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Volkswagen engulfed by diesel emissions scandal

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Chief Executive of Volkswagen Martin Winterkorn issued on Sunday a public apology and announced an outside inquiry would be carried out, after the company became engulfed in a scandal about diesel emissions tests.

Over the weekend there were damaging revelations that the car manufacturer has been using illegal software to enable diesel cars to cheat on mandatory emissions tests.

An investigation into alleged breaches of environmental law was originally initiated on the advice of the International Council on Clean Transportation, a European NGO. The United States Environmental Protection Agency requested tests be carried out by West Virginia University, where the secret software was discovered.

Volkswagen has suffered a significant drop of almost a fifth in the value of its shares. There have been knock-on effects for other car manufacturers who have also seen their share values fall after suggestions that the scandal could extend much further than just Volkswagen.

The company will have to foot the bill for the recall of close to 500,000 VW and Audi cars. There is also the possibility of paying federal fines of up to US$18 billion dollars because the US Clean Air Act sets a maximum fine of US$37,500 for each vehicle that contravenes the requirements of the Act.

The software, known as a “defeat device”, enabled cars to identify when they were being tested and to switch on the emission control system. The devices may have been adding urea to the car exhaust because that would reduce the amount of nitrogen dioxide. The car would release a fraction of the nitrogen oxide compared to when they were being driven normally. Emissions of nitrogen oxide contribute to smog and are thought to have caused a rise in respiratory illnesses like asthma.

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Crude oil prices reach one-year high

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Prices for crude oil reached a one-year high on Friday, as increasing industrial production in the United States raised hopes that the economic recession might be easing.

US Crude oil futures gained for the seventh straight day, and has increased by 12.9% since October 7, and is now just above US$78 a barrel. The move came after a report released by the US Federal Reserve indicated a 0.7% rise in factory output.

Brent crude oil was also up, gaining 76 cents to reach $76.99.

Paul Crovo, an oil analyst based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for PNC Capital Advisors, said that there were increasing hopes that the economy would rebound. “There continues to be optimism about an economic rebound. Prices have been rising on speculation that this will lead to a tightening of the supply-demand balance going forward,” he said.

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Reflections, Lichtenstein, two new exhibitions at Edinburgh’s Modern One

Saturday, March 14, 2015

This weekend saw the opening of two new exhibitions at Edinburgh’s National Gallery of Modern Art. Wikinews attended Thursday’s press preview for the event where a full contingent of the capital’s press turned out to see the striking collection of paintings, photographs, and other works. Presented below are a selection of images captured at the preview.

REFLECTIONS: A Series of Changing Displays of Contemporary Art, billed as a showcase of a “diverse range of internationally-renowned contemporary and modern artists” is to display major works from the Gallery’s permanent collection, alongside important loans. Alongside this broad range of works, a three-room display of pieces on-loan from the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation — with a dramatic painted steel relief, ‘borrowed’ from the Tate in London — runs from March 14 through to January 10 next year.

Admission to both exhibitions is free; being located in Dean, to the north-west of Edinburgh’s city centre, a free Gallery bus service is available.

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Canada’s Parkdale—High Park (Ward 13) city council candidates speak

This exclusive interview features first-hand journalism by a Wikinews reporter. See the collaboration page for more details.

Monday, October 30, 2006

On November 13, Torontoians will be heading to the polls to vote for their ward’s councillor and for mayor. Among Toronto’s ridings is Parkdale—High Park (Ward 13). Two candidates responded to Wikinews’ requests for an interview. This ward’s candidates include Linda Coltman, David Garrick, Greg Hamara, Aleksander Oniszczak, Bill Saundercook (incumbent), and Frances Wdowczyk.

For more information on the election, read Toronto municipal election, 2006.

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Retired U.S. vets sue Donald Rumsfeld for excessive service cutbacks

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

One thousand residents of the Defense Department-managed Armed Forces Retirement Home in Washington, D.C. filed a class-action lawsuit on May 24, asserting that the cut-backs in medical and dental services imposed by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld are illegal. The operating budget for the home was reduced from $63 million in 2004 to $58 million for 2005. The residents cite cuts in on-site X-ray, electrocardiogram, physical and dental services, and the closing of the home’s main clinic and an on-site pharmacy.

Chief Financial Officer Steve McManus responded that the changes not only save money but also achieved improved efficiencies. “We’re really trying to improve the benefits to our residents,” he said.

Most of the home’s costs are paid for by a trust fund and monthly fees paid by residents. By law, the Armed Forces Retirement Homes are required to fund, “on-site primary care, medical care and a continuum of long-term care services.”

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US unemployment rate reaches 9.8%

Friday, October 2, 2009

Companies in the United States are shedding more jobs, pushing the country’s unemployment rate to a 26-year high of 9.8%.

The US Labor Department said on Friday that employers cut 263,000 jobs in September, with companies in the service industries — including banks, restaurants and retailers — hit especially hard. This is the 21st consecutive month of job losses in the country.

The United States has now lost 7.2 million jobs since the recession officially began in December 2007. The new data has sparked fears that unemployment could threaten an economic recovery. Top US officials have warned that any recovery would be slow and uneven, and some have predicted the unemployment rate will top 10% before the situation improves.

“Continued household deleveraging and rising unemployment may weigh more on consumption than forecast, and accelerating corporate and commercial property defaults could slow the improvement in financial conditions,” read a report by the International Monetary Fund’s World Economic Outlook, predicting that unemployment will average 10.1% by next year and not go back down to five percent until 2014.

Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Economy.com, said that “it’s a very fragile and tentative recovery. Policy makers need to do more.”

“The number came in weaker than expected. We saw a lot of artificial involvement by the government to prop up the markets, and now that that is starting to end, the private sector isn’t yet showing signs of life,” said Kevin Caron, a market strategist for Stifel, Nicolaus & Co.

Also on Thursday, the US Commerce Department said factory orders fell for the first time in five months, dropping eight-tenths of a percent in August. Orders for durable goods — items intended to last several years (including everything from appliances to airliners) — fell 2.6%, the largest drop since January of this year.

The US government has been spending billions of dollars — part of a $787 billion stimulus package — to help spark economic growth. There have been some signs the economy is improving.

The Commerce Department said on Thursday that spending on home construction jumped in August for its biggest increase in 16 years. A real estate trade group, the National Association of Realtors, said pending sales of previously owned homes rose more than 12 percent in August, compared to August 2008.

A separate Commerce Department report said that consumer spending, which accounts for more than two-thirds of US economic activity, rose at its fastest pace in nearly eight years, jumping 1.3 percent in August.

Other reports have provided cause for concern. A banking industry trade group said Thursday the number of US consumers making late payments, or failing to make payments, on loans and credit cards is on the rise. A survey by a business group, the Institute for Supply Management, Thursday showed US manufacturing grew in September, but at a slower pace than in August when manufacturing increased for the first time in a year and a half.

Stock markets reacted negatively to the reports. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 41 points in early trading, reaching a level of 9467. This follows a drop of 203 points on Thursday, its largest loss in a single day since July. The London FTSE index fell 55 points, or 1.1%, to reach 4993 points by 15.00 local time.

PostHeaderIcon Buy And Sell Guns In Fort Myers, Fl And Much More

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Buy and sell guns in Fort Myers, FL? Of course! Like many objects of value, guns command their own market, whether you’re looking for hunting rifles and shotguns, to competitive marksman pieces, to collectors’ items. And Fort Myers is home to stores and establishments that offer firearms. But how are you to tell which one stands head and shoulders above the others? First off-expertise and selection, as well as, an appreciation for guns. But there’s more-can that shop also offer you the best means of trading, buying, selling, and pawning jewelry, electronics, musical instruments, and other items of value?

Just like you’d expect the best stock, taste, and expertise in vintages at a Napa Valley wine shop, so you, when you are looking to buy and sell guns in Florida, you should expect to find courteous and expert staff who can properly appraise the market value of the firearms you want to buy, sell, trade, or pawn. In addition, that store should also carry a full line of gun parts, supplies, and accessories, as well as being fully stocked with hundreds of guns. And if you don’t find the item you’re looking for, you ought to be able to order it for a minimal amount above cost. Last but not least, you can expect that a shop like this also provides access to a gunsmith and expert repairs and services for items you buy there or ones you already own.

Now, for the piece de resistance, can your home to buy and sell guns in Fort Myers, FL also bring that same courtesy, precision, and respect to the buying, selling, trading, and pawning of jewelry, musical instruments, electronics, and other valuables? Is it a place to which you can bring one item of value, such as a no longer used guitar or amp and get perhaps a firearm or a ring in return? Or maybe you need quick cash without the hassle of invasive credit checks. Then pawn that item and recover it when you pay back the shop. Variety is the spice of life and the mark of a top-notch place to buy and sell guns in Fort Myers, FL.

And, a final top priority for you should be that the premier home to buy and sell guns in Fort Myers, FL is located within your regular routes. You don’t want to have to go far out of your way or have to search for a fly-by-night operation that moves every few months. Not only ought you expect the best when you want to buy and sell guns in Fort Myers, FL, but the trustworthy and reliable shop for you is a place that offers you deals on firearms and much, much more.

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CanadaVOTES: NDP candidate David Sparrow in Don Valley West

Friday, October 10, 2008

In an attempt to speak with as many candidates as possible during the 2008 Canadian federal election, Wikinews has talked via email with David Sparrow. Sparrow is a candidate in Ontario’s Don Valley West riding, running under the New Democratic Party (NDP) banner. The riding was set to vote in a by-election on September 22, 2008, following the resignation of John Godfrey, but Stephen Harper’s sudden election call nulled that effort.

Also running in the Toronto riding are Liberal Rob Oliphant, Conservative John Carmichael, Green Georgina Wilcock, and Communist Catherine Holliday.

The following is an interview with Sparrow, conducted via email. The interview is published unedited, as sent to Wikinews.

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Woman killed in shark attack at Amity Point, Australia

Sunday, January 8, 2006Original Reporting

A woman in Australia has been killed in a shark attack. The attack occurred at 5pm (Local Time) just off Amity Point, North Stradbroke Island, south-east of Brisbane.

The woman, described as 21, had lost both arms up to the elbow and sustained severe wounds to her torso and legs. She was carried to shore by friends and was then flown by rescue helicopter to the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane. Surgeons were unable to save her.

The woman was holidaying from Brisbane with a church camp and attempts to contact her family have been made.

Emergency Services Rescue Helicopter crew officer Rod Morgan said the woman had suffered massive blood loss.

“She was very pale” he said, “We were diverted right away and were able to be on the scene within minutes and were able to have the patient at hospital within an hour of the attack.”

“She had life threatening injuries she had lost significant amounts of blood and the patient had what we would call an altered level of consciousness where it wasn’t able to communicate directly with the patient” said Queensland Ambulance paramedic Lachlan Parker.

There were many witnesses at the scene and they are now being interviewed by Police at Amity Point. They are described as being distraught.

One witness, who asks to not be identified, described that the victim was swimming in the sea with her Border Collie. When the attack happened, the dog ran home to raise the alarm.

“I was across the road from where she was staying and I saw the dog come flying up the road all wet and shivering and whimpering,” she said, “Then a little boy came running up and said the girl had lost her leg and her arm and everyone ran out of the house towards the beach. It was just a little black-and-white dog but he was crazy so I locked him under the house.”

Other reports claim that the woman had been scuba diving in murky shallow water approximately 15 metres from the shore.

The woman is believed to be from McDowall in Brisbane, but her name has not yet been released.

A resident of Amity Point for 20 years, Brad Ross, said tourists visiting the area have been warned of potential attacks; “The shore just falls away into 30m of water and there are plenty of bull sharks out there. People know when they enter the water there they’re stepping into a shark habitat.”

Other beaches on the island are protected by drum lines.

Queensland state police inspector Peter Harding believes from the severity of the woman’s injuries that she was attacked by a group of bull sharks, a species known for aggressive behavior this time of year. Water police will search for the sharks today and as a result, beaches on the east and west of Amity Point have been closed.

This is the first attack in the area since August 1972.

Local wisdom cautions against allowing dogs in the water at swimming beaches, because of a fear that they attract sharks, perhaps because of residue accumulated from fleas which live on the dog’s blood.

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One day after attempted rescue, six stranded whales die on Australian beach

Thursday, March 26, 2009

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Six whales have died after becoming stranded on a southwest Australia beach, one day after conservation officials attempted to rescue them.

A pod of about 90 long-finned pilot whales were stranded on Hamelin Bay Tuesday. More than 70 of the mammals died, along with four dolphins, but about 10 whales were guided back out to sea by officials from the Australian Department of Environment and Conservation.

Six of the rescued whales washed up on a different beach less than a day later. Three died of natural causes Wednesday, and the other three were shot by veterinarians due to their poor condition.

About 180 volunteers, wildlife officers and veterinarians participated in the Tuesday rescue effort, but officials said there had always been a risk that the whales could be stranded again. “It is frustrating, there is a lot of effort by the community and by DEC staff, it is a frustrating process when that happens but it’s not totally unexpected,” said John Carter, state conservation department officer.

The other four whales rescued Tuesday are still believed to be at sea, and department officials are monitoring the ocean to verify their safety.

Almost 500 whales have died in five mass beachings over the last five months. The West Australian coast has seen 21 mass whale and dolphin strandings since 1984, according to the department.

The whales tried swimming back to shore shortly after the Tuesday rescue, but conservation officials guided them to deeper waters with the hopes that they would stay out at sea. Scientists cannot explain what draws whales so close to shore.

The whales were stranded Wednesday in a remote location where conservation officials could not transport rescue equipment. At least one of the whales was attacked by sharks, officials said.