14
Mar

Australian government hopes to establish triage by phone

Sunday, January 29, 2006

The Australian federal government hopes to slash hospital emergency department waiting queues by setting up a 24-hour national medical hotline.

A government source said that the National Health Call Centre Network would be manned by registered triage nurses 24-hours a day, 7-days a week. Triage nurses would perform a diagnosis over the phone based upon the description given by the patient. The patient would then be referred to the nearest emergency department, their local GP or pharmacy – as determined by the nurse.

The issue is expected to be discussed at next month’s Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting in Canberra. It is believed that the states and territories are supportive of the system.

If agreed upon by COAG, the service will be jointly funded by state/territory and the commonwealth governments at a cost of $40 million a year. The service would take 18 months to set up.

The service will be ran from a centralised call centre and be managed by a private contractor.

Julia Gillard, the opposition’s spokeswoman for health said any national call service needed to be linked with local GPs and medical services.

Gillard claims that under a Labor government, an after-hours “Pizza Hut” style service would be implemented, with a single national number connecting to a local call centre.

“You would be talking to people in the locality you are in and who know the local services,” she said

The Australian Medical Association, an organisation representing more than 27,000 doctors in Australia has slammed the proposal saying it will only deter people from seeking appropriate medical treatment.

13
Mar

Rebel leader, 56 inmates escape from East Timorese jail

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

East Timorese rebel leader Alfredo Reinado and other 56 inmates escaped last night from Dili‘s mail jail.

Australian and Portuguese forces initiated a massive manhunt for the escapees, which with their escape, created a new crisis for international security forces in East Timor. Australian SAS troopers using Black Hawk helicopters and night-vision goggles were involved in the search.

GNR‘s liaison officer, Lieutenant Cabrita told the Portuguese Rádio Renascença news agency that the prisoners took advantage of the relieve of guard to escape. “The evasion happened during the relieve of the forces that were serving in the jail’s security, having the escapees used vehicles for their escape”.

Later Australian police liaison officers confirmed the escape of the rebel leader. “It is understood 57 prisoners are currently unaccounted for, one of those being Mr Alfredo Reinado,” an Australian police spokesman said.

Alfredo Reinado is a former East Timorese Army officer who deserted and led a rebel group during the unrest in May, being blamed for some of the country’s violence during the security crisis.Him and other 14 soldiers of his rebel group were arrested on July by Australian troops for illegal possession of firearms after an GNR patrol found them with pistols, hundreds of ammunition and grenades in a house during a routine operation.

Of the other 56 prisoners unaccounted for, 16 are believed to be former Timorese police and soldiers accused of crimes committed during East Timor’s security crisis, and five prisoners convicted for homicide.

According to Becora’s prison warden Carlos Sarmento, the inmates had escaped by breaking down several walls on the prison’s east wing.

The East Timorese Justice Minister, Domingos Sarmento, blamed the international security forces for the jailbreak and told the Lusa news agency that the New Zealand forces in charge of the security of the prison’s exterior left the prison without informing the Timorese government.

“There was an agreement in which the forces of New Zealand would be in charge of the outside security of the prison, but about a week ago they left the location and didn’t inform us”, Domingos Sarmento said.

Domingos Sarmento said that he contacted the Australian-led forces so that the security outside the prison could be restored, but was told that the forces’ removal from the prison were due to the necessity of deploying troops in other points of the city.

The Minister recognized that the absence of police and military forces on the prison’s outside and the fact that the guard were unarmed contributed to facilitate the escape of the prisoners. Also recognizing that the use of weapons by the guards would improve the security in the jail, he noticed that the internal regulation doesn’t allow that use.

13
Mar

Ukrainian ship MV Faina with cargo of tanks freed by pirates

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Pirates in Somalia have released the MV Faina, a Ukrainian ship carrying a cargo of 33 T-72 tanks, along with 20 of its crew of 21, the Russian captain having been killed by hypertension during the hijack.

A ransom of US$3.2 million was paid for the ship’s release, compared to the $20 million previously demanded and also down from the initial request for $35 million after the capture in September. By January 16 the ransom sought was $5 million, with negotiations occurring directly between the pirates and the ship’s owner. In October the pirates threatened to blow the ship up unless this was paid within days, and stated they were willing to die and take the crew with them, but this threat was never carried out.

The ransom came in on Wednesday, and after counting the money the pirates left the vessel on Thursday. One pirate, Segule Ali, said of the payment that “no huge amount has been paid, but something to cover our expenses.”

No huge amount has been paid, but something to cover our expenses

The ownership of the cargo, which includes ammunition, rocket launchers, small arms and spare parts as well as tanks, is uncertain. Although the shipment was said to be for Kenya, as acknowledged by the Kenyan government, the pirates claim to have documents proving they were destined for Sudan, currently the subject of a United Nations arms embargo. Sudan denies this.

At one point, with the ship anchored off Harardhere, the pirates claimed they had put down an attempted revolt by the crew. However, the Faina’s owner has expressed doubts about the veracity of this report, which originated with the pirates themselves.

The remaining crew are reported to be healthy by the Ukrainian Presidency and the ship is now heading to Mombasa under US Navy escort. There are 17 Ukrainians, two Russians and a Latvian on board.

13
Mar

Saturn moon Enceladus may have salty ocean

Thursday, June 23, 2011

NASA’s Cassini–Huygens spacecraft has discovered evidence for a large-scale saltwater reservoir beneath the icy crust of Saturn’s moon Enceladus. The data came from the spacecraft’s direct analysis of salt-rich ice grains close to the jets ejected from the moon. The study has been published in this week’s edition of the journal Nature.

Data from Cassini’s cosmic dust analyzer show the grains expelled from fissures, known as tiger stripes, are relatively small and usually low in salt far away from the moon. Closer to the moon’s surface, Cassini found that relatively large grains rich with sodium and potassium dominate the plumes. The salt-rich particles have an “ocean-like” composition and indicate that most, if not all, of the expelled ice and water vapor comes from the evaporation of liquid salt-water. When water freezes, the salt is squeezed out, leaving pure water ice behind.

Cassini’s ultraviolet imaging spectrograph also recently obtained complementary results that support the presence of a subsurface ocean. A team of Cassini researchers led by Candice Hansen of the Planetary Science Institute in Tucson, Arizona, measured gas shooting out of distinct jets originating in the moon’s south polar region at five to eight times the speed of sound, several times faster than previously measured. These observations of distinct jets, from a 2010 flyby, are consistent with results showing a difference in composition of ice grains close to the moon’s surface and those that made it out to the E ring, the outermost ring that gets its material primarily from Enceladean jets. If the plumes emanated from ice, they should have very little salt in them.

“There currently is no plausible way to produce a steady outflow of salt-rich grains from solid ice across all the tiger stripes other than salt water under Enceladus’s icy surface,” said Frank Postberg, a Cassini team scientist at the University of Heidelberg in Germany.

The data suggests a layer of water between the moon’s rocky core and its icy mantle, possibly as deep as about 50 miles (80 kilometers) beneath the surface. As this water washes against the rocks, it dissolves salt compounds and rises through fractures in the overlying ice to form reserves nearer the surface. If the outermost layer cracks open, the decrease in pressure from these reserves to space causes a plume to shoot out. Roughly 400 pounds (200 kilograms) of water vapor is lost every second in the plumes, with smaller amounts being lost as ice grains. The team calculates the water reserves must have large evaporating surfaces, or they would freeze easily and stop the plumes.

“We imagine that between the ice and the ice core there is an ocean of depth and this is somehow connected to the surface reservoir,” added Postberg.

The Cassini mission discovered Enceladus’ water-vapor and ice jets in 2005. In 2009, scientists working with the cosmic dust analyzer examined some sodium salts found in ice grains of Saturn’s E ring but the link to subsurface salt water was not definitive. The new paper analyzes three Enceladus flybys in 2008 and 2009 with the same instrument, focusing on the composition of freshly ejected plume grains. In 2008, Cassini discovered a high “density of volatile gases, water vapor, carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide, as well as organic materials, some 20 times denser than expected” in geysers erupting from the moon. The icy particles hit the detector target at speeds between 15,000 and 39,000 MPH (23,000 and 63,000 KPH), vaporizing instantly. Electrical fields inside the cosmic dust analyzer separated the various constituents of the impact cloud.

“Enceladus has got warmth, water and organic chemicals, some of the essential building blocks needed for life,” said Dennis Matson in 2008, Cassini project scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

“This finding is a crucial new piece of evidence showing that environmental conditions favorable to the emergence of life can be sustained on icy bodies orbiting gas giant planets,” said Nicolas Altobelli, the European Space Agency’s project scientist for Cassini.

“If there is water in such an unexpected place, it leaves possibility for the rest of the universe,” said Postberg.

12
Mar

Wikinews interviews Christopher Hill, U.S. Republican Party presidential candidate

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

U.S. Air Force veteran and airline pilot Christopher V. Hill of New Hampshire took some time to talk with Wikinews about his campaign for the U.S. Republican Party’s 2016 presidential nomination.

Hill served in Operation Desert Storm, flying about fifty combat missions. Shortly after the war, he returned to civilian life, working as a loader and then a pilot for the United Parcel Service. In 2010, he organized the “Pilots and Patriots Defending the Constitution” ahead of the that year’s midterm elections. Hill ran his first campaign for president in 2012, seeking the Republican nomination. In that cycle, he appeared on the primary ballot in two states, receiving 108 votes in the New Hampshire primary and 139 in the Arizona primary. Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney ultimately received the nomination and lost to incumbent president Barack Obama.

With Wikinews reporter William S. Saturn?, Hill discusses his 2016 campaign, his political background, and his policy proposals.

12
Mar

New Zealand pilot selling uniform online

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

“Jeremy”, an airplane pilot in Nelson, has put his uniform on sale for NZ$1.00 at New Zealand auction site TradeMe. The pilot had lost his job when Origin Pacific Airways fired 230 staff because of financial difficulties and is now trying to “make ends meet this week,” the pilot said. The auction has already reached 31 bids and reached $101 as of 7.30 a.m. August 15.

‘Jeremy’, the pilot, said on the auction page, that he is offering “a rare piece of Kiwi aviation history,”.

“This is an authentic Origin Pacific Jetstream pilot’s uniform lovingly drycleaned for one last time before its unfortunate retirement. It’s travelled many stormy nights and many sunrises and has seen almost 50,000 Kiwis safely to their destinations from Invercargill to the Far North. It has 778,000km on it, yet it looks as crisp today as it did when it was born,” the pilot described on TradeMe.

One bidder had offered $40 if he sold the uniform immediately but that offer was turned down in order to see the auction go until Sunday.

David Collier, Origin Pacific passenger services general manager, said “The uniform was Origin Pacific’s property and the pilot should not be selling it, but I think it’s probably one of those things you’d have to grin at and move on.”

Jay, Waitakere, asked on the auction page if the uniform came with a plane. The pilot replied “No, but if you want to start an airline I know where you can find a great bunch of people.”

The auction is closing on August 20, Sunday.

12
Mar

IMF: World on brink of recession; prepares special loan program

Thursday, October 9, 2008

The head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) says the world is on the brink of a global recession but predicts the economy will begin to recover by late 2009.

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Managing Director of the IMF, stressed nations must work together to avert a global recession and warns there is “no domestic solution” to the crisis. He also said this week’s coordinated interest rate cuts around the world are a good example of the international cooperation needed to restore faltering economies.

Furthermore, he announced the IMF has activated an emergency program Wednesday that allows the fund to provide loans more easily and quickly to emerging countries in economic trouble. This program was first used during the 1997 Asian crisis.

The program might be used in Iceland, which has seen major problems hitting the financial sector. Iceland has been forced to nationalize the three largest banks and, most recently, Kaupthing Bank.

The IMF chief made these remarks in Washington D.C. on Thursday, as top officials from IMF nations and the G-7 industrialized countries are gathering for meetings on economic issues. U.S. President George Bush is set to meet with G-7 finance ministers at the White House on Saturday.

11
Mar

Demonstrators protest Condoleezza Rice’s trip to Australia

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Anti-war demonstrators in Sydney, Australia on Thursday dubbed U.S. Secretary of State Dr Condoleezza Rice a “war criminal” and “murderer.” Two protesters were evicted and five people were arrested during protests against the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.

Dr Rice, on a three-day trip to Australia, said she understood why people found it hard to be positive about Iraq when all they saw on their television screens was violence.

Soon after Rice began her speech at the University of Sydney’s Conservatorium of Music, two protesters shouted from the rear of the auditorium, “Condoleezza Rice, you are a war criminal,” and “Iraqi blood is on your hands and you cannot wash that blood away.” Standing with their palms towards her, the young man and woman repeated their accusation until security intervened to remove them from the hall.

About 15 minutes into Rice’s address, a third protester appeared at a balcony door, interrupting her speech as she referred to freedom. “What kind of freedom are you talking about? You are a murderer,” said the demonstrator before he was quietly escorted from the hall. “I’m very glad to see that democracy is well and alive here at the university,” she said.

In her speech, Rice sought to justify the U.S. occupation of Iraq, describing Iraqis as now more free. One student asked about abuses committed by U.S. forces at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. She said the abuses had made her “sick to her stomach.” However, she defended Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where human rights groups say detainees are held in inhumane conditions and in detention flouting international laws.

Before Rice began her speech, about 50 protesters were gathered at the front gates of the Conservatorium. The group were confronted by police on horseback and by police dogs. Police used the horses to charge into the group of activists and push them back, as a police helicopter hovered.

A police spokeswoman said the group was blocking pedestrian access to the building and that police had spent more than 20 minutes warning them to move. The police then moved in and pushed the crowd back 20 metres. Police say five people have been charged with “hindering police in the execution of their duties.”

The “Stop the War Coalition” says Rice is a “war criminal” and is not welcome in Australia. The group’s spokeswoman, Anna Samson, says the protest is one of many planned in the lead-up to the third anniversary of the invasion and occupation of Iraq on March 20.

Paddy Gibson, from the University of Sydney’s Student’s Council, says the protest is in opposition to the Iraq war, and to the use of the University of Sydney’s campus to host Rice, “the most powerful woman in the world,” who they say is a war criminal. “They’re saying, ‘… you’ve got Sydney Uni’s support to stand up and peddle your murderous hate speeches,’ which is what we see it,” he said.

“You’ve got 180,000 people killed, as we said, for no other reason than strategic control of the region’s oil resources. And the anti-Muslim racism that’s been whipped up to justify this war is being felt by Sydney University students,” said Mr Gibson.

11
Mar

NASA sets launch date for Space Shuttle Discovery

Saturday, March 7, 2009

After almost two months of delay, NASA has set March 11 as the launch date for Space Shuttle Discovery. On February 22, NASA had stated that they indefinitely delayed the launch of Space Shuttle Discovery, which was originally scheduled for takeoff on February 12. Launch was then further delayed until February 25 before being delayed indefinitely on February 22. NASA cited the need for additional time to evaluate the shuttle’s hydrogen fuel flow control valves.

Liftoff is set for nighttime on Wednesday, March 11, at approximately 9:20 p.m. (EST) from Launch Complex 39A in Cape Canaveral, Florida. The official countdown to launch will commence Sunday, March 8.

“The team came through, worked hard and was efficient. It’s time now to step back and think of everything else we need to watch before launch on the 11th. There’s no better team than this one and I thank them for putting the right analysis together,” said Bill Gerstenmaier, associate administrator for Space Operations at NASA.

NASA wanted to perform additional tests on the valves which control the amount of hydrogen fuel pumped into the external tank when the shuttle is taking off before making a decision to launch. When Space Shuttle Endeavour went into space in November 2008, one of the valves broke. NASA fears that if one breaks off on this mission, then it could damage the outside of the shuttle.

The current scheduled mission, STS-119, is set to fly the Integrated Truss Structure segment (“S” for starboard, the right side of the station, and “6” for its place at the very end of the starboard truss) and install the final set of power-generating solar arrays to the International Space Station. The arrays consist of two 115-foot-long arrays, for a total wing span of 240 feet, including the equipment that connects the two halves and allows them to twist as they track the sun. Altogether, the four sets of arrays can generate 84 to 120 kilowatts of electricity – enough to provide power for more than 40 average homes.

Commander Lee Archambault will lead Discovery’s crew of seven, along with Pilot Tony Antonelli, and Mission Specialists Joseph Acaba, John Phillips, Steve Swanson, Richard Arnold, and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Koichi Wakata.

9
Mar

India: Maharashtra plastic ban comes into force

Monday, June 25, 2018

On Saturday, the plastic ban in the Indian state of Maharashtra came into force. In an attempt to minimise pollution, the state government has introduced a ban on single-use plastics.

The leader of the Yuya Sena political party, Aaditya Thackeray, said on Twitter, “The ban on single use disposable plastic cups, plastic bags, plastic straws, plastic plates and cutlery, styrofoam cutlery and non woven bags”. He added, “these are global issues now and we have taken a step to combat it”.

Plastic pollution has led to the choking of drains, marine pollution and a risk of animals consuming plastics. This year, India’s motto for World Environment Day — June 5 — was “Beat Plastic Pollution”. People violating the plastic ban are to face a fine of 5,000 Indian Rupees (INR) for the first offence. For the second offence, the fine is INR 10,000 and the third time offence is INR 25,000 and a three-month prison term. Deputy municipal commissioner Nidhi Choudhary said, “To weed out corruption, we plan to give inspectors payment gadgets for electronic receipts of the fines”.

The Maharashtra government has given a 90-day period for manufacturers to dispose of existing polyethylene terephthalate (PET/PETE) plastic spoons and plates, while shopkeepers and citizens in general have six months to dispose of plastics. However, the ban does not prohibit plastic usage for wrapping medicines or milk cartons thicker than 50 microns.

The state government had announced the decision for the plastic ban on March 23. According to NDTV’s report, Maharashtra is the eighteenth Indian state to enforce a state-wide plastic ban. Aaditya Thackeray also said, “I congratulate the citizens for making this into a movement, even before the ban was enforceable, giving up single use disposable plastic.”