Asbestos controversy aboard Scientology ship Freewinds

Friday, May 16, 2008

Controversy has arisen over the reported presence of blue asbestos on the MV Freewinds, a cruise ship owned by the Church of Scientology. According to the Saint Martin newspaper The Daily Herald and the shipping news journal Lloyd’s List, the Freewinds was sealed in April and local public health officials on the Caribbean island of Curaçao where the ship is docked began an investigation into the presence of asbestos dust on the ship. Former Scientologist Lawrence Woodcraft supervised work on the ship in 1987, and attested to the presence of blue asbestos on the Freewinds in an affidavit posted to the Internet in 2001. Woodcraft, a licensed architect by profession, gave a statement to Wikinews and commented on the recent events.

According to The Daily Herald, the Freewinds was in the process of being renovated by the Curaçao Drydock Company. The article states that samples taken from paneling in the ship were sent to the Netherlands, where an analysis revealed that they “contained significant levels of blue asbestos”. An employee of the Curaçao Drydock Company told Radar Online in an April 30 article that the Freewinds has been docked and sealed, and confirmed that an article about asbestos ran in the local paper.

Lloyd’s List reported that work on the interior of the Freewinds was suspended on April 27 after health inspectors found traces of blue asbestos on the ship. According to Lloyd’s List, Frank Esser, Curaçao Drydock Company’s interim director, joined Curaçao’s head of the department of labor affairs Christiene van der Biezen along with the head of the local health department Tico Ras and two inspectors in an April 25 inspection of the ship. “We are sending someone so that they can tell us what happened, where it came from, since when it has been there,” said Panama Maritime Authority’s director of merchant marine Alfonso Castillero in a statement to Lloyd’s List.

The Church of Scientology purchased the ship, then known as the Bohème, in 1987, through an organization called Flag Ship Trust. After being renovated and refitted, it was put into service in June 1988. The ship is used by the Church of Scientology for advanced Scientology training in “Operating Thetan” levels, as well as for spiritual retreats for its members. Curaçao has been the ship’s homeport since it was purchased by the Church of Scientology.

According to his 2001 statement, Lawrence Woodcraft had been an architect in London, England since 1975, and joined Scientology’s elite “Sea Organization” (Sea Org) in 1986. He wrote that he was asked by the Sea Org to work on the Freewinds in 1987, and during his work on the ship “noticed a powdery blue fibrous substance approximately 1 ½” thick between the paint and the steel wall,” which he believed to be asbestos. He also discovered what he thought was blue asbestos in other parts of the ship, and reported his findings to Church of Scientology executives. Woodcraft discussed his experiences in a 2001 interview published online by the Lisa McPherson Trust, a now-defunct organization which was critical of the Church of Scientology.

The Freewinds regularly inspects the air quality on board and always meets or exceeds US standards.

Church of Scientology spokeswoman Karin Pouw responded to Radar Online about the asbestos reports, in an email published in an article in Radar on May 1. “The Freewinds regularly inspects the air quality on board and always meets or exceeds US standards,” said Pouw. She stated that two inspections performed in April “confirmed that the air quality is safe,” and asserted that the inspections revealed the Freewinds satisfies standards set by the United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the U.S. Clean Air Act.

Pouw told Radar that “The Freewinds will be completing its refit on schedule.” The Church of Scientology-affiliated organization Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) had been planning a cruise aboard the Freewinds scheduled for May 8, but according to Radar an individual who called the booking number for the cruise received a message that the cruise had been delayed due to ongoing work on the ship. Citing an article in the Netherlands Antilles newspaper Amigoe, Radar reported on May 6 that a team from the United States and supervised by an independent bureau from the Netherlands traveled to Curaçao in order to remove asbestos from the Freewinds.

…if the Church of Scientology claims to have removed the blue asbestos, I just don’t see how, it’s everywhere. You would first have to remove all the pipes, plumbing, a/c ducts, electrical wiring etc. etc. just a maze of stuff.

“I stand by everything I wrote in my 2001 affidavit,” said Lawrence Woodcraft in an exclusive statement given to Wikinews. Woodcraft went on to state: “I would also comment that if the Church of Scientology claims to have removed the blue asbestos, I just don’t see how, it’s everywhere. You would first have to remove all the pipes, plumbing, a/c ducts, electrical wiring etc. etc. just a maze of stuff. Also panelling as well, basically strip the ship back to a steel hull. Also blue asbestos is sprayed onto the outer walls and then covered in paint. It’s in every nook and cranny.”

Many Scientologist celebrities have spent time aboard the Freewinds, including Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes, John Travolta, Kelly Preston, Chick Corea, Lisa Marie Presley, Catherine Bell, Kate Ceberano, and Juliette Lewis. Now magazine reported that Tom Cruise has been urged to seek medical attention regarding potential asbestos exposure, however a representative for Cruise stated he has “absolutely no knowledge” of the recent asbestos controversy. Cruise, Holmes, Travolta and Preston have celebrated birthdays and other events on the Freewinds.

There is not now and never has been a situation of asbestos exposure on the Freewinds.

In a May 15 statement to the United Kingdom daily newspaper Metro, a representative for the Church of Scientology said that “There is not now and never has been a situation of asbestos exposure on the Freewinds.” The Asbestos and Mesothelioma Center notes that agencies have recommended anyone who has spent time on the Freewinds consult with their physician to determine if possible asbestos exposure may have affected their health.

Raw blue asbestos is the most hazardous form of asbestos, and has been banned in the United Kingdom since 1970. Blue asbestos fibers are very narrow and thus easily inhaled, and are a major cause of mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is a form of cancer which can develop in the lining of the lungs and chest cavity, the lining of the abdominal cavity, or the pericardium sac surrounding the heart. The cancer is incurable, and can manifest over 40 years after the initial exposure to asbestos.

“This is the most dangerous type of asbestos because the fibres are smaller than the white asbestos and can penetrate the lung more easily,” said toxicologist Dr. Chris Coggins in a statement published in OK! Magazine. Dr. Coggins went on to note that “Once diagnosed with mesothelioma, the victim has six months to a year to live. It gradually reduces lung function until the victim is no longer able to breathe and dies.”

Filled Under: Uncategorized

By Wishlist Rocks

Membership sites are rage these days. Just Google any term with a potential market and you will find numerous sites selling tutorials and information on the topic. Creating a membership site can give you a headache, but with right tools in your arsenal it can be as easy as opening a diet coke. The most preferred tool in this niche is Wishlist member.

Wishlist member is the fastest way to turn WordPress into a membership site making it the ultimate WordPress membership solution available. Wishlist member uses WordPress as the core content management system and create a highly simplified but perfect solution for creating an online membership site. With Wishlist member it is utterly simple to control user’s access to the content of your membership site. You can also accept payments and manage your members just from a single dashboard.

YouTube Preview Image

It is powerful membership software that integrates flawlessly with WordPress and its powerful membership script can turn any WordPress blog into a fully functional membership site. The best thing about Wishlist member is that it is very easy to use. All you have to do is just unzip the files before uploading them to your WordPress blog and you will get a membership site up and running. This whole procedure will take less than five minutes and you need not be a tech geek to understand it, it is so simple.

Wishlist member comes with tons of features to take care of all your needs. The first feature is its ability to provide unlimited membership levels within one membership site. let us suppose that you created an online tutorial program for c++ programming language and you divided it into three sets viz beginner, intermediate and expert. This feat can easily be achieved with Wishlist member. With Wishlist member you can have as many membership levels as you want in your site. So if you want- basic, intermediate and expert levels to be separate, you can achieve it with one, or a few, clicks. This feature allows you to charge more for a higher level of access within the same site without having to buy any additional software.

The best thing about Wishlist member is its easy and simple installation with a new or even an existing WordPress blog. It hardly matters that you want to convert your existing blog into a membership site or want to start a new blog with membership site; both feats are as simple as opening a diet coke bottle. You need not possess any technical skills for that purpose because installation procedure of Wishlist member is a breeze. All you have to do is just unzip the file, upload to the plug-in folder of your WordPress blog and activate it.

Another superb feature packed within Wishlist member is its ability to provide flexible membership options. If you want to give a free trial to your blog subscribers, there is an option for this. If you want to give a paid trial like- try my product in just $5 for 7 days, there is an option for this. Not necessary to say that it performs its main function of paid membership in a jaw dropping manner. You also have option to combine the above three options for your prospects.

Given the complexity of other software in this sector, you will certainly be impressed with the ease and quality of Wishlist member.

About the Author: For More Information on WordPress Wishlist Member just go to http://www.WordpressWishlistMember.com



Permanent Link:


Filled Under: Marketing
Bush calls for US offshore oil exploration

Thursday, June 19, 2008

United States President George W. Bush delivered a speech Wednesday in which he urged the United States Congress to end a ban on oil exploration off of US shores. Currently there is both an executive order and a Congressional moratorium against such exploration.

The Congress issued its moratorium in 1981. In 1989, President George H.W. Bush issued an executive order in the wake of the Exxon Valdez oil spill.

President Bush said that “we should expand American oil production by increasing access to the Outer Continental Shelf, or OCS. Experts believe that the OCS could produce about 18 billion barrels of oil. That would be enough to match America’s current oil production for almost ten years.”

“I know the Democratic leaders have opposed some of these policies in the past,” President Bush said. “Now that their opposition has helped drive gas prices to record levels, I ask them to reconsider their positions. If Congressional leaders leave for the Fourth of July recess without taking action, they will need to explain why $4-a-gallon gasoline is not enough incentive for them to act.”

Senator John McCain, who is the presumptive nominee for the Republican Party, said on Tuesday that he favors offshore drilling.

Senator Harry Reid, the Senate majority leader from the Democratic Party, said: “This week’s flip-flop on offshore oil drilling by President Bush and Senator John McCain is nothing more than a cynical campaign ploy that will do nothing to lower energy prices, and represents another big giveaway to oil companies already making billions in profits.”

“It’s cynical to say that we can drill our way out of this mess,” said Athan Manuel, of the environmental group Sierra Club. “The solution to $4 gas is not off our coast.”

A recent poll conducted by Reuters/Zogby showed that about 60% of Americans support more oil drilling and refinery construction, yet nearly the same percentage also say they are in favor of conservation.

“We will take pressure off gas prices over time by expanding the amount of American-made oil and gasoline. We will strengthen our national security by reducing our reliance on foreign oil. We will benefit American workers by keeping our nation competitive in the global economy — and by creating good jobs in construction, and engineering, and refining, maintenance, and many other areas,” said Bush in his speech.

Filled Under: Uncategorized
Wikinews interviews Joe Schriner, Independent U.S. presidential candidate

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Journalist, counselor, painter, and US 2012 Presidential candidate Joe Schriner of Cleveland, Ohio took some time to discuss his campaign with Wikinews in an interview.

Schriner previously ran for president in 2000, 2004, and 2008, but failed to gain much traction in the races. He announced his candidacy for the 2012 race immediately following the 2008 election. Schriner refers to himself as the “Average Joe” candidate, and advocates a pro-life and pro-environmentalist platform. He has been the subject of numerous newspaper articles, and has published public policy papers exploring solutions to American issues.

Wikinews reporter William Saturn? talks with Schriner and discusses his campaign.

Filled Under: Uncategorized

By Dennis Jarvis

We’re going to provide a general overview of what makes up a standard Long Term Care plan and then more importantly, we’re going to provide some guidance on plans we feel offer some of the best cost to value breaks on the LTC market.

First, let’s take a quick look at what comprises a Long Term Care plan. LTC is basically a promise to pay for health care expenses or pay you cash directly in the case of extended needs. These needs are not covered by health insurance plans or Medicare. The expenses can range from full-blown nursing care to more day to day custodial care. When comparing the plans, what we’re really analyzing the constraints on this care and the premium costs to offer this protection. There are a couple of key constraints we should concentrate on when comparing these plans.

Our ultimate goal is to attain the most benefit amount possible for the lowest possible premium. I know that sounds self-explanatory but Long Term Care insurance is different from most other types of insurance where the benefit is defined by the cost. For example with health insurance, the plan (of any worth) will usually pay a percentage of the obtained cost. With LTC, we need to choose an amount of benefit up front. This can be tricky as we’re not sure of what the actual expense will be. The best we can do is look at today’s average costs for our area and extrapolate out what that expense might be at the time we expect LTC costs (say between age 70-85). So, is it as simple as quoting the plans side by side and choosing the lowest premium for a given amount of benefit? We wish.

YouTube Preview Image

There are a couple of key policy settings to choose from when comparing plans. These are the constraints mentioned above. The first is waiting period. If you had coverage from day 1 of qualifying for benefits, the cost would probably be prohibitively high. In response, the carriers added waiting periods to bring the costs down. This is a period of time after qualifying for benefits but before the benefits start. The second constraint is length of benefits. This basically dictates how long your daily or monthly Long Term Care benefits will last. Indefinite or lifetime will be the most expensive of course and we can reduce the monthly premium by limiting the length of time that you will receive benefits. So benefit amount, benefit length, and waiting period. These are constraints we can choose up front to affect the premium amount we pay for insurance. Are there other key concerns? Yes.

The two over-arching constraints are inflation protection and type of pay-out. Infation protection might sound like some kind of add-on just there to increase the carrier’s margins but depending on the insured’s age, the risk can be real. Inflation can eat up your planned benefit so protection from it can be a valuable concern. The other main constraint is type of pay-out. We’ve saved the most important consideration for last. This basically dictates how and when the benefit will pay out. This really is the first decision to make. Some policies may only payout for nursing homes while others will pay out for home health care. There’s even a new wrinkle with benefits that will pay out cash. This brings us to our second part…ideal plan settings and options on the market.

First, we recommend quoting based on $120 daily benefit (or $3600 monthly), 90-100 day waiting period (explanation here on medicare and LTC); 3 years of benefit (addressing average length of LTC benefit). If you’re under age 65, compound interest becomes important. Between age 65 and 75, simple interest. Over age 75, no inflation. Finally, our favorite option now is nursing/home hybrid care with a cash benefit built in. The cash benefit, although 40-50% of daily benefit, can start from day 1 which is amazing in terms of flexibility. You can then switch to home health care after the chosen waiting period. We’re happy to run a quote to match this make-up for you.

About the Author: Dennis Jarvis is a licensed Long Term Care insurance broker with extensive knowledge of the LTC plan market. Quote Long Term Care Insurance

Source: isnare.com

Permanent Link: isnare.com/?aid=675083&ca=Finances

Apartment block blaze kills nine in Mississippi, US

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A blaze at an apartment block killed nine people early yesterday morning in Mississippi, US. The dead included six young children, and the building was seriously damaged after fire broke out at 4 a.m. in Starkville.

All nine victims were in the same apartment in the two-story building, which was split into eight residences and sustained heavy damage to three of these. Firefighters had difficulty dealing with the emergency and were still there six hours after the fire began.

The youngest child was six months old and the eldest was four. No names have been released, and the disaster’s cause remains a mystery. Emergency services kept residents away while they cleaned up the scene.

Filled Under: Uncategorized
More than 160 dead in bushfires in Australia

Monday, February 9, 2009

173 people have been killed in fires raging through Australia, making this the deadliest bushfire in Australian history. Nearly 815,447 acres (330,000 hectares) have been burned and 750 homes have been burned to the ground. In 1983, 75 people were killed on what was dubbed the Ash Wednesday fires. 71 people were killed in similar fires in 1939. The country’s prime minister, Kevin Rudd, calls the fires “mass murder”.

“This is of a level of horror that few of us anticipated. There are no words to describe it other than mass murder,” said Rudd who also called the situation “numbing”.

The combination of Australia’s long term drought, a record heat wave with temperatures as high as 47.2 degrees Celcius (117 Fahrenheit) and winds over 100km/h (60mph), sparked the dozens of fires across Victoria. Some are being investigated as arson. Over 60,000 firefighters are battling the various blazes. These fires although common in Australia have caught people unprepared due to their intensity and speed. Survivors of Kinglake tell of how up until 10 minutes before the fire started to tear through their country town people were unaware of how close and dangerous the fire really was.

24 people from Kinglake and Kinglake West have died and hundreds of houses have burnt to the ground. Over 1,500 people in Kinglake alone have been left homeless, left with a town which has mostly burned to the ground. Many people have been caught in the terrifying position of staying and fighting for their houses or fleeing before the fires arrive. Many of the people who have died have attempted to flee in their cars too late and were caught in the middle of the inferno, some being burned alive. Despite the efforts of firefighters, many towns have been totally destroyed, leaving nothing but piles of ashes. Witnesses and survivors of fires in Marysville and Narbethong, Victoria, describe the towns as being totally wiped out or substantially damaged.

Authorities are investigating the fires, some 20% of them are being called arson or have being started by human error, leaving much of the scorched land a crime scene of ashes. Some of the fires were reignited by arsonists after firefighters had already taken control of them, according to one fire official in Victoria. Others are believed to have been started by lighting tires on fire.

“Some of these fires have started in localities that could only be by hand, it could not be natural causes,” said deputy commissioner for the Victoria state police, Kieran Walshe. Fire fighting operations chief, Steve Warrington says that the fire departments “know [they] have someone who is lighting fires in this community.”

The Federal Government has pledged $10 million (4.4 million pounds) in immediate assistance with more to come as the situation becomes clear. The other States of Australia have also announced their plans to help Victoria and Victorians during this time. New South Wales will send 250 firefighters and 50 tankers. The Australian Capital Territory home to Canberra has pledged 90 firefighters and support equipment.

Australia’s neighbour New Zealand is currently considering what assistance it will be able to provide. For the moment, the nation has sent 100 firefighters to help with battling the blazes. The team is expected to arrive to Australia in as little as 24 hours.

“What we can do is, with that manpower, really help out even if it’s just a matter of relieving at times. We’ve obviously got to make sure we protect our domestic situation as well,” said New Zealand prime minister John Key.

Filled Under: Uncategorized



Four incidents occur at Australian reactor in a week

Four incidents occur at Australian reactor in a week
Posted by , No Comments

Friday, June 16, 2006

Wikinews Australia has in-depth coverage of this issue: Australian nuclear debate

The Australian federal opposition has attacked the Howard government following four incidents in a week at the HIFAR nuclear research reactor in Lucas Heights, South of Sydney. The incidents come just a week after the Australian government announced an inquiry into the feasibility of nuclear power.

The first incident occurred on June 8, when a carbon canister containing radioactive material exploded, blowing out seals in a cell at the Lucas Heights site. The accident is believed to be an explosion in a carbon canister containing radioactive material, which blew the seals out on Hot Cell No 2 in Building 54 releasing small amounts of xenon and krypton into the atmosphere.

Jenny Macklin (Jagajaga, Labor), shadow science minister and deputy leader of the opposition accused science minister Julie Bishop (Curtin, Liberal) of misleading the parliament. Ms Bishop told parliament on Wednesday that “there was no measurable contamination found outside the immediate area where the incident occurred,”

Ms Bishop denied there being any radiation threat to the community. “According to ANSTO, there was absolutely no radiation threat to the health of the workers of ANSTO or the community.”

Jenny Macklin said in a statement on Wednesday that details of the incident were being hidden. “The local community deserves to be told what actually happened at the Lucas Heights reactor last Thursday, and why the release of radioactive gases into the atmosphere was not made public,” said Ms Macklin.

Following Ms Macklin’s statement ANSTO said it was “surprised and disappointed” at Ms Macklin’s comments. ANSTO refuted that it failed to adequately notify the community saying that they released a media statement the day after the incident. ANSTO said that radiation released during the incident was “so low as not to be directly measurable”. ANSTO said that it could however calculate the amount of radioactive material released and it was a “very small fraction of the radiation dose received by everyone each year from naturally occurringsources of radiation”.

ANSTO assured the public that the releases could not be detected off-site.

Following a statement by the science minister on Thursday that she was unaware of any incidents at ANSTO in the 12 months prior to the latest incidents, the opposition again questioned Ms Bishop’s competence. Ms Macklin asked how the minister could not be informed about compliance reports issued by Australia’s nuclear regulator ARPANSA that state there were 12 incidents at Lucas Heights in 2005.

Following Ms Macklin’s removal from the house, Anthony Albanese (Grayndler, Labor), shadow environment minister questioned Ms Bishop about incidents at ANSTO on Wednesday. According to ANSTO, a worker received a low dose of radiation from Iodine-123 while packaging radiopharmaceuticals. ANSTO claims that the technician received a dose around four per cent of the annual limit for radiation workers and much less than a thyroid cancer patient would receive during a nuclear medicine scan.

In a statement, Ms Macklin later accused the science minister of being ill-informed of the incident at Lucas Heights, saying it was concerning the government had an “incompetent” science minister at a time when they were “pushing the benefits of nuclear power”.

Responding to the opposition’s questions during question time in the House of Representatives, the science minister accused the opposition of engaging in a scare campaign to close down a facility that provides “a medical service for cancer suffers across Australia.

ANSTO has said that the radiation dose received by the technician was so low he did not require medical attention once he had undergone several tests.

ANSTO admitted another two incidents occurred at its Lucas Heights facility on Thursday. The first occurred when a worker who was cleaning a production area burst a package of radioactive material. The second occurred when a worker packing a radiopharmaceutical dropped a small vial. ANSTO said that the amount of radiation received by both workers was extremely low.

ANSTO said that while it is uncommon for two incidents to occur on a single day, it was not uncommon for minor incidents to occur once a month.

Filled Under: Uncategorized
No Comments



A Real Estate Attorney In Carmel, Ny: Addressing Real Estate Legal Issues

byAlma Abell

Unfortunately, real estate deals don’t always pan out the way the buyer and the seller had intended. Sometimes the buyer or seller simply walks away from a deal, and that is the end of it. Unfortunately, there are other situations where there are legal ramifications to a real estate deal not going forward. In these instances, whether you’re the buyer or the seller, whether you’re bringing suit or are defending a suit, a Real Estate Attorney in Carmel NY is a good thing to have.

Perhaps you’re dealing with a lawsuit that has been brought against you because of a real estate deal that went south. It’s very easy to get overly concerned about this, but when you speak with a real estate attorney, you’re going to find these particular legal activities aren’t uncommon. In fact, they’re very normal, especially if the real estate deal was for a significant amount of money, or for a significant amount of property. Having a real estate attorney to represent you in these matters is going to add to your peace of mind. They will help represent your interests and, typically, they can find a solution to the lawsuit that makes sense and that costs you as little money as possible.

Real estate attorneys can be very effective when it comes to foreclosures. Unfortunately, there are far too many stories about banks that have made grievous errors when it comes to foreclosing on a home. In some cases they’re foreclosing on homes where the owner is current on their mortgage payments. In these extreme cases, as well as other cases where the foreclosure process wasn’t followed to the letter, a Real Estate Attorney in Carmel NY can represent a homeowner fighting foreclosure from their lending institution. In some cases, the only person qualified to get to the bottom of the lending institutions error in the foreclosure is a real estate attorney.

There are many other reasons why you might want to have a real estate attorney. However, if you have legal issues involving a piece of real estate, the help of a real estate attorney is invaluable. For more information on quality real estate attorneys, you can Visit Website posted here to find out all of the services offered by a real estate attorney.

Filled Under: Uncategorized



Oldbury nuclear power station suffers fire

Oldbury nuclear power station suffers fire
Posted by , No Comments

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Oldbury nuclear power station in South Gloucestershire, England caught fire today after overheating. No-one was injured in the blaze which is believed to have been an accident and was extuinguished within minutes by an automatic sprinkler system.

The fire took place on the non-nuclear side of the plant, in an electricity transformer, but prompted shutdown of the reactor for the foreseeable future in “accordance with standard procedure,” said Dan Gould, spokesman for the British Nuclear Group. He also stressed that there was no release of radiation. There were also reports of an explosion in the transformer.

The BBC reported that 12 fire trucks attended the scene of the fire, but ITV stated ten crews were involved and tvnz.co.uk quoted a spokesman for Avon Fire and Rescue as saying that ten trucks were sent.

Filled Under: Uncategorized
No Comments