US Supreme Court rules video games are protected speech

US Supreme Court rules video games are protected speech

By | July 5, 2019

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

In a 7-2 decision handed down on Monday, the US Supreme Court struck down California’s violent video game law and ruled that video games are protected speech covered by the First Amendment. The California law banned the sale and rental of violent video games to minors.

The underlying question was whether the violence in video games has the ability to affect children more than violence in other media, such as books, movies, plays and other forms of entertainment.

Video games qualify for First Amendment protection. Like protected books, plays, and movies, they communicate ideas through familiar literary devices and features distinctive to the medium.

Justice Antonin Scalia, writing for the majority, said that depictions of violence have never been regulated by the US government. Thus violent videos are not to fall under government control as does pornography but is to be accorded the same First Amendment protections as other forms of entertainment. The sale of violent video games is not to be criminalized and California’s attempt to do so was “unprecedented and mistaken.” Scalia noted, referring to fairy tales, that “the books we give children to read—or read to them when they are younger—contain no shortage of gore.”

[T]he books we give children to read—or read to them when they are younger—contain no shortage of gore.

The beginning of the decision states, “Video games qualify for First Amendment protection. Like protected books, plays, and movies, they communicate ideas through familiar literary devices and features distinctive to the medium. And ‘the basic principles of freedom of speech…do not vary’ with a new and different communication medium.”

“The most basic principle—that government lacks the power to restrict expression because of its message, ideas, subject matter, or content, Ashcroft v. American Civil Liberties Union, 535 U. S. 564, 573—is subject to a few limited exceptions for historically unprotected speech, such as obscenity, incitement, and fighting words. But a legislature cannot create new categories of unprotected speech simply by weighing the value of a particular category against its social costs and then punishing it if it fails the test.”

The justices were not convinced by the existing research that the interactive nature of video games pose a greater risk to society because of their interactive nature. None of the results of the existing research put before the court showed that violent games cause violent behavior. “Psychological studies purporting to show a connection between exposure to violent video games and harmful effects on children do not prove that such exposure causes minors to act aggressively. Any demonstrated effects are both small and indistinguishable from effects produced by other media. Since California has declined to restrict those other media, e.g., Saturday morning cartoons, its video-game regulation is wildly under-inclusive, raising serious doubts about whether the State is pursuing the interest it invokes or is instead disfavoring a particular speaker or viewpoint.”

According to Nadine Kaslow, professor and chief psychologist at Emory University Department of Psychology and Grady Hospital, the evidence regarding the effects of violent video games is mixed. While there is evidence to suggest that exposure of children to violence results in more aggressive and less pro-social behavior, some studies show there is no negative effect, she said. She point out that toy guns were popular and parents monitored whether toy guns were allowed in the home.

This ruling does not prevent private retailers from placing restrictions on their sale of video games. The video game industry currently has its own rating system, much like that used for movies, and educates retailers in using the rating system to prevent minors from buying mature-rated games. According to PC World the industry’s compliance is better than that of other entertainment industries. Further, parental controls have been added to game consoles.

The view of the Entertainment Software Association that a better strategy is the education of parents rather than court battles.

Wikinews Shorts: September 29, 2010

Wikinews Shorts: September 29, 2010

By | June 20, 2019

A compilation of brief news reports for Wednesday, September 29, 2010.

Australian man to be executed in Singapore

Australian man to be executed in Singapore

By | June 13, 2019

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Supporters of convicted Australian drug trafficker, Van Nguyen, gathered outside the State Library in Melbourne yesterday to display thousands of messages of opposition to his death sentence.

Callers to talkback radio in Melbourne were overwhelmingly against the death penalty of Nguyen, who immediately admitted his guilt and has cooperated with authorities since being caught smuggling heroin into Singapore. Many called for a boycott of Singaporean products.

25-year-old Nguyen was arrested at Changi Airport in 2002 for carrying heroin and sentenced to death in March. Nguyen claims he carried the 396 grams of heroin strapped to his body in an attempt to pay off his brother Khoa’s $30,000 legal debts.

The Singapore government have announced they will execute Nguyen at dawn on December 2nd. Singapore President S. R. Nathan rejected Nguyen’s clemency four weeks ago. The Melbourne salesman was sentenced to death under Singapore law which determines a mandatory death sentence for anyone found guilty of possessing 15 grams of heroin or more.

Nguyen’s mother was informed on Thursday by registered mail from the Singapore prisons service of the execution date. The letter stated that she should start making funeral arrangements. She will get to see her son in the three days leading up to the execution.

Despite repeated pleas for clemency from many thousands of supporters; religious groups; human rights organisations; the Pope; and the Australian Government – including Prime Minister, John Howard – Singapore officials have said Nguyen’s execution is irreversible.

Mr Howard had argued that Nguyen should be spared, citing mitigating circumstances in his case which pointed to the fact that he was not a serial drug trafficker but had merely been trying to pay off his brother’s debts.

The Victorian Attorney-General, Rob Hulls, says the Singaporean Government has shown no compassion whatsoever in its treatment of Van Nguyen and his family.

“What’s happening is brutal, is inappropriate. I, and the Victorian Government, vehemently oppose the death penalty in any circumstances”, he told ABC Radio. “This is a young kid who has assisted the police all the way… In any other country, he would get a discount in relation to the penalty. But because there is a mandatory death penalty for drug offences in Singapore, this young man may well be executed. It is just grossly inappropriate.”

“Singapore maintains that capital punishment is a criminal justice issue; it is the sovereign right of every country to decide whether or not to include capital punishment within its criminal justice system,” a Foreign Ministry spokesman said.

Singapore argues that there was no international consensus that capital punishment should be abolished. At the most recent meeting of the UN Commission on Human Rights, 66 countries dissociated themselves from a resolution calling for the abolition of capital punishment.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong affirmed Singapore’s position by saying that it has to “stand firm on drugs to protect its citizens from the scourge and to ensure the country does not become a conduit for the trafficking of illicit drugs.”

In reply to a letter appealing for clemency from his Australian counterpart Alexander Downer, Singapore Foreign Minister George Yeo said: “Mr Nguyen imported almost 400gm of pure heroin which would have supplied more than 26,000 doses to drug addicts.”

No one will be permitted to see Nguyen on the morning of his execution. His body will be released to his mother.

Nine die in bush-fires in South Australia

Nine die in bush-fires in South Australia

By | June 12, 2019

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Nine people have died in bush-fires in the region of the Eyre Peninsula in South Australia. The fire has spread over 40,000 hectares of scrub, bushland and farmland so far and is still burning out of control. Hundreds of firemen have been fighting the fire, but conditions have been difficult because of strong winds and temperatures soaring well over 40 degrees Celsius. Of the nine who have died, eight were attempting to escape the advancing fire in their cars. Four children were among the dead. Locals of some rural towns fled to the ocean to escape the fires. Thousands of sheep and cattle have also been killed in the fires.

Separate fires have also been burning around Mount Osmond and Cleland National Park in the Adelaide hills. No fatalities have been recorded in this region. Fires also burn in country Victoria.

Bush-fires are annual occurrences in Australia, but these fires have been the worst in terms of deaths since the Ash Wednesday fires that killed 28 people in South Australia. Two years ago, over 400 houses were burnt down in a bush fire in the Australian capital city, Canberra.

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Flooding in Nakhon Sri Thammarat

Flooding in Nakhon Sri Thammarat

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Friday, December 16, 2005

Moderate flooding has hit the province of Nakhon Sri Thammarat in southern Thailand. Moderate to heavy rain persists in the area, further exacerbating the flooding conditions. The northeast monsoon has intensified the flow of rainfall-laden air from the Gulf of Thailand. Torrential rains have been plaguing the nine southernmost provinces of the country for nearly two weeks and further downpours are forecast for later this week.

Thung Song District in Nakhon Sri Thammarat province is experiencing waist-high floodwaters in downtown shopping areas. Transportation has ground to a halt in affected areas. In Songkhla Province, the government has called for steps to be taken to prevent further flooding of the commerial district of Hat Yai. Rail tracks have been lifted in some areas to permit flood waters to leave the city, and the Thai Navy has been ordered to take part in relief efforts.

In Muang District of Nakhon Sri Thammarat, many roads have been closed and sandbags are being deployed to help affected businesses. Schools throughout the province have been closed because of flooding conditions. Other provinces, including Phattalung, Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat, Trang, Sukhothai and Satun have experienced similar problems with high tides and heavy rain paralysing much of the region.

The Meteorological Department of the Thailand Ministry of Information and Communication Technology issued a weather advisory concerning the flooding, “People in the lower South and navigators in the Gulf of Thailand should exercise caution and small boats should stay from December 15 until December 18.” It is reported that this has left some tourists stranded on smaller resort islands in the Gulf of Thailand.

Across the border in Malaysia, three are reported to have died and over 10,000 been evacuated as a result of the flooding.

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BBC spends £3.4m on sell-off

BBC spends £3.4m on sell-off

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Friday, June 27, 2008

Newspaper The Guardian reports today that the sale of the BBC subsidiary BBC Resources Ltd., has cost £3.4m in consultancy fees — over £1m more than the £2.3m trading profit the commercial division is estimated to have made for the last financial year. Details of the failed privatisation were released by the BBC following a freedom of information request, and prior to publication of its annual report on July 8.

Fourteen months after advisers were appointed to try to sell BBC Resources Ltd., only one of the three main business units has been sold — its Outside Broadcast division to Satellite Information Services Limited (SIS), for an estimated £20m. On March 7, 2008 it was also announced that the studios operation would remain in BBC ownership and in early June, the fate of the third business was put on hold with the BBC stating that “like Studios, Post Production will remain within BBC Resources, which will continue to operate as a wholly-owned commercial subsidiary of the BBC.”

BBC Resources Ltd. made an operating profit of £6.1m for 2005-06, down from £7.4m the year before, with the BBC accounting for 83.3% of its turnover, down from 87.4% for 2004-05. Last year’s published figure for 2006-07 was £5.2 million — with BBC business at 80% of turnover.

BECTU Assistant General Secretary Luke Crawley is quoted as saying: “It’s fairly outrageous that around half the profit of the company [announced last year] has been spent trying to sell it. It’s an inordinate amount of money. The BBC was promised big returns if it sold BBC Resources but it’s only managed to sell outside broadcasts and we do not know how much it made out of that. We think the £3.4m is a poor investment.”


  • 1 Background to the Resources sale
    • 1.1 BBC Costume and Wigs
  • 2 Related news
  • 3 Sources
  • 4 External links

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New Zealander blind in one eye because of novelty lens

New Zealander blind in one eye because of novelty lens

By | June 11, 2019

Monday, January 22, 2007

Novelty coloured contact lenses have left a 24-year-old man living in Auckland, New Zealand with one blind eye.

The unnamed man wore the novelty lenses for three days, after which he sought medical advice. At that time his cornea was already damaged.

It has been reported that the man, who did not previously require contact lenses, had an infected cornea after wearing the novelty lens. The patient underwent two emergency corneal transplant surgeries to fix his eye and regain vision. The man did not follow instructions given to him to minimize the risk of rejection, and consequently his cornea was destroyed by bacteria.

Doctor Trevor Gray, corneal specialist and president of the Cornea and Contact Lens Society, said: “He’s now got an opaque cornea that he can’t see out of at all, and has this big white-looking eye like they’ve got in science fiction movies.”

Eye specialists have called for clear instructions to be provided to those buying novelty contact lenses. They also called for regulation and restrictions to be placed on their sale.

A loophole in the Medicines Regulations Act means that a person requiring contact lenses to correct their vision must receive clear information on how to use the contacts, but the law does not apply to novelty contacts. Dr Gray said some novelty lenses do come with good information on how to use them, but others do not. Australia, the United States, and Canada all have laws requiring that proper information be given out with novelty lenses.

The New Zealand Ministry of Health have confirmed that they will follow up the issue.

Dr Gray warns people using the lenses not to share the lenses between people to minimise the risk of catching conjunctivitis, or hepatitis.

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Judge demands better conditions in Maricopa County Jail, Arizona; both sides claim victory

Judge demands better conditions in Maricopa County Jail, Arizona; both sides claim victory

By | June 7, 2019

Saturday, October 25, 2008

A judge has ruled that the conditions in Maricopa County Jail, Arizona, which is run by the controversial sheriff Joe Arpaio, are unsanitary, and must be changed.

The ruling stated that some of the actions in the jail were unconstitutional, in particular, the court stated that that inmates had a constitutional right to be given space for outdoor recreation and be kept at a reasonable level of health.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) hailed the decision as a victory. “In a sweeping rebuff of an attempt by Arpaio to terminate a federal consent decree mandating that he maintain conditions at the Maricopa County Jail that meet constitutional minimums, Judge Neil Wake ordered that jail officials ensure that all detainees receive necessary medical and mental health care, that they be given uninterrupted access to all medicines prescribed by correctional medical staff, that they be given access to toilets, sinks, toilet paper and soap and that they be served food that meets or exceeds the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s dietary guidelines,” they said in a press release.

“Judge Wake’s decision should serve as a reminder that even a man who brags about being the toughest sheriff in America has to abide by the Constitution.”

Despite this, Arpaio also claimed victory. In contradiction to the ACLU’s claims, he stated that the changes ordered were only minor. He also described the ruling as a recommendation, not an order.

The controversial sheriff also stated that “I became Sheriff well over a decade after this case was first filed. Still I have always maintained that we run a safe and constitutionally adequate jail system. This judgment reinforces the excellent work being performed by the detention staff and we all are always committed to improving the jail system wherever possible.”

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What You Need To Know About Commercial Laundry

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The method and cleaning detergents you use to clean your clothing will determine the quality of cleanliness. Due to the busy schedules of most people in the modern world, time to clean clothes at home has become limited. Many people for this reason opt to take their clothes to a laundry place where there are big machines that are used to clean them.

The commercial washers used in laundries have a high capacity and for this reason are heavy duty. Commercial Laundry services are popular in different businesses such as the salon, spas, industries, automotive centers, restaurants, hotels, and medical facilities among others. The laundry service providers ensure that all your laundry needs are met by handling your clothing in a professional way.

Why should let professional launders handle your linens?

Different uniforms and linens may not require similar cleaning products and techniques. Professional launders apply a different laundry touch depending on the type and nature of the linen being cleaned. It takes laundry skills to mix the cleaning detergents in the right amounts in the laundry machine.

Is the laundry service good for medical facilities?

Medical facilities and linens used in the health centers, dispensaries and hospitals need the attention of professional laundry service providers. Linens in the medical setups contain harmful microbes that need to be eliminated through washing without damaging the linen material. Chemical agents and blood can easily and permanently stain linens. However, professional laundry service providers have enough skills to remove such stubborn stains and leave your linens spotlessly clean.

How do the laundry services save time?

The commercial laundry machines used in the laundry places can work on loads of linens and uniforms in one round. In addition, the service providers find it their pleasure to pick the linens you want cleaned from your home and return them once they are through. This saves you transport cost and time of driving from your house to their laundry premise. They also take less time to work on your linens.

Pilgrim Cleaners provide you with the finest quality laundry services for all your linens and uniforms. They use professionally maintained Commercial Laundry machines, and they always keep the laundry place safe and clean. The staff members here are properly trained, highly experienced and always available for your laundry services. Visit the website: for more details.

If you want to visit our office click here.


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Romanian student wins NASA Space Settlement Design Contest

Romanian student wins NASA Space Settlement Design Contest

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Wednesday, May 4, 2005

Horia Teodorescu, a student in 10th grade at Costache Negruzzi College in Ia?i, northeastern Romania, won the annual worldwide NASA Space Settlement Design Contest. The contest is sponsored by the Fundamental Space Biology Program of the United States‘ space agency, NASA. The task of the contest is for students to develop designs for a permanent orbital space colony. For his design, Teodorescu was awarded a visit to a NASA base in the USA.

Concerning the contest, Teodorescu said, “I designed a space colony which is called ‘Temis’, a personification of the Greek goddess of wisdom. The project is made up of four parts.” He said that the development of the space colony in his design has two phases – “Firstly, there is the construction period, in which the Moon is used as a base for extracting and processing materials. This would last about one year. After that, there would be a period of 4-5 years, in which the population of the colony would reach 10,000.” In 15 years, Teodorescu projects in his design that the population would reach 100,000, and reach the stage where the colony would be able to sustain itself and to start developing its own economic, social and educational systems.

During the design’s conception, Teodorescu was aided by his teachers, Adrian Koriloff, Margareta Constantinescu, Nicolae Hirtan and Lucia Miron, as well as his father Horia Neculai Teodorescu, who is a professor at the Ia?i University. Teodorescu also participated in the same contest in 2004, where he received second place. The first prize was also obtained by Romanians, more precisely a group of students from Constan?a.

The Costache Negruzzi College, founded in 1895, is, with over 1500 students, the largest secondary education facility in Ia?i, a city of 320,000 people.

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