News briefs:May 26, 2010

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eBay removes Canadian town’s listing of sperm whale carcass

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Citing violations of its policy regarding “Marine mammal items”, eBay terminated an online listing on Monday by the town of Cape St. George, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, for a 40 ft (12 m) sperm whale carcass reportedly beached upon its shores about a week prior.

With an initial asking price of 99 cents, bidding for the carcass reportedly rose to C$238.03 within 15 bids. Reports variously state the final price of the whale, prior to the removal of the listing from the auction site on Monday at about 2:30pm, was C$2,025 or C$2,075. Listed in eBay’s “really weird” category, the carcass was considered by eBay to be an example of “items made from marine mammals regardless of when the product was made”, which are prohibited as per site rules.

Following a council meeting on Sunday in the town of 950 residents, Cape St. George’s mayor, Peter Fenwick, put the whale up on the auction site in a bid to have it removed from the town’s premises, citing a lack of cooperation from provincial and federal government officials on the matter. “It’s your problem, you solve it”, Fenwick recounted to The Globe and Mail (TGaM) as the response he received from them. Apart from eBay, Kijiji was also suggested as another avenue by which to sell the carcass.

Fenwick told CTV News, several years prior another sperm whale measuring 15 ft was beached in the area, but disappeared without incident, an act Fenwick attributed to be the work of Fisheries and Oceans Canada. “This time”, he remarked, “the authorities have told us that it’s our whale, it’s our responsibility to get rid of it.”

On putting the carcass for sale, Fenwick remarked, “We knew we had to do something with it and this seemed to be the least expensive way of disposing of it.” In a news release, Fenwick highlighted a possible use for the carcass, particularly its bones. “The 40 foot sperm whale will make a spectacular exhibit once the fat and muscle is removed, and the town is asking museums and other organizations that could use a whale skeleton to contact the town for further details.”

On retaining the whale himself, Fenwick stated, “As a town we would dearly love to keep the whale and put it on exhibit in the town but the cost of such a venture would be hard to justify.” Fenwick told TGaM the whale was “in half decent shape”. “This one looks like it died very recently and hasn’t decomposed much”, which Fenwick suggested elsewhere was due to the whale’s present location, partially submerged in near-freezing water. However, Fenwick noted its close proximity to a residential area, saying homeowners who lived there were “very interested in seeing the whale gone.”

eBay was not the only organization who barred the sale from taking place. “We also got threatened by the federal department of the environment, and told to pull the ad off or they would prosecute us”, said Fenwick on the opposition he said he received from Environment Canada, which viewed the sale as contravening a federal act designed to protect endangered species. “I received a call from the federal department of the environment saying that you’re not allowed to sell any parts of sperm whales, even if they’re dead.” he added. “So I said, ‘Oh that’s very good, I’m glad to hear that, now can you send somebody over here to get rid of it for us?'” Fenwick’s request was met with a negative response from Environment Canada.

“They’ve got to sort it out somehow. The uncertainty means it just sort of sits there and rots.” Once decomposition sets in, Fenwick remarked the carcass would become a “real nuisance”. “I don’t know if you’ve ever seen a whale that’s been rotting on the beach for a couple of months — actually sometimes you can’t see it for the clouds of flies around it — but you can smell it for about a mile”, he added.

On finding alternate means to dispose of the carcass, Wayne Ledwell, a member of Newfoundland’s Whale Release and Strandings, suggested the whale be towed out to a remote area. “They need to do that right away, when they come in and they’re fresh,” said Ledwell. “No one wants to go touch them … everything becomes gooey and slippery and you can’t stand up on the whale and it gets on your boots and you can’t get the smell off and then you go home and the dog rolls in it and you get it in your kitchen and you curse the whales, and you curse the government and … it becomes a mess.” Fenwick said they’d considered the idea, enlisting a local fisherman who, however, judged his engine too small for the job.

Previously, blue whale carcasses washed ashore in the towns of Trout River and Rocky Harbour, located about 150 km further north, and were taken by Royal Ontario Museum for preservation of the skeletons. Fenwick suggested the sperm whale carcass in his town might also meet a similar fate, as the sperm whale’s status as the largest toothed whale might prove to be a drawing attraction for such a facility.

Regarding what he plans to do next with the carcass, Fenwick said “If we’re not allowed to sell it, we’re willing to drop our 99 cent price down to a zero.” He said he hoped some eBay bidder stays interested in the whale. “We’ll be glad to talk to them about giving them the whale. We’re hoping that’s not illegal.” He also said he hoped the publicity from the town’s predicament, which garnered national attention, and its unusual means of finding a solution, would draw in someone interested in taking the whale off his hands at their own expense.

Should the whale fall under new ownership, Fenwick advised it be moved away from the town to a beach devoid of people, and the blubber left as food for seagulls, insects, and other predators. He estimated “It’ll probably take a year or so to get down to the skeleton.” As monetary gain was reportedly not what the town cared about, Fenwick was willing to offer the carcass for free, though one report noted money raised from the listing could have gone towards the building of a skate park.

The listing on eBay, as put up by Fenwick, read:

This 40 foot sperm whale rolled up on the beach last week. The actual seller is the town of Cape St. George which is responsible for disposing of it before it starts to decay. Once the fat and flesh is removed you have a spectacular 40 foot skeleton of the largest toothed whale in the world, great for museums and other attractions. To prevent it rotting in the town it can be towed to isolated beaches on the Port au Port Peninsula to allow the seagulls and other birds to remove the flesh. Call 709-644-2290 or 709-649-7070 for more details.

Please note the successful bidder will have to remove the whale within 30 days

Thai PM barred from politics, three parties dissolved

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Today’s ruling from Thailand’s Constitutional Court sees the Prime Minister, Somchai Wongsawat, removed from office, barred from politics, and the People’s Power Party (PPP) dissolved. The allegations leading to this were of vote buying in the last election.

The decision has already eased tension in the country, with the anti-government People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) announcing they will end their siege of Bangkok’s two main international airports. Red-shirted pro-government protesters were dismayed at the court’s decision. Initially they blockaded the Constitutional Court buildings to try and prevent the case being heard; following its relocation they moved on to the Administrative Court to protest a decision they claim is anti-democratic.

In addition to the PPP being disbanded and outlawed, two other parties in the ruling coalition were found guilty. The Chart Thai and Matchimathipataya parties were also outlawed and, between the three parties, 109 members barred from all involvement in the electoral process – including the right to vote. Among those disenfranchised were three ex-Prime Ministers. Those remaining from the executive of the outlawed parties have stated their intention to reform under a new name and attempt to continue in government.

Should those not disbarred hold a general election or, as reported, try to carry on in government?
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Prior to the PAD announcing that their airport blockades would end, another grenade attack at one of the airports killed one and injured around 20 other protesters. Yesterday saw the PAD announce plans to abandon the Government House compound they have occupied since August. Following numerous grenade attacks on their encampment there, they elected to move to the airport protest sites and leave what has become a regular target; it is expected to take until Thursday to remove all belongings accumulated at the key site since the August invasion.

Somchai, brother-in-law to the fugitive ex-PM Thaksin Shinawatra, has been a target of the PAD since he assumed the office following his predecessor being ousted over a conflict of interest issue. The PPP and Somchai are seen as a proxy for Thaksin and his banned Thai Rak Thai party, which the military overthrew in a bloodless coup in 2006.

Apple introduces iPhone and Apple TV

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Apple Inc. today has introduced the much-anticipated iPhone at the Macworld Conference in San Francisco.

The iPhone is claimed to be “a revolutionary mobile phone” as stated on the Apple website. The device appears to be running a mobile version of the Apple operating system Mac OSX. It is approximately the same size as a 5th generation iPod, it has a 3.5-inch LCD touchscreen display that is used to access all features of the phone including number dial, as well as making phone calls. The iPhone plays music, movies, displays pictures and is able to connect to a wireless network.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveiled the device by walking onto the stage and taking the iPhone out of his jeans pocket. During his 2 hour speech he stated that “Today Apple is going to reinvent the phone, We are going to make history today”.

Today Apple also released their Media Center device – Apple TV. It will directly compete with Microsoft’s Media Center operating system. Apple has taken a different approach to the media center market; rather than storing content (such as movies, music and photos) on the device, Apple TV connects to a computer (Mac and Windows) over a wirless network connection and plays all content stored on that computer. This makes it substantially easier for users to organize their media content.

Celebrities draw attention on 2008 UK New Year Honours list

Saturday, December 29, 2007

I am almost as surprised as I am honoured. I feel deeply touched to be acknowledged by the UK, my adopted home, in this way.


In an annual tradition, Queen Elizabeth II gave out honours in the 2008 U.K. New Year Honours list today. Chat show host Michael Parkinson is to be knighted, Australian singer Kylie Minogue was made a member of the Order of the British Empire (for services to music), and actor Ian McKellen (who played Gandalf in the Lord of the Rings trilogy) joined the exclusive Order of the Companions of Honour, which is limited to only 65 members.

Knighthood was awarded to professor Ian Wilmut, who led the team that cloned Dolly the sheep. The list also includes honours for those involved in flood rescue work during 2007 such as Salvation Army Captain Tracey Palmer (who was made a Member of the British Empire, MBE) and Leslie Adams from York. Tom Kelly, who was an official spokesperson for Tony Blair, entered the Order of the Bath.

599 of the 972 awards this year went to ordinary members of the public, who mostly received MBE’s.

The honours are awarded by the Queen after advice from the Prime Minister, Gordon Brown. It is published in the London Gazette, an official publication of the monarchy.

Other recipients of honours include:

  • Jacqueline Wilson, Children’s authour
  • Brian Ashton, England Rugby coach
  • Jasper Conran, Designer
  • Karen Millen, Designer
  • Steve Furber, Industrial designer
  • Des Lynam, TV Sports presenter
  • George Alagiah, Journalist
  • Julie Walters, Actress
  • Richard Griffiths, Actor
  • Leslie Phillips
  • Nicholas Kenyon, BBC proms organiser
  • Brendan Foster, Athlete
  • John Higgins, Snooker champion
  • Andy Trotter
  • Nuala O’Loan

As in past years the honours list has included honours for those involved in charity work,education and social activisim, such as :

  • Marjorie Wallace,
  • Michele Elliott
  • Alasdair Macdonald, Headmaster
  • Professor Sir Timothy O’Shea, Vice Chancellor of Edinburgh university.

Wikinews interviews former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson, presidential nominee of the Libertarian Party

Monday, November 5, 2012

With the U.S. presidential election looming, former New Mexico governor and current Libertarian Party presidential nominee Gary Johnson spoke with Wikinews reporter William S. Saturn on an assortment of economic, foreign, and social issues. In the interview, Johnson makes his final plea to voters before they cast their ballots on Election Day, November 6.

Though a member of the Libertarian Party in the early 1990s, Johnson was elected and re-elected governor of New Mexico in 1994 and 1998 as a Republican. During his governorship, he vetoed over 750 bills, more than all other then-governors combined, and left the state with a $1 billion budget surplus. He briefly ran for president as a Republican in 2011 before rejoining the Libertarian Party to seek its 2012 presidential nomination.

After winning the nomination this past May, Johnson has campaigned throughout the nation espousing the Fair Tax, spending cuts across the board, a repeal of Obamacare, an audit of the Federal Reserve, a non-interventionist foreign policy, an end to the Drug War, and legalization of same-sex marriage. He and his running mate, Judge Jim Gray of California, have attained ballot access in all U.S. states except Michigan, where he is a write-in candidate, and Oklahoma. Nationally, he has received four percent registered-voter support in the past two CNN/Opinion Research Polls that included him with President Barack Obama, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and Green Party nominee Jill Stein. It is the campaign’s goal to reach five percent on Election Day, which will enable the party to receive ballot access and federal funding on par with the two major parties.

With Wikinews, Johnson discusses the federal budget, education, entitlements, the Syrian uprising, Mexican Drug War, same-sex marriage, the Libertarian Party, and his political future.


  • 1 Economic matters
  • 2 Foreign affairs
  • 3 Social issues
  • 4 Libertarian Party and political future
  • 5 Related news
  • 6 Sources

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Wikinews Shorts: March 7, 2007

A compilation of brief news reports for Wednesday, March 7, 2007.

The European Union has banned the 35 planes in the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) 45 aircraft fleet from flying in EU airspace. The reason provided by EU was that these plans do not fulfill the safety requirement for international planes and thus were banned. PIA has redeployed its Boeing 777 jets from US to EU flights to facilitate passengers in Europe. Flights PK 782 and PK 790 are still running on time from Toronto in Canada.


The Oklahoma Senate approved a bill introduced by lawmaker Patrick Anderson of Enid that enables police to seize vehicles when drivers fail to produce proof of insurance. The bill was tacked onto a measure to prohibit inserting microchips into people without their permission. 91,000 drivers have been ticketed for lack of insurance in Oklahoma to date.


The New Orleans Saints have released All-Pro wide receiver Joe Horn because of money issues. The Saints hope to draft LSU (Louisiana State University) wide receiver DeWayne Bowe in the NFL Draft to fill Horn’s place.


Australian MPs suggest Australia and New Zealand unification

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

A committee of Australian MPs have suggested that Australia and New Zealand become a single nation in the future. The suggestion follows an investigation into harmonising the countries’ legal systems.

The two countries are separated by 1900 km (1200 miles) of sea. Australia has a population of 20 million, while New Zealand has a population of 4 million.

Prior to 1901, New Zealand was considered one of the seven British colonies of Australasia, six of which united to form Australia in 1901.

The committee, which had representatives from both sides of Australian politics found that there were close ties between the two countries. People are free to move between the two countries without visas and there is a high-degree of co-operation between governments. The committee’s report said “While New Zealand ultimately chose not to join the federation, it is still included in the definition of the states in the Australian constitution.

“This historical context forms a backdrop to the closeness and breadth of the relationship between Australia and New Zealand today.

“While Australia and New Zealand are, of course, two sovereign nations, it seems to the committee that the strong ties between the two countries – the economic, cultural, migration, defence, governmental, and people to people linkages – suggest that an even closer relationship, including the possibility of union, is both desirable and realistic.”

Chairman of the committee, Peter Slipper said Australia now wished for another committee to be established to look at integration between the two nations in the future. Such a committee would be poised to look at monetary and national union.

The committee acknowledged that despite legal harmonisation being relatively easy, the merger of the two countries could be difficult. “The committee is also mindful that the harmonisation of laws is very much the art of the possible. Thus the merger of Australia and New Zealand or the progression to a unitary system of government in Australia, however desirable, might not be easy to achieve,” the committee’s report said.

The suggestion has received a cold reception in New Zealand. New Zealand’s citizens have regularly rejected suggestions that their country be part of Australia, a sentiment echoed by Prime Minister Helen Clark. Mrs Clark said she had no intention of placing the proposal on the government’s agenda.

“It won’t be on our agenda 105 years later”, she said.

New Zealand’s Foreign Minister, Winston Peters dismissed the proposal calling it a case of “parliamentary adventurism”. He said despite the two countries close relationship, the two countries were too geographically separated. “New Zealand is 1200 miles (1900 km) away from Australia and that’s 1200 reasons why I don’t go along with that committee, nor will New Zealanders,” Mr Peters said.

News briefs:August 5, 2010

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