Wikinews interviews U.S. Constitution Party presidential candidate Max Riekse

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Wikinews interviews U.S. Constitution Party presidential candidate Max Riekse

Posted by VZWk94v8 on September 14, 2018

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Wikinews held an exclusive interview with Max Riekse, one of the candidates for the Constitution Party nomination for the 2008 United States presidential election.

Riekse is a retired decorated United States Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Army who served in both the Vietnam War and the Iraq War. He is also a former public school teacher and Assistant Professor of Military Science at Western Michigan University. He has a B.A. in Political Science and International Relations from the University of South Florida as well as two M.A.s, one in Political Science and International Relations, the other in Eductaion and History. Both are from Western Michigan University.

We asked him if he thinks he has a good shot at winning the Constitution Party nomination and ultimately the presidency. He replied, “I will give it my best shot because I think I can do better then all previous Constitution Party presidential candidates….As to being in the White House in 2009, realistically, its a long shot; but so was Abe Lincoln in the new Republican Party.”

When asked about America’s public school system he said, “Local school boards and the people they are responsible to are the best judge of what is needed; this with state oversight, will help boost public school quality & education.”

Riekse is running for president because he has been “very tired of our Republican and Democratic choices for president for many years. With a population of some 300 million people to draw from, I would think we could do much, much better then we have been doing in regards to having a choice for president.”

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Interview: PRS, the UK’s music royalty collection society

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Interview: PRS, the UK’s music royalty collection society

Posted by VZWk94v8 on September 9, 2018

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

PRS for Music is the UK’s music royalty collection society tasked with working on behalf of copyright holders, specifically authors and music publishers. Founded in 1914, the PRS is a non-profit organisation with 350,000 UK businesses holding PRS licenses. The society works in conjunction with PPL which collects fees on behalf of the copyright holders of the actual recording.So, if a cover version of a song is played on UK radio, PRS collect a fee on behalf of the original writer and publisher, whilst PPL collect a fee on behalf of the record company of the cover. In a recent Wikinews interview, Paul Campbell, founder of Amazing Radio, an unsigned UK radio station, lambasted PRS for their “barmy standard contract” and their outdated equipment. That interview can be found here.

The music industry is changing and the way we use music is continually changing

Wikinews reporter Tristan Thomas interviews PRS, following up on Campbell and others’ criticism as well as finding out about future plans.

((Wikinews)) Firstly, thank you for the time in doing this interview.

((WN)) Last year, you were involved in a high profile dispute with YouTube. Can you briefly explain to our audience what that was all about and the final outcome of it?

((PRS)) PRS for Music was the first collecting society in the world to license the YouTube service, meaning if music videos were watched online then our members – who created them – would receive a small royalty payment. When we went to renew the licence that YouTube held we couldn’t agree as to how much should be paid and exactly what should be covered within it. We believed that music had become a much larger part of the YouTube service and that YouTube/Google should reflect the increased use of our members’ creative talent in the amount they paid.

The great thing is that we kept talking to YouTube throughout the dispute and managed to reach an agreement in September which meant that the videos could be accessed again by UK YouTube users and that our 65,000 songwriter, composer and music publisher members would be paid.

((WN)) How many artists do you represent and how much did you collect during 2009 for them?

((PRS)) We represent 65,000 songwriters, composers and music publishers. We haven’t released our 2009 figures yet but in 2008 we collected over £600m for them. The main sources of revenue come from recorded media (CDs, DVDs etc), international use, public performance use and use in television, radio and online.

((WN)) Paul Campbell in a recent interview with us said the following:“PRS has a barmy standard contract for using their members’ music online. It requires us to pay them a fixed percentage of ALL revenue from that website – whether or not the revenue is derived from their members’ work. So if we had 100,000 songs from non-PRS artists on amazingtunes.com, and one song from a PRS artist, we’d have to pay them a percentage of the revenue from ALL 100,000 songs. I.e., we’d have to take money out of the pockets out of non-PRS artists to pay to PRS. That would be immoral.”How do you respond to that?

((PRS)) Anyone using music in a commercial way – such as a radio station – is required to obtain the permission of those that created the music. This could be numerous writers, publishers and a record label for each song, possibly in different countries around the world. By obtaining a PRS for Music and PPL licence in the UK you are ensuring you have those permissions for over 10million musical works. Obviously much of the music used on radio comes from non-UK writers who may not be members of PRS for Music. Radio and television stations give us almost 100% accurate reports of their music use through their own playlists; this data then enables organisations such as ours to work out who should be paid and how much. PRS for Music has 144 agreements in place with similar societies around the world, resulting in us representing almost 2 million writers worldwide. If French, American, Spanish, Australian or any other writer’s music is used we will pay the respective societies so they can pay their members.

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Similarly a writer of musician may be ‘unsigned’ by that doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t earn from their music when it is used by others. Many bands, writers and performers are currently unsigned but by being members of PRS for Music they ensure that they can begin earning vital royalties that allow them to continue with their musical career.

((WN)) How does the PRS ensure that artists outside the UK are properly compensated when their music is used within the UK, such as Thai or Chinese restaurants paying their PRS dues and exclusively using music which is from outside Europe?

((PRS)) As mentioned before PRS for Music has agreements in place in over 90 countries around the world to ensure that when music is used the right creators are rewarded. The system – built up over the last century – works both ways and when UK music is used internationally, PRS for Music receives royalties from foreign societies so we can pay our members. In 2008 £139.8m was collected from UK music use abroad, with the UK being one of only a few net exporters of music in the world.

((WN)) There have been a few cases in which PRS have been forced to apologise, exemplified by the threat of prosecution and a fine towards “singing granny” Sandra Burt, a shelf-stacker who sung to herself whilst stacking shelves. How has PRS moved forward from these incidents in order to ensure they do not happen again?

((PRS)) If we have made mistakes we will of course put our hands up and say so. For example when we were approached about the Sandra Burt case – by a journalist incidentally and not Sandra – we did give out slightly incorrect advice, although the questions were a little ambiguous. Once we realised our mistake we contacted Sandra to explain that she wouldn’t need a licence to sing to her customers and offered our sincere apologies. As an organisation we are very quick to admit where we get things wrong and ensure they are put right. We’re proud of our record with our customers and currently have 350,000 businesses choosing to use music in the UK.

Once we realised our mistake we contacted Sandra

To put the complaints in context we have only have 1 for approximately every 5,000 customer contacts we make. This is an exceptionally low ratio and there are many firms who would be envious of a record like this. During 2009 our complaints fell by 50% and we appointed an independent ombudsmen who could handle any complaints if they were not resolved internally. As of January 2010 no complaints have needed to be passed on to the ombudsmen.

((WN)) How does the PRS work with musicians who are not signed to major labels, may make music available for download via their own websites or MySpace, and do not have the financial resources to protect their copyright?

((PRS)) Many of the PRS for Music membership is not signed to a major record label and we represent creators from all genres of music in the UK and abroad. By joining PRS for Music, which only costs £10 deferred to your first royalty payment, you ensure you can begin earning royalties whenever your music is played, performed or reproduced. We have worked hard to license such sites as YouTube, MySpace, Spotify and Sky Songs to name a selection to ensure our members can be rewarded when their work is used.

Our membership team also work hard to support our creators holding showcase events, offering advice of how to get their music used as well as legal and financial advice.

((WN)) Finally, what future plans do you have as an organisation in order to further protect and enhance your members work as new technologies emerge over the next few years?

((PRS)) PRS for Music will continue to be at the forefront of licensing new digital and online services to ensure creators are paid. We aim to get the balance right to ensure new products and music services can launch and develop, but that also they pay for the music they use.

The music industry is changing and the way we use music is continually changing (it always has) but we’ll still be at the forefront enabling people to use music whenever they want, and rewarding those that have created that music.

((WN)) Thank you for taking the time out for this interview. Good luck for 2010.

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Category:April 29, 2010

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Category:April 29, 2010

Posted by VZWk94v8 on September 9, 2018

? April 28, 2010
April 30, 2010 ?
April 29

Pages in category “April 29, 2010”

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Crucifix in Northern Italy collapses, crushing man to death

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Crucifix in Northern Italy collapses, crushing man to death

Posted by VZWk94v8 on September 5, 2018

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Ahead of Sunday’s scheduled canonization of Pope John Paul II, in the Italian village of Cevo, a massive stone and wood crucifix dedicated to the late pontiff collapsed, instantly crushing a man to death and landing another in the hospital. Reports variously say the collapse took place on Wednesday or Thursday.

Marco Gusmini, 21, died after part of the wood of the crucifix splintered and broke, sending it, along with the attached statue of Jesus Christ, toppling to the ground. He was reportedly posing for a photograph under the monument.

The mayor of Cevo, Silvio Citroni, termed the incident “an unexplainable tragedy. A young life, so many hopes destroyed this way”. Describing the tragedy, he elaborated, “The young people were making a snack for lunch and when they heard the crunching noises coming from the cross they fled in all directions. Unfortunately Marco ran in the wrong direction.” Citroni also said the crucifix had undergone maintenance work last summer. “This is a place for pilgrimages and family visits. We never imagined that something like this could happen.” In light of the untimely tragedy, he said, plans for any further celebrations to commemorate the late pontiff’s impending canonization have been scrapped.

Sculptor Enrico Job designed the crucifix, which stood 100 ft (30 m) tall; curved unusually to symbolize, reportedly, the scars of World War II; mounted with a 20 ft (6 m) tall statue of Jesus Christ weighing 1,320 lbs (600 kg). Commissioned to commemorate Pope John Paul II’s 1998 visit to Brescia, and reportedly originally erected at a stadium there, the crucifix was moved to its present location in nearby Cevo in 2005.

Gusmini and his parents reportedly lived on Via Papa Giovanni XXIII, a street in Lovere named after another late pontiff to be canonized alongside Pope John Paul II, Pope John XXIII. In celebration of this double canonization, Rome is expected to play host to 19 heads of state, 24 heads of government, and some 800,000 Catholic pilgrims, visiting from around the world, according to the Interior Ministry of Italy.

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NTSB announces safety recommendations to be made in aftermath of Comair Flight 5191 disaster

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NTSB announces safety recommendations to be made in aftermath of Comair Flight 5191 disaster

Posted by VZWk94v8 on September 5, 2018

Saturday, June 9, 2007

The American National Transportation Safety Board has announced that it will make new airline safety recommendations. This comes a result of its investigation into the Comair Flight 5191 disaster, in which a Bombardier Canadair Regional Jet (CRJ) CRJ-100ER crashed whilst attempting take-off from the wrong runway at Blue Grass Airport, Lexington, killing 49 people and leaving just one survivor. The plane was unable to take off because that runway was too short.

The NTSB has now announced that, on July 26, the date on which the NTSB is to determine the probable cause of the accident, they will issue safety recommendations regarding methods of preventing a recurrence of the disaster.

One of the recommendations will concern developing and implementing a cockpit-based system that will inform pilots when they are in the wrong location. Another will involve rescheduling the workloads of Air Traffic Controllers to ensure they receive more sleep, a request they had previously made in April.

Regarding location warning systems, the FAA has pointed out that they have been working on methods of preventing runway incursions (in which a person, ground vehicle or another aircraft is on the runway when or where it should not be), to which the National Transportation Safety Board chairman Mark Rosenker responded “The FAA is doing a great job testing these systems. The question we have is, when will you finally implement that technology?” FAA Associate Administrator Margaret Gilligan responded by saying that they were currently looking at just such a system, adding “We do have airlines that have committed to put that technology on the flight deck once it’s approved”. The system referred to involves runway signal lights and is currently being tested at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.

The NTSB will also look at runway and taxiway markings and the ways they can confuse pilots, as this issue has been identified as a contributing factor in the accident. Rosenker said the NTSB was “very interested” in this area. 140 airports have unclear or confusing markings in the US, but it is not certain if Blue Grass Airport is one of them. However, the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) made a submission to the NTSB stating that they had found that the markings at Blue Grass Airport did not match those on the charts the pilots were using. ALPA went on to recommend greater standardisation of airport runway markings.

Blue Grass Airport responded yesterday by saying that there was nothing wrong with their runway markings, with spokesman Brian Ellestad saying “We have had numerous inspections before and after (the Comair crash) and have had no issues… FAA reiterates that we meet all requirements for signage, markings, lighting, runways and taxiways.”

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Controversial Queensland Premier of 19 years dies at 94

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Controversial Queensland Premier of 19 years dies at 94

Posted by VZWk94v8 on September 4, 2018

Saturday, April 23, 2005Queensland Australia’s Sir Joh Bjelke Petersen, a controversial figure who served as the State’s Premier for 19 years and reigned over the government that later became the subject of the Fitzgerald Inquiry, has died in hospital at Kingaroy, aged 94.

“By any measurement, Sir Joh was an exceptional state builder who will be remembered for consistently placing Queensland first,” said the Australian Governor General, Major General Jeffery, in a statement.

Australian Prime Minister, John Howard: “He was certainly a strong political figure and I extend my condolences to his wife and his family.”

But not all voices were sympathetic, prominent Queensland Aboriginal activist Sam Watson for example: “Aboriginal people will always remember him as a racist, a thug and a dictator.”

Having suffered severe ill-health for some weeks, and declining health for years, Sir Joh passed away at around 6pm AEST. He was surrounded by his family, who had been summoned yesterday by Lady Flo, his wife and one-time Senator, for final goodbyes.

Phrases such as “Don’t you worry about that” and “Goodness gracious me” were like trademarks to the maverick leader.

Known simply as ‘Joh’ to many, he would famously describe press conferences as ‘feeding the chooks’. Today Kingaroy locals taunted waiting press with cries from “You’re chooks, you’re chooks, ha ha” to “Go home, ya vultures”, and some obscenities, reported the Courier-Mail of Brisbane.

His fall from power at the end of the 80s was surrounded in controversy, with the state embroiled in corruption findings going to the level of his deputies, and Bjelke Petersen’s claims of ignorance coming under challenge with charges of perjury. The case was never heard due to a controversial hung jury: the foreman of the jury, Luke Shaw, had been an office-bearer of the Young Nationals — an arm of Bjelke Petersen’s National Party — as well as a member of a group calling themselves ‘Friends of Joh’.

Having had his start in life as a peanut farmer in remote Kingaroy, the former Premier was fit up until the very end, but palsy was paralyzing his muscles and organs, to which he eventually succumbed.

“Throughout his life Sir Joh combined enormous energy, vision and an immense capacity for hard work, most especially during his 19-year term as Premier of Queensland,” the Governor General said.

“What looked to us to be huge risks at the time turned out to be nation building,” said Bob Katter, a former minister of Joh’s Government, who credited Sir Joh with starting the Queensland coal, aluminum and tourism industries.

He is also remembered for dismantling many of the State’s unions, and for a somewhat totalitarian and heavy handed style of keeping control.

Under Joh, street protests were banned and Special Branch monitored extensively those the authoritarian leader saw as subversives, measures prompting Queenslander, Australian Civil Liberties Council, Terry O’Gorman, to comment Sir Joh was “the most appalling premier Queensland has ever had in terms of civil liberties and human rights”.

Joh was also influential in the famous case of the Dismissal by the Governor General of then-Prime Minister Gough Whitlam, in 1975.

In his last years as Premier, he had taken his cause to the nation’s capital, with the “Joh for PM” campaign. But this distraction has been credited with the downfall of his government, with corruption investigations at last being conducted by his stand-in, Bill Gunn.

The body of Sir Joh, who was of Lutheran faith, is to be buried at Bethany, the family property near Kingaroy.

Unsolicited quotes from ordinary Australians, many ex-Queenslanders seeking refuge in southern states, on hearing the news:

“Outrageous bastard! Oh God! That was polite!” — “Karen”

“Guilty as Hell. And that’s where he is now.” — “Michael”

“Yay! Good riddence to bad rubbish” — “Liza”

“The dictator is gone our time 2 sing” — “John. H.”

“Yeah he took a while — about 90 f*cking years overdue!” — “Hose Man”

“The pope an joh at least somethin going right” — “Helen”

“Corrupt f*cking sh*teating Bible-bashing f*ckw*t is dead. And thank f*ck. I haven’t been so happy since September 11!” — “Greg”

“I don’t drink but I’ll be having a red whilst dancing on his grave.” — “Cellest”

“Ding dong the d*ck is dead!” — anon.

“Yeahhh!!! Fucking finally” — “Leo”

“It’s a great day today the Rednecks are silent a great victory has been won” — “Zenner”

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

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NSA to participate in U.S. cybersecurity

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NSA to participate in U.S. cybersecurity

Posted by VZWk94v8 on September 2, 2018

Monday, July 6, 2009

The Obama administration has given the National Security Agency powers to screen private Internet traffic going to and from government sites, and will use AT&T telecommunications as a likely test site. The Obama administration remains firm in this decision, which was put forth during the Bush administration.

The agency defends military networks with a classified system named Tutelag, which decides how to handle malware intrusions (for example, whether to block them or to investigate more closely). “We absolutely intend to use the technical resources, the substantial ones, that NSA has,” said Janet Napolitano, Secretary of the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS). DHS’s intrusion detection program, Einstein version 3, is in development as version 2 is being deployed. The program defends all U.S. government agencies and departments.

DHS spokeswoman Amy Kudwa said, “We are moving forward in a way that protects privacy and civil liberties.”

AT&T, the chosen test site under Bush, sought assurance from the Obama administration to determine what elements of Einstein 3 to preserve. AT&T officials declined to comment.

In 2006 the Electronic Frontier Foundation filed the class action lawsuit Hepting v. AT&T—currently awaiting decision—against AT&T, which under the Bush administration permitted the NSA to look at domestic communications without a warrant. NSA’s intelligence gathering is limited only to foreign communications.

“We came away saying they have a lot of work in front of them to get this done right,” Ari Schwartz of the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT) said. “We’re looking forward to their next steps.”

Schwartz authored a letter on Einstein to the Office of Management and Budget in December 2008 on behalf of the Information Security and Privacy Advisory Board.

NSA director Keith B. Alexander said in April 2009 that the NSA will help, but does not want to take charge. Several people—including Rod Beckstrom, who resigned over the issue as head of the National Cyber Security Center (NCSC); Bruce Schneier of BT Counterpane; Leslie Harris, president and CEO of CDT—and not Dennis Blair, Director of National Intelligence—have urged the Obama administration to keep the Department of Homeland Security in charge despite its low scores, because, they claim, the NSA is a spy agency.

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IMF head remains in New York prison; charged over alleged hotel sex attack

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IMF head remains in New York prison; charged over alleged hotel sex attack

Posted by VZWk94v8 on September 2, 2018

Sunday, May 15, 2011

This sordid episode—no matter how it ultimately plays out—will spell the end of Strauss-Kahn as an effective leader of the IMF even if he retains his position, which is highly unlikely.

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the head of the International Monetary Fund, remained in jail last night after being charged with sexually attacking a chambermaid at a New York City hotel. Strauss-Kahn has agreed to undergo forensic screening before he appears in court, and has vowed to “vigorously” defend himself against the charges, which are likely to create a leadership void at the IMF, disrupt emergency talks over the European debt crisis, and spell the end of his political career.

Strauss-Khan was the favourite candidate for the French presidency, and was expected to announce he would stand against Nicolas Sarkozy this month. But the allegations are expected to destroy the hopes of his supporters, increase infighting among the French left, and leave his political career in tatters. His arrest comes at a critical moment for the IMF, and will likely plunge efforts to stabilise the financial states of struggling eurozone countries into chaos. He was meant to discuss the bailouts of Greece and Portugal with European Union financial officials at a meeting in Brussels this week.

Eswar Shanker Prasad, a professor of international economics at Cornell University, said: “This sordid episode – no matter how it ultimately plays out – will spell the end of Strauss-Kahn as an effective leader of the IMF even if he retains his position, which is highly unlikely.” The IMF, however, insisted it remained “fully functioning and operational.”

Strauss-Kahn was to appear in court in Manhattan yesterday charged with three crimes, including attempted rape, but the hearing has been delayed so he can undergo forensic tests. He was taken into custody by officials while on an Air France passenger plane which was about to take off from John F. Kennedy International Airport for Paris; when detectives approached him in the first class cabin in the aircraft he reportedly asked: “What is this about?” Strauss-Kahn reportedly fled the hotel “in a hurry” after the attack, leaving a number of personal effects behind. “If our officers had been ten minutes later he would have been in the air and on their [sic] way to France,” a spokesperson for the New York Police Department said.

The chambermaid reported that she had been sexually assaulted by a man staying in a “luxury suite” at the Sofitel hotel near Times Square. “The maid described being forcibly attacked, locked in the room and sexually assaulted,” the police spokesperson said. Strauss-Kahn came out of the shower naked while the chambermaid was working in the room, tried to pull the woman onto the bed and locked the door, The New York Times reported, quoting police sources. She allegedly fought him off, but he sexually assaulted her again after dragging her to the bathroom, before he locked her in the room; she was reportedly hospitalized afterwards with trauma.

In 2008, a year after becoming the leader of the IMF, Strauss-Kahn was reprimanded by the organization’s board after being involved in an extramarital affair with another senior executive at the bank. More recently, he was pictured driving a luxury car in Paris, causing a media furore over whether his lifestyle fitted with the socialist attitude he claims to represent. But his wife, former television star Anne Sinclair, has dismissed the accusations. She said: “I do not believe for one second the accusations brought against my husband. I have no doubt his innocence will be established.”

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Welsh air route in difficulties, call for funding cut

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Welsh air route in difficulties, call for funding cut

Posted by VZWk94v8 on September 2, 2018

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Highland Airways, which runs flights between Anglesey in north Wales and Cardiff in south Wales, has said today that it is business as usual, despite suspending online booking yesterday. Meanwhile, Liberal Democrats have called on the Welsh Assembly Government to withdraw the £800,000 annual public subsidy for the route (about US$1.3 million) and use the money on “green public transport” instead.

Although flights were continuing and passengers were told to “check in as normal”, the company stopped taking bookings for future flights yesterday, blaming “technical difficulties”. However, it also said that trading conditions were “difficult”. The company’s commercial director, Basil O’Fee, explained that the company’s problems had been “exacerbated by the severe winter and resultant reduced flying and reduced income.” He added that the board was in talks with potential new investors, and hoped for a outcome of these discussions to be known “within days rather than weeks”.

“It is now time to end this costly debacle before even more public money is poured into a service that is both economically and environmentally unsustainable,” according to Kirsty Williams, leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats. She wants the money spent on improving rail transport in Wales.

However, Ieuan Wyn Jones, the leader of the Welsh nationalist party Plaid Cymru and the Assembly member for Anglesey, said that the service was an “essential link”. He hoped that the company would be able to keep going, or in a “worse case scenario”, that the route would be run by administrators while the Assembly Government looked at other options.

The company has carried 37,000 people on its twice-daily service since it started operating. According to Jones, this showed that that the service “has been a huge success with passenger numbers far exceeding expectations”.

Bidding for the next contract with the Assembly Government to provide the route closed last week, with Highland Airways thought to be the only entrant. The lack of other bids was “particularly worrying”, commented Jenny Randerson, Welsh Liberal Democrats transport spokesperson. “This does suggest that despite huge public subsidy, this service is still not seen as a viable, profitable, and green solution to this key transport need”, she said.

Highland Airways is based in Inverness, Scotland, where it operates passenger and freight services for island communities. The news that the company was in difficulty was said to come as a surprise to business and transport leaders in Scotland, where it is regarded as a “Highland success story”.

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Former Russian spy Litvinenko dies, radioactive poisoning suspected

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Former Russian spy Litvinenko dies, radioactive poisoning suspected

Posted by VZWk94v8 on August 30, 2018

Friday, November 24, 2006

Mr Alexander Litvinenko, reputed to have been an Ex-Russian spy who had defected to Britain, died last night in mysterious circumstances. He had alleged many associations between people in high places and organised international crime, implying that President Putin and Romano Prodi among others had been involved personally. He had sought political asylum in UK in 2000 and became a naturalised citizen in October this year, just weeks before his death.

Mr Litvinenko was said to have been investigating the shooting of Russian journalist and human rights activist Anna Politkovskaya, a well-known critic of Russian activities in Chechnya, in her apartment in Moscow October 7, 2006. It is reported that he had met two Russians in an hotel room, one said to be former member of the KGB in conneciton with the affair and he went on to meet Mario Scaramella at a sushi bar in Piccadilly where some papers were exchanged. Some hours after this he was taken ill.

Mr Litvinenko was admitted to Barnet General Hospital, north London on November 1, 2006 complaining of feeling sick. By November 11, he was said to be suffering from serious poisoning. A week later he was transferred to University College Hospital in central London. A week later he was said to have been poisoned by ingesting thallium, once used in rat poison, but, in the opinion of some doctors, there were signs of radioactive poisoning, including loss of weight and shedding of hair. Various explanations of his condition were offered. Last night he suffered a heart attack, after having left a message blaming President Putin for having him killed.

The radioactive isotope polonium-210 was found in his blood and urine as reported by the United Kingdom’s Health Protection Agency. The post-mortem was cancelled. Subsequently the Agency examined conditions in the hospitals in which Mr Litvinenko has been treated. Police visited the Itsu sushi restaurant in Piccadilly, his home in Muswell Hill and the Millennium Hotel, Grosvenor Square where the meeting on November 1 had been held. Traces of radiocactivity were found in all three places. It is speculated that the polonium was probably eaten by Litvinenko as a substance that could be combined with a salt-like substance, such as polonium nitrate.

It was reported that a meeting had been held in Cabinet Office Briefing Room A (COBRA) used for high level emergency planning and control, to consider the implications of these events. The Foreign Office asked Moscow for a response to the accusation of Russian involvement and President Putin himself dismissed the allegations saying (before the cause of death had been established) that there was no proof of an unnatural death and that the case was being used as a “political provocation”.

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