GM and Chrysler receive Canadian loans amid US restructuring ultimata

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GM and Chrysler receive Canadian loans amid US restructuring ultimata

By | October 4, 2019

Friday, April 3, 2009

General Motors (GM) and Chrysler will receive bridge loans from the government of Canada and the provincial government of Ontario, however no more will be forthcoming from either Canadian or US governments unless the companies can reinvent themselves.

“This is a regrettable but necessary step to protect the Canadian economy. We are doing this on the assumption that we obviously cannot afford either in the United States or Canada a catastrophic short-term collapse.” said Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada.

“We cannot, we must not, and we will not let our auto industry simply vanish. This industry is, like no other, an emblem of the American spirit; a once and future symbol of America’s success,” said Barack Obama, President of the United States. “These companies – and this industry – must ultimately stand on their own, not as wards of the state.”File:Sinsheim quer.jpg

Chrysler will receive CA$1 billion and may in fact be eligible for as much as CA$4 billion. If Chrysler succeeds in the next 30 days with a restructuring plan it would be eligible for a US$6 billion loan. A part of Chrysler’s restructuring plan must include a partnership with Fiat within 30 days to appease the US administration. Fiat is a supplier of smaller fuel-efficient vehicles, and the merger will help Chrysler to be viable in the North American market. A Chrysler court bankruptcy would inevitably lead to it being sold off.

As a part of Chrysler’s restructuring plans, Tom LaSorda, the president of Chrysler announced that Canadian operations would fold if it does not receive both the US commitment of $2.3 billion of aid and a new Canadian Auto Workers CAW contract to reduce all-in costs by CA$19 per hour. As a result of this announcement Chrysler’s auto sales volume in Canada dropped 23% compared to March of 2008.

GM has until the end of May to restructure its company to receive up to CA$7.5 billion. As part of the companies restructuring, General Motor’s chief executive Rick Wagoner was replaced Sunday with Fritz Henderson, the current chief operating officer. Henderson spoke out on Tuesday that GM has submitted a restructuring plan which would close five plants, and this may be increased to meet the requirements for financial aid. He is in full compliance with Obama’s auto task force to seek bankruptcy if GM cannot negotiate with their unions, bondholders and others.

GM recently brought forward the “GM Total Confidence” program providing consumer purchase protection for customers who lose their job for economic reasons within the first two years from purchase. As a result of Chrysler’s restructuring announcement in Canada, GM’s Canadian vehicle sales volume fell only 17.3% compared to 2008, an increase from the previous month.

GM must reduce some of its legacy costs which include its pensions and union health care costs. A part of GM’s ailments arose from investing in supplying truck and SUVs during an economy of high gas prices when consumers were demanding fuel efficient vehicles.

Tony Clement, Canada’s Minister of Industry, is hoping that the CAW will support the restructuring process and re-negotiate their agreement. Whereas a United Auto Workers negotiator has said, “I don’t see how the UAW will do anything until they see what the bondholders will give up.”

The Obama administration is looking toward bankruptcy proceedings for the automakers, “as a mechanism to help them restructure quickly and emerge stronger. [It will] quickly clear away old debts that are weighing them down. What we are asking is difficult. It will require hard choices by companies. It will require unions and workers who have already made painful concessions to make even more. It will require creditors to recognise that they cannot hold out for the prospect of endless government bailouts.” said Obama.

The auto parts suppliers and IT software exporters in India have already been affected by the declining auto sales. GM and Chrysler software contracts provide US$300 to 350 million a year to vendors in India. As well these two major automakers usually award US$1 billion contracts to auto parts suppliers. “We are worried and closely watching the developments in the US to gauge the impact. The decline in auto sales in the US has already hit the order books of Indian suppliers,” said a Delhi auto parts supplier.

“Going forward, the industry will undoubtedly be smaller, but if our efforts are successful it will be viable and it will support good jobs for Canadians,” said Clements.

Betty Sutton, Ohio’s Congresswoman put forward the CARS act which provides a US$3,000 to 5,000 incentive for those who trade in their vehicle for a fuel-efficient car. “It clearly stimulates the economy, and it gets the consumer into the showroom and gets them buying again. But importantly — and this is what I particularly like about it — it really helps the environment quite a bit in two respects.” said William Clay Ford Jr., executive chairman of Ford Motor Co.

Ford Motor Company has not come forward with requests for assistance.

Since December GM and Chrysler have received US$17.4 billion government loans.

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Sweden’s Crown Princess marries long-time boyfriend

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Sweden’s Crown Princess marries long-time boyfriend

By | September 21, 2019

Monday, June 21, 2010

Sweden’s first royal wedding since 1976 took place Saturday when Crown Princess Victoria, 32, married her long-time boyfriend and former personal trainer, Daniel Westling, 36. The ceremony took place at Stockholm Cathedral.

Over 1,200 guests, including many rulers, politicians, royals and other dignitaries from across the world, attended the wedding, which cost an estimated 20 million Swedish kronor. Victoria wore a wedding dress with five-metre long train designed by Pär Engsheden. She wore the same crown that her mother, Queen Silvia, wore on her wedding day 34 years previously, also on June 19. Victoria’s father, King Carl XVI Gustaf, walked Victoria down the aisle, which was deemed untraditional by many. In Sweden, the bride and groom usually walk down the aisle together, emphasising the country’s views on equality. Victoria met with Daniel half-way to the altar, where they exchanged brief kisses, and, to the sounds of the wedding march, made their way to the the silver altar. She was followed by ten bridesmaids. The couple both had tears in their eyes as they said their vows, and apart from fumbling when they exchanged rings, the ceremony went smoothly.

Following the ceremony, the couple headed a fast-paced procession through central Stockholm on a horse-drawn carriage, flanked by police and security. Up to 500,000 people are thought to have lined the streets. They then boarded the Vasaorden, the same royal barge Victoria’s parents used in their wedding, and traveled through Stockholm’s waters, accompanied by flyover of 18 fighter jets near the end of the procession. A wedding banquet followed in the in the Hall of State of the Royal Palace.

Controversy has surrounded the engagement and wedding between the Crown Princess and Westling, a “commoner”. Victoria met Westling as she was recovering from bulemia in 2002. He owned a chain of gymnasiums and was brought in to help bring Victoria back to full health. Westling was raised in a middle-class family in Ockelbo, in central Sweden. His father managed a social services centre, and his mother worked in a post office. When the relationship was made public, Westling was mocked as an outsider and the king was reportedly horrified at the thought of his daughter marrying a “commoner”, even though he did so when he married Silvia. Last year, Westling underwent transplant surgery for a congenital kidney disorder. The Swedish public have been assured that he will be able to have children and that his illness will not be passed on to his offspring.

Westling underwent years of training to prepare for his new role in the royal family, including lessons in etiquette, elocution, and multi-lingual small talk; and a makeover that saw his hair being cropped short, and his plain-looking glasses and clothes being replaced by designer-wear.

Upon marrying the Crown Princess, Westling took his wife’s ducal title and is granted the style “His Royal Highness”. He is now known as HRH Prince Daniel, Duke of Västergötland. He also has his own coat-of-arms and monogram. When Victoria assumes the throne and becomes Queen, Daniel will not become King, but assume a supportive role, similar to that of Prince Phillip, the husband of the United Kingdom’s Queen Elizabeth II.

Scottish Justice Secretary ‘acutely aware of unusual publicity’ in Kular case

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Scottish Justice Secretary ‘acutely aware of unusual publicity’ in Kular case

By | September 18, 2019

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Wikinews has obtained a letter by Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill to former Conservative justice spokesman John Lamont in response to questions raised by our correspondent about the Mikaeel Kular murder case. Wikinews has investigated possible contempt by media publishing potentially prejudicial material, and MacAskill wrote he has “been following the case of Mikaeel Kular and [is] acutely aware of the unusual publicity this case has attracted.”

When Mikaeel Kular, three, vanished from his Edinburgh home last month police and volunteers scoured the capital for him. His body was found in Fife just before midnight on January 17, and his mother was arrested on January 18. That’s when Wikinews first reported on possible widespread contempt by UK and Scottish media.

Our correspondent is based in Scotland and has been advised by a lawyer not to identify anybody detained until they have appeared in court, even if they have been arrested and charged. Professor James Chalmers of the University of Glasgow has since reviewed our coverage and confirmed this position. Despite that a large number of major media outlets identified Rosdeep Adekoya, nee Kular, 33, as the arrested individual.

Adekoya has since been in Edinburgh Sheriff Court charged with murdering her son. She is in custody pending indictment and trial, but any eyewitness evidence may be tainted because her image has been widely published. This is common practice elsewhere in the UK but Scottish justice works differently and courts have viewed publication of photos as potentially prejudicial. Professor Pamela Ferguson of the University of Dundee notes “journalists do seem to be walking a dangerous line if publishing photos etc of suspects.” Crown Office, which is in overall charge of prosecutions, has indicated to journalists that no further comment will be made at least until indictment.

MacAskill however expressed confidence in the Scottish court system to deal with the situation. “I am confident… the courts themselves will intervene if they believe publicity is in danger of being prejudicial.” He also wrote to Lamont that he has faith in the court to successfully direct any jury that may try the case in order to maintain fairness.

The courts have said that the only safe route to avoid committing a contempt is to avoid publishing a photograph

The Contempt of Court Act 1981 is designed to prevent prejudicial material going in front of juries before trial. Although UK-wide legislation, the law is interpreted differently north of the border than in England and Wales. Witnesses in Scotland may be asked to identify accused persons standing in the dock. The BBC College of Journalism advises legal advice be sought ahead of publishing photos and notes it has previously been ruled contempt. The BBC used the accused’s photo prominently in their own online coverage.

Chalmers explains: “It may be a contempt of court to create a substantial risk of serious prejudice to someone’s right to a fair trial. A photograph might do this in a case where identification is an issue; on the face of it, that does not seem especially likely in this case, but it is impossible to know for certain at this point. The courts have said that the only safe route to avoid committing a contempt is to avoid publishing a photograph, but that does not mean that publishing a photograph is automatically a contempt.” MacAskill noted “the kind of issue that publicity might raise may become apparent only during the trial itself.”

Contempt has been a considerable issue in the UK in recent years after high-profile cases. In one instance a charge against serial killer Levi Bellfield was dropped owing to publicity while the jury were deliberating; in another, newspapers were fined and sued for libel over reporting on the arrest of a suspect who turned out to be innocent in a prominent investigation.

A proposal was mooted to ban identification of suspects arrested anywhere in the UK, but this was subsequently shelved. MacAskill confirmed “the Scottish Government is content with the way the courts are operating the rules on contempt of court in Scotland at the moment and has no plans to make changes.” He also wrote of the difficulties with trying to individually cover all eventualities with prescriptive legislation, saying “A trial for a sexual offence will raise very different issues — particularly of protecting victims — from those that are raised by a tax fraud trial.”

MacAskill says it is the Scottish Government’s position that the task of “counterbalancing the public interest in reporting with upholding the criminal law should be left to those whose job it is to do so — the courts and the judiciary, acting in the individual circumstances of the case”.

U.S. actor Charlie Sheen questions 9/11 theories

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U.S. actor Charlie Sheen questions 9/11 theories

By | September 7, 2019

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Charlie Sheen, appearing on cable television news network station CNN on March 24, questioned the credibility of the theory that 19 hijackers caused all of the destruction to the World Trade Center.

Sheen said; “It seems to me like, you know, 19 amateurs with box cutters taking over four commercial airliners and hitting 75 percent of their targets, that feels like a conspiracy theory… I am an American citizen that loves my country…. People want the truth. They want the truth. And what’s been offered to us resembles nothing of the sort.

In recounting his reaction on the day of the event, Sheen said,”I was up early and we were gonna do a pre-shoot on Spin City, the show I used to do. I was watching the news and the north tower was burning. There was a feeling, it just didn’t look like any commercial jetliner I’ve flown on any time in my life and then when the buildings came down later on that day I said to my brother, ‘Call me insane but did it sorta look like those buildings came down in a controlled demolition?’

Writer Marc Jacobson, of the New York magazine, who co-appeared with Sheen on the same program said in response: “Well, I think he’s doing a reasonable rendition of what other people that believe in this stuff say. And when he says he has his facts straight, I mean, I think the facts are in question. I mean, I think, just because you know what it says on all of these different Web sites doesn’t mean that that’s necessarily the fact. That’s the reason why the United States government, with their endless amounts of resources, let us down by not doing the proper work on the 9/11 Commission. That’s a real problem. Well, you know, but, I mean, it’s just one of those kind of things where you do this work and nobody really cares, but then Charlie Sheen is interested, so then everybody is interested, and that’s fine. You know, obviously, this material needs to be looked at again, because there’s been a lot of problems with the 9/11 Commission report. People feel it’s not adequate. Most of the people who had lost people during that time feel it’s not adequate. And it’s just I think we’re living in a truth vacuum, in a sense, that any time there’s a truth vacuum, these ideas — because people are smart. They put two and two together. Sometimes they get five; sometimes they get 12, but sometimes they get 11, like 9/11, but sometimes they get four. And the thing is that, if you have a situation where the so-called facts are covered up and aggressively covered up, then you’re going to get these conspiracy theories.” One website is claiming that Google had been censoring out any news articles relating to Sheen and 9/11 from it’s search engine.

Regarding the plane that hit the Pentagon, Sheen also has questions: “Just show us how this particular plane pulled off these maneuvers… It is up to us to reveal the truth. It is up to us because we owe it to the families, we owe it to the victims, we owe it to everyone’s life who was drastically altered, horrifically, that day and forever. We owe it to them to uncover what happened.

Some supporters of Sheen’s theories have complained about the lack of mainstream media coverage. They point to CNN’s recent cancellation of Ed Asner’s interview on Showbiz Tonight, where he was expected to support Sheen’s position, as an example of the “media blackout”.

Marina Hyde of The Guardian proposed a theory of her own with regard to Sheen: “Frankly, with dentistry as expensive as yours, you simply can’t afford to let The Man stamp his jackboot down on your face, and so it is that when faced with the inquiry ‘did Lee Harvey Oswald act alone?’, you find yourself thinking: ‘God, I mean… do any of us? Like, he had to have people, you know? At least an agent and a publicist.'”

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Blown for Good author discusses life inside international headquarters of Scientology

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Blown for Good author discusses life inside international headquarters of Scientology

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Friday, November 13, 2009

Wikinews interviewed author Marc Headley about his new book Blown for Good, and asked him about life inside the international headquarters of Scientology known as “Gold Base“, located in Gilman Hot Springs near Hemet, California. Headley joined the organization at age seven when his mother became a member, and worked at Scientology’s international management headquarters for several years before leaving in 2005.

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Toyota recalls up to 1.8 million automobiles

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Toyota recalls up to 1.8 million automobiles

By | September 3, 2019

Saturday, January 30, 2010

The automobile manufacturer Toyota has said that it will recall up to 1.8 million cars across Europe, after a problem with the accelerator pedal was discovered.

According to the firm, eight models were affected by the problem — AYGO, iQ, Yaris, Auris, Corolla, Verso, Avensis, and RAV4 — after it was discovered that the accelerator may become stuck in a depressed position, resulting in uncontrollable speeding.

On Thursday, Toyota said it would recall 1.1 million cars in the US; a day previous, it had suspended eight models from sales. Last week, 2.3 million cars in the US were recalled due to the pedal issues.

The chief executive of Toyota Motor Europe commented on the recall. “We understand that the current situation is creating concerns and we deeply regret it,” said Tadashi Arashima. The firm, however, noted that it wasn’t aware of any accidents resulted by the malfunctioning accelerator pedals, and not many pedal problem incidents were reported in Europe. “The potential accelerator pedal issue only occurs in very rare circumstances,” Arashima added.

The National Automobile Dealers Association, meanwhile, commented that Toyota showrooms could lose as much as US$2.47 billion worth of revenue due to the incident.

“Toyota veterans will likely hear the news with disbelief and keep faith in the brand, but new customers could definitely be scared off,” remarked Robert Rademacher, who is the president of the trade group ZDK, as quoted by Business Week. “This recall has a dimension which we’ve never seen before.”

There are concerns that the problem may result in reduced consumer trust in Toyota. Hans-Peter Wodniok, an analyst for Fairesearch GmbH & Co. in Germany, noted: “If this is a one-time event, huge as it is, Toyota may be forgiven. But if something happens again in the next months and years, they will have gambled away customer trust in Europe as well.”

Analysts for Morgan Stanley, however, said they believed Toyota would not suffer much from the incident. “The company’s actions to correct the situation are timely enough to avoid major brand damage,” they remarked in a note to investors.

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Gastric bypass surgery performed by remote control

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Gastric bypass surgery performed by remote control

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Sunday, August 21, 2005

A robotic system at Stanford Medical Center was used to perform a laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery successfully with a theoretically similar rate of complications to that seen in standard operations. However, as there were only 10 people in the experimental group (and another 10 in the control group), this is not a statistically significant sample.

If this surgical procedure is as successful in large-scale studies, it may lead the way for the use of robotic surgery in even more delicate procedures, such as heart surgery. Note that this is not a fully automated system, as a human doctor controls the operation via remote control. Laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery is a treatment for obesity.

There were concerns that doctors, in the future, might only be trained in the remote control procedure. Ronald G. Latimer, M.D., of Santa Barbara, CA, warned “The fact that surgeons may have to open the patient or might actually need to revert to standard laparoscopic techniques demands that this basic training be a requirement before a robot is purchased. Robots do malfunction, so a backup system is imperative. We should not be seduced to buy this instrument to train surgeons if they are not able to do the primary operations themselves.”

There are precedents for just such a problem occurring. A previous “new technology”, the electrocardiogram (ECG), has lead to a lack of basic education on the older technology, the stethoscope. As a result, many heart conditions now go undiagnosed, especially in children and others who rarely undergo an ECG procedure.

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Australian state of Victoria swears in new cabinet

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Australian state of Victoria swears in new cabinet

By | September 1, 2019

Friday, August 3, 2007

At 11:20 a.m. in the Australian state of Victoria, the Governor David de Kretser started the ceremony for the swearing in of the new Brumby’s cabinet, attended by family and friends of the ministers. This comes a full week after the resignation of Steve Bracks from the top position, and his deputy John Thwaites.

The ministers and their portfolios are:

  • John Brumby has the role of Premier as well as the ministries of Multicultural Affairs and Veterans Affairs,
  • Deputy Premier Rob Hulls has the Industrial Relations and Racing,
  • Gavin Jennings Environment and Climate Change, and Innovation
  • Lynne Kosky has Public Transport and the Arts,
  • John Lenders is the new Treasurer,
  • Justin Madden retains his portfolio of Planning minister,
  • James Merlino takes on multiple roles of: Minister Assisting the Premier on Multicultural Affairs, Sport and Recreation and Youth Affairs
  • Maxine Morand Children and Early Childhood Development
  • Lisa Neville has Mental Health, Community Services and Senior Victorians,
  • Tim Pallas retains Roads and Ports,
  • Bronwyn Pike changes to Education,
  • Tony Robinson has the multiple portfolios of Gaming, Consumer Affairs and the Minister Assisting the Premier on Veterans Affairs,
  • Theo Theophanous retains Industry and trade and major projects, gains minister for Information Technology but loses Small Business,
  • Richard Wynne has Housing, Local Government and Aboriginal Affairs,
  • Peter Batchelor has Energy and Resources, and Community Development,
  • Bob Cameron retains Police and Emergency Services, and the Corrections portfolios,
  • Joe Helper retains both Agriculture, and Small Business,
  • Tim Holding has the Water, WorkCover, Finance, Tourism and Major Events and the TAC Ministries,
  • Jacinta Allan has the Regional and Rural Development, and Skills and Workforce Participation from the Education Ministry.
  • Daniel Andrews has Health

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Deadly illegal sexual enhancement products appear on the Singaporean market

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Deadly illegal sexual enhancement products appear on the Singaporean market

By | August 25, 2019

Friday, April 11, 2008

New ‘deadly’ sexual enhancement products have been found in Singaporean markets and can cause serious side effects on users.

The Health Sciences Authority (HSA) announced the presence of the illegal drugs, known as Power 1 Walnut, Santi bovine penis erecting capsule, Zhong Hua Niu Bian and fake Cialis, which have been discovered over the past 3 months. Santi bovine penis erecting capsule has been found to contain high amounts of glibenclamide, a potent drug used to treat diabetes. The tablets also contain sildenafil and tadalafil – potent western medicines used to treat erectile dysfunction. Zhong Hua Niu Bian also contains sildenafil and glibenclamide.

High consumption of the tablets can be potentially deadly as the glibenclamide in the capsules can lead to drastically reduced blood sugar levels which can lead to seizures, stroke, coma or death. Consuming half of a Power 1 Walnut capsule has led to unconsciousness and frothing at the mouth.

Consumption of Power 1 Walnut has led to the death of a middle age man last week who fell into a coma. Currently, one death and two cases of coma have been reported from the total of 89 hospitalised cases linked with the consumption of the illegal drugs. It has been revealed that patients obtained the drugs by purchasing them from illegal peddlers located in various parts of Singapore.

The HSA has advised people to stop consuming the drugs and to report on any cases of consumption to them.

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Japanese tsunami impacts California coastal town

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Japanese tsunami impacts California coastal town

By | August 24, 2019

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The tsunami caused by Japan’s magnitude 8.9 quake on Friday destroyed the commercial fishing harbor of Crescent City, California, a coastal town still recovering from a devastating tsunami in 1964. Although most of the fishing boats were removed in advance, the 198 docking slips that the harbor had provided for boats, enabling the livelihoods of the fishing crews, were lost.

Harbormaster Richard Young said that the harbor is destroyed. “We’re facing not only physical but financial disaster,” he said during a briefing. “Our business activity came to a screeching halt yesterday, and that affects the entire community.” Councilwoman Kelly Schellong said, “This is going to have a trickle-down effect beyond the lost jobs.”

Crescent City’s unemployment rate was 13 percent before Friday’s tsunami destroyed its commerical fishing industry.

The 1964 tsunami that hit Crescent City killed 11, demolished the harbor and heavily damaged large portions of the business district. Although the city subsequently rebuilt, another tsunami again damaged the harbor in 2006. The city was in the midst of reconstructing the harbor when Friday’s tsunami hit. The harbor is surrounded by land and a breakwater built after the 1964 disaster. The tsunami’s huge waves entered through a small opening provided for the entrance and exit of boats.

Lori Dengler, director of the Humboldt Earthquake Education Center, says Friday’s tsunami was one of as many as 38 tsunamis to strike Crescent City within the last 78 years. She calls the city a “tsunami magnet” because of the topography of the ocean floor that contributes to its vulnerability. She also blames the breakwater built after the 1964 tsunami because it traps tsunami waves in the harbor, causing them to boil and churn.

A county supervisor found the view painful on Saturday as she surveyed the wreckage accompanied by state officials. She is hoping they will provide emergency assistance. “We don’t have the financial resources,” she said. “We need money. That’s what it takes to fix things…. Our poor little harbor.”

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