US ‘Black Friday’ shoppers gather hours, even days before some stores’ openings

Friday, November 29, 2013

With the US retail tradition of ‘Black Friday’ already underway early Thursday evening, some shoppers began gathering outside retail stores as much as 53 hours prior to these special sales events. This, according to a Texas man who told Wikinews that he and his companions had started gathering at their local Best Buy store at 1:00pm on Tuesday, awaiting the 6:00pm Thursday opening. Target retail stores opened across the country at 8pm (local time) on Thursday evening. At 8:45pm Thursday evening, approximately 500 cars were parked at the Target store in Tyler, Texas.

At least four camping tents were set up outside the Best Buy store in the Dallas, Texas area, during pre-dawn hours on Thanksgiving morning. Years ago, it was seen as something special for retail stores to open at 6am on the so-called ‘Black Friday’ following Thanksgiving Day; that time would be considered “late” by modern standards. Many retailers use barricades to organize those who gather at their storefronts. For the first time ever, a shopping mall in Las Cruces, New Mexico will open at 8pm on Thanksgiving Day and will remain open for 25 consecutive hours, closing at 9pm Friday evening.

In recent years, several significant injuries have occurred during the melee that often ensued when stores opened their doors for Black Friday events. In 2011, a woman shot pepper spray at 20 people who were waiting to purchase the newest Xbox system.

Canadian neighbourhood protected from bully for three years

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Ralph Scala was sentenced Saturday for 49 counts of mischief, criminal harassment, and uttering threats during seven years of neighbourhood bullying in Toronto, Ontario.

Scala, aged 36, slashed tires, smashed windows, and intimidated and insulted his neighbours.

“I had to go and calm her down when she found her property littered with dog refuse, dead squirrels, cats, mice and even a skunk deliberately left behind to frighten her,” said Maria Bolotta, daughter of Carmela Canino, an 87 year old widow. Canino shared a semi-detached house with Scala.

“It became impossible for me to spend quality time with her or to enjoy her property with her because of the horrible skeletons, fake camera, pitchforks, and tombs bearing her name that we had to face when we went outside.” continued Bolotta.

Bolotta recounted finding 22 sharpened bicycle spokes jabbed into the lawn while she was out with the lawn mower.

Justice Kathleen Caldwell’s sentencing of Scala was followed by a three year probation, counseling, and 200 hours of community service. Additionally he must pay the neighbourhood victims restitution and stay away from the neighbourhood and its residents.

His father, Felice Scala aged 62, faces four charges related to his son’s crimes and will appear in court in June.

John Vanderslice plays New York City: Wikinews interview

Thursday, September 27, 2007

John Vanderslice has recently learned to enjoy America again. The singer-songwriter, who National Public Radio called “one of the most imaginative, prolific and consistently rewarding artists making music today,” found it through an unlikely source: his French girlfriend. “For the first time in my life I wouldn’t say I was defending the country but I was in this very strange position…”

Since breaking off from San Francisco local legends, mk Ultra, Vanderslice has produced six critically-acclaimed albums. His most recent, Emerald City, was released July 24th. Titled after the nickname given to the American-occupied Green Zone in Baghdad, it chronicles a world on the verge of imminent collapse under the weight of its own paranoia and loneliness. David Shankbone recently went to the Bowery Ballroom and spoke with Vanderslice about music, photography, touring and what makes a depressed liberal angry.


DS: How is the tour going?

JV: Great! I was just on the Wiki page for Inland Empire, and there is a great synopsis on the film. What’s on there is the best thing I have read about that film. The tour has been great. The thing with touring: say you are on vacation…let’s say you are doing an intense vacation. I went to Thailand alone, and there’s a part of you that just wants to go home. I don’t know what it is. I like to be home, but on tour there is a free floating anxiety that says: Go Home. Go Home.

DS: Anywhere, or just outside of the country?

JV: Anywhere. I want to be home in San Francisco, and I really do love being on tour, but there is almost like a homing beacon inside of me that is beeping and it creates a certain amount of anxiety.

DS: I can relate: You and I have moved around a lot, and we have a lot in common. Pranks, for one. David Bowie is another.

JV: Yeah, I saw that you like David Bowie on your MySpace.

DS: When I was in college I listened to him nonstop. Do you have a favorite album of his?

JV: I loved all the things from early to late seventies. Hunky Dory to Low to “Heroes” to Lodger. Low changed my life. The second I got was Hunky Dory, and the third was Diamond Dogs, which is a very underrated album. Then I got Ziggy Stardust and I was like, wow, this is important…this means something. There was tons of music I discovered in the seventh and eighth grade that I discovered, but I don’t love, respect and relate to it as much as I do Bowie. Especially Low…I was just on a panel with Steve Albini about how it has had a lot of impact.

DS: You said seventh and eighth grade. Were you always listening to people like Bowie or bands like the Velvets, or did you have an Eddie Murphy My Girl Wants to Party All the Time phase?

JV: The thing for me that was the uncool music, I had an older brother who was really into prog music, so it was like Gentle Giant and Yes and King Crimson and Genesis. All the new Genesis that was happening at the time was mind-blowing. Phil Collins‘s solo record…we had every single solo record, like the Mike Rutherford solo record.

DS: Do you shun that music now or is it still a part of you?

JV: Oh no, I appreciate all music. I’m an anti-snob. Last night when I was going to sleep I was watching Ocean’s Thirteen on my computer. It’s not like I always need to watch some super-fragmented, fucked-up art movie like Inland Empire. It’s part of how I relate to the audience. We end every night by going out into the audience and playing acoustically, directly, right in front of the audience, six inches away—that is part of my philosophy.

DS: Do you think New York or San Francisco suffers from artistic elitism more?

JV: I think because of the Internet that there is less and less elitism; everyone is into some little superstar on YouTube and everyone can now appreciate now Justin Timberlake. There is no need for factions. There is too much information, and I think the idea has broken down that some people…I mean, when was the last time you met someone who was into ska, or into punk, and they dressed the part? I don’t meet those people anymore.

DS: Everything is fusion now, like cuisine. It’s hard to find a purely French or purely Vietnamese restaurant.

JV: Exactly! When I was in high school there were factions. I remember the guys who listened to Black Flag. They looked the part! Like they were in theater.

DS: You still find some emos.

JV: Yes, I believe it. But even emo kids, compared to their older brethren, are so open-minded. I opened up for Sunny Day Real Estate and Pedro the Lion, and I did not find their fans to be the cliquish people that I feared, because I was never playing or marketed in the emo genre. I would say it’s because of the Internet.

DS: You could clearly create music that is more mainstream pop and be successful with it, but you choose a lot of very personal and political themes for your music. Are you ever tempted to put out a studio album geared toward the charts just to make some cash?

JV: I would say no. I’m definitely a capitalist, I was an econ major and I have no problem with making money, but I made a pact with myself very early on that I was only going to release music that was true to the voices and harmonic things I heard inside of me—that were honestly inside me—and I have never broken that pact. We just pulled two new songs from Emerald City because I didn’t feel they were exactly what I wanted to have on a record. Maybe I’m too stubborn or not capable of it, but I don’t think…part of the equation for me: this is a low stakes game, making indie music. Relative to the world, with the people I grew up with and where they are now and how much money they make. The money in indie music is a low stakes game from a financial perspective. So the one thing you can have as an indie artist is credibility, and when you burn your credibility, you are done, man. You can not recover from that. These years I have been true to myself, that’s all I have.

DS: Do you think Spoon burned their indie credibility for allowing their music to be used in commercials and by making more studio-oriented albums? They are one of my favorite bands, but they have come a long way from A Series of Sneaks and Girls Can Tell.

JV: They have, but no, I don’t think they’ve lost their credibility at all. I know those guys so well, and Brit and Jim are doing exactly the music they want to do. Brit owns his own studio, and they completely control their means of production, and they are very insulated by being on Merge, and I think their new album—and I bought Telephono when it came out—is as good as anything they have done.

DS: Do you think letting your music be used on commercials does not bring the credibility problem it once did? That used to be the line of demarcation–the whole Sting thing–that if you did commercials you sold out.

JV: Five years ago I would have said that it would have bothered me. It doesn’t bother me anymore. The thing is that bands have shrinking options for revenue streams, and sync deals and licensing, it’s like, man, you better be open to that idea. I remember when Spike Lee said, ‘Yeah, I did these Nike commercials, but it allowed me to do these other films that I wanted to make,’ and in some ways there is an article that Of Montreal and Spoon and other bands that have done sync deals have actually insulated themselves further from the difficulties of being a successful independent band, because they have had some income come in that have allowed them to stay put on labels where they are not being pushed around by anyone.
The ultimate problem—sort of like the only philosophical problem is suicide—the only philosophical problem is whether to be assigned to a major label because you are then going to have so much editorial input that it is probably going to really hurt what you are doing.

DS: Do you believe the only philosophical question is whether to commit suicide?

JV: Absolutely. I think the rest is internal chatter and if I logged and tried to counter the internal chatter I have inside my own brain there is no way I could match that.

DS: When you see artists like Pete Doherty or Amy Winehouse out on suicidal binges of drug use, what do you think as a musician? What do you get from what you see them go through in their personal lives and their music?

JV: The thing for me is they are profound iconic figures for me, and I don’t even know their music. I don’t know Winehouse or Doherty’s music, I just know that they are acting a very crucial, mythic part in our culture, and they might be doing it unknowingly.

DS: Glorification of drugs? The rock lifestyle?

JV: More like an out-of-control Id, completely unregulated personal relationships to the world in general. It’s not just drugs, it’s everything. It’s arguing and scratching people’s faces and driving on the wrong side of the road. Those are just the infractions that land them in jail. I think it might be unknowing, but in some ways they are beautiful figures for going that far off the deep end.

DS: As tragic figures?

JV: Yeah, as totally tragic figures. I appreciate that. I take no pleasure in saying that, but I also believe they are important. The figures that go outside—let’s say GG Allin or Penderetsky in the world of classical music—people who are so far outside of the normal boundaries of behavior and communication, it in some way enlarges the size of your landscape, and it’s beautiful. I know it sounds weird to say that, but it is.

DS: They are examples, as well. I recently covered for Wikinews the Iranian President speaking at Columbia and a student named Matt Glick told me that he supported the Iranian President speaking so that he could protest him, that if we don’t give a platform and voice for people, how can we say that they are wrong? I think it’s almost the same thing; they are beautiful as examples of how living a certain way can destroy you, and to look at them and say, “Don’t be that.”

JV: Absolutely, and let me tell you where I’m coming from. I don’t do drugs, I drink maybe three or four times a year. I don’t have any problematic relationship to drugs because there has been a history around me, like probably any musician or creative person, of just blinding array of drug abuse and problems. For me, I am a little bit of a control freak and I don’t have those issues. I just shut those doors. But I also understand and I am very sympathetic to someone who does not shut that door, but goes into that room and stays.

DS: Is it a problem for you to work with people who are using drugs?

JV: I would never work with them. It is a very selfish decision to make and usually those people are total energy vampires and they will take everything they can get from you. Again, this is all in theory…I love that stuff in theory. If Amy Winehouse was my girlfriend, I would probably not be very happy.

DS: Your latest CD is Emerald City and that is an allusion to the compound that we created in Baghdad. How has the current political client affected you in terms of your music?

JV: In some ways, both Pixel Revolt and Emerald City were born out of a recharged and re-energized position of my being….I was so beaten down after the 2000 election and after 9/11 and then the invasion of Iraq, Afghanistan; I was so depleted as a person after all that stuff happened, that I had to write my way out of it. I really had to write political songs because for me it is a way of making sense and processing what is going on. The question I’m asked all the time is do I think is a responsibility of people to write politically and I always say, My God, no. if you’re Morrissey, then you write Morrissey stuff. If you are Dan Bejar and Destroyer, then you are Dan Bejar and you are a fucking genius. Write about whatever it is you want to write about. But to get out of that hole I had to write about that.

DS: There are two times I felt deeply connected to New York City, and that was 9/11 and the re-election of George Bush. The depression of the city was palpable during both. I was in law school during the Iraq War, and then when Hurricane Katrina hit, we watched our countrymen debate the logic of rebuilding one of our most culturally significant cities, as we were funding almost without question the destruction of another country to then rebuild it, which seems less and less likely. Do you find it is difficult to enjoy living in America when you see all of these sorts of things going on, and the sort of arguments we have amongst ourselves as a people?

JV: I would say yes, absolutely, but one thing changed that was very strange: I fell in love with a French girl and the genesis of Emerald City was going through this visa process to get her into the country, which was through the State Department. In the middle of process we had her visa reviewed and everything shifted over to Homeland Security. All of my complicated feelings about this country became even more dour and complicated, because here was Homeland Security mailing me letters and all involved in my love life, and they were grilling my girlfriend in Paris and they were grilling me, and we couldn’t travel because she had a pending visa. In some strange ways the thing that changed everything was that we finally got the visa accepted and she came here. Now she is a Parisian girl, and it goes without saying that she despises America, and she would never have considered moving to America. So she moves here and is asking me almost breathlessly, How can you allow this to happen

DS: –you, John Vanderslice, how can you allow this—

JV: –Me! Yes! So for the first time in my life I wouldn’t say I was defending the country but I was in this very strange position of saying, Listen, not that many people vote and the churches run fucking everything here, man. It’s like if you take out the evangelical Christian you have basically a progressive western European country. That’s all there is to it. But these people don’t vote, poor people don’t vote, there’s a complicated equation of extreme corruption and voter fraud here, and I found myself trying to rattle of all the reasons to her why I am personally not responsible, and it put me in a very interesting position. And then Sarkozy got elected in France and I watched her go through the same horrific thing that we’ve gone through here, and Sarkozy is a nut, man. This guy is a nut.

DS: But he doesn’t compare to George Bush or Dick Cheney. He’s almost a liberal by American standards.

JV: No, because their President doesn’t have much power. It’s interesting because he is a WAPO right-wing and he was very close to Le Pen and he was a card-carrying straight-up Nazi. I view Sarkozy as somewhat of a far-right candidate, especially in the context of French politics. He is dismantling everything. It’s all changing. The school system, the remnants of the socialized medical care system. The thing is he doesn’t have the foreign policy power that Bush does. Bush and Cheney have unprecedented amounts of power, and black budgets…I mean, come on, we’re spending half a trillion dollars in Iraq, and that’s just the money accounted for.

DS: What’s the reaction to you and your music when you play off the coasts?

JV: I would say good…

DS: Have you ever been Dixiechicked?

JV: No! I want to be! I would love to be, because then that means I’m really part of some fiery debate, but I would say there’s a lot of depressed in every single town. You can say Salt Lake City, you can look at what we consider to be conservative cities, and when you play those towns, man, the kids that come out are more or less on the same page and politically active because they are fish out of water.

DS: Depression breeds apathy, and your music seems geared toward anger, trying to wake people from their apathy. Your music is not maudlin and sad, but seems to be an attempt to awaken a spirit, with a self-reflective bent.

JV: That’s the trick. I would say that honestly, when Katrina happened, I thought, “okay, this is a trick to make people so crazy and so angry that they can’t even think. If you were in a community and basically were in a more or less quasi-police state surveillance society with no accountability, where we are pouring untold billions into our infrastructure to protect outside threats against via terrorism, or whatever, and then a natural disaster happens and there is no response. There is an empty response. There is all these ships off the shore that were just out there, just waiting, and nobody came. Michael Brown. It is one of the most insane things I have ever seen in my life.

DS: Is there a feeling in San Francisco that if an earthquake struck, you all would be on your own?

JV: Yes, of course. Part of what happened in New Orleans is that it was a Catholic city, it was a city of sin, it was a black city. And San Francisco? Bush wouldn’t even visit California in the beginning because his numbers were so low. Before Schwarzenegger definitely. I’m totally afraid of the earthquake, and I think everyone is out there. America is in the worst of both worlds: a laissez-fare economy and then the Grover Norquist anti-tax, starve the government until it turns into nothing more than a Argentinian-style government where there are these super rich invisible elite who own everything and there’s no distribution of wealth and nothing that resembles the New Deal, twentieth century embracing of human rights and equality, war against poverty, all of these things. They are trying to kill all that stuff. So, in some ways, it is the worst of both worlds because they are pushing us towards that, and on the same side they have put in a Supreme Court that is so right wing and so fanatically opposed to upholding civil rights, whether it be for foreign fighters…I mean, we are going to see movement with abortion, Miranda rights and stuff that is going to come up on the Court. We’ve tortured so many people who have had no intelligence value that you have to start to look at torture as a symbolic and almost ritualized behavior; you have this…

DS: Organ failure. That’s our baseline…

JV: Yeah, and you have to wonder about how we were torturing people to do nothing more than to send the darkest signal to the world to say, Listen, we are so fucking weird that if you cross the line with us, we are going to be at war with your religion, with your government, and we are going to destroy you.

DS: I interviewed Congressman Tom Tancredo, who is running for President, and he feels we should use as a deterrent against Islam the bombing of the Muslim holy cities of Mecca and Medina.

JV: You would radicalize the very few people who have not been radicalized, yet, by our actions and beliefs. We know what we’ve done out there, and we are going to paying for this for a long time. When Hezbollah was bombing Israel in that border excursion last year, the Hezbollah fighters were writing the names of battles they fought with the Jews in the Seventh Century on their helmets. This shit is never forgotten.

DS: You read a lot of the stuff that is written about you on blogs and on the Internet. Do you ever respond?

JV: No, and I would say that I read stuff that tends to be . I’ve done interviews that have been solely about film and photography. For some reason hearing myself talk about music, and maybe because I have been talking about it for so long, it’s snoozeville. Most interviews I do are very regimented and they tend to follow a certain line. I understand. If I was them, it’s a 200 word piece and I may have never played that town, in Des Moines or something. But, in general, it’s like…my band mates ask why don’t I read the weeklies when I’m in town, and Google my name. It would be really like looking yourself in the mirror. When you look at yourself in the mirror you are just error-correcting. There must be some sort of hall of mirrors thing that happens when you are completely involved in the Internet conversation about your music, and in some ways I think that I’m very innocently making music, because I don’t make music in any way that has to do with the response to that music. I don’t believe that the response to the music has anything to do with it. This is something I got from John Cage and Marcel Duchamp, I think the perception of the artwork, in some ways, has nothing to do with the artwork, and I think that is a beautiful, glorious and flattering thing to say to the perceiver, the viewer of that artwork. I’ve spent a lot of time looking at Paul Klee‘s drawings, lithographs, watercolors and paintings and when I read his diaries I’m not sure how much of a correlation there is between what his color schemes are denoting and what he is saying and what I am getting out of it. I’m not sure that it matters. Inland Empire is a great example. Lynch basically says, I don’t want to talk about it because I’m going to close doors for the viewer. It’s up to you. It’s not that it’s a riddle or a puzzle. You know how much of your own experience you are putting into the digestion of your own art. That’s not to say that that guy arranges notes in an interesting way, and sings in an interesting way and arranges words in an interesting way, but often, if someone says they really like my music, what I want to say is, That’s cool you focused your attention on that thing, but it does not make me go home and say, Wow, you’re great. My ego is not involved in it.

DS: Often people assume an artist makes an achievement, say wins a Tony or a Grammy or even a Cable Ace Award and people think the artist must feel this lasting sense of accomplishment, but it doesn’t typically happen that way, does it? Often there is some time of elation and satisfaction, but almost immediately the artist is being asked, “Okay, what’s the next thing? What’s next?” and there is an internal pressure to move beyond that achievement and not focus on it.

JV: Oh yeah, exactly. There’s a moment of relief when a mastered record gets back, and then I swear to you that ten minutes after that point I feel there are bigger fish to fry. I grew up listening to classical music, and there is something inside of me that says, Okay, I’ve made six records. Whoop-dee-doo. I grew up listening to Gustav Mahler, and I will never, ever approach what he did.

DS: Do you try?

JV: I love Mahler, but no, his music is too expansive and intellectual, and it’s realized harmonically and compositionally in a way that is five languages beyond me. And that’s okay. I’m very happy to do what I do. How can anyone be so jazzed about making a record when you are up against, shit, five thousand records a week—

DS: —but a lot of it’s crap—

JV: —a lot of it’s crap, but a lot of it is really, really good and doesn’t get the attention it deserves. A lot of it is very good. I’m shocked at some of the stuff I hear. I listen to a lot of music and I am mailed a lot of CDs, and I’m on the web all the time.

DS: I’ve done a lot of photography for Wikipedia and the genesis of it was an attempt to pin down reality, to try to understand a world that I felt had fallen out of my grasp of understanding, because I felt I had no sense of what this world was about anymore. For that, my work is very encyclopedic, and it fit well with Wikipedia. What was the reason you began investing time and effort into photography?

JV: It came from trying to making sense of touring. Touring is incredibly fast and there is so much compressed imagery that comes to you, whether it is the window in the van, or like now, when we are whisking through the Northeast in seven days. Let me tell you, I see a lot of really close people in those seven days. We move a lot, and there is a lot of input coming in. The shows are tremendous and, it is emotionally so overwhelming that you can not log it. You can not keep a file of it. It’s almost like if I take photos while I am doing this, it slows it down or stops it momentarily and orders it. It has made touring less of a blur; concretizes these times. I go back and develop the film, and when I look at the tour I remember things in a very different way. It coalesces. Let’s say I take on fucking photo in Athens, Georgia. That’s really intense. And I tend to take a photo of someone I like, or photos of people I really admire and like.

DS: What bands are working with your studio, Tiny Telephone?

JV: Death Cab for Cutie is going to come back and track their next record there. Right now there is a band called Hello Central that is in there, and they are really good. They’re from L.A. Maids of State was just in there and w:Deerhoof was just in there. Book of Knotts is coming in soon. That will be cool because I think they are going to have Beck sing on a tune. That will be really cool. There’s this band called Jordan from Paris that is starting this week.

DS: Do they approach you, or do you approach them?

JV I would say they approach me. It’s generally word of mouth. We never advertise and it’s very cheap, below market. It’s analog. There’s this self-fulfilling thing that when you’re booked, you stay booked. More bands come in, and they know about it and they keep the business going that way. But it’s totally word of mouth.

Surgeons reattach boy’s three severed limbs

Tuesday, March 29, 2005A team of Australian surgeons yesterday reattached both hands and one foot to 10-year-old Perth boy, Terry Vo, after a brick wall which collapsed during a game of basketball fell on him, severing the limbs. The wall gave way while Terry performed a slam-dunk, during a game at a friend’s birthday party.

The boy was today awake and smiling, still in some pain but in good spirits and expected to make a full recovery, according to plastic surgeon, Mr Robert Love.

“What we have is parts that are very much alive so the reattached limbs are certainly pink, well perfused and are indeed moving,” Mr Love told reporters today.

“The fact that he is moving his fingers, and of course when he wakes up he will move both fingers and toes, is not a surprise,” Mr Love had said yesterday.

“The question is more the sensory return that he will get in the hand itself and the fine movements he will have in the fingers and the toes, and that will come with time, hopefully. We will assess that over the next 18 months to two years.

“I’m sure that he’ll enjoy a game of basketball in the future.”

The weight and force of the collapse, and the sharp brick edges, resulted in the three limbs being cut through about 7cm above the wrists and ankle.

Terry’s father Tan said of his only child, the injuries were terrible, “I was scared to look at him, a horrible thing.”

The hands and foot were placed in an ice-filled Esky and rushed to hospital with the boy, where three teams of medical experts were assembled, and he was given a blood transfusion after experiencing massive blood loss. Eight hours of complex micro-surgery on Saturday night were followed by a further two hours of skin grafts yesterday.

“What he will lose because it was such a large zone of traumatised skin and muscle and so on, he will lose some of the skin so he’ll certainly require lots of further surgery regardless of whether the skin survives,” said Mr Love said today.

The boy was kept unconscious under anaesthetic between the two procedures. In an interview yesterday, Mr Love explained why:

“He could have actually been woken up the next day. Because we were intending to take him back to theatre for a second look, to look at the traumatised skin flaps, to close more of his wounds and to do split skin grafting, it was felt the best thing to do would be to keep him stable and to keep him anaesthetised.”

Professor Wayne Morrison, director of the respected Bernard O’Brien Institute of Microsurgery and head of plastic and hand surgery at Melbourne’s St Vincent’s Hospital, said he believed the operation to be a world first.

Satirist Stephen Colbert runs for U.S. President

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The American satirist Stephen Colbert has announced that he will run for the Presidency of the United States. He made his announcement on his mock news show The Colbert Report.

However, Colbert said that he would only run in his home state of South Carolina as a favorite son. He also said that he would represent both major political parties: the Republicans and the Democrats. It is not known how far Colbert will go with his character during his electoral run.

Colbert has hosted The Colbert Report, a spin-off to another satirical television series, The Daily Show, since its creation in 2005. “I didn’t have a job back then. I wonder what it was like to have a job back then. I am sure I could ask a dentist or a surgeon. He would know.” On the show he plays a right-wing political pundit, based on real-life pundits such as Bill O’Reilly and Stone Phillips. Colbert has been credited with popularizing certain words such as “Truthiness”, meaning to believe something intuitively, without regard for actual facts, logic or evidence.

Filling in for New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd on Sunday, Colbert wrote: “I am not ready to announce yet — even though it’s clear that the voters are desperate for a white, male, middle-aged, Jesus-trumpeting alternative.”

Elwood Norris receives 2005 Lemelson-MIT Prize for invention

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

MIT has announced that Elwood “Woody” Norris, inventor of potentially revolutionary technologies of Hypersonic Sound beams and AirScooter flying vehicles, will receive this year’s Lemelson-MIT prize for invention this Friday, April 22. The prize comes with an award of US$500,000, making it the largest single award for invention given in the United States.

Contents

  • 1 Hypersonic Sound beams
  • 2 AirScooter flying vehicles
  • 3 Woody Norris
  • 4 Sources
  • 5 Press Releases
  • 6 External links

Global markets plunge

Friday, October 10, 2008

Stock markets across the world have fallen sharply with several seeing the biggest drop in their history.

Asian markets saw the biggest sell-off. The Nikkei dropped 9.62% to reach a 20 year low. Japan also saw a collapse of a mid-size insurance company, Yamato Life Insurance Company, which declared bankruptcy. The Hang Seng, which was one of the few markets that was positive yesterday, fell 7.19%. Australia dropped by 8.4% and South Korea saw a 9% fall.

In Europe, markets dropped at the open with the FTSE losing 11%. They have recovered only sightly with all European markets losing more than 5%. The European sell off was more about the Asian lows then any specific news. European banks and financial institutes saw the most selling. Also, oil related companies saw large drops as an result of an expected decrease in oil consumption.

The U.S. markets opened lower with the Dow Jones Industrial Average falling below 8,000, before recovering slightly. President George W. Bush made an address on the economy and said markets were being “driven by uncertainty and fear.”

Oil has seen losses of more than US$6 in trading with the current price of a barrel of oil less than $80. This is a year low for oil. News also came out that OPEC will hold an emergency meeting on November 18 to discuss the falling price of oil.

Charities, such as Cats Protection, today said that they have lost much of their funds in collapsing banks. Cats Protection had a total of £11.2 million saved in the now-collapsed Kaupthing bank.

The British National Council for Voluntary Organisations said that 60 of its 6,500 have lost money due to the collapse of banks.

Contents

  • 1 Stock markets
    • 1.1 Dow Jones Industrial Average
    • 1.2 FTSE 100
    • 1.3 Nikkei 225
  • 2 International reaction
    • 2.1 George W. Bush
    • 2.2 Gordon Brown
    • 2.3 Jim Flaherty
  • 3 Market data
  • 4 Sources

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell to its lowest level in five years at 8,579.19, falling 679 points in one day. This, at 7.3%, is the eleventh largest percentage fall in the history of the index. The growth then continued, with the index being up over 150 points on the start of the day at one point.

The index, did however, recover, and as of 19:30 UTC was up 17.68 points, or 0.21%, pushing the index up to almost 8600.

Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Avalon Partners, commented on these massive falls. “What we’ve seen here was one big margin call that just kept feeding on itself, so the opposite could happen. But you need a catalyst,” he said. “I’m more convinced now than ever that this market has made a bottom. The capitulation came when we breached 8,000,” he continued. “It doesn’t mean we can’t go back and revisit that level.”

The UK’s FTSE 100 index fell dramatically to close below 4000, in the index’s worst week in history. This is despite the fact that just a few days ago the index was above 5000, and the index peaked above 5500 in September.The FTSE 100 index has fallen by 41% this year.

Barclays Wealth analyst Henk Potts commented on this massive fall. “We are drowning in a sea of red numbers,” he claimed. “Investors are concerned about the exacerbation of the credit crunch and the gloomy forecasts for economic growth. The reality is that most investors have been spooked by the sheer pressure that the credit crunch is putting on the global economy.”

The Japanese Nikkei 225 has recorded it’s third biggest drop in history with a massive sell-off in the exchange that has resulted in USD 250 billion being knocked of the index’s value.

Toyota, which is the second largest carmaker in the world, fell by the largest amount in 21 years, while Elpida Memory, the world’s largest manufacturer of computer memory, dropped in value to a record low.

Masafumi Oshiden, a fund manager in Toyota commented on the drop.”It’s capitulation,” he said. “There are lots of forced sellers. If you’re a fund that’s going bust you need to close out all your positions.”

George W. Bush commented on the financial situation earlier today. “Over the past few days, we have witnessed a startling drop in the stock market — much of it driven by uncertainty and fear,” he said. “This has been a deeply unsettling period for the American people. Many of our citizens have serious concerns about their retirement accounts, their investments, and their economic well-being.”

Bush then continued by promoting the government’s plan’s to get through the crises. “Here’s what the American people need to know: that the United States government is acting; we will continue to act to resolve this crisis and restore stability to our markets. We are a prosperous nation with immense resources and a wide range of tools at our disposal. We’re using these tools aggressively.”

Gordon Brown, the UK Prime Minister, also spoke on the economy. “I think we quickly realised that we cannot solve the problems we have got as a result of the sub-prime market collapse simply by improving liquidity,” he said speaking in Birmingham to business leaders earlier today. “That would simply not be enough to deal with the bigger problem of rebuilding the banking system for the future and restoring trust is a fundamental element of that.”

Jim Flaherty, the Canadian minister for finance, also commented today on the recent incidents in the economy. “It is important to underline that Canada’s banks and other financial institutions are sound, well capitalized and less leveraged than their international peers,” he claimed. “Our mortgage system is sound. Canadian households have smaller mortgages relative both to the value of their homes and to their disposable incomes than in the U.S.”

“”However, it is becoming increasingly clear that the continuing disruption of global credit markets, which has been severe and protracted, is making it difficult for our financial institutions to raise long-term funding. This is beginning to affect the availability of mortgage loans and other types of credit in Canada,” he continued. “The Government has therefore decided to act to address the current scarcity of private sector lending to Canadian mortgage markets and lending markets overall. This is going to make loans and mortgages more available and more affordable for ordinary Canadians and businesses.”

20:15, 10 October, 2008 (UTC)
  • DJIA
  • 8.451,19 128,00 1,49%
  • Nasdaq
  • 1.649,51 4,39 0.27%
  • S&P 500
  • 899,22 10,70 1,18%
  • S&P TSX
  • 9.264,57 335,61 3.50%
  • IPC
  • 19.952,30 357,87 1,76%
  • Merval
  • 1.215,990 71.340 5,54%
  • Bovespa
  • 35.615,26 1,474.03 3,97%
  • FTSE 100
  • 3.932,06 381,74 8,85%
  • DAX
  • 4.544,31 342,69 7,01%
  • CAC 40
  • 3.176,49 266,21 7,73%
  • SMI
  • 5.347,22 451,62 7,79%
  • AEX
  • 258,05 23,92 8,48%
  • BEL20
  • 2.123,44 117,44 5,24%
  • MIBTel
  • 15.438,00 1,081,00 6,54%
  • IBEX 35
  • 8.997,70 905,20 9,14%
  • All Ordinaries
  • 3.939,50 351,80 8,20%
  • Nikkei
  • 8.276,43 881,06 9,62%
  • Hang Seng
  • 14.796,90 1,146,37 7,19%
  • SSE Composite
  • 2.000,57 74,01 3,57%

    New edition of Canada’s Food Guide released

    Thursday, February 8, 2007

    A new version of Canada’s Food Guide was announced by Canadian Health Minister Tony Clement on Feb. 5, 2007. The guide has helped Canadians with healthy eating habits since 1942 but was last updated in 1992. It is the Canadian government’s most-requested publication after income tax forms.

    Changes to the Food Guide include:

    • a first-time recommendation to include a small amount of unsaturated fat in regular diets;
    • physical activity to complement healthy eating;
    • advice for some people to take vitamin supplements;
    • an advisory to limit foods with excess salt, sugar, fat and calories, which is considered an unprecedented caution regarding junk food.
    Examples of the Food Guide’s four groups (clockwise from top left): vegetables and fruit, grain products, meat and its alternatives, milk and its alternatives

    Hong Kong’s only railway company modifies regulations

    Monday, June 7, 2010

    The MTR Corporation, the only railway company in Hong Kong since the rail merge in 2007, has loosened their rules. The corporation proposed the new modifications, then transferred the proposal to the Legislative Council, and will be effective from September 2010.

    The new set of rules allow ‘non-disruptive’ use of profanity in private conversations, and the punishment for inflammatory use of expletives is lowered from a fine of HK$5000 to HK$2000. The new set of rules have also excluded the regulation against wandering in MTR premises, as well as the rule against attempting to eat or drink.

    Democratic Party member James To has expressed his concerns about a new rule that outlaws the display of promotional material. According to To, the wearing of Tiananmen Square Incident-related T-shirts or acting the Goddess of Democracy may breach the new MTR rules.

    He also deems two other regulations, namely the prohibition of distracting MTR staff members and photography and video-recording in the train carriages, ‘unreasonable’.

    Unionist Li Fung-ying is also confused whether chewing gum was considered food. MTR head of operations Choi Tak-tsan replied that only what is regarded as food counts. They had not yet discussed on this matter, said Choi, and will soon. Li is also concerned about the rule which prohibits the entering of the first-class carriage without buying a ticket. Her main concern is whether the passenger will be allowed to buy the ticket rather than being fined HK$500.

    Wong Kwok-hing believes that the MTR corporation should call upon more effort to advertise a more ‘civilised’ and ‘polite’ way of taking the train. Jeffrey Lam thinks that the new rules do not do enough to restrict shouting. MTR replied that anyone who shouts in the train can be advised to leave the train or even prosecuted.

    Wikinews Shorts: September 29, 2010

    A compilation of brief news reports for Wednesday, September 29, 2010.