Cargo ship Arctic Sea may be found

Saturday, August 15, 2009

A cargo ship spotted off the African island nation of Cape Verde could be the missing MV Arctic Sea.

The Maltese flagged MV Arctic Sea disappeared off the French coast sometime after July 29. Owned by the Russian Arctic Sea company she was operated by the Finnish Solchart Management company and had a Russian crew.

French intelligence sources have found a ship matching the Arctic Sea’s description about 400 Nautical miles north of São Vicente.

The Arctic Sea was on a scheduled route from the Finnish seaport of Pietarsaari to the Algerian seaport of Béjaïa with a cargo of timber when it was boarded in Swedish waters between the islands Öland and Gotland on the night of July 24. The alleged boarders left the ship the same day according to its crew and the ship continued her voyage although it would have been expected to anchor at the nearest port.

The last official contact with the ship was with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency in Britain on July 28. Viktor Matveyev, the director of Solchart Management says the ship radioed that it was off the coast of Portugal on July 31. The 98-meter-long ship has so far not reached the Straits of Gibraltar and is now being sought by the Portuguese Navy and Russian Navy.

If proven this could be the first case of piracy in Europe in the modern era. There is speculation as to the reason for the ship’s hijacking, as its cargo of wood, valued at 1.3 million euros, is not especially valuable. Suggestions include possible contraband, and the possibility of a commercial dispute between the crew or some other party and the ship’s owners.

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Recall of Thomas the Tank Engine toys due to lead-paint fears

Thursday, June 21, 2007

A recall issued last week for Thomas the Tank Engine toys made in China and containing lead-based paint, is the latest scare for consumers, and follows recent scandals involving Chinese-made pet food, pharmaceuticals, toothpaste and other toys, The New York Times has reported in a series of articles.

Last week, RC2, a U.S. toy company based in Oak Brook, Illinois, issued a recall for its popular wooden “Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends” train sets. The recall involved 1.5 million “Thomas Wooden Railway” vehicles and train sets sold at toy stores and various retailers across the U.S. from January 2005 through June 2007.

A subsequent recall has been issued in the United Kingdom, where Thomas the Tank Engine was originated in the 1940s as a character in a children’s story by the Reverend W.V. Awdry. Around 70,000 toys are involved in the U.K. recall, according to The Guardian.

“RC2 has determined that the surface paints on the recalled products contain lead. Lead is toxic if ingested by young children and can cause adverse health effects,” the Consumer Product Safety Commission said in a press release dated June 13. “Consumers should take the recalled toys away from young children immediately and contact RC2 Corp. for a replacement toy,” the commission said.

Those “adverse health effects” could include brain and nerve damage, especially in young children, as well as blood and brain disorders. Severe lead poisoning causes vomiting, diarrhea, convulsions, anemia, loss of appetite, headaches and in particularly high doses, coma and death.

In an article on Monday, The New York Times reported that recalls have been issued for 24 different toys in the U.S. in the past year, and every one of them was made in China. According to the Toy Industry Association, toys made in China account for around 70 percent to 80 percent of all the toys sold in the U.S., The Times said.

“These are items that children are supposed to be playing with,” Prescott Carlson was quoted as saying by The Times. Carlson is a co-founder of a child-safety website called Imperfect Parent, which tracks recalls of toys and other baby products. “It should be at a point where companies in the United States that are importing these items are held liable,” Carlson said.

RC2 would not comment to The Times, and a Consumer Product Safety Commission spokesman would not say how long ago the problem with the lead paint was discovered.

For a follow-up article on Tuesday, The Times visited a factory in Dongguan, in China’s Guangdong province, where the “Thomas and Friends” toys are made. The paper interviewed workers and took photos on the factory floor.

“You’re intruding,” a factory manager identified only as Zhong was quoted as telling the reporters. “Tell me, why exactly are you here?”

During the visit, a reporter, translator and a photographer were detained by factory officials, and released a day later after local police and government officials intervened.

The factory also produces other toys for RC2, including toy John Deere trucks, NASCAR racing models and M&M’s cars, The Times said. RC2 makes the toys under licenses from various companies. The “Thomas and Friends” toys are made under license from Hit Entertainment, which owns the “Thomas” brand.

According to RC2, items in the “Thomas and Friends” recall are:

  • Red James Engine & Red James’ # 5 Coal Tender
  • Red Lights & Sounds James Engine & Red James’ #5
  • Lights & Sounds Coal Tender
  • James with Team Colors Engine & James with Team Colors *#5 Coal Tender
  • Red Skarloey Engine
  • Brown & Yellow Old Slow Coach
  • Red Hook & Ladder Truck & Red Water Tanker Truck
  • Red Musical Caboose
  • Red Sodor Line Caboose
  • Red Coal Car labeled “2006 Day Out With Thomas” on the Side
  • Red Baggage Car
  • Red Holiday Caboose
  • Red “Sodor Mail” Car
  • Red Fire Brigade Truck
  • Red Fire Brigade Train
  • Deluxe Sodor Fire Station
  • Red Coal Car
  • Yellow Box Car
  • Red Stop Sign
  • Yellow Railroad Crossing Sign
  • Yellow “Sodor Cargo Company” Cargo Piece
  • Smelting Yard
  • Ice Cream Factory

Toys listed that are marked with codes containing “WJ” or “AZ” are not included in the recall.

Earlier, RC2 said that customers would have to cover shipping costs to return the toys to the company. It later agreed to cover postage after angry complaints by parents, The Times said in an article yesterday. Refunds will take about two months.

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On the campaign trail, March 2012

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The following is the fifth in a monthly series chronicling the U.S. 2012 presidential election. It features original material compiled throughout the previous month after a brief mention of some of the month’s biggest stories.

In this month’s edition on the campaign trail, a politician from outside the fifty states receives significant mention as a potential Republican Party vice presidential nominee, Wikinews gets the reaction of three Democratic Party candidates after the party strips delegates from two of their fellow challengers, and a minor third party removes its presidential nominee for fraud.

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UK’s ITV cancels police drama “The Bill” after 27 years

Friday, March 26, 2010

British television network ITV announced today that it will cancel long running police drama The Bill. The Bill is one of the United Kingdom’s longest running drama series, having premiered the pilot episode, entitled “Woodentop”, in 1983.

The series has suffered from declining ratings despite an overhaul in 2009 which included a move to a post-watershed time slot. In a statement, ITV announced that the cancellation was part of a “creative rethink” and that the money saved from the cancellation would be put towards shorter-term dramas. ITV’s Peter Fincham said that “The Bill has been a fixture on our screens for more than 25 years and has been the home of some of the UK’s best serial drama storylines, and a great showcase for terrific scriptwriting and fine acting talent. But times change, and so do the tastes of our audience.” Fincham went on to explain that the decision to cancel the series was a “creative decision” rather than one intended to cut costs.

Ninety people are currently employed on the production team for The Bill and production company Talkback Thames announced that there was a possibility of a “significant number of redundancies”, but the company is entering into consultation with employees. The current series will end later in 2010 and ITV will not be recommissioning it. Investing in shorter-run dramas, ITV announced that, inter alia, a new short series written by Anthony Horowitz is forthcoming.

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Wikinews holds Reform Party USA presidential candidates forum

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Three men are currently seeking the presidential nomination of the Reform Party of the United States of America: small business owner Andre Barnett, Earth Intelligence Network CEO Robert Steele, and former college football coach Robby Wells. Wikinews reached out to these candidates and asked each of them five questions about their campaigns. There were no space limits placed on the responses, and no candidate was exposed to another’s responses before making their own. The answers are posted below in unedited form for comparison of the candidates.

The Reform Party is a United States third party that was founded in 1995 by industrialist Ross Perot. Perot ran as the party’s first presidential nominee in 1996, and won over eight percent of the popular vote, the highest percentage for a third party candidate since. In 1998, professional wrestler Jesse Ventura ran on the Reform Party ticket and was elected Governor of Minnesota. The party fell in prominence during the lead-up to the 2000 presidential election when it was plagued by infighting between ideological factions. In 2000, paleoconservative Pat Buchanan won the presidential nomination, and went on to receive only 0.4 percent of the popular vote in the general election. In 2004, the party opted to endorse consumer advocate Ralph Nader, but ended the year nearly bankrupt. In 2008, Ted Weill won the party’s presidential nomination, but appeared on the ballot in only one state and won a total of 481 votes.

The party is currently trying to rebuild and has opened several new state chapters. They will attempt to appear on the ballot in more states for the 2012 presidential election. The party is expected to nominate its presidential ticket during the National Convention this summer.

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Pentagon proposes Taiwanese arms sale

Saturday, January 30, 2010

The US Department of Defense has notified Congress of a potential arms sale to Taiwan, with a value of $6 billion, that was first pledged by the Bush administration.

The deal, that would include helicopters and anti-missile defences, angered China, who stated that the move would “seriously damage” US–China relations, as Beijing considers the island to be a break-away province of China, having split away after civil war in 1949.

There is a stand-off between China and Taiwan. China has a large number of weapons aimed at Taiwan, and has threatened to use them in the past. Taiwan denounces this, warning that, if 1,500 missiles were not removed, relations between the two nations would deteriorate.

The act of notifying Congress is a legal requirement and does not mean that the sale will go ahead. A thirty-day deadline is in place for politicians to decide on the proposition before it goes ahead. In a statement, the Pentagon listed the items being negotiated over, including 114 Patriot missiles and sixty helicopters. It will also include two minesweepers. The US is the main arms supplier for Taiwan.

General James L. Jones, the National Security Advisor for the Obama administration, said that China had been fully consulted about the deal. “We all recognise that there are certain things that countries will do periodically that may not make everybody completely happy,” he stated. However, he maintained that the US was “bent towards a new relationship” between themselves and China.

A spokesman for the Chinese embassy in Washington, D.C., Wang Baodong, said yesterday that the arms sale was a “gross intervention into China’s internal affairs”. He went on to assert that the trade “seriously endangers China’s national security”.

Ties between the United States and China, already stretched by the recent row over internet censorship, in which Google threatened to withdraw its presence in the country, have been strained by the announcement. China maintains, according to a press release on 22 January, that the Internet in their country is “open”, with the “most vibrant” sites based in China. Beijing wishes the United States to “respect each other’s core interest”, and to “ensure the healthy stable development” of their relationship.

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Inventive Valentine’s Day Gifts

Submitted by: Keith C

Gifts such as flowers, candy, lingerie, jewelry and other romantic items are pretty common on Valentine’s Day. In fact they are so common that many who have been with the same partner for several years may be worried that their partner is growing bored with these typical gifts. However, there are other options for gift ideas on Valentine’s Day. It is important to remember that Valentine’s Day gifts can be anything you choose. You can give the same types of gifts you would give your partner for Christmas or a birthday. Just because it is Valentine’s Day does not mean you have to limit your imagination when it comes to selecting gifts for your partner. Whether you are running out of ideas for Valentine’s Day or simply looking for gift ideas that are truly unique this article will provide some useful tips.

Dinner and a movie is one of the most common date ideas for any night of the year and is particularly popular on Valentine’s Day. However, there is a way to update this date idea of basically having some form of entertainment combined with sharing a meal together. One way to do this is by renting out a museum after hours. You and your date can spend the evening wandering through the museum and enjoying the exhibits. You can also bring along a picnic dinner for the two of you to enjoy at the museum. This unique Valentine’s Day can be expensive but it is also likely to be a gift your date will never forget.

Another fun Valentine’s Day gift idea is to surprise your date with a trip to a sporting event. However, this type of gift is only likely to be appreciated if your partner is a fan of the event or the team you are going to see. This is a unique gift idea for Valentine’s Day because most people assume this type of gift is something which is not appropriate for Valentine’s Day because it is not overtly romantic. However, if you know your partner will love this gift there is nothing wrong with giving them this type of gift for Valentine’s Day.

Another great gift idea for Valentine’s Day is a gift of a scrapbook of your relationship together. You can take photos of the two of you from throughout the relationship and arrange them according to themes or in chronological order. You can decorate each page with other photos, stickers, ribbons or anything that supports the theme of the page. This is a unique gift which will really surprise your partner. It is also a Valentine’s Day gift that they are likely to cherish for years to come.

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A romantic and fun gift that will become a keepsake of your affection is an Original Message in a Bottle from the Original Message in a bottle shop, they have a great offer for Valentine’s Day, simply preorder before Feb 5th, they will mail out your Message in a Botte(or MIB as they call them) on Feb 7th with a decal on the box that says “Do not Open Until Valentine’s Day”. Its included in the price and prices are cost effective $19.99-$24.99 for a fun gift that will become a keepsake.

Want a unique and romantic Valentine’s Day gift for he

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Send a beautiful and unique gift to that special him or her in your life. A Message in a Bottle is completely personalized by you from the bottle, confetti and sand to your gift’s message. Imagine their surprise to receive such a romantic and special gift that you have personalized and crafted especially for them this Valentine’s.

We know this is a very important day so we provide you with two excellent options for delivery –

“Do not open till Valentine’s Day” option #1 – simply place your order today, when you get to the shipping options in the shopping cart, click on the “Do not open till Valetine’s Day” option and we will mail your Message in a Bottle out on Feb. 7 via priority mail 2-3 business day delivery, on the package will be a decal that says “Do not open till Valentine’s Day”. This option is free and included with the price of the Message in a Bottle. (Order now or latest day to receive an order from you, is February 5, noon pacific time.) o

Fedex air – Delivery on Monday, V-Day – simply choose this option when you get to the shipping options in the shopping cart, we will ship your Message in a Bottle via Fedex 2nd day air, on Feb 10, for delivery on Valentine’s Day – cost for delivery $36.99 in the 48 continuous states.(Order now or latest day to receive an order from you, February 8, noon pacific time)

About the Author: Keith CThe Original Message in a Bottle Shop


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Wikinews interviews John Wolfe, Democratic Party presidential challenger to Barack Obama

Sunday, May 20, 2012

U.S. Democratic Party presidential candidate John Wolfe, Jr. of Tennessee took some time to answer a few questions from Wikinews reporter William S. Saturn.

Wolfe, an attorney based out of Chattanooga, announced his intentions last year to challenge President Barack Obama in the Democratic Party presidential primaries. So far, he has appeared on the primary ballots in New Hampshire, Missouri, and Louisiana. In Louisiana, he had his strongest showing, winning 12 percent overall with over 15 percent in some congressional districts, qualifying him for Democratic National Convention delegates. However, because certain paperwork had not been filed, the party stripped Wolfe of the delegates. Wolfe says he will sue the party to receive them.

Wolfe will compete for additional delegates at the May 22 Arkansas primary and the May 29 Texas primary. He is the only challenger to Obama in Arkansas, where a May 10 Hendrix College poll of Democrats shows him with 38 percent support, just short of the 45 percent for Obama. Such an outing would top the margin of Texas prison inmate Keith Russell Judd, who finished 18 percent behind Obama with 41 percent in the West Virginia Democratic primary; the strongest showing yet against the incumbent president. Despite these prospects, the Democratic Party of Arkansas has already announced that if Wolfe wins any delegates in their primary, again, due to paperwork, the delegates will not be awarded. Wolfe will appear on the Texas ballot alongside Obama, activist Bob Ely, and historian Darcy Richardson, who ended his campaign last month.

Wolfe has previously run for U.S. Congress as the Democratic Party’s nominee. On his campaign website, he cites the influence “of the Pentagon, Wall Street, and corporations” on the Obama administration as a reason for his challenge, believing these negatively affect “loyal Americans, taxpayers and small businesses.” Wolfe calls for the usage of anti-trust laws to break up large banks, higher taxes on Wall Street, the creation of an “alternative federal reserve” to assist community banks, and the implementation of a single-payer health care system.

With Wikinews, Wolfe discusses his campaign, the presidency of Barack Obama, corporations, energy, the federal budget, immigration, and the nuclear situation in Iran among other issues.

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Ukraine: media riddles around the phosphorous cloud

Saturday, July 21, 2007

The available information about the phosphorous cloud following the railway accident in the Ukraine last Monday is becoming more and more cryptic.

The political involvement of most media and other factors are causing contradictions among official sources that are making press work extremely hard. Moreover, no one is permitted to enter the accident location. The site of the accident was closed to visitors following the injury of three TV journalists who got too close.

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Exercises To Help You Master The Sitting Trot

Exercises to Help You Master the Sitting Trot


Josie Amani

Perhaps one of the most difficult tasks many riders experience is how to sit at the trot. The good news is that with time, anyone can do it; you just need to work on a few exercises. Horse riding just like any other physical activity requires a certain amount of physical fitness. You should work on strengthening your back and abdominal muscles through exercise if you want to achieve good posture easily when riding.

The best time to start your training on the sitting trot is after you’ve mastered the classical seat. Due to the fact that the classical seat permits you to sit securely and deeply you should try to master this seat before trying the sitting trot.

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Here are a few exercises that will help you master the sitting trot:

1. Cross the stirrups over the horse’s withers and ask a friend to lunge the horse. By doing this you can focus on your posture and balance and not have to concentrate on steering your horse. Tie the reins in a knot over the horse’s withers so they are neither too tight nor too slack. Now think about your seat, focus on achieving a classical seat but don’t worry too much about dropping your heels. Concentrate on sitting deeply and keeping your legs far apart. Lightly hold the pommel with your outside hand and rest your inside hand on your thigh. Ask the person lunging the horse to get the horse started on a slow trot and concentrate on maintaining the classical seat as much as possible but do not allow yourself to tense up. Do not grip the saddle too tightly with your hand as this will cause you to become rigid. Focus on the horse’s forward rhythm while maintaining regular breathing. Try to relax as much as possible.

2. Once you begin feeling more confident about sitting to the trot you should start holding your hands as if they were holding the reins. Keep your upper arms to your side and your forearms should feel like the natural extension to the reins (even though you are not actually holding the reins). If you begin to tense up concentrate on relaxing. Breath, enjoy the ride, focus on how good the sun feels on your face and enjoy the scenery! Remain relaxed at all times while maintaining proper body position.

3. Once of the best exercises to perfect the sitting trot is to ride bareback. The classical seat will still apply but relax your heels and don’t try too hard to keep them down. Use a neckstrap to help maintain balance if you feel insecure. Instruct the person lunging your horse to cue the horse to gently trot for 4-5 strides then to walk a little, then to trot for 5-6 strides and return to the walk. Alternating walking and trotting helps your body relax if you’ve tensed up during the trot.

Practice frequently and you should be able to master the sitting trot in no time. Learning how to sit to the trot will dramatically improve your balance and riding skills as you will learn to balance and easily control your horse at the trot.

Stal Amani offers professional training and retraining services at competitive prices to help address any problems your horse may have. Whether your horse is untrained or needs retraining, Stal Amani can help your horse reach his full potential through expert assessment and handling. Please visit

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