Archive for November, 2018

30
Nov

News briefs:June 9, 2010

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30
Nov

Hidden treasure worth billions of dollars discovered in Indian temple

Monday, July 4, 2011

Officials announced that a treasure containing sacks of diamonds and gold coins as well as golden idols, jewelry and other riches has been discovered in the secret subterranean vaults of Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple, in the southwestern state of Kerala, India. Estimates of its worth have been rising and it is now thought to be worth US$20 billion.

The Hindu temple was built in the 16th century by the kings of the then Kingdom of Travancore to serve as a royal chapel for the rulers of Travancore. The six vaults containing the treasure have been undisturbed for over a century. Assessment of the treasure began on June 27 after a lawyer concerned about the security of the treasure petitioned India’s Supreme Court, which then appointed a seven-member panel of experts to inventory the treasure. The panel does not have the power to determine to whom the treasure will belong. Estimates of the treasure’s worth are rising, provoking a heated debate as to how the treasure will be used in a country that has 450 million poverty-stricken people.

The chief minister of Kerala, Oommen Chandy, announced on Sunday the treasure would remain with the temple, and security matters would be decided in consultation with the Travancore Royal Family, the temple management, and the temple priest.

The gold was offered to the lord. It is the property of the temple.

“The gold was offered to the lord. It is the property of the temple. The government will protect the wealth at the temple,” Oommen Chandy said. Meanwhile, hundreds of armed police have been deployed around the temple to protect the treasure.

However, the view that the treasure should remain at the temple has been disputed. Among the dissenters is eminent jurist V R Krishna Iyer, who said the treasure should be put in a national trust for the peoples’ benefit. “God’s wealth belongs to the people, not to the king. It’s meaningless to say that it belongs to Hindus or any particular religious community,” said Iyer. “A mechanism should be devised to ensure that the benefits of it reach the poor and the needy and not the rich.”

Five of the six vaults of the Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple have been inventoried.

God’s wealth belongs to the people, not to the king. It’s meaningless to say that it belongs to Hindus or any particular religious community.

On Saturday, reports leaked to the press revealed that the treasure, including a golden idol of Mahavishnu and a golden ‘anki’, were found in one of the vaults, estimated to weigh 30 kilograms, along with precious stones, silver, two coconut shells of pure gold and another golden idol as well as other jewels and valuable coins. The panel hopes to find more treasure when the sixth and final vault is opened, but the attempt was suspended on Monday because the iron door inside presented “technical problems” requiring further consultation before opening. This vault is thought to contain the bulk of the wealth.

Keralan officials in a preliminary estimate said that the treasure was worth over US$11.2 billion; those estimates have now risen to US$20 billion. Historians say that the temple’s location on a site through which passed lucrative trade routes support the higher evaluations.

“Traders, who used to come from other parts of the country and abroad for buying spices and other commodities, used to make handsome offerings to the deity for not only his blessings but also to please the then rulers,” said P.J. Cherian, the director of Kerala Council for Historic Research

Some suggest that the profit from the sale of the treasure would be enough to wipe out the entire public debt of Kerala and fund future Kerala projects such as seaports, airports and highways.

30
Nov

The 4 Ps Of Marketing

By Warren Miller

On a theoretical level, marketing is often defined under 4 heads – known in certain circles as ‘the 4Ps’. These essential marketing elements usually need to be intermingled within an online framework to deliver a complete, return-driven, focused marketing campaign on an ongoing basis. But even with offline marketing, it’s important that the various elements of the marketing mix are given due consideration just to ensure that you’ve got all the bases covered.

So without further ado, let’s get down to the 4Ps on marketing theory and how you can integrate them within your business.

Product – the actual product or service itself has to at least stand up to the rigors of the market, and ideally redefine the space it occupies. An overhaul of this component in your business requires looking at both the physical product and also the offer that often defines it. If the offer and the product are both compelling and interesting, you have the bare bones of a marketing strategy. Once you have this, the additional elements of your overall plan can effectively and easily interact.

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Price – the price point of your product or service is the next essential element to the marketing mix. Your pricing policy shouldn’t be based on a hunch – how do you know dropping your price by a $1 won’t double your sales? Test as many different price points as you possibly can for your products and services and then let the numbers decide how much you should charge. On a similar note, the price has to be just right in proportion to the other elements. It should be high, low or in between, depending on the market to which you’re pitching and the message sent out by the other elements of your marketing strategy.

Promotion – perhaps the most traditional of the four, this refers to the kind of marketing we traditionally think of like advertising and public relations. The most important practical step you can implement in this regard is a system for tracking and testing responsiveness to different marketing variables. To truly know your marketing mix, you need to know what promotional methods are doing the business for you and which ones are just drains on your resources. This will allow you to better allocate your resources and more effectively align your marketing strategy. The ability to easily track your marketing results is why ‘new media’ marketing methods, such as email marketing and mobile marketing, continue to be so successful.

Place (i.e. Distribution) – this effectively means ensuring your product is in the right place for your customers to buy. That could literally refer to the shelf in your local store, or figuratively through your website or online presence. A growingly technological age is becoming ever more valuable and conducive to business promotion. It’s important to make sure your online marketing campaigns are taking advantage of all the options in order to deliver value on a month-on-month basis.

While the 4Ps of marketing are a simple theoretical skeleton, they do nevertheless provide a good framework for identifying, isolating and building on the individual components of your marketing strategy. Making sure you have this important foundation in place when starting your business or launching a new product will go a long way towards creating a more effective long-term approach to building and growing your business.

About the Author: Warren Miller is the Lead Marketing Consultant for Logic Path, a ‘new media’ marketing agency that delivers customized solutions through new technologies. This includes full-service marketing solutions, SEO services, membership programs, and more. Their Marketing Blog is updated daily with essential business marketing advice and tips.

Source: isnare.com

Permanent Link: isnare.com/?aid=607604&ca=Marketing

30
Nov

Ontario Votes 2007: Interview with Family Coalition Party candidate Bill Bernhardt, Kitchener Centre

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Bill Bernhardt is running for the Family Coalition Party in the Ontario provincial election, in the Kitchener Centre riding. Wikinews’ Nick Moreau interviewed him regarding his values, his experience, and his campaign.

Please note that Bill provided his answers in “ALL CAPS”; due to the time constraints of this election coverage, it remains in this typographic style.

Stay tuned for further interviews; every candidate from every party is eligible, and will be contacted. Expect interviews from Liberals, Progressive Conservatives, New Democratic Party members, Ontario Greens, as well as members from the Family Coalition, Freedom, Communist, Libertarian, and Confederation of Regions parties, as well as independents.

29
Nov

UK Wikinews Shorts: July 8, 2013

A compilation of brief news reports for Monday, July 8, 2013.

29
Nov

Manmohan Singh becomes the third longest serving Prime Minister of India

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Manmohan Singh, the 14th and current Prime Minister of India, reached 2,273 days in office on Wednesday. He has emerged to become the third longest serving Prime Minister of India, replacing his predecessor Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

“There are no special celebrations for the day. The prime minister is following his routine schedule,” said an official in the Prime Minister’s office (PMO). “The main functions he celebrates related to his office are the anniversaries of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government. They are all well publicised functions attended by UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and other leaders,” the official added.

Singh’s predecessor, Vajpayee, served as the Prime Minister for 13 days in 1996 and 2,256 days between the years 1998 and 2004. Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of independent India, leads the list with 6,130 days in the office, and his daughter, Indira Gandhi, stands second with 5,829 days.

29
Nov

NASA plans for future moon missions

Monday, September 19, 2005

NASA has announced plans for sending humans back to the Moon, as a first step to Mars.

A 2018 lunar mission is proposed, where a crew of four would remain on the Moon for as long as a week. A minimum of two lunar missions a year is planned, with astronauts remaining as long as six months.

Some of the technology had previously been proposed for replacement of the Space Shuttle.

  • Astronauts will be launched in a capsule, similar in concept to that used for the Project Apollo but three times larger. The top part of an Exploration Transportation System (ETS), the Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV) will be a capsule attached to a service module which contains supplies, power, and propulsion units. The CEV is designed for use in Earth orbit.
  • On lunar missions, crew or cargo versions of a Lunar Surface Access Module (LSAM) would be used with a CEV. The LSAM will have design concepts related to the Apollo Lunar Module, with a four-legged landing unit carrying an ascent stage.
  • An Earth Departure Stage (EDS), a powerful propulsion unit, will be used to move CEV and LSAM units out of Earth orbit, such as on lunar missions.
  • Heavy Launcher unmanned cargo rockets will be used for heavy loads of equipment.
  • The launch rockets, Shuttle Derived Launch Vehicles, will use engines developed for the Shuttle program.
    • CEV will be launched atop a Crew Launch Vehicle (CLV), a single solid fuel booster with a second stage using a shuttle main engine. The CLV can carry a payload of 25 metric tons into low Earth orbit.
    • The heavy-lift system uses a pair of longer solid rocket boosters and five shuttle main engines to put up to 125 metric tons in orbit — about one and a half times the weight of a shuttle orbiter.
  • The use of a Launch Escape System (LES) will improve safety. A LES is a top-mounted rocket that can quickly remove the crew capsule away from an exploding or otherwise dangerous rocket.

For a lunar mission, the LSAM and EDS would be placed in orbit by a cargo launcher, then a CEV would dock with the assembly before leaving Earth orbit.

The goal is to begin production of the new spacecraft by 2011.

  • Robotic missions will be sent, probably the first one in 2008.
  • Past experience with lunar dust is being used in designing equipment and spacesuits which may encounter it.
  • Surface mobility with open and pressurized rovers for use in such missions is also being developed.
  • The CEV can be reused up to ten times.
  • Crew capsule, upon return to Earth, will set down on dry land. It can also land on water.
  • The CEV and lunar lander ascent stage use methane as fuel, as methane may be available on Mars.
  • Eventually the designs could be expanded to support six astronauts for a trip to Mars.

The plans are a means to implement President Bush’s “Vision for Space Exploration” program. Goals include:

  • Implement a sustained and affordable human and robotic program to explore the solar system and beyond;
  • Extend human presence across the solar system, starting with a human return to the Moon by the year 2020, in preparation for human exploration of Mars and other destinations;
  • Develop the innovative technologies, knowledge, and infrastructures both to explore and to support decisions about the destinations for human exploration; and
  • Promote international and commercial participation in exploration to further U.S. scientific, security, and economic interests.
28
Nov

NTSB releases updates on status of 3 major US investigations

Sunday, June 17, 2007

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the agency responsible for investigating transportation accidents in the United States, released updates on three major investigations on June 14.

The NTSB, well known publicly for its involvement in the investigation of aviation incidents which involve harm or loss of human life, is also an agency that oversees the transportation of refined petroleum and gas products, chemicals and minerals.

The agency determined the cause of a natural gas pipeline explosion that killed six. It also detailed the cause of an accidental release of 204,000 gallons of anhydrous ammonia from a pipeline in an environmentally sensitive area, and released preliminary information involving two commercial aircraft coming within 30-50 feet of each other on a runway.

In the gas explosion disaster, the towing vessel Miss Megan, which was of specifications that did not require inspection by the United States Coast Guard, was being operated in the West Cote Blanche Bay oil field in Louisiana by Central Boat Rentals on behalf of Athena Construction on October 12, 2006. The Miss Megan was pushing barge IBR 234, which was tied along the starboard side of barge Athena 106, en route to a pile-driving location. Athena Construction did not require its crews to pin mooring spuds (vertical steel shafts extending through wells in the bottom of the boat and used for mooring) securely in place on its barges and consequently this had not been done. During the journey, the aft spud on the Athena 106 released from its fully raised position. The spud dropped into the water and struck a submerged, high-pressure natural gas pipeline. The resulting gas released ignited and created a fireball that engulfed the towing vessel and both barges. The master of the towing vessel and four barge workers were killed. The Miss Megan deckhand and one barge worker survived. One barge worker is officially listed as missing.

The NTSB blames Athena Construction for the disaster, citing in the final report that Athena Construction’s manual contained no procedures mandating the use of the safety devices on the spud winch except during electrical work. It was found that if the Athena 106 crew had used the steel pins to secure the retracted spuds during their transit, a pin would have prevented the aft spud from accidentally deploying. Furthermore, the spud would have remained locked in its lifted position regardless of whether the winch brake mechanism, the spud’s supporting cable, or a piece of connecting hardware had failed.

The NTSB also found that contributing to the accident was the failure of Central Boat Rentals to require, and the Miss Megan master to ensure, that the barge spuds were securely pinned before getting under way. The Board noted that investigators found no evidence that the Miss Megan master or deckhand checked whether the spuds had been properly secured before the tow began. While Central Boat Rentals had a health and safety manual and trained its crews, the written procedures did not specifically warn masters about the need to secure spuds or other barge equipment before navigating. The NTSB stated that the company’s crew should have been trained to identify potential safety hazards on vessels under their control.

NTSB Chairman Mark Rosenker said of the investigation’s results, “Having more rigorous requirements in place could have prevented this accident from occurring. Not only do these regulations need to be put in place but it is imperative that they are enforced and adhered to.”

The NTSB has made a number of safety recommendations as a result of this accident and the subsequent investigation. Recommendations were made to Athena Construction and Central Boat Rentals to develop procedures and train the employees of its barges to use the securing pins to hold spuds safely in place before transiting from one site to another.

The most major of the other recommendations are:

To the Occupational Safety and Health Administration:

  • Direct the Maritime Advisory Committee for Occupational Safety and Health to issue the following documents document to the maritime industry: (1) a fact sheet regarding the accident, and (2) a guidance document regarding the need to secure the gear on barges, including spud pins, before the barges are moved, and detailing any changes to your memorandum of understanding with the Coast Guard.

To the U. S. Coast Guard

  • Finalize and implement the new towing vessel inspection regulations and require the establishment of safety management systems appropriate for the characteristics, methods of operation, and nature of service of towing vessels.
  • Review and update your memorandum of understanding with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to specifically address your respective oversight roles on vessels that are not subject to Coast Guard inspection.

The NTSB also released the result of its investigation into an environmental disaster in Kansas on October 27, 2004 in which 204,000 gallons (4,858 barrels) of anhydrous ammonia was spilled from a ruptured pipeline in Kingman into an environmentally sensitive area. Chemicals from the pipeline entered a nearby stream and killed more than 25,000 fish, including some fish from threatened species.

The incident reached the scale that it did due to operator error after the initial rupture. The 8 5/8-inch diameter steel pipeline, which was operated by Enterprise Products Operating L.P., burst at 11:15 a.m. in an agricultural area about 6 miles east of Kingman, Kansas. A drop in pipeline pressure, indicating abnormal conditions or a possible compromise in pipeline integrity, set off alarms displayed on the computerized pipeline monitoring system. Shortly after the first alarm the pipeline controller, in an attempt to remedy the low pressure, increased the flow of anhydrous ammonia into the affected section of pipeline. A total of 33 minutes elapsed between the time when the first alarm indicated a problem with the pipeline and the initiation of a shutdown.

In its initial report to the National Response Center (NRC), the pipeline operator’s accident reporting contractor reported a release of at least 20 gallons of ammonia, telling the NRC that an updated estimate of material released would be reported at a later time. No such report was ever made. Because of the inaccurate report, the arrival of representatives from the Environmental Protection Agency was delayed by a full day, affecting the oversight of the environmental damage mitigation efforts.

The cause of the rupture itself was determined to be a pipe gouge created by heavy equipment damage to the pipeline during construction in 1973 or subsequent excavation activity at an unknown time that initiated metal fatigue cracking and led to the eventual rupture of the pipeline.

“We are very fortunate that such highly toxic chemicals of the size and scope involved in this accident were not released in a populated area,” commented Rosenker. “Had this same quantity of ammonia been released near a town or city, the results could have been catastrophic.”

As a result of this accident, the NTSB made the following safety recommendations:

To the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration:

  • Require that a pipeline operator must have a procedure to calculate and provide a reasonable initial estimate of released product in the telephonic report to the National Response Center.
  • Require that a pipeline operator must provide an additional telephonic report to the National Response Center if significant new information becomes available during the emergency response.
  • Require an operator to revise its pipeline risk assessment plan whenever it has failed to consider one of more risk factors that can affect pipeline integrity.

To Enterprise Products Operating L.P.:

  • Provide initial and recurrent training for all controllers that includes simulator or noncomputerized simulations of abnormal operating conditions that indicate pipeline leaks.

“The severity of this release of dangerous chemicals into the community could have been prevented,” said Rosenker. “The safety recommendations that we have made, if acted upon, will reduce the likelihood of this type of accident happening again.”

As well as concluding their investigation of the above accidents, the NTSB also released preliminary information regarding a serious runway incursion at San Francisco International Airport between two commercial aircraft on May 26, 2007.

At about 1:30 p.m. the tower air traffic controller cleared SkyWest Airlines flight 5741, an Embraer 120 arriving from Modesto, California, to land on runway 28R. Forgetting about the arrival airplane, the same controller then cleared Republic Airlines flight 4912, an Embraer 170 departing for Los Angeles, to take off from runway 1L, which intersects runway 28R.

After the SkyWest airliner touched down, the Airport Movement Area Safety System (AMASS) alerted and the air traffic controller transmitted “Hold, Hold, Hold” to the SkyWest flight crew in an attempt to stop the aircraft short of runway 1L. The SkyWest crew applied maximum braking that resulted in the airplane stopping in the middle of runway 1L. As this was occurring, the captain of Republic Airlines flight 4912 took control of the aircraft from the first officer, realized the aircraft was traveling too fast to stop, and initiated an immediate takeoff. According to the crew of SkyWest 5741, the Republic Airlines aircraft overflew theirs by 30 to 50 feet. The Federal Aviation Administration has categorized the incident as an operational error.

The NTSB sent an investigator to San Francisco, who collected radar data, recorded air traffic control communications, and flight crew statements, and interviewed air traffic control personnel prior to the NTSB making the preliminary release.

28
Nov

Canada’s Etobicoke Centre (Ward 3) city council candidates speak

This exclusive interview features first-hand journalism by a Wikinews reporter. See the collaboration page for more details.

Monday, October 30, 2006

On November 13, Torontoians will be heading to the polls to vote for their ward’s councillor and for mayor. Among Toronto’s ridings is Etobicoke Centre (Ward 3). One candidate responded to Wikinews’ requests for an interview. This ward’s candidates include Doug Holyday (incumbent), Peter Kudryk, Lillian Lança, and Ross Vaughan.

For more information on the election, read Toronto municipal election, 2006.

27
Nov

Porsche and Volkswagen automakers agree to merger

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Porsche and Volkswagen family owners agreed on Wednesday to merge the companies, creating one large “integrated car-manufacturing group”.

“In the final structure, 10 brands shall stand below an integrative leading company alongside each other, whereby the independence of all brands and explicitly also of Porsche shall be ensured,” said the Porsche Automobil Holding SE company.

A task force has been set into place to discuss details of the merger over the next month. This task force embraces managers and representatives from the works council of both companies as well as the state of Lower Saxony.

Porsche based in Stuttgart, Germany was previously controlled by the Porsche and Piëch families voting stock.

Porsche had previously tried to raise its 51% shares in Volkswagen to 75% in a take-over bid. A special German law grants Lower Saxony enough power to veto decisions with its 20% share in the VW company.

“I’m certain that we can and will advance our partnership in the difficult current year 2009, [and] have the stuff to develop the powerhouse of the international automobile industry” said Martin Winterkorn chairman of the Volkswagen Group (Volkswagen AG) and Scania AB.

The merger would help Porsche with its €9 billion debt which it incurred partially due to the ailing economy as well as its attempt at a takeover bid.