Feb 7
Australia to lose $2 billion due to Japanese disasters

Friday, April 1, 2011

The fallout from earthquake and tsunami catastrophes in Japan will cost Australia about A$2 billion in lost export earnings in the near term due to lower Australian exports to Japan, according to estimates in a Treasury brief released Thursday. After China, Japan is Australia’s largest export market, making up 15 percent of its total exports.

The tragic events in Japan—together with the impact of floods and Cyclone Yasi at home—will clearly mean revenues take a substantial hit in the near term.

“The tragic events in Japan—together with the impact of floods and Cyclone Yasi at home—will clearly mean revenues take a substantial hit in the near term”, Treasurer Wayne Swan said in the brief.

Short term exports of “non-rural bulk commodities” are predicted to be lower as Japanese port facilities, coal-fired power stations and steel-making plants were damaged. Businesses whose export products are designated for Japan must find other customers to replace Japanese clients, the brief said. The loss of Japanese markets has been a contributor to a 6 percent drop in the price of iron ore and an 8 percent drop in the price of coal. Japan imports account for 27 percent of Australia’s iron ore and coal exports.

Also on Thursday, Japan’s manufacturing production index experienced its sharpest fall in the decade since data has been collected, indicating a steep fall in output for most businesses in Japan in March. Recently, Japanese industry seemed to be rebounding from the global financial crisis.

In Asia, concern is mounting that the electricity shortages and other disruptions to Japan’s manufacturing sector will affect manufacturing in various areas of Asia, since the manufacturing of many goods are dependent on the integrated network of supply chains.

Feb 6
Toyota recalls up to 1.8 million automobiles
Toyota recalls up to 1.8 million automobiles

Saturday, January 30, 2010

The automobile manufacturer Toyota has said that it will recall up to 1.8 million cars across Europe, after a problem with the accelerator pedal was discovered.

According to the firm, eight models were affected by the problem — AYGO, iQ, Yaris, Auris, Corolla, Verso, Avensis, and RAV4 — after it was discovered that the accelerator may become stuck in a depressed position, resulting in uncontrollable speeding.

On Thursday, Toyota said it would recall 1.1 million cars in the US; a day previous, it had suspended eight models from sales. Last week, 2.3 million cars in the US were recalled due to the pedal issues.

The chief executive of Toyota Motor Europe commented on the recall. “We understand that the current situation is creating concerns and we deeply regret it,” said Tadashi Arashima. The firm, however, noted that it wasn’t aware of any accidents resulted by the malfunctioning accelerator pedals, and not many pedal problem incidents were reported in Europe. “The potential accelerator pedal issue only occurs in very rare circumstances,” Arashima added.

The National Automobile Dealers Association, meanwhile, commented that Toyota showrooms could lose as much as US$2.47 billion worth of revenue due to the incident.

“Toyota veterans will likely hear the news with disbelief and keep faith in the brand, but new customers could definitely be scared off,” remarked Robert Rademacher, who is the president of the trade group ZDK, as quoted by Business Week. “This recall has a dimension which we’ve never seen before.”

There are concerns that the problem may result in reduced consumer trust in Toyota. Hans-Peter Wodniok, an analyst for Fairesearch GmbH & Co. in Germany, noted: “If this is a one-time event, huge as it is, Toyota may be forgiven. But if something happens again in the next months and years, they will have gambled away customer trust in Europe as well.”

Analysts for Morgan Stanley, however, said they believed Toyota would not suffer much from the incident. “The company’s actions to correct the situation are timely enough to avoid major brand damage,” they remarked in a note to investors.

Feb 6
Governor of Illinois arrested on suspicion of corruption
Governor of Illinois arrested on suspicion of corruption

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Democratic governor of Illinois in the United States, Rod Blagojevich, 51, along with his chief of staff John Harris, 46, were arrested Tuesday morning by the FBI on federal corruption charges.

The Chicago Tribune reports that federal agents raided Blagojevich’s home this morning and took him into federal custody. The arrest comes after a three-year investigation into Blagojevich’s “pay-to-play politics.”

Specifically, the Department of Justice alleged that Blagojevich attempted to sell the Senate seat previously held by President-elect Barack Obama. Blagojevich, as governor, has the sole authority to appoint someone to complete Obama’s term. Authorities believe the process to select a new senator was tainted after authorities secretly recorded several of Blagojevich’s conversations. They believe that he was attempting to sell the seat in exchange for financial benefit for himself and his wife.

Documents from the FBI and from U.S. attorney Patrick Fitzgerald identify the people whom Blagojevich was considering as Senate Candidates 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5. According to Fitzgerald’s press release, Blagojevich told an advisor that he wanted to “get some (money) up front, maybe.”

In Illinois, a new state ethics law will take effect on January 1, 2009, so Blagojevich was trying to embezzle as much money as he could before that date, said Fitzgerald.

Authorities also believe that Blagojevich was trying to withhold state financial assistance from the owner of the Tribune, the Tribune Company, which recently filed for bankruptcy protection. They allege he was trying to get members of the editorial board of the Chicago Tribune fired by threatening to complicate the sale of Wrigley Field by Tribune Company.

On December 8, Blagojevich responded to the reports that federal authorities had wiretapped his phone conversations, saying that “I should say if anybody wants to tape my conversations, go right ahead, feel free to do it. I can tell you that whatever I say is always lawful and the things I’m interested in are always lawful.”

If convicted, Blagojevich could face up to 30 years in prison and $500,000 in fines.

This is not the first time in Illinois history that a governor has been arrested for corruption charges. In 2006, George Ryan was indicted and is now serving a 6½-year prison term.

Feb 6
Get The Right Team For Moving Day

byAlma Abell

As if relocating to a new home wasn’t an emotionally challenging experience already, hiring the services of a bad moving team can add to the stress, hassle and costs of the move. Get it right by looking for a better one out of the moving companies in Oak Park IL. Here’s how:

Prepare a moving inventory

A reputable moving company will always take an inventory of all your belongings. That’s why preparing a list can help speed things up. However, expect the estimator to go over all the items on the list with a walkthrough. If the estimator doesn’t or isn’t as thorough as s/he should be, that could be a marker for a less than stellar service.

Don’t pay a huge deposit

It’s normal for some moving companies to charge a deposit for the move. But if the fees are about 20 percent of the total bill or more, be wary, says Moving. You might be falling for a scam. Look elsewhere.

Get references

Don’t be afraid to request for references. Companies that are proud of the work they do and the service levels they provide will have that list ready in no time. That’s a good indication that you’re hiring the right one.

Call those numbers

Don’t consign those references to your desk drawer, though. Put them to good use. Call the numbers up. Reach out to previous clients and ask them about their moving experience with the firm. Will they recommend the company or use its services again? This gives you good insight into whether you’ve found the right moving team or not.

Consider quality

Delayed, destroyed or lost belongings – that’s the kind of service you can expect if you hire cheap. By choosing reputable moving companies in Oak Park IL, you can count on a professional and trustworthy team to demonstrate excellent handling practices and standards.

Feb 6
Brisbane, Australia Magistrates Court charges two cotton farmers with $20m fraud
Brisbane, Australia Magistrates Court charges two cotton farmers with $20m fraud

Thursday, August 30, 2018

On Tuesday, two officers of cotton farming conglomerate Norman Farming in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia appeared in the Brisbane Magistrates Court for alleged fraud of the government. Queensland Police alleged over the past seven years the farmers submitted fraudulent claims to receive funding from Queensland’s Department of Natural Resources, resulting in an approximately AUD20 million dishonest personal financial gain. The Court laid charges and released the defendants on bail.

According to the results of the investigation by Police, the two men allegedly falsified documents, including invoices, misrepresenting work from contractors as earthwork supposedly in aid of improving water irrigation efficiency. The two allegedly presented farming-related work on their property on six projects as aimed at improving the efficiency of water irrigation at their property near Goondiwindi.

Police arrested the chief executive officer (CEO) of the conglomerate, 43-year-old John Norman, and the conglomerate’s chief financial officer, 53-year-old Stephen Evans. They appeared in Court represented by their lawyers. In the Court they were charged, Norman with six and Evans with four counts of aggravated fraud, Norman with six and Evans with four counts of fraudulently producing or using a false record. Police opposed bail, however the Magistrate released the two on bail conditionally, requiring they surrender their passports.

According to reports by Australian Broadcasting Corporation and The Guardian, neighbours of Norman Farming had complained to the authorities about Norman Farming’s work resulting in excessive removal of floodwater from the McIntyre river, leading to reduced availability of water for the farmers downstream.

Queensland’s Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy provided the funding as a part of its Healthy Head Waters scheme. Detective Inspector Mick Dowie said the Department did not have the authority of police to compel provision of documents, leading to difficulty with verifying the invoices which the two submitted in their application.

Dowie said the investigation took over a year to complete, including analysis of accounting reports.

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Feb 5
Rescuers search for survivors of Japan rail disaster
Rescuers search for survivors of Japan rail disaster

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Rescuers working with cranes and heavy equipment at the scene of Japan’s worst rail accident in forty years pulled 3 survivors and more bodies out of the wreckage of a packed commuter train that derailed on Monday. The crash is now claiming 95 lives and over 400 injuries. Hopes are fading for more survivors in the rail car search where it is thought a dozen bodies may yet remain.

The train crashed into the side of a nine-story apartment building located nearby a bend where it jumped the track. Relatives of those lost are arriving in Amagasaki to identify loved ones in a gymnasium where a makeshift morgue is located.

Police searching for the cause of yesterday’s disaster investigated eight offices of West Japan Railway Co on Tuesday for clues to the rail driver. Police conducting the probe said professional negligence may be involved. The train operator, who in the past received a warning for a similar incident, over-shot the stop at the previous station and had to back the train up nearly 40 m (130 feet).

It is unclear whether the inexperienced driver of the train survived, 23-year-old Ryujiro Takami with 11 months on the job.

Running late and traveling at what survivors thought was excessive speed, it is believed the train lost control at a bend in the track where 71 km/h (44 mph) was the speed limit; however, any speeds under 134 km/h (83 mph) should not have caused derailment.

The train and aircraft disaster research committee, which reports to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, began to research the disaster. The committee members revealed unofficially the physical reasons of the disaster are quite complexe A member of the committee says the speed of train was monitored and at the fifth train it was recoreded that this car had run at 108 km/h speed in a certain moment after emergency brake had worked.

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Feb 5
Elmwood Village Hotel proposal in Buffalo, N.Y. withdrawn
Elmwood Village Hotel proposal in Buffalo, N.Y. withdrawn
Buffalo, N.Y. Hotel Proposal Controversy
Recent Developments
  • “120 year-old documents threaten development on site of Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal” — Wikinews, November 21, 2006
  • “Proposal for Buffalo, N.Y. hotel reportedly dead: parcels for sale “by owner”” — Wikinews, November 16, 2006
  • “Contract to buy properties on site of Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal extended” — Wikinews, October 2, 2006
  • “Court date “as needed” for lawsuit against Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal” — Wikinews, August 14, 2006
  • “Preliminary hearing for lawsuit against Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal rescheduled” — Wikinews, July 26, 2006
  • “Elmwood Village Hotel proposal in Buffalo, N.Y. withdrawn” — Wikinews, July 13, 2006
  • “Preliminary hearing against Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal delayed” — Wikinews, June 2, 2006
Original Story
  • “Hotel development proposal could displace Buffalo, NY business owners” — Wikinews, February 17, 2006

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Buffalo, New York —According to the developer Savarino Construction Services Corporation, the proposed Elmwood Village Hotel which would be placed on the corner of Elmwood and Forest Avenues in Buffalo, New York has been withdrawn from the city’s Planning Board and Common Council and will undergo a “do over”; however, Eva Hassett, Vice President of Savarino says that the proposal will be resubmitted, from scratch by the end of next week.

The hotel would require the demolition of at least five properties, 1109-1121 Elmwood and would cause the closure of several businesses. Already, two businesses, Skunk Tail Glass and Six Nations Native American Gift Shop have relocated, outside the Elmwood Strip. Don apparel, H.O.D. Tattoo and Mondo Video still remain on Elmwood; however, Mondo Video is planning on moving to a new location. The hotel will be 72 rooms and will cost at least 7 million dollars to build.

“We’re lovers, not fighters. Our energies should be spent on developing a really wonderful project, not wasted in court. We’ll start over with a clean slate and take as much time as necessary to hear people out and end up with a very positive project for the neighborhood,” said President of Savarino Construction, Sam Savarino.

The hotel will not undergo any major changes in its design says Savarino. “We would anticipate little if any physical change to the plans.” He also alleges that the issues with the hotel were not with the design or the proposal and also says that the hotel is still right for the intersection.

“The perceived problem was with the process, not the proposal itself. We believe this is the right thing to do on that corner,” added Savarino.

According to the Buffalo News, the projects resubmission is aimed to “shed the lawsuits” against the proposal. The Buffalo News also claims that the Common Council members are all still “in favor of the project.” The proposal was unanimously passed by the council on March 21, 2006.

Attorney Arthur J. Giacalone who represents the plaintiffs, Nancy Pollina and Patricia Morris, who operate Don Apparel (a vintage clothing and collectibles shop at 1119 Elmwood Avenue), Angeline Genovese and Evelyn Bencinich, owners of residences on Granger Place which abut the rear of the proposed site, Nina Freudenheim, a resident of nearby Penhurst Park, and Sandra Girage, the owner of a two-family residence on Forest Avenue less than a hundred feet from the proposed hotel’s sole entrance and exit driveway, says that the hotel proposal was “inappropriately rushed,” but some council members disagree. Defendants in the lawsuit against the hotel are, Buffalo’s Common Council and Planning Board, Mayor of Buffalo, Byron W. Brown, Savarino Construction Services Corporation, Hans J. Mobius and his son Hans S. Mobius owners of the properties at stake, Pano Georgiadis, owner of Pano’s Restaurant on Elmwood, and Cendant Corporation, the parent company of Wyndham Hotels, which will be, according to Savarino, the hotel operator. Attorney David State is representing the city, Planning Board, Mayor Byron Brown and the Common Council.

“I don’t think it was a rush job,” said Dominic J. Bonifacio Jr., the council’s Majority Leader.He also alleges that the only way to make “it [the hotel] a better project and ease the concerns of some neighbors would be to find a way to provide more parking.”

In an exclusive phone interview with Wikinews, Giacalone states that the lawsuit against the hotel and the city “will not be moved [withdrawn] unless the Common Council resins their [prior] decisions in passing the proposal.” Giacalone also says that Savarino has yet to submit any new plans for the proposal to the city. He also says that he “still plans to represent all plaintiffs” if they wish to continue with the suit and the use of his services.

Giacalone rescheduled the preliminary hearing which is “still in place” for July 27, 2006. When asked if the properties are still owned by Mobius, Giacalone replied “yes” and that according to attorney Bob Knoer, the Lawyer representing Hans Mobius, the owner of the properties that could be demolished, there is “no contract between Savarino” and that Mobius “plans to put the properties back on the market.” Mobius has not returned phone calls or e-mails and has not yet commented on the situation or the proposal itself. The city denies these claims.

In an exclusive phone interview by Wikinews, area councilman Joseph Golombek states that the reason for the resubmission of the proposal was due to “a mistake in the Planning process” and that none of the council members have “indicated that they have changed their opinions on the hotel” and still remain in favor of the project.

“I still think the Hotel is a good idea for that part of Elmwood. For Elmwood to stay strong and vibrant it must continue to grow and adapt to change. It is a different community than it was twenty years ago and will be different in another twenty years. The opponents of the Hotel have the opportunity to challenge it and are doing that. Even though I disagree with them I am glad there is a safety mechanism for people who disagree with government. We need to keep moving forward,” added Golombek.

Supporters of the hotel proposal are planning on holding a rally to support the new development. WNYmedia.net claims that the first rally will be held to support the hotel proposal on July 17, 2006 at 5:00 p.m. on Elmwood and Forest, on the site of the proposed location. According to WNYmedia.net they “are tired of the anti development crowd in Western New York.” They also blast opponents of the hotel proposal calling them “bananas” and “nimbys.” People opposed to the hotel proposal are planning on “counter attacking” with their own protest on the same day and time.


This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.
This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.
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Feb 5
Bayern Munich’s technical director Michael Reschke leaves the club, becomes sporting director of VfB Stuttgart
Bayern Munich’s technical director Michael Reschke leaves the club, becomes sporting director of VfB Stuttgart

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Yesterday, German football club Bayern Munich announced their technical director Michael Reschke vacated his position. VfB Stuttgart, who announced parting ways with their sporting director Jan Schindelmeiser on Friday, recruited Reschke as their new sporting director.

59-year-old Reschke served as the technical director at the Bavarian club for the past three years, holding the position from July 2014. In an official statement issued by Stuttgart on Friday, the club’s Supervisory Board made a “unanimous” decision to sack their sporting director Schindelmeiser. The board’s chairman Wolfgang Dietrich said, “We regret having to take this step, but we were no longer convinced the implementation of our goals and achievement of agreed targets would be possible with the current personnel constellation. Ultimately, VfB Stuttgart takes top-priority and it is our absolute responsibility to make decisions for the good of the positive development of the club.” ((de))German language: ?Wir bedauern diesen Schritt, waren letztlich aber nicht mehr davon überzeugt, dass die Umsetzung unserer Ziele und der getroffenen Absprachen in der bisherigen Personalkonstellation zu erreichen sind. Letztlich steht der VfB Stuttgart über allem und es ist unsere absolute Pflicht, Entscheidungen ausschließlich im Sinne des Vereins und im Sinne einer positiven Entwicklung zu treffen.

Bayern Munich’s CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge thanked Reschke for his work, saying, “On behalf of FC Bayern München, I’d like to thank him for the tremendous work he’s done for FC Bayern over the last three years. He’s made an important contribution to our success with his expertise, professionalism and network. I wish him all the best for the future.” ((de))German language: ?Ich bedanke mich im Namen des FC Bayern München für die hervorragende Arbeit, die Michael Reschke in den vergangenen drei Jahren für den FC Bayern geleistet hat. Er hat mit seinem Fachwissen, seiner Professionalität und seinem Netzwerk einen wichtigen Beitrag zum Erfolg des FC Bayern geleistet. Ich wünsche ihm alles Gute für seine Zukunft.

On Friday, Reschke requested termination of his contract with the German giants, which was valid for another year, until June 30, 2018.

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Feb 4
Search and rescue beacons soon to make the digital jump
Search and rescue beacons soon to make the digital jump

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Starting February 1, Cospas-Sarsat will discontinue monitoring the frequencies that are used for analog-based emergency position-indicating radio beacons (EPIRB), the 121.5 and 243 MHz frequencies. Search and rescue (SAR) groups worldwide will only monitor the 406 MHz frequency, which is dedicated to digital locators.

The 406 MHz digital band has many advantages over the older analog systems. Since the locators send data to satellites, rather than just provide a continuous signal, much more will be known about the emergency before a SAR group arrives, such as the type of vehicle and owner. In addition, the accuracy will be greatly enhanced from a 1400 square kilometre (500 square mile) search zone down to just 90m (100 yards) if the locator has a GPS fix. The most important reason for the switch is the reduction of false positives. With the older analog bands, only about one in every 50 alerts was real, whereas with the digital system that is reduced to about one in every 17 alerts being real.

With fewer false positives and greatly increased accuracy, SAR groups around the world will be better able and faster to respond to life-threatening emergencies within the critical “golden day”. They will also be able to do this with fewer wasted resources.

The phase-out of analog transponders has been a long time coming. The first warnings were sent by the US Coast Guard in 2000, and analog devices have not been manufactured in the last several years. For most large boats the cost of upgrading to the new system was negligible. The change February 1 is worldwide, with both the International Civil Aviation Organization and the International Maritime Organization recommending the switch.

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Feb 3
Gay Talese on the state of journalism, Iraq and his life
Gay Talese on the state of journalism, Iraq and his life

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Gay Talese wants to go to Iraq. “It so happens there is someone that’s working on such a thing right now for me,” the 75-year-old legendary journalist and author told David Shankbone. “Even if I was on Al-Jazeera with a gun to my head, I wouldn’t be pleading with those bastards! I’d say, ‘Go ahead. Make my day.'”

Few reporters will ever reach the stature of Talese. His 1966 profile of Frank Sinatra, Frank Sinatra Has a Cold, was not only cited by The Economist as the greatest profile of Sinatra ever written, but is considered the greatest of any celebrity profile ever written. In the 70th anniversary issue of Esquire in October 2003, the editors declared the piece the “Best Story Esquire Ever Published.”

Talese helped create and define a new style of literary reporting called New Journalism. Talese himself told National Public Radio he rejects this label (“The term new journalism became very fashionable on college campuses in the 1970s and some of its practitioners tended to be a little loose with the facts. And that’s where I wanted to part company.”)

He is not bothered by the Bancrofts selling The Wall Street Journal—”It’s not like we should lament the passing of some noble dynasty!”—to Rupert Murdoch, but he is bothered by how the press supported and sold the Iraq War to the American people. “The press in Washington got us into this war as much as the people that are controlling it,” said Talese. “They took information that was second-hand information, and they went along with it.” He wants to see the Washington press corp disbanded and sent around the country to get back in touch with the people it covers; that the press should not be so focused on–and in bed with–the federal government.

Augusten Burroughs once said that writers are experience junkies, and Talese fits the bill. Talese–who has been married to Nan Talese (she edited James Frey‘s Million Little Piece) for fifty years–can be found at baseball games in Cuba or the gay bars of Beijing, wanting to see humanity in all its experience.

Below is Wikinews reporter David Shankbone’s interview with Gay Talese.


  • 1 On Gay Talese
  • 2 On a higher power and how he’d like to die
  • 3 On the media and Iraq
  • 4 On the Iraq War
  • 5 State of Journalism
  • 6 On travel to Cuba
  • 7 On Chinese gay bars
  • 8 On the literary canon
  • 9 Sources
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