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News briefs: April 28, 2012

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Posted by Admin | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 12-06-2019

Saturday, April 28, 2012

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Saturday, April 21, 2012
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British Gas to increase electricity, gas prices

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Posted by Admin | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 12-06-2019

Sunday, July 10, 2011

British-based utility company Centrica, which holds ownership of British Gas, has announced its intentions to increase the prices of domestic electricity and gas later this year. On August 18, 2011, the company plans to raise the costs of gas and electrical supplies by eighteen and sixteen per cent, respectively. According to The Guardian, nine million customers will be affected by these changes.

British price comparison website uSwitch has reported that the “[a]verage household bill for a dual fuel British Gas customer will now go up from £1,096 to £1,288”. Mike O’Connor, the chief executive officer of consumer organisation Consumer Focus, has claimed that the announcement “will send a shock wave across the country” and will place an increasing amount of difficulties “on stretched household budgets. Consumers […] rightly question whether prices are fair.”

Phil Bentley, a managing director for British Gas, has claimed that value increases like this are “an issue facing all energy suppliers”. A director for British Gas, named Ian Peters, has claimed that “a fair return” will be made after the changes occur.

In 2010, British Gas experienced its largest ever profit, making £742 million (US$1,192 million, €835 million). Meanwhile, Centrica achieved £2.4 billion (US$3.8 billion, €2.7 billion) in profits. Richard Lloyd from product sampling charity Which? criticised the decision to raise prices, calling the declaration “unwelcome but unsurprising” for British Gas consumers.

Previously in December 2010, British Gas increased the price of its gas by 6.9%, which equates to £43 (US$69, €48). At the same time, the company’s electricity prices were raised by 6.7%, or £28 (US$45, €32). On Friday, Chris Huhne, the secretary of the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee, said that British electricity businesses must modify themselves so as to avoid “the cycle of fossil fuel addiction. Alternatives like renewables and nuclear power must be allowed to become the dominant component of our energy mix,” said Huhne.

This news comes to light as Scottish Power, a rival energy company to British Gas, announced last month their intentions to up the prices of their electricity and gas supplies by ten and nineteen per cent respectively.

Ben Shephard announces departure from GMTV

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Posted by Admin | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 12-06-2019

Friday, April 23, 2010

Ben Shephard has announced his departure from GMTV, the current television breakfast programme on ITV in the United Kingdom, having been a presenter on the programme for ten years. His current contract ends in April 2010, but he is expected to leave by the end of the Summer of 2010, according to the Press Association.

Initially, Shephard only presented an entertainment section of the television programme before being given a promotion to the sofa in 2005. He is the third presenter to leave GMTV within the last year, after the departures of Fiona Phillips and Penny Smith.

According to a statement released from Ben Shephard’s agent: “Ben’s two-year contract with GMTV is up at the end of April. Earlier this year, his management made it clear that he would not be renewing it, but would be happy to stay on temporarily during this transitional period. Ben is excited about moving on after 10 incredible years and will be focusing on a number of new projects with ITV and other channels.”

Adrian Chiles, who recently announced his departure from the BBC after modifications were made to The One Show — a show that he presented with Christine Bleakley — was recently reported to be appearing as a presenter on GMTV in the future.

International exhibit of chair art starts in Canada

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Posted by Admin | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 08-06-2019

Monday, November 21, 2005

The international entry mail art show SAT: An Exhibit of Chairs was put on display Friday in Brampton, Ontario, Canada. Held in the Fridge Front Gallery at the Shoppers World Brampton mall, SAT is a diverse collection of artworks focusing on a generally mundane object, the chair.

Works in the show range from realism to abstract, dadaism to surrealism, post-modern to collage.

While some of the entries were submitted directly to Visual Arts Brampton, most came from a previous exhibit. Organized by Pati Bristow, No place to rest, chairs you can’t sit on ran at Shopping Trolley Gallery West and Seaman’s Library at Foothill College, both in Los Altos Hills, California, earlier in 2005. Guest curator Nicholas Moreau was unaware of the similarly themed exhibit, held so soon before. The theme for SAT was based on that of a 1987 juried art show organized by Visual Arts Brampton at the now-defunct Chinguacousy Library Gallery.

Works in Visual Arts Brampton’s showing of the exhibition are from 17 countries including Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Pakistan, Romania, Spain, Uruguay, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America.

This is Visual Arts Brampton’s third mail art show. In 1999, Susan Williamson created The Great Canadian Mail Art Show for Artway at Bramalea City Centre; the show was so successful that the Art Gallery of Peel adopted it in 2001. The concept of a mail art show was revived in 2004 by Moreau, held at the new Artway Shoppers World. The Snail Mail World Postcard Art Show has been held annually since.

Visual Arts Brampton’s Fridge Front Gallery primarily hosts artwork by youth from its kids classes, and from schools in Brampton and Oakville. In contrast, the nearby Artway Gallery hosts artwork by professional and amateur adult artists from across Peel. VAB has successfully sought permission to create a third display space in Shoppers World, in the Zellers corridor. The space will host shows of mail art and works on paper year-round. The planned “World Art Gallery” will be the first ever permanent display space for mail art.

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.

Wikinews interviews Australian Statistician Brian Pink

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Posted by Admin | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 05-06-2019

Monday, April 7, 2008

The Australian Bureau of Statistics is responsible for some of Australia’s largest surveys, including the Census of Population and Housing, held every five years. At its head is the Australian Statistician. The current Statistician, Brian Pink, started in his position on March 5, 2007, following the retirement of predecessor Dennis Trewin. Wikinews recently caught up with Brian Pink to talk with him about his first year in the position, as well as his previous tenure as Government Statistician at Statistics New Zealand, and the state of mathematical education in Australia.

((WikiNews)) : Good afternoon.

Brian Pink: Good afternoon.

((WN)) : And congratulations on spending a year as Australian Statistician.

BP: Yes, it’s gone very quickly. (laughs)

Bomb blast kills at least eleven in Pakistan, over twenty wounded

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Posted by Admin | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 02-06-2019

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Pakistani police said today that a suicide car bombing has killed at least eleven people and wounded more than twenty others, in the latest attack in the northwestern city of Peshawar.

Officials reported that the bomber set off the explosives at a police checkpoint, and added that two police officers are among the dead.

“At least eleven people have been killed and 26 others wounded,” said Sahibzada Anis, the Peshawar district administration chief, to the Agence France-Presse news agency.

According to the man in charge of the checkpoint, Malik Jehangir, he noticed a black car across the barrier and asked security officers to check it. “I saw that there was some argument between the driver and the policeman and suddenly a blast downed me with shrapnel piercing my shoulder,” he said, as quoted by Al Jazeera.

The bombing came a day after a suicide bomber struck the Peshawar office of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency, killing ten people. That blast caused a large portion of the three-story ISI building to collapse.

CanadaVOTES: Libertarian John Kittridge in St. Paul’s

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Posted by Admin | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 28-05-2019

Monday, October 13, 2008

In an attempt to speak with as many candidates as possible during the 2008 Canadian federal election, Wikinews has talked via email with John Kittredge. John is a candidate in Toronto, Ontario’s St. Paul riding, running under the Libertarian Party banner. Libertarians are a minor, registered political party; they are looking to earn their first ever seat in the House of Commons.

Incumbent Carolyn Bennett of the Liberals is running against Libertarian Kittridge, Conservative Heather Jewell, New Democrat Anita Agrawal, and Justin Erdman, a Green. Bennett was the Minister of Health under previous Prime Minister Paul Martin’s Liberal government. Since it was created in 1935, the riding has been batted about between the Liberals and the now defunct Progessive Conservative party.

The following is an interview with Mr. Kittridge, conducted via email. The interview has had very limited editing, to eliminate in-text mentions of website addresses, but is otherwise left exactly as sent to Wikinews.

Stolen laptop found; had over 98,000 students’ personal data

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Posted by Admin | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 27-05-2019

Sunday, September 18, 2005

San Francisco police have recovered a laptop stolen on March 11 from the University of California, Berkeley. The laptop was left unattended in the Graduate Division and contained personal information on 98,369 graduate students and applicants going as far back as 1976. This information included names, birth dates, addresses, and Social Security numbers.

The Silicon Valley forensic lab which analyzed the laptop said it had been reformatted, making it very difficult to determine if the data had been accessed. “There’s nothing in the Police Department investigation that points to any type of identity theft or credit card theft” said university spokeswoman Janet Gilmore.

The laptop was stolen by an unknown woman, who sold it to Shuki Alburati, who sold the laptop to an unsuspecting South Carolina man. Shuki Alburati was arrested on June 8 for receiving stolen property; he has been charged with one misdemeanor count.

He claims he didn’t know the laptop, a new IBM X40 worth $2,429, was stolen. He purchased the laptop from the woman, who said it wasn’t stolen, for $300 or $340. A few days later, on April 19, he placed the laptop on eBay. The winning bidder was a man in South Carolina who bought the laptop for $1,195.50. Police have said this man is not a suspect. Police were alerted by IBM after the man called IBM for tech support.

Shuki Alburati has pleaded not guilty. He claimed “It’s unfair, I didn’t know it was stolen.” His trial is scheduled for Sept. 30 before Superior Court Judge Michael Gaffey in Oakland. The woman who stole the laptop has not yet been found.

Boy missing in Glynn County, Georgia

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Posted by Admin | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 26-05-2019

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Six-year-old Christopher Michael Barrios, Jr. has been missing since Thursday night. He was last seen near his home in the Canal Mobile Home Park just north of Brunswick, Georgia.

He is a hispanic/black male, 3’06” – 4’00”, and 60-70 lbs. He has short black hair and brown eyes, and was last seen wearing a blue or green long sleeve shirt with a white T-shirt underneath and long black pants. He also was wearing white tennis shoes with a blue stripe on the side with a velcro closure on top.

Police say neighbors spotted a white car driving slowly in the area, but they are not sure if the car has anything to do with Christopher’s disappearance.

If you know anything about this you are asked to call the Glynn County police at 912-554-7803 or First Coast Crime Stoppers at 1-866-845-TIPS (1-866-845-8477). There is a $27,000 reward for the return of the missing boy.

This story has new developments.

Updated information can be found here

Bat for Lashes plays the Bowery Ballroom: an Interview with Natasha Khan

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Posted by Admin | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 24-05-2019

Friday, September 28, 2007

Bat for Lashes is the doppelgänger band ego of one of the leading millennial lights in British music, Natasha Khan. Caroline Weeks, Abi Fry and Lizzy Carey comprise the aurora borealis that backs this haunting, shimmering zither and glockenspiel peacock, and the only complaint coming from the audience at the Bowery Ballroom last Tuesday was that they could not camp out all night underneath these celestial bodies.

We live in the age of the lazy tendency to categorize the work of one artist against another, and Khan has had endless exultations as the next Björk and Kate Bush; Sixousie Sioux, Stevie Nicks, Sinead O’Connor, the list goes on until it is almost meaningless as comparison does little justice to the sound and vision of the band. “I think Bat For Lashes are beyond a trend or fashion band,” said Jefferson Hack, publisher of Dazed & Confused magazine. “[Khan] has an ancient power…she is in part shamanic.” She describes her aesthetic as “powerful women with a cosmic edge” as seen in Jane Birkin, Nico and Cleopatra. And these women are being heard. “I love the harpsichord and the sexual ghost voices and bowed saws,” said Radiohead‘s Thom Yorke of the track Horse and I. “This song seems to come from the world of Grimm’s fairytales.”

Bat’s debut album, Fur And Gold, was nominated for the 2007 Mercury Prize, and they were seen as the dark horse favorite until it was announced Klaxons had won. Even Ladbrokes, the largest gambling company in the United Kingdom, had put their money on Bat for Lashes. “It was a surprise that Klaxons won,” said Khan, “but I think everyone up for the award is brilliant and would have deserved to win.”

Natasha recently spoke with David Shankbone about art, transvestism and drug use in the music business.


DS: Do you have any favorite books?

NK: [Laughs] I’m not the best about finishing books. What I usually do is I will get into a book for a period of time, and then I will dip into it and get the inspiration and transformation in my mind that I need, and then put it away and come back to it. But I have a select rotation of cool books, like Women Who Run With the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estés and Little Birds by Anaïs Nin. Recently, Catching the Big Fish by David Lynch.

DS: Lynch just came out with a movie last year called Inland Empire. I interviewed John Vanderslice last night at the Bowery Ballroom and he raved about it!

NK: I haven’t seen it yet!

DS: Do you notice a difference between playing in front of British and American audiences?

NK: The U.S. audiences are much more full of expression and noises and jubilation. They are like, “Welcome to New York, Baby!” “You’re Awesome!” and stuff like that. Whereas in England they tend to be a lot more reserved. Well, the English are, but it is such a diverse culture you will get the Spanish and Italian gay guys at the front who are going crazy. I definitely think in America they are much more open and there is more excitement, which is really cool.

DS: How many instruments do you play and, please, include the glockenspiel in that number.

NK: [Laughs] I think the number is limitless, hopefully. I try my hand at anything I can contribute; I only just picked up the bass, really—

DS: –I have a great photo of you playing the bass.

NK: I don’t think I’m very good…

DS: You look cool with it!

NK: [Laughs] Fine. The glockenspiel…piano, mainly, and also the harp. Guitar, I like playing percussion and drumming. I usually speak with all my drummers so that I write my songs with them in mind, and we’ll have bass sounds, choir sounds, and then you can multi-task with all these orchestral sounds. Through the magic medium of technology I can play all kinds of sounds, double bass and stuff.

DS: Do you design your own clothes?

NK: All four of us girls love vintage shopping and charity shops. We don’t have a stylist who tells us what to wear, it’s all very much our own natural styles coming through. And for me, personally, I like to wear jewelery. On the night of the New York show that top I was wearing was made especially for me as a gift by these New York designers called Pepper + Pistol. And there’s also my boyfriend, who is an amazing musician—

DS: —that’s Will Lemon from Moon and Moon, right? There is such good buzz about them here in New York.

NK: Yes! They have an album coming out in February and it will fucking blow your mind! I think you would love it, it’s an incredible masterpiece. It’s really exciting, I’m hoping we can do a crazy double unfolding caravan show, the Bat for Lashes album and the new Moon and Moon album: that would be really theatrical and amazing! Will prints a lot of my T-shirts because he does amazing tapestries and silkscreen printing on clothes. When we play there’s a velvety kind of tapestry on the keyboard table that he made. So I wear a lot of his things, thrift store stuff, old bits of jewelry and antique pieces.

DS: You are often compared to Björk and Kate Bush; do those constant comparisons tend to bother you as an artist who is trying to define herself on her own terms?

NK: No, I mean, I guess that in the past it bothered me, but now I just feel really confident and sure that as time goes on my musical style and my writing is taking a pace of its own, and I think in time the music will speak for itself and people will see that I’m obviously doing something different. Those women are fantastic, strong, risk-taking artists—

DS: —as are you—

NK: —thank you, and that’s a great tradition to be part of, and when I look at artists like Björk and Kate Bush, I think of them as being like older sisters that have come before; they are kind of like an amazing support network that comes with me.

DS: I’d imagine it’s preferable to be considered the next Björk or Kate Bush instead of the next Britney.

NK: [Laughs] Totally! Exactly! I mean, could you imagine—oh, no I’m not going to try to offend anyone now! [Laughs] Let’s leave it there.

DS: Does music feed your artwork, or does you artwork feed your music more? Or is the relationship completely symbiotic?

NK: I think it’s pretty back-and-forth. I think when I have blocks in either of those area, I tend to emphasize the other. If I’m finding it really difficult to write something I know that I need to go investigate it in a more visual way, and I’ll start to gather images and take photographs and make notes and make collages and start looking to photographers and filmmakers to give me a more grounded sense of the place that I’m writing about, whether it’s in my imagination or in the characters. Whenever I’m writing music it’s a very visual place in my mind. It has a location full of characters and colors and landscapes, so those two things really compliment each other, and they help the other one to blossom and support the other. They are like brother and sister.

DS: When you are composing music, do you see notes and words as colors and images in your mind, and then you put those down on paper?

NK: Yes. When I’m writing songs, especially lately because I think the next album has a fairly strong concept behind it and I’m writing the songs, really imagining them, so I’m very immersed into the concept of the album and the story that is there through the album. It’s the same as when I’m playing live, I will imagine I see a forest of pine trees and sky all around me and the audience, and it really helps me. Or I’ll just imagine midnight blue and emerald green, those kind of Eighties colors, and they help me.

DS: Is it always pine trees that you see?

NK: Yes, pine trees and sky, I guess.

DS: What things in nature inspire you?

NK: I feel drained thematically if I’m in the city too long. I think that when I’m in nature—for example, I went to Big Sur last year on a road trip and just looking up and seeing dark shadows of trees and starry skies really gets me and makes me feel happy. I would sit right by the sea, and any time I have been a bit stuck I will go for a long walk along the ocean and it’s just really good to see vast horizons, I think, and epic, huge, all-encompassing visions of nature really humble you and give you a good sense of perspective and the fact that you are just a small particle of energy that is vibrating along with everything else. That really helps.

DS: Are there man-made things that inspire you?

NK: Things that are more cultural, like open air cinemas, old Peruvian flats and the Chelsea Hotel. Funny old drag queen karaoke bars…

DS: I photographed some of the famous drag queens here in New York. They are just such great creatures to photograph; they will do just about anything for the camera. I photographed a famous drag queen named Miss Understood who is the emcee at a drag queen restaurant here named Lucky Cheng’s. We were out in front of Lucky Cheng’s taking photographs and a bus was coming down First Avenue, and I said, “Go out and stop that bus!” and she did! It’s an amazing shot.

NK: Oh. My. God.

DS: If you go on her Wikipedia article it’s there.

NK: That’s so cool. I’m really getting into that whole psychedelic sixties and seventies Paris Is Burning and Jack Smith and the Destruction of Atlantis. Things like The Cockettes. There seems to be a bit of a revolution coming through that kind of psychedelic drag queen theater.

DS: There are just so few areas left where there is natural edge and art that is not contrived. It’s taking a contrived thing like changing your gender, but in the backdrop of how that is still so socially unacceptable.

NK: Yeah, the theatrics and creativity that go into that really get me. I’m thinking about The Fisher King…do you know that drag queen in The Fisher King? There’s this really bad and amazing drag queen guy in it who is so vulnerable and sensitive. He sings these amazing songs but he has this really terrible drug problem, I think, or maybe it’s a drink problem. It’s so bordering on the line between fabulous and those people you see who are so in love with the idea of beauty and elevation and the glitz and the glamor of love and beauty, but then there’s this really dark, tragic side. It’s presented together in this confusing and bewildering way, and it always just gets to me. I find it really intriguing.

DS: How are you received in the Pakistani community?

NK: [Laughs] I have absolutely no idea! You should probably ask another question, because I have no idea. I don’t have contact with that side of my family anymore.

DS: When you see artists like Pete Doherty or Amy Winehouse out on these suicidal binges of drug use, what do you think as a musician? What do you get from what you see them go through in their personal lives and with their music?

NK: It’s difficult. The drugs thing was never important to me, it was the music and expression and the way he delivered his music, and I think there’s a strange kind of romantic delusion in the media, and the music media especially, where they are obsessed with people who have terrible drug problems. I think that’s always been the way, though, since Billie Holiday. The thing that I’m questioning now is that it seems now the celebrity angle means that the lifestyle takes over from the actual music. In the past people who had musical genius, unfortunately their personal lives came into play, but maybe that added a level of romance, which I think is pretty uncool, but, whatever. I think that as long as the lifestyle doesn’t precede the talent and the music, that’s okay, but it always feels uncomfortable for me when people’s music goes really far and if you took away the hysteria and propaganda of it, would the music still stand up? That’s my question. Just for me, I’m just glad I don’t do heavy drugs and I don’t have that kind of problem, thank God. I feel that’s a responsibility you have, to present that there’s a power in integrity and strength and in the lifestyle that comes from self-love and assuredness and positivity. I think there’s a real big place for that, but it doesn’t really get as much of that “Rock n’ Roll” play or whatever.

DS: Is it difficult to come to the United States to play considering all the wars we start?

NK: As an English person I feel equally as responsible for that kind of shit. I think it is a collective consciousness that allows violence and those kinds of things to continue, and I think that our governments should be ashamed of themselves. But at the same time, it’s a responsibility of all of our countries, no matter where you are in the world to promote a peaceful lifestyle and not to consciously allow these conflicts to continue. At the same time, I find it difficult to judge because I think that the world is full of shades of light and dark, from spectrums of pure light and pure darkness, and that’s the way human nature and nature itself has always been. It’s difficult, but it’s just a process, and it’s the big creature that’s the world; humankind is a big creature that is learning all the time. And we have to go through these processes of learning to see what is right.