Haitian earthquake: in pictures

Friday, January 15, 2010

Haiti was hit by a heavy earthquake with a magnitude of 7.0 on Tuesday, killing an unknown number of people, and destroying up to ten percent of buildings in the capital, Port-au-Prince.

No official death toll has been released as of yet, although the United Nations says that up to fifty thousand people may potentially have been killed. An estimated 300,000 more were left without homes.

In a special photo report, Wikinews looks at the extensive damage caused by the disaster.

To find more information about a certain image or to enlarge it, click it. For an in-depth textual report on the same subject, please see Haiti relief efforts: in depth.

PostHeaderIcon Choosing The Right Kind Of Tent For Backpacking}

Submitted by: Barbara Headley

Backpacking involves hiking and camping in remote areas and a backpacker should have the right gear. This includes the right kind of clothing, footwear, cooking accessories, and any medicine. One of the most important items in a backpacker’s gear is their tent. There are various kinds of tents for backpacking available these days. Tents for backpacking should be chosen with care.

The Different Components of a Fantastic Tent

A tent for backpacking usually consists of the tent body which is the material the tent is made of. The rain fly is a net material that fits over the tent body to protect it. The tent also needs tent poles to fix it to the ground. A tent bag is the hold all in which you can fit the various components of the tent into snugly. Tent cords are helpful when you need to fix the tent more firmly into the ground.

Factors to Consider when Choosing a Tent


The backpacking tent has to be made of lightweight material that can be carried easily. Backpackers usually trek for miles during the day and the lighter the tent, the easier it is to carry. Heavy duty tents are only recommended when there are pack animals, ATVs, or extra people to carry the weight of the tent.


The tent material should be lightweight, but it should be tough enough to withstand any kind of weather conditions. It should offer protection from the rain, snow, wind, and insects. Tent materials are available in light nylon that is tough but hardy and can stand up to the most adverse weather conditions.

Easy to Use

The tent should be easy to construct. A backpacker will be tired by the end of the day. When it is time to make camp, the backpacker shouldn’t have to struggle with poles and nylon. They should be able to erect the tent easily and with little hassle.


The size of the tent for backpacking should be small and snug enough, so as not to take up much space in the backpack. The backpack will also have to hold the other items that the backpacker needs for the hike. If the tent is large enough for three to four people, one of the backpackers can carry the tent with a few personal items. The other gear that is needed on a camping trip can be distributed among the backpacks of the other campers.

Types of Tents Available

There are single person tents which are just little more than glorified sleeping bags. But they offer protection from the elements and they are easy to carry. There are two to four person camping tents which are tremendous for family camping trips. Seven or more person camping tents are much more spacious though heavier to carry. The type of backpacking tent you choose depends on the type of backpacking or camping trip that you prefer, covet, or are planning on going on.

About the Author: I enjoy the outdoors with my family and friends. I hope this article was helpful to you. You need to buy a superb tent for backpacking, camping, hunting, hiking or whatever overnight adventure you are planning, that will keep you safe and warm at night! Please visit us at


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Wikinews interviews Joe Schriner, Independent U.S. presidential candidate

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Journalist, counselor, painter, and US 2012 Presidential candidate Joe Schriner of Cleveland, Ohio took some time to discuss his campaign with Wikinews in an interview.

Schriner previously ran for president in 2000, 2004, and 2008, but failed to gain much traction in the races. He announced his candidacy for the 2012 race immediately following the 2008 election. Schriner refers to himself as the “Average Joe” candidate, and advocates a pro-life and pro-environmentalist platform. He has been the subject of numerous newspaper articles, and has published public policy papers exploring solutions to American issues.

Wikinews reporter William Saturn? talks with Schriner and discusses his campaign.

PostHeaderIcon Cheap Gazebos For Sale

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When you finally purchase a home of your reveries with admirable garden and backyard, you should reflect upon out-of-doors comfort made by first-rate gazebo. Scorching heat or any other natural phenomenon is not an obstacle for lounging out-of-doors if you’re in solid gazebo. The canopy in the gazebo facilitates in providing shade from the hot sweat-inducing heat and permits you to take pleasure in your backyard in peace and comfort.

The market of gazebos is full of varied items that may serve for different goals and preferences. Pop up gazebos, wooden gazebos, garden gazebos, cheap gazebos, steel gazebos, waterproof gazebos, and metal gazebos are accessible for allocation and enjoyment.

A high-rate gazebo must be stout and guard you from the sun rays, wind (apart from a slight breeze), thunderstorm and other natural phenomena that might make it intolerable to be out-of-doors. Have a glance at removable pop up gazebo that might be helpful for people moving from one place to another. There is nothing simpler than installing fixtures and canopy to a pop up gazebo in several instances whenever you want to take pleasure in the nature’s beauty.

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A garden gazebo is the one that is appropriate exactly for your home garden. Just fancy how pleasant can be your sensations from communication with comrades or dear people in this secluded nook. Garden gazebos often have exclusive designs and are fabricated of wood to supplement the environment that surrounds them.

A wooden gazebo is like a garden gazebo apart from it’s a lot of times much larger and is used as a constant fixture in one’s backyard. Undoubtedly, sturdiness and quality might be repaid respectively but gazebo is really worthy. Great variety of those gazebos may be found at Home Depot and Costco.

If your profit is meagre, then you should seek for a cheap gazebo which is produced of cheap materials. Cheap canopy material, aluminum attachments and simplicity of templates explain the cheapness of the thing. Cheap gazebos may be build by yourself: bamboo twigs might be applied for the backbone and synthetic fabric for the canopy.

Residents of wet areas will see waterproof gazebos an actual sanctuary from vehement weather. With the march of time even the most durable waterproof material might lose its characteristics; thus, in order to evade total destruction of this quality, it’s necessary to apply special chemicals that strengthen the water-resistance.

If you need a sturdy structure which will stave off any kind of weather, then you need a steel gazebo or a metal gazebo. Those constructions resist even turbulent gusts, but irrespective of the massive dimensions, they are quite secure.

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To learn more about gazebos for sale visit our site about cheap gazebos to find everything you need for getting your steel gazebo for your garden, patio or backyard. Author: George Ray

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.

PostHeaderIcon Picking A Tv Stand}

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Picking a TV stand


Mo Tailakh24 Mo Tailakh45

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The decision to move your child into their own room can be overwhelming in and of itself. However, when you throw having to purchase furniture for that room into the mix, what was already overwhelming can be staggering. There are numerous options available and picking the right combination to make your child’s room both comfortable and modern may not be as bad if you just think ahead a bit. After all, who wants to completely furnish their child’s bedroom and then have to redo it all again if it does not look right?

We reiterate that your best chance of minimizing these types of errors is to do your research, to shop around, and to read other customers’ reviews. Especially with children’s furniture, customer reviews can be major advantage, because no one knows how furniture will stand up to children better than someone who has already purchased it for their child.

If your child is old enough, pick out some styles that are within your budget and then let them help pick out the styles that they like. Try not to get carried away. Again, only purchase the necessities. You can always go back for those little extras. If your child is not old enough to help pick out the type of furniture they would like and/or you are considering furniture for a nursery, you should consider if the furniture will grow with the child. For example, there are some cribs that convert into a twin size bed and some changing tables that are part of a dresser, remove the pad and voila! Changing table becomes dresser. Thus, unless you wish to completely redo the room at a later date, you only need purchase furniture once.

Finally, try to stay away from any thematic furniture, because your child will most likely outgrow these characters very quickly. Instead, select neutral furniture and then decorate around the pieces.

Mo Tailakh is the author of this article on dining room furniture. Find more information about bedroom furniture here.

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Computer professionals celebrate 10th birthday of A.L.I.C.E.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005


More than 50 programmers, scientists, students, hobbyists and fans of the A.L.I.C.E. chat robot gathered in Guildford, U.K. on Friday to celebrate the tenth birthday of the award winning A.I. On hand was the founder the Loebner Prize, an annual Turing Test, designed to pick out the world’s most human computer according to an experiment laid out by the famous British mathematician Alan Turing more then 50 years ago. Along with A.L.I.C.E.’s chief programmer Dr. Richard S. Wallace, two other Loebner prize winners, Robby Garner and this year’s winner, Rollo Carpenter, also gave presentations, as did other finalists.

The University of Surrey venue was chosen, according to Dr. Wallace, not only because it was outside the U.S. (A.L.I.C.E.’s birthday fell on the Thanksgiving Day weekend holiday there, so he expected few people would attend a conference in America), but also because of its recently erected statue of Alan Turing, who posed the famous A. I. experiment which inspired much of the work on bots like A.L.I.C.E. University of Surrey Digital World Research Centre organizers Lynn and David Hamill were pleased to host the event because it encourages multi-disciplinary interaction, and because of the Centre’s interest in interaction between humans and computers.

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Dr. Wallace gave a keynote address outlining the history of A.L.I.C.E. and AIML. Many people commented on the fact the he seemed to have moved around a lot in the last ten years, having lived in New York, Pennsylvania, San Francisco, Maine, Amsterdam and Philadelphia, while working on the Alicebot project. The A.L.I.C.E. and AIML software is popular among chat robot enthusiats primarily because of its distribution under the GNU free software license. One of Dr. Wallace’s PowerPoint slides asked the question, “How do you make money from free software?” His answer: memberships, subscriptions, books, directories, syndicated ads, consulting, teaching, and something called the Superbot.

Rollo Carpenter gave a fascinating presentation on his learning bot Jabberwacky, reading from several sample conversations wherein the bot seemed amazingly humanlike. Unlike the free A.L.I.C.E. software, Carpenter uses a proprietary learning approach so that the bot actually mimics the personality of each individual chatter. The more people who chat with Jabberwacky, the better it becomes at this kind of mimicry.

In another interesting presentation, Dr. Hamill related present-day research on chat robots to earlier work on dialog analysis in telephone conversations. Phone calls have many similarities to the one-on-one chats that bots encounter on the web and in IM. Dr. Hamill also related our social expectations of bots to social class structure and how servants were expected to behave in Victorian England. He cited the famous Microsoft paperclip as the most egregius example of a bot that violated all the rules of a good servant’s behavior.

Bots have advanced a long way since philanthropist Hugh Loebner launched his controversial contest 15 years ago. His Turing Test contest, which offers an award of $100,000 for the first program to pass an “audio-visual” version of the game, also awards a bronze medal and $2000 every year for the “most human computer” according to a panel of judges. Huma Shah of the University of Westminster presented examples of bots used by large corporations to help sell furniture, provide the latest information about automotive products, and help customers open bank accounts. Several companies in the U.S. and Europe offer customized bot personalities for corporate web sites.

Even though Turing’s Test remains controversial, this group of enthusiastic developers seems determined to carry on the tradition and try to develop more and more human like chat bots. Hugh Loebner is dedicated to carry on his contest for the rest of his life, in spite of his critics. He hopes that a large enough constituency of winners will exist to keep the competition going well beyond his own lifetime. Dr. Wallace says, “Nobody has gotten rich from chat robots yet, but that doesn’t stop people from trying. There is such a thing as ‘bot fever’. For some people who meet a bot for the first time, it can pass the Turing Test for them, and they get very excited.”

Prince Laurent of Belgium testifies in marine fraud case

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

This article features in a News Brief from Audio Wikinews:

Prince Laurent of Belgium, the youngest son of King Albert II of Belgium, has been questioned last night by the federal police and is attending today’s court session in Hasselt in a marine fraud case that has gripped Belgian media since last December. He arrived in a Smart car and was accompanied by his lawyer and former politician Fred Erdman. The case turns around funds of the Belgian Navy that have been used to beautify the Prince’s villa in Tervuren. The Prince is expected to testify this afternoon.

In total, 2.2 million was supposedly diverted from the marine’s purchasing services using false invoices. Roughly € 185 000 was allegedly used to paint the Prince’s villa, install lights in the garden, for the purchase of carpet and furniture, and for his secretariat and for animal clinics the Prince supports via his Foundation. Twelve marine officers and contractors are being accused of document fraud, collusion, bribery, embezzlement of government money etc. and could face 10 years in prison. The money was part of the budget that wasn’t spent at the end of the year, and which would flow back to the government if the army didn’t spend it.

The Prince, who is also an officer in the navy, is being treated only as a witness in this case, there have been no charges against him. The Attorney General in Hasselt Marc Rubens has said that there are no elements in the investigation that point to the fact that Laurent was aware of the affair, however several accused have contested this in the press. Technically, the villa is not the property of the Prince himself, but of the Royal Gift, which manages the real property of the Royal Family.

During his interview by the police last night, Prince Laurent stated that he needed funds to renovate his villa, and that Noël Vaessen, his adviser, told him the Navy could help him. The Prince stated that he thought it was legal, and that he had no reason to doubt his adviser.

Ex-Colonel Noël Vaessen was an adviser of the Prince between 1993 and 1999. Vaessen has declared in the media during the last month that the Prince actively participated in the fraud, and that he fears a cover-up. He said that the Prince was a demanding party in the operation, and that “he knew that we were arranging things to make his life and his work as comfortable as possible.” According to Vaessen, the Prince was in need of money to support a royal lifestyle, and “didn’t even have enough money to buy food.”

In 2001, Vaessen was discharged with honour from the army “for medical reasons”, but Defence Minister André Flahaut is investigating if there was no agreement to give him his pension in exchange for the fact that he wouldn’t incriminate the Prince. Vaessen also accused the Prince of other things, such as racing against the high-speed train TGV on a French highway. He has also incriminated Admiral Herteleer. Captain Johan Claeys, one of the accused, studied with the Prince and worked at the facturation services of the Navy in 1998 and 1999. One of the accused contractors, Marc Luypaerts, has told the press that the judge responsible for the investigation in Hasselt had forbidden him to speak about Prince Laurent.

Laurent’s status as a Prince has several judicial consequences for the trial. In Belgium, it’s against the law to incriminate the Royal Family during a trial. Also, the Prince is protected from judicial pursuit because he is also a Senator by law. Justice Minister Laurette Onkelinx has issued a Royal Decrete, which the King has signed while on holiday in Napels, which would make it possible for Princes to testify in a trial.

However, Public Prosecutor Erwin Steyls has chosen to have Laurent interrogated by the police last night in Hasselt. This was the first time during the last six years of the inquiry that the Prince was questioned. Today in the court, the Prosecutor defended the act of having him questioned outside the trial, saying that there were several procedural issues. First, the subpoena for the Prince wasn’t issued in time to be legal. Second, the details of the protocol to hear the Prince in court were not explained in the recent Royal Decrete, making it worthless -something Minister Onkelickx denied. Thirdly, nobody can be forced to testify against himself, and if the Prince were to make false statements under oath, he could only be sued for perjury. However, the court has decided to let him testify anyway this afternoon.


Nobody is above the law and the Justice Department must be able to complete its task in full independence. When the courts find embezzlements, it seems fair to me that they would be compensated by anyone who profited from them.

During the last month, the case has caused a several spin-off discussions in Belgium. One of the surprises during this period was the King’s Christmas Message, in which he referred to the case. The regional governments are now investigating and discussing their donations to the IRGT/KINT, an environmental organisation supported by Prince Laurent. But there is also an ongoing debate over the position of the Monarchy in Belgium. Some politicians are suggesting to limit the role of the Monarchy, and other think that only the King and Queen, the Crown Prince or Princess and the widow(er) of the King or Queen should receive state funding.

PostHeaderIcon Is “Made In The Usa” Destined To Be A Thing Of The Past?}

Is “Made In the USA” Destined To Be A Thing Of The Past?


John Terry

There may come a time in the not-too-distant future when we don’t make things in this country anymore. This isn’t hype, this is basic economics. It is also two government policies at odds with each other. Policies that can and should change this year.

For decades our government has been pushing industries into using natural gas for their energy. Natural gas is a clean and efficient energy source, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by about 35 percent over other fossil fuels. Plenty of manufacturing industries switched over-the forest products industry relies on natural gas for nearly half of its purchased energy.

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Additionally, millions of homes are now heated with natural gas; and thousands of fleet vehicles-buses and delivery trucks-run on natural gas. Demand for this clean energy source is way up.

There is, however, a problem.

All the while the government has been promoting the use of natural gas, driving up demand, they have been severely restricting the supply. Our government has put a ban on the exploration for natural gas-mostly in our coastal waters in the Southeast.

The area known as the Outer Continental Shelf, or OCS, off the Atlantic coast and in the Gulf of Mexico, has enough natural gas to heat 100 million homes for 60 years-or 20,000 factories for 30 years. But nobody is allowed to tap this resource. So practically every day the price of natural gas-with high demand and limited supply-goes up. In the future we will be importing more and more natural gas, likely from countries with hostile policies towards the United States but plentiful natural gas reserves.

As prices for natural gas skyrocket-they are currently more than three times their historic average-manufacturing industries are suffering. Pushed into natural gas by the government, we are now suffocating on the lack of supply. Energy, once just a cost of doing business, is now the third highest expense for the forest products industry, and may soon rival the traditional top expenses: raw materials and employees and all their benefits.

The high price of natural gas, artificially created by poorly designed government policies, is wiping out our competitive advantage. In the end, it is going to cost American jobs and that “Made in the U.S.A” tag may, in fact, become something for the history books.

You can learn more about energy online from the American Forest & Paper Association at

Mr. Moore is the President & CEO of the American Forest & Paper Association and former Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy. W. Henson Moore

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Is “Made In the USA” Destined To Be A Thing Of The Past?


Spanish town council electee proposes nudist pool, marijuana field in park

Friday, June 1, 2007

A former mailman who proposed to paint the town hall pink, turn the local town square into a nudist pool, and to plant a marijuana field in the local park has been elected to the Reus, Spain town council.

Ariel Santamaria promised to show up to the town’s council meetings dressed up as Elvis Presley if he was elected and kept his word at the town’s first meeting on Thursday.

Before being elected, Santamaria who is a member of the Reus Independent Coordination, had also promised the town’s 100,000 residents that he would install a GPS system at the police department that would allow officers to track people who are smoking marijuana and provide them with a light if they need one.

An unnamed media consultant who works for Santamaria set up a website for his campaign and followed Santamaria wherever he went, dressed as a pirate.