Record number of bicycles sold in Australia in 2006

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Record number of bicycles sold in Australia in 2006

By | October 22, 2018

Thursday, January 4, 2007

Bicycle sales in Australia have recorded record sales of 1,273,781 units for 2006, exceeding car sales by 32 percent. It is the fifth year in a row that the bicycle industry has sold more than one million units, a figure yet to be realised by car manufacturers.

The Cycling Promotion Fund (CPF) spokesman Ian Christie said Australians were increasingly using bicycles as an alternative to cars. Sales rose nine percent in 2006 while the car market stalled. Mr Christie said people were looking to cut their fuel costs and improve their fitness.

Mr Christie said organisations were beginning to supply bicycles as a company vehicle. “There is an emerging trend towards people using bikes as their official company-supplied vehicle in place of the traditional company car,” he said.

“Some of Australia’s biggest corporations now have bicycle fleets, and when you add in government organisations, we now know of at least 50 organisations which operate fleets of bikes.”

“Although the company bicycle is a long way from taking over from the company car, it’s an important trend when you consider that nearly half of all cars sold are to company fleets.”

The CPF claims most commutes to work are less than 5 kilometres (3 miles) making bicycle travel a viable alternative.

Ukraine passes bill on war-torn eastern regions

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Ukraine passes bill on war-torn eastern regions

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Saturday, January 20, 2018

On Thursday, the Ukrainian Parliament passed a new bill called the “Donbass reintegration law”. It describes the regions — oblasts — of Donetsk and Luhansk as being “temporarily occupied” by Russia and declares Russia to be the “aggressor”.

The bill calls for a return of the regions to Ukrainian control by military force if necessary. There is no mention of the February 2015 Minsk agreement which was signed by the Ukrainian government and rebel groups, and brokered by France and Germany.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko stated on Twitter, “We will continue to pave the way for reintegration of the occupied Ukrainian lands through political and diplomatic steps.” ((ukr))Ukrainian language: ??? ???????????????? ?????????? ???? ??? ???????????? ?????????? ??????????? ?????? ????????-????????????? ??????. Former Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said this forms a legal basis for a United Nations peacekeeping force to “remove the Russian army from Ukrainian territory”. Legislator Ivan Vinnyk commented on why the Minsk agreement was not mentioned in the bill: “We can’t embed diplomatic and political agreements that are prone to change into the Ukrainian legislation”.

Russia’s foreign ministry quickly denounced the law and claimed it was proof Ukraine is preparing for a new war. Furthermore, the law “risked a dangerous escalation in Ukraine with unpredictable consequences for world peace and security”, the official statement said.

“Kiev has gone from sabotaging the Minsk agreements to burying them,” said Konstantin Kosachev, chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee for the Federation Council in Russia. Alexander Zakharchenko, leader of one of the rebel groups in eastern Ukraine, also expressed sharp criticism. Zakharchenko said it was a violation of the Minsk agreement and could lead to an escalation of the armed conflict.

Fighting in eastern Ukraine began shortly after Russia annexed Crimea in 2014 and has by reports claimed over 10,000 lives. About 1.7 million people, Al Jazeera reports, have been displaced from their homes due to the fighting.

Pfizer and Microsoft team up against Viagra spam

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Pfizer and Microsoft team up against Viagra spam

By | October 21, 2018

Sunday, February 13, 2005

New York –”Buy cheap Viagra through us – no prescription required!” Anyone with an active email account will recognize lines like this one. According to some reports, unsolicited advertisements (spam) for Viagra and similar drugs account for one in four spam messages.

BACKGROUND

Spamming remains one of the biggest problems facing email users today. While users and systems administrators have improved their defenses against unsolicited email, many spammers now insert random words or characters into their letters in order to bypass filters. The Wikipedia article Stopping email abuse provides an overview of the various strategies employed by companies, Internet users and systems administrators to deal with the issue.

Ever since pharmaceutical giant Pfizer promised to cure erectile dysfunction once and for all with its blue pills containing the drug sildenafil citrate, spammers have tried to tap into male anxiety by offering prescription-free sales of unapproved “generic” Viagra and clones such as Cialis soft tabs. Legislation like the U.S. CAN-SPAM act has done little to stem the tide of email advertising the products.

Now Pfizer has entered a pledge with Microsoft Corporation, the world’s largest software company, to address the problem. The joint effort will focus on lawsuits against spammers as well as the companies they advertise. “Pfizer is joining with Microsoft on these actions as part of our shared pledge to reduce the sale of these products and to fight the senders of unsolicited e-mail that overwhelms people’s inboxes,” said Jeff Kindler, executive vice president at Pfizer.

Microsoft has filed civil actions against spammers advertising the websites CanadianPharmacy and E-Pharmacy Direct. Pfizer has filed lawsuits against the two companies, and has taken actions against websites which use the word “Viagra” in their domain names. Sales of controlled drugs from Canadian pharmacies to the United States are illegal, but most drugs sold in Canada have nevertheless undergone testing by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. This is not the case for many of the Viagra clones sold by Internet companies and manufactured in countries like China and India. While it was not clear that CanadianPharmacy was actually shipping drugs from Canada, Pfizer’s general counsel, Beth Levine, claimed that the company filled orders using a call center in Montreal, reported the Toronto Star.

For Microsoft’s part, they allege that the joint effort with Pfizer is part of their “multi-pronged attack on the barrage of spam.” As the creator of the popular email program Outlook, Microsoft has been criticized in the past for the product’s spam filtering process. Recently, Microsoft added anti-spam measures to its popular Exchange server. Exchange 2003 now includes support for accessing so-called real-time block lists, or RTBLs. An RTBL is a list of the IP addresses maintained by a third party; the addresses on the list are those of mailservers thought to have sent spam recently. Exchange 2003 can query the list for each message it receives.

Candle knocked over during voodoo sex ritual causes apartment fire

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Candle knocked over during voodoo sex ritual causes apartment fire

By | October 20, 2018

Saturday, February 26, 2011

An elderly Brooklyn, New York woman was found dead yesterday after a fire triggered by a voodoo ceremony caused a blaze in an apartment that left dozens homeless. The details of the ceremony were not clear, but sources say it led to sex.

An unidentified woman hired a Voodoo priest for $300, identified as Nelson (Pepe) Pierre, to perform a mystic ceremony meant to bring her good luck. The woman went to Pierre’s apartment, where she ended up in bed surrounded by lit candles which were mistakenly knocked over, setting the bedsheets on fire. In an effort to suppress the flames, Pierre splashed water from the bathroom sink on the sheets while his roommate, who was ironing at the time, opened a window for air. However, according to the New York Fire Department, wind gusting through the open window created a “blowtorch effect” which caused the fire to spread to the 4th floor hallway and into the 5th and 6th floors. The blaze killed one woman, three others were severely injured, and at least 20 firefighters were left with burn wounds.

Time and time again we respond to tragedies that could have been so easily prevented … hopefully others will learn from this tragedy

In an NYFD statement, Fire Commissioner Salvatore J. Cassano said, “Time and time again we respond to tragedies that could have been so easily prevented. This fire had so many of those elements … hopefully others will learn from this tragedy.” It took hours for hundreds of firemen from dozens of companies to bring the raging fire under control.

Pierre, a man in his 60s, did not call 911 right away, but attempted to quell the fire using water from the bathroom sink. A source in law enforcement said, “Nobody sees a crime right now. It was an accident. Maybe they weren’t careful, but they did try to put it out.”

Mary Feagin, a 64-year old retired teacher, died in the blaze.

The New York Police Department is currently investigating the incident.

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Explosives pass security checks in Slovakia, arrive in Ireland in failed test

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Explosives pass security checks in Slovakia, arrive in Ireland in failed test

By | October 19, 2018

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

A failed test of security at Slovakia’s Poprad airport resulted in a 49 year-old man unknowingly carrying plastic explosives from Slovakia to Dublin, Ireland. The explosives were concealed so well that the man did not find them when he unpacked his bag at his apartment.

On Saturday, Slovak authorities planted contraband in passengers’ luggage at Poprad’s Poprad-Tatry Airport without the knowledge of passengers. Seven of the eight items were recovered, while an eighth made its way to an apartment in Dublin. Slovak authorities realised on Tuesday that one package of explosives were missing and notified Irish authorities who searched the man’s apartment.

During the search, parts of Dublin’s inner-suburbs were sealed off and evacuated causing disruption to residents and businesses. At the apartment authorities found the package and arrested the man under anti-terrorism laws; he was later released without charge after it was established he was innocent.

The man, a Slovakian electrician had been living in Ireland for some time. He was holidaying in Slovakia over Christmas.

Ireland’s Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform issued a statement saying, “Following contact earlier today from the Slovakian authorities with the Airport Police at Dublin Airport, members of the Garda Síochána have recovered a small quantity of explosive material from the luggage of a passenger who had flown into Dublin from that country on Saturday last.”

The package contained 90 grams (3 ounces) of the plastic explosive RDX, also known as cyclonite or hexogen. According to Commandant Gavin Young, a spokesperson for the Irish Defense Forces, “On their own, this type of explosive does need to be combined with other elements to make it into a bomb, but obviously this type of high-grade explosive is potentially extremely dangerous.”

Slovakia’s Minister for the Interior Robert Kalinak has apologized to Irish Justice Minister Dermot Ahern over the incident and expressed his “profound regret”. Irish authorities are now investigating the incident and the government has ordered for a full report to be delivered.

The Irish Opposition has expressed concern about the incident. Labour Party spokesman Joe Costello said “This incident led to the closure of roads in the area, the evacuation of businesses and the lives and safety of residents could have been put at risk. We also need to know what protest the government is going to make about this breach of our security.”

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Reflections, Lichtenstein, two new exhibitions at Edinburgh’s Modern One

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Reflections, Lichtenstein, two new exhibitions at Edinburgh’s Modern One

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Saturday, March 14, 2015

This weekend saw the opening of two new exhibitions at Edinburgh’s National Gallery of Modern Art. Wikinews attended Thursday’s press preview for the event where a full contingent of the capital’s press turned out to see the striking collection of paintings, photographs, and other works. Presented below are a selection of images captured at the preview.

REFLECTIONS: A Series of Changing Displays of Contemporary Art, billed as a showcase of a “diverse range of internationally-renowned contemporary and modern artists” is to display major works from the Gallery’s permanent collection, alongside important loans. Alongside this broad range of works, a three-room display of pieces on-loan from the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation — with a dramatic painted steel relief, ‘borrowed’ from the Tate in London — runs from March 14 through to January 10 next year.

Admission to both exhibitions is free; being located in Dean, to the north-west of Edinburgh’s city centre, a free Gallery bus service is available.

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Andrew Sayers resigns National Museum of Australia directorship

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Andrew Sayers resigns National Museum of Australia directorship

By | October 18, 2018

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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Truckload of trouble for Thai Rak Thai

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Truckload of trouble for Thai Rak Thai

By | October 17, 2018

Friday, July 7, 2006

Yesterday saw Thailand’s Attorney General file charges of election fraud with the country’s Constitutional court. According to Sondhi Limthongkul’s ThaiDay, the action seeking the dissolution of five parties was delivered by truck and consisted of over 120,000 pages of legal citations.

Both the Thai Rak Thai party making up the caretaker government and the main opposition Democrats are named. The allegations centre on claims that Thai Rak Thai paid minor parties to participate where seats would otherwise be unopposed, and that the Democrats may have bribed parties to claim that they had been paid by Thai Rak Thai.

Thailand’s prolonged political crisis originally stemmed from repeated corruption allegations against the Prime Minister, Thaksin Shinawatra. An April 2nd snap election apparently intended to cement the ruling party’s position and dismiss critics as unrepresentative backfired when the three main opposition parties announced a boycott. This left many seats unopposed, particularly in the country’s troubled Muslim south. With Thai Rak Thai standing alone in strong Democrat territory, a grassroots abstention campaign left many seats empty when they failed to garner the constitutionally required 20% of eligible votes.

Amongst all the political posturing, and allegations that the Election Commission had unduly favoured the ruling party, claims that there had been irregularities surfaced. Thai Rak Thai was accused of having paid minor parties to circumvent the 20% rule by offering token opposition. The claims were brought before the Election Commission who eventually handed the case over to the Attorney General without offering any recommendation. The commission’s sub-committee that prepared the report had recommended the dissolution of Thai Rak Thai.

At present it is unclear if the political crisis will be resolved through the country’s legal system prior to the upcoming October election rerun. The volume of evidence may leave the Constitutional Court unable to agree on a ruling prior to the election.

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Dell joins Microsoft-Nortel VoIP Team

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Dell joins Microsoft-Nortel VoIP Team

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Saturday, October 20, 2007

Dell Inc. announced on Tuesday that it will partner up with the Microsoft-Nortel Innovative communications alliance (ICA) team to sell Unified Communications and VoIP products.

The announcement on Tuesday the 16th of October 2007 includes Dell selling VoIP, data and wireless networking products from Nortel and the Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 and other unified communications products.

The partnership with both manufacturers should allow Dell to provide a pre-integrated solution.

In March 2007, competitors IBM and Cisco announced they would join in the competition for developing unified communications applications and the development of open technologies around the unified communications and collaboration (UC2) client platform an application programming interfaces (APIs) offered by IBM as a subset of Lotus Sametime.

“We want to make it simple for our customers to deploy unified communications so their end users can get access to all their messages in one place – whether its e-mail, phone or mobile device. This will pave the way for more business-ready productivity tools,” said vice president of solutions, Dell Product Group, Rick Becker.

  • Customers have four options:
    • Core Office Communication Server 2007 – provides instant messaging and on-premise Microsoft Live Meeting.
    • Office Communication Server: Telephony – enables call routing tracking and management, VoIP gateway and public branch exchange (PBX) integration.
    • Audio and Video Conferencing – allows point-to-point conference, video conference and VoIP audio conference.
    • Exchange Unified Messaging – provides voicemail, e-mail and fax in Microsoft Outlook, and anywhere access of Microsoft Outlook Inbox and Calendar.

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Major snowstorm sweeps across Eastern US

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Major snowstorm sweeps across Eastern US

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Sunday, February 7, 2010

A major winter storm, which has been nicknamed by some as “Snowmageddon“, has pummeled parts of the U.S. Middle Atlantic region, dumping up to 19 inches (50 centimeters) of snow in some parts of the Washington area.

The National Weather Service is predicting as much as 24 to 30 inches (60 to 75 cm) of snow for the Washington, D.C. region by late Saturday. The storm brought high winds and low visibility, with winds gusting at 56 miles per hour (93 kilometers per hour) along the coast.

Life in the nation’s capital ground to a halt with the federal government and most businesses closing early on Friday and residents warned to stay off the snow-clogged roads. Hundreds of thousands of homes were without power as the wet snow weighed heavily on trees and power lines. Power lines in some areas have been brought down by the heavy snow.

The Weather Service issued blizzard and winter storm warnings for states reaching from Virginia and West Virginia up to Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New Jersey.

Forecasters say this could be the largest recorded snowfall in Washington, rivaling a storm, known as the Knickerbocker Storm, that hit the city nearly 90 years ago, in January 1922. The largest amount of snowfall recorded so far has been in Elkridge, Maryland, reporting 32 inches (81 cm). The 1922 storm was named the Knickerbocker Storm for a theater where 98 people were killed when the building’s roof collapsed due to heavy snow. Snowfall in that storm measured 28 inches (71 cm).

Airlines and airports across the region have canceled flights and train service has been disrupted. Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport suspended flight operations for the day while nearby Washington Dulles International Airport reported only a few international flights would be departing. Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport reported most flights were canceled. Flights at Philadelphia International Airport are also canceled.

Amtrak announced that it was canceling a number of trains between Washington and New York City, along with service from Washington to cities in the south. The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, known as the Metro locally, has suspended bus service and above ground train service. Underground subway service is running at 30 minute intervals.

As the storm approached, residents emptied supermarket shelves, stocking up on food and other supplies, especially due to Super Bowl XLIV which will be held on Sunday. Local area sports teams in Washington, D.C. will still play games as scheduled. People are urged to take the Metro to see the games and not use the roads. Impromptu snowball fights have also broken with some people going as far as to organize them over Facebook and Twitter.

The winter weather has already been blamed for hundreds of road accidents. So far two fatalities have been reported, a father and son who were rendering aid to a stranded motorist on Interstate 81 in Virginia, when an approaching tractor-trailer jackknifed and killed the pair.

This is the second major snowstorm to hit the region in less than two months.

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