May 24
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Hare Krishna village demolished in Kazakhstan, religious persecution alleged

Friday, November 24, 2006

An ongoing struggle in Kazakhstan between the authorities and a local Hindu village has turned serious. Forum 18 has been documenting the alleged human rights abuse regarding the Hare Krishna village for some time, but as of 21st November events took a drastic turn.

The following was seen and written by Ninel Fokina, president of the Almaty Helsinki Committee, and Andrei Grishin, official member of the International Bureau of Human Rights and Law Observance:

On November 21, 2006 at 1 pm the information was received that according to the court decision to evict the members of the religion organization International Society for Krishna Consciousness from the occupied land near Sri Vrindavan Dham farm, and the demolition of 13 country houses will beginimmediately.

Heavy equipment was brought to the suburban community: trucks, demolition machines, three busses with riot policemen, a bus withdemolition squad and the local authorities including the Hakim. Electricity was disconnected in the morning of the same day.

There were only women and children in the village. All men went to work in town.

The president of the Almaty Helsinki Committee Ninel Fokina tried to contact different officials in Astana (the capital): B.Baikadamov, the envoy of human rights, B. Muhamedjanov, the minister forinternal affairs I. Bakhtibayev, the assistant General Prosecutor; R.Aliev, the deputy minister for foreign affairs.

She had a conversation with B. Baikadamov, the only person she could reach at that time, who promised to communicate to theCommittee of Religious Affairs at the Ministry of Justice, the Supreme Court, and the Court Administration Committee which includes the department of court decision execution.

At 3 pm representatives of human rights organizations: Ninel Fokina, Andrei Grishin, and Maxim Varfolomeev, press-secretary of theSociety for Krishna Consciousness, plus, a journalist and representativeof Astana TV channel left for the village which is located 40 km fromAlmaty.

All the roads to village were closed and patrolled by police. They would not let anyone go through. The human rights representatives and the journalist took detour through the fields. It was snowing, but they were able to reach the border of the village because of the four-wheel-drive jeep they were traveling in. But even that road was closed by patrol.

The jeep was not allowed to drive into the village. The patrol explained it was instruction of authorities. When Grishin and the jeep driver tried to pass by walk they were stopped and threatened to beput in handcuffs. And the patrol promised to send for additional force.

Lieutenant colonel, who came with another patrol car, explained that they are not allowed to the village for their own safety. He said that at that time the electric line was being dismounted in the area.

The driver of the jeep had his wife and two months old daughter in thevillage. He was begging to let him go through, but his request was denied. He was told that safety is guaranteed to his family.This group could still enter the village. They approached it from the other detour road, and leaving the car on the sidewalk, one by one theyentered the village.

As they approached the village they met two small groups of young people who were not drunk but unnaturally exited.They held hammers, big dumb-bells, metal crow-bars and sticks. Two of them politely greeted the group, and one said gaily, “Your houses are finished.

Four big busses with toned windows and two cars of ambulance were parked at the entrance of the village in the grove. 30-40 policemen stood by the houses, and 20-30 people in civil clothes includingthe leaders of the district with the Hakim, the head of local executiveauthority stood on the street, watching the demolition.

It was snowing. Residents’ household stuff such as mattresses, blankets,utensils cookware, and furniture were laying outside on the lawns by their houses. People in construction outfits (labor people) got inside the houses and started crushing windows and doors, destroyingwalls. The bulldozer was demolishing the buildings and the big stone fencing with cast iron openwork lattice which separated the houses from the driving area.

A small group of inhabitants (20-30 people, mostly women) did not offerphysical resistance. One of the women felt dizzy, fell down and was picked up by the ambulance. Police was bringing down thosefew (basically women) who tried to interfere with the destruction of their property. Two men tried to prevent the entrance of destroyers into a house, but were brought down by 15 policemen who twisted their hands and took them away to the police car.

During all these events none of the representatives from the Office ofPublic Prosecutor were present at the place of the event, even though both Krishna people and legal service people demanded meeting with representatives of the Office of Public Prosecutor who are obligated to be present during this type of actions.

The Hakim of the Yetisu district who was personally responsible for thisaction noticed A. Grishin photographing the destruction of the houses using a digital camera and commanded the policemen to detainhim. A. Grishin is an officer of the Human Rights Bureau and a journalist.

To avoid confiscation of the camera A. Grishin tried to escape. He ran away by 200 meters and was caught by the police. Police officers confiscated his digital camera and took away his journalist certificate.

Then he was let free, but police refused to return the camera, saying that they would give it to the Hakim. The camera was indeed found in the car of the Hakim, but the flash card and the batteries wereconfiscated. When Grishin approached the Hakim to find out for whatreason his camera and his journalist ID were confiscated, the Hakim told in front of the witnesses, “If I see you here again, I will personally crash Your eyes, even though I am the Hakim.”

No one of the policemen, who took part in the camera and ID confiscation,wanted to reveal their names.

Ms. Fokina was able to talk with the assistant of the General prosecutor I. Bakhtibayev, who did confirm that he would contact the prosecutor of the province and he would work out this situation.

The envoy of human rights E. Baikadamov, who was also contacted, said that the president of the Court Administration Committee Z. Makashev confirmed that he would contact immediately the provincial department and would give the appropriate instructions.

All the attempts of the representatives of the human rights organizations to find the people in charge of the operation and givethem any information were unsuccessful.

All the present officials refused to speak and declared that they were not responsible for the action. The Police colonels would point at bailiffs. The bailiffs did not confirm their being bailiffs.

The OSCE representatives in Almaty Eugenia Benigni and Lisa Zhumakhmetovadid not make it to the village. Their car just was stoped by police.

When the darkness fell, at around 6 pm, everything was finished: 13 houses destroyed, people thrown to the snowbound street, the village left without electricity, without heat and water.

The condition of the witnesses can be described as shock. The condition of the people who were thrown from their destroyed houses to the dirt and snow cannot be described.

When all the 13 buildings were destroyed as was planned … while theadjacent houses of other people who do not belong to the Society for Krishna Consciousness were left untouched even though theirtitle deeds have the same status … the bailiffs decided to give aninterview to the TV channel “to avoid one-sided opinion.” However no one of them introduced himself. The only thing they could say, “we are executing the court decision.”

Neither the Hakim, nor the police chiefs, nor the bailiffs would listen to the arguments that the governmental commission established to solve the issue around the Society for Krishna Consciousness has not yet come to final decision.

Notice: the notifications of eviction and demolition of the 13 houses owned by members of the cottage cooperative, who are the members of the religious organization Society for Krishna Consciousness, weredelivered to the watchman of Sri Vrindavan Dham in the evening ofNovember 20. The date of execution and the period for evacuating the buildings were not stated. It should be noted that the acting Kazakh law does not stipulate such a kind of eviction as the demolition of houses, and the eviction should be accompanied by the inventory of property removed from the evacuated building, while the storage of this property should be provided is necessary.

May 24
Eric Bogosian on writing and the creative urge
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Eric Bogosian on writing and the creative urge

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Eric Bogosian is one of America’s great multi-dimensional talents. “There’s sort of three different careers, and any one of them could exist by itself, on its own two feet. There was that solo stuff, and then I started writing plays in the late seventies.” Although his work has spanned genres, most readers will recognize Bogosian for his acting, which has included a memorable performance in Woody Allen‘s Deconstructing Harry to co-writing and starring in the Oliver Stone movie Talk Radio (based upon his Pulitzer Prize-nominated play) to playing the bad guy in Under Siege 2 to his current role in Law & Order: Criminal Intent as Captain Danny Ross. They may not know, however, that he had collaborated with Frank Zappa on a album, worked with Sonic Youth, and was a voice on Mike Judge‘s Beavis & Butthead Do America. He started one of New York City’s largest dance companies, The Kitchen, which is still in existence. He starred alongside Val Kilmer in Wonderland and his play Talk Radio was recently revived on Broadway with Liev Schreiber in the role Bogosian wrote and made famous.

Currently at work on his third novel, tentatively titled The Artist, Bogosian spoke with David Shankbone about the craft of writing and his life as a creative.

Contents

  • 1 Bogosian’s view of his work
  • 2 How Bogosian approaches his writing
  • 3 How Bogosian works himself into his writing
  • 4 The future of the narrative
  • 5 Collaborations with Steven Spielberg and Frank Zappa
  • 6 Source
May 24
Massachusetts lawmakers enact plan for universal health coverage
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Massachusetts lawmakers enact plan for universal health coverage

Friday, April 7, 2006Legislators in the Massachusetts General Court, their name for the state legislature, approved legislation on Tuesday, April 4, that would make it the first state in the United States to require all residents to have health insurance and impose penalties for non-compliance. Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, a Republican who is expected to run for U.S. President in 2008, is expected to sign the bill.

The bill passed the lower house, the Massachusetts House of Representatives by a vote of 155-2, and unanimously by the state senate. The Democratic Party holds supermajorities in both houses of the legislature.

Among the bill’s provisions are these:

  1. Businesses that employ more than 10 people are required to provide health insurance for all staff or face fines of $295 per year per uninsured worker.
  2. Individuals will be required to enroll in a health plan by July 1, 2007, or face tax penalties.
  3. Health insurers will provide partially to fully subsidized coverage for low-income residents.

At least one other state (Hawaii) requires employers to provide employee health insurance, but no other state holds individuals accountable for coverage.

May 21
Fur fans flock to Toronto’s Furnal Equinox 2019
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Fur fans flock to Toronto’s Furnal Equinox 2019

Monday, March 25, 2019

From March 15 to 17, the Canadian city of Toronto played host to the tenth Furnal Equinox, an annual event dedicated to the “furry fandom.” Wikinews attended. Programming ranged from music to gender, science to art, covering dozens of aspects of the varied subculture. The event’s featured guests were visual artists Moth Monarch and Cat-Monk Shiro, as well as the co-owners of US fursuit costume builders Don’t Hug Cacti.

The event raised nearly CDN$11,000 for Pet Patrol, a non-profit rescue organization in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario, run by volunteers. This exceeded their goal of $10,000, the funds needed to finish a rural sanctuary. The furry community is well-known for their charitable efforts. Along with direct donations, the funds were raised through a charity auction offering original artwork, and a fursuit design by guests of honour “Don’t Hug Cacti.” Last year, Furnal Equinox raised funds for a farm animal sanctuary.

While only 10–15% of people within the fandom own a fursuit according to a 2011 study, event organizers reported this year 908 of the 2240 attendees at Furnal Equinox brought at least one elaborate outfit to the event. The outfits are usually based on original characters, known as “fursonas”.

Guests of Honour Cherie and Sean O’Donnell, known within the community as “Lucky and Skuff Coyote”, held a session on fursuit construction on Saturday afternoon. The married couple are among the most prominent builders in the fandom, under the name Don’t Hug Cacti. The scale of their business was evident, as Sean had made over a thousand pairs of “handpaws”, costume gloves.

The couple encouraged attendees to continue developing their technique, sharing that all professional fursuit makers had developed different techniques. They felt that they learned more from failed projects than successful ones, citing the Chuck Jones quote that “every artist has thousands of bad drawings,” and that you have to work through them to achieve. Cherie, known as Lucky, recalled receiving a Sylvester the Cat plush toy from a Six Flags theme park at age 10. She promptly hollowed the toy out, turning it into a costume. Creating a costume isn’t without its hazards: the company uses 450°F (232°C) glue guns. They’re “like sticking your hand in an oven.”

Other programming included improv comedy, dances, life drawing of fursuiters, a review of scientific research by a research group at four universities called FurScience, a pin collector’s social, and workshops in writing.

The “Dealer’s Den” hall was expanded this year, with even more retailers and artists. While many offered “furry” versions of traditional products, at least one business focused on “pushing the boundaries of fursuit technology.” Along with 3D printing a bone-shaped name tag when Wikinews visited, Grivik was demonstrating miniature computer screens that could be used as “eyes” for a fursuit. The electronic displays projected an animation of eyes looking around, blinking occasionally. The maker has also developed “a way to install a camera inside suit heads, to improve fursuiter visibility.” He hopes the tech would reduce suiting risks and accidents. Without the need for eyeholes, fursuit makers would have “more options for building different eyestyles.”

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May 21
Six killed in UK car crash
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Six killed in UK car crash

Saturday, February 14, 2009

A car crash on the A614 road, in Nottinghamshire, England has killed six people, all of whom are believed to have lived near the scene of the crash.

All six victims died at the scene of the crash, which involved four young adults in a Peugeot 206 and two elderly people, possibly a male and female, who police believe to be in their 60s, in the other car said to be a Ford Fiesta. Rescue workers fought to save the one of the elderly individuals, but were unsuccessful. Both vehicles collided head-on and exploded upon colliding.

Two police officers on traffic patrol discovered the crash, which took place at 23:00 local time (UTC) yesterday. The officers involved were praised by Bruce Cameron, a superintendent for Nottinghamshire Police. “The bodies are very badly burnt and they will have to be identified using dental records. We want to make sure we are absolutely certain as to who was in both cars when the accident happened,” he said.

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What can be done to improve the safety of roads like the A614?
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Local residents say that the A614 has been the scene of a large number of accidents. One resident, Stuart Stonebridge, told The Daily Telegraph that “we only moved here three years ago and there have been a lot of accidents and some fatalities in that time,” while another resident, Janice Gilbody said that “the people of Bilsthorpe will be in shock, horror and disbelief at the young lives lost.”

Gilbody also said that this accident is “yet again another accident on this road.” She then added that the road was dangerous, saying that “it’s a wonder it doesn’t happen more often.”

The cause of the crash is still under investigation, but police say weather was not a contributing factor.

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May 19
Released video: Israeli soldier shoot bound man at short range
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Released video: Israeli soldier shoot bound man at short range

Sunday, July 20, 2008

B’Tselem, an Israeli organization purporting to be seeking the improvement of human rights in the West Bank, released a short video, showing a soldier shooting from close range at the feet of a blindfolded Palestinian protester. The Israel Defense Forces soldier used a rubber coated or plastic bullet. The Palestinian man, Ashraf Abu Rahman 27, says he was lightly wounded at his toe due to the shooting. He also claims to have been beaten up earlier during the protest.

B’Tselem says a lieutenant colonel was at the scene, responsible for tying the man before the shot was taken and demands an investigation. Later, Israel authorities announced that they arrested the Israeli soldier whose picture was on the video for investigation.

The shooting which took place on July 7 in Nilin, West Bank. Was taken slightly after a violent protest against the construction of Israel’s separation barrier. Some Palestinian rescue organizations claimed that ten Palestinians were shot by the rubber bullets during this protest.

The separation barrier, which was decided upon following a wave of Palestinian suicide bombings in Israel during the Second Intifada, has been a source for contention due to what the Palestinian claim to be land grabbing by the Israeli government.

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May 19
Australia/2006
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Australia/2006

Contents

  • 1 January
  • 2 February
  • 3 March
  • 4 April
  • 5 May
  • 6 June
  • 7 July
  • 8 August
  • 9 September
  • 10 October
  • 11 November
  • 12 December

[edit]

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May 16
Israeli bombardment spills 35,000 tons of heavy fuel oil
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Israeli bombardment spills 35,000 tons of heavy fuel oil

Tuesday, August 1, 2006

Resulting from the Israeli bombings on July 13 and 15, 2006 of the Jiyeh power station, located on the coast 30 kilometers south of Beirut, Lebanon, approximately 35,000 tons of heavy fuel oil have spilled into the Mediterranean Sea. The Lebanese Ministry of Environment expects additional tonnage to flow into the sea as a result of the damage. For comparison, the Exxon Valdez oil spill released nearly 40,000 tons.

According to Berj Hatjian from the Lebanon Ministry of Environment, “What we have here is equivalent to a tanker sinking, and 20,000 to 30,000 tonnes reaching the shoreline.” Furthermore, several storage tanks caught fire due to the blast of the bombardment and continued to burn uncontrollably for 10 days after. Wind and water currents have spread the oil slick across 70-80 kilometers of Lebanon coastline.

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May 15
Scientology protest group celebrates founder’s birthday worldwide
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Scientology protest group celebrates founder’s birthday worldwide
 Correction — March 19, 2008 The next protest is scheduled for April 12, 2008. The article below states April 18 which is incorrect. 

Saturday, March 15, 2008

The Internet group Anonymous today held further protests critical of the Church of Scientology.

The global protests started in Australia where several hundred protesters gathered at different locations for peaceful protests.

In a global speech, the Internet protest movement said Scientology “betrayed the trust of its members, [had] taken their money, their rights, and at times their very lives.” The protesters welcomed the public interest their protests have led to, and claimed they witnessed “an unprecedented flood of Scientologists [joining] us across the world to testify about these abuses.” The group said it would continue with monthly actions.

In a press statement from its European headquarters, Scientology accused the anonymous protesters of “hate speech and hate crimes”, alleging that security measures were necessary because of death threats and bomb threats. This also makes the Church want to “identify members” of the group it brands as “cyber-terrorists”.

Wikinews had correspondents in a number of protest locations to report on the events.

Anonymous states that the next protest is scheduled to take place on April 18, which happens to be the birthday of Suri, the daughter of Tom and Katie Cruise.

Contents

  • 1 Location reports
    • 1.1 Adelaide, Australia
    • 1.2 Atlanta, Georgia
    • 1.3 Austin, Texas
    • 1.4 Boston, Massachusetts
    • 1.5 Brussels, Belgium
    • 1.6 London, England
    • 1.7 Manchester, England
    • 1.8 New York, New York
    • 1.9 Buffalo, New York
    • 1.10 Seattle, Washington
    • 1.11 Sydney, Australia
    • 1.12 Portland, Oregon
  • 2 Related news
  • 3 Sources
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May 15
U.S. actor Charlie Sheen questions 9/11 theories
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U.S. actor Charlie Sheen questions 9/11 theories

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Charlie Sheen, appearing on cable television news network station CNN on March 24, questioned the credibility of the theory that 19 hijackers caused all of the destruction to the World Trade Center.

Sheen said; “It seems to me like, you know, 19 amateurs with box cutters taking over four commercial airliners and hitting 75 percent of their targets, that feels like a conspiracy theory… I am an American citizen that loves my country…. People want the truth. They want the truth. And what’s been offered to us resembles nothing of the sort.

In recounting his reaction on the day of the event, Sheen said,”I was up early and we were gonna do a pre-shoot on Spin City, the show I used to do. I was watching the news and the north tower was burning. There was a feeling, it just didn’t look like any commercial jetliner I’ve flown on any time in my life and then when the buildings came down later on that day I said to my brother, ‘Call me insane but did it sorta look like those buildings came down in a controlled demolition?’

Writer Marc Jacobson, of the New York magazine, who co-appeared with Sheen on the same program said in response: “Well, I think he’s doing a reasonable rendition of what other people that believe in this stuff say. And when he says he has his facts straight, I mean, I think the facts are in question. I mean, I think, just because you know what it says on all of these different Web sites doesn’t mean that that’s necessarily the fact. That’s the reason why the United States government, with their endless amounts of resources, let us down by not doing the proper work on the 9/11 Commission. That’s a real problem. Well, you know, but, I mean, it’s just one of those kind of things where you do this work and nobody really cares, but then Charlie Sheen is interested, so then everybody is interested, and that’s fine. You know, obviously, this material needs to be looked at again, because there’s been a lot of problems with the 9/11 Commission report. People feel it’s not adequate. Most of the people who had lost people during that time feel it’s not adequate. And it’s just I think we’re living in a truth vacuum, in a sense, that any time there’s a truth vacuum, these ideas — because people are smart. They put two and two together. Sometimes they get five; sometimes they get 12, but sometimes they get 11, like 9/11, but sometimes they get four. And the thing is that, if you have a situation where the so-called facts are covered up and aggressively covered up, then you’re going to get these conspiracy theories.” One website is claiming that Google had been censoring out any news articles relating to Sheen and 9/11 from it’s search engine.

Regarding the plane that hit the Pentagon, Sheen also has questions: “Just show us how this particular plane pulled off these maneuvers… It is up to us to reveal the truth. It is up to us because we owe it to the families, we owe it to the victims, we owe it to everyone’s life who was drastically altered, horrifically, that day and forever. We owe it to them to uncover what happened.

Some supporters of Sheen’s theories have complained about the lack of mainstream media coverage. They point to CNN’s recent cancellation of Ed Asner’s interview on Showbiz Tonight, where he was expected to support Sheen’s position, as an example of the “media blackout”.

Marina Hyde of The Guardian proposed a theory of her own with regard to Sheen: “Frankly, with dentistry as expensive as yours, you simply can’t afford to let The Man stamp his jackboot down on your face, and so it is that when faced with the inquiry ‘did Lee Harvey Oswald act alone?’, you find yourself thinking: ‘God, I mean… do any of us? Like, he had to have people, you know? At least an agent and a publicist.'”

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