Solar-powered airplane makes first international flight

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Solar-powered airplane makes first international flight

December 12th, 2018

Sunday, May 15, 2011

The solar-powered airplane Solar Impulse touched down at the Brussels National Airport late Friday night, after completing a 13-hour flight from its home base in Payerne, Switzerland. It was the first international flight by a fully solar-powered aircraft.

The experimental aircraft was piloted by André Borschberg, co-founder and chief engineer for the Solar Impulse project, which hopes to circumnavigate the globe using only the sun’s energy in 2013. “Our goal is to create a revolution in the minds of people…to promote solar energies — not necessarily a revolution in aviation,” Bertrand Piccard, the group’s other co-founder, said in an interview after the flight.

The aircraft collects energy from the sun using 12,000 extremely thin solar cells affixed to the wings and tail section. An on-board battery can store enough electricity to fly all night, allowing the Solar Impulse to stay aloft indefinitely. This allowed the aircraft to maintain a holding pattern over the Brussels airport as other flights landed and conditions were right for the Solar Impulse to land. Because the aircraft weighs only about 3,500 pounds and has a wingspan of 200 feet, it is extremely sensitive to wind and needs calm conditions to land safely.

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Last WWII Comanche ‘code talker’ dies

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Last WWII Comanche ‘code talker’ dies

December 11th, 2018

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Charles Chibitty, the last surviving member of the group of 17 who served in World War II as the Comanche “code talkers” died in a Tulsa, Oklahoma nursing home July 20. He was 83.

Chibitty was among the 14 Comanches who landed with the D-Day invasion of Normandy Beaches where they reported by radio to division headquarters on the progress of the landings. The Comanche were dubbed code talkers because the American Indian language has no written record, and it was never broken by the Germans during the war.

One of the first messages transmitted in Comanche language during the landings was “right beach, wrong place”. It warned soldiers they landed about a half mile from their intended target. Chibitty served with a unit that landed on Utah Beach on June 6, 1944.

Mr.Chibitty served with the rank of a Corporal in the 4th Infantry Division that engaged in the breakthrough of the Siegfried line in Hurtgen Forest. His division also saw action in the Battle of the Bulge and the rescue of the “Lost Battalion”. His division was among the first to undertake the liberation of Paris. Then later, the 4th Infantry was the first to enter Germany.

The Comanches, who came from the Lawton area in Oklahoma, heard rumors of a military plan to organize a native speaking unit. He enlisted in 1941, and along with 19 others, they were trained for special duty by the U.S. Army Signal Corps. All were sent to Fort Benning, but three remained state-side because they had dependents and deployment in the mission was dangerous.

The U.S. declassified the code talker program in 1968. Only three remained living at the time. The French Government gave special honors to the Comanches by bestowing them with the Chevalier of the National Order of Merit in 1989. Mr. Chibitty was honored in 1999 when the Pentagon bestowed on him the Knowlton Award.

In a 1999 interview with the Armed Forces Information Center, Chibitty said: “The Navajo did the same thing. The Navajos became code talkers about a year after the Comanches, but there were over a hundred of them because they had so much territory [in the Pacific Theater] to cover.”

Joe Holley of the Washington Post recalled this quote from Mr. Chibitty in 2002:

“It’s strange, but growing up as a child I was forbidden speak my native language at school. Later my country asked me to. My language helped win the war, and that makes me very proud. Very proud.”

The funeral service was held Tuesday at 10 a.m. He has three surviving grandchildren.

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Car bomb explodes near MI5 army base in Northern Ireland

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Car bomb explodes near MI5 army base in Northern Ireland

December 10th, 2018

Monday, April 12, 2010

A car bomb has exploded outside an army base in Northern Ireland that is the headquarters for MI5 domestic security services. The attack has been claimed by dissidents from the Real Irish Republican Army, a more radical splinter group of the IRA.

According to police, Real IRA members hijacked a vehicle from a taxi driver in Belfast; Al Jazeera reports it was commandeered at gunpoint. A bomb was planted in the car, which was then driven to the rear of the Palace Barracks.

The explosion comes several hours before the Northern Ireland Assembly was scheduled to appoint its first justice minister, and only minutes after the Belfast power-sharing administration regained control over justice and policing in the province for the first time in nearly four decades.

An Ulster Unionist member of the Belfast Policing Board, Basil McCrea, commented on the explosion, saying: “It’s obviously people trying to make a statement about the transfer of policing and justice powers. We are going to have to expect more of this over the next period of time […] There will be people who will try to disrupt the process,” as quoted by the BBC.

He commented that he believed the incident was a “one-off” occurrence, and said he tried to reassure concerned locals in the area.

Police said IRA dissidents held a Belfast taxi driver at gunpoint in his home and used his vehicle to carry the bomb to the rear of Palace Barracks. Witnesses report hearing an explosion shortly after midnight local time; Al Jazeera puts the precise time of the detonation at 00.24 local time (23.24 UTC). One man was hospitalised following the bombing, although there are no reports of deaths.

According to a local journalist, security has cordoned off the area near the explosion.

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Scientist demands end to US ‘addiction to oil’

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Scientist demands end to US ‘addiction to oil’

December 10th, 2018

Thursday, October 21, 2010

A scientist for the National Wildlife Federation, Doug Inkley, has criticised what he described as America’s “addiction to oil”. Inkley stated it is ultimately responsible for the Deepwater Horizon disaster earlier this year.

Inkley commented on the incident, six months after the explosion which killed eleven rig workers and resulted in over 170 million gallons of crude oil leaking into the Gulf of Mexico causing damage to marine wildlife habitats as well as the Gulf’s fishing and tourism industries.

Inkley is a senior scientist working for the National Wildlife Federation. He stated, “Looking back at what we knew six months after the Exxon Valdez disaster in Alaska illustrates the danger of too quickly drawing conclusions about the full impacts of the Gulf oil disaster.”

“Six months after the Exxon Valdez disaster,” he continued, “the herring stocks in Prince William Sound seemed like they’d pull through. It wasn’t until the fourth year after the disaster that herring stocks collapsed due to a delayed population effect of the oil, devastating the people and wildlife that depended on them. Today, more than two decades later, this once-vital fish still hasn’t recovered.”

The aftershocks of the Gulf oil disaster will continue to cast a long shadow of uncertainty on the Gulf ecosystem and the livelihoods of those who depend upon it for years to come

His remarks echo those issued by another environmental organisation in July. Greenpeace demanded that BP, who the United States Congress has blamed for the disaster, take a “new direction” and end an “obsession with high risk, environmentally reckless sources of oil.”

A spokesperson for Greenpeace said, “[t]he moment has come for BP to move beyond oil. Under Tony Hayward the company went backwards, squeezing the last drops of oil from places like the Gulf of Mexico, the tar sands of Canada and even the fragile Arctic wilderness […] The age of oil is coming to an end and companies like BP will be left behind unless they begin to adapt now.” Statistics show that the United States is by far the largest consumer of oil, using 20,680,000 barrels every day. Its closest rival, China, consumes only 7,578,000 barrels per day.

Inkley said incidents in the past showed there can be far-reaching effects. “The Exxon Valdez disaster was not simply one ecosystem earthquake – the aftershocks have continued to this day,” he said, citing the 1989 disaster which occurred when an oil tanker ran aground in the Gulf of Alaska.

“What tremors are still to come in the Gulf? The aftershocks of the Gulf oil disaster will continue to cast a long shadow of uncertainty on the Gulf ecosystem and the livelihoods of those who depend upon it for years to come,” pointed out Inkley. Adding, “[a]s I look back on my days in Louisiana’s wetlands wading through thick black oil in prime pelican habitat, I continue to wonder: How long must we wait for lawmakers to act to prevent future disasters? How many more lives, livelihoods and animals must be claimed by our addiction to oil?”

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Suspected serial killer appears in British court

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Suspected serial killer appears in British court

December 9th, 2018

Friday, May 28, 2010

A man accused of being a serial killer has appeared in Bradford magistrates court in West Yorkshire today charged with three counts of murder. 40-year-old Stephen Griffiths is accused of killing Suzanne Blamires, 36, Susan Rushworth, 43, and Shelley Armitage, 31, all prostitutes.

Griffiths, a former van driver with a degree in psychology and studying for a PhD in criminology, gave his name as “Crossbow Cannibal” when asked. He has been in police custody since Monday when police were alerted to a CCTV recording that appeared to show a murder.

A caretaker had been reviewing footage from the flats where Griffiths lives when he saw footage of a woman and a man enter a flat early on Saturday morning. Two minutes later, she ran out and was followed by the man, who beat her to the ground and shot her in the head with a crossbow. Over the course of the weekend, the man was seen several times with bin bags and a rucksack.

On Tuesday, the day after the arrest of Griffiths, Blamires’ remains were found in the River Aire in nearby Shipley. She had been cut into several pieces and her head was located in a rucksack. Police continue to search for the other two alleged victims; Rushworth has been missing since June last year and Armitage vanished in April.

Police have searched much of Bradford’s red-light district, where Griffiths’ third-floor flat is located. Forensic investigations at the flat are expected to last around three weeks. There are plans to search landfill sites for bodies, and police may yet expand the inquiry to cover three more cold cases, although at present they have not been linked to the current inquiry.

Sniffer dogs have been used throughout the city, and police have been taking away plastic evidence bags. Some alleyways remain closed off. Police charged their suspect yesterday.

Griffiths was known as “the lizard man” in his block of flats owing to his habit of walking his two pet monitor lizards in the area. One neighbour is reported to have quoted him as saying he was studying for “a PhD in murder and Jack the Ripper,” and he has spent time in a high-security psychiatric hospital. During his five-minute court appearance he did not enter a plea, kept his head bowed and fidgeted with his cuffed hands. He said “Here, I guess,” when asked for his address.

As he stood in the glass-fronted dock, guarded by three security officers, he was watched by the families of Rushworth and Armitage, who were accompanied by police family liaison officers. Blamires’ family chose not to be present, but the victim’s mother Nicky Blamires, 54, has told the press that Suzanne was a “much-loved” family member even though she “went down the wrong path and did not have the life she was meant to have.” “Nobody deserves this,” she said. “All these girls were human beings and people’s daughters.”

Griffiths’ morning court appearance was followed by a second one this afternoon, at Bradford Crown Court. This time, he confirmed his name without incident. He was remanded into custody until next month, when he will appear in court again.

British media has been quick to compare the case to Peter Sutcliffe, dubbed the “Yorkshire Ripper”. Sutcliffe was a Bradford killer responsible for thirteen murders and seven attempted murders, including several prostitutes. Since his 1981 conviction he has spent most of the last three decades in Broadmoor high-security psychiatric hospital near London.

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Category:June 4, 2010

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Category:June 4, 2010

December 9th, 2018

? June 3, 2010
June 5, 2010 ?
June 4

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Consumer database of several major North American stores hacked

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Consumer database of several major North American stores hacked

December 7th, 2018

Friday, January 19, 2007

TJX Companies, a U.S. chain, that owns big box stores Winners, a fashion outlet, and HomeSense, a home accessories store, has revealed they had their computers hacked back in mid-December.

It also affected the U.S. and Puerto Rico stores Marshalls, T.J. Maxx, HomeGoods and A.J. Wright, which are also owned by TJX Companies. The intrusion could also affect stores in the United Kingdom and Ireland.

They discovered the hacking in mid-December and revealed the information to the public on Wednesday.

“The company is committed to providing its customers with more information when it becomes available,” TJX Companies said in a statement.

The computers contain credit card, debit card, check, and merchandise return transactions information. The hacker could have accessed transactions during 2003 and from May through December 2006.

Jefferies analyst Timothy Allen said the chain should use this as an opportunity for excellent customer service. He added that they should offer coupons to customers to get them back to shopping in stores owned by TJX.

Customers with questions can call one of the help lines at 866-484-6978 in the United States, 866-903-1408 in Canada, and 0800-77-90-15 for the United Kingdom and Ireland.

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Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch to be auctioned off

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Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch to be auctioned off

December 7th, 2018

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Neverland Valley Ranch, owned by Michael Jackson, is to be sold at auction on March 19, 2008, unless Jackson pays over US$24 million.

Financial Title Company, the trustee of his Santa Barbara County, California, home and amusement park, has foreclosed on the property. They notified Jackson of the foreclosure and sale on Monday. Jackson had only just recently paid an overdue property tax bill of $600,000.

The court filing, addressed to Jackson, says, “You are in default of a deed of trust … Unless you take action to protect your property it may be sold at a public sale.” Fox News published the filing.

The foreclosure includes the ranch and all possessions on the property, inside or out.

The foreclosure auction will take place in front of the Santa Barbara County Courthouse in Santa Barbara. Jackson has until then to pay $24,525,906.61 he owes the title company.

In 2006, Jackson refinanced previous loans that had been bought up by Fortress Investment Group. The $300-million loan was secured with the aid of Sony Music Entertainment. However, the Neverland property was not part of that deal.

Jackson has not lived at Neverland since June 30, 2005, when he moved to Bahrain after a rape charge and subsequent acquittal.

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G20 Summit plans to inject US$5tn into economy before 2011

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G20 Summit plans to inject US$5tn into economy before 2011

December 6th, 2018

Friday, April 3, 2009

The G20 Summit held in London, England concluded Thursday with an injection into the economy of US$5 trillion by the end of 2010.

Global trade would be supported by $250 billion (169.5 billion pounds). “We are going to act decisively to kickstart international trade. We will ensure availability of at least $250 billion over the next two years,” said Gordon Brown Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

The International Monetary Fund IMF will have access to $750bn in resources of which $250bn will support special drawing rights.

Developing countries received $100bn which will be dispensed via Multilateral development banks. Towards this end, the IMF will sell off gold reserves.

China will support the IMF fund by $40bn, the European Union by $100bn, and Japan by $100bn.

There will be increased regulation on banking and credit ratings agencies. There was a commitment to clamp down on hedge funds, tax havens and toxic assets. To restore consumer confidence in the financial sector, a new Financial Stability Board will be initiated internationally. There would be new policies implemented to control pay and bonuses paid to the heads of banks and corporations.

The G20 leaders were adverse to protectionism and rallied to support international trade and investment.

The Leaders’ statement said, “We reaffirm the commitment made in Washington: to refrain from raising new barriers to investment or to trade in goods and services, imposing new export restrictions, or implementing World Trade Organization (WTO) inconsistent measures to stimulate exports.”

Eoin O’Malley, senior adviser on international trade at BusinessEurope, said “The measure also needs to be part of wider package to avoid protectionism and conclude the Doha round which will stimulate trade growth. The key point now is to move forward with Doha. The key now is implementation. G20 governments must act quickly to provide this finance to companies that need it urgently.”

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Category:Featured article

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Category:Featured article

December 6th, 2018

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