Ontario Votes 2007: Interview with Green candidate Russ Aegard, Thunder Bay-Atikokan

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Ontario Votes 2007: Interview with Green candidate Russ Aegard, Thunder Bay-Atikokan

March 22nd, 2019

Monday, September 24, 2007

Russ Aegard is running for the Green Party of Ontario in the Ontario provincial election, in the Thunder Bay-Atikokan riding. Wikinews’ Nick Moreau interviewed him regarding his values, his experience, and his campaign.

Stay tuned for further interviews; every candidate from every party is eligible, and will be contacted. Expect interviews from Liberals, Progressive Conservatives, New Democratic Party members, Ontario Greens, as well as members from the Family Coalition, Freedom, Communist, Libertarian, and Confederation of Regions parties, as well as independents.

Ontario Votes 2007: Interview with Green candidate Russ Aegard, Thunder Bay-Atikokan

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No people or animals hurt in rural Australian fire

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No people or animals hurt in rural Australian fire

March 22nd, 2019

Saturday, January 30, 2010

According to local police chief Craig Van Breugel there were no injuries or loss of life to animals or local residents in the recent fire in the rural Australian town of Toongabbie. “There was no injury to persons or animals. That is all I have for you,” Detective Acting Sergent Van Breugel said in response to queries from Wikinews.

The fire began about 2:20 pm local time (UTC+11) between Humphrey and Eagle Hawk roads, north of the township proper. The local Country Fire Authority brigade managed to contain the blaze to approximately three to five hectares.

Victoria Police have recently indicated that the area around where the fire was started is only accessible by four wheel drives (4WD) or off-road motorcycles; it is popular with dirt bike riders and 4WD enthusiasts.

The local Country Fire Authority brigade managed to contain the blaze to approximately three to five hectares between Humphrey and Eagle Hawk roads.

Det.Act.Sgt Van Breugel confrimed that there wer some off road motor cyclists in the are that day. “[Police] know there was a number of off road motorcyclists in the area on the day. Some of [them] have already been spoken to by the Police” Det.Act.Sgt Van Breugel said.

The fire is being treated as suspicious and people with infomation that may help the investigation are encouraged to contact Crime Stoppers or the local police.

No people or animals hurt in rural Australian fire

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Preliminary report sheds light on SAS landing gear incident

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Preliminary report sheds light on SAS landing gear incident

March 21st, 2019

Friday, September 14, 2007

A preliminary report by the Danish civil aviation authority, SLV, has shed light on the events leading up to a Scandinavian Airlines System (SAS) airliner experiencing a landing gear failure upon landing in Denmark, one of two similar crashes that have resulted in the grounding of more than 60 of the model in question across the world.

The aircraft, a Bombardier Q400 (alternatively known as a de Havilland Canada Dash 8), crashed due to a landing gear failure after a nut worked loose, due in turn to rusting on the threads of its bolt, according to the SLV’s aircraft accident investigation committee report on Scandinavian Airlines Flight 1209. The nut and bolt were vital to the locking mechanism for the starboard landing gear, and consequently the structure collapsed.

The SLV does not specifically address why this occurred, but according to SLV spokesman Thorbjoern Ancker the problem is a design flaw, and not a maintenance issue as previously suspected. In his own words, ‘All speculation that this was an error by SAS is now shown to be wrong… It’s a constructional weakness.’ He explained that Bombardier maintenance documents supplied with the aircraft did not require maintenance personnel to inspect the bolt in question, and that accordingly this had not been done.

Pending completion of landing gear inspections by SAS, Norwegian, Swedish and Danish authorities will make a decision regarding whether the air carrier’s Q400 fleet should remain grounded, or be permitted to resume operations.

A spokesman for Bombardier refused to comment on the findings when contacted by reporters, preferring instead to wait until the publication of the final report into the accident. He did, however, make one comment regarding speculation that SAS would be compensated if the accident was proven to be the responsibility of the supplier, saying, “That will be part of the discussions between Bombardier and airlines.”

Scandinavian Airlines have canceled 111 flights today as their Q400s are grounded per Air Transport Canada orders, while SAS have concealed 110 flights today and tomorrow while their aircraft are grounded.

Bombardier have circulated a document to all operators of the type, containing advice recommending a revised inspection program.

Shares in Bombardier fell 14 cents, or 2.2%, to CA$6.21 and most recent reports have them at $6.25. The company is therefore currently valued at $11 billion. Goodrich, who manufactured the equipment, fell 9 cents, or 0.1%, to US$65.11. SAS, who own Scandinavian Airlines, fell 2.25 kronor, or 1.9%, to 115.75 kronor. A continuing fall in SAS shares prices over the last six weeks has almost negated all gains this year.

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Australian Parliament hears reply to Budget

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Australian Parliament hears reply to Budget

March 21st, 2019

Thursday, May 11, 2006

The Australian House of Representatives heard the traditional right-of-reply to the Budget released May 9, from the Australian Labor Party, led by Kim Beazley (Labor, Brand), plus Budget replies from minor parties in the Australian Senate.

While the Budget is politically popular, having as one of its main features significant tax reform, Beazley focused on the omissions in the Budget, such as the failure to address a skills shortage.

Contents

  • 1 Opposition reply
  • 2 Minor parties
    • 2.1 Australian Democrats
  • 3 Australian Greens
  • 4 Family First
  • 5 Sources

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California’s violent video game ban law ruled unconstitutional by US Court of Appeals

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California’s violent video game ban law ruled unconstitutional by US Court of Appeals

March 20th, 2019

Sunday, February 22, 2009

A U.S. Court of Appeals on Friday has declared unconstitutional California Assembly Bills 1792 & 1793, the California “ultraviolent video games law” that sought to ban the sale or rental of violent video games to minors.

Federal judge Consuelo M. Callahan has ruled that the 2005 statewide ban, which has yet to be enforced, violates minors’ rights under the US Constitution’s First and 14th amendment because even the most graphic on-screen mayhem, video game content represents free speech that cannot be censored without proper justification.

The Court has ruled that there’s no convincing evidence it causes psychological damage to young people. The 3-0 judgment has affirmed an earlier ruling by a U.S. District Court, which barred enforcement of the law on the basis that it was “unduly restrictive” and “used overly broad definitions,” and that the state failed to show that the limitations on violent video games would actually protect children.

In 2005, Leland Yee (???), a California State Senator (in District 8 which includes the western half of San Francisco and most of San Mateo County), Speaker pro Tempore of the Assembly (D-San Francisco/Daly City), introduced California Assembly Bills 1792 & 1793 which barred “ultra-violent” video games from minors under the age of eighteen in California and mandated the application of ESRB ratings for video games.

“California Assembly Bills 1792 & 1793” were commonly called the “ultraviolent video games bills” or simply “video game ban” bills. Bill 1792 banned the sales of such video games while Bill 1793 required signs explaining the regulations on said games to be placed where such were sold. Both bills were passed by the Assembly and signed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger into law (AB 1179) on October 7, 2005.

Explicitly, these two bills provided that:

  • AB 1792 will place ultra-violent video games into the “matter” portion of the penal code, which criminalizes the sale of said material to a minor.
  • AB 1793 will require retailers to place M-rated games separate from other games intended for children, and will also require retailers to display signage explaining the ESRB rating system.

Yee, a former child psychologist has publicly criticized such games as Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas and Manhunt 2, and opposes the U.S. Army’s Global Gaming League.

On October 17, 2005, before the effectivity of the challenged Act, plaintiffs Video Software Dealers Association, the not-for-profit international trade association dedicated to advancing the interests of the $32 billion home entertainment industry and Entertainment Software Association, a 1994 US trade association of the video game industry have filed lawsuit (D.C. No. CV-05-04188-RMW) against the defendants Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, CA Attorney General, Edmund G. Brown, Santa Clara County District Attorney George Kennedy, City Attorney for the City of San Jose, Richard Doyle, and County Counsel for the County of Santa Clara, Ann Miller Ravel.

Plaintiffs’ counsel, Jenner & Block‘s Paul M. Smith has filed a declaratory relief to invalidate the newly-enacted California Civil Code sections 1746-1746.5 (the “Act”), on the grounds that it allegedly violated 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and the First and Fourteenth Amendments.

Plaintiffs have submitted that “the Act unconstitutionally curtailed freedom of expression on its face based on content regulation and the labeling requirement, was unconstitutionally vague, and violated equal protection. California’s restrictions could open the door for states to limit minors’ access to other material under the guise of protecting children.”

By December 2005, both bills had been struck down as unconstitutional, by Ronald M. Whyte, District Judge, Presiding in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California in San Jose, thereby preventing either from going into effect on January 1, 2006.

Judge Whyte has granted plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction in “Video Software Dealers Ass’n v. Schwarzenegger,” 401 F. Supp. 2d 1034 (N.D. Cal. 2005), and cross-motions for summary judgment, in “Video Software Dealers Ass’n v. Schwarzenegger,” No. C-05-04188, slip op. (N.D. Cal. Aug. 6, 2007).

Similar bills were subsequently filed in such states as Illinois, Oklahoma, Minnesota, Michigan and Louisiana have been ruled to be unconstitutional by federal courts on First Amendment grounds, according to Sean Bersell, a spokesman for the Entertainment Merchants Association.

The defendants, in the instant Case No. 07-16620, have timely appealed the judgment. On October 29, 2008, the appealed case was argued and submitted to the Sacramento, California‘s U.S. Court of Appeals, hence, the promulgation of the instant 30 pages decision (No. 07-16620; D.C. No. CV-05-04188-RMW) by Alex Kozinski, Chief Judge, Sidney R. Thomas and Consuelo M. Callahan (who wrote the court’s opinion), United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit Judges.

In the ban’s defense, Deputy Attorney General for the State of California, Zackery Morazzini has contended that “if governments restrict the sale of pornography to minors, it should also create a separate category for ultra-violent video games.” Edmund Gerald “Jerry” Brown, Jr., California Attorney General, has also argued that “the Court should analyze the Act’s restrictions under what has been called the ‘variable obscenity’ or ‘obscenity as to minors’ standard first mentioned in Ginsberg, 390 U.S. 629. The Court’s reasoning in Ginsberg that a state could prohibit the sale of sexually-explicit material to minors that it could not ban from distribution to adults should be extended to materials containing violence.”

The “Fallo” or dispositive portion of the judgment in question goes as follows:

We hold that the Act, as a presumptively invalid contentbased restriction on speech, is subject to strict scrutiny and not the “variable obscenity” standard from Ginsberg v. New York, 390 U.S. 629 (1968). Applying strict scrutiny, we hold that the Act violates rights protected by the First Amendment because the State has not demonstrated a compelling interest, has not tailored the restriction to its alleged compelling interest, and there exist less-restrictive means that would further the State’s expressed interests. Additionally, we hold that the Act’s labeling requirement is unconstitutionally compelled speech under the First Amendment because it does not require the disclosure of purely factual information; but compels the carrying of the State’s controversial opinion. Accordingly, we affirm the district court’s grant of summary judgment to Plaintiffs and its denial of the State’s cross-motion. Because we affirm the district court on these grounds, we do not reach two of Plaintiffs’ challenges to the Act: first, that the language of the Act is unconstitutionally vague, and, second, that the Act violates Plaintiffs’ rights under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.—”Video Software Dealers Association; Entertainment Software Association v. Arnold Schwarzenegger and George Kennedy” – No. 07-16620; D.C. No. CV-05-04188-RMW – Alex Kozinski, Chief Judge, Sidney R. Thomas and

Consuelo M. Callahan, United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit Circuit Judges.

“We need to help empower parents with the ultimate decision over whether or not their children play in a world of violence and murder,” said the law’s author, Sen. Leland Yee, announcing he wanted Edmund Gerald “Jerry” Brown, Jr., the current Attorney General and a former governor of the State of California, to appeal the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court.

“Letting the industry police itself is like letting kids sign their own report cards and that a self regulating system simply doesn’t work. I’ve always contended that the … law the governor signed was a good one for protecting children from the harm from playing these ultra-violent video games. I’ve always felt it would end up in the Supreme Court,” Sen. Yee explained. “In fact, the high court recently agreed, in Roper v. Simmons (2005), that we need to treat children differently in the eyes of the law due to brain development,” he added.

According to Michael D. Gallagher, president of the Entertainment Software Association, plaintiff, the Court’s ruling has stressed that parents, with assistance from the industry, are the ones who should control what games their children play. “This is a clear signal that in California and across the country, the reckless pursuit of anti-video game legislation like this is an exercise in wasting taxpayer money, government time and state resources,” Gallagher said in a statement.

California’s violent video game law properly seeks to protect children from the harmful effects of excessively violent, interactive video games. While I am deeply disappointed in today’s ruling, we should not stop our efforts to assist parents in keeping these harmful video games out of the hands of children.

Entertainment Software Association members include Disney Interactive Studios, Electronic Arts, Microsoft Corp, THQ Inc, Sony Computer Entertainment America, and Take-Two Interactive Software, the maker of “Grand Theft Auto” games.

Judge Callahan has also reprimanded state lawyers for having failed to show any reasonable alternatives to an outright statewide ban against the ultra-violent video games. “Ratings education, retailer ratings enforcement, and control of game play by parents are the appropriate responses to concerns about video game content,” said Bo Andersen, president and chief executive of the Entertainment Merchants Association.

Andersen continues, “retailers are committed to assisting parents in assuring that children do not purchase games that are not appropriate for their age. Independent surveys show that retailers are doing a very good job in this area, with an 80 percent enforcement rate, and retailers will continue to work to increase enforcement rates even further; the court has correctly noted that the state cannot simply dismiss these efforts.”

California was already forced to pay $282,794 to the ESA for attorneys’ fees, money that would’ve helped with the state’s current budget difficulties. Andersen has urged California government officials not to appeal the case. “The estimated $283,000 in taxpayer money spent by the state on this case is so far an ‘ill-advised, and ultimately doomed, attempt at state-sponsored nannyism.’ A voluntary ratings system already exists to avoid the state-sponsored nannyism of a ban,” he explained.

“The governor believes strongly we have a responsibility to our children and our communities to protect against the effects of video games depicting ultra-violent actions,” said Governor Schwarzenegger spokeswoman Camille Anderson adding the governor was reviewing Friday’s decision.

Deputy Attorney General Zackery Morazzini, the state’s counsel in the appealed case, has stressed that “a law restricting sales of violent games is far more effective than industry self-policing, since the technological controls that the court cited as another alternative can be easily bypassed by any kid with an Internet connection.”

According to Jim Steyer, Founder of Common Sense Media, a non-profit organization of 750,000 regular users dedicated to improving children’s media lives, researches have shown that playing these violent video games are detrimental for kids mental and physical health. “The health threat involved with kids playing such games is equivalent to smoking cigarettes,” Steyer said. “These violent video games are learning tools for our children and clearly result in more aggressive behavior,” said Randall Hagar, California Psychiatric Association’s Director of Government Affairs.

The Federal Trade Commission‘s data reveals that “nearly 70 percent of thirteen to sixteen year olds are able to purchase M-rated (Mature) video games, which are designed for adults; ninety-two percent of children play video or computer games, of which about forty percent are rated M, which are the fastest growing segment of the 10 billion-dollar video game industry; the top selling games reward players for killing police officers, maiming elderly persons, running over pedestrians and committing despicable acts of murder and torture upon women and racial minorities.”

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Eurovision ’04 winner Ruslana discusses her paths as singer, spokesmodel, stateswoman and source of inspiration

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Eurovision ’04 winner Ruslana discusses her paths as singer, spokesmodel, stateswoman and source of inspiration

March 20th, 2019

Monday, March 30, 2009

First becoming famous in her native Ukraine in the 1990s, long-haired self-described “AmazonRuslana gained international recognition for winning the 2004 Eurovision Song Contest with her song “Wild Dances,” inspired by the musical traditions of the Hutsul people of the Ukrainian Carpathian Mountains.

In the five years since, Ruslana has decided to use her name and public status to represent a number of worthy causes, including human trafficking, renewable energy, and even the basic concept of democratic process, becoming a public face of Ukraine’s Orange Revolution and later serving in Parliament.

Currently, she is on an international publicity tour to promote her album Wild Energy, a project borne out of a science fiction novel that has come to symbolize her hopes for a newer, better, freer way of life for everyone in the world. She took time to respond to questions Wikinews’s Mike Halterman posed to her about her career in music and her other endeavors.

This is the fifth in a series of interviews with past Eurovision contestants, which will be published sporadically in the lead-up to mid-May’s next contest in Moscow.

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Hubble telescope spots oldest galaxies ever seen

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Hubble telescope spots oldest galaxies ever seen

March 20th, 2019

Thursday, December 10, 2009

American and European scientists say the upgraded Hubble space telescope has spotted the oldest galaxies ever seen. The images were taken with the telescope’s new Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3) in August this year.

The galaxies are about 13 billion light years from Earth, meaning they formed less than one billion years after the Big Bang — the cosmological model of the initial conditions and subsequent development of the universe.

WFC3 was installed in May this year, during a mission by the space shuttle Atlantis to repair and upgrade Hubble. Experts say the new instrument will let them peer even further back in time, to when the universe was in its infancy. The more distant a galaxy is, the more its light is “redshifted” due to expansion of the universe. Light from the furthest galaxies is shifted to infrared wavelengths invisible to the human eye, but WFC3 can detect these.

The new image was taken in August, in the same region as a 2004 visible light image known as the Hubble Ultra Deep Field. The 2004 photo previously showed the most distant galaxies, but the new infrared pictures from the WFC3 allow even more remote galaxies to be seen.

At these distances, you’re really looking back in time, like you have a time machine

Capturing the image took four days, and the total exposure lasted 173,000 seconds. In the three months since, twelve scientific papers have been submitted on it. On Tuesday one of these confirmed the galaxies as the furthest ever seen.

They are also the oldest, with the light from them having taken around 13 billion years to reach Earth.

“At these distances, you’re really looking back in time, like you have a time machine,” said Ray Villard, of the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore. “Those things don’t exist anymore.”

The photo could be one of the ultimate achievements of the Hubble telescope, now almost twenty years old.

“These new observations are likely to be the most sensitive images Hubble will ever take,” said Professor Jim Dunlop of the University of Edinburgh.

The servicing mission in May extended the telescope’s life by around five years, but it is scheduled to be replaced by the James Webb Space Telescope in 2014. This will use infrared imaging and have a greater collecting area than Hubble, and it is thought that it may be able make out objects from just 100 million years after the Big Bang.

“We’ve really pushed Hubble to its limits,” said Villard, “and we need a bigger space telescope to go back even farther. It shows us there are really exciting things to look for with the Webb telescope.”

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<br\>This image, taken in August 2009 by the Hubble telescope with its WFC3 upgrade, shows the oldest galaxies ever seen. Image: NASA, ESA.

<br\>Astronaut working on Hubble during Servicing Mission 4 in May 2009, which included the installation of WFC3. Image: NASA.

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The Hubble Space Telescope, seen from Space Shuttle Atlantis. Image: NASA.

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Another image from WFC3, showing NGC 6302 — popularly known as the “Butterfly Nebula” Image: NASA, ESA.

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US B-2 bomber crash in Guam caused by moisture on sensors

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US B-2 bomber crash in Guam caused by moisture on sensors

March 19th, 2019

Friday, June 6, 2008

The final report into the crash of a B-2 Spirit bomber belonging to the United States Air Force (USAF) in Guam has determined that the crash was caused by moisture on sensors which caused the jet to receive inaccurate data. It was the first loss of a B-2, which costs US$1.4 billion.

The aircraft, belonging to USAF’s 509th Air Wing and carrying the name Spirit of Kansas, was attempting takeoff from Andersen Air Force Base on February 23 this year when the crash occurred. Moisture in three of the 24 air pressure sensors caused the sensors, all on the port side, to feed back inaccurate data to the flight computer.

The aircraft crew believed the bomber had reached the takeoff speed of 140 knots when in reality it was traveling ten knots slower and rotated for takeoff. The malfunction also meant that the sensors showed the plane to be in a nose down position, causing it to command a high level of pitch, around 30 degrees. This, combined with the low takeoff speed, caused the aircraft to stall and veer to the left.

Major Ryan Link and Captain Justin Grieve, who were piloting, ejected as the left wingtip struck the ground. They were injured, with Grieve suffering compression fractures to his spine, but survived. The wreckage came to rest to the runway’s left.

The report also noted that more effective communications could have prevented the crash. The vulnerability of the sensors to moisture was first detected by aircrews and maintenance staff in 2006, at which time it was discovered that turning on the 500 degree pitot heat prior to sensor calibration would evaporate the water and cause a return to normal readings. However, this was never formally noted and so the pilots of the aircraft were unaware of the potential problem or its solution.

They were also unaware that, at an earlier time at the same base, another B-2’s takeoff roll was aborted at 70 knots due to abnormal indications. After inspection by maintenance personnel, it was determined that moisture in the sensor system was to blame. After turning on the pitot heat the aircraft took off without incident.

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2012 Olympics clash with Ramadan

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2012 Olympics clash with Ramadan

March 19th, 2019

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Muslim groups from across the world are criticising the organisers of the 2012 Olympics in London after it was revealed that the games will take place over Ramadan. The most holy month in the Muslim calendar, which will take place from the 21 July to 20 August in 2012, involves fasting during daylight hours and will affect an estimated 3,000 athletes.

Joanna Manning Cooper, spokesman for the games said: “We did know about it when we submitted our bid and we have always believed that we could find ways to accommodate it.”Nevertheless, this will come as a huge embarrassment for the organisers who have tried to ensure the event involve all of Britain’s ethnic communities.A quarter of the athletes who took part in the 2004 Athens Olympics were from predominantly Muslim countries and the fast will put any athletes involved at a clear disadvantage.

The chairman of the Islamic Human Rights Commission, Massoud Shadjared said: “This is going to disadvantage the athletes and alienate the Asian communities by saying they don’t matter. It’s not only going to affect the participants, it’s going to affect all the people who want to watch the games.”

The president of the National Olympic Committee of Turkey, Togay Bayalti, said: “This will be difficult for Muslim athletes. They don’t have to observe Ramadan if they are doing sport and travelling but they will have to decide whether it is important to them. “It would be nice for the friendship of the Games if they had chosen a different date.”

The games will run from the 27 July to 12 August to coincide with the British Summer holidays. The summer holidays are a six week period running from mid July to early September. During this time, public transportation is generally less crowded and it will be easier to find the 70,000 volunteers needed to keep the games running. The International Olympics Committee has specified that the games must take place between July 15 to August 31. Giselle Davies, IOC spokesperson said, “We give a window to the five bid cities. The host city selects the dates within that window.”

The organisers are working with the Muslim Council of Great Britain to find ways around the problem.

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SEPTA buys rail cars from NJ Transit to deal with crowding

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SEPTA buys rail cars from NJ Transit to deal with crowding

March 19th, 2019

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

As gas prices have risen in the United States, the regional transport authority for southeastern Pennsylvania, SEPTA, has seen a sharp increase in ridership, which has caused overcrowding on the trains.

“As fuel prices have continued to rise, SEPTA ridership has steadily increased and is the highest in 18 years,” said SEPTA General Manager Joseph Casey. Monthly ridership was 22 percent higher last month than a year ago.

“They have crushed loads on their rail lines, already where people are standing, and there’s not enough seats,” said Rich Bickel, the director of the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission.

“At peak times some railcars are standing room only and commuter parking lots are nearly full. All Regional Rail lines are running near full capacity and the train station parking lots are at about 90 percent capacity or more,” SEPTA spokesperson Felipe Suarez said.

While SEPTA awaits new Silverliner V trains from Hyundai Rotem, which begin arriving in 2009, it had hoped to lease eight rail cars from New Jersey Transit, at an agreed-upon rate of US$10,000 per month. However, due to problems with insurance and liability indemnification, the deal fell through, according to Casey.

SEPTA has entered a new agreement to purchase the eight rail cars from NJ Transit. The transit authority will pay US$670,000 for the cars and assorted supplies plus one additional inoperative car which will be used for spare parts. The rail cars will be operated using a SEPTA provided locomotive as they are not self-propelled.

The cars are being disposed of by NJ Transit because it has switched from single-floor cars to double-decker cars.

SEPTA is expecting to raise US$3.1 million by selling rail that has been out of service since 1981 at auction.

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