Friday, March 3, 2006

The possibility of large-scale protests in the face of the 3,000 journalists covering the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games, has event organisers and the Government worried.

The group “Black GST” – which represents Indigenous Genocide, Sovereignty and Treaty – are planning demonstrations at prominent Games events unless the Government agrees to a range of demands including an end to Aboriginal genocide, Aboriginal Sovereignty and the signing of a treaty.

The Black GST say they hope the focus of the world’s media will draw attention to the plight of indigenous Australians during the Games. Organisers say supporters are converging from across Australia and from overseas. Organisers say up to 20,000 people may take part in talks, rallies, colourful protests and many cultural festivities designed to pressure the Federal Government on Indigeneous rights issues. They want the Government to provide a temporary campsite for the supporters, saying “organised chaos was better than disorganised chaos.”

The 2006 Stolenwealth Games convergence, described by organisers as the “cultural festival of the 2006 Commonwealth Games,” was virtually opened on March 2nd with the launch of the official “Stolenwealth Games” website. Scoop Independent News and Perth Indymedia reported that the launch was held at Federation Square in Melbourne. The site contents were projected via wireless laptop by the Stolenwealth Games General Manager, and a tour of the website was given on the big screen. He said “overwhelming amusement was the response from the audience.” The group say permanent access points to the website are being set up at public internet facilities across Victoria during the coming weeks.

“Interest in the Stolenwealth Games is building all over the world and this fresh, exciting and contemporary site will draw in people from Stolenwealth Nations around the globe to find out about the latest news and events,” said a Stolenwealth Games spokesperson. “We have been getting many requests from around the world wanting to know about the Stolenwealth Games. We have provided many ways that individuals and organisations can support the campaign by spreading the word.”

The Victorian Traditional Owner Land Justice Group (VTOLJG) which represents the first nation groups of Victoria, has announced its support to boycott the 2006 Commonwealth Games until the Government “recognises Traditional Owner rights.” The group asserts that culture has been misappropriated in preparation for the Games.

Organisers of the campaign say they welcome the formal support from the Traditional Owners. “While some seek to divide and discredit Indigenous Australia, this support is further evidence that the Aboriginal people are united in opposition to the ongoing criminal genocide that is being perpetrated against the Aboriginal people” said Black GST supporter and Aboriginal Elder, Robbie Thorpe.

“We now have endorsement from the VTOLJG and the Aboriginal Tent Embassy for the aims and objectives of the Campaign and we are looking forward to hosting all indigenous and non-indigenous supporters from across Australia in March,” he said. The Black GST group have said “the convergence will be held as a peaceful, family-focussed demonstration against genocide, and for the restoration of sovereignty and the negotiations towards a Treaty.”

But the campaign has received flak in mainstream media, such as Melbourne’s Herald Sun, who wrote: “the proposal to allow BlackGST to set up an Aboriginal tent embassy at a site well away from the Commonwealth Games will be interpreted by some as the State Government caving in to a radical protest group. A major concern for the Government… is to protect the event from disruption… no chances should be taken…”

The Black GST has been planning the convergence for months, calling for Aboriginal people and their supporters to converge on Melbourne. The Melbourne-based Indigenous rights group have called on thousands of people concerned about the plight of indigenous Australians to converge on Melbourne during the Games, which they have dubbed “the Stolenwealth Games”. But the choice of Kings Domain has made conflict almost inevitable, as the area is one of the areas gazetted by the State Government as a “Games management zone”.

Under the Commonwealth Games Arrangements Act, any area gazetted as a management zone is subject to a range of specific laws – including bans on protesting, creating a disturbance and other activities. The protest bans will be in effect at different times and places, and offenders can be arrested. A spokeswoman for the Black GST, which advocates peaceful protest, said the site had been chosen because it was close to where the Queen will stay on March 15. “We figured that she is only in Melbourne for 27 hours or something like that so we thought we would make it easy for her to come next door and see us,” she said. “We are a very open, welcoming group, so she will be welcome to come and join us.”

Kings Domain is the burial site for 38 indigenous forefathers of Victoria. Black GST elder, Targan, said trade union groups have offered to install infrastructure at the site. The group initially worked with the State Government to find a suitable camp site, but the relationship broke down when the Government failed to meet a deadline imposed by the protesters. “While we are disappointed the ministers were not able to meet deadline on our request, we thank them for their constructive approach towards negotiations and the open-door policy exercised,” said Targan.

A spokesman for Games Minister Justin Madden said the Government was still investigating other sites. Victoria Police Games security commander Brendan Bannan said he was not convinced the Black GST represented the views of most indigenous people. “We are dealing with the Aboriginal community and they don’t seem to support it at all … the wider Aboriginal community don’t support disruption to the Games at all,” he said.

The Government was told that Black GST supporters would camp in Fitzroy Gardens and other city parks should it fail to nominate a site. A spokesman for Aboriginal Affairs Minister Gavan Jennings said the Government was taking the issue seriously, but had not been able to finalise a campsite before the deadline.

Under special Games laws, people protesting or causing a disturbance in “Games management zones” can be arrested and fined. While prominent public spaces such as Federation Square, Birrarung Marr, Albert Park and the Alexandra Gardens fall under the legislation, such tough anti-protest laws cannot be enforced in the nearby Fitzroy Gardens.

Games chairman Ron Walker has urged the group to choose another date for its protest march through the city, which is currently planned to coincide with the opening ceremony on March 15. The group believes that an opportunity to gain attention for indigenous issues was lost at the Sydney Olympics and has vowed to make a highly visible presence at the Games.

The Black GST said the Australian Aboriginal Tent Embassy’s sacred flame, burning over many years at the Canberra site will be carried to Melbourne before the Games, and its arrival would mark the opening of the protest camp from where a march will proceed to the MCG before the Opening Ceremony.

Black GST claims supporters from all over Australia, including three busloads from the West Australian Land Council, will gather in Melbourne during the Games for peaceful protests.

Aboriginal Affairs Minister Gavin Jennings had offered Victoria Park to the protesters. Victoria Park, former home of Collingwood Football Club, where one of the strongest statements of Aboriginal pride, when St Kilda star Nicky Winmar in 1993 raised his jumper and pointed to his bare chest after racial taunts from the Collingwood crowd.

Black GST, which has labelled the Games the Stolenwealth Games, said the State Government had failed to find a suitable venue. Black GST may encourage protesters to camp in prominent parks such as Fitzroy Gardens and Treasury Gardens. Graffiti supporting the action has also appeared in central Melbourne.

Melbourne City councillor Fraser Brindley has offered his home to the Black GST organisers. “I offered my home up to people who are organising visitors to come to the Games,” he said. Cr Brindley will be overseas when the Commonwealth Games are held and has offered the free accommodation at his flat at Parkville. He said he agreed with the protesters’ view that treaties needed to be signed with indigenous Australians. “I’m offering it up to the indigenous people who are coming to remind Her Majesty that her Empire took this land from them,” said Cr Brindlley. Nationals leader Peter Ryan said: “This extremist group has no part in the Australian community.” Melbourne councillor Peter Clarke said the actions were embarrassing and that he would try to discourage him. “It’s not in the spirit of the Games,” he said.

Aboriginal elder, Targan, said the possibility of securing Victoria Park was delightfully ironic. “There’s a lot of irony going on,” Targan, 53, a PhD student at Melbourne University, said. “GST stands for Genocide, Sovereignty and Treaty. We want the genocide of our people to stop; we want some sovereignty over traditional land, certainly how it is used, and we want a treaty with the government,” Targan said.



Monday, May 11, 2009

Several Lancaster County, Pennsylvania high schools held their junior-senior proms this past weekend, and per tradition, they received gifts from the prom committee. Instead of traditional prom favors, however, Warwick High School in Lititz ordered more than 450 shot glasses and distributed them to students, in a move the administration now says it regrets.

In 2008, the Prom Committee gave out picture frames to the girls and money clips to the boys. However, the junior class did not have as much money this year, and so the school made a decision to buy an inexpensive prom favor. The school’s principal signed off on the decision to order the shot glasses, but assistant principal Scott Galen states that the paperwork identified the shot glasses as merely “prom souvenir[s]”.

While the school administration took responsibility for the decision to order the glasses, Galen called it a simple oversight. Senior Class President Phoebe Baum, who had helped plan the prom the previous year, remarked that it was likely a decision made in a time crunch and was not fully thought through. Galen said that the administration did not wish to send a message that condoned underage drinking.



Saturday, January 9, 2010

United Parcel Service (UPS), the world’s largest package delivery service, has announced that it will cut 1,800 administrative and managerial jobs.

The firm, based in Atlanta, Georgia, is to reorganise its five regions into three, and slash the number of districts to twenty from 46, in addition to the job cuts. The company currently has 340,000 people in its employ.

Economic analysts are paying considerable attention to the financial status of UPS, as many see a large connection between the overall state of the US economy and the amount of parcels shipped.

“They’re not cutting sales jobs, they’re cutting back office jobs. They take out back office, they take out cost,” commented Helane Becker, an analyst for Jesup & Lamont Securities.



Monday, October 2, 2006

Buffalo, New York —Sam Savarino, CEO of Savarino Companies, the development company to be in charge of building the Elmwood Village Hotel at Forest and Elmwood Avenues in Buffalo, New York has told Wikinews in an exclusive interview that the contract to buy the properties from 1109-1121 on Elmwood Avenue in Buffalo has been “extended,” but would not elaborate on how long the extension would last.

“We have extended our agreement to purchase the property and will have it under contract for what we hope is a sufficient period of time,” said Savarino.

The hotel would require the demolition of the five properties on Forest and would cause several businesses to relocate or close their doors. The hotel will be 72 rooms and will cost at least 7 to 10 million dollars to build. Wyndham Hotels is expected to be the owner/operator of the hotel. The properites are still owned by Hans Mobius. Two other properties, 605 and 607 Forest might also be part of the proposal, but lawsuits have so far stopped any development from taking place.

Savarino also stated in a recent interview with Wikinews that his company may be “about ready for round two” in the process of resubmitting the hotel proposal to the City of Buffalo’s Common Council and Planning Board.

“If we were to go through the re-zoning process again it could be arduous,” said Savarino.

In July, Savarino “withdrew” the proposal which is undergoing a “do-over,” according to Vice President of Savarino Companies, Eva Hassett.

In related news, several residents around the area of the proposed hotel were speculating that current roadwork to repair and add sewer lines on Forest Avenue were part of the construction process for the proposed hotel. Savarino has denied those claims.

“We are certainly not doing any work on the site nor is any work being performed on our behalf or at our direction [in relation to the hotel],” said Savarino.

So far, the proposal has not been resubmitted to the City’s Common Council or Planning board and there is no word on when the proposal will be resubmitted.

Wyndham Hotels, which is owned by Cendant Corporation, has not commented on the proposal despite several attempts to contact them.

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


Thursday, November 2, 2006

 Correction — November 9, 2006 The article incorrectly reports that the “opposition parties opposed” the HC notice on exempting Lal Deora areas from building bylaws. The article should read, BJP Municipal corporators opposed some provisions of resolutions passed by the MCD on March 13 urging postponement of demolition and sealing of buildings. The error is regretted. 

The Group of Ministers which is overseeing the issue has decided not to resume the sealing of unauthorised commercial establishments until Monday. The decision came after seeing the current tense situation in New Delhi.

The Group of Ministers is headed by Home minister Shivraj Patil and comprised of Law minister H R Bhardwaj, Delhi CM Sheila Dikhit, Union Urban Development minister S Jaipal Reddy and his deputy Ajay Makan.

S Jaipal Reddy told reporters that it is very difficult to conduct the sealing drive in the city under these circumstances. He made the statement after a meeting of Group of Ministers.

The Supreme Court had already sent the notice to Municipal Corporation of Delhi to resume the sealing drive from Thursday. They will approach the apex court on Friday and will apprise the court about the difficulties in carrying out the sealing drive in these circumstances where the traders are going on strike and creating situation of tension in the capital.

Supreme Court’s Monitoring committee called on the MCD to resume the sealing of unauthorised shops in the city on Friday.

Contents

  • 1 History of sealing drive in New Delhi
    • 1.1 MCD movement to demolish commercial establishments in residential areas
    • 1.2 Traders’ movement against the demolition activities
    • 1.3 Notifications from the authorities
    • 1.4 MCD’s drive of sealing commercial establishments
    • 1.5 Delhi Laws (Special Provisions) Bill, 2006
  • 2 Related news
  • 3 Sources
  • 4 References


Wednesday, October 4, 2006

The US Army Corps of Engineers decision to place restrictions on issuance of nationwide pollution permits has been upheld by a federal court. In National Association of Home Builders v. Army Corps of Engineers, the District Court for the District of Columbia found that the Corps of Engineers had not acted in an “arbitrary” or “capricious” manner in changing the terms and conditions for issuance of a national pollution permit, including reducing the size of area into which pollutants may be discharged from 10 acres to 1 acre, raising the threshold for requiring additional permits from 1 acre to 1/10 acre,

A nationwide permit allows an organization to engage in certain industrial activities on a national basis (such as mining and construction), reducing the amount of paperwork and filings needed for otherwise minor environmental impacts, as opposed to an ordinary permit for a specific location which will engage in activities which generate water pollution.

Due to concerns over the amount of discharge taking place in waterways, the Corps of Engineers began in the 1980s to reduce the authority granted by nationwide permits and to bar use of the permits in certain ecologically sensitive areas.

Some industry groups, including the plaintiff in the above case, The National Association of Home Builders, sued the Corps of Engineers in 2000 over the change in an attempt to block its implementation. Environmental groups, including the Sierra Club, were given permission to intervene in the case in support of the actions of the Corps.

Environmental groups were pleased with the decision, but are concerned over other actions of the Bush Administration, such as the attempts to weaken provisions of the 2002 Clean Water Act to allow additional dumping of construction and mining waste into waterways as fill material.



Saturday, September 18, 2010

Chile is celebrating its Bicentennial, with several events that have been organized by the government for almost a decade. It commemorates two hundred years since the First Government Junta of 1810 was formed, starting the Independence process, that ended in 1818 after Bernardo O’Higgins proclaimed it.

The Bicentennial takes place on a holiday from September 17th until 21st. Sebastián Piñera inaugurated the official fondas (places where typical food and drinks of Chile are sold; similar to a tavern) earlier on Friday. Piñera also danced a “pie” of Cueca, Chile’s national dance, with Government Spokeswoman Ena Von Baer.

More than 60 thousand people gathered on Plaza de la Ciudadanía (Citizen’s Square) in Santiago to celebrate the Bicentennial. There was a projection of historical images that also contained a message from the trapped miners in Copiapó. A giant flag of Chile (18 meters of height, 27 of width; weighing 200 kilograms) was raised on the square on Friday morning.

Celebrations of the Bicentennial in Pichilemu started earlier this month. On September 2, two thousand people lined up in a formation to create the message “Viva Chile Bicentenario Cardenal Caro” on Pichilemu beach “Las Terrazas”. The message was used to create a postal stamp to be released worldwide. The event was promoted by the Government of Cardenal Caro Province.

Private schools in the city, such as Colegio Preciosa Sangre, prepared events specially for their students. On Thursday, “Fonda Don Vicente Nario” was opened on Preciosa Sangre. Several games were performed there on that morning, including “el emboque”, “ponerle la cola al burro” (to put the tail to the donkey), and others.

Another event on Preciosa Sangre took place on Thursday night, when students recreated scenes of the History of Chile, including: a tertulia featuring Manuel Montt (starred by Luis Rojas); a chingana (a popular tavern); and selected colonial professions, such as the “motero” (person who sold motemei and chestnuts).

The official fonda of Pichilemu, La Bombonera, was inaugurated on Thursday night by Mayor Roberto Córdova, who danced cueca with people who attended the event. According to Córdova, at least 30,000 people have arrived at Pichilemu as of Friday, and it is estimated that another 30,000 will arrive during the next three days.

A great event took place on Pichilemu beach on Friday afternoon. Chilean typical games highlighted the event. People danced reggaeton, Américo’s cumbias and cuecas, while others were swimming. The National Shoe Fair (Feria Nacional del Calzado) was established on Agustín Ross Hotel on Thursday, and will stay in the town until September 23rd. Alicia Grez, who works on a kiosk in the Pichileminian Craft Fair located in front of One Discotheque, said that “sales have been excellent,” and that “[they] won’t miss the possibility to experience such an event like this.”

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File:Parque bicentenario.JPG

Postcard released by the Chilean Government in 1910. At the top, from left to right: José Miguel Carrera, José de San Martín, Bernardo O’Higgins, Lord Thomas Cochrane, and Manuel Rodríguez. At the bottom, from left to right: Manuel Vicuña, Manuel Blanco Encalada, José Manuel Balmaceda and Pedro Montt.

Official poster of the Centennial of Chile.

Official plans for the Centennial of Chile, in 1910. Pedro Montt is pictured at the top, and Bernardo O’Higgins at the bottom. Image: Memoria Chilena.



Thursday, June 19, 2008

United States President George W. Bush delivered a speech Wednesday in which he urged the United States Congress to end a ban on oil exploration off of US shores. Currently there is both an executive order and a Congressional moratorium against such exploration.

The Congress issued its moratorium in 1981. In 1989, President George H.W. Bush issued an executive order in the wake of the Exxon Valdez oil spill.

President Bush said that “we should expand American oil production by increasing access to the Outer Continental Shelf, or OCS. Experts believe that the OCS could produce about 18 billion barrels of oil. That would be enough to match America’s current oil production for almost ten years.”

“I know the Democratic leaders have opposed some of these policies in the past,” President Bush said. “Now that their opposition has helped drive gas prices to record levels, I ask them to reconsider their positions. If Congressional leaders leave for the Fourth of July recess without taking action, they will need to explain why $4-a-gallon gasoline is not enough incentive for them to act.”

Senator John McCain, who is the presumptive nominee for the Republican Party, said on Tuesday that he favors offshore drilling.

Senator Harry Reid, the Senate majority leader from the Democratic Party, said: “This week’s flip-flop on offshore oil drilling by President Bush and Senator John McCain is nothing more than a cynical campaign ploy that will do nothing to lower energy prices, and represents another big giveaway to oil companies already making billions in profits.”

“It’s cynical to say that we can drill our way out of this mess,” said Athan Manuel, of the environmental group Sierra Club. “The solution to $4 gas is not off our coast.”

A recent poll conducted by Reuters/Zogby showed that about 60% of Americans support more oil drilling and refinery construction, yet nearly the same percentage also say they are in favor of conservation.

“We will take pressure off gas prices over time by expanding the amount of American-made oil and gasoline. We will strengthen our national security by reducing our reliance on foreign oil. We will benefit American workers by keeping our nation competitive in the global economy — and by creating good jobs in construction, and engineering, and refining, maintenance, and many other areas,” said Bush in his speech.



Monday, October 10, 2005

The government of Saudi Arabia blocked access to Google‘s Web blogging service Blogger, Yahoo!‘s photo sharing website Flickr, and the diary service LiveJournal as well as some other websites through their nationally run Internet Services Unit (ISU) last Tuesday. As a result, English-speaking Saudis were prevented from publishing blogs, reading journals, or viewing pictures on Flickr.

The Saudi Arabian government uses a filtering service provided by the United States-owned company Secure Computing. Similar blocking services have been implemented in other countries, such as The People’s Republic of China.

In the past, the ISU had, on and off, blocked access to BlogSpot.com’s free hosting service. However, according to activist organization Reporters Without Borders, “blog services [applications] had not until now been affected by the ISU’s filters. The complete blocking of blogger.com, which is one of the biggest blog tools on the market, is extremely worrying. Only China had so far used such an extreme measure to censor the Internet.”

On Thursday, access to Blogger.com was restored, but Flickr and LiveJournal remained inaccessible. The ISU did not release any public statement about the blocking or restoration of service to any specific website.



Monday, July 17, 2006

Robert Brooks, chairman of Hooters of America, Inc. who was famous for opening a restaurant selling chicken wings by scantily clad waitresses, was found dead yesterday, police said. Brooks was 69 years old. An autopsy is waiting to be performed later on today.

Since opening its first store in Clearwater, Florida in 1983, the chain has expanded across the United States and into more than a dozen foreign countries. At last count, Hooters had 425 restaurants nationwide.

Brooks was named Entrepreneur of the Year by the Georgia Chamber of Commerce in 1996.



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