on the papers by using shredders. This equipment will keep your personal information protected as nobody can read them.

    To be well-organized, you do not have to spend much money to buy things, as you can simply buy

    cheap file cabinets

    that always fit your budgets. Since the cabinets are available in several models, you may get confused to get the ideal one for you. You can consider

    wood lateral file cabinet

    for your convenience.

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    Organizing Your Paper Mail

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    Ingrid Newkirk, co-founder of PETA, on animal rights and the film about her life

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    Ingrid Newkirk, co-founder of PETA, on animal rights and the film about her life
    Posted in Uncategorized | June 22nd, 2019

    Tuesday, November 20, 2007

    Last night HBO premiered I Am An Animal: The Story of Ingrid Newkirk and PETA. Since its inception, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has made headlines and raised eyebrows. They are almost single-handedly responsible for the movement against animal testing and their efforts have raised the suffering animals experience in a broad spectrum of consumer goods production and food processing into a cause célèbre.

    PETA first made headlines in the Silver Spring monkeys case, when Alex Pacheco, then a student at George Washington University, volunteered at a lab run by Edward Taub, who was testing neuroplasticity on live monkeys. Taub had cut sensory ganglia that supplied nerves to the monkeys’ fingers, hands, arms, legs; with some of the monkeys, he had severed the entire spinal column. He then tried to force the monkeys to use their limbs by exposing them to persistent electric shock, prolonged physical restraint of an intact arm or leg, and by withholding food. With footage obtained by Pacheco, Taub was convicted of six counts of animal cruelty—largely as a result of the monkeys’ reported living conditions—making them “the most famous lab animals in history,” according to psychiatrist Norman Doidge. Taub’s conviction was later overturned on appeal and the monkeys were eventually euthanized.

    PETA was born.

    In the subsequent decades they ran the Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty against Europe’s largest animal-testing facility (footage showed staff punching beagle puppies in the face, shouting at them, and simulating sex acts while taking blood samples); against Covance, the United State’s largest importer of primates for laboratory research (evidence was found that they were dissecting monkeys at its Vienna, Virginia laboratory while the animals were still alive); against General Motors for using live animals in crash tests; against L’Oreal for testing cosmetics on animals; against the use of fur for fashion and fur farms; against Smithfield Foods for torturing Butterball turkeys; and against fast food chains, most recently against KFC through the launch of their website kentuckyfriedcruelty.com.

    They have launched campaigns and engaged in stunts that are designed for media attention. In 1996, PETA activists famously threw a dead raccoon onto the table of Anna Wintour, the fur supporting editor-in-chief of Vogue, while she was dining at the Four Seasons in New York, and left bloody paw prints and the words “Fur Hag” on the steps of her home. They ran a campaign entitled Holocaust on your Plate that consisted of eight 60-square-foot panels, each juxtaposing images of the Holocaust with images of factory farming. Photographs of concentration camp inmates in wooden bunks were shown next to photographs of caged chickens, and piled bodies of Holocaust victims next to a pile of pig carcasses. In 2003 in Jerusalem, after a donkey was loaded with explosives and blown up in a terrorist attack, Newkirk sent a letter to then-PLO leader Yasser Arafat to keep animals out of the conflict. As the film shows, they also took over Jean-Paul Gaultier‘s Paris boutique and smeared blood on the windows to protest his use of fur in his clothing.

    The group’s tactics have been criticized. Co-founder Pacheco, who is no longer with PETA, called them “stupid human tricks.” Some feminists criticize their campaigns featuring the Lettuce Ladies and “I’d Rather Go Naked Than Wear Fur” ads as objectifying women. Of their Holocaust on a Plate campaign, Anti-Defamation League Chairman Abraham Foxman said “The effort by PETA to compare the deliberate systematic murder of millions of Jews to the issue of animal rights is abhorrent.” (Newkirk later issued an apology for any hurt it caused). Perhaps most controversial amongst politicians, the public and even other animal rights organizations is PETA’s refusal to condemn the actions of the Animal Liberation Front, which in January 2005 was named as a terrorist threat by the United States Department of Homeland Security.

    David Shankbone attended the pre-release screening of I Am An Animal at HBO’s offices in New York City on November 12, and the following day he sat down with Ingrid Newkirk to discuss her perspectives on PETA, animal rights, her responses to criticism lodged against her and to discuss her on-going life’s work to raise human awareness of animal suffering. Below is her interview.

    This exclusive interview features first-hand journalism by a Wikinews reporter. See the collaboration page for more details.

    Contents

    • 1 The HBO film about her life
    • 2 PETA, animal rights groups and the Animal Liberation Front
    • 3 Newkirk on humans and other animals
    • 4 Religion and animals
    • 5 Fashion and animals
    • 6 Newkirk on the worst corporate animal abusers
    • 7 Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act
    • 8 Ingrid Newkirk on Ingrid Newkirk
    • 9 External links
    • 10 Sources
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    Thai scientist has deodorized the stinky ‘king of fruits’

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    Thai scientist has deodorized the stinky ‘king of fruits’
    Posted in Uncategorized | June 20th, 2019

    Thursday, June 21, 2007

    File:Durion-interdit-malaysia.jpg

    In southeast Asia, durian is known as the “king of fruits,” but with its pungent odor, the large, spike-husked fruit receives less-than-royal treatment in many quarters.

    A Thai scientist thinks he has found the key to more widespread acceptance of durian, by creating odorless varieties of the fruit. After 20 years of cross-breeding, researcher Songpol Somsri has come up with a durian “that smells as inoffensive as a banana,” according to an article today by The Guardian.

    “I’ve got friends from Australia, Europe and Japan who just won’t eat durian because they can’t stand the smell,” Songpol was quoted as saying. “But I’m sure producing those with a mild smell will help us find new markets.”

    Despite their popularity, the fruits are banned from the subway system in Singapore. In Bangkok, taxi drivers will often balk at a passenger with durian. The region’s airlines won’t allow them to be brought onboard. Across southeast Asia, a sign that denotes a finer hotel is a placard in the lobby with a red circle and cross through a silhouette of a durian.

    Cultivated across all of southeast Asia, the fruit measures about 12 inches (30 centimeters) long and 6 inches (15 centimeters) in diameter, and weighs around 2 to 7 pounds (1 to 3 kilograms). The fruits are green on the outside, and covered with a thick, spike-covered husk. In Malay, the name durian literally means “thorny fruit”.

    Inside is a yellow, custard-like flesh that has been described as nutty and sweet, perhaps like a fine French cheese. But because of the smell, which can be overpowering, durian is an acquired taste.

    The Guardian quoted a travel writer who described the smell like “pigshit, turpentine and onions, garnished with a gym sock.”

    Devotees of the “king of fruits” say a major part of the experience of eating the smelly fruit is the aroma, or fragrance, if you will.

    “To anyone who doesn’t like durian, it smells like a bunch of dead cats,” Bob Halliday, a food writer in Bangkok was quoted as saying by The New York Times in April. “But as you get to appreciate durian, the smell is not offensive at all. It’s attractive. It makes you drool like a mastiff.”

    Swanzea Banchee, manager of Sunshine Fruit, a major Thai exporter of durian, told National Public Radio (NPR) last month that he thinks an odorless variety of durian would help increase orders from overseas. But, he said he’d never eat one, adding that if a durian doesn’t smell, then it isn’t really a durian.

    “I don’t think it’s possible to make a durian that doesn’t smell,” orchardist Somchai Tadchang was quoted as saying by The Times. “Anyway, durians actually smell good,” he told The Times. “Only rotten durians stink.”

    But Dr. Songpol, senior agricultural scientist for the Thai government’s Department of Agriculture, has put a lot of time and effort into creating his varieties of odorless durian, called Chanthaburi No. 1 and Chanthaburi No. 2. They were developed at the department’s Horticultural Research Institute in Chanthaburi Province, in eastern Thailand, near the border with Cambodia, about 200 miles (320 kilometers) from Bangkok. Growing up on a durian farm, he has studied them all his life, he said.

    The research farm has several thousand durian trees, and Songpol has spent about 20 years crossing more than 90 different varieties to produce Chantaburi No. 1. It started with only one tree, planted 18 years ago, and which produces about a dozen fruit annually, Songpol told NPR.

    Songpol has also been working on another variety of durian, without either the smell or the spikes. It’s called Chanthaburi No. 3, he said.

    The Thai government is keen to produce and export odor- and spike-free durian, announcing a plan back in April to distribute saplings of the three new varieties to farmers. It’s expected that the odorless durians will hit the market in around three years.

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    Commonwealth Bank of Australia CEO apologies for financial planning scandal

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    Commonwealth Bank of Australia CEO apologies for financial planning scandal
    Posted in Uncategorized | June 20th, 2019

    Thursday, July 3, 2014

    Ian Narev, the CEO of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, this morning “unreservedly” apologised to clients who lost money in a scandal involving the bank’s financial planning services arm.

    Last week, a Senate enquiry found financial advisers from the Commonwealth Bank had made high-risk investments of clients’ money without the clients’ permission, resulting in hundreds of millions of dollars lost. The Senate enquiry called for a Royal Commission into the bank, and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).

    Mr Narev stated the bank’s performance in providing financial advice was “unacceptable”, and the bank was launching a scheme to compensate clients who lost money due to the planners’ actions.

    In a statement Mr Narev said, “Poor advice provided by some of our advisers between 2003 and 2012 caused financial loss and distress and I am truly sorry for that. […] There have been changes in management, structure and culture. We have also invested in new systems, implemented new processes, enhanced adviser supervision and improved training.”

    An investigation by Fairfax Media instigated the Senate inquiry into the Commonwealth Bank’s financial planning division and ASIC.

    Whistleblower Jeff Morris, who reported the misconduct of the bank to ASIC six years ago, said in an article for The Sydney Morning Herald that neither the bank nor ASIC should be in control of the compensation program.

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    Andrew Sayers resigns National Museum of Australia directorship

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    Andrew Sayers resigns National Museum of Australia directorship
    Posted in Uncategorized | June 20th, 2019

    Wednesday, March 27, 2013

    The Director of the National Museum of Australia, Andrew Sayers, has resigned his position effective July 1 in a move that came as a surprise to his colleagues. Sayers cited distance issues as his wife is currently working full time in Melbourne.

    Sayers is quoted in a statement as saying, “I leave the museum confident that the reputation of the Museum as the home of our national treasures is one of which we can all be proud. […] Professionally, I have enjoyed making a contribution to the Museum, yet, as many couples have discovered a ‘commuter relationship’ is not ideal.”

    Sayers was contracted for five years, and was only into his third year in the post. Prior to his position at the National Museum, he spent ten years in the same role at the National Portrait Gallery of Australia. He also spent thirteen years working as as a curator and assistant director at the National Gallery of Australia. He began his museum career at Art Gallery of New South Wales and Newcastle Region Art Gallery. Following his resignation, Sayers will retire to live in Melbourne with his wife.

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    Apple introduces iPhone and Apple TV

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    Apple introduces iPhone and Apple TV
    Posted in Uncategorized | June 19th, 2019

    Wednesday, January 10, 2007

    Apple Inc. today has introduced the much-anticipated iPhone at the Macworld Conference in San Francisco.

    The iPhone is claimed to be “a revolutionary mobile phone” as stated on the Apple website. The device appears to be running a mobile version of the Apple operating system Mac OSX. It is approximately the same size as a 5th generation iPod, it has a 3.5-inch LCD touchscreen display that is used to access all features of the phone including number dial, as well as making phone calls. The iPhone plays music, movies, displays pictures and is able to connect to a wireless network.

    Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveiled the device by walking onto the stage and taking the iPhone out of his jeans pocket. During his 2 hour speech he stated that “Today Apple is going to reinvent the phone, We are going to make history today”.

    Today Apple also released their Media Center device – Apple TV. It will directly compete with Microsoft’s Media Center operating system. Apple has taken a different approach to the media center market; rather than storing content (such as movies, music and photos) on the device, Apple TV connects to a computer (Mac and Windows) over a wirless network connection and plays all content stored on that computer. This makes it substantially easier for users to organize their media content.

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    Spelbound declared winner of Britain’s Got Talent 2010

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    Spelbound declared winner of Britain’s Got Talent 2010
    Posted in Uncategorized | June 14th, 2019

    Monday, June 7, 2010

    An acrobatic group known by the name of Spelbound has been declared as the winner of Britain’s Got Talent 2010, a televised variety talent show competition broadcast on ITV in the United Kingdom. As the winning act of the show, Spelbound have won £100,000 (US$144,580, €120,313, A$175,079) and a place at The Royal Variety Performance, an annual gala evening that is attended by senior members of the British Royal Family.

    In no particular order, the top three acts were revealed to be two dancers known by their stage name of Twist and Pulse, gymnastic group Spelbound and Kieran Gaffney, whose act involves playing on the drum kit. After Kieran Gaffney was revealed to be in third place, Anthony McPartlin, who hosts Britain’s Got Talent with Declan Donnelly, said to Kieran: “Well done Kieran. Kieran, you’re a star, you came back, you got all the way to the final. I know you’ve loved this. You’ve loved this, haven’t you?” In response to this, Kieran Gaffney stated: “Thank you very much. Thank you, everyone for supporting me. Thank you.”

    Shortly afterwards, on the episode that was broadcast live on ITV1 on Saturday, Anthony announced: “After tens of thousands of auditons, five semi-finals and an amazing final, this…this is it. One of you is about to walk away with £100,000 and a place at this year’s Royal Variety Performance. The winner of Britain’s Got Talent 2010 is…Spelbound!” Glen Murphy from Twist and Pulse commented about finishing in second place, stating: “Yeah, it’s amazing. I can’t even believe it. I can’t believe it at all.”

    Alex Uttley, a 24-year-old member of Spelbound, commented on the gymnastic group’s victory, commenting: “Oh, my god. This is unbelieveable. We just want to say thank you to everyone out there. It just shows that all our hard work has paid off.” One of the coaches of Spelbound, named Neil Griffiths, stated about Spelbound: “Oh, they’ve worked so hard over the last few weeks. Um, since the semi-final, we…we really had to pull out the stops to try and up the game. They’ve not known they’ve worked in the gym from six in the morning till twelve…twelve o’clock of the night. I couldn’t have asked for more. Um, it’s a team of coaches. I don’t take all the credit myself. There’s, uh, two people up there that know who they are who’ve been fantastic.”

    Spelbound consists of 24-year-old Alex Uttley, Nicholas Illingworth, aged 24, Adam Buckingham, aged 21, 20-year-old Adam McAssey, 19-year-old Douglas Fordyce, 18-year-old Edward Upcott, 18-year-old Leighanne Cowler, 17-year-old Katie Axten, 17-year-old Lauren Kemp, 15-year-old Jonathan Stranks, Abigail Ralph, aged 15, 13-year-old Hollianne Wood and Amy Mackenzie, aged 12. Bookmakers had previously predicted that Spelbound would be the most likely act to become the winner of the series.

    The running order for the final started with Twist and Pulse. The second act to perform was Liam McNally, a 14-year-old singer. The running order subsequently continued with 40-year-old impressionist Paul Burling, singer Christopher Stone, aged 28, Tina & Chandi, a woman and dog dancing act, Connected, a five-piece singing group, Kieran Gaffney, aged 12, 22-year-old Tobias Mead, a dancer, 80-year-old singer Janey Cutler and Spelbound in that particular order.

    Earlier on in the final, Britain’s Got Talent judge Amanda Holden has stated to Spelbound: “We are hosting the 2012 Olympics and I think ‘what a brilliant opening act’.” Fellow judge Piers Morgan also commented that “[t]he purpose of this show is to identify hidden great British talent. You are that act.” After Spelbound won in the final, another judge, named Simon Cowell, stated that “the right boys and girls won on the night” and that he could “only say on live TV that that was one of the most astonishing things I have ever seen. Seriously.”

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    Owner and manager of Moroccan factory arrested over 55-fatality fire

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    Owner and manager of Moroccan factory arrested over 55-fatality fire
    Posted in Uncategorized | June 12th, 2019

    Sunday, April 27, 2008

    Police have arrested the owner of a mattress factory in Hay Hassini, Casablanca, Morocco which burned down in a disaster that claimed 55 lives. His son, who was the factory’s manager, was also arrested.

    Those killed — 35 of whom were women — were trapped inside by locked fire exits, which were barricaded to stop theft during working hours. “The people who died were either asphyxiated or burned,” commented a firefighter. 17 were wounded. Moustapha Taouil of the Casablanca civil protection service said the blaze was triggered by an inadequatly maintained electric saw on the ground floor. The initial fire quickly engulfed all four storeys of the building.

    The Rosamor factory was clearly operating unsafely, officials said. “It’s a building with a ground floor and three upper floors specialising in making furniture, therefore there were highly inflammable products,” said Taouil. “We confirmed during our examination that the owners of the premises failed to respect legal requirements for this kind of industry including staff training… the owner in contravention of the law, locked staff inside the plant apparently to prevent theft of raw material. It was this that prevented them getting out. The fire was caused by lack of proper maintenance of certain machines and electrical installations.” He said a short circuit on the ground floor, which was filled with power saws, triggered the disaster.

    As a result of the investigatons, “The plant’s owner, Adil Moufarreh, and his son Abdelali Moufarreh, who was the manager, have been taken into custody after having been questioned by police,” said an official.

    28-year-old factory employee Fadila Khadija said “There was no emergency exit, the extinguishers were empty and the working conditions were difficult.” One source said that windows were also unusable as they were covered with iron bars. 20-year-old survivor Omar Elaaz said “I was working on the first floor as an upholsterer. The smoke came up from the ground floor where the foam rubber, wood and glue are stored. I used a gas bottle to break the wire mesh that protects every window.” 31-year-old upholsterer Hakim Hakki told of his own lucky escape and its effect on him from hospital: “I jumped from the third floor with four other colleagues while the women, who didn’t dare to follow us, perished in the inferno. God saved me but I’ll never forget those who died.”

    The father of deceased 19-year-old Abdelazziz Darif said his son was paid 250 dirhams (20 euro/31 US dollars) per week and did not have social insurance.

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