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Hundreds of thousands rally in Australia against IR legislation

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

People rallied in 300 locations across Australia today to protest the Federal Government’s proposed changes to industrial relations laws, WorkChoices. According to police, around 150,000 people congregated in Melbourne, from where speeches were broadcast throughout the country. In Sydney, thirty thousand gathered in Belmore Park and Martin Place to watch the broadcast before marching to Chifley Square.

Sharan Burrow, President of the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU), said that under the changes many working conditions would be under threat, including “penalty rates, public holidays, overtime pay, control over rostered hours, shift penalties, even 4 weeks annual leave.” The government has claimed, despite various expert assesment to the contrary, and opposition from major Australian religious and charity organisations and some concern from its own backbench, that the IR changes will improve the economy and ultimately benefit workers, and dismissed the protests as having “little effect”.

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More than 100,000 protest against workplace reforms across Australia

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Across Australia more than 100,000 people have rallied to protest against the federal government’s controversial Workchoices workplace reforms. According to estimates by police, the largest rally was held in Melbourne where more than 80,000 people were thought to be in attendance. The earlier protest in Sydney attracted some 30,000 protesters.

Smaller protests were held in other cities throughout the country.

At most rallies, members of the opposition and union leaders addressed the crowd, criticising the Howard government’s changes. Under the Workchoices system, centralised wage fixing was abolished and meal breaks, holidays and working hours became negotiable. Businesses with less than 100 employees were also given increased powers to dismiss workers. Unions and the opposition claim that the system will reduce worker’s rights and wages.

Australian federal opposition leader, Kim Beazley attended the Melbourne rally where he addressed the crowd. He said those who attended the rallies were patriots who were standing up to defend the Australian lifestyle. “This is a battle for ordinary Australian life,” he said

“This is a battle for Australian families. It’s also a battle for basic dignity in the workplace.

“You are the people that made this nation what it is.

“You are the builders of this nation. You are the true Australian patriots.”

Mr Beazley again promised that a government under his leadership would abolish the reforms.

“When we get into office in 18 months time, we will rip up these laws,” he said.

“Then we are going to put in place laws based on true Australian values.”

The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), which represents a large number of employers in Australia said the total number of protesters across Australia was less than 150, 000 and labelled the protests as a day of “inaction”, despite unions calling for a “day of action”.

Peter Hendy, chief executive of the ACCI said the turnout figure is less than 10 per cent of the membership of the Australian Council of Trade Unions, which encouraged workers to participate in a “national day of action” to “protect rights at work”

Mr Hendy said only 2 percent of Australian workers participated in the protests.

South Australia Unions secretary, Janet Giles said the protests showed the dislike ordinary workers have for the laws.

“What today’s demonstrated is that the momentum of this campaign is not waning, that union members, workers, community members are out today again to say we’re still determined to campaign against these laws,” she said.

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Dr. Joseph Merlino on sexuality, insanity, Freud, fetishes and apathy

Friday, October 5, 2007

You may not know Joseph Merlino, but he knows about you and what makes you function. He knows what turns you on and he knows whether it is a problem for you. Merlino, who is the psychiatry adviser to the New York Daily News, is one of the more accomplished psychiatrists in his field and he is the Senior Editor of the forthcoming book, Freud at 150: 21st Century Essays on a Man of Genius. The battle over interpreting Freud’s legacy still rages, a testament to the father of psychoanalysis and his continuing impact today.

On the eve of the book’s publication, Wikinews reporter David Shankbone went to the Upper East Side of Manhattan to discuss the past and future of Freud and psychoanalysis with Dr. Merlino, one of the preeminent modern psychoanalysts. Shankbone took the opportunity to ask about what insanity is, discuss aberrant urges, reflect upon sadomasochism (“I’m not considered an expert in that field,” laughed Dr. Merlino), and the hegemony of heterosexuality.

Dr. Merlino posits that absent structural, biochemical or physiological defects, insanity and pathology are relative and in flux with the changing culture of which you are a part. So it is possible to be sane and insane all in one day if, for instance, you are gay and fly from the United Kingdom to Saudi Arabia.

Contents

  • 1 What is normal and what is insane?
  • 2 Homosexuality and psychiatry
  • 3 Sigmund Freud
  • 4 Gender identity and Heteronormativity
  • 5 Sadomasochism
  • 6 Paraphilias, urges and fetishes
  • 7 Cultural psychology in the United States today
  • 8 *About Joseph Merlino
  • 9 Sources

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Seventeen injured after coach overturns near Oxford, England

Monday, December 13, 2010

At least seventeen people were admitted to an Oxford hospital after a coach, operated by the Oxford Tube service, overturned while exiting the M40 motorway near Thame, Saturday evening. There were no other vehicles involved according to Thames Valley Police.

The incident took place at around 2300 GMT Saturday night at junction seven of the M40 near Milton Common, when a coach, belonging to the Oxford Tube service, overturned on a slip road. A police spokesperson stated “The exit slip at junction seven was closed, as well as the A329 in both directions either side of the M40. The coach is in the process of being recovered from the motorway.” The motorway itself remained open.

Sergeant Steve Blackburn of Thames Valley Police stated that “The vast majority [of passengers] were walking wounded or not injured at all and were released either at the scene or shortly after receiving some treatment.”

John Nixon from Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue noted that the coach was lying on its side on an embankment, stating that his crews’ priority had been to stabilise the coach. He added, “There were people laid on the side of the embankment, on the road, covered in space-type blankets to keep them warm”

Although there were no fatalities, five of the injured required surgery, which was undertaken at Oxford’s John Radcliffe hospital. Of the other admissions, a number were discharged by Sunday morning.

A spokesperson for the Oxford Tube was quoted by the BBC as stating that, “Safety is our absolute priority and our immediate thoughts are with those who have been injured in the accident.” They added, “We will be carrying out our own internal investigation and assisting the police in any way that we can with their inquiries into the accident.”

Police have already begun an investigation into the cause of the accident and have requested witnesses come forward.

Anyone who witnessed the incident is asked to contact Three Mile Cross roads policing unit via Thames Valley Police’s 24-hour Enquiry Centre on 08458 505 505

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BBC Radio Bristol presenter fired over ‘racist’ phone call

Thursday, November 13, 2008

A United Kingdom radio presenter with the BBC was fired on Saturday, and replaced, after an allegedly racist off-air phone call. Sam Mason of BBC Radio Bristol had earlier called up a taxi firm to arrange a booking for her 14-year-old daughter.

Mason asked the operator not to send an Asian cab driver. She said, “A guy with a turban on is going to freak her out.” After the operator refused Mason snapped back claiming, “You’ve managed it before.”

The original female operator had passed the call over to another operator. Mason then accused the first of having “a bad attitude”, and said, “I work at the BBC. I’m far from racist and that uneducated woman has no right to call me one.” The call then ended but she called back to complain.

The female operator who took the call was also fired from her job for illegally recording the call.

A statement from the taxi firm stated that “We confirm that a telephone call from Radio Bristol presenter Sam Mason to the company was illegally recorded by an employee. That employee was dismissed for similar offences on 3 November.”

A copy of the call was sent to British tabloid The Sun, which broke the story on Tuesday. The Sun informed the BBC.

A guy with a turban on is going to freak her out.

A BBC spokesman said: “Although Sam Mason’s remarks were not made on-air, her comments were completely unacceptable and, for that reason, she has been informed that she will no longer be working for the BBC with immediate effect.”

According to BBC News, Mason, who worked at the station for only six weeks, was unavailable for comment.

The incident comes just weeks after the Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross prank call scandal involving Fawlty Towers actor Andrew Sachs.

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Inquiry blames surgical failures for Scottish patient deaths

Friday, February 17, 2012

A fatal accident inquiry concluded three patients who underwent keyhole surgery to remove their gall bladders died as a result of mistakes during, and after, the operations. Agnes Nicol, George Johnstone, and Andrew Ritchie died within a three-month period in 2006 whilst in the care of NHS Lanarkshire in Scotland.

Later expanded to look at all three deaths, the inquiry initially established to look into the case of Nicol, 50, who received surgery in late 2005. A surgeon at Wishaw General Hospital mistakenly cut her bile duct and her right hepatic artery. Whilst suturing her portal vein, her liver was left with 20% of its normal blood supply; the errors were not discovered until her transfer to liver specialists at Edinburgh’s Royal Infirmary.

By then, her liver was seriously damaged. She developed septicaemia, dying from multiple organ failure in March 2006.

Johnstone, 54, underwent the same procedure at Monklands District General Hospital on May 9, 2006. A consultant surgeon accidentally damaged, possibly severing, his bile duct. He died two days later in intensive care from the combined effects of multiple organ failure and a heart ailment.

Ritchie, 62, died in intensive care a week after an operation in June 2006. He died from intra abdominal haemorrhage caused by errors during the surgery.

Different surgeons were involved each time and the inquiry, under Sheriff Robert Dickson, found no evidence of poor training or inadequate experience. Dickson noted that in each case there was lack of action on a “growing body of evidence that there was something fundamentally wrong with the patient” and surgeons failed to contemplate their own actions as potentially responsible. He agreed with two professors that it may have been possible to save their lives “had the post-operative care been to the standard which they expected, and had there been a proper management plan which staff could have worked to” and noted that all the patients suffered from a lack of adequate medical notes being available after their surgery. He described the care as having “clear faults”.

NHS Lanarkshire has issued an apology, saying they “did fall below the high standards of care we aim to maintain in these cases and this has been extremely distressing for the patients’ families. We would like to take this opportunity to apologise to them.” The health board added improvements had been made regarding “these types of cases” as well as with document management.

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Saudi Arabia plans to open embassy in Finland

Saturday, October 20, 2007

It has been announced that Saudi Arabia is planning to open an official embassy in Finland, to signify continuing improvement in relations between the two countries.

Teemu Tanner, director general of Africa and the Middle East at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, said to reporters concerning Finnish President Tarja Halonen’s first visit to Saudi Arabia on Sunday, “One indication of this visit is that you (Saudi Arabia) are planning to open an embassy here in Helsinki,” adding that “We regard this as extremely important for relations,” and that it is only a matter of time before the facility is made available.

Another act set to strengthen diplomatic relations is the planned visit of a trade delegation headed by Saudi Minister of Trade and Commerce Hashim Yamani, which will arrive in Finland next month.

“Our relationship is no longer in relation to trade,” said Tanner. “More broadly, we will discuss regional and global issues. It is extremely important for us to know Saudi Arabia’s views on Iraq, Iran, but also issues such as Somalia… One objective of the visit is to convey notes on international questions, as we enter a very interesting phase in the Middle East peace process,” adding that the presidential visit is a relational “landmark” that will “crystallize” Finland’s image to Saudi Arabia.

Despite the comment that the international cooperation is no longer entirely a trade issue, he did point out Saudi Arabia’s important role in the Finnish economy as one of the five largest importers of Finnish products. Finland’s main exports to Saudi Arabia are mobile phones, paper, wood and machinery, while Saudi Arabia exports large quantities of raw materials for use in manufacturing plastics. The total volume if this trade is estimated to be worth over €840 million.

Other topics on the table for the two nations to discuss during Halonen’s visit include energy, the role of science, environmental issues and combating terrorism, as well as other global issues. Tanner has also suggested tourism may be a future area of attention, with a possibility of package holidays for Finnish tourists being organized to Saudi Arabia.

Finland and Saudi Arabia have been officially involved in diplomatic relations since 1969. Finland has maintained an embassy in Saudi Arabia since 1974.

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Wikinews Shorts: March 15, 2007

A compilation of brief news reports for Thursday, March 15, 2007.

Contents

  • 1 Potter #7 to break Potter #6’s record
  • 2 Harry Potter to appear on French stamps
  • 3 Wal-Mart’s package reduction strategy results
  • 4 TV show about a card game to launch in Canada
  • 5 Wind tunnel free-fall record set

12 million copies of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows will be printed by American publisher Scholastic, a record setting number for the first edition of any book.

The immensely popular book series will break Scholastic’s previous record first printing, for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, which sold 6.9 million copies in its first 24 hours of release.

The first six books have sold a total of 325 million copies worldwide.

The Deathly Hallows will be released July 21, at 12:01 am EST.

Sources

Photos of the Harry Potter movie cast will appear on French stamps and stationery.

La Poste will release the three designs this weekend, with the following rate/design combinations:

  • Priority domestic: Harry Potter
  • Slow domestic: Ron Weasley
  • International: Hermoine Granger

The Harry Potter characters have appeared on stamps in Australia, the Isle of Man, and Taiwan, as well as numerous smaller nations that depend on stamp sales to foreigners. Canada has issued non-circulation coins of many of the characters, based on the movie actors’ appearances.

Sources

After launching its Packaging Scorecard initiative on February 1, Wal-Mart has released its first in-store packaging reduction results.

On February 1, Wal-Mart announced that its trying to reduce packaging by 5% as of 2013. Their vendor site has been visited by 2268 companies, and 117 products have been entered into their sustainability calculator. It determines the score based on the amount of greenhouse gas emissions created by production, materials, product-to-packing ratio, and “cube utilization”, how space efficient the product can be shipped.

Buyers will be able to log onto the website in 2008, to make their purchasing decisions.

Beyond attracting environmentally conscientious customers, this move will save Wal-Mart USD$3.4 billion over the next five years.

Sources

European trading card game-turned-television series Chaotic will air in North America for the first time March 16. Canada’s Teletoon animation channel has scheduled the series to appear regularly Sunday mornings.

The series helps viewers learn game strategies for the game. Unlike most card games, kids are encouraged to play virtually; once they purchase a pack, they type in special codes on the cards to access those characters online.

The plot of Card Captors Sakura was based around a card game, while the Pokemon game is a famous spin-off products, based on the series and video game.

Chaotic was also the name of Britney Spears and Kevin Federline’s reality television series.

Sources

Andy Scott of Marsh Gibbon, England just set the world record for “free falling distance in a vertical wind tunnel”.

By balancing himself in the jet of air for one hour, 18 minutes and 52 seconds, Scott, 37, fell the equivilent of 130 miles at the Airkix Windtunnel in Milton Keynes.

Vertical windtunnels were originally created so that free fall parachutists could safely practice positioning themselves, before making actual real life attempts.

The record has yet to be officially confirmed with Guinness World Records.

Sources

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Photoessay: The Idiotarod: When Good Shopping Carts Go Bad

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Washington, D.C. —When you mix a shopping cart, six team members, bar hopping and bonus points for schmoozing bar hostesses and sabotaging your enemies, you get the annual Washington, D.C. Idiotarod race. On Saturday, this bizarre fund raising event, which originated in San Francisco 13 years ago, pitted teams of “sleds” together to race from bar to bar in Washington, D.C.’s fashionable Dupont Circle and Adams Morgan neighborhoods. Each “sled” consists of a “borrowed” shopping cart and six human dogs to pull the cart. Points are given for originality, the best time and best sabotage of another sled.

The race is held to benefit the Arlington Food Assistance Center and is organized by Ellen Shortill and Kristen Heatherly. Their organization, called “SMASHED” or “Society for Mature Adults Seeking to Help, Entertain and Donate”, takes the position that donating small amounts many times ultimately benefits the smaller charities. Said Shortill, “Our goal is simply to have fun and raise money for those charities that don’t really get any attention.”

The race this year consisted of 22 teams. Although team “Save NOLA” got to the last bar first, teams can win bonus points for (among other things) flirting with bar hosts and hostesses at any of the five bars along the route. The route is approximately 3 miles long, and each team is required to spend at least 20 minutes in each bar. Heatherly noted that “it doesn’t matter who got here first, ultimately its the team with the most credits and the best time that wins.”

Unique among the participants are brothers Pete and Chris Magnuson who are attempting to get on the 10th edition of Amazing Race on CBS. Their team called “Pick Pete and Chris” ran through the streets with t-shirts hawking their website and their fervent desire to be chosen for the next edition of the television show.

“Its not really about who wins, its that we get to have a blast and raise some money,” said Shortill. The charity event raised about $500 and various canned goods for the food pantry.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.
This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.

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Fire ruins historical building of Prague Exhibition Grounds

Friday, October 17, 2008

The left wing of the Industrial Palace (Pr?myslový palác) – central building of the Prague Exhibition Grounds (Výstavišt?) in the capital city of Czech Republic was destroyed by fire yesterday night. The fire began at the roof and flames were visible from kilometers away. Two hundred firefighters fought the fire and got it under control in less than three hours. Two firefighters suffered minor injuries.

The left wing of the Art Nouveau building was destroyed, the roof and most of enclosure walls collapsed. The amount of damage can rise up to 1 billion Czech crowns (approx. 40 million euro). Although a student music festival was organized in close surroundings, none were injured.

Mayor of Prague Pavel Bém promised the city will rebuild the Palace, but refused to comment immediately on the view of the new or renewed building.

The Industrial Palace was inaugurated in 1891. It was the biggest building on the exhibition grounds. Architect Bed?ich Münzberger used the glassed-in steel structures for the first time in the Czech lands. The building was 238 meters long and its main tower was 51 meters tall. It was used mainly for trade fairs and exhibitions, but also for concerts and other culture events.

The cause of the fire is under investigation, and could take a week to discover the cause. Press reports suggest the fire is connected to the October 9 murder of businessman Václav Ko?ka junior, whose father is engaged in the Incheba company and has been leasing the exhibition grounds since 2001. Václav Ko?ka senior is a friend of former Czech prime minister Ji?í Paroubek. However, authorities mentioned an accident – explosion of pressure gas cylinder – was the probable cause. Incheba said they have video of the explosion recorded from the security cameras.