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Brazil spots unknown tribe of indigenous people in Amazon jungle

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Brazil has located an isolated group of indigenous, uncontacted people in the Brazilian Amazon rainforest, the Brazilian National Foundation of Indians (FUNAI) announced today.

FUNAI, a state agency, uses aerial expeditions to avoid impacting uncontacted people and invading their land. The agency’s policy is to avoid maintaining any human contact with untouched tribes.

Clearings in the Javari river valley reservation were first identified by satellite; the group’s existence was only verified later by air flights over the area. The flights established the existence of three clearings with four straw-roofed buildings, known as malocas, which may shelter over 200 Indians. Also visible were areas where crops such as bananas, maize and perhaps peanuts were apparently being grown.

FUNAI’s Javari valley coodinator told the Brazilian news agency Estado that both the croplands and the malocas “are new” and are estimated to have been used “for at most one year”.

[T]he Amazon region contains the majority of untouched tribes without any contact with the exterior in the World.

Amorim said, “[T]he Amazon region contains the majority of untouched tribes without any contact with the exterior in the World.” And he said the recent findings highlight that the Javari valley holds, “the greatest concentration of isolated groups in Amazonia”.

The newly identified group is located close to Brazil’s border with Peru in the huge Vale do Javari reservation. Fourteen known uncontacted tribes have been spotted there and up to eight more are suggested by aerial evidence. Altogether, there are about 2,000 individuals in the reservation, according to Amorim.

He said that their culture and their very survival is threatened by illegal removal of the area’s natural resources, as well as many other intrusions of civilization, but most of Brazil’s indigenous groups have not changed their languages or traditions. FUNAI estimates that the recently discovered tribe likely belongs to the pano language group.

Brazil’s indigenous peoples have tenaciously fought for their legal right to reclaim their traditional lands which were allotted to them in Brazil’s 1988 constitution stating that all indigenous ancestral lands were to have their boundaries clearly marked and returned to tribes within five years.

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Science minister visits Australia’s newest nuclear reactor, receives nuclear power report

Friday, May 26, 2006

Australian Minister for Education, Science and Training, Julie Bishop visited the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation in Lucas Heights, New South Wales today. The purpose of her visit was to inspect progress on Australia’s newest nuclear research reactor – OPAL. Whilst at the facility, she received a report on the economics and safety of a nuclear power industry in Australia.

OPAL, which stands for Open Pool Australian Light water reactor is expected to become fully operational by early 2007 and is in its final stage of development.

The reactor, which will replace Australia’s sole nuclear reactor – HIFAR will be used to research microbiology, biotechnology and gene therapy in addition to the production of agents used in nuclear medicine.

The report presented to Ms Bishop at ANSTO was written by Professor John Gittus and discussed the economics and safety of nuclear energy in Australia.

The major conclusion of the study was that new generation nuclear power plants would be as competitive as newer types of coal power plants in Australia. The report also found that nuclear energy is “the safest, most secure way of generating electricity with greater price stability in comparison to gas or coal power generation” according to Ms Bishop.

Prof Gittus’ report found that when the cost of environmental damage and carbon dioxide emissions from coal or gas fired power stations were considered, nuclear power becomes more attractive.

Speaking on the report, Ms Bishop said she wishes for an evidence-based debate about nuclear energy in Australia. “I welcome this report as a useful contribution to what I hope will be an evidence-based debate about nuclear power in Australia. The debate must focus on the facts and not be biased by emotion.” she said.

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Illinois high schools now required to buy insurance for athletes

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

This past Sunday, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed into law a bill known as “Rocky’s Law” that requires Illinois high schools, through the local school district, to buy catastrophic injury insurance up to US$3 million or medical costs for up to five years, whichever one comes first, that covers student athletes. The insurance must cover student athletes while they are competing.

The legislation was named after Rasul “Rocky” Clark. In 2000, the Eisenhower High School football player became paralyzed from the waist down as a result of a tackle during a game. His school based health insurance covered the costs of his medical treatment. A legislator sponsoring the bill noted that the need for this type of insurance is rare. Clark’s mother attended the legislation signing. Her son died last year.

Before parents can claim money from school insurance, they first must pay out US$50,000. Schools have until January 1, 2014 to comply with the law. Schools cannot charge students more than US$5 to defray the cost of insurance. If a school district already requires student to be covered through private health insurance, they are exempted from this law.

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Explicit Canadian workplace safety ads pulled from TV due to Christmas season

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Controversial and explicit Canadian workplace safety ads have been pulled from television, and paper ads from some bus shelters for the Christmas season. However, the ads will return to air in January.

“It’s totally erroneous to suggest we’re pulling anything,” chairman of the Workplace Safety and Information Board of Ontario, Steve Mahoney said. “Our plan from Day 1 was to stop the ads around the middle of December when most of the advertising that’s in the media is focused on Christmas and purchasing gifts. We just didn’t want to be competing with all that stuff.”

In one of the TV ads a woman accidentally slips on grease on the floor and a large steaming pot falls onto her face, and she starts screaming to death. The ads end with the message “There really are no accidents”.

A paper ads shows a construction worker who is in a pool of blood with a forklift operation manual stuck in his chest. Another with a man who is slit by a “Danger” sign with his leg stuck in a machine. They show the messages: “Lack of training can kill” and the other “Ignoring safety procedures can kill”.

“The critics amount to about 25 per cent rating, and I’m delighted they’re upset about the ads because I wouldn’t want anyone to enjoy watching them.”

The videos have been viewed more than 70,000 times on the Board’s website and are gaining large amounts of views on YouTube.

The transit authorities of Hamilton and Mississauga will show modified advertisements. The transit authority of Guelph will show the ads in bus shelters, but the transit authority of Windsor will not because of the graphic nature.

“We’re not against workplace safety, but this is too graphic,” said Caroline Postma, chair of the Transit Windsor board.

Mississauga city councillour Carolyn Parrish said: “My son-in-law was telling me that they shouldn’t be on in prime time because when [my grandson] watches them he just about bursts into tear. Now he follows his mom around the kitchen to make sure she doesn’t spill grease. And he’s only four. There’s too much of a chance that … people are really badly affected by it, and can’t really do anything about it anyway.” She suggested the ads only be aired to workers with the jobs shown in the commercials.

Mahoney changed the earlier promise to air the ads only after 8:00pm to after 9:00pm at last nights meeting with Mississauga city council.

Mahoney said the commercials and paper ads are not “too graphic at all”. And they are “absolutely appropriate and they’re doing what they’re intended to do, they’re creating what I call a water cooler topic of conversation.”

Ninety-eight Canadian workers so far have been killed on the job this year.

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Tennessee town mulls ‘stop work order’ as construction of controversial grain tanks begins

Saturday, December 3, 2005

Mayor Scott Jewell of the city of Dyer, Tennessee did not issue a “stop work order” to Dyer Grain Company late Tuesday afternoon as had been expected. The order would have temporarily halted construction of new grain storage tanks.

Dyer Grain’s efforts at expansion have been blocked several times over the past few years both by zoning restrictions on the height of structures and by citizens groups who filed suit against the grain company and the city’s board of zoning appeals. The lawsuit was dismissed two months ago. The Dyer City Council then amended the zoning ordinance to include “grain storage tanks and bins” in a section of the ordinance listing exclusions, such as free standing spires and towers, to the regular 40 foot height restriction on buildings.

Several citizens spoke at the November 28 city council meeting to address alleged deficiencies in the building permit issued to Dyer Grain. The citizens claimed that according to the site plan filed with the application for the permit, the location of the tanks will violate another provision in the zoning ordinance restricting the height of all structures to the distance from surrounding property lines plus ten feet. The citizens were also concerned over a “grain conveyor” that will cross a city street. Mayor Jewell indicated that he would contact the Gibson County building inspector (who is contracted by the city to act as the municipal inspector) to research the citizens’ concerns.

Jewell contacted Ricky Bailey, Gibson County Building inspector, on Wednesday. Bailey reportedly could find no deficiencies with the permit and, based on this advice, Jewell chose not to issue the stop work order himself. The City Council could still meet and vote to issue the order. The council meets the second Monday of each month.

“The main problem is that the grain company is in an industrial zone — which is located smack in the middle of a low-density residential zone.” Nathan Reed, an elected Alderman of Dyer said, “The property values in the area have increased (with inflation) but not at the same rate as other properties.”

Normal buildings, such as offices and warehouses, can’t exceed 40′ plus 10′ to the eave. The requested change in the ordinance changes the status of the towers from a building to the same status of an antenna or tower.

Mr Reed added, “The height to the eave is 76′, the height to the top of the tank is 105′, the height to the top of the elevator (atop the tank) is 133′. The 133′ is the only measurement that matters now because the change to the zoning ordinance means this is no longer a “building”, but rather the same as an antenna or tower.”

“The grain company specifically requested that change to the ordinace — which was opposed by several citizens…They can build it as high as they like so long as it conforms to the overal height restriction for towers, spires, etc.”

Mr Reed commented on additional concerns, “The citizens are concerned about the health effects of (additional) grain dust, noise, and grain explosions.”

The new construction is expected to generate annual property tax revenues of $10,000 to $16,000.

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22

Cleveland, Ohio clinic performs US’s first face transplant

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Cleveland, Ohio clinic performs US’s first face transplant
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Thursday, December 18, 2008

A team of eight transplant surgeons in Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, USA, led by reconstructive surgeon Dr. Maria Siemionow, age 58, have successfully performed the first almost total face transplant in the US, and the fourth globally, on a woman so horribly disfigured due to trauma, that cost her an eye. Two weeks ago Dr. Siemionow, in a 23-hour marathon surgery, replaced 80 percent of her face, by transplanting or grafting bone, nerve, blood vessels, muscles and skin harvested from a female donor’s cadaver.

The Clinic surgeons, in Wednesday’s news conference, described the details of the transplant but upon request, the team did not publish her name, age and cause of injury nor the donor’s identity. The patient’s family desired the reason for her transplant to remain confidential. The Los Angeles Times reported that the patient “had no upper jaw, nose, cheeks or lower eyelids and was unable to eat, talk, smile, smell or breathe on her own.” The clinic’s dermatology and plastic surgery chair, Francis Papay, described the nine hours phase of the procedure: “We transferred the skin, all the facial muscles in the upper face and mid-face, the upper lip, all of the nose, most of the sinuses around the nose, the upper jaw including the teeth, the facial nerve.” Thereafter, another team spent three hours sewing the woman’s blood vessels to that of the donor’s face to restore blood circulation, making the graft a success.

The New York Times reported that “three partial face transplants have been performed since 2005, two in France and one in China, all using facial tissue from a dead donor with permission from their families.” “Only the forehead, upper eyelids, lower lip, lower teeth and jaw are hers, the rest of her face comes from a cadaver; she could not eat on her own or breathe without a hole in her windpipe. About 77 square inches of tissue were transplanted from the donor,” it further described the details of the medical marvel. The patient, however, must take lifetime immunosuppressive drugs, also called antirejection drugs, which do not guarantee success. The transplant team said that in case of failure, it would replace the part with a skin graft taken from her own body.

Dr. Bohdan Pomahac, a Brigham and Women’s Hospital surgeon praised the recent medical development. “There are patients who can benefit tremendously from this. It’s great that it happened,” he said.

Leading bioethicist Arthur Caplan of the University of Pennsylvania withheld judgment on the Cleveland transplant amid grave concerns on the post-operation results. “The biggest ethical problem is dealing with failure — if your face rejects. It would be a living hell. If your face is falling off and you can’t eat and you can’t breathe and you’re suffering in a terrible manner that can’t be reversed, you need to put on the table assistance in dying. There are patients who can benefit tremendously from this. It’s great that it happened,” he said.

Dr Alex Clarke, of the Royal Free Hospital had praised the Clinic for its contribution to medicine. “It is a real step forward for people who have severe disfigurement and this operation has been done by a team who have really prepared and worked towards this for a number of years. These transplants have proven that the technical difficulties can be overcome and psychologically the patients are doing well. They have all have reacted positively and have begun to do things they were not able to before. All the things people thought were barriers to this kind of operations have been overcome,” she said.

The first partial face transplant surgery on a living human was performed on Isabelle Dinoire on November 27 2005, when she was 38, by Professor Bernard Devauchelle, assisted by Professor Jean-Michel Dubernard in Amiens, France. Her Labrador dog mauled her in May 2005. A triangle of face tissue including the nose and mouth was taken from a brain-dead female donor and grafted onto the patient. Scientists elsewhere have performed scalp and ear transplants. However, the claim is the first for a mouth and nose transplant. Experts say the mouth and nose are the most difficult parts of the face to transplant.

In 2004, the same Cleveland Clinic, became the first institution to approve this surgery and test it on cadavers. In October 2006, surgeon Peter Butler at London‘s Royal Free Hospital in the UK was given permission by the NHS ethics board to carry out a full face transplant. His team will select four adult patients (children cannot be selected due to concerns over consent), with operations being carried out at six month intervals. In March 2008, the treatment of 30-year-old neurofibromatosis victim Pascal Coler of France ended after having received what his doctors call the worlds first successful full face transplant.

Ethical concerns, psychological impact, problems relating to immunosuppression and consequences of technical failure have prevented teams from performing face transplant operations in the past, even though it has been technically possible to carry out such procedures for years.

Mr Iain Hutchison, of Barts and the London Hospital, warned of several problems with face transplants, such as blood vessels in the donated tissue clotting and immunosuppressants failing or increasing the patient’s risk of cancer. He also pointed out ethical issues with the fact that the procedure requires a “beating heart donor”. The transplant is carried out while the donor is brain dead, but still alive by use of a ventilator.

According to Stephen Wigmore, chair of British Transplantation Society’s ethics committee, it is unknown to what extent facial expressions will function in the long term. He said that it is not certain whether a patient could be left worse off in the case of a face transplant failing.

Mr Michael Earley, a member of the Royal College of Surgeon‘s facial transplantation working party, commented that if successful, the transplant would be “a major breakthrough in facial reconstruction” and “a major step forward for the facially disfigured.”

In Wednesday’s conference, Siemionow said “we know that there are so many patients there in their homes where they are hiding from society because they are afraid to walk to the grocery stores, they are afraid to go the the street.” “Our patient was called names and was humiliated. We very much hope that for this very special group of patients there is a hope that someday they will be able to go comfortably from their houses and enjoy the things we take for granted,” she added.

In response to the medical breakthrough, a British medical group led by Royal Free Hospital’s lead surgeon Dr Peter Butler, said they will finish the world’s first full face transplant within a year. “We hope to make an announcement about a full-face operation in the next 12 months. This latest operation shows how facial transplantation can help a particular group of the most severely facially injured people. These are people who would otherwise live a terrible twilight life, shut away from public gaze,” he said.

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November

21

Ontario Votes 2007: Interview with Libertarian candidate Larry Stevens, Kitchener-Conestoga

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Ontario Votes 2007: Interview with Libertarian candidate Larry Stevens, Kitchener-Conestoga
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Thursday, October 4, 2007

Larry Stevens is running for the Libertarian Party in the Ontario provincial election, in the Kitchener-Conestoga riding. Wikinews’ Nick Moreau interviewed him regarding his values, his experience, and his campaign.

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

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November

15

Historic Birmingham pub destroyed in Arson attack

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Historic Birmingham pub destroyed in Arson attack
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Wednesday, July 26, 2006

The Dubliner, a famous Irish pub in the Digbeth area of Birmingham, has been destroyed by a fire that was started around 4.30am on the 26th July 2006, apparently deliberately.

Reports indicate between 100 and 120 firefighters were tackling the blaze at its height. There was also an explosion reported at the site.

12 people were staying overnight at the pub, all of them managed to escape the fire, although one man had to be treated for smoke inhalation.

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November

13

Former U.S. President Gerald Ford hospitalized

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Former U.S. President Gerald Ford hospitalized
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Thursday, October 12, 2006

The office of Gerald Ford said Thursday that the former United States President was admitted to Eisenhower Medical Center for tests in Rancho Mirage, California.

“President Gerald Ford has been admitted to Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage, California for medical tests. He is doing well,” Ford’s spokeswoman Penny Circle said. The statement didn’t release any information about the tests.

Ford has been hospitalized twice this year. In January, he was hospitalized to treat pneumonia. In July, he was hospitalized at Colorado’s Vail Valley Medical Center due to shortness of breath.

Ford was also hospitalized in August at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota for heart procedures. Ford received a pacemaker to regulate his heartbeat. Ford also underwent angioplasty to increase blood flow in his arteries. Ford also suffered a small stroke five years ago.

Gerald Ford became the 38th United States President on August 9, 1974 after Richard Nixon resigned due to the Watergate scandal. At the age of 93, Ford is the oldest living U.S. President and could next month become the longest living U.S. President ever.

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November

12

Philadelphia to become largest city in U.S. without Boy Scout building

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Philadelphia to become largest city in U.S. without Boy Scout building
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Thursday, June 7, 2007

When the Philadelphia City Council broke its 80 year old building lease with the Cradle of Liberty Council, it set itself on a course to be the largest city in the nation without its own Boy Scout building. The scouts must abandon their building before the end of July. Local scouts now have to go to suburbs for services.

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