United States: Four injured in Los Angeles school shooting

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Thursday morning, at Salvador Castro Middle School in the Westlake District, Los Angeles (L.A.), California, US, four students were injured when a gun went off in a girl’s backpack, according to police. L.A. police took a suspect into custody, a twelve-year-old female student, and recovered the gun at the scene.

The four injured students were transported to a local hospital. A fifteen-year-old boy suffered a gunshot wound to the head and was recovering according to a Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center spokesperson on Wednesday. A fifteen-year-old girl was shot in the wrist, and two other students were grazed. The girl and two other students were hospitalized for their injuries.

A 30-year-old staff member was also injured, but reports were unclear whether she was injured by gunfire.

Police officials charged the twelve-year-old girl with negligent discharge of a firearm and she was taken to a juvenile detention center. Police said they did not believe the shooting was intentional, but suspected the girl had the gun in her backpack and it fired off when the bag dropped on the ground.

The Westlake middle school is located near downtown L.A. and is located on the campus of Belmont High School and had an enrollment last year of 355 students.

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US Supreme Court declares same-sex marriage legal

Sunday, June 28, 2015

On Friday, the United States Supreme Court declared same-sex marriage legal in all fifty US states. More than 30 states already permitted gay marriage. The Supreme Court ruled by a five-to-four vote that bans on same-sex marriage were not constitutional. The majority decision was delivered by Justice Anthony Kennedy.

Same-sex marriage was banned in more than a dozen states. Justices Sotomayor, Ginsburg, Kagan, Breyer and Kennedy voted in favour while Justices Roberts, Alito, Scalia and Thomas voted against.

Kennedy’s decision brought tears to the eyes of some lawyers in the courtroom. However, Justice Antonin Scalia in his dissenting opinion derided the majority decision: “The opinion is couched in a style that is as pretentious as its content is egotistic. […] Of course, the opinion’s showy profundities are often profoundly incoherent.”

When the decision was made, police allowed people outside the court to wave the rainbow flag on the court plaza. Demonstrators outside the court chanted “Love has won”. This decision made the United States the 21st country to legalise same-sex marriage.

President Barack Obama responded to the decision: “Today we can say, in no uncertain terms, that we have made our union a little more perfect.”

After this decision, Facebook introduced a new tool to add rainbow coloring to one’s profile picture to celebrate this victory. Mark Zuckerberg posted on Facebook “I’m so happy for all of my friends and everyone in our community who can finally celebrate their love and be recognized as equal couples under the law”.

Later, companies like Google, Yahoo, Tumblr and Vine tweeted with hashtag “#LoveWins”. That night, the White House had the rainbow projected on the outside of the building to celebrate the decision.

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Owner of Segway Jimi Heselden dies after scooter cliff fall aged 62

Monday, September 27, 2010

The British millionaire businessman and owner of Segway, Inc., the manufacturer of Segway PT, Jimi Heselden OBE, has died after apparently crashing one of the company’s electric scooters over a cliff in West Yorkshire, England. He was 62 years old. Heselden, who was pronounced dead at the scene, is thought to have crashed his scooter into the River Wharfe while riding around his estate.

A spokeswoman from West Yorkshire Police released a statement confirming Heselden’s death. She said “Police were called at 1140 yesterday to reports of a man in the River Wharfe, apparently having fallen from the cliffs above.” She added that a “Segway type” vehicle had been recovered from the water.

After working in the mines after leaving school, he founded Hesco Bastion after being made redundant in the 1980s. He acquired Segway PT in 2010 with Hesco Bastion. A spokesperson for the company said: “It is with great sadness that we have to confirm that Jimi Heselden OBE, has died in a tragic accident near his home in West Yorkshire. Jimi is perhaps best known for his charity work with Help for Heroes and the Leeds Community Foundation. A £10m gift to the foundation earlier this month saw his lifetime charitable donations top £23m. Our thoughts go out to his family and many friends, who have asked for privacy at this time.”

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Gastric bypass surgery performed by remote control

Sunday, August 21, 2005

A robotic system at Stanford Medical Center was used to perform a laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery successfully with a theoretically similar rate of complications to that seen in standard operations. However, as there were only 10 people in the experimental group (and another 10 in the control group), this is not a statistically significant sample.

If this surgical procedure is as successful in large-scale studies, it may lead the way for the use of robotic surgery in even more delicate procedures, such as heart surgery. Note that this is not a fully automated system, as a human doctor controls the operation via remote control. Laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery is a treatment for obesity.

There were concerns that doctors, in the future, might only be trained in the remote control procedure. Ronald G. Latimer, M.D., of Santa Barbara, CA, warned “The fact that surgeons may have to open the patient or might actually need to revert to standard laparoscopic techniques demands that this basic training be a requirement before a robot is purchased. Robots do malfunction, so a backup system is imperative. We should not be seduced to buy this instrument to train surgeons if they are not able to do the primary operations themselves.”

There are precedents for just such a problem occurring. A previous “new technology”, the electrocardiogram (ECG), has lead to a lack of basic education on the older technology, the stethoscope. As a result, many heart conditions now go undiagnosed, especially in children and others who rarely undergo an ECG procedure.

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Oscar Diös tells Wikinews about his hostel within a Boeing 747

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Oscar Diös is a Swedish businessman looking to invest in a new project within the aviation community. He’s already bought the venture’s first airliner, a Boeing 747-200.

However, his intention is not to start an airline, and the jet is not intended for flight. Instead, he plans to convert the airliner into a unique business which he calls the ‘Jumbo Hostel’. The 450-seat widebodied jetliner will have 25 rooms sleeping a total of 85 people, including some in a luxury suite in the cockpit, and will sit at the entrance to Stockholm-Arlanda Airport.

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Built in 1976, the aircraft was an “old wreck” when acquired, according to Oscar. The aircraft was being offered for sale at Stolkholm-Arlanda after previous owner Transjet became bankrupt. The airframe has then been completely gutted and is being fitted with a new, modernised interior. Each room contains three bunk beds. A cafe and a walkway across the left wing are also featured.

The airliner will sit on a concrete platform at the airport’s entrance, with its landing gear secured in steel cradles. It is intended to offer a good view of the day-to-day operation of the airport.

The hostel, which is to open in December, is aimed at families with children, aviation enthusiasts, low-budget travelers and people catching early morning flights who wish to leave it as late as possible before rising to get to check-in – unlike its competitors, the Jumbo Hostel is ten minutes walk from the check-in desks.

Wikinews conducted an email interview with Oscar Diös to talk about the hostel. The full exclusive interview is available below.

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Israel Journal: Is Yossi Vardi a good father to his entrepreneurial children?

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Wikinews reporter David Shankbone is currently, courtesy of the Israeli government and friends, visiting Israel. This is a first-hand account of his experiences and may — as a result — not fully comply with Wikinews’ neutrality policy. Please note this is a journalism experiment for Wikinews and put constructive criticism on the collaboration page.

This article mentions the Wikimedia Foundation, one of its projects, or people related to it. Wikinews is a project of the Wikimedia Foundation.

Dr. Yossi Vardi is known as Israel’s ‘Father of the Entrepreneur’, and he has many children in the form of technology companies he has helped to incubate in Tel Aviv‘s booming Internet sector. At the offices of Superna, one such company, he introduced a whirlwind of presentations from his baby incubators to a group of journalists. What stuck most in my head was when Vardi said, “What is important is not the technology, but the talent.” Perhaps because he repeated this after each young Internet entrepreneur showed us his or her latest creation under Vardi’s tutelage. I had a sense of déjà vu from this mantra. A casual reader of the newspapers during the Dot.com boom will remember a glut of stories that could be called “The Rise of the Failure”; people whose technology companies had collapsed were suddenly hot commodities to start up new companies. This seemingly paradoxical thinking was talked about as new back then; but even Thomas Edison—the Father of Invention—is oft-quoted for saying, “I have not failed. I have just found ten thousand ways that won’t work.”

Vardi’s focus on encouraging his brood of talent regardless of the practicalities stuck out to me because of a recent pair of “dueling studies” The New York Times has printed. These are the sort of studies that confuse parents on how to raise their kids. The first, by Carol Dweck at Stanford University, came to the conclusion that children who are not praised for their efforts, regardless of the outcome’s success, rarely attempt more challenging and complex pursuits. According to Dweck’s study, when a child knows that they will receive praise for being right instead of for tackling difficult problems, even if they fail, they will simply elect to take on easy tasks in which they are assured of finding the solution.

Only one month earlier the Times produced another story for parents to agonize over, this time based on a study from the Brookings Institution, entitled “Are Kids Getting Too Much Praise?” Unlike Dweck’s clinical study, Brookings drew conclusions from statistical data that could be influenced by a variety of factors (since there was no clinical control). The study found American kids are far more confident that they have done well than their Korean counterparts, even when the inverse is true. The Times adds in the words of a Harvard faculty psychologist who intoned, “Self-esteem is based on real accomplishments. It’s all about letting kids shine in a realistic way.” But this is not the first time the self-esteem generation’s proponents have been criticized.

Vardi clearly would find himself encouraged by Dweck’s study, though, based upon how often he seemed to ask us to keep our eyes on the people more than the products. That’s not to say he has not found his latest ICQ, though only time—and consumers—will tell.

For a Web 2.User like myself, I was most fascinated by Fixya, a site that, like Wikipedia, exists on the free work of people with knowledge. Fixya is a tech support site where people who are having problems with equipment ask a question and it is answered by registered “experts.” These experts are the equivalent of Wikipedia’s editors: they are self-ordained purveyors of solutions. But instead of solving a mystery of knowledge a reader has in their head, these experts solve a problem related to something you have bought and do not understand. From baby cribs to cellular phones, over 500,000 products are “supported” on Fixya’s website. The Fixya business model relies upon the good will of its experts to want to help other people through the ever-expanding world of consumer appliances. But it is different from Wikipedia in two important ways. First, Fixya is for-profit. The altruistic exchange of information is somewhat dampened by the knowledge that somebody, somewhere, is profiting from whatever you give. Second, with Wikipedia it is very easy for a person to type in a few sentences about a subject on an article about the Toshiba Satellite laptop, but to answer technical problems a person is experiencing seems like a different realm. But is it? “It’s a beautiful thing. People really want to help other people,” said the presenter, who marveled at the community that has already developed on Fixya. “Another difference from Wikipedia is that we have a premium content version of the site.” Their premium site is where they envision making their money. Customers with a problem will assign a dollar amount based upon how badly they need an answer to a question, and the expert-editors of Fixya will share in the payment for the resolved issue. Like Wikipedia, reputation is paramount to Fixya’s experts. Whereas Wikipedia editors are judged by how they are perceived in the Wiki community, the amount of barnstars they receive and by the value of their contributions, Fixya’s customers rate its experts based upon the usefulness of their advice. The site is currently working on offering extended warranties with some manufacturers, although it was not clear how that would work on a site that functioned on the work of any expert.

Another collaborative effort product presented to us was YouFig, which is software designed to allow a group of people to collaborate on work product. This is not a new idea, although may web-based products have generally fallen flat. The idea is that people who are working on a multi-media project can combine efforts to create a final product. They envision their initial market to be academia, but one could see the product stretching to fields such as law, where large litigation projects with high-level of collaboration on both document creation and media presentation; in business, where software aimed at product development has generally not lived up to its promises; and in the science and engineering fields, where multi-media collaboration is quickly becoming not only the norm, but a necessity.

For the popular consumer market, Superna, whose offices hosted our meeting, demonstrated their cost-saving vision for the Smart Home (SH). Current SH systems require a large, expensive server in order to coordinate all the electronic appliances in today’s air-conditioned, lit and entertainment-saturated house. Such coordinating servers can cost upwards of US$5,000, whereas Superna’s software can turn a US$1,000 hand-held tablet PC into household remote control.

There were a few start-ups where Vardi’s fatherly mentoring seemed more at play than long-term practical business modeling. In the hot market of WiFi products, WeFi is software that will allow groups of users, such as friends, share knowledge about the location of free Internet WiFi access, and also provide codes and keys for certain hot spots, with access provided only to the trusted users within a group. The mock-up that was shown to us had a Google Maps-esque city block that had green points to the known hot spots that are available either for free (such as those owned by good Samaritans who do not secure their WiFi access) or for pay, with access information provided for that location. I saw two long-term problems: first, WiMAX, which is able to provide Internet access to people for miles within its range. There is already discussion all over the Internet as to whether this technology will eventually make WiFi obsolete, negating the need to find “hot spots” for a group of friends. Taiwan is already testing an island-wide WiMAX project. The second problem is if good Samaritans are more easily located, instead of just happened-upon, how many will keep their WiFi access free? It has already become more difficult to find people willing to contribute to free Internet. Even in Tel Aviv, and elsewhere, I have come across several secure wireless users who named their network “Fuck Off” in an in-your-face message to freeloaders.

Another child of Vardi’s that the Brookings Institution might say was over-praised for self-esteem but lacking real accomplishment is AtlasCT, although reportedly Nokia offered to pay US$8.1 million for the software, which they turned down. It is again a map-based software that allows user-generated photographs to be uploaded to personalized street maps that they can share with friends, students, colleagues or whomever else wants to view a person’s slideshow from their vacation to Paris (“Dude, go to the icon over Boulevard Montmartre and you’ll see this girl I thought was hot outside the Hard Rock Cafe!”) Aside from the idea that many people probably have little interest in looking at the photo journey of someone they know (“You can see how I traced the steps of Jesus in the Galilee“), it is also easy to imagine Google coming out with its own freeware that would instantly trump this program. Although one can see an e-classroom in architecture employing such software to allow students to take a walking tour through Rome, its desirability may be limited.

Whether Vardi is a smart parent for his encouragement, or in fact propping up laggards, is something only time will tell him as he attempts to bring these products of his children to market. The look of awe that came across each company’s representative whenever he entered the room provided the answer to the question of Who’s your daddy?

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Media round-up: April Fools’ Day 2008

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Many media outlets traditionally deliberately spread hoaxes on April Fools’ Day, including notable quality sources such as National Geographic and Science.

The popular British tabloid The Sun wrote that French President Nicolas Sarkozy is to undergo stretch surgery to make him taller than his wife, Italian artist and model Carla Bruni. The report claimed the 5 foot 5 inch leader would be made 5 inches taller in one year using a method by Israeli professor Ura Schmuck. The Sun noted that during his visit to Britain last week, Sarkozy had high-heel shoes while his wife wore a pair of flat pumps.

The Guardian on the other hand ran an article that suggested that Carla would head an initiative by Prime Minister Gordon Brown to bring more glamour, good taste and sophistication to the U.K. general population. This would involve collaboration with Marks & Spencer for high-street fashion and Jamie Oliver for meals and wine.

BBC News had real-looking footage of flying penguins fronted by documentary host Terry Jones, which were actually an advertisement for its new iPlayer.

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Concerns raised over UK hospital disinfection practices

Wednesday, November 8, 2006

A survey, conducted by the Patients’ Association, an independent charity devoted to defending the interests of patients, has revealed “unease and concern among health professionals” that infection control practices in the United Kingdom’s National Health Service are “endangering patients’ lives”. The survey published today, revealed that NHS infection control staff felt that infection control was inadequately financed, that training was inadequate and that much time has to be spent reassuring patients.

The Association is concerned that the financial deficits of many NHS trusts may prejudice good infection control practice because the resources allocated for this are not effectively ring-fenced. There was evidence of inadequate training and execution of good practice. The report also listed shortcomings in way supplies were acquired and delays in getting supplies of the preferred disinfectant: 2% Chlorhexidine-based solution.

BBC reported that a recent paper to a Society for General Microbiology conference by a University of Leeds team has shown that two chemical cleaners commonly used in hospitals, far from reducing the prevalence of Clostridium difficile (C. difficile) bacterium, actually increased its ability to survive. Only cleaners containing bleach had been proved effective in disposing of this bacterium. Authors of the paper refused to disclose what those two cleaners were.

There is particular concern in the Patients’ Association about the absence of adequate data on the spread of C. difficile. The Telegraph quotes Katharine Murphy, of the Patients’ Association, as saying: “Collection of data about this very dangerous infection is haphazard to say the least, and we are not getting the true picture. How can patients have confidence in their hospitals if the real threat posed by C. difficile is being played down?”

The Report found that only a fifth of respondents confirmed the collection of surgical-site infection data and that only 27% reported infection data about C. difficile; despite the requirement that Trusts collect and report these data.

Trusts are also required to report the incidence of surgical-site infection, but the Patients’ Association survey found that only a fifth of respondents confirmed the collection of these data.

The Patients Association called this a “worrying and haphazard situation”.

The Telegraph reports that experts consider that C. difficile is an even greater threat to patient’s health than MRSA.

Leicester NHS Trust has reported 49 deaths associated with C. difficile. in three of its hospitals. Six deaths have been reported at Maidstone Hospital and the Healthcare Commission has been asked to investigate. C. difficile was associated with the deaths of nearly 1000 patient in 2003.

A new Code of Practice “for the prevention and control of healthcare associated infections” was issued by the Department of Health in October 2006 under the Health Act 2006. This refers to the NHS in England and Wales only.

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Euro reaches new lows

Friday, July 15, 2011

On Tuesday, the Euro fell to a new record low in relation to the Swiss Franc, and to multi-month lows against the U.S. Dollar and Japanese yen; all considered by investors to be safe currencies during times of economic turmoil.

The Wall Street Journal reported earlier that recent comments from the newly installed head of the International Monetary Fund, France’s Christine Lagarde, resulted in a sell-off of the Euro. At a roundtable discussion in Washington, Lagarde noted that the IMF had not yet reached discussion of terms and conditions of a second Greek bailout plan. In fact, a representative from the IMF is currently meeting with Eurozone policymakers to draft such a new proposal. The yield differential between Italian bonds and German bonds has spread to more than 300 basis points, something not seen in over a decade and evidence of investors’ concern.

Adding to the Euro’s woes is the upcoming release of the bank stress tests on Friday. The European Bankers Association said that they expect the data release to shed new light on the Eurozone’s banking situation. Representatives of several of the Eurozone’s governments, including Germany, have requested that the association consider releasing fewer specific details for fear that investor panic will ensue. The inadequacy of the capitalization rates has been an issue with the European Central Bank, whose president recently called upon Eurozone banks to make every effort to put their balance sheets in order.

For the time being at least, an unsubstantiated rumor reported by the Wall Street Journal states that the Eurozone’s central banks’ purchase of periphery debt has helped to quell the downward momentum of the Euro.

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Wikinews interviews Democratic candidate for the Texas 6th congressional district special election Daryl Eddings, Sr’s campaign manager

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Wikinews extended invitations by e-mail on March 23 to multiple candidates running in the Texas’ 6th congressional district special election of May 1 to fill a vacancy left upon the death of Republican congressman Ron Wright. Of them, the office of Democrat Daryl Eddings, Sr. agreed to answer some questions by phone March 30 about their campaigns and policies. The following is the interview with Ms Chatham on behalf of Mr Eddings, Sr.

Eddings is a federal law enforcement officer and senior non-commissioned officer in the US military. His experience as operations officer of an aviation unit in the California National Guard includes working in Los Angeles to control riots sparked by the O. J. Simpson murder case and the police handling of Rodney King, working with drug interdiction teams in Panama and Central America and fighting in the Middle East. He is the founder of Operation Battle Buddy, which has under his leadership kept in touch with over 20 thousand veterans and their families. He was born in California, but moved to Midlothian, Texas. He endeavours to bring “good government, not no government”. Campaign manager Faith Chatham spoke to Wikinews on matters ranging from healthcare to housing.

An Inside Elections poll published on March 18 shows Republican candidate Susan Wright, the widow of Ron Wright, is ahead by 21% followed by Democrat Jana Sanchez with 17% and Republican Jake Ellzey with 8% with a 4.6% margin of error among 450 likely voters. The district is considered “lean Republican” by Inside Elections and voted 51% in favour of Donald Trump in last year’s US presidential election. This is down from 54% for Trump in 2016’s presidential election, the same poll stated.

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