Looted, possibly contaminated body parts transplanted into USA, Canadian patients

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Looted, possibly contaminated body parts transplanted into USA, Canadian patients

Monday, March 20, 2006

Fears of contaminated bone and skin grafts are being felt by unsuspecting patients following the revelation that funeral homes may have been looting corpses.

Janet Evans of Marion Ohio was told by her surgeon, “The bone grafts you got might have been contaminated”. She reacted with shock, “I was flabbergasted because I didn’t even know what he was talking about. I didn’t know I got a bone graft until I got this call. I just thought they put in screws and rods.”

The body of Alistair Cooke, the former host of “Masterpiece Theatre,” was supposedly looted along with more than 1,000 others, according to two law enforcement officials close to the case. The tissue taken was typically skin, bone and tendon, which was then sold for use in procedures such as dental implants and hip replacements. According to authorities, millions of dollars were made by selling the body parts to companies for use in operations done at hospitals and clinics in the United States and Canada.

A New Jersey company, Biomedical Tissue Services, has reportedly been taking body parts from funeral homes across Brooklyn, New York. According to ABC News, they set up rooms like a “surgical suite.” After they took the bones, they replaced them with PVC pipe. This was purportedly done by stealth, without approval of the deceased person or the next of kin. 1,077 bodies were involved, say prosecuters.

Investagators say a former dentist, Michael Mastromarino, is behind the operation. Biomedical was considered one of the “hottest procurement companies in the country,” raking in close to $5 million. Eventually, people became worried: “Can the donors be trusted?” A tissue processing company called LifeCell answered no, and issued a recall on all their tissue.

Cooke’s daughter, Susan Cooke Kittredge, said, “To know his bones were sold was one thing, but to see him standing truncated before me is another entirely.” Now thousands of people around the country are receiving letters warning that they should be tested for infectious diseases like HIV or hepatitis. On February 23, the Brooklyn District Attorney indicted Mastromarino and three others. They are charged with 122 felony counts, including forgery and bodysnatching.

Spelbound declared winner of Britain’s Got Talent 2010

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Spelbound declared winner of Britain’s Got Talent 2010

Monday, June 7, 2010

An acrobatic group known by the name of Spelbound has been declared as the winner of Britain’s Got Talent 2010, a televised variety talent show competition broadcast on ITV in the United Kingdom. As the winning act of the show, Spelbound have won £100,000 (US$144,580, €120,313, A$175,079) and a place at The Royal Variety Performance, an annual gala evening that is attended by senior members of the British Royal Family.

In no particular order, the top three acts were revealed to be two dancers known by their stage name of Twist and Pulse, gymnastic group Spelbound and Kieran Gaffney, whose act involves playing on the drum kit. After Kieran Gaffney was revealed to be in third place, Anthony McPartlin, who hosts Britain’s Got Talent with Declan Donnelly, said to Kieran: “Well done Kieran. Kieran, you’re a star, you came back, you got all the way to the final. I know you’ve loved this. You’ve loved this, haven’t you?” In response to this, Kieran Gaffney stated: “Thank you very much. Thank you, everyone for supporting me. Thank you.”

Shortly afterwards, on the episode that was broadcast live on ITV1 on Saturday, Anthony announced: “After tens of thousands of auditons, five semi-finals and an amazing final, this…this is it. One of you is about to walk away with £100,000 and a place at this year’s Royal Variety Performance. The winner of Britain’s Got Talent 2010 is…Spelbound!” Glen Murphy from Twist and Pulse commented about finishing in second place, stating: “Yeah, it’s amazing. I can’t even believe it. I can’t believe it at all.”

Alex Uttley, a 24-year-old member of Spelbound, commented on the gymnastic group’s victory, commenting: “Oh, my god. This is unbelieveable. We just want to say thank you to everyone out there. It just shows that all our hard work has paid off.” One of the coaches of Spelbound, named Neil Griffiths, stated about Spelbound: “Oh, they’ve worked so hard over the last few weeks. Um, since the semi-final, we…we really had to pull out the stops to try and up the game. They’ve not known they’ve worked in the gym from six in the morning till twelve…twelve o’clock of the night. I couldn’t have asked for more. Um, it’s a team of coaches. I don’t take all the credit myself. There’s, uh, two people up there that know who they are who’ve been fantastic.”

Spelbound consists of 24-year-old Alex Uttley, Nicholas Illingworth, aged 24, Adam Buckingham, aged 21, 20-year-old Adam McAssey, 19-year-old Douglas Fordyce, 18-year-old Edward Upcott, 18-year-old Leighanne Cowler, 17-year-old Katie Axten, 17-year-old Lauren Kemp, 15-year-old Jonathan Stranks, Abigail Ralph, aged 15, 13-year-old Hollianne Wood and Amy Mackenzie, aged 12. Bookmakers had previously predicted that Spelbound would be the most likely act to become the winner of the series.

The running order for the final started with Twist and Pulse. The second act to perform was Liam McNally, a 14-year-old singer. The running order subsequently continued with 40-year-old impressionist Paul Burling, singer Christopher Stone, aged 28, Tina & Chandi, a woman and dog dancing act, Connected, a five-piece singing group, Kieran Gaffney, aged 12, 22-year-old Tobias Mead, a dancer, 80-year-old singer Janey Cutler and Spelbound in that particular order.

Earlier on in the final, Britain’s Got Talent judge Amanda Holden has stated to Spelbound: “We are hosting the 2012 Olympics and I think ‘what a brilliant opening act’.” Fellow judge Piers Morgan also commented that “[t]he purpose of this show is to identify hidden great British talent. You are that act.” After Spelbound won in the final, another judge, named Simon Cowell, stated that “the right boys and girls won on the night” and that he could “only say on live TV that that was one of the most astonishing things I have ever seen. Seriously.”

Honda Civic tops Canada’s list of most stolen cars

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Honda Civic tops Canada’s list of most stolen cars

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

The 1999 and 2000 year model Honda Civic SiR tops the list of Canada’s most stolen cars.

Consumer popularity also assures the cars will be popular with thieves. Its the second year in a row the Honda SiR has topped the list.

Rick Dubin Vice President of Investigations for the Insurance Bureau of Canada said “The Civics are easy targets.”

Dubin said that once stolen, the cars are most often sold to “chop shops” where thieves completely dismantle the vehicles. The automobile’s individual parts are worth more than the entire car.

The sheer numbers of the cars and their lack of theft deterrent systems make them thieves’ preferred choices.

1999 and 2000 Honda Civics do not come with an electronic immobilizer, however all Hondas from 2001 and onward are equipped with an immobilizer. Immobilizers will be mandatory on all new cars sold beginning September 2007. The devices enable an engine computer to recognize an electronic code in the key. If the code in the key and the engine don’t match exactly, the vehicle can’t be started.

In third place was the 2004 Subaru Impreza, while the 1999 Acura Integra came in fourth, with the 1994 Honda Civic rounding out the top five.

In sixth place, the 1998 Acura Integra, and the 1993 Dodge Shadow completed seventh.

When asked why early model vehicles are selected, he said that, “auto thieves continue to find it easier to steal older vehicles lacking an IBC-approved immobilizer. We’ve seen this trend developing for several years, and these results confirm it.”

Another Honda automobile, the 1996 year model Civic filled eighth place, with the 2000 German Audi TT Quattro in ninth.

The American 1996 Chevrolet/GMC Blazer rounded out the top ten.

None of the above cars had an electronic immobilizer.

Anthrocon 2007 draws thousands to Pittsburgh for furry weekend

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Anthrocon 2007 draws thousands to Pittsburgh for furry weekend
March 14th, 2019 in Uncategorized | No Comments

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania — Local caterers get ready for big business, as almost three thousand fans converge on the David L. Lawrence Convention Center over the Independence Day weekend for the world’s largest ever furry convention, Anthrocon 2007.

Many hope to renew acquaintances, or meet new friends. Others look to buy from dealers and artists, or show off new artwork or costumes. Some attend to make money, or even learn a thing or two. But one thing unites them: They’re all there to have fun.

Contents

  • 1 Costly expansion
  • 2 Programming and entertainment
  • 3 Audience
  • 4 Art show and dealers
  • 5 Charity and volunteers
  • 6 Local impact
  • 7 Related news
  • 8 Sources

With US mid-term elections fast approaching, three prominent Democrats announce retirement

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With US mid-term elections fast approaching, three prominent Democrats announce retirement
March 13th, 2019 in Uncategorized | No Comments

Thursday, January 7, 2010

With this year’s November midterm elections fast approaching, three prominent United States Democrats announced their plans for retirement from public service on Wednesday.

Powerful and influential—yet controversial for his alleged close ties to the financial sector and his handling of last year’s bailout—Senator Christopher Dodd of Connecticut announced that he would not be seeking a sixth term this year.

In a speech to his supporters in East Haddam, Connecticut, the sixty-five-year-old senior senator—with his family at his side—said, “I have been a Connecticut senator for thirty years. I’m very proud of the job I’ve done and the results delivered. But none of us is irreplaceable. None of us is indispensable.”

He then went on to say, “Over the past twelve months, I’ve managed four major pieces of legislation through the United States Congress, served as chair and acting chair of two major Senate committees, placing me at the center of the two most important issues of our time—health care and reform of financial services.”

In addition to highlighting some personal travails, Dodd alluded to his precarious political situation, “I lost a beloved sister in July, and in August, Ted Kennedy. I battled cancer over the summer, and in the midst of all of this, found myself in the toughest political shape of my career.”

Despite this, Dodd adamantly maintained that none of the above reasons were the causes for his retirement. He said that his reasons were more “personal,” and that his retirement would hopefully give him a much-wanted opportunity to spend more time with his family.

Senator Byron Dorgan of North Dakota announced that he would not run for re-election this year either.

“Although I still have a passion for public service and enjoy my work in the Senate, I have other interests and I have other things I would like to pursue outside of public life,” said the sixty-seven-year-old, three-term senator who said he came to this decision after discussing his future with his immediate family over Christmas.

Governor of Colorado, Bill Ritter announced that he too would not seek a second term. The fifty-three-year-old freshman governor said that although he felt his race was “absolutely winnable,” after some deep “soul searching,” he realized that he truly wanted to retire from politics nonetheless. This due to the fact that he felt his main priority should be to be a better husband to his wife as well as a better father to their four children.

When asked to comment on Senator Dodd’s retirement on behalf of the Administration, Vice President Joseph Biden said Dodd would “be long recognized as one of the most significant senators of my generation.”

He furthermore stated, “I believe the nation will miss his wisdom, wit and compassion. I count myself lucky because I know he’s not going too far and will always be a source of advice and counsel.”

Biden gave similar comments and expressed like sentiments about the retirement of his other two Democratic colleagues as well.

Category:July 14, 2010

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Category:July 14, 2010
March 13th, 2019 in Uncategorized | No Comments
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British serial killer jailed for three prostitute murders

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British serial killer jailed for three prostitute murders
March 13th, 2019 in Uncategorized | No Comments

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A British serial killer has yesterday entered guilty pleas to all three counts of murder he faced. Stephen Griffiths, 40, who attracted tabloid attention by calling himself the “Crossbow Cannibal”, killed the prostitutes in his flat in Bradford, West Yorkshire, England and will spend the rest of his life behind bars.

Griffiths, a former van driver with a degree in psychology and studying for a PhD in criminology, was caught when police were alerted to a murder caught on CCTV. A caretaker, reviewing footage from the building where Griffiths’s flat is, saw Suzanne Blamires, 36, and Griffiths enter the flat. Two minutes later, she ran out and he followed, beating her to the ground and shooting her in the head with a crossbow. He raised his crossbow above his head for the CCTV, then dragged the body away. Returning with a drink, he raised the can and one finger to the camera.

Over the course of a weekend, he was seen several times with bin bags and a rucksack. After Griffiths was arrested by armed police on May 24, her dismembered remains were found floating the the River Ayre near Shipley; her head was in a rucksack and it was yesterday revealed a crossbow bolt and broken knife were embedded in it. Robert Smith QC, prosecuting, said she was in 81 pieces.

Smith added that Griffiths confessed to killing her and cutting her up by hand; he had previously used power tools on his victims. Shelley Armitage, 31, had been missing since April when police charged Griffiths; a piece of spine in the River Ayre was later identified as hers. Also found by the river was a suitcase containing knives and saws.

It was yesterday revealed her murder was also on video. Griffiths recorded the act on his mobile, which he then lost on a train. Its finder sold it on twice before police retrieved it, but the footage remained. Armitage is seen hogtied on cushions, the words “My Sex Slave” spray-painted in black on her back. She is also seen dead and naked in his bathtub. “I am Ven Pariah, I am the Bloodbath Artist,” Griffiths said as part of a commentary to the video. “Here’s a model who is assisting me.”

The third murder – that of Susan Rushworth, 43 – dates back to June last year, when she vanished. Although police believe she was killed with a hammer and Griffiths has spoken of the death, no remains were ever found and the only physical evidence was one bloodstain in her killer’s flat. Police found evidence he tried to clean up, with bathroom tiles removed and carpets lifted.

“It was just a slaughterhouse in the bathtub,” he told police at interview. He later confessed to police that “I, or part of me, is responsible for killing Susan Rushworth, Shelley Armitage and Suzanne Blamires, who I know as Amber.” Two crossbows, crossbow bolts, and serial killer literature were seized from his flat.

The day before the final murder, Griffiths wrote on MySpace, using the Ven Pariah pseudonym, he had “finally emerged into the world.” He continued: “What will this pseudo-human do, one wonders. Poor Stephen, pretended to be me, but he was only the wrapping. He knew towards the end, that I supplied the inner core of iron. Hatred Bound Tightly In Flesh. At very long last, the time has come to act out.” He would later tell officers he was having a mental “civil war”.

He told the magistrates’ court on his first appearance his name was “The Crossbow Cannibal.” Yesterday, he was asked at Leeds Crown Court merely to confirm his name, answering “yes”. Each murder charge was read to him, and he answered “guilty” to each. Five security guards flanked him. He has also called himself the SF killer. Although he claimed to have boiled and eaten flesh from the first two victims and eaten the third raw, police could not verify this. The Telegraph says the suspect he invented it to increase his fame, but News Limited quotes Sky News as claiming police believed his cannibalistic claims.

Nobody deserves this. All these girls were human beings and people’s daughters.

Mr Justice Openshaw, the judge, yesterday called Griffiths “wicked and monstrous.” He told the court the killer’s mental health had been investigated and there is “no question that he [i]s fit to plead.” He gave Griffiths the whole life tariff, meaning he will never be released.

Griffiths has attempted suicide while in prison awaiting trial, and police have not yet established if he killed three more women, as he told officers his count stood at six.

At the time Griffiths was charged, Nicky Blamires, 54, has told the press her daughter Suzanne was a “much-loved” family member even though she “went down the wrong path and did not have the life she was meant to have.” “Nobody deserves this,” she said. “All these girls were human beings and people’s daughters.”

Griffiths was known as “the lizard man” in his block of flats owing to his habit of walking his two pet monitor lizards in the area. One neighbour is reported to have quoted him as saying he was studying for “a PhD in murder and Jack the Ripper,” and he has spent time in a high-security psychiatric hospital.

British media was quick to compare the case to Peter Sutcliffe, dubbed the “Yorkshire Ripper”. Sutcliffe was a Bradford killer responsible for thirteen murders and seven attempted murders, including several prostitutes. Since his 1981 conviction he has spent most of the last three decades in Broadmoor high-security psychiatric hospital near London.

Broken stormwater drain led to Guatemala sinkhole

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Broken stormwater drain led to Guatemala sinkhole
March 12th, 2019 in Uncategorized | No Comments

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

A rupture in the underground stormwater drain system opened a huge sinkhole on February 23, killing three people and bringing down twelve houses in Guatemala City.

Teenagers Irma and David Soyos and their father, 53-year old Domingo Soyos were killed when their house collapsed into the sinkhole. Nearly a thousand people were evacuated from the San Antonio neighborhood after the collapse.

Wikinews interviewed Eric Haddox, a civil engineer who has visited the site of the sinkhole and spoken to the engineers working on fixing the drain. Mr. Haddox, who specialises in the building of earthworks, roads, water supply and sewage systems, and is working as a missionary in Guatemala, visited the site following the collapse to help in the recovery effort.

Mr. Haddox told us that the size of the hole is much smaller than the 330 feet depth originally reported and that the erosion causing the collapse is believed to have happened over a long time, and not just during the recent rains as initially suspected.

There are also concerns that a four-story building less than a metre from the edge of the hole may collapse as the earth under the building continues to be eroded.

Before the collapse, a junction box linked two collector pipes to a 3.5m main pipe leading to a nearby canyon in a system believed to be 20 to 50 years old. The surrounding earth had been filled in artificially to level the ground, but the fill was not well compacted before being built upon. Such leveling of the ground is widespread in Guatemala city.

It is thought that, at some point in the last 20 years, either one of the collector pipes ruptured or was detached from the junction box, possibly because of seismic activity. Water gushing out of the break following rainstorms gradually eroded the loosely compacted soil, creating an expanding cavern around the junction box. On February 23, the roof of this cavern collapsed, creating the sinkhole, 20m wide at the top and tapering out towards the bottom, which is about 60m (204 feet) deep, not 330 feet as originally reported.

“Things like this don’t happen often and there are many interesting engineering lessons to be learned with them”, Mr. Haddox said.

The sinkhole has continued to expand even after the collapse, since the collector pipes continue to carry water, which cascades 15m down the sinkhole to the main pipe, further eroding the sides of the sinkhole. The hole was about 25m wide at the top and 40m wide at the bottom a week ago.

A bypass pipe is being laid to divert the water away from the junction to arrest further erosion. The sinkhole will then have to be drained before repair work can begin.

Authorities are also concerned that similar breakages and undermining may be happening at other locations, Mr. Haddox said. Muddy water has been seen coming out of the main collector pipes, but it is not certain whether this is due to ruptures elsewhere or simply mud from the surface that has been washed into the drainage system.

Garuda Indonesia increases flights, fleet; may buy rival

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Garuda Indonesia increases flights, fleet; may buy rival
March 12th, 2019 in Uncategorized | No Comments

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Indonesian state-owned flag carrier Garuda Indonesia has been expanding, with the airline set to add nine new jets to its fleet and double its flights between Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur. Garuda is also considering a bid for defunct rival Linus Airways.

Garuda is expecting the imminent arrival of four new Airbus jets and five new Boeings. The Airbuses, A330-200s, are earmarked to fly international routes to Seoul and Shanghai starting in July. All four have Internet and telephone access for passengers. The Boeings, B737-800 Next Generation aircraft, are due to be in service by the 2010.

Also planned before the year’s end is the increase in flights on the Jakarta-Kuala Lumpur route from one to two per week. “We saw our current load factor[s] have reached 75 percent and even more during school breaks like June and July,” Said the company’s Vice President for Network Oversight, Risnandi. “This is very promising.”

Garuda is now reported to be considering a bid for Linus, who stopped operating on April 27 and have recently been stripped of the rights to fly their former routes as legally required for airlines that do not operate for more than thrity days. Linus still holds some documents of worth to Garuda for transfer to their subisidiary Citilink.

“I heard that Garuda intends to buy Linus who already hold an aviation business license (SIUP) and an air operators certificate (AOC) for the scheduled air services,” said Indonesian Director General of Civil aviation Herry Bakti S. Gumay to reporters for Bisnis Indonesia. He said that his office was in favour of a takeover by Garuda because foreign bids are limited to holding a maximum total of 49% of the shares in Linus.

Linus Airways’ President Directer Indra said that “we are flexible to acquisition, depending on the investor. If someone wants to buy 100% of the shares we can release our shares, but if someone wants take only a majority shareholding with us as a partner – we are also open.” Indra commented that he has had an informal meeting with Garuda CEO Emirsyah Satar but says that they never discussed acquisition by Garuda and that Linus is already in talks with another ‘strategic investor’ with a view to resuming operations.

Two airlines, Riau Airlines and Kartika Airlines, have both launched bids for the ten routes formally operated by Linus, which include four from Jakarta and three from Batam.

Garuda Indonesia’s Financial Direcotr Eddy Purwanto has anounced that US$650 million worth of loans from Bank Mandiri have been restructured. Garuda, who has apointed Rothschild’s as their international financial advisors, will now pay US$450 million by 2015.

Apple to hold media event on September 1, may update iPods and Apple TV

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Apple to hold media event on September 1, may update iPods and Apple TV
March 12th, 2019 in Uncategorized | No Comments

Friday, August 27, 2010

Apple Inc. will hold a music-centered event in San Francisco, California on September 1. It has been widely speculated that the company will introduce an updated line of iPod portable music players and a new Apple TV.

The company e-mailed invitations for the event to various media organizations on Wednesday. The message included a picture of a guitar and the time of the event. Apple did not release any information about what products would be involved.

Apple has released new iPods through previous similar events in September in anticipation of the holiday shopping season. This year, Apple may unveil a new iPod Touch with two cameras, similar to their recent iPhone 4 design. It will likely also update the iTunes music store and software.

Speculation about a new Apple TV is mixed. While many blogs are reporting that a refresh of the device will be announced, analysts say that it is unlikely to happen during next Wednesday’s event. According to Reuters, sources are saying that Apple is negotiating with major television networks, including ABC and NBC, in order to provide shows for purchase on iTunes. However, they also reported that the deal has not been completed, and none of the companies involved have commented on the rumors.

It has also been rumored that Apple will introduce a new online music service. In 2009, Apple took over a company that allowed users to stream music online rather than download individual songs. Apple has not confirmed the rumors.

Last September’s media event saw the return of Apple CEO Steve Jobs after he took a break to undergo a liver transplant. This year, the event will be held in San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, previously used by Apple in April for the unveiling of the iPad.