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Sweden’s Crown Princess marries long-time boyfriend

Monday, June 21, 2010

Sweden’s first royal wedding since 1976 took place Saturday when Crown Princess Victoria, 32, married her long-time boyfriend and former personal trainer, Daniel Westling, 36. The ceremony took place at Stockholm Cathedral.

Over 1,200 guests, including many rulers, politicians, royals and other dignitaries from across the world, attended the wedding, which cost an estimated 20 million Swedish kronor. Victoria wore a wedding dress with five-metre long train designed by Pär Engsheden. She wore the same crown that her mother, Queen Silvia, wore on her wedding day 34 years previously, also on June 19. Victoria’s father, King Carl XVI Gustaf, walked Victoria down the aisle, which was deemed untraditional by many. In Sweden, the bride and groom usually walk down the aisle together, emphasising the country’s views on equality. Victoria met with Daniel half-way to the altar, where they exchanged brief kisses, and, to the sounds of the wedding march, made their way to the the silver altar. She was followed by ten bridesmaids. The couple both had tears in their eyes as they said their vows, and apart from fumbling when they exchanged rings, the ceremony went smoothly.

Following the ceremony, the couple headed a fast-paced procession through central Stockholm on a horse-drawn carriage, flanked by police and security. Up to 500,000 people are thought to have lined the streets. They then boarded the Vasaorden, the same royal barge Victoria’s parents used in their wedding, and traveled through Stockholm’s waters, accompanied by flyover of 18 fighter jets near the end of the procession. A wedding banquet followed in the in the Hall of State of the Royal Palace.

Controversy has surrounded the engagement and wedding between the Crown Princess and Westling, a “commoner”. Victoria met Westling as she was recovering from bulemia in 2002. He owned a chain of gymnasiums and was brought in to help bring Victoria back to full health. Westling was raised in a middle-class family in Ockelbo, in central Sweden. His father managed a social services centre, and his mother worked in a post office. When the relationship was made public, Westling was mocked as an outsider and the king was reportedly horrified at the thought of his daughter marrying a “commoner”, even though he did so when he married Silvia. Last year, Westling underwent transplant surgery for a congenital kidney disorder. The Swedish public have been assured that he will be able to have children and that his illness will not be passed on to his offspring.

Westling underwent years of training to prepare for his new role in the royal family, including lessons in etiquette, elocution, and multi-lingual small talk; and a makeover that saw his hair being cropped short, and his plain-looking glasses and clothes being replaced by designer-wear.

Upon marrying the Crown Princess, Westling took his wife’s ducal title and is granted the style “His Royal Highness”. He is now known as HRH Prince Daniel, Duke of Västergötland. He also has his own coat-of-arms and monogram. When Victoria assumes the throne and becomes Queen, Daniel will not become King, but assume a supportive role, similar to that of Prince Phillip, the husband of the United Kingdom’s Queen Elizabeth II.

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Cuban cyclist Pedro Pablo Perez to miss Olympics after car crash

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Pedro Pablo Perez, a Cuban cyclist who had qualified for the Olympics in Beijing, will miss the event after a car crash left him in a coma with brain trauma.

Perez is receiving treatment at the Abel Santamaria hospital, in the province of Pinar del Rio where the accident took place. Details are unclear, but it is known Perez was driving the car at the time when the crash occurred in San Cristobal. It has not been reported by Cuban media if anyone else was in the car, or if other vehicles were involved, but it is known his wife, 2004 world scratch cycling champion Yoanka Gonzalez, was not present.

He received “cerebral … lacerations and remains in a coma” according to state newspaper Granma.

Perez, 31, has won the Tour of Cuba five times, competed in the 2000 Sydney Games and received medals at the 1999 and 2003 Pan American Games.

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UK government loses personal information of 25 million people

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

British Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling announced to a shocked House of Commons today that two password-protected — but not encrypted — computer disks containing the entire Child Benefit database have been lost in transit between the offices of Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) in Washington, Tyne & Wear and the National Audit Office (NAO) in London, in what has been described as “one of the world’s biggest ID protection failures”.

The database contains details of all families in the UK who receive Child Benefit — all families with children up to 16 years of age, plus those with children up to 20 years old if they are in full-time education or training — estimated to contain 25 million individuals in 7.25 million families. Among other items of information, the database contains names, addresses, dates of birth, child benefit and National Insurance numbers, and where appropriate, bank or building society account details.

The discs were created by a junior official at the HMRC in response to a request for information by the NAO, and were sent unregistered and unrecorded on 18 October using the courier company TNT — which operates the HMRC’s internal mail system. When it was found that the discs had not arrived for audit at the NAO, a further copy of this data was made and sent — this time by registered mail — and this package did arrive. HMRC were not informed that the original discs had been lost until 8 November, and Darling himself was informed on 10 November.

The violation of data protection laws involved in the creation of the discs has led to strong attacks on the government’s competence to establish the proposed National Identity Register, when all UK residents will have an identity card. Conservative Shadow Chancellor George Osborne described the loss of data as “catastrophic” and said “They [the government] simply cannot be trusted with people’s personal information”.

The Chairman of HMRC, Paul Gray, has resigned over the affair, and critics are calling for Darling to do likewise.

This is the third data embarrassment for HMRC in recent weeks — earlier this month it was reported that the details of over 15,000 Standard Life customers had been put on disk, and then lost en route from HMRC in Newcastle to Standard Life in Edinburgh — and last month a laptop containing the data of 400 people with high-value ISAs was stolen from the boot of a car belonging to a HMRC official who had been carrying out a routine audit.

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Ukraine opposition candidate Yushchenko is suffering from a Dioxin intoxication, doctors say

Saturday, December 11, 2004

VIENNA —Doctors from the Rudolfinerhaus clinic in Vienna say “there is no doubt” Ukrainian opposition leader Victor Yushchenko was poisoned with Dioxin.

Yushchenko’s body had about 1,000 times more than the normal concentration of the toxin. It is unknown if there were any other poisons in his system.

Although it has not yet been proven that the poisoning was deliberate, doctors suspect it was. “We suspect a cause triggered by a third party,” said Michael Zimpfer, head doctor at the Rudolfinerhaus clinic. He suggested the poison may have been administered orally, through food or drink.

Today’s announcements are a follow-up of an earlier press conference, where Dr. Korpan that there were three hypotheses under consideration, one of them involving dioxin. He did not reveal what the other two hypotheses were. Dr. Michael Zimpfer, director of the Rudolfinerhaus clinic emphasized that time there was no proof yet to specify the substance causing the illness.

Yushchenko left Kiev on Friday (2004-10-12) for further examination in Vienna. When Yushchenko fell ill on October 6th, Ukrainian doctors had initially diagnosed food poisoning, leading to speculation that he had been poisoned deliberately. The illness has disfigured Yushchenko’s body and face which doctors say could take up to two years to heal.

He fell seriously ill on the September 6th, during his presidential campaign. Yushchenko was taken to the Rudolfinerhaus clinic of Vienna, where he stayed for four days under Dr. Korpan’s care. He was diagnosed with “acute pancreatitis, accompanied by interstitial edematous changes.” These symptoms were said to be due to “a serious viral infection and chemical substances which are not normally found in food products” as his campaign officials put it. In laymans terms, he developed an infection in the pancreas and got a bad skin condition that disfigured his face with cysts and lesions. The skin condition has similarities with the chloracne associated with dioxin posioning according to a British toxicologist John Henry.

  • nu.nl (Dutch)
  • BBC News
  • “Is Viktor Joesjtsjenko vergiftigd?” — Brabants Dagblad, 26 November 2004
  • Jeremy Page. “Who poisoned Yushchenko?” — The Times, 8 December 2004
  • Federica Castellani. “Yushchenko’s acne points to dioxin poisoning” — Nature.com, 8 December 2004

Earlier, doctor Nikolai Korpan of Rudolfinerhaus clinic confirmed today that the illness of Ukrainian presidential candidate Viktor Yushchenko was caused by an attempt to kill him.

  • Ukraine political crisis – Wikinews’ special coverage portal

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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.