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Fatal police helicopter crash in Slovakia due to technical failure: preliminary Interior Ministry finding

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Last week’s police helicopter accident in eastern Slovakia was caused by technical failure and not human error, said the Ministry of Interior of the Slovak Republic on Friday. The statement is based on preliminary flight recorder data analysis. Ministry spokesperson Petar Lazarov confirmed the flight recorder and remains of the helicopter will be sent to the United States for further analysis. Helicopter crash occurred during a training exercise on May 10 shortly before 2:30 PM CEST at Prešov Air Base near Prešov, resulting in deaths of two crewmembers and serious injuries of both pilots.

According to initial reports by the Slovak Police Force, the helicopter spiraled down from a height of about 100 metres and 200 metres away from the point of take-off. Slovak tabloid newspaper Plus Jeden De? wrote that, according to a source from the forensic team that analysed flight recorders data, both rotors failed at the same time.

The accident caused fatal injuries to two Fire and Rescue Corps firefighters, First Lieutenant ((sk))Slovak language: ?nadporu?ík Peter To?or, born 1974, and Lieutenant Colonel ((sk))Slovak language: ?podplukovník Radoslav Lacko, born 1968. According to reports, one died on the site, and one in the Louis Pasteur University Hospital in Košice. “The patient suffered serious head and chest injuries. Our doctors resuscitated him for about 50 minutes. Ultimately, he died of his injuries,” said hospital spokesperson Ivana Stašková. Both firefighters were buried on May 16. The helicopter pilots were hospitalized with serious injuries in the Ján Adam Reiman Teaching Hospital with Polyclinic in Prešov. While one of them was stabilized and conscious already on May 10, suffering from right femoral fracture, right rib and facial bone fracture, the second one is still in serious condition at the Department of Anesthesiology and Intensive Medicine, said hospital spokesperson Renáta Cenková.

The Bell 429 GlobalRanger helicopter, registration OM-BYM, was made in 2014 and commissioned by the Aviation Department of the Ministry of Interior on August 17, 2015. The Aviation Department later commissioned another Bell 429 helicopter, registration OM-BYD. According to Bell Helicopter, the primary purpose of both these helicopters was to be “border protection, search and rescue, natural disaster relief missions and road traffic law enforcement”.

Bell Helicopter reacted on the incident, expressing condolences and willingness to assist with the investigation. Members of the National Council started their late-afternoon session on May 10 with a minute of silence for the victims of the crash. Other government officials expressed their condolences as well, including the President Andrej Kiska, the Prime Minister Robert Fico, and the Mayor of Prešov Andrea Tur?anová.

This accident was not the first Bell 429 helicopter crash in Slovakia. On September 7 of last year, an Air-Transport Europe rescue helicopter crashed near Banská Bystrica, killing all three crewmen and a patient aboard. Investigation is still in progress and no preliminary results are known.

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December

15

Category:Software

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Category:Software

This is the category for Software.

Refresh this list to see the latest articles.

  • 23 May 2018: Software giant Adobe Systems to acquire Magento Commerce for US$1.68 billion
  • 9 April 2018: US Republicans query Linux Foundation about open-source security
  • 14 August 2017: Mozilla, Creative Commons, Wikimedia Foundation announce Bassel Khartabil Free Culture fellowship following execution of open culture activist
  • 8 April 2017: GNOME to be Ubuntu’s default desktop environment, Canonical to stop investing in Ubuntu Phone
  • 4 November 2015: Volkswagen emissions scandal may affect thousands more cars
  • 22 September 2015: Volkswagen engulfed by diesel emissions scandal
  • 6 January 2014: Wikinews interviews on contributions to open-source: Opera
  • 8 April 2011: Microsoft to release patches for 64 security flaws on Tuesday
  • 23 March 2011: Petition urges Apple to remove ‘anti-gay’ app
  • 18 March 2011: Microsoft releases Internet Explorer 9 browser
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Wikinews interviews Rocky De La Fuente, U.S. Democratic Party presidential candidate

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Businessman Rocky De La Fuente took some time to speak with Wikinews about his campaign for the U.S. Democratic Party’s 2016 presidential nomination.

The 61-year-old De La Fuente resides in San Diego, California, grew up in Tijuana, and owns multiple businesses and properties throughout the world. Since getting his start in the automobile industry, De La Fuente has branched out into the banking and real estate markets. Despite not having held or sought political office previously, he has been involved in politics, serving as the first-ever Hispanic superdelegate to the 1992 Democratic National Convention.

De La Fuente entered the 2016 presidential race last October largely due to his dissatisfaction with Republican front-runner Donald Trump. He argues he is a more accomplished businessman than Trump, and attacks Trump as “a clown,” “a joke,” “dangerous,” and “in the same category as Hitler.” Nevertheless, De La Fuente’s business background begets comparisons with Trump. The Alaskan Midnight Sun blog described him as the Democrats’ “own Donald Trump.”

While receiving only minimal media coverage, he has campaigned actively, and according to the latest Federal Election Commission filing, loaned almost US$ 4 million of his own money to the campaign. He has qualified for 48 primary and caucus ballots, but has not yet obtained any delegates to the 2016 Democratic National Convention. Thus far, according to the count at The Green Papers, De La Fuente has received 35,406 votes, or 0.23% of the total votes cast. He leads among the many lesser-known candidates but trails both Senator Bernie Sanders who has received nearly 6.5 million votes and front-runner Hillary Clinton who has just shy of 9 million votes.

With Wikinews reporter William S. Saturn?, De La Fuente discusses his personal background, his positions on political issues, his current campaign for president, and his political future.

Contents

  • 1 Interview
    • 1.1 Background
    • 1.2 Campaign
    • 1.3 Issues
    • 1.4 Future
  • 2 Related news
  • 3 Sources
  • 4 External link
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Chemical plant fire decimates Danvers, Massachusetts neighboorhood

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

According to outgoing Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, an explosion that was “equivalent to a 2,000 lb. bomb” and registered 0.5 on the Richter scale decimated an area of Danvers and is also a “Thanksgiving miracle.”

The explosion occurred around 2:45 am EST, this morning in the Danversport area of Danvers, Massachusetts at the plant for solvent and ink manufacturer, CAI Inc. The explosion, which was caught on security camera and was heard up to over 25-50 miles away in southern Maine and New Hampshire.

The explosion damaged over 90 homes, blowing out windows and knocking some houses off their foundations. Officials believe that some of the more extensively damaged houses will have to be leveled and rebuilt. Some of the buildings damaged included a bakery, boats at a close by marina and the New England Home for the Deaf, an assisted-living facility for people who are deaf or deafblind and elderly residents requiring constant care. “These people are extremely fragile,” said state Rep. Ted Speliotis, D-Danvers, whose district includes the affected area. “Many of them have Alzheimer’s and other illnesses. It’s clear they can’t stay here long, but it’s clear they won’t be able to return for quite a while.”

Danvers Fire Chief James P. Tutko toured the area by helicopter and said many residents would be kept from their homes for the foreseeable future. “It looks like a war zone, that’s the only thing I can say,” Tutko said. When asked about the loss of no life at all, he responded “Somebody out there likes us.” Finally, he said that finding out the cause of the explosion would take days.

Outgoing governor Mitt Romney toured the area and said the explosion was a “Thanksgiving miracle” as the explosion was “equivalent to a 2,000 lb bomb going off in a residential neighborhood,” and that no one was killed and only about 10 people suffered only minor injuries in area that included over 300 residents. Residents of the area have been evacuated to the Danvers High School where temporary shelter has been set up by the American Red Cross of Massachusetts Bay. Donations are being taken for residents affected by the explosion. Residents are also being told to start filing insurance claims right away and to keep track of their expenses for items bought.

There were minor environmental concerns due to water runoff of chemicals. According the Environmental Protection Agency‘s on-scene coordinator Mike Nalipinski, preliminary tests showed low levels of toluene, a solvent, but said it was nothing of significance. Water runoff from the water used by firefighters left a purple sheen on the river and tests were being conducted. However, the water is not a local drinking water supply and the chemical evaporates quickly. Chief Tutko said there was no risk of toxic fumes getting into the air.

An Eastern Propane facility was also located near the area, however, it was not the source of the explosion. A spokesman for the company said that although the property suffered some minor damage, their tanks are secure.

According to WHDH television, a person who answered the telephone at CAI’s Georgetown, Massachusetts headquarters refused comment, and a telephone message left at the company president’s home was not immediately returned.

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California’s violent video game ban law ruled unconstitutional by US Court of Appeals

Sunday, February 22, 2009

A U.S. Court of Appeals on Friday has declared unconstitutional California Assembly Bills 1792 & 1793, the California “ultraviolent video games law” that sought to ban the sale or rental of violent video games to minors.

Federal judge Consuelo M. Callahan has ruled that the 2005 statewide ban, which has yet to be enforced, violates minors’ rights under the US Constitution’s First and 14th amendment because even the most graphic on-screen mayhem, video game content represents free speech that cannot be censored without proper justification.

The Court has ruled that there’s no convincing evidence it causes psychological damage to young people. The 3-0 judgment has affirmed an earlier ruling by a U.S. District Court, which barred enforcement of the law on the basis that it was “unduly restrictive” and “used overly broad definitions,” and that the state failed to show that the limitations on violent video games would actually protect children.

In 2005, Leland Yee (???), a California State Senator (in District 8 which includes the western half of San Francisco and most of San Mateo County), Speaker pro Tempore of the Assembly (D-San Francisco/Daly City), introduced California Assembly Bills 1792 & 1793 which barred “ultra-violent” video games from minors under the age of eighteen in California and mandated the application of ESRB ratings for video games.

“California Assembly Bills 1792 & 1793” were commonly called the “ultraviolent video games bills” or simply “video game ban” bills. Bill 1792 banned the sales of such video games while Bill 1793 required signs explaining the regulations on said games to be placed where such were sold. Both bills were passed by the Assembly and signed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger into law (AB 1179) on October 7, 2005.

Explicitly, these two bills provided that:

  • AB 1792 will place ultra-violent video games into the “matter” portion of the penal code, which criminalizes the sale of said material to a minor.
  • AB 1793 will require retailers to place M-rated games separate from other games intended for children, and will also require retailers to display signage explaining the ESRB rating system.

Yee, a former child psychologist has publicly criticized such games as Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas and Manhunt 2, and opposes the U.S. Army’s Global Gaming League.

On October 17, 2005, before the effectivity of the challenged Act, plaintiffs Video Software Dealers Association, the not-for-profit international trade association dedicated to advancing the interests of the $32 billion home entertainment industry and Entertainment Software Association, a 1994 US trade association of the video game industry have filed lawsuit (D.C. No. CV-05-04188-RMW) against the defendants Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, CA Attorney General, Edmund G. Brown, Santa Clara County District Attorney George Kennedy, City Attorney for the City of San Jose, Richard Doyle, and County Counsel for the County of Santa Clara, Ann Miller Ravel.

Plaintiffs’ counsel, Jenner & Block‘s Paul M. Smith has filed a declaratory relief to invalidate the newly-enacted California Civil Code sections 1746-1746.5 (the “Act”), on the grounds that it allegedly violated 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and the First and Fourteenth Amendments.

Plaintiffs have submitted that “the Act unconstitutionally curtailed freedom of expression on its face based on content regulation and the labeling requirement, was unconstitutionally vague, and violated equal protection. California’s restrictions could open the door for states to limit minors’ access to other material under the guise of protecting children.”

By December 2005, both bills had been struck down as unconstitutional, by Ronald M. Whyte, District Judge, Presiding in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California in San Jose, thereby preventing either from going into effect on January 1, 2006.

Judge Whyte has granted plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction in “Video Software Dealers Ass’n v. Schwarzenegger,” 401 F. Supp. 2d 1034 (N.D. Cal. 2005), and cross-motions for summary judgment, in “Video Software Dealers Ass’n v. Schwarzenegger,” No. C-05-04188, slip op. (N.D. Cal. Aug. 6, 2007).

Similar bills were subsequently filed in such states as Illinois, Oklahoma, Minnesota, Michigan and Louisiana have been ruled to be unconstitutional by federal courts on First Amendment grounds, according to Sean Bersell, a spokesman for the Entertainment Merchants Association.

The defendants, in the instant Case No. 07-16620, have timely appealed the judgment. On October 29, 2008, the appealed case was argued and submitted to the Sacramento, California‘s U.S. Court of Appeals, hence, the promulgation of the instant 30 pages decision (No. 07-16620; D.C. No. CV-05-04188-RMW) by Alex Kozinski, Chief Judge, Sidney R. Thomas and Consuelo M. Callahan (who wrote the court’s opinion), United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit Judges.

In the ban’s defense, Deputy Attorney General for the State of California, Zackery Morazzini has contended that “if governments restrict the sale of pornography to minors, it should also create a separate category for ultra-violent video games.” Edmund Gerald “Jerry” Brown, Jr., California Attorney General, has also argued that “the Court should analyze the Act’s restrictions under what has been called the ‘variable obscenity’ or ‘obscenity as to minors’ standard first mentioned in Ginsberg, 390 U.S. 629. The Court’s reasoning in Ginsberg that a state could prohibit the sale of sexually-explicit material to minors that it could not ban from distribution to adults should be extended to materials containing violence.”

The “Fallo” or dispositive portion of the judgment in question goes as follows:

We hold that the Act, as a presumptively invalid contentbased restriction on speech, is subject to strict scrutiny and not the “variable obscenity” standard from Ginsberg v. New York, 390 U.S. 629 (1968). Applying strict scrutiny, we hold that the Act violates rights protected by the First Amendment because the State has not demonstrated a compelling interest, has not tailored the restriction to its alleged compelling interest, and there exist less-restrictive means that would further the State’s expressed interests. Additionally, we hold that the Act’s labeling requirement is unconstitutionally compelled speech under the First Amendment because it does not require the disclosure of purely factual information; but compels the carrying of the State’s controversial opinion. Accordingly, we affirm the district court’s grant of summary judgment to Plaintiffs and its denial of the State’s cross-motion. Because we affirm the district court on these grounds, we do not reach two of Plaintiffs’ challenges to the Act: first, that the language of the Act is unconstitutionally vague, and, second, that the Act violates Plaintiffs’ rights under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.—”Video Software Dealers Association; Entertainment Software Association v. Arnold Schwarzenegger and George Kennedy” – No. 07-16620; D.C. No. CV-05-04188-RMW – Alex Kozinski, Chief Judge, Sidney R. Thomas and

Consuelo M. Callahan, United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit Circuit Judges.

“We need to help empower parents with the ultimate decision over whether or not their children play in a world of violence and murder,” said the law’s author, Sen. Leland Yee, announcing he wanted Edmund Gerald “Jerry” Brown, Jr., the current Attorney General and a former governor of the State of California, to appeal the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court.

“Letting the industry police itself is like letting kids sign their own report cards and that a self regulating system simply doesn’t work. I’ve always contended that the … law the governor signed was a good one for protecting children from the harm from playing these ultra-violent video games. I’ve always felt it would end up in the Supreme Court,” Sen. Yee explained. “In fact, the high court recently agreed, in Roper v. Simmons (2005), that we need to treat children differently in the eyes of the law due to brain development,” he added.

According to Michael D. Gallagher, president of the Entertainment Software Association, plaintiff, the Court’s ruling has stressed that parents, with assistance from the industry, are the ones who should control what games their children play. “This is a clear signal that in California and across the country, the reckless pursuit of anti-video game legislation like this is an exercise in wasting taxpayer money, government time and state resources,” Gallagher said in a statement.

California’s violent video game law properly seeks to protect children from the harmful effects of excessively violent, interactive video games. While I am deeply disappointed in today’s ruling, we should not stop our efforts to assist parents in keeping these harmful video games out of the hands of children.

Entertainment Software Association members include Disney Interactive Studios, Electronic Arts, Microsoft Corp, THQ Inc, Sony Computer Entertainment America, and Take-Two Interactive Software, the maker of “Grand Theft Auto” games.

Judge Callahan has also reprimanded state lawyers for having failed to show any reasonable alternatives to an outright statewide ban against the ultra-violent video games. “Ratings education, retailer ratings enforcement, and control of game play by parents are the appropriate responses to concerns about video game content,” said Bo Andersen, president and chief executive of the Entertainment Merchants Association.

Andersen continues, “retailers are committed to assisting parents in assuring that children do not purchase games that are not appropriate for their age. Independent surveys show that retailers are doing a very good job in this area, with an 80 percent enforcement rate, and retailers will continue to work to increase enforcement rates even further; the court has correctly noted that the state cannot simply dismiss these efforts.”

California was already forced to pay $282,794 to the ESA for attorneys’ fees, money that would’ve helped with the state’s current budget difficulties. Andersen has urged California government officials not to appeal the case. “The estimated $283,000 in taxpayer money spent by the state on this case is so far an ‘ill-advised, and ultimately doomed, attempt at state-sponsored nannyism.’ A voluntary ratings system already exists to avoid the state-sponsored nannyism of a ban,” he explained.

“The governor believes strongly we have a responsibility to our children and our communities to protect against the effects of video games depicting ultra-violent actions,” said Governor Schwarzenegger spokeswoman Camille Anderson adding the governor was reviewing Friday’s decision.

Deputy Attorney General Zackery Morazzini, the state’s counsel in the appealed case, has stressed that “a law restricting sales of violent games is far more effective than industry self-policing, since the technological controls that the court cited as another alternative can be easily bypassed by any kid with an Internet connection.”

According to Jim Steyer, Founder of Common Sense Media, a non-profit organization of 750,000 regular users dedicated to improving children’s media lives, researches have shown that playing these violent video games are detrimental for kids mental and physical health. “The health threat involved with kids playing such games is equivalent to smoking cigarettes,” Steyer said. “These violent video games are learning tools for our children and clearly result in more aggressive behavior,” said Randall Hagar, California Psychiatric Association’s Director of Government Affairs.

The Federal Trade Commission‘s data reveals that “nearly 70 percent of thirteen to sixteen year olds are able to purchase M-rated (Mature) video games, which are designed for adults; ninety-two percent of children play video or computer games, of which about forty percent are rated M, which are the fastest growing segment of the 10 billion-dollar video game industry; the top selling games reward players for killing police officers, maiming elderly persons, running over pedestrians and committing despicable acts of murder and torture upon women and racial minorities.”

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December

12

Huge interest takes Wikileaks offline

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Huge interest takes Wikileaks offline
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Saturday, March 29, 2008

The Wikileaks website, which publishes sensitive and censored material submitted by anonymous contributors, has experienced unprecedented levels of Internet traffic today through public interest. This interest has caused the website’s servers to be unable to meet the demand of over 164 gigabytes of download traffic within twenty-four hours, leading the site to be temporarily inaccessible.

The film Fitna, directed and produced by Dutch politician Geert Wilders, has caused controversy for its presentation of Wilders’ negative view of Islam as being committed to world domination and acts of terrorism. A trailer for the film was widely uploaded to many video sharing sites, including YouTube and Google Video; this met with anger from Islamic nations, the debacle culminating in Pakistan’s government ordering the nation’s internet service providers to block the YouTube site. This caused YouTube to be inaccessible to residents of other countries whose Internet service providers’ equipment automatically began routing traffic to YouTube via Pakistan Telecom’s servers, due to their ban accidentally propagating to other providers. Ultimately, YouTube acquiesced to the demands made by Pakistan and other organisations, in exchange for access being restored. The site LiveLeak originally hosted a copy of the trailer, which has now been replaced with a video message stating that the lives of their staff have been put at risk due to hosting it.

As a consequence of this censorship, Wikileaks mirrored the video, receiving heavy access traffic through hosting one of the few copies remaining on the Internet. Wikinews has obtained an exclusive statement from a representative of Wikileaks, affirming that the site has not been taken off-line due to external pressure, and is instead suffering technical problems due to this high demand. The representative gave the following statement:

It seems that due to a more than less overwhelming interest in the Fitna video and recent other media coverage from the protests in Tibet, as well as a few dozen new documents leaked on the portal in the last few days, parts of the portal have given up service and need a few warm words from a friendly Wikileaks operator. Please standby, the portal will be back soon.

Wikileaks gained recent public attention in the Bank Julius Baer vs. Wikileaks lawsuit, following publication of leaked documents that were alleged to provide evidence of money laundering, tax evasion and asset hiding by Swiss financial institution Bank Julius Baer. The documents are said to have been uploaded by Rudolf Elmer, a former chief operating officer of the bank’s Cayman Islands division, who was sacked following an investigation by the bank that involved polygraph testing. Wikileaks has not, however, stated that Elmer was the source of the documents. Bank Julius Baer sought an injunction against the operator of Wikileaks’ domain name, Dynadot, to remove access to the site from the Wikileaks.org domain; this was granted by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. The site was consequently inaccessible through this domain, although access could be obtained through many alternate addresses. Following activity by organisations such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the American Civil Liberties Union, who sought to defend the right to free speech that Wikileaks relied upon, the lawsuit was dropped and access was restored.

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December

11

Google introduces the ‘+1’ button

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Google introduces the ‘+1’ button
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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

On Monday, Google added the “+1” button to its search results. It works similarly to the Facebook “Like” button. Today, Google began planning to add it to text ads, globally known as “AdSense”.

Google Product Manager Nick Radicevic commented at Google’s AdSense blog: “Today, +1’s will start appearing on Google search pages globally. …. We’ll be starting off with sites like google.co.uk, google.de, google.jp and google.fr, then expanding quickly to most other Google search sites soon after.”

Individual websites also can use this feature. People with a Google account can add a “+1” button to their personal websites. If a large number of readers click the button, the site will move closer to the top in Google search results.

Google also plans to eventually add the “+1” button to its text advertisements, globally known as “AdWords”. A user would be able to add rank to an ad and optionally make it available at their Google profile.

Google expects the experiment to be useful to improve search results and to combat poor websites and content farms.

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December

11

Three killed in Tennessee vehicle crash

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Three killed in Tennessee vehicle crash
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Tuesday, July 5, 2005

Three teenagers were killed and two others were seriously injured near Dyer, Tennessee, United States early Tuesday afternoon when a driver with a restricted learners license, lost control of her sport utility vehicle, ran off the road, and struck several trees. Kayla Pate, 16, lost control of her vehicle when her right tires left the road and she attempted to swerve back onto it.

Two teens were pronounced dead on the scene and one later died in hospital. The deceased were identified as 17-year-old Ryan Williams, 15-year-old McKenzie Coble, and 15-year-old Anthony Jones. Driver Pate and another passenger, Hope Jones, were seriously injured. None of the teens were wearing seatbelts.

Tennessee’s Graduated Driver License stipulates that drivers under 18 can have only one passenger in a vehicle unless he or she is accompanied by a licensed driver more than 21 years old who holds an unrestricted license. Tennessee also requires seatbelts for drivers and all passengers.

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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December

11

Category:Food

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Category:Food
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This is the category for food.

Refresh this list to see the latest articles.

  • 14 April 2017: Google blocks home device from responding to Burger King commercial
  • 1 January 2017: William Salice, creator of Kinder Surprise eggs, dies at 83
  • 3 December 2016: Chinese chef Peng Chang-kuei’s death announced
  • 5 October 2016: World Wildlife Fund: 75% of seafood species consumed in Singapore not caught sustainably
  • 14 September 2016: Scientists claim decrease in hotness of Bhut Jolokia
  • 17 October 2015: Police shut down Edmonton pizza restaurant for illegally delivering alcohol
  • 16 September 2015: Subway sandwich empire co-founder Fred DeLuca dies
  • 30 August 2013: UK beer, soft drinks delivery drivers vote to strike
  • 7 August 2013: Russian government homosexuality position leads to NYC Russian vodka boycott
  • 12 May 2013: Fifth Expo Gastronomía finishes in Caracas
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December

9

Bangladesh security tightened following Pilkhana massacre and Bashundhara City fire

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Bangladesh security tightened following Pilkhana massacre and Bashundhara City fire
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Friday, March 20, 2009

Following the Pilkhana massacre which occurred February 25 and 26 leaving 74 dead and the inferno at the Bashundhara City shopping mall complex March 13 leaving seven dead, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said security measures are being tightened countrywide across Bangladesh.

Fire drills will be enacted at all key-point installations (KPI). Fire fighting systems will be examined by the fire brigade and the public works department (PWD) to ensure functionality. Security measures will be enhanced supplementing areas under private security such as at the Bashundhara City Complex.

The Fire Service and Civil Defence Department requires modernization and needs new equipment to fight fires past the sixth floor of buildings. The Fire Brigade says it needs turntable ladders, snorkels, foam-tenders, lighting units, emergency tenders, fireproof uniforms, and rescue ropes for fire fighting and rescue operations. Transportation to fires is also an issue due to narrow roads, low electrical wires and congestion.

The Bangladesh National Building Code requires fire fighting equipment installed in buildings over seven floors. This code is to be monitored by authorities to ensure compliance with the new guidelines and to make sure buildings are being maintained.

The Bashundhara City Complex opened Monday for shoppers two days after Friday’s blaze. A probe is underway to determine the cause of the fire and to assess structural damage.

Loss of life was minimized as the blaze broke out on a Friday, the beginning of the weekend in Bangladesh, so offices in the upper floors were empty. The lower eight floors are used for shopping and the upper floors are all Bashundhara Group offices.

The mall is valued at Tk 7.0 billion (US$100 million). It is not known if the complex is covered by fire insurance.

It is estimated that it will take over two years to rebuild the area damaged by flames which were burned down to a skeleton. Bashundhara City’s technical advisor, Latifur Rahman, estimated damages at Tk 2.0 billion (US$29m).

Only one television cameraman has been allowed in to film the burnt area. None of the 2,500 shops, cinemas or cafes were burnt by the inferno. The seventh and eighth floors still experience smoke damage, and there was water damage to merchandise.

A three member committee is currently investigating the cause of the fire which will consist of Iqbal Khan Chowdhury, joint secretary of the ministry, representatives of the police, IGP Noor Muhammad, and fire brigade, Director General Abu Nayeem Md Shahidullah. The committee is required to report within the week with their findings. The forensics department is also sifting through the burnt remains.

The Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industries has also formed a committee which has begun interviewing witnesses and recording their testimony alongside the government committee.

It has been discovered that 150 closed circuit cameras were not being used when the fire started. Another mystery is why the mall fire fighting system has been found unused.

Why the fire burnt so fiercely is a matter to think….These matters seem to be mysterious

“In the shopping mall there is an ultra-technology elevator which runs even without electricity but we have found that locked,” Iqbal Khan Chowdhury, joint secretary (Police) of the home ministry, said. “Why the fire burnt so fiercely is a matter to think. We have to see if there was any incendiary substance there. These matters seem to be mysterious.”

Mall management has been asked to submit substances and items which would have been in the upper floors when the fire started. The fire erupted on the 17th floor and spread quickly to the two floors above and engulfed the three floors below. The aerial ladders belonging to the Fire Service and Civil Defence reached as high as the 13th floor of the 21-storey building.

Videos have been sent to the United States (US) for examination to assist in determining the cause of the fire and to help in the damage assessment. Experts from the US are expected to arrive soon.

Firefighters were brought to the rooftop of the 20-storey tower by helicopter. The only fatality in this operation was Baki Billa, a firefighter of Bashundhara City firefighting department, who fell when climbing down a rope from a helicopter to the roof of the building. Three other firefighters made the transition safely. At this same time, the chief security officer was safely rescued by the Bangladesh Air Force helicopter, a Bell 212. Six security officers of the complex also lost their lives.

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