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Volunteers and food needed for flooded Manitoba, Canada
August 18, 2019

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Local municipal and provincial volunteers in Manitoba, Canada are exhausted in their efforts to divert the rising waters of the Red River of the North.

It has been hard work with little sleep for the residents who live on the shores of the Red River to shore up their defences with sandbags, build dikes, clear frozen culverts and break ice jams

Volunteers to spell relief for local volunteers and food are desperately needed.

“It’s a week now we’ve been doing this … you’re talking four, five, six public works guys. In my one community we’ve got 25 volunteer firefighters and those guys have been going 24/7, so of course it’s wearing them down.” said Paul Guyader, Manitoba’s emergency measures coordinator.

“We’re dealing with one of the biggest floods the province has ever seen,” said Steve Strang, mayor of St. Clements, Manitoba “We’ve put out hundreds of thousands of bags already. The municipalities are working very well, we’re working with the provincial government, we’ve brought in every possible resource we could to address this issue. The volunteerism within the community has been phenomenal.”

The Portage Diversion has taken some spring waters from the Assiniboine River and diverted the flow to Lake Manitoba.

Roseau River Anishinabe First Nation has been totally evacuated, as well as many homes near the Canada – United States border.

The cold weather is freezing the ice jams into place. Guyader has had 2 Amphibex Excavators operating on the river breaking up ice.

The Red River is right now 16.7 feet (5 metres) above spring ice conditions. The Red River Floodway gates cannot be opened with the current ice jams.

“If we operate now, we can get ice jamming going into the floodway, jamming up against the St. Mary’s bridge, as such, the floodway capacity would be reduced and would cause higher water levels in the city of Winnipeg.” said Steve Topping, Manitoba Water Stewardship spokesman

The floodway was constructed in 1968 following the 1950 flood to divert the overflow spring flooding waters of the Red River. The floodway has been widened the since the 1997 “flood of the century” and the expansion is expected to be completed this spring. As well Manitoba built permanent dikes around communities within the flood plain since the last two major floods..

The Red River waters will crest between the beginning of April to mid April, at which time also the weather should be warming up. Communities are bracing for higher water levels, more ice jams as well as melting snow in the warmer spring temperatures.

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Wikinews interviews Irene Villa
August 18, 2019

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Yesterday evening in La Molina, Spain, Wikinews sat down and talked with Irene Villa to discuss para-alpine skiing, disability sport, women’s sport, and her own sporting career. Villa was in town as part of activities taking place around the 2013 IPC Alpine World Championships, where one of her skiing club teammates is competing as a member of the Spanish team. Her high profile in Spain has brought additional interest to para-alpine skiing and disability sport in general.

((Wikinews)) : Hi we are interviewing Irene Villa, who is a disability skier from Spain and professional author, social figure, journalist, and psychologist. You are most well known for being a terrorist survivor, but you’re here because of the [2013 Alpine Skiing] World Championships. ((es))Spanish language: ?Hola estamos entrevistando a Irene Villa, esquiadora española, escritora, figura política, psicóloga y periodista. Aunque se le conoce más por haber sobrevivido a un atentado, se encuentra aquí por el Campeonato del Mundo [de Esquí Adaptado 2013].

Irene Villa: I’m here because I love sitting ski, I practice and I compete, but since I got pregnant and my son was born I stopped competing. But before I had my son I competed against the people who will run tomorrow, the Germans who win, and I wanted to be here. I haven’t raced in the World Cup, but I did race in the European Cup. And well, I’m also here to support paralympic sports. ((es))Spanish language: ?Estoy aquí porque me encanta el esquí en silla, lo practico y he competido, pero desde que nació mi hijo dejé de competir, porque me quedé embarazada, pero antes de tener a mi hijo competí contra las que mañana corren, las alemanas que ganan, y quería estar aquí. Nunca Copa del Mundo, he corrido Copa de Europa. Y bueno, para apoyar al deporte paralímpico.

((WN)) : In 2009 you said you were trying to make the 2010 Winter Paralympics. After giving birth are you going to continue with the sport and hope to make 2018? ((es))Spanish language: ?En 2009 dijo que quería clasificarse para los Juegos Paralímpicos de Invierno de 2010. Tras dar a luz, ¿va a continuar con el deporte e intentar llegar a 2018?

Irene Villa: I would love to. The thing is that you need a certain amount of IPCAS points. I’m now competing, on top of that I have an injury, tomorrow and the next day I will be training, and I don’t know if I’ll have enough time to make it. Sochi [Winter Paralympic Games of 2014] is right around the corner, next year, so it depends on how many point you’ve got. 2018? For sure. ((es))Spanish language: ?Me encantaría. Lo que pasa que bueno, eso no se sabe, porque tienes que tener unos puntos IPCAS determinados y yo ahora estoy compitiendo, encima me he lesionado, y mañana y pasado voy a estar esquiando, y no sé si van a dar los tiempos para llegar… Es que Sochi [Juegos Paralímpicos de 2014] está aquí al lado. Son el año que viene. Entonces depende de los puntos IPCAS que tengas. ¿2018? Seguro que sí.

((WN)) : You compete in a lot of national competitions, and with disability sport in general, classification is a big issue. Competing in national competitions, does classification come into play, especially when there is so few women skiers in your group? ((es))Spanish language: ?Participa en muchas competiciones nacionales, y en el deporte con discapacidad en general, las clasificaciones son un un tema polémico. En la competición nacional, ¿es la clasificación un factor tan determinante, especialmente cuando hay tan pocas esquiadoras en tu grupo?

Irene Villa: Yes, certainly. You see, I have an advantage because I have buttocks, I have abs. I have an advantage over a teammate who has a spinal injury here [points to the high part of the back] and also competes. So of course classification is very important because we cannot have an advantage. I believe in competing in equal fairness, and disabilities vary so much that you need a good classification. Issues because of classification? Well, I think we are pretty well classified. For example, my fingers [shows hand where she lost three fingers] are not taken into account in classification, there’s always going to be a small detail that they don’t count. This is a disadvantage when holding the outrigger, and yet I’m classified like someone who is missing half a leg, for example. I’m missing both legs and three fingers. But, it’s really complicated to finetune it… Because then we would need to have twenty thousand classifications. This is what we have. ((es))Spanish language: ?Sí, claro que sí. Porque claro, yo tengo ventaja por ejemplo al tener glúteos, al tener abdominales, tengo ventaja sobre una compañera de mi equipo que tiene una lesión medular desde aquí [señala principio de la espalda] y también compite, así que por supuesto la clasificación es muy importante porque no podemos tener ventaja. Creo que tenemos que estar en igualdad de condiciones, y las discapacidades son tan distintas que tienes que tener una buena clasificación. ¿Problemas porque no te clasifican bien? Hombre pues yo creo que nosotras estamos bien clasificadas. Por ejemplo, a mi estos dedos [muestra mano en la que perdió tres dedos] no me los cuentan en la clasificación, claro, siempre va a haber algo pequeño que no te cuentan. Esto es una desventaja al coger el estabilo, y sin embargo estoy clasificada igual que una a la que le falta media pierna, por ejemplo. A mi me faltan las dos y tres dedos. Pero es que claro, es muy dificil dar justo… Porque entonces tendríamos que tener veintemil clasificaciones. Es lo que hay.

((WN)) : Some of the skiers I’ve talked to in the mens’ side, not in Spain, but from other countries, have complained about the quality of womens’ skiing, and that there’s not enough high quality competition. That’s why I was interested in if classification was impacting women’s skiing because there is so few women skiers, that classes seem they’d make it harder to find competitors in classes that are making the sport equitable and fair. ((es))Spanish language: ?Algunos de los esquiadores de otros países con los que he hablado se quejaban de la calidad del esquí femenino, y la escasa calidad de la competición. Por eso me interesaba saber si la clasificación incidía en el esquí femenino al haber tan pocas esquiadoras, que las clases parece que hacen más dificil encontrar competidoras en clases que hacen el deporte más equitativo y justo.

Irene Villa: Of course. In the case of the women, it is really hard to get a woman skiing, to have her compete in sit-ski. In fact, in Spain we exist thanks to Fundación También, which insisted in there being a female category. There was no female category, no women who dared. And we’re the same who started out in 2007. There has been no new blood because women don’t dare, because it is a tough sport, that requires sponsors —that do not exist—, or your own money, and it also demands courage and withstanding bad moments. I’ve suffered cold and injuries, and had some really tough times. You take away the best with you, but it is very hard, and men resist the cold better. ((es))Spanish language: ?Claro. Es que en las mujeres cuesta muchísimo que una mujer se ponga a esquiar, a competir en silla. De hecho en España estamos gracias a la Fundación También, que es la que se empeñó en que hubiese categoría femenina. No existía la categoría femenina, no había mujeres que se atrevieran. Y de hecho somos las mismas que empezamos en el 2007. No se ha renovado porque no se atreven, es un deporte duro, que además requiere sponsors, que no hay, o dinero de tu bolsillo, y además requiere valentía y malos ratos. Yo he pasado mucho frío y muchas caidas, y lo he pasado muy mal. La verdad es que te quedas siempre con lo bueno, pero es muy duro, y es cierto que los hombres son más fuertes para el frío.

((WN)) : Your personal experiences have adequately prepared you to hurl yourself down the mountain at high speed? ((es))Spanish language: ?¿Sus experiencias personales le han preparado adecuadamente para lanzarse pendiente abajo a máxima velocidad?

Irene Villa: At the beginning, it was very scary. The first times were very hard: falls, injuries… I even dislocated my vertebra and got a prothesis for the neck because of a hernia, one teammate broke her clavicle, another her femur… It has a lot of risks, but the truth is, speed hooks you! Once you learn to plant the ski pole, angle yourself, learn the position you must use, which is like a motorcycle rider’s, once you see you can run a lot and not fall, speed is addictive and you want to go faster. ((es))Spanish language: ?Al principio, mucho miedo. Los comienzos fueron muy duros: caidas, lesiones… A mi incluso se me salió el disco del cuello, me tuvieron que poner una prótesis en el cuello por una hernia que tenía, otra se rompió la clavícula, otra el femur, en fin… Tiene mucho riesgo, pero la verdad que la velocidad engancha. Una vez que aprendes a clavar el canto, a angular, la posición en la que tienes que ir, que es como la de un motorista, una vez que ves que puedes correr mucho y no te caes, sí que engancha la velocidad y quieres ir cada vez más rápido.

((WN)) : Most of the ski team looks like they come from the Madrid area? From the Fundación También? ((es))Spanish language: ?¿La mayor parte del equipo parece que vienen de Madrid? ¿De la Fundación También?

Irene Villa: In my team we are from everywhere in Spain. Even Nathalie Carpanedo is from France. ((es))Spanish language: ?En el equipo somos de todas partes de España. Incluso Nathalie [Carpanedo] es de Francia.

((WN)) : How does a Frenchwoman become a Spanish skier? ((es))Spanish language: ?¿Cómo se convierte una francesa en una esquiadora española?

Irene Villa: Because she lives in Madrid. She has the Spanish nationality. Then we have another woman from the South of Spain, in Andalusia, from Tarragona in Catalonia, from Galicia… We are from all parts of Spain. ((es))Spanish language: ?Porque vive en Madrid. Tiene la nacionalidad española. También tenemos a una mujer del sur de España, de Andalucía, otra de Tarragona en Cataluña, de Galicia… Las chicas venimos de todas las partes de España.

((WN)) : So there’s a national ski culture. People think of Spain as a place with beaches and no snow. ((es))Spanish language: ?Así pues hay una cultura de esquí a nivel nacional. La gente piensa de España como un lugar con playas y nada de nieve.

Irene Villa: There’s not too much tradition of paralympic skiing, to be true. There’s less. But we do have Sierra Nevada and the Pyrenees. ((es))Spanish language: ?Del esquí adaptado no hay tanta cultura, eso es cierto. Hay menos. Pero bueno, tenemos Sierra Nevada y tenemos el Pirineo catalán, aragonés…

((WN)) : The Paralympics in Spain are supported by the Plan ADO Paralímpico. Do they provide enough support to women and to winter sports in general? ((es))Spanish language: ?Los deportistas paralímpicos reciben apoyo gracias al Plan ADO Paralímpico. ¿Proporcionan suficiente apoyo para las mujeres y los deportes de invierno en general?

Irene Villa: The people in the national squad, like Úrsula Pueyo, would know that. If Plan ADO helps someone, it’s the people in the national team, those who dedicate their lives to the sport. They offered it to me when I was at my peak, in 2010, when I won my first gold medals and wasn’t yet married. They offered me to move to Baqueira, where Úrsula lives, with Nathalie, and with a Catalan girl too, but I declined, because when you have a life, a daily job, events, conferences, travels…. you can’t leave it all for the sport. But I think the Plan does help the people who dedicate themselves to the sport, like Úrsula. ((es))Spanish language: ?Eso lo saben los que están en el equipo nacional, como Úrsula Pueyo. Si el Plan ADO ayuda a alguien es a quienes están en el equipo nacional, a quienes dejan su vida por el deporte. A mi por ejemplo me lo plantearon cuando yo estaba en mi mejor momento, que fue en el 2010, que gané mis primeros oros y no estaba casada. Me plantearon irme a vivir a Baqueira donde vive Úrsula, con Nathalie, y con otra chica catalana, pero dije que no porque cuando tienes una vida, un trabajo diario, eventos, congresos, viajes… no podía dejarlo todo por el deporte. Pero creo que a la gente que sí que se dedica a ello sí le ayuda. Como a Úrsula.

((WN)) : When I’ve read about disability skiing in Spain for women, they talk about you and they talk about Teresa Silva. Is there a way to get more attention for women skiers on that level, outside of using you and Teresa Silva as a vehicle? Not that you are not great for drawing attention! But how do you draw more attention to women’s sports and high quality that women are capable of doing? ((es))Spanish language: ?Cuando he leído sobre el esquí adaptado en España, suelen hablar de usted y Teresa Silva. ¿Existe alguna forma de atraer más atención a las esquiadoras, más allá de usarlas a ustedes como reclamo? ¡No es que no sean fantásticas para atraer atención! ¿Pero cómo se incrementa la atención al deporte femenino y a la alta calidad que las mujeres son capaces de lograr?

Irene Villa: Oh, I would like that more people would join this sport or any other disability sport, that they practised it. And what we do is try to encourage them through the media, interviews, conferences… Teresa is the director of Fundación También, and she has access to talk with many people. As a speaker in motivation conferences and the like, I make people aware of it too. But it is difficult, because people try it out and love it, but will not race. Because racing is very risky and, well, you saw the slopes yesterday, sometimes they are hard, like a wall, and falling can be awful. But when we get the chance, we promote the sport and try to attract people that way, encouraging them to join this adventure that is sport. ((es))Spanish language: ?Eso es lo que a mi me encantaría, que cada vez más gente se apuntase a este deporte o a cualquier deporte, que hiciese deporte con discapacidad. Y nosotros lo que hacemos es intentar a través de los medios de comunicación, a través de entrevistas, a través de congresos… Teresa es la directora de la Fundación, y tiene acceso a hablar a mucha gente. Yo como ponente de conferencias, de motivación y tal, también lo doy a conocer. Pero es dificil, como digo, porque la gente lo prueba y le encanta, pero dicen que no a la carrera. Porque la carrera tiene muchos riesgos y porque, bueno ya visteis la pista ayer, que es complicada, a veces es muy dura, es un marmol, y las caidas son muy jorobadas. Pero sí que en cuanto podemos y tenemos la oportunidad, lo damos a conocer e intentamos atraer a la gente de esa forma, animándola a que se unan a esta aventura del deporte.

((WN)) : As an outsider from, not Spain, I know you are a political figure. Has that gotten in the way of your ability to be a sportswoman? ((es))Spanish language: ?Como alguien que no es de España, entiendo que usted es una figura política. ¿Ha sido eso un obstáculo a la hora de ser una deportista?

Irene Villa: No… Besides, that part about me being a political figure… I have nothing to do with politics. I don’t know why people always… Why? Because of what happened to me. I was a kid. A 12 year old has nothing to do with politics. We know too that ETA has attacked people who had nothing to do with politics as well. My mother was a police director. What may have interfered is the fact that since I was a known figure I’ve tried that other people…. Let’s see, for example I started doing sport so other people would know you could do sport. So it is true that the fact of being known has pushed me to do more things that I would’ve probably not have done. Because I wanted to show people that you could ski. And I ended up hooked. I only did it for a tv reportage. “Okay okay, a reportage and let’s have people know that yes, we can”. In fact, my book is titled “Knowing that you can” [Saber que se puede, in Spanish]. Later I got hooked. But the fact of being known motivates you to show other people a path that could be very beneficial to them, and at the end you get addicted to it. ((es))Spanish language: ?No… Es que además, lo de política me suena a que… yo no tengo nada que ver con la política. No sé por qué la gente siempre… ¿Por qué? Porque me pasó lo que me pasó. Era una niña. Una persona que tiene 12 años no puede tener nada que ver con la política. ETA ya sabemos que ha atentado contra gente que no tenía que ver con la política. Mi madre era funcionaria de policía. El caso es que lo que quizás ha podido interferir es que el hecho de ser una persona conocida he tratado de intentar que otras personas… A ver, yo empecé por ejemplo a hacer deporte para que otras personas supieran que se podía hacer deporte. Así que sí que es verdad que el hecho de ser conocida me ha impulsado a hacer más cosas de las que hubiese hecho seguramente. Porque yo quería mostrar a la gente que se podía esquiar. Y acabé enganchándome yo. Lo hice simplemente por un reportaje. “Venga venga, un reportaje y que la gente sepa que se puede”. De hecho mi libro se llama Saber que se puede. Luego me enganché. Pero el hecho de ser relevante o conocida te impulsa a mostrar a otras personas un camino que puede ser muy beneficioso para ellos, y al final acabas tú enganchada.

((WN)) : When all is said and done, what do you kind of want your legacy to be? Do you want to be known as Irene Villa, disability sport advocate figure? Do you want to be known like Jon Santacana, or do you want to be known as somebody who has pushed the boundaries in other areas? ((es))Spanish language: ?Al final del día, ¿qué clase de herencia desea dejar? ¿Ser conocida como Irene Villa, deportista y defensora del deporte discapacitado? ¿Ser conocida como Jon Santacana, o como alguien que ha forzado los límites en otras áreas?

Irene Villa: As something more. I’d like my testimony to go beyond sport, which is what I try to do around the world, besides telling people you can do it. It’s about the capacity of a person to make herself, to be happy, to overcome resentment, to love herself, and to love others. I think that is the most important thing. And that’s the basis. I think sport is something that completes your life, mentally and physically. It’s very important. But my message is forgiveness, happiness and hope. ((es))Spanish language: ?Algo más. A mi me gustaría, que es lo que hago por todo el mundo, aparte de decir a la gente que se puede, que mi testimonio vaya más allá del deporte. Es la capacidad de una persona de hacerse a sí misma, de ser feliz, de superar el rencor, de amarse, y de amar a los demás. Yo creo que eso es lo más importante. Y esa es la base. Creo que el deporte es algo que completa tu vida, te complementa mentalmente, físicamente. Es muy importante. Pero mi mensaje es perdón, alegría y esperanza.

((WN)) : Thank you very much! ((es))Spanish language: ?¡Muchísimas gracias!

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US home sales fall at fastest pace on record
August 18, 2019

Monday, January 25, 2010

Sales of previously owned homes in the US fell at the fastest rate ever recorded last December, according to data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

According to the association, existing home sales fell 16.7% last month, to an annual rate of 5.45 million, the largest crash since 1968. The figure was less than the 5.90 million units, or an eleven percent drop, predicted by most analysts.

Sales of homes went up for the entire of 2009 to 5.156 million units, or 4.9% for the year, and prices dropped from 2008 by 12.4%.

NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun described the figures as being “probably the largest annual drop since the Great Depression”. He said that “the market is going through a period of swings driven by the tax credit. We’re likely to have another surge in the spring. Job creation is the key to a continued recovery in the second half of the year.”

Pierre Ellis, a senior economist for Decision Economics in New York, commented on the figures, saying: “The drop in home sales is the payback for the acceleration of sales that occurred with the original first-time home buyers tax credit. […] There is an issue as to whether the decline represents a fundamental weakening.”

“The housing market continues to face significant headwinds, including high unemployment, record delinquencies and foreclosures, the specter of rising mortgage rates as the Fed’s [mortgage-backed securities] purchase programs comes to a close in late March, and tight credit,” Omair Sharif, an economist for RBS Securities, noted.

“Still, the resale market showed resilience in the second half of 2009, and the expansion and extension of the tax credit to April 30 could boost purchases during the spring selling season,” he said.

“We’ll see a pickup in existing home sales in the next couple of months as people take advantage of the tax-credit extension”, economist Adam York of Wells Fargo Securities LLC in Charlotte, North Carolina claimed. He fore-casted a pace of 5.4 million. He said that there were unlikely to be buyers of homes, despite the fact that the U.S. was “past the bottom.”

All four regions of the country saw a decline in sales. In the Northeast, sales fell 19.5 percent, in the Midwest, they plunged 25.8 percent. The South, the country’s largest region, saw a 16.3% decline, while in the West, sales waned by 4.8%.

US stocks fell slightly after the announcement, but went back up later in the day.

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Canberra’s Sophie Lavers crowned Miss World Australia
August 18, 2019

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Sophie Lavers, a 24-year-old woman from Canberra, has been crowned Miss World Australia in Sydney. She defeated nineteen other finalists to take the prize and will represent Australia at the Miss World event in South Africa.

The entrants were judged based on several categories including best talent, healthy body image, sports and fitness and beauty with a purpose. An aspiring actress, she is completing an acting course and hopes to build a career in film and television. She is also a qualified fitness instructor and has worked as a Kings Cross waitress.

She has been described in the media as having an “amazing figure” and it has been rumoured that she has used this for modelling work. However, Lavers has said that her body has only been modelled for a good cause: “Some do think that, but I have only ever modelled for charity.”

She also doubts much will change for her, at least in the near future. “I’ll still get up and probably have peanut butter on toast for breakfast but after that I’m not sure what’s happening. I guess I won’t be going to work tomorrow.”

She explained that all the girls who entered were dedicated to making a difference. “I just think it’s like having little angels out there through the country helping in all different areas whether it’s with children, or blind people, or the homeless.” Lavers also complained that non-stop smiling for the event has left here mouth sore. “I’m not used to smiling for hours on end.”

Lavers is now set to head to Johannesburg for the December 12 global competition. “I’ve got to get a month of outfits ready and get a talent and another speech and everything. Oh goodness.”

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Glencore announces Tahmoor mine in New South Wales to close
August 11, 2019

Friday, June 3, 2016

Swiss mining company Glencore announced yesterday the closure of its coal mine in Tahmoor, New South Wales, Australia. The mine is to be closed by early 2019, pointing to the downturn of coal prices in global markets.

Glencore stated, “The decision has been made as a result of continued low prices in global coal markets, which has meant the economic return from reserves still available at Tahmoor are not sufficient to warrant the investment required to mine them”.

The closure will result in a loss of 350 jobs according to the company, who said they are consulting with the employees.

The mine is not the only operation impacted by the fall of global coal and commodity prices. The Australian arm of mining magnate Peabody Energy has reported losses of almost A$3 billion in 2015. According to latest financial reports for Peabody subsidiary Peabody Australia Holdco lodged via Australian Securities and Investments Commission, the company earned a net loss of A$2.7 billion — after a loss of A$1.2 billion in 2014. Accountants at Peabody Australia have warned the mine might not be able to continue operating, with the market persistently weak since December.

Despite low coal and commodity prices, both the major political parties have been supportive of coal mines. While appearing on the ABC’s Q&A program on Monday night, Coalition MP Steve Ciobo confirmed party support of coal mines. In response to an audience member question, concerning what policies the panellists had planned to combat job and economic loses in Queensland after the mining boom, Ciobo stated the Coalition government supports Adani’s new Carmichael mine in the Galilee Basin — as an example of “transitioning” the state’s economy.

Labor MP Terri Butler said although she doesn’t personally support Adani’s Carmichael project, the state Labor government “didn’t have much discretion” surrounding its approval. Meanwhile, Greens party leader Richard Di Natale criticised responses from the panellists claiming the “great tragedy” is both major parties support of coal mines such as Carmichael.

“If you care about tourism you don’t open up a whopping great big coal mine and fuel catastrophic global warming”, said Di Natale.

Di Natale accused both major parties of being deceitful in “slashing” both the target of and agency funding for renewable energy, leaving no plan to realize the investment potential of the renewable sector.

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International bodies express concern over Israel-Hezbollah conflict
August 11, 2019

Thursday, July 20, 2006

International humanitarian organisations and human rights watchdogs have expressed concerns over the rising civilian casualties and the humanitarian crisis caused by the ongoing conflict in Lebanon and northern Israel. They have also warned the warring groups that their conduct may not comply with international laws governing the safety of civilians in combat areas.

Contents

  • 1 UNCHR statement
  • 2 Red Cross’ assessment
  • 3 Human Rights Watch
  • 4 Amnesty International
  • 5 Responses from Israel and Hezbollah
  • 6 Sources

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England: Fire at London Zoo kills aardvark, meerkats believed dead
August 11, 2019

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Fire broke out at London Zoo on Saturday morning, severely damaging a cafe and shop and killing an aardvark. Zoo officials said four meerkats were missing and were also presumed to be dead.

The fire, mostly in the Animal Adventure cafe and shop, also spread to a nearby petting area. Reportedly, 72 firefighters with ten fire engines fought the blaze for about three hours starting shortly after 6:00 am to bring it under control. A spokesperson for the Fire Brigade stated that when they arrived, the fire was already “very well developed”. According to the ambulance service, two people were treated for minor injuries, six for smoke inhalation, with one taken to hospital. A statement from the zoo said, regarding animal fatalities, “Sadly our vets have confirmed the death of our nine-year-old aardvark, Misha. There are also four meerkats unaccounted for at this stage, and we have limited access to site to confirm this.” Other animals were said to be apparently unaffected.

The zoo reported quick response by zoo security guards and by animal care staff who are housed at the zoo, which is in Regents Park; they moved animals to safety. A dog walker, Adnan Abdul Husein, told the BBC he had first noticed heavy smoke and alerted zoo security guards.

Zoo officials initially said the zoo would be closed “until further notice” but later announced it would reopen today, Christmas Eve.

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Australian media focuses on Olympic prospects against US for women’s basketball
August 4, 2019

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Bruce, Canberra — On Monday, at a press conference at the Australian Institute of Sport on the first day of an Opals training camp, the media asked questions supporting this Olympic cycle’s storyline that the Australian team is going to the 2012 Summer Olympics for a gold medal rematch between Australia and the United States women’s national basketball team, who are once again in separate Olympic pools for the tournament. Media organisations present included Fox Sports, WIN News, the Canberra Times, and Wikimedia Australia including our reporter.

The press at the first press conference consisted of a female print journalist, four video cameras behind the two rows of seats allocated for the media, and three microphones in front of the table occupied by the national team coach Carrie Graf and national team members Lauren Jackson and Jenna O’Hea. The media contingent largely asked questions about Australia’s quest for a gold medal, how worried the Australians were about the team from the United States and how much planning the team was doing in preparation to play them in the gold medal finals for the fourth time in a row. These questions mirrored an ongoing theme in the media coverage found in television media and newspaper coverage of portraying the team as one of Australia’s few serious medal contenders. The other focus was on early game against Great Britain women’s national basketball team, who are in the same pool as Australia, who will have an advance of playing on their home ground with at least one dual-Australian/British passport holder on the United Kingdom team and a former Australian national women’s team coach leading the opposition’s side.

In contrast to media questions from television and print reporters present, Graf, Jackson and O’Hea’s responses made clear their goal was in the present. The coach and players were thinking about who would survive the cuts to make the team, establishing a good team dynamic and preparing for teams early in their Olympic campaign. The Australian side was not thinking ahead to the gold medal round as they believe their competition is good enough to be a worry.

The press directed most of their questions to Jackson and Graf, with O’Hea only asked a question late in the press conference.

Following the press conference, Fox Sports interviewed one of the Opals in a one-on-one interview. Another reporter followed up with Basketball Australia’s media representative to ask additional questions.

In the opening session for the camp, a video photographer lined up a basketball to get a shot of a basketball in the foreground while Jackson and Suzy Batkovic-Brown shot baskets in the background.

The Opals had a training session open to the media early in the day, with six journalists recording in various media how players participated in several drills including a drill where the Opals, working in groups of three on three different courts, had one minute to attempt and make as many two point field goals as possible. In one drill set, Jennifer Snell made 22 of 28 attempts.

The final media open training session of the day, starting late in the afternoon, saw only a pair of Wikimedia Australia photographers and a Basketball Australia photographer present. The rest of the media had left much earlier in the day. The media open training camp will continue through until Friday, before the team starts a two week long training camp that will be closed to the media but not before two players are cut from a squad currently 19 strong that will be pared down to 12 by the end of next month.

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July 27, 2019

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