Canadian Federal Elections 2008

Day
Stories from the 2008 Canadian Federal Elections
  • 13 October 2008: CanadaVOTES: Libertarian John Kittridge in St. Paul’s
  • 13 October 2008: Canadian scientists protest Harper’s attacks on science
  • 10 October 2008: CanadaVOTES: NDP candidate Paul Arbour in Carleton—Mississippi Mills
  • 10 October 2008: CanadaVOTES: NDP candidate Jo-Anne Boulding in Parry Sound—Muskoka
  • 10 October 2008: CanadaVOTES: NDP candidate David Sparrow in Don Valley West
National Parties

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

With Bay Street in turmoil in sympathy with Wall Street, Canadian party leaders traded slurs over the slowing economy and measures to secure it against the slump happening south of the border.

“We have the worst economy in the G8, our labour productivity has fallen for nine months straight and over the summer in July we saw the largest single month of jobs losses in 17 years,” Stéphane Dion said as the Liberal leader worked through St. John’s, N.L. Dion is hoping to sweep Newfoundland and Labrador’s 7 seats, capitalizing on N.L. Premier Danny Williams’s feud with the federal Conservatives over broken promises made by Stephen Harper in the Atlantic Accord.

Campaigning in Nova Scotia, New Democratic Party‘s Jack Layton lashed the Conservatives for failing to protect consumers. “Of course with Mr. Harper, we don’t see any willingness to really address the need to stand on behalf of Canadian consumers. He won’t even support the notion of the monitoring of gas prices, let alone the kinds of initiatives that really should be taken here in Canada to make sure that the consumers of investment products are being protected.”

Harper was working the Liberal-held riding of Ottawa-Vanier, where he announced a program to allow entrepreneur’s to extend their maternal leave up to 6 months using the Employment Insurance program with an estimated cost of $147 million. He said the country wasn’t ready for “wild experiments”, but should adopt a cautious approach to the economy in uncertain times.

“Canada has been brought to the brink of a deficit for the first time in over a decade,” Elizabeth May of the Greens said in a press release on their website on Monday. “Stephen Harper’s leadership deficit is driving us into economic deficit and his failure to manage the economy in uncertain times must not be allowed to continue.”

The parties also threw out economic planks for their platforms: to support the fishermen of N.L as well as the environment, Dion announced a $250 million dollar fund to help fishermen upgrade their equipment with “green” technology as well as $70 million to retire licenses. The Greens suggested their financial plan, which includes embracing a low-carbon economy, would improve Canada’s economic outlook. The NDP promised $1 billion over 5 years for more nurses and doctors.

The backdrop to all these economic statements was a 515 point drop on the TSX as markets reacted to the bankruptcy filing of 158 year old financial firm Lehman Brothers, as well as a surprising drop in the Canadian dollar relative to the US dollar which itself lost ground against the Euro and other world currencies. Even as the dollar dropped, so did the price of oil futures and gold, partially explaining the Canadian dollar’s weakness.

HAVE YOUR SAY
Are Canadian economics really affected by the parties? Should the Conservatives be taking the blame for the current economic situation, or have their actions in two and half years in office helped insulate the country from the volatility of the US markets?
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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The largest class action in Victorian history was commenced at the Supreme Court of Victoria on Friday the 13th by Slidders Lawyers against electricity distribution company SP AusNet and the Brumby Government in relation to the Kilmore East fire that became part of the Kinglake complex.

Because of the lawsuit, SP AusNet SPN.AX’s shares on Monday have dropped more than 13.36 per cent or 14.5 cents, to an intra-day low of 94 cents, was at 98.5 cents at 10:38 a.m. local time, before recovering slightly to be 7.5 cents lower at A$1.01 by 1144 AEDT (0003 GMT) or 6.9 percent in Sydney trading. Shares in SP AusNet closed 3.7 percent lower at A$1.045 on Monday.

Power supplier SP AusNet said it has asked the Victoria Court regarding the status of the class action proceedings saying the firm had insurance policies in place consistent with industry standards. “SP AusNet will continue to update the market as further information becomes available,” the company said.

The claim has focused on alleged negligence by SP AusNet in its management of electricity infrastructure. It maintains most of the power lines in eastern Victoria. Its fallen power line is believed to have sparked the blaze that tore through Kinglake, Steels Creek, Strathewen, Humevale, and St Andrews. The plaintiffs include thousands of angry Kinglake farmers, small business owners, tourist operators and residents who lost homes.

Leo Keane, the lead plaintiff in the class action has alleged “SP AusNet owed a duty of care to landowners to operate and manage power lines in a way that limited the risk of damage from bushfires.”

On Thursday Phoenix Taskforce had taken away a section of power line as well as a power pole from near Kilmore East, part of a two-kilometre section of line in Kilmore East that fell during strong winds and record heat about 11am last Saturday. It was believed to have started the fire there, since within minutes a nearby pine forest was ablaze, and within six hours the bushfire had almost obliterated nearly every building in the towns in its path.

“It is believed that the claim will be made on the basis of negligent management of power lines and infrastructure,” Slidders Lawyers partner Daniel Oldham said. The law firm has announced it was helping landowners and leaseholders get compensation for the 2003, 2006, 2007 and 2009 bushfires. “If you have been burnt by the recent bushfires, please register your interest using the form below as soon as possible,” the law firm’s website stated.

The Insurance Council of Australia has placed the cost of the bushfires at about $500 million. “That means keeping electricity lines clear of trees and in a condition that won’t cause fires. They must also have systems in place to identify and prevent risks occurring,” Melbourne barrister Tim Tobin, QC, said. According to the 2006 census, Kinglake had a population of almost 1,500 people.

But SP AusNet’s legal liability has been limited at $100 million under an agreement inked by the former Kennett government with private utility operators, when the former State Electricity Commission was privatized in 1995. Accordingly, the Brumby Government could be legally obliged to pay damages of the differences amounting to hundreds of millions of dollars.

SP AusNet Ltd said some of its electricity assets have been damaged by the Victoria bushfire. “As a preliminary estimate, it is thought that damage has been sustained to approximately one per cent of SP AusNet’s electricity distribution network, mainly distribution poles, associated conductors and pole top transformers,” SP AusNet said in a statement to the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX). It explained that up to 6,000 homes and businesses on its network were without power due to bushfires, including the Kinglake complex fire, Beechworth fire, and fires across Gippsland including Churchill and Bunyip.

SP AusNet said the firm will cooperate fully and will assist in any fire probe. “We stand ready to assist the relevant authorities with their inquiries if it is necessary for us to do so now and in the coming months,” SP Ausnet spokeswoman Louisa Graham said in a statement.

“Our priority is to restore power to fire-affected areas as quickly as possible. We believe the claim is premature and inappropriate … SP AusNet will vigorously defend the claim. If the claim is pursued, SP AusNet advises that it has liability insurance which provides cover for bushfire liability. The company’s bushfire mitigation and vegetation management programmes comply with state regulations and were audited annually by state agencies,” Grahams explained.

Victorian Auditor-General Rob Hulls said “there was an ‘unseemly rush’ by some lawyers to sue before the cause of the fires had been fully investigated.”

“The government body had audited the network’s bushfire risk to make sure required distances between power lines and vegetation were maintained. Power companies had been given a clean bill of health, and electricity firms were judged to be ‘well prepared for the 2008-09 bushfire season.’ There were no regulations applying to the distances between poles supporting electricity lines and spans of one kilometre were not unusual,” a spokesman for Energy Safe Victoria explained.

Christine Nixon, the 19th and current Chief Commissioner of Victoria Police said investigations into the cause of the bushfires were ongoing. “I know people are angry, and so are all of us in this community. But we need to kind of have a sense that the proper processes are in place and we need to go through the investigation and through the court case,” Nixon said. “At this stage we are not able to confirm how it started. I understand there is some legal action that people are taking, but at this stage we’re still investigating its cause. But the whole circumstances of that fire are part of our Taskforce Phoenix, and as we move through that we’ll be able to tell the community more once we’re able to confirm or deny what we think is the cause of these fires,” Nixon added.

On Thursday, two people were arrested in connection with the fires, having been observed by members of the public acting suspiciously in areas between Yea and Seymour; although they were both released without charges laid.

Brendan Sokaluk, age 39, from Churchill in the Gippsland region, was arrested by police at 4pm on Thursday, in relation to the Churchill fires, and was questioned at the Morwell police station. He was charged on Friday with one count each of arson, intentionally lighting a bushfire and possession of child pornography. The arson case relates to 11 of the 21 deaths in the dire Gippsland fire, which devastated 39,000 hectares in the Latrobe Valley, Calignee, Hazelwood Koornalla and Jeeralang. Two teams of Churchill firefighters were almost lost in the inferno that remains out of control.

Mr Sokaluk joined the CFA Churchill brigade in the late 1980s as a volunteer fire fighter, left in the 1990s and attempted to rejoin twice, but was rejected. He failed to appear in Melbourne Magistrate’s Court Monday for a scheduled hearing, since the court reset the committal hearing on May 25. He is represented by lawyer Julian McMahon.

Magistrate John Klestadt has lifted the suppression order which kept the suspect’s identity a secret but identifying photographs were barred from being released. Mr Sokaluk was remanded in protective custody from Morwell to a cell in Melbourne for his own safety amid fears angry prisoners will target him and real risk of vigilante attacks. He faces a maximum sentence of 25 years imprisonment if convicted on the arson charge.

“This is an extraordinary case. The level of emotion and anger and disgust that the alleged offenses have aroused in the community is unprecedented.” Mr Sokaluk’s defense lawyer Helen Spowart argued. The prosecution has moved the Court for more time to prepare its case, saying there would be up to 200 witnesses to interview.

Slater & Gordon has indicated that they were awaiting the report of the to-be-established Royal Commission, expected in late 2010, before initiating any claims.

Armed with a $40 million budget, the Royal Commission’s Chair Justice Bernard Teague will be assisted by former Commonwealth ombudsman Ron McLeod, who led the inquiry into the 2003 Canberra bushfires, and State Services Authority Commissioner Susan Pascoe. The Commission has said its interim report is due on August 17 while the final report will be submitted by July 31, 2010.

Judge Bernard Teague has announced Tuesday he will meet with fire victims and fire authorities within the next two weeks. “We want to do that as soon as possible – probably not next week but starting to have these discussions the week after,” he said.

Julia Eileen Gillard, the Deputy Prime Minister of Australia and deputy leader of the federal Australian Labor Party (ALP) said the federal and Victorian governments would respond quickly to the royal commission’s report. “Everybody who has lived through this experience in Victoria and around the nation has asked the question: ‘Why? What can we do better?’. No one wanted to see the report “as a book on a shelf gathering dust,” she said.

Victoria bushfire experts, led by Forest Fire Victoria – a group of scientists and forestry experts – have condemned the government’s “Living with Fire” policy and the state’s failure to initiate serious fuel-reduction programs. The Victoria government had failed to seriously act on bushfire safety recommendations submitted last June by the Victorian Parliamentary Environment and Natural Resources Committee.

As death toll rises, evidence mounts of lack of planning prior to Australia’s worst bushfire. “Living with Fire” policy means Kinglake fire trucks were dispatched to an earlier fire in Kilmore, leaving Kinglake undefended. “Kinglake was left with no fire brigade and no police. The trucks had been sent to Kilmore. I’ve been in the fire brigade for 10 years. There was always a law—the trucks had to be on the hill. Because of the government we got gutted at Kinglake. They should have been getting generators ahead of the fire—so people would have had a chance of fighting it. As soon as the power went, I couldn’t keep fighting the fire at my place,” Rick and Lauren Watts, and their friend Neil Rao, spoke to the WSWS.

Rick has also criticized the lack of early warning communications systems, since emergency siren warnings in the town had been stopped some years earlier. Humevale resident Sina Imbriano who has six children was angry about the failure of state and federal governments to set up a recommended telephone warning system amid its “stay and defend or go” policy. Bald Spur Road residents Greg Jackson and his wife Fotini said the government’s “stay and defend or go” policy was “fruitless” since the critical issue was early warnings, but “they [the government] just won’t spend the money.”

Also on Friday, five law firms from Victoria’s Western Districts, including Warrnambool-based Maddens Lawyers and Brown & Proudfoot, held a meeting to discuss a potential class action in relation to the Horsham fire, which was also thought to have been started by fallen power pole that burnt vast swathes of land in Mudgegonga and Dederang, Victoria. The lawsuit will also focus on the fire that blackened about 1750 hectares at Coleraine.

Maddens senior attorney Brendan Pendergast said: “We don’t know who the defendant is at this stage. We are unsure who the electrical supplier is for that area but we should know in a few days. There were people who had their homes burnt to the ground and they will need to reconstruct, replace their contents,” he said. Maddens has initiated a register of affected landowners for the recent bushfires, saying the firm has included victims of the Pomborneit fire that burnt almost 1300 hectares in the proposed class action amid the CFA’s statement the blaze could have been deliberately lit.

Frances Esther “Fran” Bailey, Liberal member of the Australian House of Representatives (1990-93 and 1996-present), representing the electorate of McEwen in Victoria said the Country Fire Authority (CFA) had told her one of the power lines had broken before the fire.

“The local CFA [Country Fire Authority] told me on that Saturday, with those very high winds, one of the lines had broken and was whipping against the ground and sparked,” she said. “Whether or not that is the cause of that terrible fire that actually took out Kinglake and maybe Marysville, the investigations will prove that, but we’ve got to do better,” she added.

Victorian Premier John Brumby said the power line claim would be examined as part of the Royal Commission into the bushfire. “No stone will be left unturned. So, I think it’s important the Royal Commission does its work. And, the Royal Commission will, of course, look at all of the factors with the fires,” Mr Brumby said. At least 550 houses were incinerated and 100 people have been killed, leaving more than 1,000 homeless in the Kinglake bushfire and surrounding areas.

SP AusNet – Singapore Power International Pte Ltd is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Singapore Power Limited (51% interest in SP AusNet). SP AusNet’s electricity transmission and distribution networks, along with the gas distribution assets, enable it to deliver a full range of energy-related products and services to industrial and domestic customers in Victoria, Australia.

Singapore Power ( ?????????) is a company which provides electricity and gas transmission, distribution services, and market support services to more than a million customers in Singapore. As the only electricity company in Singapore, and also one of its largest corporation, SP was incorporated as a commercial entity in October 1995 to take over the electricity and gas businesses of the state provider, the Public Utilities Board. Since 1995, Temasek Holdings controls the entire company with a 100% stake. SP is involved in a major investment in Australia‘s Alinta in partnership with Babcock & Brown, after putting up a bid of A$13.9 billion (S$17 billion), beating out a rival bid by Macquarie Bank.

The devastating 2009 Victorian Black Saturday bushfires, a series of more than 400 bushfires across Victoria on February 7 2009, is Australia’s worst-ever bushfire disaster, claiming at least 200 deaths, including many young children, and is expected to pass 300. 100 victims have been admitted to hospitals across Victoria with burns, at least 20 in a critical condition, and 9 on life support or in intensive care. The fires have destroyed at least 1,834 homes and damaged many thousands more. Many towns north-east of Melbourne have been badly damaged or almost completely destroyed, including Kinglake, Marysville, Narbethong, Strathewen and Flowerdale. Over 500 people suffered fire-related injuries and more than 7,000 are homeless. It has scorched more than 1,500 square miles (3,900 square kilometers) of farms, forests and towns.

The Supreme Court of Victoria is the superior court for the State of Victoria, Australia. Founded in 1852, it is a superior court of common law and equity, with unlimited jurisdiction within the state. Those courts lying below it include the County Court of Victoria, the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria and the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (which is technically not a court, but serves a judicial function). Above it lies the High Court of Australia. This places it around the middle of the Australian court hierarchy.



Thursday, November 19, 2009

In a third case of staggering sums billed for “unlimited” Internet access reported this week, a French emergency-room doctor from Fontainebleau beats all records with a €159,212 (US$237,417) bill. The telephone-number-sized bill covers one month’s use of an unlimited 3G dongle on Orange‘s network; the beleaguered Dr Jean Spadaro has been battling this for six months.

“To begin with I thought it was a joke”, said Spadaro, confirming a story from l’Observateur du Valenciennois; The same newspaper that revealed last week a similar case — Eric Gernez, a café owner in Petite-Forêt near to Valenciennes — who received a bill for €45,000. Christophe Aupy-Fargues, head of an insurance brokerage firm in Saint-Herblain, west of Nantes, and another unlimited 3G dongle user, confirmed to Ouest-France on Monday the blocking of payment on a bill for €39,500 demanded by Orange.

“I subscribed in November 2008 to a basic internet access by 3G dongle at €30 per month […] seeing my bills reach sums going up to €860 in April, I decided in May to subscribe to unlimited access by 3G dongle with Orange business at €50 per month. When I saw my bill for May, I couldn’t believe my eyes: €159,212, for one month’s connection, it’s impossible, especially as we don’t use it all of the time” added Spadaro, the father of two children, aged sixteen and nineteen.

On opening the envelope in June, he expected to read an amount neighbouring the cost of his subscription; but, to his horror, it was €159,212; a demand large enough to make an emergency-room doctor’s head spin.

When I saw my bill for May, I couldn’t believe my eyes: €159,212, for one month’s connection, it’s impossible

Spadaro claims France Télécom (Orange’s parent company) never explained to him that the “unlimited” package only related to the time spent surfing on the Internet — not the volume of traffic — limited to one Gigabyte per month. The package’s quota corresponds to moderate usage (reception of simple emails for example). As normal Internet users, the members of the Spadaro family surfed Facebook, YouTube, sent emails with attachments, received same, &c. That volume of traffic proved to be costly. €0.17 per Megabyte, or €170 per Gigabyte. Until the bills arrived, the Spadaro family were using the Internet, ignorant of the cost being incurred.

The doctor’s bills, not listed in detail, are €53 for February, €346 for March, €860 for April before soaring to more than €159,000 in May. Spadaro also claims, with evidence of his letters in hand, he had increased the number of protest actions and received, in response, “warnings with threats of seizure”.

Battle-weary after six months of contacting his operator, Spadaro has lost all patience. “Since June, I’ve spent hours writing emails, letters or calling Orange to ask for an explanation. I’ve been passed from call centre to call centre, from customer services to debt collection. No one at Orange was able to give me the slightest clarification. A real wall”, he said. He has never contacted a consumer association, “due to lack of time and also because I trusted the people with whom I was speaking”.

At the end of last week he stumbled upon the article on the Observateur du Valenciennois internet site concerning the case of Eric Gernez. He then also threatened Orange with the press. “The result did not tardy”, he continues. “A customer services representative and a debt collector immediately contacted me by email November 16. And immediately afterwards I received a credit for €136,529”. A first credit having already been sent to him in June, Orange now considers the dossier as “definitively resolved”.

HAVE YOUR SAY
Are mobile phone companies “mercenary” and “deceptive”?
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This resolution does not satisfy Jean Spadaro at all, who simply wishes that the bill be cancelled. “I have been a client with Orange for 17 years. I don’t want to attack their image, but here, enough is enough. It’s a question of principles”, he says, highlighting that “on forums, dozens of subscribers tell similar stories”. Furthermore, the two credits do not reimburse him for all of the additional fees he has incurred. “The following months, Orange tried to debit the sum from my account, causing rejection fees from my bank and unpaid fees from the operator. Around €35 each time”.

Exasperated by the whole affair, Spadaro awaits the end of his current contract with Orange in February next year. “I will cancel all of my subscriptions to Orange: 3G+ dongle, but also mobile telephone and internet”, he promises. He has been a client with the operator since 1997.

We will work with each client

Orange has promised to work with each case of overbilling. Interviewed on France 2 on Wednesday, Jean-Paul Cottet, director of the business market for France, said that the number of problems were marginal. According to him, 4,000 professionals have opted for a package with a 3G key. It is “a 24/24 but not unlimited offer. Out of these 4,000 cases, there are 1% which are a problem” he explained, listing about thirty such “absurd bills”. “We will correct that”, he promised. “We will work with each client”.

Jean-Paul Cottet pointed out that the general public offers better protection to the client. Once the authorised download limit is reached, the service quality diminishes but there is no overbilling.

Asked about the information given to clients about the conditions of billing elements not included in the package, Elizabeth Alvez, communications representative for the regional department for the North of France, said that “all the tarification information is available at points-of-sale and on orange.fr. This information is given as part of the dialogue between the client and the vendor. We are obliged to communicate the prices.” Nevertheless, one must first of all take the time to read the entire contract with the salesperson before signing.



Monday, June 27, 2005

The United States Supreme Court has ruled that “non-neutral” displays of the Ten Commandments in courtrooms violate the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment guarantee of religious neutrality, but that “historical” displays are permitted.

In the case McCreary County v. ACLU of Kentucky, the court ruled that the display of the Commandments in Kentucky county courthouses constituted an unconstitutional endorsement of religion. However, in the case Van Orden v. Perry heard at the same time, the court permitted the display of the Commandments in a monument at the Texas state capitol.

In the Texas case, Chief Justice William Rehnquist, writing for the majority, wrote that:

Texas has treated her Capitol grounds monuments as representing the several strands in the State’s political and legal history. The inclusion of the Ten Commandments monument in this group has a dual significance, partaking of both religion and government.

However, in the Kentucky decision, the Court ruled that the history of the Ten Commandments’ display in the courthouse was evidence of religious (and not historical) intention and that the reasoning given in legislative resolutions was not reflective of the counties’ actual intentions in their displays. Justice Souter wrote for the majority, drawing specific attention to the character of the display:

The display’s unstinting focus was on religious passages, showing that the Counties were posting the Commandments precisely because of their sectarian content. That demonstration of the government’s objective was enhanced by serial religious references and the accompanying resolution’s claim about the embodiment of ethics in Christ.

Proponents of displaying the Commandments hold that they represent the bedrock of Western legal tradition. Opponents hold that the ancient Biblical rules, which begin I am the Lord thy God, represent religious dogma, not law.



Thursday, November 2, 2006

The Free Software Foundation (FSF) has announced today the release of the first version of gNewSense, a new GNU/Linux distribution based on both Ubuntu and Debian. The goal of the newly created distribution is to offer an operating system which is 100% proprietary software free.

Generally, GNU/Linux distributions comes with proprietary software such as kernel drivers (eg. NVIDIA and ATI card drivers), the Opera web browser or the VoIP Skype software among others. According to its developers: “From a philosophical perspective we wanted to create a GNU/Linux distribution where the user has access to all the sources for all software on the system. This includes everything from the heart of the kernel through to the everyday desktop applications.”

Ted Teah, FSF’s free software directory maintainer explained, “With all the kernel firmware and restricted repositories removed, and the reliance on Ubuntu’s proprietary distribution management tool gone, this distribution is the most advanced GNU/Linux distribution that has a commitment to be 100% free.”

gNewSense will provide users with full security updates and is available for immediate download in LiveCD ISO format along with a version of the Ubiquity graphical installer. The developers have also created a set of tools called Builder that allows users to create their own gNewSense-based distributions.

In the new 1.0 version, gNewSense has removed all non-free firmware from the kernel, removed access to the Ubuntu Restricted component (such as links to LaunchPad which are redirected to the gNewSense webpage for now) and replaced the Ubuntu logos with its own. Also the UniVerse component is enabled by default and Emacs, BSD games, NetHack, and build-essential part of the default install.

There already exists such a distribution called Ututo which aims for zero proprietary software but it never really took off in popularity. A few years ago, Mark Shuttleworth, founder of the Ubuntu distribution, also initiated a similar initiative dubbed Gnubuntu but it never materialized.



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Wednesday, February 17, 2016

On Monday, at the 58th Grammy Awards ceremony, Canadian singer The Weeknd won his first Grammy Award, Best R&B Performance, for his song Earned It, which was also featured on the soundtrack of the 2015 Fifty Shades of Grey movie based on E.L. James’s erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey.

The Weeknd also won the Grammy Award for Best Urban Contemporary Album for his second studio album Beauty Behind the Madness. Abel Tesfaye — The Weeknd — had seven nominations in total including Record of the Year for his song Can’t Feel My Face and Album of the Year.

The YouTube video of the song received more than 179 million views and more than 1.1 million likes.The Weeknd was also nominated for Grammy Award for Best Pop Solo Performance, but British singer Ed Sheeran won the golden gramophone for his song Thinking Out Loud.

Last year, Beyoncé won the Award for Best R&B Song for Drunk in Love featuring her husband Jay-Z.This awards ceremony marked the first Grammy wins for The Weeknd, Justin Bieber and Ed Sheeran.



Thursday, February 18, 2016

On Monday, US singer Taylor Swift won the 58th Grammy Awards Album of the Year for her album 1989, and her video song Bad Blood won the Grammy Award for the Best Music Video.

There will be people who will try to undercut your success

This was the second time Swift has won the award for the Album of the Year. She previously won for her album Fearless in 2010. Swift collected three Grammys at this year’s awards ceremony: Best Music Video, Best Pop Vocal Album and Album of the Year.

With this Album of the Year win, she became the first woman to win two Grammy Awards in the category. At the beginning of the award ceremony, Swift performed her song Out of the Woods live.

The other nominees for the Album of The Year were Alabama Shakes’ Sound & Color, Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly, Chris Stapleton’s Traveller, and The Weeknd’s Beauty Behind the Madness. Canadian singer The Weeknd won two awards for Best Urban Contemporary Album and Best R&B Performance.

While receiving her award, Swift left a message for younger women saying “there will be people along the way who will try to undercut your success or take credit for your accomplishments […] don’t let those people sidetrack you, someday when you get where you’re going you’ll look around and you’ll know that it was you and the people who love you who put you there, and that will be the greatest feeling in the world.”

Kendrick Lamar, who featured in the Bad Blood video, won five awards including for Bad Blood. Swift’s friend Ed Sheeran won the Song of the Year for Thinking Out Loud ahead of her song Blank Space from the album 1989.



Tuesday, August 6, 2013

This past Sunday, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed into law a bill known as “Rocky’s Law” that requires Illinois high schools, through the local school district, to buy catastrophic injury insurance up to US$3 million or medical costs for up to five years, whichever one comes first, that covers student athletes. The insurance must cover student athletes while they are competing.

The legislation was named after Rasul “Rocky” Clark. In 2000, the Eisenhower High School football player became paralyzed from the waist down as a result of a tackle during a game. His school based health insurance covered the costs of his medical treatment. A legislator sponsoring the bill noted that the need for this type of insurance is rare. Clark’s mother attended the legislation signing. Her son died last year.

Before parents can claim money from school insurance, they first must pay out US$50,000. Schools have until January 1, 2014 to comply with the law. Schools cannot charge students more than US$5 to defray the cost of insurance. If a school district already requires student to be covered through private health insurance, they are exempted from this law.



Monday, July 19, 2010

After an investigation, Wikinews has learned that oil spewing from a rupture in the seafloor of the Gulf of Mexico on June 13 was 50 to 60 feet from the Deepwater Horizon leak.

A nearly four and a half minute video posted on YouTube on June 13 was from the Viking Poseidon ROV (Remote Operated Vehicle) 1. It shows oil and methane leaking from the seafloor at around 2:48 a.m. on June 13. The ROV monitors the leak for a minute and even gets covered in a plume of oil and sand before it moved on to the next spot. Smaller eruptions were seen as the ROV traveled, making the leak locations vary from 50 to 60 feet from the damaged well.

Until now, there was no way to determine the location of the ROVs in relation to the previously leaking Deepwater Horizon well. Alexander Higgins, an independent computer programmer, developed the ‘Gulf Oil Spill ROV UTM Distance Calculator.’ Using the coordinates for the location of the Deepwater Horizon, and the location of the Viking Poseidon on June 13, Wikinews was able to determine that the first rupture and leak was approximately 50.45 feet from the leaking well or “21.56 feet [n]orth and 45.61 feet [w]est” of the Deepwater leak point.

Higgins told Wikinews how he created the calculator, and says it is “very accurate,” but that the tool would “not give you accurate measurements over a large distance, e.g. from the well head to New Orleans.”

“This tool was created using java script that uses basic Pythagorean theorem ( A 2 + B 2 = C 2 {\displaystyle A^{2}+B^{2}=C^{2}} ) to calculate the distance between two points. The distance is simply ( N 1 ? N 2 ) 2 + ( E 1 ? E 2 ) 2 {\displaystyle {\sqrt {(N_{1}-N_{2})^{2}+(E_{1}-E_{2})^{2}}}} . ROV coordinates match the location within a few feet when looking at the well because obviously the ROV can not be over the exact center because that is where the BOP is,” said Higgins.

BP, who owned and operated the Deepwater Horizon, has denied that any oil or methane gas is leaking from the sea floor. On July 16, Kent Wells, the senior vice president of BP, said on their official Twitter page that “4 ROVs using sonar scanning [are] looking for anomalies in seabed floor. No indications any oil or gas escaping.” Seismic tests were conducted on July 16; Admiral Thad Allen of the United States Coast Guard said that “no anomalies” were found, but also that the tests were “not comprehensive.”

On Sunday, Wikinews contacted BP, who authenticated the video, and asked if any ROVs were sent back to the crack and leak location on June 13 for further investigation. According to their office in London, England, they “sent ROVs to investigate and monitor that and no further signs of oil or gas were found.” They also stated that they “have continued to monitor” and “have also carried out seismic surveys. Nothing found to give concern.” Wikinews also asked if they could confirm the location of the leak and crack, but no response was given.

However, on July 18, the Associated Press reported that there was “seepage” coming from the area at the bottom of the Deepwater well head. For the past two days, ROV cameras showed bubbles coming from the base of well. BP said it would test the bubbles to determine what they are and as of Sunday, COO of BP Doug Suttles says the bubbles are not methane, but further tests are being conducted. “If you can imagine, it is not an easy operation to collect those bubbles so that they can be tested to see what their make-up is.”

Since the June 13 video surfaced, other videos have been posted to YouTube allegedly showing some of the ROVs being tossed around by large amounts of oil seeping through the seafloor. One video showed an alleged eruption spraying oil and debris around the BOA DEEP C 2 ROV before it was tossed from side to side. It then immediately retreated to the surface. Some of the cracks on ocean floors, where oil has leaked from, have occurred naturally. One such oil spill in California in 2005 was the result of a naturally occurring crack in the floor of the Pacific Ocean. Some of those cracks can cause oil to leak through at a rate as high as 5,000 gallons a day, with most of the oil not even reaching the water’s surface. In the Gulf of Mexico, oil leaks through natural cracks at a rate several times less than leaked from the Deepwater well.

“The Deepwater Horizon site releases 3 to 12 times the oil per day compared to that released by natural seeps across the entire Gulf of Mexico. By May 30, the Deepwater Horizon site had released between 468,000 and 741,000 barrels of oil, compared to 60,000 to 150,000 barrels from natural seeps across the entire Gulf of Mexico over the same 39 day period,” said Cutler Cleveland, a Boston University professor at the university’s Department of Geography and Environment.

The Deepwater Horizon oil spill started on April 20 after an explosion on the rig. Efforts to put out the fire failed and the rig subsequently sank to the bottom of the Gulf. On April 22, an oil slick appeared on the surface of the Gulf. BP capped the leaking well on July 13 which effectively stopped oil from leaking into the Gulf. The company has been running a pressure integrity test on the 150,000 pound cap for 48 hours. Earlier on July 17, they announced the test would continue for another day. BP hopes for the well’s pressure to rise to or above 7,500 PSI. As of Saturday morning the well’s pressure was just above 6,700 PSI. BP fears anything lower than the expected PSI could mean a leak in the cap or elsewhere, such as oil or methane seeping up from the seafloor.

“We are feeling more comfortable we have integrity. We will keep monitoring and make the decisions as we go forward. The longer the test goes the more confidence we have in it,” said Allen.



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