Others named in lawsuit against Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal

Others named in lawsuit against Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal
Buffalo, N.Y. Hotel Proposal Controversy
Recent Developments
  • “120 year-old documents threaten development on site of Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal” — Wikinews, November 21, 2006
  • “Proposal for Buffalo, N.Y. hotel reportedly dead: parcels for sale “by owner”” — Wikinews, November 16, 2006
  • “Contract to buy properties on site of Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal extended” — Wikinews, October 2, 2006
  • “Court date “as needed” for lawsuit against Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal” — Wikinews, August 14, 2006
  • “Preliminary hearing for lawsuit against Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal rescheduled” — Wikinews, July 26, 2006
  • “Elmwood Village Hotel proposal in Buffalo, N.Y. withdrawn” — Wikinews, July 13, 2006
  • “Preliminary hearing against Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal delayed” — Wikinews, June 2, 2006
Original Story
  • “Hotel development proposal could displace Buffalo, NY business owners” — Wikinews, February 17, 2006

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Buffalo, New York —A copy has been obtained of the lawsuit filed against the City of Buffalo for allegedly fast-tracking a seven million dollar hotel proposal.

The Elmwood Village Hotel is a 72-room, seven-million-dollar hotel proposed by Savarino Construction Services Corporation and designed by architect Karl Frizlen of the Frizlen Group. Its construction would require the demolition of at least five buildings, currently at 1109-1121 Elmwood, which house several shops and residents. Although the properties are “under contract,” it is still not known whether Savarino Construction actually owns the buildings. It is believed that Hans Mobius, a resident of Clarence, New York and former Buffalo mayoral candidate, is still the owner. The hotel is expected to be a franchise of the Wyndham Hotels group.

According to official court documents, there are more defendants than previously thought. Documents state that not only Buffalo’s Common Council and Planning Board are named in the lawsuit, but also the Mayor of Buffalo, Byron W. Brown, Savarino Construction Services Corporation, Hans J. Mobius and his son Hans S. Mobius owners of the properties at stake, Pano Georgiadis, owner of Pano’s Restaurant on Elmwood, and Cendant Corporation, the parent company of Wyndham Hotels are also named in the suit.

According to the lawsuit, during the length of the trial, Savarino Construction along with their employees, Hans Mobius and his son are not allowed to make any alterations or “engage in the physical alteration” of any of the said properties, 1109-1121 Elmwood and 9999 Forest. The suit also states that the owner of 605 Forest, Pano Georgiadis is also to follow the same rule.

The suit also states that Hans Mobius, his son and employees or “agents” are not allowed to “take any step, lawful or otherwise, to terminate [the] petitioners, Nancy Pollina and Patricia Morris,” owners of Don Apparel at 1119 Elmwood “tenancies.” Although the business is owned by Pollina and Morris, they are without a lease.

Within the suit it states that the rezoning of the properties 1119-1121 Elmwood and 605 Forest, by the Common Council, from a ‘R3’ Dwelling District to a C2 commercial zone “constitutes as impermissible ‘spot-zoning'” and is “not in accord with a well-considered plan for the development of the community and is null and void.” According to the suit the courts of New York have defined spot-zoning as “the process of singling out a small parcel of land for a use classification totally different from that of the surrounding area, for the benefit of the owner of such properties and to the detriment of other owners.” The suit also states that the proposed site for the hotel is different from the surrounding properties because none of the zoning classifications, ‘EB’ [Elmwood Avenue Business District], ‘R3’ [Dwelling District], ‘R1’ [One Family District] and ‘R2’ [Dwelling District], permit the construction and operation of a hotel.

It is alleged that Savarino Construction “failed to utilize forms obtainable from the city clerks office, failed to include an accurate map or survey showing the location of all buildings and structures and failed to include the names and addresses of each of the owners of the properties to be rezoned.”

It is also believed that recommendation in regards to [hotel] compatibility, different land uses, traffic studies, community character, population density, relations between other residents and business owners, public convenience, governmental efficiency, and achieving and maintaining a satisfied community, were to be sent to Erie County’s Planning agency and was to refer Savarino’s rezoning application and site plan to the agency, however; the lawsuit alleges that although a referral was given to Savarino, it “does not appear that the ‘full statement of such proposed action’ was forwarded to the County [Agency].”

The suit also alleges that the Common Council “failed to wait the ‘statutorily-mandated’ 30-days after the County’s Planning Agency’s receipt” of recommendations from the Council. The County’s Planning Agency replied to the recommendations, however; the Agency replied on March 27, 2006, just six days after the Council made its recommendations, falling well short of the “statutorily-mandated” thirty days. The Agency’s reply however, did not support or oppose the recommendations or hotel proposal.

Public hearings are required to be registered by the City clerk to the City Planning Board, and according to the suit, “no record” of the Public hearing on March 7, presenting the initial proposal to the public, was made within the City’s Clerk office or Planning Board.

The suit also alleges that the Common council and Planning Board also violated the State’s Environmental Quality Review Act or SEQRA and the City’s Environmental Review Ordinance by allowing the Planning Board to be the “lead agency” instead of the Common Council. A lead agency is an involved agency principally responsible for undertaking or approving an action and therefore responsible for determining whether an Environmental Impact Statement or EIS is needed, according to the SEQRA regulations. The suit also states that the hotel proposal “constitutes an action under the SEQRA” because the project could “affect the environment by changing the use, appearance or condition of any natural resource or structure that requires one or more approvals from an agency or agencies” and that the Common Council and Planning Board are “obliged to comply with both the letter [recommendations] and spirit of the SEQRA review process” which include identifying the areas of environmental concerns and taking a “hard look” at them. The suit also claims that the Common Council has the “sole authority to grant Savarino Construction’s rezoning request” and “to approve the special development plan,” but it also claims that the Planning Board is “an involved agency” but that it is “clearly subordinate to that of the Common Council” therefore the decision made by both the Council and Planning Board to allow the Planning Board to be the ‘lead agency,’ is in “violation” of the State’s SEQRA and “renders all determinations” made by the Planning Board and Common Council on March 14, 21, and 28, 2006, “void and unauthorized.” It goes on to say that the Council “proceeded without or in excess of their jurisdiction, and/or made a determination in violation of lawful procedure, affected by an error of law, and/or in an arbitrary and capricious manner.” It also states that unless the requirements of the SEQRA are met, then the petitioners have the right to “seek a temporary restraining order” from the Court if circumstances require it.

The suit also states that a failure to grant a preliminary injunction, through the courts, will result in “irreparable injury” to the petitioners and that the Council and Planing Board have failed to comply with the requirements of the SEQRA and have violated several other state laws and city codes.

So far, Savarino Construction has not responded to any calls or e-mails. District councilman Joseph Golombek also has not responded. Georgiadias was unavailable for comment.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled to take place at 9:30 a.m. on June 8, 2006 in the Supreme Court building at 50 Delaware Avenue in Buffalo, on the 8th floor, part 31.

England’s top scorer Wayne Rooney retires from international football

England’s top scorer Wayne Rooney retires from international football

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Yesterday, English football player Wayne Rooney announced retirement from international football via his official website.

In his official statement, Rooney, who left Manchester United to join Everton FC last month, said it was time to “bow out” and wanted to “focus all my energies on helping them [Everton FC] be successful.” Rooney announced his decision just after England’s manager Gareth Southgate called him on phone asking him to play in the upcoming matches against Malta and Slovakia. Rooney said he had “already thought long and hard” to retire from international duties.

In 2003, Rooney made his international debut in a friendly match against Australia at the age of seventeen, becoming then-youngest player to play for England. Since then, Rooney has won 119 international caps with England. Only Peter Shilton has more appearances for the Three Lions. 31-year-old Rooney is England’s all-time top goalscorer netting 53 goals.

Rooney has played in three FIFA World Cup tournaments — 2006, 2010 and 2014. At the continent level, Rooney has played in three UEFA Euro tournaments — in 2004, 2012 and 2016. Rooney did not win any trophies with England in the FIFA as well as Euro tournaments. Last year, England lost to Iceland in the Last 16 of the UEFA Euro 2016 in France. Rooney scored the only goal for England. Iceland defeated the English 2–1. Since 2014, Rooney has been the England’s captain. His last game for England as a captain on November 11 ended in a 3–0 over Scotland.

Australia: Victorian government to trial driverless vehicles on public roads

Australia: Victorian government to trial driverless vehicles on public roads

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Yesterday, the state government of Victoria, Australia announced their decision to trial self-driving vehicles on two of the state’s major connecting motorways, the CityLink and Tullamarine Freeway. The trial is to use autonomous vehicles from automobile companies including BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Volvo, and Tesla. The two-year trial is to have three phases.

The cars are to drive alongside commuters, but in public testing a driver is always to be present, as Victorian law requires drivers always keep a hand on the steering wheel. However, in occasional closures of the Burnley Tunnel, with no other drivers to endanger, the cars are to be tested with nobody in the vehicle.

Lane assist, cruise control, and recognition of traffic signs are in the trial’s first phase, expected to complete before the end of the year. This includes monitoring how the driver-less cars respond to road conditions, including lane markings and electronic speed signs.

“Victoria is at the forefront of automated vehicle technology — we’re investing in this trial to explore ways that this technology can be used to reduce crashes and keep people safe on our roads”, said Luke Donnellan, the Victorian Minister for Roads and Road Safety. He noted, “Ninety per cent of the fault of accidents is human error […] so we know that if we can take out human error we will have less accidents”.

Tim Hansen, Victoria Police’s Acting Assistant Commissioner, said that police had founded a project team to investigate how self-driving vehicles would change policing on roads. “Can we intercept vehicles more safely to avoid pursuits and ramming?”, he asked.

The trial is a partnership between the state government, Victoria’s road management authority VicRoads, owner of the CityLink toll road Transurban, and insurance company RACV.

Yoga In Modern Times}



Bhawana SharmaThe current world is too difficult to deal with. The jobs we have, the economies of the world, and the lack of peace in the world tend to become more than a single person can handle. As a result, most people develop physical and physiological problems, stress if you will. However, as the problems grow so do the solutions to the same. Yoga has been around for a very long time. Even though at its initial stages it had not become very popular among most people, there were certain cultures that received its benefits. Yoga in modern times is a combination of simple postures; postures that any person can handle without a struggle no matter their physical state. The simple combination of postures helps a person relax their mind and bodies and gain harmony with their environment. This simple exercise is the most effective way for a person to initiate and maintain a connection between them and their inner selves thereby maintaining their sanity and maintaining focus on their goals, dreams, and purposes in life. The exercise will help any person, of any age, to get rid of all other distractions that might prevent them from being who they should be in life.One common attribute about problems is that a person needs to deal with them and not ignore them. Facing problems can be a tricky process, a process that can even break your sanity and physiological state. Yoga provides the best way to solve all your problems without increasing the stress in your body. There are three most common ways that Yoga in modern times benefits your body.PhysicallyYoga is not all about the benefits of spirit and mind. In fact, the most common reason why people practice yoga in modern times is to receive certain physical benefits. Yoga helps people improve their physical state, in that; you will become more physically fit as you continue to practice yoga. However, there are more benefits apart from just physical fitness. Yoga has become one of the most effective solution to illnesses. For instance, there are studies and proof that have concluded that yoga has helped to heal people with physical bruises, AIDS, asthma, arthritis, high blood pressure, constipation, epilepsy, respiration problems, back pain, among other very serious diseases.SpirituallyThere are very few solutions to spiritual problems. Yoga is one of the recognized form of meditation that helps people gain spiritual health, spiritual realization, and spiritual calmness. Yoga has been in use for a long time; helping people find peace in themselves, know their potential, and increase their abilities in terms of knowledge. This simple practice is highly recommended for people who have spiritual conflicts. It is one of the most effective ways to bring inner peace and happiness.PhysiologicalOur lives contain many activities, some positive, and some negative. For instance, there are people who have very stressful days at work; some people have troubles in their lives such as divorces or financial crisis. These problems are capable of breaking the physiological calmness of a person. Yoga is the best solution for people looking to maintain physiological calmness. It helps people keep focus, concentrate on the importance of their lives, relax their minds, and relieve most of the stress in their minds.

Bhawana Sharma is an enthusiastic person who is passionate for her work. She likes to write about health and fitness In this article she is writing about

Yoga in modern times


Article Source:


ACLU, EFF challenging US ‘secret’ court orders seeking Twitter data

ACLU, EFF challenging US ‘secret’ court orders seeking Twitter data
March 22nd, 2018 in Uncategorized | No Comments

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Late last month, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed objections to the United States Government’s ‘secret’ attempts to obtain Twitter account information relating to WikiLeaks. The ACLU and EFF cite First and Fourth amendment issues as overriding reasons to overturn government attempts to keep their investigation secret; and, that with Birgitta Jonsdottir being an Icelandic Parliamentarian, the issue has serious international implications.

The case, titled “In the Matter of the 2703(d) Order Relating to Twitter Accounts: Wikileaks, Rop_G, IOERROR; and BirgittaJ“, has been in the EFF’s sights since late last year when they became aware of the US government’s attempts to investigate WikiLeaks-related communications using the popular microblogging service.

The key objective of this US government investigation is to obtain data for the prosecution of Bradley Manning, alleged to have supplied classified data to WikiLeaks. In addition to Manning’s Twitter account, and that of WikiLeaks (@wikileaks), the following three accounts are subject to the order: @ioerror, @birgittaj, and @rop_g. These, respectively, belong to Jacob Apelbaum, Birgitta Jonsdottir, and Rop Gonggrijp.

Birgitta is not the only non-US citizen with their Twitter account targeted by the US Government; Gonggrijp, a Dutch ‘ex-hacker’-turned-security-expert, was one of the founders of XS4ALL – the first Internet Service Provider in the Netherlands available to the public. He has worked on a mobile phone that can encrypt conversations, and proven that electronic voting systems can readily be hacked.

In early March, a Virginia magistrate judge ruled that the government could have the sought records, and neither the targeted users, or the public, could see documents submitted to justify data being passed to the government. The data sought is as follows:

  1. Personal contact information, including addresses
  2. Financial data, including credit card or bank account numbers
  3. Twitter account activity information, including the “date, time, length, and method of connections” plus the “source and destination Internet Protocol address(es)”
  4. Direct Message (DM) information, including the email addresses and IP addresses of everyone with whom the Parties have exchanged DMs

The order demands disclosure of absolutely all such data from November 1, 2009 for the targeted accounts.

The ACLU and EFF are not only challenging this, but demanding that all submissions made by the US government to justify the Twitter disclosure are made public, plus details of any other such cases which have been processed in secret.

Bradley Manning, at the time a specialist from Maryland enlisted with the United States Army’s 2nd Brigade, 10th Mountain Division, was arrested in June last year in connection with the leaking of classified combat video to WikiLeaks.

The leaked video footage, taken from a US helicopter gunship, showed the deaths of Reuters staff Saeed Chmagh and Namir Noor-Eldeen during a U.S. assault in Baghdad, Iraq. The wire agency unsuccessfully attempted to get the footage released via a Freedom of Information Act request in 2007.

When WikiLeaks released the video footage it directly contradicted the official line taken by the U.S. Army asserting that the deaths of the two Reuters staff were “collateral damage” in an attack on Iraqi insurgents. The radio chatter associated with the AH-64 Apache video indicated the helicopter crews had mistakenly identified the journalists’ equipment as weaponry.

The US government also claims Manning is linked to CableGate; the passing of around a quarter of a million classified diplomatic cables to WikiLeaks. Manning has been in detention since July last year; in December allegations of torture were made to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights regarding the conditions under which he was and is being detained.

Reports last month that he must now sleep naked and attend role call at the U.S. Marine facility in Quantico in the same state, raised further concern over his detention conditions. Philip J. Crowley, at-the-time a State Department spokesman, remarked on this whilst speaking at Massachusetts Institute of Technology; describing the current treatment of Manning as “ridiculous and counterproductive and stupid”, Crowley was, as a consequence, put in the position of having to tender his resignation to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Despite his native Australia finding, in December last year, that Assange’s WikiLeaks had not committed any criminal offences in their jurisdiction, the U.S. government has continued to make ongoing operations very difficult for the whistleblower website.

The result of the Australian Federal Police investigation left the country’s Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, having to retract a statement that WikiLeaks had acted “illegally”; instead, she characterised the site’s actions as “grossly irresponsible”.

Even with Australia finding no illegal activity on the part of WikiLeaks, and with founder Julian Assange facing extradition to Sweden, U.S. pressure sought to hobble WikiLeaks financially.

Based on a State Department letter, online payments site PayPal suspended WikiLeaks account in December. Their action was swiftly followed by Visa Europe and Mastercard ceasing to handle payments for WikiLeaks.

The online processing company, Datacell, threatened the two credit card giants with legal action over this. However, avenues of funding for the site were further curtailed when both Amazon.com and Swiss bank PostFinance joined the financial boycott of WikiLeaks.

Assange continues, to this day, to argue that his extradition to Sweden for questioning on alleged sexual offences is being orchestrated by the U.S. in an effort to discredit him, and thus WikiLeaks.

Wikinews consulted an IT and cryptography expert from the Belgian university which developed the current Advanced Encryption Standard; explaining modern communications, he stated: “Cryptography has developed to such a level that intercepting communications is no longer cost effective. That is, if any user uses the correct default settings, and makes sure that he/she is really connecting to Twitter it is highly unlikely that even the NSA can break the cryptography for a protocol such as SSL/TLS (used for https).”

Qualifying this, he commented that “the vulnerable parts of the communication are the end points.” To make his point, he cited the following quote from Gene Spafford: “Using encryption on the Internet is the equivalent of arranging an armored car to deliver credit card information from someone living in a cardboard box to someone living on a park bench.

Continuing, the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (KUL) expert explained:

In the first place, the weak point is Twitter itself; the US government can go and ask for the data; companies such as Twitter and Google will typically store quite some information on their users, including IP addresses (it is known that Google deletes the last byte of the IP address after a few weeks, but it is not too hard for a motivated opponent to find out what this byte was).
In the second place, this is the computer of the user: by exploiting system weaknesses (with viruses, Trojan horses or backdoors in the operating system) a highly motivated opponent can enter your machine and record your keystrokes plus everything that is happening (e.g. the FBI is known to do this with the so-called Magic Lantern software). Such software is also commercially available, e.g. for a company to monitor its employees.
It would also be possible for a higly motivated opponent to play “man-in-the-middle”; that means that instead of having a secure connection to Twitter.com, you have a secure connection to the attacker’s server, who impersonates Twitter’s and then relays your information to Twitter. This requires tricks such as spoofing DNS (this is getting harder with DNSsec), or misleading the user (e.g. the user clicks on a link and connects to tw!tter.com or Twitter.c0m, which look very similar in a URL window as Twitter.com). It is clear that the US government is capable of using these kind of tricks; e.g., a company has been linked to the US government that was recognized as legitimate signer in the major browsers, so it would not be too large for them to sign a legitimate certificate for such a spoofing webserver; this means that the probability that a user would detect a problem would be very low.
As for traffic analysis (finding out who you are talking to rather than finding out what you are telling to whom), NSA and GCHQ are known to have access to lots of traffic (part of this is obtained via the UK-USA agreement). Even if one uses strong encryption, it is feasible for them to log the IP addresses and email addresses of all the parties you are connecting to. If necessary, they can even make routers re-route your traffic to their servers. In addition, the European Data Retention directive forces all operators to store such traffic data.
Whether other companies would have complied with such requests: this is very hard to tell. I believe however that it is very plausible that companies such as Google, Skype or Facebook would comply with such requests if they came from a government.
In summary: unless you go through great lengths to log through to several computers in multiple countries, you work in a clean virtual machine, you use private browser settings (don’t accept cookies, no plugins for Firefox, etc.) and use tools such as Tor, it is rather easy for any service provider to identify you.
Finally: I prefer not to be quoted on any sentences in which I make statements on the capabilities or actions of any particular government.

Wikinews also consulted French IT security researcher Stevens Le Blond on the issues surrounding the case, and the state-of-the-art in monitoring, and analysing, communications online. Le Blond, currently presenting a research paper on attacks on Tor to USENIX audiences in North America, responded via email:

Were the US Government to obtain the sought data, it would seem reasonable the NSA would handle further investigation. How would you expect them to exploit the data and expand on what they receive from Twitter?

  • Le Blond: My understanding is that the DOJ is requesting the following information: 1) Connection records and session times 2) IP addresses 3) e-mail addresses 4) banking info
By requesting 1) and 2) for Birgitta and other people involved with WikiLeaks (WL) since 2009, one could derive 2 main [pieces of] information.
First, he could tell the mobility of these people. Recent research in networking shows that you can map an IP address into a geographic location with a median error of 600 meters. So by looking at changes of IP addresses in time for a Twitter user, one could tell (or at least speculate about) where that person has been.
Second, by correlating locations of different people involved with WL in time, one could possibly derive their interactions and maybe even their level of involvement with WL. Whether it is possible to derive this information from 1) and 2) depends on how this people use Twitter. For example, do they log on Twitter often enough, long enough, and from enough places?
My research indicates that this is the case for other Internet services but I cannot tell whether it is the case for Twitter.
Note that even though IP logging, as done by Twitter, is similar to the logging done by GSM [mobile phone] operators, the major difference seems to be that Twitter is subject to US regulation, no matter the citizenship of its users. I find this rather disturbing.
Using 3), one could search for Birgitta on other Internet services, such as social networks, to find more information on her (e.g., hidden accounts). Recent research on privacy shows that people tend to use the same e-mail address to register an account on different social networks (even when they don’t want these accounts to be linked together). Obviously, one could then issue subpoenas for these accounts as well.
I do not have the expertise to comment on what could be done with 4).
((WN)) As I believe Jonsdottir to be involved in the Icelandic Modern Media Initiative (IMMI), what are the wider implications beyond the “WikiLeaks witchhunt”?
  • Le Blond: Personal data can be used to discredit, especially if the data is not public.

Having been alerted to the ongoing case through a joint press release by the ACLU and EFF, Wikinews sought clarification on the primary issues which the two non-profits saw as particularly important in challenging the U.S. Government over the ‘secret’ court orders. Rebecca Jeschke, Media Relations Director for the EFF, explained in more detail the points crucial to them, responding to a few questions from Wikinews on the case:

((WN)) As a worse-case, what precedents would be considered if this went to the Supreme Court?
  • Rebecca Jeschke: It’s extremely hard to know at this stage if this would go to the Supreme Court, and if it did, what would be at issue. However, some of the interesting questions about this case center on the rights of people around the world when they use US Internet services. This case questions the limits of US law enforcement, which may turn out to be very different from the limits in other countries.
((WN)) Since this is clearly a politicised attack on free speech with most chilling potential repercussions for the press, whistleblowers, and by-and-large anyone the relevant U.S. Government departments objects to the actions of, what action do you believe should be taken to protect free speech rights?
  • Jeschke: We believe that, except in very rare circumstances, the government should not be permitted to obtain information about individuals’ private Internet communications in secret. We also believe that Internet companies should, whenever possible, take steps to ensure their customers are notified about requests for information and have the opportunity to respond.
((WN)) Twitter via the web, in my experience, tends to use https:// connections. Are you aware of any possibility of the government cracking such connections? (I’m not up to date on the crypto arms race).
  • Jeschke: You don’t need to crack https, per se, to compromise its security. See this piece about fraudulent https certificates:
Iranian hackers obtain fraudulent httpsEFF website.
((WN)) And, do you believe that far, far more websites should – by default – employ https:// connections to protect people’s privacy?
  • Jeschke: We absolutely think that more websites should employ https! Here is a guide for site operators: (See external links, Ed.)

Finally, Wikinews approached the Icelandic politician, and WikiLeaks supporter, who has made this specific case a landmark in how the U.S. Government handles dealings with – supposedly – friendly governments and their elected representatives. A number of questions were posed, seeking the Icelandic Parliamentarian’s views:

((WN)) How did you feel when you were notified the US Government wanted your Twitter account, and message, details? Were you shocked?
  • Birgitta Jonsdottir: I felt angry but not shocked. I was expecting something like this to happen because of my involvement with WikiLeaks. My first reaction was to tweet about it.
((WN)) What do you believe is their reasoning in selecting you as a ‘target’?
  • Jonsdottir: It is quite clear to me that USA authorities are after Julian Assange and will use any means possible to get even with him. I think I am simply a pawn in a much larger context. I did of course both act as a spokesperson for WikiLeaks in relation to the Apache video and briefly for WikiLeaks, and I put my name to the video as a co-producer. I have not participated in any illegal activity and thus being a target doesn’t make me lose any sleep.
((WN)) Are you concerned that, as a Member of Parliament involved in the Icelandic Modern Media Initiative (IMMI), the US attempt to obtain your Twitter data is interfering with planned Icelandic government policy?
  • Jonsdottir: No
((WN)) In an earlier New York Times (NYT) article, you’re indicating there is nothing they can obtain about you that bothers you; but, how do you react to them wanting to know everyone you talk to?
  • Jonsdottir: It bothers me and according to top computer scientists the government should be required to obtain a search warrant to get our IP addresses from Twitter. I am, though, happy I am among the people DOJ is casting their nets around because of my parliamentary immunity; I have a greater protection then many other users and can use that immunity to raise the issue of lack of rights for those that use social media.
Do you believe the U.S. government should have the right to access data on foreign nationals using services such as Twitter?
Add or view comments
((WN)) The same NYT article describes you as a WikiLeaks supporter; is this still the case? What attracts you to their ‘radical transparency’?
  • Jonsdottir: I support the concept of WikiLeaks. While we don’t have a culture of protection for sources and whistleblowers we need sites like WikiLeaks. Plus, I think it is important to give WikiLeaks credit for raising awareness about in how bad shape freedom of information and expression is in our world and it is eroding at an alarming rate because of the fact that legal firms for corporations and corrupt politicians have understood the borderless nature of the legalities of the information flow online – we who feel it is important that people have access to information that should remain in the public domain need to step up our fight for those rights. WikiLeaks has played an important role in that context.I don’t support radical transparency – I understand that some things need to remain secret. It is the process of making things secret that needs to be both more transparent and in better consensus with nations.
((WN)) How do you think the Icelandic government would have reacted if it were tens of thousands of their diplomatic communications being leaked?
  • Jonsdottir: I am not sure – A lot of our dirty laundry has been aired via the USA cables – our diplomatic communications with USA were leaked in those cables, so far they have not stirred much debate nor shock. It is unlikely for tens of thousands of cables to leak from Iceland since we dont have the same influence or size as the USA, nor do we have a military.
((WN)) Your ambassador in the US has spoken to the Obama administration. Can you discuss any feedback from that? Do you have your party’s, and government’s, backing in challenging the ordered Twitter data release?
  • Jonsdottir: I have not had any feedback from that meeting, I did however receive a message from the DOJ via the USA ambassador in Iceland. The message stated three things: 1. I am free to travel to the USA. 2. If I would do so, I would not be a subject of involuntary interrogation. 3. I am not under criminal investigation. If this is indeed the reality I wonder why they are insisting on getting my personal details from Twitter. I want to stress that I understand the reasoning of trying to get to Assange through me, but I find it unacceptable since there is no foundation for criminal investigation against him. If WikiLeaks goes down, all the other media partners should go down at the same time. They all served similar roles. The way I see it is that WikiLeaks acted as the senior editor of material leaked to them. They could not by any means be considered a source. The source is the person that leaks the material to WikiLeaks. I am not sure if the media in our world understands how much is at stake for already shaky industry if WikiLeaks will carry on carrying the brunt of the attacks. I think it would be powerful if all the medias that have had access to WikiLeaks material would band together for their defence.
((WN)) Wikinews consulted a Belgian IT security expert who said it was most likely companies such as Facebook, Microsoft, and Google, would have complied with similar court orders *without advising the ‘targets*’. Does that disturb you?
  • Jonsdottir: This does disturb me for various reasons. The most obvious is that my emails are hosted at google/gmail and my search profile. I dont have anything to hide but it is important to note that many of the people that interact with me as a MP via both facebook and my various email accounts don’t always realize that there is no protection for them if they do so via those channels. I often get sensitive personal letters sent to me at facebook and gmail. In general most people are not aware of how little rights they have as users of social media. It is those of uttermost importance that those sites will create the legal disclaimers and agreements that state the most obvious rights we lose when we sign up to their services.
This exclusive interview features first-hand journalism by a Wikinews reporter. See the collaboration page for more details.
((WN)) Has there been any backlash within Iceland against US-based internet services in light of this? Do you expect such, or any increase in anti-American sentiments?
  • Jonsdottir: No, none what so ever. I dont think there is much anti-American sentiments in Iceland and I dont think this case will increase it. However I think it is important for everyone who does not live in the USA and uses social services to note that according to the ruling in my case, they dont have any protection of the 1st and 4th amendment, that only apply to USA citizens. Perhaps the legalities in relation to the borderless reality we live in online need to be upgraded in order for people to feel safe with using social media if it is hosted in the USA. Market tends to bend to simple rules.
((WN)) Does this make you more, or less, determined to see the IMMI succeed?
  • Jonsdottir: More. People have to realize that if we dont have freedom of information online we won’t have it offline. We have to wake up to the fact that our rights to access information that should be in the public domain is eroding while at the same time our rights as citizens online have now been undermined and we are only seen as consumers with consumers rights and in some cases our rights are less than of a product. This development needs to change and change fast before it is too late.

The U.S. Government continues to have issues internationally as a result of material passed to WikiLeaks, and subsequently published.

Within the past week, Ecuador has effectively declared the U.S. ambassador Heather Hodges persona-non-grata over corruption allegations brought to light in leaked cables. Asking the veteran diplomat to leave “as soon as possible”, the country may become the third in South America with no ambassadorial presence. Both Venezuela and Bolivia have no resident U.S. ambassador due to the two left-wing administrations believing the ejected diplomats were working with the opposition.

The U.S. State Department has cautioned Ecuador that a failure to speedily normalise diplomatic relations may jeapordise ongoing trade talks.

The United Kingdom is expected to press the Obama administration over the continuing detention of 23-year-old Manning, who also holds UK citizenship. British lawmakers are to discuss his ongoing detention conditions before again approaching the U.S. with their concerns that his solitary confinement, and treatment therein, is not acceptable.

The 22 charges brought against Manning are currently on hold whilst his fitness to stand trial is assessed.

Cleveland, Ohio clinic performs US’s first face transplant

Cleveland, Ohio clinic performs US’s first face transplant
March 22nd, 2018 in Uncategorized | No Comments

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A team of eight transplant surgeons in Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, USA, led by reconstructive surgeon Dr. Maria Siemionow, age 58, have successfully performed the first almost total face transplant in the US, and the fourth globally, on a woman so horribly disfigured due to trauma, that cost her an eye. Two weeks ago Dr. Siemionow, in a 23-hour marathon surgery, replaced 80 percent of her face, by transplanting or grafting bone, nerve, blood vessels, muscles and skin harvested from a female donor’s cadaver.

The Clinic surgeons, in Wednesday’s news conference, described the details of the transplant but upon request, the team did not publish her name, age and cause of injury nor the donor’s identity. The patient’s family desired the reason for her transplant to remain confidential. The Los Angeles Times reported that the patient “had no upper jaw, nose, cheeks or lower eyelids and was unable to eat, talk, smile, smell or breathe on her own.” The clinic’s dermatology and plastic surgery chair, Francis Papay, described the nine hours phase of the procedure: “We transferred the skin, all the facial muscles in the upper face and mid-face, the upper lip, all of the nose, most of the sinuses around the nose, the upper jaw including the teeth, the facial nerve.” Thereafter, another team spent three hours sewing the woman’s blood vessels to that of the donor’s face to restore blood circulation, making the graft a success.

The New York Times reported that “three partial face transplants have been performed since 2005, two in France and one in China, all using facial tissue from a dead donor with permission from their families.” “Only the forehead, upper eyelids, lower lip, lower teeth and jaw are hers, the rest of her face comes from a cadaver; she could not eat on her own or breathe without a hole in her windpipe. About 77 square inches of tissue were transplanted from the donor,” it further described the details of the medical marvel. The patient, however, must take lifetime immunosuppressive drugs, also called antirejection drugs, which do not guarantee success. The transplant team said that in case of failure, it would replace the part with a skin graft taken from her own body.

Dr. Bohdan Pomahac, a Brigham and Women’s Hospital surgeon praised the recent medical development. “There are patients who can benefit tremendously from this. It’s great that it happened,” he said.

Leading bioethicist Arthur Caplan of the University of Pennsylvania withheld judgment on the Cleveland transplant amid grave concerns on the post-operation results. “The biggest ethical problem is dealing with failure — if your face rejects. It would be a living hell. If your face is falling off and you can’t eat and you can’t breathe and you’re suffering in a terrible manner that can’t be reversed, you need to put on the table assistance in dying. There are patients who can benefit tremendously from this. It’s great that it happened,” he said.

Dr Alex Clarke, of the Royal Free Hospital had praised the Clinic for its contribution to medicine. “It is a real step forward for people who have severe disfigurement and this operation has been done by a team who have really prepared and worked towards this for a number of years. These transplants have proven that the technical difficulties can be overcome and psychologically the patients are doing well. They have all have reacted positively and have begun to do things they were not able to before. All the things people thought were barriers to this kind of operations have been overcome,” she said.

The first partial face transplant surgery on a living human was performed on Isabelle Dinoire on November 27 2005, when she was 38, by Professor Bernard Devauchelle, assisted by Professor Jean-Michel Dubernard in Amiens, France. Her Labrador dog mauled her in May 2005. A triangle of face tissue including the nose and mouth was taken from a brain-dead female donor and grafted onto the patient. Scientists elsewhere have performed scalp and ear transplants. However, the claim is the first for a mouth and nose transplant. Experts say the mouth and nose are the most difficult parts of the face to transplant.

In 2004, the same Cleveland Clinic, became the first institution to approve this surgery and test it on cadavers. In October 2006, surgeon Peter Butler at London‘s Royal Free Hospital in the UK was given permission by the NHS ethics board to carry out a full face transplant. His team will select four adult patients (children cannot be selected due to concerns over consent), with operations being carried out at six month intervals. In March 2008, the treatment of 30-year-old neurofibromatosis victim Pascal Coler of France ended after having received what his doctors call the worlds first successful full face transplant.

Ethical concerns, psychological impact, problems relating to immunosuppression and consequences of technical failure have prevented teams from performing face transplant operations in the past, even though it has been technically possible to carry out such procedures for years.

Mr Iain Hutchison, of Barts and the London Hospital, warned of several problems with face transplants, such as blood vessels in the donated tissue clotting and immunosuppressants failing or increasing the patient’s risk of cancer. He also pointed out ethical issues with the fact that the procedure requires a “beating heart donor”. The transplant is carried out while the donor is brain dead, but still alive by use of a ventilator.

According to Stephen Wigmore, chair of British Transplantation Society’s ethics committee, it is unknown to what extent facial expressions will function in the long term. He said that it is not certain whether a patient could be left worse off in the case of a face transplant failing.

Mr Michael Earley, a member of the Royal College of Surgeon‘s facial transplantation working party, commented that if successful, the transplant would be “a major breakthrough in facial reconstruction” and “a major step forward for the facially disfigured.”

In Wednesday’s conference, Siemionow said “we know that there are so many patients there in their homes where they are hiding from society because they are afraid to walk to the grocery stores, they are afraid to go the the street.” “Our patient was called names and was humiliated. We very much hope that for this very special group of patients there is a hope that someday they will be able to go comfortably from their houses and enjoy the things we take for granted,” she added.

In response to the medical breakthrough, a British medical group led by Royal Free Hospital’s lead surgeon Dr Peter Butler, said they will finish the world’s first full face transplant within a year. “We hope to make an announcement about a full-face operation in the next 12 months. This latest operation shows how facial transplantation can help a particular group of the most severely facially injured people. These are people who would otherwise live a terrible twilight life, shut away from public gaze,” he said.

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

Wikinews interviews Joe Schriner, Independent U.S. presidential candidate
March 22nd, 2018 in Uncategorized | No Comments

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.

Perfect Pets

March 22nd, 2018 in Pet Treat Manufacturing | No Comments

Click Here To Find Out More About:

Submitted by: B Annis

Finding the perfect pet that suits you is not an easy decision. Most people’s first thought would be to get a dog or a cat. They are both great pets, but remember that a dog needs many hours of your time.

There are many other pets, such fish or birds, but many never consider a having a rabbit, especially inside their home.

When I was a child my brother and I had a couple of rabbits in a hutch in the garden. Like many children we played with them for a period of time and soon they were only played with occasionally. I do look back and wish that we had given them more time, because in recent years I have come to realise how rewarding a rabbit can be.

YouTube Preview Image

A friend of ours had a house bunny and we were amazed that they can be toilet trained, and if they are cleaned daily they never smell. Eventually we decided that we would get a rabbit which would be allowed to run freely around our home. Depending on the type of bunny you buy there are many different sizes. We chose a Holland Lop and named her Honey.

Honey is now eighteen months old and is part of the family. She loves a routine, and her favourite treat is a piece of banana. She loves to be petted and cuddled. The noises that she makes when she is happy being stroked is like a cat purring; only it’s actually her teeth chattering with delight.

Have you ever heard of binking? Neither had we until we started reading about bunnies. Binking is when rabbits run around like mad things leaping in the air and frolicking about. It is so entertaining to watch them going crazy like this.

I have seen that some people will take their rabbits out on leads, which is great for the bunnies but remember that if they venture outside that you have to beware of fleas, ticks and more importantly other animals attacking them. They can move fast, but fear stops them in their tracks, they will freeze out of fear. That’s where the saying, (“Like a rabbit in the headlights!”) comes from.

Feeding your rabbit to keep him or her in the best of health will require 80% hay in their diet. Alfalfa is not the best type to get. Timothy Hay is the best, along with a small amount of pellets and fresh vegetables. Treats should be kept to a minimum. Hay in their diet is critical to their optimal health. Rabbits teeth will continue to grow and the way that a rabbit eats hay actually grinds down their teeth.

Rabbits will spend a good part of their day sleeping. They love to be around you and also love to play. Cardboard boxes, old books, paper and baby toys are great to keep your bunny amused. A playful rabbit is a happy contented one. Give them love and be loved in return. These lovable pets are well overlooked, but if you have the time they are really rewarding.

About the Author: Bruce Annis has a real estate website concerned with selling homes and

real estate in Halifax

Nova Scotia.



Permanent Link:


Ed Sheeran wins Song of Year Grammy for Thinking Out Loud

Ed Sheeran wins Song of Year Grammy for Thinking Out Loud
March 22nd, 2018 in Uncategorized | No Comments

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Yesterday, UK singer Ed Sheeran won the Grammy Award for Song of the Year for his song Thinking Out Loud from his album × ahead of Kendrick Lamar’s Alright; Wiz Khalifa’s, featuring Charlie Puth, See You Again; Little Big Town’s Girl Crush; and Taylor Swift’s Blank Space. Girl Crush won the Grammy Award for Best Country Song.

Welsh singer Amy Wadge co-wrote the song. Sheeran during the ceremony said they wrote the song on a couch in his house. In remarks to the Western Mail, Wadge said the album was already complete when they wrote the song.

Thinking out Loud remained #2 on Billboard Hot 100 for almost two months, and topped the UK rankings last year. Its video song has 969 Million YouTube views and has more than four million likes. The song also won the Grammy Award for Best Pop Solo Performance.

US singer Stevie Wonder announced the winner for the Song of the Year, and the envelope was written in Braille script. He joked about it saying “You can’t read it, you can’t read Braille!”

Along with Ed Sheeran’s first Grammy, Canadians The Weeknd and Justin Bieber won Grammy awards for the first time.

Austrian police find dozens dead inside lorry

Austrian police find dozens dead inside lorry
March 21st, 2018 in Uncategorized | No Comments

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Austrian police today found an estimated 20–50 decomposing corpses in an apparently abandoned lorry.

Roadworkers who spotted the vehicle, which had been there since yesterday at least, alerted police. Responding officers found it full of corpses. The lorry is on the so-called “Eastern Motorway”, the A4, close to the Hungarian border. It was on the hard shoulder between Neusiedl and Parndorf, closer to Parndorf.

The victims are thought to have suffocated. Police are seeking the driver. The Krone published an image of a non-articulated food lorry on the hard shoulder, which they report is the vehicle in question. The photo shows a pool of dark liquid on the ground beside the vehicle.

Video from a passing motorist shows at least one helicopter on-scene. The truck, which has pictures of meat on the side, shows branding for Slovakian food firm Hyza. Earlier today the company’s website sported an apparent anti-immigration graphic, which has since been removed.

Wikinews got in touch with Hyza. “We are truly sorry about [the] tragedy” they told us in a statement. They said they have checked GPS trackers on their fleet and all their vehicles remain in Slovakia. The statement says the lorry in question was one of 21 Hyza vehicles sold on last year. It was then sold again and exported to Hungary, where it is now registered. Hyza told us the new owners have not changed the branding on the vehicle. According to the Bild newspaper, Agrofert — the parent company of Hyza — said in a statement the new owners were required to do so.

Hyza says they will “actively cooperate with Slovak police”, and “express [their] sincere condolences to the bereaved families.”

Interior Minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner called it “a dark day” and called for European Union-wide measures to protect immigrant refugees and tackle human traffickers. Neighbouring Hungary is constructing a border fence across its entire frontier with Serbia. Yesterday alone saw a record 3,241 attempts to enter Hungary illegally, according to authorities there.

Conflict in Syria and other parts of the world has led refugees to Europe. Once inside, they can move freely inside the Schengen Area, which covers most of the EU.

Austrian police earlier this week arrested three motorists suspected of people smuggling. One driver is accused of moving 34 people, ten of them children, into Austria from Serbia. The group were left by the roadside near Bruck an der Leitha and reported struggling to breathe in the van.