German migrant rescue charity renames ship after drowned Syrian toddler

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

German migrant marine rescue charity Sea-Eye on Sunday renamed their ship after Alan Kurdi, a three-year-old Syrian child who drowned offshore of Turkey. Relatives of the boy attended the renaming ceremony on the Spanish island of Majorca.

Kurdi, his brother, and his mother were among eleven migrants who died in a storm on the Mediterranean Sea in 2015; they had, his surviving father says, paid people smugglers to take them from Turkey to Greece in a small inflatable boat. A photograph of his remains on a Turkish beach drew widespread attention. The accident happened during the height of the European migrant crisis, which saw a large spike in immigration to the continent.

“This day is very hard for me, as I re-experience many memories,” said his father, Abdullah Kurdi, following the ceremony. “It’s people with good heart in this organization. So my boy’s name stands for something good and his little soul can find … peace.” Abdullah Kurdi now resides in Iraq. The boy’s aunt, Tima Kurdi, also attended the ceremony.

Sea-Eye spokesperson Carlotta Weibl said “The name ‘Alan Kurdi’ shall be a reminder of what our work is really about. It is not about ships, captains, NGOs [Non-Governmental Organizations] and clashes with misguided politicians. It is about actual persons, like Alan, [and his brother and mother], who drown in the Mediterranean daily[, and] it is about the endless pain and grief their loved ones have to feel.” Sea-Eye credit themselves with around 14,000 lives saved during 60 rescues since commencing work in 2016. Their ship, MV Alan Kurdi, was previously MV Professor Albrecht Penck.

Turkey sentenced two people smugglers to four years of prison each for their roles in the events surrounding Kurdi and his fellow migrants’ September 2015 deaths. Kurdi’s image lead to international public calls for more effort to assist migrants from Syria; since then, anti-immigration groups have increased their numbers and activities in Europe.

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Hell Pizza condom advertisements: complaints upheld

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

A record number of complaints, over 600, against the New Zealand restaurant chain Hell Pizza for its advertising campaign using condoms delivered via letterbox have been upheld by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). Family First “welcomes heavenly decision from ASA on Hells Pizza.”

Hell Pizza delivered sealed foil condoms in a cardboard box to households nationwide. On the outside of the box were the words: “Our pizza for meat lovers!” and the restaurant logo. The inside of the box included the condom and explicit instructions on how to use it. Hell Pizza delivered 70,000 condoms to households. An additional 100,000 were distributed to health and community groups who the chain said were “very supportive.”

Bob McCoskrie, director of Family First, said: “This is a victory for the protection of families from grubby advertising by companies like Hell’s Pizza, and is also a message to other companies who cross the line of what is decent and acceptable to our community. This is a pizza delivery company taking the moral high ground on sex education and telling parents how to give sex education to their kids, implying that all parents have failed at this, and kids as young as five should be exposed to this type of material.”

S. Nicholas filed a formal complaint and said in the complaint:” Any child can open the box take out these condoms and play with them. These are contraceptive devices, not playthings. The package also gave full instructions ‘how to use the condom’ in case some young person wanted to ‘experiment’! It shows lack of taste and is irresponsible.”

Other complainants said that it is inappropriate to promote food with a condom, the text “meat lovers” was offensive, that it undermined family values, and removed the right for families to teach sex education to their children. Condom use instructions that came with the advertising campaign were unnecessary and unacceptable and that there are health and safety issues if the condom broke during delivery.

The ASA said that three code of ethic rules were broken. They were basic principle 4, advertisements should follow a sense of social responsibility to both the consumers and society; rule 4, advertisements should not contain anything generally offensive and rule 5, advertisements should not contain anything that would cause serious widespread offence.

The agency Cinderella, acting on behalf of Hell Pizza, said that they “most certainly did approach this campaign with a due sense of social responsibility to consumers and society.”

Cinderella said: “From the very beginning, the company’s marketing activities were unconventional and memorable… HELL has built a successful brand by utilizing a limited marketing budget in ways that sought to grab attention and secure significant additional media coverage that would never have been able to be sustained using conventional, paid-for, advertising techniques.”

“LUST and sex are, in our experience, often found not far apart. One generally follows the other. And enjoying great food either before or after is also not such a stretch.”

Replying to the instructions that have to be printed, Cinderella said: “The terms are not really sexually arousing and the suggestion made by one hysterical complainant that they could then go and act out the instructions on the next door child is just not plausible and probably not even physically possible. It borders on insane to believe that this is a credible risk. …there has not been an explosion of sexual assault of children after being exposed to government health warnings.”

The ASA then considered all information given to them by both complainants and the advertiser.

The ASA agreed that the advertisements were in breach of basic principle 4 because: “Unsolicited, unaddressed delivery of a condom to letterboxes to promote a food brand did not meet [the basic principle 4] standard.” The standard “required all advertising to be prepared with a due sense of social responsibility to consumers and society.”

The ASA then reviewed whether or not the advertisement programme had breached rule 4 and rule 5. “The method of distribution was a key factor in considering whether or not the promotion had breached the Rules, taking into account the random context, medium, audience and product. The majority of the Board noted that it was difficult to target specific groups or ages using unaddressed letterbox distribution. In addition, it was concerned that such a method of distribution allowed any member of a household access to the advertising.” The majority of the ASA board did not find the instructions offensive but did agree that it would cause widespread offense. The advertisement programme is in breach of rule 4 and rule 5.

Some of the ASA board said: “…While the promotion had caused offence to some, this was offset by the possibility that the promotion had reached an audience that may not access the safe sex message via other media.”

The ASA decided to uphold the complaints, “complaints were unanimously upheld.”

“Our message to Hell’s Pizza is simple – stay out of the bedroom and get back into the kitchen,” Mr McCoskrie said.

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Former ‘Top Model’ contestant Whitney Cunningham defends plus size models, celebrates the “regular woman”

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Once you get a chance to talk to West Palm Beach, Florida native Whitney Cunningham, who placed seventh on the eighth cycle of the popular reality TV series America’s Next Top Model, you begin to understand what host Tyra Banks meant when she described her as the “full package.”

First of all, she is confident and headstrong, which is a must on these kinds of shows, almost as much as it is to take a beautiful modelesque picture. Second, she turns that confidence into drive. She has been receiving steady work as a model since leaving the show, and still believes that her goal of being the first woman to wear a size ten dress on the cover of Vogue is in reach. Third, and probably most important to television viewers, she obliterates the age-old model stereotype that to be pretty and photograph well, one must also be vapid and without a thought. A graduate of Dartmouth College, Cunningham also dreams of becoming a writer, and is working toward dual goals: a model who can express herself like no other model before her.

Cunningham recently sat down with Wikinews reporter Mike Halterman in an impassioned interview, taking hours to field questions from the reporter as well as from fans of America’s Next Top Model. Always in high spirits, Cunningham shows that she is a distinct personality who has carved her own niche in the Top Model history books. At the same time, she exhibits a joie de vivre that is oddly reminiscent of earlier Top Model fan favorite Toccara Jones, who showed America just how to be “big, black, beautiful and loving it.” However, Cunningham is quick to remind everyone that she isn’t big at all; she is simply a regular woman.

This is the first in a series of interviews with America’s Next Top Model contestants. Interviews will be published sporadically.

Contents

  • 1 Whitney’s beginnings, and looking back
  • 2 Impact Top Model has on society
  • 3 Whitney’s views on production and editing
  • 4 Whitney takes more fan questions
  • 5 Where Whitney is today
  • 6 Source
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Edmund White on writing, incest, life and Larry Kramer

Thursday, November 8, 2007

What you are about to read is an American life as lived by renowned author Edmund White. His life has been a crossroads, the fulcrum of high-brow Classicism and low-brow Brett Easton Ellisism. It is not for the faint. He has been the toast of the literary elite in New York, London and Paris, befriending artistic luminaries such as Salman Rushdie and Sir Ian McKellen while writing about a family where he was jealous his sister was having sex with his father as he fought off his mother’s amorous pursuit.

The fact is, Edmund White exists. His life exists. To the casual reader, they may find it disquieting that someone like his father existed in 1950’s America and that White’s work is the progeny of his intimate effort to understand his own experience.

Wikinews reporter David Shankbone understood that an interview with Edmund White, who is professor of creative writing at Princeton University, who wrote the seminal biography of Jean Genet, and who no longer can keep track of how many sex partners he has encountered, meant nothing would be off limits. Nothing was. Late in the interview they were joined by his partner Michael Caroll, who discussed White’s enduring feud with influential writer and activist Larry Kramer.

Contents

  • 1 On literature
  • 2 On work as a gay writer
  • 3 On sex
  • 4 On incest in his family
  • 5 On American politics
  • 6 On his intimate relationships
  • 7 On Edmund White
  • 8 On Larry Kramer
  • 9 Source
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United Future announces tax cuts in 2008 for New Zealand

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The leader of the government’s political partner, United Future and Revenue minister, Peter Dunne has announced that there will be personal tax cuts to go along with the confirmed business tax cuts in 2008.

Peter Dunne’s newsletter, sent yesterday, said: “The business tax reduction proposals I announced with Michael Cullen in the Business Tax Review in July will go ahead from April 2008, and they will be accompanied by personal tax adjustments as well, just as we foreshadowed.” They would be “the first major cuts by either government since 1996.” Peter Dunne was the Revenue minister in 1996 as well.

Finance minister and deputy Prime Minister, Doctor Michael Cullen, said: “Mr Dunne is clearly involved in an important branding exercise for United Future and nothing has changed.”

The Prime Minister, Helen Clark, did not comment.

Before Peter Dunne announced the tax cuts, the Government had denied any tax cut proposals until November/December when they could see a clearer picture.

Dunne said that the tax cuts would come in the form of rate cuts and threshold movements.

Cullen said that if tax cuts were offered then they will be for everyone, including those in the low to middle income ranges.

New Zealand First, another political partner of the government, claimed credit in its annual convention on Sunday that they were the ones who convinced Labour the value of tax cuts and changing the personal thresholds.

Cullen last week said, when he announced the surplus; “We are engaged in a business taxation review that will almost certainly produce proposals for tax cuts in the business area to come into force on 1 April 2008 . . . and that may have implications for personal tax rates and thresholds, but I can’t give you more information because [it is] not available.”

The business tax is dropping three cents to NZ$0.33.

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All executions suspended in Florida after error

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Florida Governor Jeb Bush has halted signing all execution warrants in the state after a medical examiner revealed an error had occurred in a lethal injection recently.

Doctor William Hamilton, the medical examiner who performed the autopsy, has released a statement saying the execution of prisoner Angel Nieves Díaz, from Puerto Rico, took 34 minutes and required a second dose of lethal chemicals. This was caused by the error in that the needles were inserted straight through his veins and into the flesh in his arms, causing the chemicals to leak out.

The 34 minute time frame is twice as long as usual, however Dr. Hamilton refuses to comment whether Diaz died painfully. He stated “I am going to defer answers about pain and suffering until the autopsy is complete,” noting that the results were preliminary.

However, Doctor J. Kent Garman, an emeritus professor of anesthesia at the Stanford School of Medicine, did comment on the possible pain endured, saying “[missing a vein when administering would cause] both psychological and physical discomfort, probably pretty severe.”

Dr. Jonathan Groner, an Ohio surgeon who has studied and written extensively about lethal injection, also commented, saying Díaz’s execution “amounts to death by torture.”

Jeb Bush has established a commission to report on the state’s lethal injection process after the circumstances of Diaz’s case, and he suspended the signing of any more death warrants until the commission panel completes its final report, scheduled in March 2007.

Only a matter of hours later, a federal judge ruled that the lethal injection system in California may violate the Eighth Amendment of the United States Constitution which prohibits “cruel and unusual punishment.”

The chemicals used in Florida, California and 35 other US states are all slightly different, but follow a general formation, as follows:-

  • The first is a barbiturate to force the person into a state of unconsciousness
  • The second is a paralyzing agent that makes the person unable to speak, move or breathe
  • The third is potassium chloride, which stops the heart of the person.
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UK Chancellor of the Exchequer makes 2005 Budget speech

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

The United Kingdom Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Right Honourable Gordon Brown PC MP, in a speech to the British House of Commons today presented his ninth Budget, what is very likely to be his last Budget before the next UK General Election. This opened the parliamentary debate on the 2005 Finance Bill, and was followed by responses from the opposition parties.

In a 48 minute long speech, the Chancellor presented a Budget of “tax cuts that are reasonable, spending that is affordable, and [economic] stability that is paramount”, that was “the prudent course for Britain”. There were few surprises that had not already been indicated in his 2004 pre-Budget report. The increase in the threshold on stamp duty was greater than that forecast by commentators, as was the amount of the Council Tax rebate to households with pensioners.

Contents

  • 1 The Budget in detail
    • 1.1 Duty
    • 1.2 Taxes
    • 1.3 Benefits
    • 1.4 Business
    • 1.5 Employment
    • 1.6 Savings
    • 1.7 Spending
    • 1.8 Memorials
  • 2 Responses from opposition parties
    • 2.1 Conservative
    • 2.2 Liberal Democrat
  • 3 Sources
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Memorial service held for model found dead in Missouri mansion

Friday, December 31, 2010

A memorial service was held Thursday for Adrienne Nicole Martin, the model found dead two weeks ago in the Missouri, US mansion of former Anheuser-Busch CEO August Busch IV. Martin, of Native American ethnicity, was 27 years old when she died of unknown causes, said investigators.

Martin, who had been dating the 46-year-old Busch for “the last several months” according to friends, was a native of Springfield. She had previously been married to 45-year-old doctor Kevin J. Martin until February 2009, when they divorced, and had joint custody of their eight-year-old son. Adrienne Martin had a profile on iStudio, a modeling website, where she said she wanted to become an art therapist. She also expressed a desire to “to do beer advertising” and work in the modeling industry. At the time of her death, Martin had been working toward a master’s degree in art therapy.

The memorial service for Martin was held at South Haven Baptist Church in Springfield. Busch was not among the estimated 100 people attending the service, nor was he mentioned during it. The only speaker was the church’s pastor, Scott Watson, who read letters from Martin’s friends. Her son and other relatives sat in the front row while she was remembered as a gifted artist and dedicated mother. Lacy Elet, one of Martin’s friends, later said Martin was happy that “her life was finally in order.” Her obituary in the Springfield News-Leader called Busch “the love of her life.” However, one of Martin’s uncles, Andy Eby, said after the service, “There are too many questions and not enough answers.”

Martin was found unconscious by Michael Jung, who worked at Busch’s mansion, at 12:30 p.m. local time (18:30 UTC) on December 19. At 1:12 p.m., Jung called emergency services, saying, “This girl’s just not waking up.” When asked if she was breathing, Jung responded with, “We don’t know. It’s dark back there. I’m gonna get a light and try and see.” At 1:26 p.m., Martin was pronounced dead at the scene by emergency workers. Law enforcement officials said the room was dark because there were blackout “curtains drawn in the bedroom.”

An autopsy on Martin’s body did not find any trauma-related injuries, and the official cause of death has not been established by investigators. A toxicology report, expected to take several weeks, will likely be used to determine the reason Martin died. Police said Martin’s body did not exhibit any “apparent signs of trauma or other indications of cause of death.” According to her ex-husband, Adrienne Martin had a rare heart condition, called Long QT syndrome, which can cause palpitations and sudden cardiac death. Kevin Martin said his ex-wife never sought medical advice on her condition and did not talk about it with friends.

Police said that Busch was home at the US$2 million mansion when Martin was discovered, and that the ongoing investigation is being handled by the Frontenac Police Department and the St. Louis County Medical Examiner’s Office. Art Margulis, a lawyer for August Busch IV, said Martin was visiting the Huntleigh residence and that there is “absolutely nothing suspicious” surrounding her death.

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Toyota recalls up to 1.8 million automobiles

Saturday, January 30, 2010

The automobile manufacturer Toyota has said that it will recall up to 1.8 million cars across Europe, after a problem with the accelerator pedal was discovered.

According to the firm, eight models were affected by the problem — AYGO, iQ, Yaris, Auris, Corolla, Verso, Avensis, and RAV4 — after it was discovered that the accelerator may become stuck in a depressed position, resulting in uncontrollable speeding.

On Thursday, Toyota said it would recall 1.1 million cars in the US; a day previous, it had suspended eight models from sales. Last week, 2.3 million cars in the US were recalled due to the pedal issues.

The chief executive of Toyota Motor Europe commented on the recall. “We understand that the current situation is creating concerns and we deeply regret it,” said Tadashi Arashima. The firm, however, noted that it wasn’t aware of any accidents resulted by the malfunctioning accelerator pedals, and not many pedal problem incidents were reported in Europe. “The potential accelerator pedal issue only occurs in very rare circumstances,” Arashima added.

The National Automobile Dealers Association, meanwhile, commented that Toyota showrooms could lose as much as US$2.47 billion worth of revenue due to the incident.

“Toyota veterans will likely hear the news with disbelief and keep faith in the brand, but new customers could definitely be scared off,” remarked Robert Rademacher, who is the president of the trade group ZDK, as quoted by Business Week. “This recall has a dimension which we’ve never seen before.”

There are concerns that the problem may result in reduced consumer trust in Toyota. Hans-Peter Wodniok, an analyst for Fairesearch GmbH & Co. in Germany, noted: “If this is a one-time event, huge as it is, Toyota may be forgiven. But if something happens again in the next months and years, they will have gambled away customer trust in Europe as well.”

Analysts for Morgan Stanley, however, said they believed Toyota would not suffer much from the incident. “The company’s actions to correct the situation are timely enough to avoid major brand damage,” they remarked in a note to investors.

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Kennedy Center names 2007 honors recipients

Friday, September 14, 2007

The Kennedy Center announced that its 30th presentation of the Kennedy Center Honors would go to pianist Leon Fleisher, comedian Steve Martin, singer Diana Ross, director Martin Scorsese and musician Brian Wilson. The Center was opened to the public in 1971 and was envisioned as part of the National Cultural Center Act, which mandated that the independent, privately-funded institution would present a wide variety of both classical and contemporary performances, commission the creation of new artistic works, and undertake a variety of educational missions to increase awareness of the arts.

In a statement, Kennedy Center Chairman Stephen A. Schwarzman said that “with their extraordinary talent, creativity and perseverance, the five 2007 honorees have transformed the way we, as Americans, see, hear and feel the performing arts.”

Fleisher, 79, a member of the Peabody Institute‘s music faculty, is a pianist who lost use of his right hand in 1965 due to a neurological condition. He became an accomplished musician and conductor through the use of his left hand. At 67, he regained the use of his right hand. With the advent of Botox therapy, he was once more able to undertake two-hand performances in 2004, his first in four decades. “I’m very gratified by the fact that it’s an apolitical honor,” Fleisher said. “It is given by colleagues and professional people who are aware of what [an artist] has done, so it really is apolitical — and that much more of an honor.”

Martin, 62, a comedian who has written books and essays in addition to his acting and stand-up comedy career, rose to fame during his work on the American television program Saturday Night Live in the 1970’s. Schwarzman praised his work as that of a “renaissance comic whose talents wipe out the boundaries between artistic disciplines.” Martin responded to the honor saying, “I am grateful to the Kennedy Center for finally alleviating in me years of covetousness and trophy envy.”

Ross, 63, was a product of Detroit‘s Brewster-Douglass Projects when as a teeager she and friends Mary Wilson and Florence Ballardis formed The Supremes, a ground-breaking Motown act. She portrayed singer Billie Holiday in the 1972 film Lady Sings the Blues, which earned her an Oscar nomination and a Golden Globe award. “Diana Ross’ singular, instantly recognizable voice has spread romance and joy throughout the world,” said Schwarzman. Ross said she was “taken aback. It is a huge, huge honor and I am excited to be in this class of people.”

Scorsese, 64, is one of the most accomplished directors the United States ever produced, whose work includes Mean Streets, Taxi Driver, GoodFellas, Cape Fear, The Last Temptation of Christ and The Departed, for which he won a 2006 Academy Award for Best Director after being nominated eight times. Scorsese said, “I’m very honored to be receiving this recognition from the Kennedy Center and proud to be joining the company of the very distinguished individuals who have received this honor in years past.”

Wilson, 65, along with his brothers Dennis and Carl, formed the Beach Boys in 1961. They had a series of hits that included “Surfin’ U.S.A.” and “Wouldn’t It Be Nice.” Their 1966 album Pet Sounds is considered one of the most influential recordings in American music. “This is something so unexpected and I feel extremely fortunate to be in the company of such great artists,” said Wilson, who is currently on tour.

The Kennedy Center’s board of trustees is responsible for selecting honorees for “lifetime contributions to American culture through the performing arts.” Previous honorees, including Elton John and Steven Spielberg, also submitted recommendations. A wide variety of people were under consideration, including Emanuel Ax, Evgeny Kissin, Renee Fleming, Laurence Fishburne, Francis Ford Coppola, Melissa Etheridge and Kenny Chesney.

President Bush and first lady Laura Bush will attend the center’s presentation at its opera house on December 2, 2007, which will broadcast on December 26 on CBS.

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