Inspectors close Chicago landmark Healthy Food restaurant after finding dead mouse in cooler
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Inspectors close Chicago landmark Healthy Food restaurant after finding dead mouse in cooler

Saturday, April 2, 2005

Chicago city inspectors closed the landmark Lithuanian restaurant Healthy Food on Thursday, after finding mouse feces on the meat slicer and cutting board, and a dead mouse in the cooler.

The restaurant has operated at 3236 S. Halsted, on the south side of the city in the Bridgeport neighborhood, since the 1930s.

Wikinews reporter David Vasquez placed a call to the restaurant to inquire if they were open. The call was answered by a woman who said, “No, we’re closed. There’s some technical difficulties. I’m sorry. Thank you for calling.” A second phone could be heard ringing in the background.

Streets and Sanitation spokesman Matt Smith told the Chicago Sun-Times, “To reopen, they’re going to have to present us with a revamped game plan for not only rodent control but also housekeeping, they’ll have to make all the corrections that our inspectors point out,” he continued, “and pass a very stringent follow-up inspection.”

Patrons have praised the restaurant’s sauerkraut soup and other dishes over the years. Before it was closed, the restaurant had a lot of traffic from the nearby Cook County Circuit Court. The restaurant was once voted “Best Ethnic Eastern European Restaurant in Chicago”, according to New City.

U.S. TV networks look to past for future programming
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U.S. TV networks look to past for future programming

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Los Angeles, California — Four of six national television broadcast networks recently wooed potential advertisers for the 2005-2006 season with programming offerings in the new development phase. These included NBC, Fox, ABC and The WB. Two other networks, CBS and UPN, plan to preview their offerings March 24.

After four years of focusing on high-profile reality television, network executives are turning to the past for inspiration on scripted series. Some networks said they are “more consciously aggressive about developing shows” that recall such classics as Taxi and Barney Miller, Craig Erwich, a programming executive for Fox, told USA Today. In the same report, Kevin Reilly, NBC entertainment chief said, “I don’t think the answer has to be that it’s groundbreaking or something you’ve never seen before.”

But at least one ad buyer had reservations about the rear-view mirror technique. “Every network seems to be looking back rather than forward for programming ideas. The reminiscence factor may be good if you are looking for an older audience, but it may not be a way to bring in the younger audiences,” Laura Caraccioli-Davis, senior vice president and director of Starcom Entertainment told Mediaweek magazine.

  THE CONTENDERS: New series touted for possible inclusion in the 2005-2006 season
Network Development
ABC
Emily’s Reasons Why Not 
(Sitcom) – an unmotivated teacher in a class of Type-A students.
Life 
(Drama) – a group of young 20-somethings in Chicago facing life on their own.
Soccer Moms 
(Drama) – two suburban mothers become private investigators.
Fox
Briar & Graves 
(Drama) – a horror series in the vein of X-Files.
Hitched 
(Comedy drama) – a brother and sister run a Las Vegas wedding chapel.
Kitchen Confidential 
(Sitcom) – antics in an upscale New York restaurant.
The Loop 
(Comedy) – the travails of a young Chicago executive.
New Car Smell 
(Comedy) – a Brooke Shields star vehicle in a Las Vegas car dealership
Queen B 
(Sitcom) – Alicia Silverstone as a trendsetting columnist.
Reunion 
(Drama) – shows the lives of a group of friends over 20 years with each episode chronicling one year.
NBC
All In 
(Sitcom) – Janeane Garofalo as a single mom and professional poker player in Las Vegas.
Dante 
(Sitcom) – sports themed revolving around an NFL star.
Hot Property 
(Sitcom) – the competitive world of the real estate agent.
Lies and the Wives We Tell Them 
(Sitcom) – politically incorrect family comedy.
Notorious 
(Sitcom) – Tori Spelling stars in a mockumentary of her life.
WB
Nobody’s Watching 
(Sitcom) – two normal guys win a reality show where their lives become a sitcom.
Pepper Dennis 
(Drama) – Rebecca Romijn as a modern Mary Richards-type journalist in Chicago.
Sisters 
(Drama) – four sisters coping with life in the city.

Pfizer and Microsoft team up against Viagra spam
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Pfizer and Microsoft team up against Viagra spam

Sunday, February 13, 2005

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

BACKGROUND

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

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

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

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

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

Gunman massacres at least 12 at New York immigration center
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Gunman massacres at least 12 at New York immigration center

Friday, April 3, 2009

A gunman attacked a downtown Binghamton, New York-based immigration services center today, killing up to 13 people before killing himself.

New York Governor David Paterson at a news conference indicated that 12 or 13 people were killed at the American Civic Association. It is unclear whether or not the attacker was included in the number of the deceased.

An anonymous law enforcement official indicated the presumed gunman’s body was found in an office of the immigration services center building. The attacker blocked the rear building door with his car and entered through the front door. He then opened fire.

The gunman held over 40 hostages, some in a closet and the rest in the boiler room. Police and EMS started arriving at 10:30 A.M (EDT). SWAT sharpshooters and the Endicott police bomb squad were called to the scene. Nearby residencies and businesses were evacuated, while a nursing home and the high school were placed on lockdown. FBI hostage negotiators and evidence response team were being sent to the scene. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agents were headed to Binghamton. About noon, the shooter released ten hostages, then another ten out the back 40 minutes later. At 2:40 p.m., the local police said the standoff had ended and a SWAT team was checking the building for anyone remaining.

In Johnson City, Wilson Medical Center staff are treating three to five gunshot wounds, while Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Binghamton is treating a single such case. Both hospitals called in additional staff and cancelled all elective surgeries.

A national law enforcement source identified the shooter as 42-year-old Jiverly Voong. The police asked Broome Community College Assistant Professor Tuong Hung Nguyen, a fluent Vietnamese speaker, to translate for discussions between police and Voong.

Interview with Glen Stollery of ScienTOMogy.info
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Interview with Glen Stollery of ScienTOMogy.info

Wednesday, April 5, 2006

Glen Stollery is a New Zealand website developer who created the site ScienTOMogy.info in mid 2005. The site, which is a parody of Tom Cruise and his involvement with the Church of Scientology, became the centre of controversy when it was served with a number of cease and desist orders initiated by the Church. On March 19, 2006, Glen issued a media release stating that his web hosting provider, YouTube, had removed videos of Tom Cruise which formed part of the site. The release suggested that YouTube had taken this action under external pressure from Cruise or Viacom.

Responding to a query by Wikinews reporters, YouTube stated “We have not received a DMCA notification letter from Viacom.” The Church of Scientology was offered the opportunity to respond to the claims made by Stollery during the interview. No reply was received.

This exclusive interview deals with these issues and others relating to the website. It was conducted with Glen via email between March 21 and April 3, 2006.

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Super high speed internet launched in New Zealand
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Super high speed internet launched in New Zealand

Friday, September 1, 2006

The Prime Minister of New Zealand, Helen Clark, yesterday unveiled Kiwi Advanced Research and Education Network (KAREN). It is super high speed Internet that is capable of transmitting data with speeds of up to ten gigabits per second, 10,000 times faster than the current speed of broadband (1Mbps), and 200,000 times faster than dial-up.

The New Zealand Government put NZ$43 million ($28.1 million USD) into the Crown company: Research and Education Advanced Network of New Zealand (REANNZ) organization, responsible for the running of KAREN.

KAREN will link universities and research institutions in Auckland, Hamilton, Palmerston North, Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin, Hawkes Bay, Nelson and Rotorua and then to the rest of the world via a TelstraClear fibre optic cable.

The network will allow geologists/geophysicists to access U.S. data on fault lines, 3D modellers the ability to collaborate on international mapping projects and students will be able to participate in interactive video lectures with experts, anywhere in the world.

The technology so far is limited to just universities and research institutions but Minister for Education Steve Maharey said: “The network will be extended over time to include other institutions, including schools, libraries and museums.” It is also limited to just one university in the South Island, it is located in the HIT Lab NZ at the University of Canterbury.

Clark said: “The link is crucial in order to attract and retain scientists, because it allows a greater level of real time collaboration between scientists based in New Zealand, and their colleagues around the world.”

The Telecommunications’ Users Association of New Zealand chief executive, Ernie Newman, said: “Karen was a ‘great initiative’ for the science community, and that would have wider benefits for the country.”

Dr. Mark Billinhurst, HIT Lab director, said: “The network meant the country was now legitimately part of the international research community.”

Winners of international postcard-sized art exhibit announced
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Winners of international postcard-sized art exhibit announced

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Visual Arts Brampton has announced the winners of its Second Annual Snail Mail World Postcard Art Show. Currently on display in the Fridge Front Gallery in Shoppers World, The Snail Mail Show features well over 350 entries from 14 countries around the world. This is up from the previous year’s approximately 300 from 6 countries.

Shown in the exhibit is original works from Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Yugoslavia.

Juror Alicia Mitchell BA viewed the show on August 18 to make her selections from the entries received.

Surprisingly, in the process of identifying her choices for each award, Mitcell ended up awarding two sets of relatives. Sarah Baptist won the Juror’s Choice Award for Purple, while Ann Baptist won Best Photography for Tires. Nicholas Moreau won Best Snail Art for Albert Einsnail, while his mother Janice Moreau won for Best Use of Medium for Bird Days of Summer.

Best of Theme (Remember) went to Beek’s Remembrance of My Father. Brampton Guardian Arts editor Tina Depko awarded the Media Award to child entrant Jessica Taylor’s Cat love. Toni DiSano of Ballwin, Montana won Best Fabric Art/Sculpture/Installation for her fabric art piece “Vortex”.

Honourable mentions this year were:

A complete list is available on The Snail Mail Show’s website.

Execution of two gay teens in Iran spurs controversy
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Execution of two gay teens in Iran spurs controversy

Saturday, July 23, 2005

International controversy erupted after Iranian officials executed two gay teenagers who were originally reported to be convicted of homosexuality, however later reports released by the Iranian government after international furor claimed the conviction was for the rape of a 13-year-old boy. The two were hanged July 19.

Only the age of one of the two executed teens was officially released to the public. He was 18 year old Ayaz Marhoni. The other, Mahmoud Asgari, according to the Iranian Student’s News Agency (ISNA) was aged 17, but other news agencies have reported the teenager’s age as 16. In the original report by the ISNA it was said that the two were found having sex together when they were both 16. It also reported that they were held and beaten for fourteen months before the execution.

The UK-based gay rights group, Outrage! claims the report issued later by the government of Iran is a “smokescreen” to justify killing homosexuals. And one media outlet, Direland, has blasted the media holdings of Rupert Murdoch that includes Fox News Channel and The Times newspaper for publishing the subsequent Iranian government issued allegation of rape as matter of fact without mention of the previous stories before international condemnation bearing no such accusations.

According to Iranian newspapers, the two boys were given 228 lashes for their other convictions of theft, disrupting public order and public drinking before they were hanged in Edalat (“Justice” in English) Square in the Iranian city of Mashhad. The executioners, fearing reprisals, wore masks and anti-riot forces were mobilized to prevent outbreaks of public protests.

Photos of the execution released by Iranian Students News Agency showed the two teens crying in the truck driving them to the gallows in Justice Square, located in the northeastern region of the country.

Iran has been under fire by international human rights groups for executing teenagers in the past, including the 2004 execution of Atefeh Rajabi, a 16-year-old girl convicted of having sex before marriage. Medical reports, not allowed in the court, had stated that she was mentally ill.

Like many other Islamic countries, Iran enforces the religious sharia law, which allows for the execution of children, including girls aged nine or older and boys 15 and older.

Iranian officials have complained that the media has emphasized the teens’ ages. Deputy Ali Asgari said, “Whatever sentence is decreed by an Islamic penal system must be approved, unless proven otherwise… Instead of paying tribute to the action of the judiciary, the media are mentioning the age of the hanged criminals and creating a commotion that harms the interests of the state… Even if certain websites made a reference to their age, journalists should not pursue this. These individuals were corrupt. Their sentence was carried out with the approval of the judiciary and it served them right.”

Both teens were convicted by Court No. 19 under sharia law. The teens are identified only as “M.A.” and “A.M.” Those found having homosexual sex in Iran may face death by either hanging, stoning, cutting in half by a sword, or dropping from a tall building or cliff.

An ISNA report said the couple acknowledged having sexual relations with each other but said they were unaware of laws against homosexuality.

Another report, by Iran In Focus, claimed that the two were hanged not for gay sex, but rather for sexually assaulting a thirteen year old boy at knife point. Neither the original Iranian Student’s News Agency nor an additional report from the National Council of Resistance of Iran had this allegation, said the United Kingdom based Outrage. Direland Press has noted that the accusation of rape in reports came days after international outrage and detailed reports by other Iranian news agencies. They suggest the recent report is a ploy of the Iranian government to justify its actions.

“The allegation of sexual assault may either be a trumped-up charge to undermine public sympathy for the youths — a frequent tactic by the Islamist regime in Iran — or it may be that the 13-year-old was a willing participant but that Iranian law … deems that no person of that age is capable of sexual consent and that therefore any sexual contact is automatically deemed in law to be a sex assault,” said OutRage!’s Peter Tatchell.

“This is just the latest barbarity by the Islamo-fascists in Iran,” Tatchell remarked. “The entire country is a gigantic prison, with Islamic rule sustained by detention without trial, torture and state-sanctioned murder.”

Tatchell told reporters that according to Iranian human rights activists, more than 4,000 lesbians and gay men have been executed in Iran since the ayatollahs seized power in 1979. He said an estimated 100,000 Iranians have been executed in Iran since that time.

Reports also indicated that three other gay Iranian teenagers are reportedly being hunted by police, but they are said to have gone into hiding.

OutRage! requested the international community see Iran “as a pariah state” and to “break off diplomatic relations, impose trade sanctions, and give practical support to the democratic and left opposition inside Iran.”

The United Kingdom has a policy of constructive engagement with Iran, as does France and Germany, primarily directed at the resolution of the Iranian nuclear crisis.

European Union officials have been holding a human rights dialogue with Tehran, but last year the report by Human Rights Watch said that violations had increased since 2000.

In the Unites States, the Human Rights Campaign has called for U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to condemn the executions.

Childhood pneumonia can be cured at home
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Childhood pneumonia can be cured at home

Saturday, January 5, 2008

A new study by researchers of Boston University’s School of Public Health and colleagues sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO) shows children with severe pneumonia can be effectively treated at home and do not need to be hospitalized. This finding is hugely significant for developing countries where children cannot be brought to a hospital easily or where no hospitals exist.

Per the study the change of treatment could save many children’s lives and take pressure off health systems. Every year pneumonia kills 2 million children under the age of 5. The researchers found that antibiotics given at home could significantly reduce deaths.

The group examined 2,037 children between 3 to 59 months in seven areas in Pakistan. About half of them were given antibiotics and sent home while the other ones got intravenous antibiotics in the hospital. Both groups were found to show equal progress in healing off the illness.

Current WHO guidelines recommend that pneumonia should be treated in a hospital with injectable antibiotics. With the new study there are indicators that pneumonia can be treated just as effectively at home with oral antibiotics.

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