Author Amy Scobee recounts abuse as Scientology executive

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Monday, October 11, 2010

Wikinews interviewed author Amy Scobee about her book Scientology – Abuse at the Top, and asked her about her experiences working as an executive within the organization. Scobee joined the organization at age 14, and worked at Scientology’s international management headquarters for several years before leaving in 2005. She served as a Scientology executive in multiple high-ranking positions, working out of the international headquarters of Scientology known as “Gold Base”, located in Gilman Hot Springs near Hemet, California.

US Nationwide Pollution Permit Restrictions Upheld

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Wednesday, October 4, 2006

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

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

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

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

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

TESEV Report on Eastern Turkey for UNDP released

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Friday, November 24, 2006

According to a report released by the Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV) for United Nation’s Development Plan, the per capita GNP in Eastern Turkey, an area predominantly inhabited by Kurdish people, is as low as seven percent of that of the European Union on average. The report analyzed a region of 21 cities in Eastern Turkey*. One of the cities included in the report, ??rnak, was reported to be as poor as Botswana, Southern Africa.

Other points highlighted in the report included:

  • 60% of the population in the region was under the poverty line. If this situation persists, people may start to migrate to Northern Iraq.
  • If 1% of the national income is spent on Eastern Turkey’s infrastructure and social investment for 7 years, the region will be enabled to finance itself. If the economic and social conditions in the region are fixed, the fragile relationship between the Turkish government and the Kurdish people of the region may improve.
  • Access to health services is a primary human right. Without access to health services, one cannot expect that people of this region can live in confidence. Health institutions should employ nurses who speak Kurdish so the patients can communicate with the health services staff.
  • The use of the private sector is not reliable as a solution. The government should act to remedy the lack of infrastructure in the region.

Search-and-rescue dog that found 9/11 survivor to be cloned

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Thursday, July 3, 2008

A German shepherd who recovered the last survivor of the September 11, 2001 attacks is to be cloned. His owner, James Symington, a former police officer from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada entered an essay writing contest about why his dog should be cloned.

Trakr, the 15 year old German shepherd suffering from degenerative neurological disorder, was the subject of a contest-winning essay about why Trakr should be cloned that was written by Symington. Trakr and Symington received Humanitarian Service Awards from Jane Goodall for their heroics at Ground Zero. Symington is now an actor of film and television, sometimes credited as Peter James.

BioArts International sponsored the essay-writing contest. Five more dogs are to be cloned by its Best Friends Again program. While Trakr will receive free replication, the other dogs will have to participate in an auction with a starting bid of US$100,000.

BioArts is going to send the DNA of the 6 dogs to Sooam Biotech Research Foundation in Seoul, South Korea. A Sooam researcher said that the dog should be born in November.

US Congress House panel OKs big cut in public broadcasting funds

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Saturday, June 11, 2005

A House subcommittee voted Thursday to sharply reduce the federal government’s financial spending for Fiscal Year ’06, including eliminating taxpayer funds that help produce such shows as Sesame Street and Arthur.

The spending cutbacks far exceeded even those requested by the White House. Among initiatives slated for reduction are $39 million for conversion to digital programming and $50 million for upgrading PBS’s aging satellite technology.

The subcommittee also acted to eliminate federal money for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a body created by Congress to pass funds on to public broadcasters. The CPB would see a 25 percent reduction in next year’s budget, down from $400 million to $300 million, funds that currently account for 14.9% of all public broadcasting revenues[1].

Ideological concerns over publicly-financed content have recently become a point of contention for the Republican-controlled CPB. The day after the new budget was approved, CNN obtained an internal memo by NPR’s executive vice president Ken Stern that blamed the cuts on “recent public turbulence caused by CPB chairman Ken Tomlinson’s irresponsible attacks on public broadcasting.” Stern’s memo also told staffers the cut would not hurt NPR directly because it receives little direct support from the CPB. Instead, he emphasized, smaller local stations that rely upon federal dollars are most likely to be affected, which could in turn take a bite out of regular dues and fees, NPR’s largest revenue source.

Under the budget, the Ready to Learn program’s $23 million appropriation for children’s shows is rescinded in its entirety. John Lawson, president of the Association of Public Television Stations, said the cut was retribution for an episode of “Postcards From Buster” featuring a pair of lesbian parents from Vermont. A spokesman for the Appropriations Committee, John Scofield, denied the claim.

“Ready to Learn was one of more than 50 programs terminated in the spending bill,” he told the New York Times. “It might be a nice program to do, but not in a flat budget with large budget deficits. We felt the same way about 49 other programs.”

Overall, the cuts would signal the most dramatic cutback of public broadcasting since Congress created the CPB in 1967. The spending bill is expected to pass the Appropriations Committee and the House, but final legislation will be negotiated with the Senate.

Strongest earthquake in 40 years hits Southeast Asia

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Sunday, December 26, 2004

Indian Ocean – The death toll continues to grow and millions face a homeless life in the new year as coastal communities in south Asia struggle against continued aftershocks and flooding caused by the largest earthquake to strike the planet in more than a generation.

The magnitude 9.0 undersea megathrust earthquake struck off the western coast of Sumatra, Indonesia on December 26, 2004, at 00:58:50 UTC (or 07:58:50 local time in Jakarta and Bangkok).

The earthquake was the strongest in the world since the 9.2-magnitude Good Friday Earthquake which struck Alaska, USA in 1964, and the fourth largest since 1900. More than 140,000 deaths[1] were caused by resulting tsunami, which in Thailand were up to 10 meters (33 feet) tall, and struck within three hours of the initial event.

Multiple tsunamis struck and ravaged coastal regions all over the Indian Ocean, devastating regions including the Indonesian province of Aceh, the coast of Sri Lanka, coastal areas of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, the resort island of Phuket, Thailand, and even as far away as Somalia, 4,100 km (2,500 mi) west of the epicenter.

While the earthquake and the tsunamis are no longer ongoing (other than aftershocks), the humanitarian and economic crisis generated by the disaster is still ongoing. This report will attempt to cover the crisis as it continues to develop.


  • 1 Damage and casualties
  • 2 Quake characteristics
  • 3 Post-tsunami humanitarian situation
    • 3.1 Humanitarian assistance
  • 4 Related news
  • 5 See also
  • 6 External links
    • 6.1 Aid efforts
    • 6.2 Video and Pictures of the devastation
  • 7 Video
  • 8 Pictures

Austrian teenager mourns captor’s suicide

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Monday, August 28, 2006

An eighteen year old Austrian girl, who was held captive by a 44 year-old man in the basement of his house for eight years, said that she is mourning his suicide, which he committed after she escaped from him.

Natascha Kampusch, abducted on her way to school eight years ago, had been “part of [her captor’s] life.” Police and investigators, unable to find a single lead or tip of her whereabouts, had all but given up hope of finding her alive and well until last week, when Natascha fled from her captor, Wolfgang Priklopil, a telecoms technician after he left her cleaning his car to answer the telephone. Natascha’s abductor, Wolfgang Priklopil, committed suicide hours after Natascha’s escape by throwing himself in front of a train only minutes after he realized her escape.

After hearing of Priklopil’s death, Kampusch wrote “..[Priklopil] was part of my life, that’s why in a certain way I’m mourning him”. Psychoanalysts believe Kampusch may be suffering from Stockholm Syndrome, a psychological condition in which captives begin to feel empathy, and even affection, for their captors. Psychoanalysts are well represented in Vienna as Sigmund Freud, the founder of Psychoanalysis was Viennese. After eight years with her captor, Kampusch is spending time receiving care from psychologists at a secret location, away from the media and her parents. Natasha spoke at first but later became more reticent and reluctant to answer questions. A psychiatrist feared a “delayed trauma”.

Kampusch’s parents expressed their frustration on not being allowed to have access to their daughter. Nevertheless, psychiatric staff with the girl have said that Kampusch needs time to re-adjust to life in the outside world. In a letter to her parents, Kampush stated that they would have “…all the time in the world…” once she had become re-accustomed to the outside. Psychologists claim she may lead a normal future life but probably will require years of psychological therapy. Ludwig Koch, her father said, “Natascha is very thin, has very, very white skin, and patches on her whole body. I don’t want to think where they come from.” She may be suppressing physical or sexual abuse. Early on she had to call her captor “master” or “lord”.

Migrant train derails in Tabasco, Mexico

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Monday, August 26, 2013

At least five people have died and sixteen were injured in a train derailment in Tabasco, Mexico yesterday, according to the director of Tabasco civil protection. The cargo train is often used by migrants.

The derailment occurred at approximately 3:00 a.m local time (8:00 a.m UTC), with eight of the twelve cars overturning. The state government reported that at least 250 Honduras citizens were traveling on the train, which had a scrap metal cargo. The train company and rescue workers continue to search the wreckage and treat survivors, but the remote and marshy site hinders efforts. Two cranes have been dispatched to assist.

Mario Bustillos Borge, the Red Cross chief in Tabasco, noted that current information on the numbers deceased and injured was hard to confirm due to the complex nature of the rescue. “There are some very high estimates, and others that are more conservative,” he said. The first car and the engine, which did not overturn, were used to transport the injured to a local hospital in Veracruz.

The train, dubbed ‘The Beast’ by locals, was headed north from the Guatemalan border at the time of the accident. Migrants regularly try to hitch a ride to the US by climbing onto its roof or in between cars. Preliminary reports suggest that the tracks had shifted following heavy rains.

Man killed in harbour car crash in Cornwall, England

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Monday, December 21, 2009

A man has been killed after a car accident in Cornwall, England. The collision involved a vehicle driving off a quay in Porthleven, near the town of Helston in the county and into the sea at around 2100 Greenwich Mean Time on Friday, according to reports from members of the public made to the police and the coastguard.

A major rescue operation was launched with contributions from the harbourmaster, the ambulance service, the police, the fire crews, a helicopter and the Royal National Lifeboat Institution. After roughly two hours, a harbour crane lifted the vehicle out of the water that it had crashed into. It transpired that the man was the only occupant of the vehicle. It is believed that no other vehicles were involved in the incident. The man was taken to the Royal Cornwall Hospital, which is situated in Truro, by ambulance. However, on arrival, he was pronounced dead.

Now tributes are being paid to 20-year-old Jamie Hocking after his death. The family of the man have said that he will be “truly missed by all who knew him”, describing Jamie with the words “loveable rogue”. The family also expressed their thanks to people offering sympathy messages and support from others, as well as the emergency services who assisted at the scene of the accident. Devon and Cornwall Constabulary are now asking any people who know of any information relating to the incident to contact them as soon as possible.

NFL: Ricky Williams applies for reinstatement

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Friday, April 6, 2007

Miami Dolphins running back Ricky Williams, who has applied for reinstatement to the NFL, told ESPN Radio’s Dan Patrick on Friday that he hasn’t gotten high on drugs “in maybe three years.” Williams credited yoga with replacing drugs to ease stress.

Williams was suspended in April 2006 for violating the NFL’s Substance Abuse Policy. Reinstatement to the league requires clinical evaluation and sending a hand-written letter to Roger Goodell, commissioner of the NFL. Williams stated: For the most part, as long as you follow the rules, you have a pretty good shot to be reinstated. Half of it is testing and the other half is you have to talk to someone on a weekly basis.

During the radio broadcast, Patrick asked Williams when the last time he had been drug tested. Williams’ anwser was Two minutes ago. and that he had passed.

Williams blamed the high levels of stress involved in playing football with his use of Marijuana. He said the only way to deal with it was “to go home, relax on the couch, roll up a joint and take a couple of puffs.”

Williams told Patrick during the interview that he hadn’t spoken with new Dolphins head coach Cam Cameron yet. Addressing what the Dolphins may or may not choose to do with him, Williams said that he would be “fine with whatever happens.”

Williams said, when asked why he wants to return to the NFL: “For me, it’s a test to see if all this work I’ve done is really worth something. If I can go to the NFL and have success, that would speak a lot for yoga and what I’ve learned and offer a lot of people who have dealt with the same issues I have a way out.”