At least 107 killed in Mecca crane collapse

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At least 107 killed in Mecca crane collapse

Saturday, September 12, 2015

A storm yesterday caused a crane to fall into Mecca’s Grand Mosque, killing 107 or more and wounding 238, according to Saudi Arabia’s Civil Defense Authority.

Civil Defense Authority director General Suleiman al-Amr, in remarks to al-Ikhbariya television, said “All those who were wounded and the dead have been taken to hospital. There are no casualties left at the location”.

The accident, which occurred yesterday afternoon, was caused by strong winds and heavy rain that led the crane to fall. Photos released of the scene showed numerous bloodied bodies and various scattered debris.

The accident occurred at a time when the mosque was relatively uncrowded. “Had it happened an hour later it would have been much worse,” Khaled Al-Maeena, editor at large at the Saudi Gazette, said. “Had it happened five hours earlier or four hours earlier, I think the death toll would have been more than a thousand.”

The crane accident comes just ten days before the beginning of the Hajj, the annual pilgrimage to Mecca, Islam’s holiest site. As undergoing a pilgrimage to Mecca is a mandatory religious duty for all Muslims who physically and financially can, millions of pilgrims arrive in Mecca each year for the Hajj. Construction was underway at the mosque in order to enlarge the mosque and improve crowd control, which has been a recurring problem during Mecca’s pilgrimages.

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  • US troops in the Philippines to resume activities

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    US troops in the Philippines to resume activities

    Wednesday, January 24, 2007

    The US embassy in the Philippines said Tuesday that military maneuvers between US and domestic troops will resume next month after its suspension last month when a Philippine court refused to transfer custody of Daniel Smith, a US Marine convicted of raping a Filipina, to the US embassy.

    In a statement, the US embassy said that the Balikatan exercises will be conducted from February 8 to March 4, focusing on civil-military operations like bringing medical assistance to war-torn areas where alleged Al Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf militants are active.

    US Navy ship visits are also planned.

    Dozens of US troops are deployed on Jolo island in humanitarian projects, but officials said they also helped provide intelligence data that led to the killings of the two top leaders of the Abu Sayyaf.

    The Abu Sayyaf is on Washington’s terrorist watchlist and has been blamed for bombings and for the kidnapping deaths of two Americans snatched in 2001.

    US Ambassador to Manila, Kristie Kenney, said on Monday that relations between her country and the Philippines were back at a high after two of the most wanted Islamic militants here were killed.

    “I feel very strongly that we must congratulate the Armed Forces of the Philippines. They are dedicated and doing a wonderful job of keeping the people safe,” she said.

    Ambassador Kenney said joint military exercises have been planned for all of 2007 but said they would focus mainly on humanitarian assistance.

    Kenney’s statement as she joined US troops in distributing relief goods to Bicol victims of a recent supertyphoon, preceded the arrival on Wednesday of US Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Karen Hughes.

    The envoy’s remarks were a departure from the tough words issued by the US government at the height of the custody controversy over the US Marine rape convict.

    Hughes’ three-day visit will be capped by a one-on-one meeting with President Arroyo. She will also meet with other government officials and visit Sulu, where American troops are helping the Philippine military supposedly to flush out Islamic militants.

    It will be Hughes’ first visit to Manila, where the US Embassy wants to shift the focus of the annual Balikatan joint military exercises between the two countries from military training to humanitarian efforts.

    Meanwhile, activist group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan on Tuesday said it opposes the resumption of the RP-US military exercises by launching a nationwide mass protests on February 8.

    Bayan Secretary-General Renato Reyes does not believe that the Balikatan will focus mainly on humanitarian missions in Mindanao.

    “That is just a public relations ploy. The Balikatan is the biggest bilateral military exercises between the Philippines and the US. It has always been a showcase of US military might and forward presence in the region. The Balikatan has always been a major US military operation,” Reyes said.

    The Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) governing the annual Balikatan exercises, which usually brings 3000-5000 US troops to the Philippines, is castigated by several groups and individuals in the Philippines for its unconstitutionality and biased towards US interests.

    “We must not forget the atrocities of the US then and the continuing atrocities and violations of national sovereignty that it commits now,” Reyes said.

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    Wikinews interviews Aurélien Miralles about Sirenoscincus mobydick species discovery

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    Wikinews interviews Aurélien Miralles about Sirenoscincus mobydick species discovery
    Posted in Uncategorized | May 20th, 2019

    Thursday, January 24, 2013

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    A group of researchers published a paper about their discovery of a new species of Madagascar mermaid skink lizards last December. The species is the fourth forelimbs-only terrestrial tetrapods species known to science, and the first one which also has no fingers on the forelimbs.

    The species was collected at Marosely, Boriziny (French: Port-Bergé), Sofia Region, Madagascar. The Sirenoscincus mobydick name is after the existing parent genus, and a sperm whale from the 1851 novel Moby-Dick by Herman Melville.

    This week, Wikinews interviewed one of the researchers, French zoologist Aurélien Miralles, about the research.

    ((Wikinews)) What caused your initial interest in Madagascar lizards?

    Aurélien Miralles: Well, I would say that since I am a child I am fascinated by the biodiversity of tropical countries, and more especially by reptiles. I did a PhD on the evolution and systematics of skink lizards from South America. Then, I get a Humboldt grant to do a postdoc in Germany, at the Miguel Vences Lab, in order to study Malagasy skinks. Madagascar being a fabulous hotspot for reptiles (and not only for reptiles actually), it was a very nice opportunity. Professor Vences proposed me to associate our complementary fields of expertise: he is expert in herpetology for Madagascar, and I am expert in skinks lizards (family Scincidae). It was a very fruitful experience, and many other results have still to [be] published.

    ((WN)) How was the new species discovered?

    AM: By a very funny coincidence actually. In 2010, I went to Madagascar for a long trip through the south of the island, in the semi-arid bush for collecting lizards and snakes samples. Then, during the last days, just before coming back to Germany, I have visited by coincidence the zoological collection of the University of Antananarivo. In that place, I found an old jar of ethanol with two weird little specimens previously collected by a student who didn’t realize it was something new. Being expert on skinks, I immediately recognised it was something very probably new, very different from all the other known species.

    ((WN)) What does “Sirenoscincus” stand for?

    AM: I am not the author of the genus name Sirenoscincus. This genus name was already existing. It has been described by Sakata and Hikida (two Japanese herpetologists). “Sireno” means mermaid. “Scincus” means skinks, a group of little lizards on which I am particularly focusing my studies. So, Sirenoscinus means “mermaid skink”, in reference to [the] fact it has forelimbs but no hindlimbs.

    ((WN)) How deep underground do the lizards live?

    AM: Hard to answer this question because nothing is known on the ecology of this species. But more reasonably, we can hypothesize, by comparison to similar species of skinks, that it is probably living just under the sand surface, [a] few centimeters deep, probably no more, or below [a] rock, leaf litter, or piece of dead wood.

    ((WN)) What do the lizards eat?

    AM: Again, by analogy, I would say most likely small invertebrates (insects, larvae, worms etc…).

    ((WN)) What equipment was used during the research?

    AM: Classic equipment (microscope) and also a state-of-the-art device: a micro CT-scan. It is a big device producing [a] 3D picture of the internal structure without damaging the specimen. It is actually very similar to the scanner used in human medicine, but this one is specially designed for small specimens. Otherwise, I am currently studying the DNA of this species and closely related species in order to determine its phylogenetic position compared to other species with legs, in order to learn more about the evolutionary phenomena leading to limb loss.

    ((WN)) There are several news sources that have a photo of the species. Is it a photo as seen in a CT-scan?

    AM: No, this picture showing a whitish specimen on a black background is not a CT-scan. It is a normal photograph of the collection specimen preserved in alcohol (the one that was in the jar). You can see the complete of picture (including CT-scan 3D radiography, drawing…) in the original scientific publication.

    ((WN)) Do you know when the newly discovered mermaid skink species was put into the jar? Do you have its photo (of the jar)?

    AM: No, I have no picture of the jar. The specimen has been collected in November 2004.

    ((WN)) What were the roles of the people involved in the research? What activity was most time-consuming?

    AM: As first investigator, I did most of the work…and the longest part of the work was to examine closely related species in order to do comparisons…and also to check the complete bibliography related to this topic and to write the paper.
    Mrs Anjeriniaina is the student who […] collected the specimen a couple of years ago.
    Mrs Hipsley and Mr Müller learnt me how to use the CT-scan, and helped me concerning some point relative to internal morphology. Mr Vences helped me as supervisors. Additionally, all of them have corrected the article, and gave me many relevant advices and corrections, thus improving the quality and the reliability of the paper.

    ((WN)) Did you get in touch with an external entity to get the new species officially recognised?

    AM: No. In zoology, it is only needed to publish the description of a new species (and to give it a name) in a scientific journal, and to designate a holotype specimen (= specimen that will be the official reference for this species), to get this new species “officially” recognised by the scientific community. That does not mean that this new species is “correct” (it might be invalidated by subsequent counter-studies), but that means that this discovery and the new name of [the] species are officially existing.

    ((WN)) Are there any further plans on exploring the species habitat and lifestyle?

    AM: No, not really for the time being, because ecology is not our field of expertise. But other studies (including molecular studies) are currently in progress, in order to focus on the phylogenetic position and the evolution of this species.

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    Bangladesh security tightened following Pilkhana massacre and Bashundhara City fire

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    Bangladesh security tightened following Pilkhana massacre and Bashundhara City fire
    Posted in Uncategorized | May 19th, 2019

    Friday, March 20, 2009

    Following the Pilkhana massacre which occurred February 25 and 26 leaving 74 dead and the inferno at the Bashundhara City shopping mall complex March 13 leaving seven dead, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said security measures are being tightened countrywide across Bangladesh.

    Fire drills will be enacted at all key-point installations (KPI). Fire fighting systems will be examined by the fire brigade and the public works department (PWD) to ensure functionality. Security measures will be enhanced supplementing areas under private security such as at the Bashundhara City Complex.

    The Fire Service and Civil Defence Department requires modernization and needs new equipment to fight fires past the sixth floor of buildings. The Fire Brigade says it needs turntable ladders, snorkels, foam-tenders, lighting units, emergency tenders, fireproof uniforms, and rescue ropes for fire fighting and rescue operations. Transportation to fires is also an issue due to narrow roads, low electrical wires and congestion.

    The Bangladesh National Building Code requires fire fighting equipment installed in buildings over seven floors. This code is to be monitored by authorities to ensure compliance with the new guidelines and to make sure buildings are being maintained.

    The Bashundhara City Complex opened Monday for shoppers two days after Friday’s blaze. A probe is underway to determine the cause of the fire and to assess structural damage.

    Loss of life was minimized as the blaze broke out on a Friday, the beginning of the weekend in Bangladesh, so offices in the upper floors were empty. The lower eight floors are used for shopping and the upper floors are all Bashundhara Group offices.

    The mall is valued at Tk 7.0 billion (US$100 million). It is not known if the complex is covered by fire insurance.

    It is estimated that it will take over two years to rebuild the area damaged by flames which were burned down to a skeleton. Bashundhara City’s technical advisor, Latifur Rahman, estimated damages at Tk 2.0 billion (US$29m).

    Only one television cameraman has been allowed in to film the burnt area. None of the 2,500 shops, cinemas or cafes were burnt by the inferno. The seventh and eighth floors still experience smoke damage, and there was water damage to merchandise.

    A three member committee is currently investigating the cause of the fire which will consist of Iqbal Khan Chowdhury, joint secretary of the ministry, representatives of the police, IGP Noor Muhammad, and fire brigade, Director General Abu Nayeem Md Shahidullah. The committee is required to report within the week with their findings. The forensics department is also sifting through the burnt remains.

    The Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industries has also formed a committee which has begun interviewing witnesses and recording their testimony alongside the government committee.

    It has been discovered that 150 closed circuit cameras were not being used when the fire started. Another mystery is why the mall fire fighting system has been found unused.

    Why the fire burnt so fiercely is a matter to think….These matters seem to be mysterious

    “In the shopping mall there is an ultra-technology elevator which runs even without electricity but we have found that locked,” Iqbal Khan Chowdhury, joint secretary (Police) of the home ministry, said. “Why the fire burnt so fiercely is a matter to think. We have to see if there was any incendiary substance there. These matters seem to be mysterious.”

    Mall management has been asked to submit substances and items which would have been in the upper floors when the fire started. The fire erupted on the 17th floor and spread quickly to the two floors above and engulfed the three floors below. The aerial ladders belonging to the Fire Service and Civil Defence reached as high as the 13th floor of the 21-storey building.

    Videos have been sent to the United States (US) for examination to assist in determining the cause of the fire and to help in the damage assessment. Experts from the US are expected to arrive soon.

    Firefighters were brought to the rooftop of the 20-storey tower by helicopter. The only fatality in this operation was Baki Billa, a firefighter of Bashundhara City firefighting department, who fell when climbing down a rope from a helicopter to the roof of the building. Three other firefighters made the transition safely. At this same time, the chief security officer was safely rescued by the Bangladesh Air Force helicopter, a Bell 212. Six security officers of the complex also lost their lives.

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    US Secretary Rice responds to European enquiries on alleged CIA prisons

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    US Secretary Rice responds to European enquiries on alleged CIA prisons
    Posted in Uncategorized | May 17th, 2019

    Wednesday, December 7, 2005

    The United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has begun to address concerns raised by the EU, the Council of Europe, and several member countries about the CIA’s detention practices upon her arrival in Germany for a European tour that began Tuesday.

    “As a matter of US policy, the United States’ obligations under the U.N. Convention Against Torture, which prohibits, of course, cruel and inhumane and degrading treatment, those obligations extend to US personnel wherever they are, whether they are in the United States or outside the United States,” said Rice, speaking from the Ukrainian capital of Kiev on Wednesday.

    Media reports and Human Rights groups have alleged that the CIA transported renditioned prisoners through European countries, which could violate European laws and the sovereignty of countries involved. Secretary Rice claimed that the United States has respected the sovereignty of other countries, and that it has not transported detainees from one country to another for the purpose of interrogation using torture, and has not transported anyone to a country when we believe he will be tortured.

    “We consider the captured members of Al-Qaeda and its affiliates to be unlawful combatants who may be held, in accordance with the law of war, to keep them from killing innocents. We must treat them in accordance with our laws, which reflect the values of the American people. We must question them to gather potentially significant, life-saving, intelligence. We must bring terrorists to justice wherever possible,” Rice told reporters before she left from Andrews Air Force base on Monday.

    Rice said that European nations should realize that interrogations of terrorist suspects have produced information that has saved European lives. However, Secretary Rice provided no specific cases.

    “Secretary Rice made extra-legal rendition sound like just another form of extradition. In fact, it’s a form of kidnapping and ‘disappearing’ someone entirely outside the law,” said Tom Malinowski, a Human Rights Watch official in Washington.

    The CIA practice known as “extraordinary rendition” is used to interrogate terrorist suspects outside the U.S., where they are not subject to American legal protection.

    “Kidnapping a foreign national for the purpose of detaining and interrogating him outside the law is contrary to American values,” said Anthony D. Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on the Khalid El-Masri case. “Our government has acted as if it is above the law. We go to court today to reaffirm that the rule of law is central to our identity as a nation.”

    The ACLU feels the government has to be held to account over “extraordinary rendition”.

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    Australians missing out on full sports coverage, media outlets say

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    Australians missing out on full sports coverage, media outlets say
    Posted in Uncategorized | May 16th, 2019

    Wednesday, April 15, 2009

    Major media outlets have told an Australian senate committee on environment, communications and the arts that Australians are being denied full coverage of sporting events.

    They have told the inquiry that major sporting organisations are restricting how photos and text can be used on the internet and other digital media, which is threatening the reporting of sport as news.

    Sporting organisations have hit back saying that such online content is a big money earner for them. They say that the money earned from those rights gets invested in grassroots programs.

    Australian Associated Press asked the committee to recommend legislation guaranteeing the right of news media cover major sporting events.

    “AAP reporting and photography are the lifeblood of news for regional and rural newspapers across the country,” Fairfax Media, publisher of The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and a number of regional papers, said in its submission. “Millions of Australians are being prevented from receiving full AAP coverage of major sporting events. When photographs of sport events are privatised, all forms of journalism are vulnerable to such restrictions.”

    “AAP believes that the most effective way to protect the public interest in receiving news about sporting and related events is to have a legislated provision for right of access for news media,” AAP’s submission says.

    The Australian Football League, in its submission, also argued for legislative amendments, but to the Copyright Act. Their recommendations would see the use of audio-visual, photographic and audio media restricted in the digital domain.

    “To avoid protracted disputes with media organisations and to ensure a minimum standard of protection across digital sports news reporting in Australia, AFL believes that the best means of introducing these restrictions is by way of amendments to the Copyright Act or a mandatory industry code,” the AFL’s submission said.

    Wikinews asked the AFL, Football Federation Australia and the Sunshine Coast Daily for comment. The AFL refused to comment until after their submission was formally made to the committee.

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    Sex, mental and physical exercise, fight dementia

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    Sex, mental and physical exercise, fight dementia
    Posted in Uncategorized | May 15th, 2019

    Friday, April 8, 2005Professor Perry Bartlett of University of Queensland‘s Brain Institute recommends sex, cryptic crosswords and a good run to stave off dementia.

    The researcher, interviewed on Australian ABC radio today [1], said that with 52,000 Australians expected to be diagnosed with dementia by the end of the year, people wishing to ward off the degenerative disorder may benefit from activities which stimulate growth of new cells in the brain, accompanied by mental exercise to select for survival of the resulting crop of new cells.

    “Quite prolonged exercise is very good to make new neurones,” said the Professor. “These new nerve cells are really quite vital to our ability to function in the higher brain functions, such as memory and learning. Most of them die. We now know that we can preserve some of them by giving direct stimuli.”

    Professor Bartlett explained recent research findings, including those from collaborator Jeffrey D. Macklis [2] at Harvard in the US.

    “There are a lot of hormones and changes in blood that go up and down after exercise, and so that may be a lead to some of the chemicals that can drive the production of nerve cells.

    “One of the chemicals that seems to promote neurogenesis is prolactin, and prolactin levels are very high in pregnant females. Prolactin levels, by the way, also go up during sex as well. So one could think of a number of more entertaining activities than running in order to regulate the production of nerve cells.

    “Perhaps doing something a little more inquisitive or intellectual might be good at selecting their survival. So perhaps one should run a long distance and do the cryptic crossword or something like that,” he said.

    Professor Bartlett gave the same suggestions as being potentially helpful in depression, last year in an interview on the ABC Science Show. [3]

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    Woman returns home with Christmas turkey, a month after setting out

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    Woman returns home with Christmas turkey, a month after setting out
    Posted in Uncategorized | May 10th, 2019

    Tuesday, January 19, 2010

    A Scottish woman who set out before Christmas to purchase a turkey finally made it home on Monday, after being cut off by snow for a month. Kay Ure left the Lighthouse Keeper’s cottage on Cape Wrath, at the very northwest tip of Great Britain, in December. She was heading to Inverness on a shopping trip.

    However on her return journey heavy snow and ice prevented her husband, John, from travelling the last 11 miles to pick her up. She was forced to wait a month in a friend’s caravan, before the weather improved and the couple could finally be reunited.

    They were separated not just for Christmas and New Year, but also for Mr Ure’s 58th birthday. With no fresh supplies, he was reduced to celebrating with a tin of baked beans. He also ran out of coal, and had to feed the couple’s six springer spaniels on emergency army rations.

    “It’s the first time we’ve been separated”, said Mr Ure in December. “We’ve been snowed in here for three weeks before, so we are well used to it and it’s quite nice to get a bit of peace and quiet.”

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    British ISPs restrict access to Wikipedia amid child pornography allegations

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    British ISPs restrict access to Wikipedia amid child pornography allegations
    Posted in Uncategorized | May 9th, 2019

    Sunday, December 7, 2008

    This article mentions the Wikimedia Foundation, one of its projects, or people related to it. Wikinews is a project of the Wikimedia Foundation.

    Wikinews has learned at least six of the United Kingdom’s main Internet Service Providers (ISPs) have implemented monitoring and filtering mechanisms that are causing major problems for UK contributors on websites operated by the Wikimedia Foundation, in addition to 1,200 other websites. The filters appear to be applied because Wikimedia sites are hosting a Scorpions album cover which some call child pornography. Scorpions are a German hard rock band who have used several controversial album covers and are perhaps best known for the song Rock You Like a Hurricane.

    The measures applied redirect traffic for a significant portion of the UK’s Internet population through six servers which can log and filter the content available to the end user. A serious side-effect of this is the inability of administrators on Wikimedia sites to block vandals, and other troublemakers, without potentially impacting hundreds of thousands of innocent UK contributors who work on WMF sites in good faith.

    The filtering is in response to the Internet Watch Foundation‘s list of websites that host content reported to contain inappropriate images of naked children. The IWF considers those images child pornography. However, in the United States, where the websites of the Wikimedia Foundation are hosted, it is not considered obscene under the criteria of the Miller test, which requires that an obscene work lack “serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value” – as album art is used to “brand” the album, it is considered to be artistic.

    Contributors or individuals attempting to view an affected image or file, depending on their ISP, may get a warning saying, “we have blocked this page because, according to the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF), it contains indecent images of children or pointers to them; you could be breaking UK law if you viewed the page.” Other ISPs provide blank pages, 404 errors, or other means of blocking the content. Due to a configuration mistake at one Internet service provider, some users have reported being totally unable to access Wikimedia sites to the Wikipedia technical help desk.

    HAVE YOUR SAY
    Is this action on the part of the IWF and various UK ISPs appropriate?
    Add or view comments

    “The Protection of Children Act 1978 as amended in the Sexual Offences Act 2003, makes it an offence to take, make, permit to be taken, distribute, show, possess with intent to distribute, and advertise indecent photographs or pseudo-photographs of children under the age of eighteen. The ‘making’ of such images includes downloading, that is, making a copy of a child sexual abuse image on a computer, so, in the UK, accessing such content online is a serious criminal offence,” says the IWF on their website in an article updated on November 28. The IWF say there are at least 800 to 1,200 websites on the list of those who host or contain offensive material. The list is not public and the IWF never notified Wikimedia Foundation about the blocking of Wikipedia content. The affected page does not display any message informing the user about blocked content on most ISPs, instead, a technical error message is shown.

    However, Demon Internet redirects users to a block message on the IWF’s site explaining that the page was blocked as the organization suspects child porn or links to it to be present. The IWF states that, “we do not notify site owners that their websites are on our list.”

    The concern for Wikimedia is for some images like an album cover from a 1976 record of the Scorpions titled Virgin Killer. It displays an underage girl, posing nude, with a lens crack crossing over her genitals, but nothing blocking out her breasts. The girl appears to be around ten years old. In the U.S., the band later replaced the image with one of the group. The cover was uploaded to Wikipedia in 2006, but Wikinews learned that on May 9, 2008 at (21:17 UTC), despite a result of strong consensus to ‘keep’ in a deletion request, the image was deleted, however for a different reason. It was deleted due to a claim by an administrator that it violated Wikipedia’s policy for dealing with copyrighted images, which require that any images used under the doctrine of fair use must alongside other criteria, “significantly increase readers’ understanding of the topic, and its omission would be detrimental to that understanding”, with the administrator claiming that the article “lacked meaningful discussion” of the album art. This result was overturned using the deletion review process. Earlier, on December 6, the image was put back up for a deletion request, but it was later closed as Wikimedia “does not censor”.

    Another image that is questionable could be a screenshot from the 1938 film Child Bride. Its goal was to bring to light the attempts at banning child marriages. In the article on Wikipedia, a screenshot appears of then 12-year-old Shirley Mills partially naked after skinny dipping. In the photo, at least one of her breasts can be seen.

    Other albums featuring nudity below the age of sixteen have previously caused controversy; Blind Faith attracted criticism as did Houses of the Holy, and Nirvana’s Nevermind.

    Multiple companies have gone public stating that they implement the recommendations of the Internet Watch Foundation. Not all of these are known to have implemented measures against Wikimedia sites; the major UK ISPs thought to have affected Wikimedia sites are Telefonica O2/Be Unlimited, Virgin Media, Easynet, Plusnet, Demon, and Opal Telecommunications (TalkTalk).

    Wikinews has contacted Wikimedia’s legal counsel, Mike Godwin and the IWF for a statement, but neither have replied as of this time.

     This story has updates See Wikimedia, IWF respond to block of Wikipedia over child pornography allegations 
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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 | May 8th, 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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