Toll New Zealand announces that the Overlander train service will stay

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Toll New Zealand has announced that it will keep the Overlander train service but on a reduced timetable, the service was initially due to stop service September 30. Toll said that they reached the decision because of the huge amount of public support the train service received, including a 16,000 person petition.

The Overlander will originally run for only three days a week; Friday, Saturday and Sunday during winter on the original timetable. But during summer through to autumn the service will run seven days a week. Toll hopes that this will cover all the needs of its patrons.

David Jackson, Toll NZ CEO, said: “We have had tremendous support from the regional councils and will consider an upgraded service option and offering alternate packages aimed at both domestic users and the tourist market.”

Jackson said: “The continuation of the Overlander allows Toll to look at other funding options. We want to explore options that may be open to us to achieve this with the support and input of various interested parties. We especially appreciate the support of the regions to assist with marketing.”

The decision comes days after the New Zealand Government announced that they will not provide financial assistance.

“Over the next few weeks we will be speaking to key people with the aim being of putting in place a clear plan for the positive development of the Overlander. Clearly it cannot remain in its current format so change will be fundamental for its survival. Reducing the services will allow us to perform refurbishments on the existing carriages and it [is] expected that this work will be completed by the start of the summer season.”

Sue Morris, district mayor for Ruapehu, said: “The decision to save the Overlander is a relief. It’s hugely important, it’s our future. We are relying on the train to continue for a tourist option here, we’re about toursim in the Ruapehu District, it’s about bringing 13,000 passengers here.”

The Manning Group has a proposal out for electro-diesel trains running two times a day and stopping eight times between Auckland and Wellington. Tom Manning said: “[I am] pleased Toll is looking at upgrading options for the Overlander and I am still open to working with the company to bring better trains to the network.”

Hubble Space Telescope’s main camera stops working

Sunday, June 25, 2006

The Hubble Space Telescope’s (HST) main camera has ceased to function.

The telescope revolutionized astronomy with its stunning pictures of the universe. It has three separate electronic cameras and a collection of filters and light dispersers that are used to photograph distant celestial objects. The third-generation instrument installed by a space shuttle crew in 2002 went off line Monday. Engineers are still working to rectify the situation, but have not yet identified the source of the problem. The other two cameras are being used while repair efforts on the main camera continue.

“It’s still off line today,” said Max Mutchler, an instruments specialist at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore.

The cause of the main camera’s malfunction may be a faulty transistor or a disruption to the camera’s memory. “Both possibilities are things that can be resolved here on the ground,” said Ed Campion, a NASA spokesman at the Goddard Space Flight Center outside Washington, D.C. He also told the Associated Press Saturday that “he was hopeful the problem on the space-based telescope could be fixed from the ground.”

A solution could come as early as June 30.

NASA scientists say the studies being carried out with the Hubble will not be harmed, just the order reshuffled.

Hubble, launched in April 1990, is beginning to show its age. It needs new batteries and gyroscopes if it is to keep working beyond next year.

Early last year it was announced that Hubble would be cut from NASA’s 2006 fiscal year budget. However, there have been questions about the future of Hubble, with the famous space telescope in need of service and power if it is to continue to be active in 2007.

Iconic London mural could be restored

Monday, September 20, 2010

One of London’s most well known murals could be restored after years of neglect if plans by a group of community activists gain public support. The Fitzrovia Mural at Whitfield Gardens on London’s Tottenham Court Road was created by two mural artists and commissioned by Camden Council in 1980, but the mural has since decayed and been vandalised.

Plans will be presented at a public meeting this Tuesday, to include details of the restoration and promote local public space in contrast to potential commercial developments and the focus of the London 2012 Olympics. If enough funds are raised from charitable trusts and public donations the mural could be restored during the summer of 2011.

Plans to be put forward by the Fitzrovia Neighbourhood Association, and the London Mural Preservation Society, will present ways to fund not only the restoration work but also projects to raise awareness of conservation, heritage, and the residential and working community. The heritage and mural project hopes to involve many local people who could learn new conservation skills. Also planned are workshops with local children to involve them in their heritage, an exhibition by local artists, guided tours and a celebratory event at the end of the restoration project. In addition to this, a booklet would be produced containing collected oral histories of the people involved and a preservation trust to protect the mural in future years.

The playful painting was created on a Camden Council-owned building in 1980 by artists Mick Jones, (son of the late Jack Jones, trade union leader) and Simon Barber and is a mash up of scenes depicting problems faced by the neighbourhood over the preceding decade.

There is also a caricature of poet Dylan Thomas, who lived in Fitzrovia, and a mocking portrayal of then leader of the Greater London Council, Conservative politician Horace Cutler, who is pictured as a bat-like creature. Other characters include an anonymous greedy developer and a property speculator counting piles of cash.

Peter Whyatt of the neighbourhood association is jointly leading the project to restore the mural. Yesterday he told Wikinews he had a number of concerns about the possible success of the project.

“There are a great number of problems with getting this project off the ground and we also need to act pretty quickly for a number of reasons,” said Mr Whyatt.

“Firstly the mural is in a terrible state and deteriorating quickly. There is more graffiti being daubed on the site every month because one bit of graffiti attracts another bit. We really need to start the work in the next 12 months because going through another winter with the condition of the wall will causes more problems and inevitably more expense. We want to keep as much original artwork on the site as possible to keep the costs down. This is a big mural and it will be expensive to restore,” he continued.

“And that brings me to my second concern: cost. If we don’t get other community organisations on board to bid for money for this with us and to involve their beneficiaries and volunteers, it will be very difficult to secure the money needed. Money is very tight at the moment because to the current financial climate. We need to get support at this meeting on Tuesday and some firm commitments from people and organisations to get involved.

“Lastly there is a danger of a commercial development on the site. A public-private partnership to create a new art feature. Because of the existing mural’s subject matter – it mocks property speculators, and land developers, etc – a commercial scheme probably backed by a property developer would not want to restore the mural’s original message. They’d want some “good news” scheme, some greenwash idea that paints them in a positive light.

“However, despite these problems, Camden Council have offered to do a condition survey on the mural. This will save us a lot of money. But having said that there are five council departments to deal with to get permission for this restoration work, and they don’t always talk to each other.

“But if the public and local voluntary organisations show their support, we can make it happen,” Mr Whyatt concluded.

The mural restoration will be just one part of a year long project of heritage and conservation awareness-raising. “The project is not just about the mural but also wider plans to promote awareness of heritage and conservation in an area of London under threat from commercial development. In fact the bulk of the project is about the heritage and conservation and the mural is just one part of it, and the most visible because of its situation,” Mr Whyatt later added.

There will be a public meeting about the heritage and mural project at 7.30 pm tomorrow (Tuesday), at the Neighbourhood Centre, 39 Tottenham Street. The public can also comment about the proposals on the Fitzrovia Heritage and Mural website.

An Effective Home Plan

An Effective Home Plan by Raymond BareshEverybody wants to build a sweet home. But despite having sufficient amount to have a new home, we often fail to reach our goal due to poor planning. Moreover, an apartment may look beautiful from outside, but after living in it sometimes we may face troubles due to faulty shapes. So, a full-proof house plan is the key to open the door of a long lasting house. Having effective architectural plans are the staircase to reach the rooms of a dream home. In an age when retail business is booming, construction firms have been witnessing rapid growth. With strength of highly qualified civil engineers and architectural professionals these firms come up state-of-the-art house plans. There is a mushrooming of promoters around the world. They offer readymade home plans to millions of helpless persons who have little time to build new homes for themselves. There is no headache in these housing plans. Just pay the money and receive the key of your home. However, there is one problem in opting for readymade home plans. Suppose you have purchased an apartment, which has 3 bedrooms, 1 kitchen, 1 dining room, 1 washroom and a drawing room. But you have desire to possess an additional balcony. So, in that case you your dream will not be fulfilled completely. On the other hand if you go for custom home plans, the related architectural plan will be able to meet your requirements. You have to decide, which mode suits you best. If you are in a hurry to relocate to a new destination then pre-made plans are best for you. But before you finalize any house plan, you have to check certain aspects like location and its vicinity like the distance of the main highway from the planned site, markets, community and health centers, police stations, airport and other main hubs. Check the noise level of the neighborhood. Ensure that the land is not in the midst of a legal proceeding and the site plan has not violated green rules. Any house plan needs elaborate preparations. So, you have to gain basic knowledge about the architectural plans of homes like flooring, using of pillars, thickness of the plaster, the advantage or disadvantage of underground basements and other key aspects. It is applicable for pre-made homes as well as custom home plans. In the age of cyber revolution, there is hardly any trouble to gain knowledge on any topic.In the age of advanced science, modern technology has entered every aspect. Construction firms are no exceptions. Today, you can avail both 2D and 3D blueprints of your future home. You will get a firsthand experience about the real home, which is yet to take shape. Space is becoming dearer day-by-day. So, it is high time to book a space or a home plan right now. Raymond Baresh is a architectural home design enthusiasts.He has traveled the world documenting designs from traditional to ultra-modern home designs. You can learn more about Raymond on his Home Plans blog.Article Source: eArticlesOnline.com

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British Airways flight makes emergency landing in Iceland, terrorism ruled out

Saturday, August 26, 2006

A British Airways (BA) flight from London to Denver made an emergency landing at an airport in Iceland today after smoke was seen emerging from an oven in the aircraft’s rear kitchen.

A BA spokesman said that the Boeing 777 landed safely at Keflavik Airport. He added that the plane’s 268 passengers left the craft unharmed.

A spokeswoman from the Iceland Civil Aviation Administration ruled out any terrorist involvement. She added: “They were 50 miles from Keflavik when it was thought there was a fire. But it turned out to be only smoke.”

The flight should complete its journey to the US tomorrow. Passengers are spending the night in a hotel.

Qatar appoints four women to its law-drafting Shura Council

Saturday, November 11, 2017

On Thursday, Qatar’s royal decree announced 28 new members were appointed for the country’s Shura Council. Four of those members are women, marking it the first time Qatar has appointed women for the council responsible for discussing drafting of laws and government policies.

Hind Abdul Rahman al-Muftah, Dr. Hessa Sultan al-Jaber, Reem al-Mansoori, and Aisha Yousef al-Mannai are the new female appointees for the 45-member council. The decree was issued by Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani. Dr Hessa al-Jaber had previously served as Communication and Information Technology minister. She was sworn in on June 26, 2013, and was nominated by emir Al Thani.

Dr Jaber wasn’t the first woman to enter politics in Qatar. In 2003, Sheikha Ahmed al-Mahmoud became the first woman to join the Qatari cabinet, and served as Education Minister. Dr Ghalia Al Thani was the only other woman, until Dr Jaber’s nomination in 2013, to serve as a minister for the Qatari government. She was Qatar’s Public Health Minister.

With the ongoing regional crisis between Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates against Qatar, the Qatari government brought some changes to their laws in the last five months. Resident law was amended and they modified labour laws for foreign workers working for the preparations for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) is already facing charges over mistreatment of labourers in Qatar for building stadiums. Per research conducted by New York-based organisation Human Rights Watch, workers had to work in extreme climate for stadium construction.

Last month, Qatar’s Government Communications Office director Sheik Saif Al Thani told CNN labour laws were under review to guarantee “migrant workers receive the necessary on-site protections”.

Ontario Votes 2007: Interview with Green candidate Russ Aegard, Thunder Bay-Atikokan

Monday, September 24, 2007

Russ Aegard is running for the Green Party of Ontario in the Ontario provincial election, in the Thunder Bay-Atikokan riding. Wikinews’ Nick Moreau interviewed him regarding his values, his experience, and his campaign.

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

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House of Supreme Court Justice threatened

Monday, January 23, 2006

In the town of Weare, New Hampshire, a movement is under way to force Supreme Court Justice David Souter to sell his home for “public benefit,” an expansion of the eminent domain provision in the Fifth Amendment of the US Constitution that the Supreme Court legalized in the controversial 5-4 decision in Kelo v. New London where Souter was on the majority side. In the June 2005 decision this majority ruled that “public use” included “public benefit,” stating that a local council could use the Fifth Amendment to compulsorily acquire private property for the express purpose of selling it to other private parties whose use was expected to yield increased tax revenues. The decision left many worried that homes would be seized for commercial enterprises or that the decision could be used as a means to remove minority property owners deemed inconvenient.

The campaign to have Souter’s house removed is headed by Logan Clements, who is petitioning to replace it with the Lost Liberty Hotel, a tongue-in-cheek name for what he says will be a memorial to lost freedom. Clements already has 188 signatures to put the issue on a ballot, and only 25 are needed. Once it is on the ballot, the measure can be approved as soon as March. Weare has 8,500 residents.

So far, neither Justice Souter nor Kathy Arberg, Supreme Court spokeswoman, have commented on the matter.

Remains of a child discovered in Jersey care home

Monday, February 25, 2008

Parts of a body belonging to a child have been discovered at the Haut de la Garenne in Saint Martin, Jersey, a United Kingdom Crown dependency off the coast of Normandy, France.

The Victorian building, which was originally built as a children’s care home and is now a youth hostel, has been under investigation recently as part of an inquiry into child abuse which occurred during the 1960s. The investigation has now been refocused with the aim to excavate further the grounds of the building, under the command of a specialist team from the UK who will use ground scanners and sniffer dogs to detect any other possible remains.

The body is believed to date from the early 1980s though further information about the identity of the child has not yet been released. The remains were found buried underneath a concrete floor inside the building. Today, the Guardian newspaper revealed that there are fears of a possible six further bodies buried on the site.

“There could be six, but it could be higher than that,” according to lead investigator Lenny Harper, who further said, “Allegations range from physical assaults right through to rape. It is difficult to envisage more horrific crimes than some of those that are alleged to have been carried out here.”

A helpline set up to find more information about alleged child abuse at the Haut de la Garenne and Jersey Sea Scouts has garnered a total of 140 contacts, made up of those claiming to be witnesses or victims to the crimes. The information gathered from the telephone inquiry triggered the search of the grounds.