Archive for January, 2019

31
Jan

US Federal Reserve ceases to publish M3 index

Thursday, April 27, 2006

  • M0: Is total of all physical currency, plus accounts at the central bank which can be exchanged for physical currency.
  • M1: Is the M0 as well as the amount in demand accounts (“checking” or “current” accounts).
  • M2: Is the M1 as well as most savings accounts, money market accounts, and certificate of deposit accounts (CDs) of under $100,000.
  • M3: Is the M2 as well as all other CDs, deposits of eurodollars and repurchase agreements.

? from Wikipedia, The Free EncyclopediaMoney Supply

On March 23, 2006 the Federal Reserve ceased publication of the M3 monetary aggregate, in line with an announcement it made in November, 2005. The M3 is a measure of money supply in the United States,

The M3 is most general of the many measures of money supply, the quantity of money available within the economy for purchasing goods, services, and securities. The money supply is monitored and adjusted by a central bank, to keep inflation in check, because money supply has to change in tune with real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to prevent inflation (or deflation).

In November last year, the US Federal Reserve announced that it would cease publishing M3 data, saying, “[the] M3 does not appear to convey any additional information about economic activity that is not already embodied in M2 and has not played a role in the monetary policy process for many years”, adding that the costs of collecting the data required for the index outweighed its benefits.

Some commentators have questioned this decision and have speculated that this would allow the Federal reserve to covertly fund the US budget deficit and its negative balance of trade or hide the fall in international demand for the US dollar. In March, 2006, Rep. Ron Paul introduced a bill (HR 4892) requiring the Federal Reserve to reverse its decision.

Wikipedia has more about this subject:

31
Jan

U.K. National Portrait Gallery threatens U.S. citizen with legal action over Wikimedia images

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

This article mentions the Wikimedia Foundation, one of its projects, or people related to it. Wikinews is a project of the Wikimedia Foundation.

The English National Portrait Gallery (NPG) in London has threatened on Friday to sue a U.S. citizen, Derrick Coetzee. The legal letter followed claims that he had breached the Gallery’s copyright in several thousand photographs of works of art uploaded to the Wikimedia Commons, a free online media repository.

In a letter from their solicitors sent to Coetzee via electronic mail, the NPG asserted that it holds copyright in the photographs under U.K. law, and demanded that Coetzee provide various undertakings and remove all of the images from the site (referred to in the letter as “the Wikipedia website”).

Wikimedia Commons is a repository of free-to-use media, run by a community of volunteers from around the world, and is a sister project to Wikinews and the encyclopedia Wikipedia. Coetzee, who contributes to the Commons using the account “Dcoetzee”, had uploaded images that are free for public use under United States law, where he and the website are based. However copyright is claimed to exist in the country where the gallery is situated.

The complaint by the NPG is that under UK law, its copyright in the photographs of its portraits is being violated. While the gallery has complained to the Wikimedia Foundation for a number of years, this is the first direct threat of legal action made against an actual uploader of images. In addition to the allegation that Coetzee had violated the NPG’s copyright, they also allege that Coetzee had, by uploading thousands of images in bulk, infringed the NPG’s database right, breached a contract with the NPG; and circumvented a copyright protection mechanism on the NPG’s web site.

The copyright protection mechanism referred to is Zoomify, a product of Zoomify, Inc. of Santa Cruz, California. NPG’s solicitors stated in their letter that “Our client used the Zoomify technology to protect our client’s copyright in the high resolution images.”. Zoomify Inc. states in the Zoomify support documentation that its product is intended to make copying of images “more difficult” by breaking the image into smaller pieces and disabling the option within many web browsers to click and save images, but that they “provide Zoomify as a viewing solution and not an image security system”.

In particular, Zoomify’s website comments that while “many customers — famous museums for example” use Zoomify, in their experience a “general consensus” seems to exist that most museums are concerned with making the images in their galleries accessible to the public, rather than preventing the public from accessing them or making copies; they observe that a desire to prevent high resolution images being distributed would also imply prohibiting the sale of any posters or production of high quality printed material that could be scanned and placed online.

Other actions in the past have come directly from the NPG, rather than via solicitors. For example, several edits have been made directly to the English-language Wikipedia from the IP address 217.207.85.50, one of sixteen such IP addresses assigned to computers at the NPG by its ISP, Easynet.

In the period from August 2005 to July 2006 an individual within the NPG using that IP address acted to remove the use of several Wikimedia Commons pictures from articles in Wikipedia, including removing an image of the Chandos portrait, which the NPG has had in its possession since 1856, from Wikipedia’s biographical article on William Shakespeare.

Other actions included adding notices to the pages for images, and to the text of several articles using those images, such as the following edit to Wikipedia’s article on Catherine of Braganza and to its page for the Wikipedia Commons image of Branwell Brontë‘s portrait of his sisters:

“THIS IMAGE IS BEING USED WITHOUT PERMISSION FROM THE COPYRIGHT HOLDER.”
“This image is copyright material and must not be reproduced in any way without permission of the copyright holder. Under current UK copyright law, there is copyright in skilfully executed photographs of ex-copyright works, such as this painting of Catherine de Braganza.
The original painting belongs to the National Portrait Gallery, London. For copies, and permission to reproduce the image, please contact the Gallery at picturelibrary@npg.org.uk or via our website at www.npg.org.uk”

Other, later, edits, made on the day that NPG’s solicitors contacted Coetzee and drawn to the NPG’s attention by Wikinews, are currently the subject of an internal investigation within the NPG.

Coetzee published the contents of the letter on Saturday July 11, the letter itself being dated the previous day. It had been sent electronically to an email address associated with his Wikimedia Commons user account. The NPG’s solicitors had mailed the letter from an account in the name “Amisquitta”. This account was blocked shortly after by a user with access to the user blocking tool, citing a long standing Wikipedia policy that the making of legal threats and creation of a hostile environment is generally inconsistent with editing access and is an inappropriate means of resolving user disputes.

The policy, initially created on Commons’ sister website in June 2004, is also intended to protect all parties involved in a legal dispute, by ensuring that their legal communications go through proper channels, and not through a wiki that is open to editing by other members of the public. It was originally formulated primarily to address legal action for libel. In October 2004 it was noted that there was “no consensus” whether legal threats related to copyright infringement would be covered but by the end of 2006 the policy had reached a consensus that such threats (as opposed to polite complaints) were not compatible with editing access while a legal matter was unresolved. Commons’ own website states that “[accounts] used primarily to create a hostile environment for another user may be blocked”.

In a further response, Gregory Maxwell, a volunteer administrator on Wikimedia Commons, made a formal request to the editorial community that Coetzee’s access to administrator tools on Commons should be revoked due to the prevailing circumstances. Maxwell noted that Coetzee “[did] not have the technically ability to permanently delete images”, but stated that Coetzee’s potential legal situation created a conflict of interest.

Sixteen minutes after Maxwell’s request, Coetzee’s “administrator” privileges were removed by a user in response to the request. Coetzee retains “administrator” privileges on the English-language Wikipedia, since none of the images exist on Wikipedia’s own website and therefore no conflict of interest exists on that site.

Legally, the central issue upon which the case depends is that copyright laws vary between countries. Under United States case law, where both the website and Coetzee are located, a photograph of a non-copyrighted two-dimensional picture (such as a very old portrait) is not capable of being copyrighted, and it may be freely distributed and used by anyone. Under UK law that point has not yet been decided, and the Gallery’s solicitors state that such photographs could potentially be subject to copyright in that country.

One major legal point upon which a case would hinge, should the NPG proceed to court, is a question of originality. The U.K.’s Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 defines in ¶ 1(a) that copyright is a right that subsists in “original literary, dramatic, musical or artistic works” (emphasis added). The legal concept of originality here involves the simple origination of a work from an author, and does not include the notions of novelty or innovation that is often associated with the non-legal meaning of the word.

Whether an exact photographic reproduction of a work is an original work will be a point at issue. The NPG asserts that an exact photographic reproduction of a copyrighted work in another medium constitutes an original work, and this would be the basis for its action against Coetzee. This view has some support in U.K. case law. The decision of Walter v Lane held that exact transcriptions of speeches by journalists, in shorthand on reporter’s notepads, were original works, and thus copyrightable in themselves. The opinion by Hugh Laddie, Justice Laddie, in his book The Modern Law of Copyright, points out that photographs lie on a continuum, and that photographs can be simple copies, derivative works, or original works:

“[…] it is submitted that a person who makes a photograph merely by placing a drawing or painting on the glass of a photocopying machine and pressing the button gets no copyright at all; but he might get a copyright if he employed skill and labour in assembling the thing to be photocopied, as where he made a montage.”

Various aspects of this continuum have already been explored in the courts. Justice Neuberger, in the decision at Antiquesportfolio.com v Rodney Fitch & Co. held that a photograph of a three-dimensional object would be copyrightable if some exercise of judgement of the photographer in matters of angle, lighting, film speed, and focus were involved. That exercise would create an original work. Justice Oliver similarly held, in Interlego v Tyco Industries, that “[i]t takes great skill, judgement and labour to produce a good copy by painting or to produce an enlarged photograph from a positive print, but no-one would reasonably contend that the copy, painting, or enlargement was an ‘original’ artistic work in which the copier is entitled to claim copyright. Skill, labour or judgement merely in the process of copying cannot confer originality.”.

In 2000 the Museums Copyright Group, a copyright lobbying group, commissioned a report and legal opinion on the implications of the Bridgeman case for the UK, which stated:

“Revenue raised from reproduction fees and licensing is vital to museums to support their primary educational and curatorial objectives. Museums also rely on copyright in photographs of works of art to protect their collections from inaccurate reproduction and captioning… as a matter of principle, a photograph of an artistic work can qualify for copyright protection in English law”. The report concluded by advocating that “museums must continue to lobby” to protect their interests, to prevent inferior quality images of their collections being distributed, and “not least to protect a vital source of income”.

Several people and organizations in the U.K. have been awaiting a test case that directly addresses the issue of copyrightability of exact photographic reproductions of works in other media. The commonly cited legal case Bridgeman Art Library v. Corel Corp. found that there is no originality where the aim and the result is a faithful and exact reproduction of the original work. The case was heard twice in New York, once applying UK law and once applying US law. It cited the prior UK case of Interlego v Tyco Industries (1988) in which Lord Oliver stated that “Skill, labour or judgement merely in the process of copying cannot confer originality.”

“What is important about a drawing is what is visually significant and the re-drawing of an existing drawing […] does not make it an original artistic work, however much labour and skill may have gone into the process of reproduction […]”

The Interlego judgement had itself drawn upon another UK case two years earlier, Coca-Cola Go’s Applications, in which the House of Lords drew attention to the “undesirability” of plaintiffs seeking to expand intellectual property law beyond the purpose of its creation in order to create an “undeserving monopoly”. It commented on this, that “To accord an independent artistic copyright to every such reproduction would be to enable the period of artistic copyright in what is, essentially, the same work to be extended indefinitely… ”

The Bridgeman case concluded that whether under UK or US law, such reproductions of copyright-expired material were not capable of being copyrighted.

The unsuccessful plaintiff, Bridgeman Art Library, stated in 2006 in written evidence to the House of Commons Committee on Culture, Media and Sport that it was “looking for a similar test case in the U.K. or Europe to fight which would strengthen our position”.

The National Portrait Gallery is a non-departmental public body based in London England and sponsored by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. Founded in 1856, it houses a collection of portraits of historically important and famous British people. The gallery contains more than 11,000 portraits and 7,000 light-sensitive works in its Primary Collection, 320,000 in the Reference Collection, over 200,000 pictures and negatives in the Photographs Collection and a library of around 35,000 books and manuscripts. (More on the National Portrait Gallery here)

The gallery’s solicitors are Farrer & Co LLP, of London. Farrer’s clients have notably included the British Royal Family, in a case related to extracts from letters sent by Diana, Princess of Wales which were published in a book by ex-butler Paul Burrell. (In that case, the claim was deemed unlikely to succeed, as the extracts were not likely to be in breach of copyright law.)

Farrer & Co have close ties with industry interest groups related to copyright law. Peter Wienand, Head of Intellectual Property at Farrer & Co., is a member of the Executive body of the Museums Copyright Group, which is chaired by Tom Morgan, Head of Rights and Reproductions at the National Portrait Gallery. The Museums Copyright Group acts as a lobbying organization for “the interests and activities of museums and galleries in the area of [intellectual property rights]”, which reacted strongly against the Bridgeman Art Library v. Corel Corp. case.

Wikimedia Commons is a repository of images, media, and other material free for use by anyone in the world. It is operated by a community of 21,000 active volunteers, with specialist rights such as deletion and blocking restricted to around 270 experienced users in the community (known as “administrators”) who are trusted by the community to use them to enact the wishes and policies of the community. Commons is hosted by the Wikimedia Foundation, a charitable body whose mission is to make available free knowledge and historic and other material which is legally distributable under US law. (More on Commons here)

The legal threat also sparked discussions of moral issues and issues of public policy in several Internet discussion fora, including Slashdot, over the weekend. One major public policy issue relates to how the public domain should be preserved.

Some of the public policy debate over the weekend has echoed earlier opinions presented by Kenneth Hamma, the executive director for Digital Policy at the J. Paul Getty Trust. Writing in D-Lib Magazine in November 2005, Hamma observed:

“Art museums and many other collecting institutions in this country hold a trove of public-domain works of art. These are works whose age precludes continued protection under copyright law. The works are the result of and evidence for human creativity over thousands of years, an activity museums celebrate by their very existence. For reasons that seem too frequently unexamined, many museums erect barriers that contribute to keeping quality images of public domain works out of the hands of the general public, of educators, and of the general milieu of creativity. In restricting access, art museums effectively take a stand against the creativity they otherwise celebrate. This conflict arises as a result of the widely accepted practice of asserting rights in the images that the museums make of the public domain works of art in their collections.”

He also stated:

“This resistance to free and unfettered access may well result from a seemingly well-grounded concern: many museums assume that an important part of their core business is the acquisition and management of rights in art works to maximum return on investment. That might be true in the case of the recording industry, but it should not be true for nonprofit institutions holding public domain art works; it is not even their secondary business. Indeed, restricting access seems all the more inappropriate when measured against a museum’s mission — a responsibility to provide public access. Their charitable, financial, and tax-exempt status demands such. The assertion of rights in public domain works of art — images that at their best closely replicate the values of the original work — differs in almost every way from the rights managed by the recording industry. Because museums and other similar collecting institutions are part of the private nonprofit sector, the obligation to treat assets as held in public trust should replace the for-profit goal. To do otherwise, undermines the very nature of what such institutions were created to do.”

Hamma observed in 2005 that “[w]hile examples of museums chasing down digital image miscreants are rare to non-existent, the expectation that museums might do so has had a stultifying effect on the development of digital image libraries for teaching and research.”

The NPG, which has been taking action with respect to these images since at least 2005, is a public body. It was established by Act of Parliament, the current Act being the Museums and Galleries Act 1992. In that Act, the NPG Board of Trustees is charged with maintaining “a collection of portraits of the most eminent persons in British history, of other works of art relevant to portraiture and of documents relating to those portraits and other works of art”. It also has the tasks of “secur[ing] that the portraits are exhibited to the public” and “generally promot[ing] the public’s enjoyment and understanding of portraiture of British persons and British history through portraiture both by means of the Board’s collection and by such other means as they consider appropriate”.

Several commentators have questioned how the NPG’s statutory goals align with its threat of legal action. Mike Masnick, founder of Techdirt, asked “The people who run the Gallery should be ashamed of themselves. They ought to go back and read their own mission statement[. …] How, exactly, does suing someone for getting those portraits more attention achieve that goal?” (external link Masnick’s). L. Sutherland of Bigmouthmedia asked “As the paintings of the NPG technically belong to the nation, does that mean that they should also belong to anyone that has access to a computer?”

Other public policy debates that have been sparked have included the applicability of U.K. courts, and U.K. law, to the actions of a U.S. citizen, residing in the U.S., uploading files to servers hosted in the U.S.. Two major schools of thought have emerged. Both see the issue as encroachment of one legal system upon another. But they differ as to which system is encroaching. One view is that the free culture movement is attempting to impose the values and laws of the U.S. legal system, including its case law such as Bridgeman Art Library v. Corel Corp., upon the rest of the world. Another view is that a U.K. institution is attempting to control, through legal action, the actions of a U.S. citizen on U.S. soil.

David Gerard, former Press Officer for Wikimedia UK, the U.K. chapter of the Wikimedia Foundation, which has been involved with the “Wikipedia Loves Art” contest to create free content photographs of exhibits at the Victoria and Albert Museum, stated on Slashdot that “The NPG actually acknowledges in their letter that the poster’s actions were entirely legal in America, and that they’re making a threat just because they think they can. The Wikimedia community and the WMF are absolutely on the side of these public domain images remaining in the public domain. The NPG will be getting radioactive publicity from this. Imagine the NPG being known to American tourists as somewhere that sues Americans just because it thinks it can.”

Benjamin Crowell, a physics teacher at Fullerton College in California, stated that he had received a letter from the Copyright Officer at the NPG in 2004, with respect to the picture of the portrait of Isaac Newton used in his physics textbooks, that he publishes in the U.S. under a free content copyright licence, to which he had replied with a pointer to Bridgeman Art Library v. Corel Corp..

The Wikimedia Foundation takes a similar stance. Erik Möller, the Deputy Director of the US-based Wikimedia Foundation wrote in 2008 that “we’ve consistently held that faithful reproductions of two-dimensional public domain works which are nothing more than reproductions should be considered public domain for licensing purposes”.

Contacted over the weekend, the NPG issued a statement to Wikinews:

“The National Portrait Gallery is very strongly committed to giving access to its Collection. In the past five years the Gallery has spent around £1 million digitising its Collection to make it widely available for study and enjoyment. We have so far made available on our website more than 60,000 digital images, which have attracted millions of users, and we believe this extensive programme is of great public benefit.
“The Gallery supports Wikipedia in its aim of making knowledge widely available and we would be happy for the site to use our low-resolution images, sufficient for most forms of public access, subject to safeguards. However, in March 2009 over 3000 high-resolution files were appropriated from the National Portrait Gallery website and published on Wikipedia without permission.
“The Gallery is very concerned that potential loss of licensing income from the high-resolution files threatens its ability to reinvest in its digitisation programme and so make further images available. It is one of the Gallery’s primary purposes to make as much of the Collection available as possible for the public to view.
“Digitisation involves huge costs including research, cataloguing, conservation and highly-skilled photography. Images then need to be made available on the Gallery website as part of a structured and authoritative database. To date, Wikipedia has not responded to our requests to discuss the issue and so the National Portrait Gallery has been obliged to issue a lawyer’s letter. The Gallery remains willing to enter into a dialogue with Wikipedia.

In fact, Matthew Bailey, the Gallery’s (then) Assistant Picture Library Manager, had already once been in a similar dialogue. Ryan Kaldari, an amateur photographer from Nashville, Tennessee, who also volunteers at the Wikimedia Commons, states that he was in correspondence with Bailey in October 2006. In that correspondence, according to Kaldari, he and Bailey failed to conclude any arrangement.

Jay Walsh, the Head of Communications for the Wikimedia Foundation, which hosts the Commons, called the gallery’s actions “unfortunate” in the Foundation’s statement, issued on Tuesday July 14:

“The mission of the Wikimedia Foundation is to empower and engage people around the world to collect and develop educational content under a free license or in the public domain, and to disseminate it effectively and globally. To that end, we have very productive working relationships with a number of galleries, archives, museums and libraries around the world, who join with us to make their educational materials available to the public.
“The Wikimedia Foundation does not control user behavior, nor have we reviewed every action taken by that user. Nonetheless, it is our general understanding that the user in question has behaved in accordance with our mission, with the general goal of making public domain materials available via our Wikimedia Commons project, and in accordance with applicable law.”

The Foundation added in its statement that as far as it was aware, the NPG had not attempted “constructive dialogue”, and that the volunteer community was presently discussing the matter independently.

In part, the lack of past agreement may have been because of a misunderstanding by the National Portrait Gallery of Commons and Wikipedia’s free content mandate; and of the differences between Wikipedia, the Wikimedia Foundation, the Wikimedia Commons, and the individual volunteer workers who participate on the various projects supported by the Foundation.

Like Coetzee, Ryan Kaldari is a volunteer worker who does not represent Wikipedia or the Wikimedia Commons. (Such representation is impossible. Both Wikipedia and the Commons are endeavours supported by the Wikimedia Foundation, and not organizations in themselves.) Nor, again like Coetzee, does he represent the Wikimedia Foundation.

Kaldari states that he explained the free content mandate to Bailey. Bailey had, according to copies of his messages provided by Kaldari, offered content to Wikipedia (naming as an example the photograph of John Opie‘s 1797 portrait of Mary Wollstonecraft, whose copyright term has since expired) but on condition that it not be free content, but would be subject to restrictions on its distribution that would have made it impossible to use by any of the many organizations that make use of Wikipedia articles and the Commons repository, in the way that their site-wide “usable by anyone” licences ensures.

The proposed restrictions would have also made it impossible to host the images on Wikimedia Commons. The image of the National Portrait Gallery in this article, above, is one such free content image; it was provided and uploaded to the Wikimedia Commons under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation Licence, and is thus able to be used and republished not only on Wikipedia but also on Wikinews, on other Wikimedia Foundation projects, as well as by anyone in the world, subject to the terms of the GFDL, a license that guarantees attribution is provided to the creators of the image.

As Commons has grown, many other organizations have come to different arrangements with volunteers who work at the Wikimedia Commons and at Wikipedia. For example, in February 2009, fifteen international museums including the Brooklyn Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum established a month-long competition where users were invited to visit in small teams and take high quality photographs of their non-copyright paintings and other exhibits, for upload to Wikimedia Commons and similar websites (with restrictions as to equipment, required in order to conserve the exhibits), as part of the “Wikipedia Loves Art” contest.

Approached for comment by Wikinews, Jim Killock, the executive director of the Open Rights Group, said “It’s pretty clear that these images themselves should be in the public domain. There is a clear public interest in making sure paintings and other works are usable by anyone once their term of copyright expires. This is what US courts have recognised, whatever the situation in UK law.”

The Digital Britain report, issued by the U.K.’s Department for Culture, Media, and Sport in June 2009, stated that “Public cultural institutions like Tate, the Royal Opera House, the RSC, the Film Council and many other museums, libraries, archives and galleries around the country now reach a wider public online.” Culture minster Ben Bradshaw was also approached by Wikinews for comment on the public policy issues surrounding the on-line availability of works in the public domain held in galleries, re-raised by the NPG’s threat of legal action, but had not responded by publication time.

31
Jan

Investigation into US Airways river ditching in New York completed

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The United States National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has completed its investigation into the ditching of US Airways Flight 1549 into New York’s Hudson River. The fifteen-month probe began after the Airbus A320 performed a water landing when bird strikes damaged both engines in a move dubbed the “Miracle on the Hudson” by the media. Nobody was killed.

The NTSB’s final report, adopted after a board meeting today, concluded that a combination of safety equipment better than the mandatory minimums and good reactions by the crew were the main reasons the 150 passengers and five crew survived. The board stated that the aircraft’s equipment met the standards required for “extended overwater operations”, equipment that was not needed for the January 2009 flight.

The aircraft was equiped with escape slides that doubled as water rafts at the front and aft emergency exits, but the aft ones were rendered unavailable. Airbus assumed when designing the aircraft that only one engine would be inoperative during an emergency ditching, and current emergency checklists assume plenty of prior warning for dual-engine failure since the aircraft would be at a high altitude. The A320 was at just 2,700 feet when the incident occurred, having just taken off when it collided with a flock of Canada geese, almost completely removing the engines’ ability to generate thrust.

The final report has blamed a number of factors for extensive fuselage damage caused in the impact, which cracked a rear bulkhead and caused the aircraft to flood, as well as taking the rear slides out of action. The board said standards aircraft should meet in ditchings – set by the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) – were inadequate, training in industry was not sufficient for ditchings and the high level of tasks the crew had to focus on made it difficult for the pilot to maintain his airspeed. The pilot’s decision to ditch was credited as being the best possible solution to the emergency.

The NTSB noted that while the rear rafts failed, 64 people climbed into the forward rafts, and said many of these people would have been immersed in the frigid river. The board claimed that this could induce “cold shock”, which can lead to drowning within minutes.

The report found that the good visibility, calm water, nearby ferries which provided rescues within twenty minutes and good cockpit resource management, allowing the crew to maintain control, were further factors that contributed to the survival of those on board. However, it also found that “more creative and effective methods of conveying safety information to passengers” are required after learning that most passengers had not paid attention to the in-flight safety announcement. It also noted that many passengers had difficulty putting on the life vests supplied under the seats.

The report further stated that the accident was hard to predict due to the fact that bird strikes tend to occur much lower, usually below 500 feet. It considered the possibilities of fitting engine screens or redesigning engines to mitigate bird strike risk, but these proposals were rejected after consideration since they were deemed unfeasable.

NTSB Chairman Deborah A.P. Hersman described the circumstances as “a great example of the professionalism of the crewmembers, air traffic controllers and emergency responders who all played a role in preserving the safety of everyone aboard.” She further discussed the safety recommendations the report will contain when it is released. “I believe the safety recommendations that have come out of this investigation have an extraordinary origin – a very serious accident in which everyone survived. Even in an accident where everyone survives, there are lessons learned and areas that could use improvement. Our report today takes these lessons learned so that, if our recommendations are implemented, every passenger and crewmember may have the opportunity to benefit from the advances in safety.” A total of 35 recommendations have been made seeking improved checklists for emergencies, better certification standards for aircraft and their engines, advances in crew training, better safety equipment and improved safety briefings to passengers.

One result of these findings is that the board will likely ask the FAA to require emergency equipment for water landings on all commercial aircraft. The FAA has until now held that such a move would place a disproportionately high cost on airlines.

31
Jan

Category:Music

This is the category for music. See also the Music Portal.

Refresh this list to see the latest articles.

  • 9 September 2018: US rapper Mac Miller dies at home in Los Angeles
  • 18 August 2018: Singer Aretha Franklin, ‘queen of soul’, dies aged 76
  • 15 May 2018: Netta wins Eurovision Song Contest for Israel
  • 28 March 2018: K-pop band 100%’s lead singer Seo Minwoo dies
  • 9 February 2018: Poet, lyricist, and digital activist John Perry Barlow dies, aged 70
  • 18 January 2018: Irish rock band The Cranberries’ lead singer Dolores O’Riordan dies at 46
  • 13 December 2017: Apple, Inc. confirms acquisition of Shazam
  • 24 October 2017: Five United States ex-presidents raise relief funds at hurricane event
  • 5 October 2017: US rock artist Tom Petty dies at 66
  • 30 July 2017: British dancer and talent show winner Robert Anker dies in car accident aged 27
?Category:Music

You can also browse through all articles in this category alphabetically.

From Wikinews, the free news source you can write.


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30
Jan

Cars big winner as 34th Annual Annie Awards handed out

Monday, February 12, 2007

Cars drove home the big prize last night, from the 34th Annual Annie Awards. The animation industry’s highest honor, ASIFA-Hollywood’s Annies recognise contributions to animation, writing, directing, storyboarding, voice acting, composing, and much more.

As mentioned, Pixar took home the big prize last night, after facing stiff competition from four other Happy Feet, Monster House, Open Season, and Over the Hedge.

But the biggest winner of the night didn’t get a “Best Animated Feature” nod at all. Flushed Away won five feature animation categories including Animated Effects (Scott Cegielski), Character Animation (Gabe Hordos), Production Design (Pierre-Olivier Vincent), Voice Acting (Sir Ian McKellan as Toad), Writing (Dick Clement, Ian La Frenais, Chris Lloyd, Joe Keenan, and Will Davies).

Over The Hedge won awards for Directing (Tim Johnson and Karey Kirkpatrick), Storyboarding (Gary Graham), and Character Design (Nicolas Marlet).

Of little surprise, Randy Newman won an Annie for Cars in the “Music in an Animated Feature Production” category. Newman has won many Oscars for his movie music, and has a nomination this year for the song “Our Town”. Newman didn’t attend the Annies, instead picking up a Grammy for “Best Song Written For Motion Picture, Television Or Other Visual Media”.

DisneyToon Studios’ Bambi II won “Best Home Entertainment Production”, while “Best Animated Short Subject” went to Blue Sky Studios’ No Time For Nuts, which is based on Ice Age.

“Best Animated Video Game” went to Flushed Away The Game, while a United Airlines ad named “Dragon” won a “Best Animated Television Commercial” Annie for DUCK Studios.

Contents

  • 1 Foster an Annie fav on TV
  • 2 Wikinews was there
  • 3 Related news
  • 4 Sources
29
Jan

Russia agrees to construct Turkish nuclear reactor

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Russian and Turkish governments today signed an agreement that would lead to Russia building a US$20 billion nuclear power plant in Turkey, the country’s first.

The plant will be built on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, and construction will commence as soon as the deal is approved by both countries; the building process is expected to take around seven years. The reactor will also be owned by Russia, which will hold “no less than a controlling stake,” according to Sergey Kiriyenko, who is the head of Rosatom, a Russian nuclear energy corporation.

The reactor to be built is the second proposed power plant in the same location; a separate proposal for a four-reactor complex built by a Russian-led consortium was rejected by a Turkish court last year. Russia has attempted to build a nuclear power plant in Turkey, and the contract signed Wednesday “really looks rather impressive,” according to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.

The contract for the reactor was one of 20 signed by the two countries today, expected to result in around US$25 billion of Russian investment in Turkey. Other major contracts signed include projects to transport Russian oil and natural gas through Turkey to ports on the Mediterranean Sea. One such project is a major pipeline between the Turkish ports of Samsun on the Black Sea and Ceyhan on the Mediterranean Sea, built in conjunction with an oil refinery in Ceyhan.

In a press conference, Russian President Medvedev said that the agreements signal “a new page in our cooperation…Our talks today showed that Turkey and Russia are strategic partners not only in words but in deeds.” Turkish President Abdullah Gul said that the two countries “share a determination to increase the trade volume from a current US$38 billion to US$100 billion in five years.”

23
Jan

South African apartheid assassin Eugene de Kock granted parole

Saturday, January 31, 2015

South African Justice Minister Michael Masutha yesterday announced he is granting parole to Eugene de Kock, an apartheid-era assassin who has spent twenty years in prison.

After South Africa’s first democratic elections in 1994 de Kock was arrested and subsequently detailed his actions to the nation’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). As head of a police ‘counter-insurgency’ unit de Kock took responsibility for murdering and torturing dissidents opposed to white-only rule. His methods included bombings, shootings, and stabbings and he operated internationally and at home. His revelations earned him the nickname “Prime Evil”.

The TRC granted de Kock immunity for most crimes in exchange for his testimony. He was charged with remaining offences, not covered due to limits in TRC power, and in 1996 jailed for life for six murders. Additional convictions include kidnap and attempted murder. He received an additional 212-year term for those crimes. The TRC could only grant immunity where the offence was a human rights violation and the offender gave a full confession.

During his TRC testimony de Kock accused police commanders of ordering murders including those of African National Council (ANC) members. In a 2007 prison interview he said FW de Klerk, the last white President, had hands “soaked in blood”. De Klerk denies de Kock’s allegations he ordered individual murders.

It’s mixed feelings, which is something we’ve gotten used to as South Africans

In the early nineties de Kock teamed up with anti-ANC party Inkatha to arrange violence within black communities. Internal conflict killed 12,000 in the wake of future President Nelson Mandela’s release. Mandela wrote of fearing “a hidden hand behind the violence[…] attempting to disrupt the negotiations”, by orchestrating the clashes in Natal and Transvaal. He was referring to upcoming elections and a transfer of power away from white rule and apartheid.

Masutha said de Kock was being released “in the interest of reconciliation and nation building”. The date, location, and terms are to remain secret.

Reaction from his victims is varied.

Murder victim Glenack Mama’s widow Sandra welcomed the release. She said to a BBC reporter “I think it will actually close a chapter in our history because we’ve come a long way and I think his release will just once again help with the reconciliation process because there’s still a lot of things that we need to do as a country”. She said “He got the instructions from the top and they [more senior officials] got away with it[…] they’re amongst us today and one man is taking the fall”.

I pray that those whom he hurt, those from whom he took loved ones, will find the power within them to forgive him

Eddie Makue said to The Associated Press the release stirred up “mixed feelings, which is something we’ve gotten used to as South Africans”. He was a South African Council of Churches employee in 1988 when de Kock bombed their headquarters. Jane Quin said she was “terribly disappointed” and he should never be released. Her sister Jacqui Quin was murdered in Lesotho in 1985 by de Kock.

TRC chairman Archbishop Desmond Tutu said “I pray that those whom he hurt, those from whom he took loved ones, will find the power within them to forgive him.” He said the release would not be universally welcome but is nonetheless “to our collective credit, as people and as a nation.” Tutu called it “an indictment on our government” that apartheid officials who did not co-operate with the TRC had evaded prosecution.

Whilst in prison de Kock has assisted the recovery of his missing victims’ remains. Remorse and his help to the Missing Persons Task Team were cited by Masutha as reasons to release him, which was initially decided against last July. “[H]is key role has been to introduce us to other former security police who can assist with finding others,” said Task Team leader Madeleine Fullard. Fullard said de Kock had also directly assisted in retrieving two bodies. “He certainly feels lives were wasted for no reason”, she added, describing a meeting with him at one ANC victim’s grave. “He seemed to be quite stressed.”

Masutha also announced yesterday the rejection of a parole application by apartheid killer Clive Derby-Lewis, an ex-MP. Derby-Lewis is serving life for murdering popular South African Communist Party leader Chris Hani. Hani also led the ANC’s militant division. His killing in 1993 sparked rioting. Derby-Lewis sought parole because he has lung cancer. Masutha said in rejecting the application that Derby-Lewis was remorseless.

23
Jan

Pastor of Florida church cancels plans to burn Qur’an, later reconsiders

Friday, September 10, 2010

The leader of a Gainesville, Florida church announced yesterday that the church had canceled its plan to burn copies of the Qur’an tomorrow but later stated that he had reconsidered his decision. Earlier yesterday, Pastor Terry Jones said that the Dove World Outreach Center would cancel the burning of the Islamic holy book, stating that Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, had agreed to relocate Park51, a mosque and community center to be located a few hundred meters away from the site of the September 11, 2001 attacks.

In a press conference on Thursday, Jones announced that “we have agreed to cancel our event on Saturday and on Saturday I have agreed to meet with the Imam.” However, Rauf has denied that he struck a deal with the pastor, saying that he was surprised by the announcement of a deal.

On Thursday night, Jones insisted that he had struck a deal with Rauf, saying that he had been “clearly, clearly lied to”. Jones also said that he is having second thoughts of his earlier statement on Thursday afternoon.

“I am glad that Pastor Jones has decided not to burn any Qur’ans. However, I have not spoken to Pastor Jones,” Rauf said on Thursday. He followed up, stating that “We are not going to toy with our religion or any other. Nor are we here to barter. We are here to extend our hand to build peace and harmony.”

The developer of the New York City mosque in question also denied that a deal had been reached with Jones, stating that “The Muslim community center called Park51 in lower Manhattan is not being moved. The project will proceed as planned.”

On Wednesday, Jones had announced his intention to go ahead with the September 11 Qur’an burning. He also said that he has support from churches around the United States, and that people from around the country have been mailing him Qur’ans to burn. The pastor also said that he has received over 100 death threats and has taken to carrying a gun on his hip for self-defense. In the past, the Dove World Outreach Center has declared that “Islam is of the devil” and that the religion is “evil” as it does not teach that Jesus was the son of God. Even though the church announced that it would continue with the plan, Jones could run into trouble as the Gainesville fire department has denied the church a permit to burn the Qur’ans.

Many prominent figures have condemned the Qur’an burning. Yesterday morning, US president Barack Obama responded, “… what he’s proposing to do is completely contrary to our values as Americans,” and warned, “This is a recruitment bonanza for Al Qaeda.” In his interview recorded on Wednesday for Good Morning America, Obama stated that “this stunt that he is talking about pulling could greatly endanger our young men and women in uniform who are in Iraq, who are in Afghanistan”, adding, “This could increase the recruitment of individuals who’d be willing to blow themselves up in American cities, or European cities.”

General David Petraeus, NATO commander in Afghanistan, said on Wednesday that the plan would endanger US troops worldwide. In response to the general’s comments, Jones had told the press that “we understand the general’s concerns, we are taking those into consideration. We feel it’s maybe the right time for America to stand up. How long are we going to bow down? How long are we going to be controlled by the terrorists, by radical Islam? … As of right now, we are not convinced that backing down is the right thing.”

Other prominent people from around the globe condemned the plan earlier this week, including the head of the US State Department, Hillary Clinton. She called it a “disrespectful, disgraceful act,” while US Attorney General Eric Holder pitched in, calling the book burning “idiotic and dangerous.”

Republican Tea Party activist and former Alaska governor Sarah Palin also chimed in, saying that burning the Qur’an would be an “insensitive and an unnecessary provocation — much like building a mosque at ground zero.” She also said that people have the constitutional right to burn the book, and that “I would hope that Pastor Terry Jones and his supporters will consider the ramifications of their planned book-burning event. It will feed the fire of caustic rhetoric and appear as nothing more than mean-spirited religious intolerance. Don’t feed that fire.”

Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper condemned the plan, saying that his God was a tolerant God, and suggesting that freedom of religion comes from a tolerant spirit.

A coalition of religious leaders from different religions including Islam, Christianity and Judaism met in Washington to condemn “International Burn a Koran Day”. People took to the streets in the Muslim-majority countries of Afghanistan and Pakistan in protest. In Indonesia, the country with the world’s largest Muslim population, thousands of protesters gathered around the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta on Monday.

Due to the increase in tension caused by this activity, INTERPOL released an alert warning of attacks and asking member nations to contact the international police agency if they receive information on public safety hazards.

Despite the criticism, legal commentators say that Jones and his church have the constitutional right to burn the book, which is considered by Muslims to be the word of God. “The First Amendment, as it’s been interpreted, would probably not win if it were put up to a vote. It is very hard to explain to people why this sort of conduct should be permitted,” said Stephen Gillers, a law professor at New York University.

21
Jan

Global markets plunge

Friday, October 10, 2008

Stock markets across the world have fallen sharply with several seeing the biggest drop in their history.

Asian markets saw the biggest sell-off. The Nikkei dropped 9.62% to reach a 20 year low. Japan also saw a collapse of a mid-size insurance company, Yamato Life Insurance Company, which declared bankruptcy. The Hang Seng, which was one of the few markets that was positive yesterday, fell 7.19%. Australia dropped by 8.4% and South Korea saw a 9% fall.

In Europe, markets dropped at the open with the FTSE losing 11%. They have recovered only sightly with all European markets losing more than 5%. The European sell off was more about the Asian lows then any specific news. European banks and financial institutes saw the most selling. Also, oil related companies saw large drops as an result of an expected decrease in oil consumption.

The U.S. markets opened lower with the Dow Jones Industrial Average falling below 8,000, before recovering slightly. President George W. Bush made an address on the economy and said markets were being “driven by uncertainty and fear.”

Oil has seen losses of more than US$6 in trading with the current price of a barrel of oil less than $80. This is a year low for oil. News also came out that OPEC will hold an emergency meeting on November 18 to discuss the falling price of oil.

Charities, such as Cats Protection, today said that they have lost much of their funds in collapsing banks. Cats Protection had a total of £11.2 million saved in the now-collapsed Kaupthing bank.

The British National Council for Voluntary Organisations said that 60 of its 6,500 have lost money due to the collapse of banks.

Contents

  • 1 Stock markets
    • 1.1 Dow Jones Industrial Average
    • 1.2 FTSE 100
    • 1.3 Nikkei 225
  • 2 International reaction
    • 2.1 George W. Bush
    • 2.2 Gordon Brown
    • 2.3 Jim Flaherty
  • 3 Market data
  • 4 Sources

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell to its lowest level in five years at 8,579.19, falling 679 points in one day. This, at 7.3%, is the eleventh largest percentage fall in the history of the index. The growth then continued, with the index being up over 150 points on the start of the day at one point.

The index, did however, recover, and as of 19:30 UTC was up 17.68 points, or 0.21%, pushing the index up to almost 8600.

Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Avalon Partners, commented on these massive falls. “What we’ve seen here was one big margin call that just kept feeding on itself, so the opposite could happen. But you need a catalyst,” he said. “I’m more convinced now than ever that this market has made a bottom. The capitulation came when we breached 8,000,” he continued. “It doesn’t mean we can’t go back and revisit that level.”

The UK’s FTSE 100 index fell dramatically to close below 4000, in the index’s worst week in history. This is despite the fact that just a few days ago the index was above 5000, and the index peaked above 5500 in September.The FTSE 100 index has fallen by 41% this year.

Barclays Wealth analyst Henk Potts commented on this massive fall. “We are drowning in a sea of red numbers,” he claimed. “Investors are concerned about the exacerbation of the credit crunch and the gloomy forecasts for economic growth. The reality is that most investors have been spooked by the sheer pressure that the credit crunch is putting on the global economy.”

The Japanese Nikkei 225 has recorded it’s third biggest drop in history with a massive sell-off in the exchange that has resulted in USD 250 billion being knocked of the index’s value.

Toyota, which is the second largest carmaker in the world, fell by the largest amount in 21 years, while Elpida Memory, the world’s largest manufacturer of computer memory, dropped in value to a record low.

Masafumi Oshiden, a fund manager in Toyota commented on the drop.”It’s capitulation,” he said. “There are lots of forced sellers. If you’re a fund that’s going bust you need to close out all your positions.”

George W. Bush commented on the financial situation earlier today. “Over the past few days, we have witnessed a startling drop in the stock market — much of it driven by uncertainty and fear,” he said. “This has been a deeply unsettling period for the American people. Many of our citizens have serious concerns about their retirement accounts, their investments, and their economic well-being.”

Bush then continued by promoting the government’s plan’s to get through the crises. “Here’s what the American people need to know: that the United States government is acting; we will continue to act to resolve this crisis and restore stability to our markets. We are a prosperous nation with immense resources and a wide range of tools at our disposal. We’re using these tools aggressively.”

Gordon Brown, the UK Prime Minister, also spoke on the economy. “I think we quickly realised that we cannot solve the problems we have got as a result of the sub-prime market collapse simply by improving liquidity,” he said speaking in Birmingham to business leaders earlier today. “That would simply not be enough to deal with the bigger problem of rebuilding the banking system for the future and restoring trust is a fundamental element of that.”

Jim Flaherty, the Canadian minister for finance, also commented today on the recent incidents in the economy. “It is important to underline that Canada’s banks and other financial institutions are sound, well capitalized and less leveraged than their international peers,” he claimed. “Our mortgage system is sound. Canadian households have smaller mortgages relative both to the value of their homes and to their disposable incomes than in the U.S.”

“”However, it is becoming increasingly clear that the continuing disruption of global credit markets, which has been severe and protracted, is making it difficult for our financial institutions to raise long-term funding. This is beginning to affect the availability of mortgage loans and other types of credit in Canada,” he continued. “The Government has therefore decided to act to address the current scarcity of private sector lending to Canadian mortgage markets and lending markets overall. This is going to make loans and mortgages more available and more affordable for ordinary Canadians and businesses.”

20:15, 10 October, 2008 (UTC)
  • DJIA
  • 8.451,19 128,00 1,49%
  • Nasdaq
  • 1.649,51 4,39 0.27%
  • S&P 500
  • 899,22 10,70 1,18%
  • S&P TSX
  • 9.264,57 335,61 3.50%
  • IPC
  • 19.952,30 357,87 1,76%
  • Merval
  • 1.215,990 71.340 5,54%
  • Bovespa
  • 35.615,26 1,474.03 3,97%
  • FTSE 100
  • 3.932,06 381,74 8,85%
  • DAX
  • 4.544,31 342,69 7,01%
  • CAC 40
  • 3.176,49 266,21 7,73%
  • SMI
  • 5.347,22 451,62 7,79%
  • AEX
  • 258,05 23,92 8,48%
  • BEL20
  • 2.123,44 117,44 5,24%
  • MIBTel
  • 15.438,00 1,081,00 6,54%
  • IBEX 35
  • 8.997,70 905,20 9,14%
  • All Ordinaries
  • 3.939,50 351,80 8,20%
  • Nikkei
  • 8.276,43 881,06 9,62%
  • Hang Seng
  • 14.796,90 1,146,37 7,19%
  • SSE Composite
  • 2.000,57 74,01 3,57%

    21
    Jan

    Viktor Schreckengost dies at 101

    Sunday, January 27, 2008

    Viktor Schreckengost, the father of industrial design and creator of the Jazz Bowl, an iconic piece of Jazz Age art designed for Eleanor Roosevelt during his association with Cowan Pottery died yesterday. He was 101.

    Schreckengost was born on June 26, 1906 in Sebring, Ohio, United States.

    Schreckengost’s peers included the far more famous designers Raymond Loewy and Norman Bel Geddes.

    In 2000, the Cleveland Museum of Art curated the first ever retrospective of Schreckengost’s work. Stunning in scope, the exhibition included sculpture, pottery, dinnerware, drawings, and paintings.