Wikinews' very first Overview of the year 2007 has been published. And to go with it is our World News Quiz for this week on the year's news.
To take the short quiz go >>here>>. To take the extended version, which contains questions about this year's news in full, go >>here>>.
Monday, December 31, 2007
Wikinews' very first Overview of the year 2007 has been published. And to go with it is our World News Quiz for this week on the year's news.
Thursday, December 27, 2007
With the Climate Conference in Bali having come to a successful conclusion, Sean Heron interviewed Christoph Bals from the German NGO Germanwatch on his opinion of the outcome, and an outlook on the future negotiations. Christoph is the Senior Political Executive of Germanwatch, Co-Author of the Climate protection-Index and did lobby work on Bali.
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
Well, in my last post I had promised I'd fill in some gaps later, and though the conference is now more than a week over, and the memories are naturally fading, I still wanted to do so. When I was thinking about what might be interesting and I hadn't mentioned yet, what sprung to mind was how the media and the NGOs/Governmental representatives work like two cogs with one another when it goes to conveying news.
I guess I should start of by some broader context: Everybody at the conference got a badge/card for entry checks (barcoded even). These had your name and organisation on them, which of course is quite helpful. Most importantly though (in everyday social contacts) they had a colour and text designating them either "NGO", "Media", or "Party" (the delegates) [There were others but thats not relevant]. Now the interesting thing was, and I didn't realize this until a few days in, that carrying a "Media" card round with you, got all sorts of people to peddle information to you (not quite as intrusively as you get peddled pretty much anything as a foreigner here in Bali, but with equally keen interest :D). "I have a real story for you, mate", "... I think I might have some more information for you later, could you give me your number?" were some of the best I heard.
This leads me back to the "media machine" and its "feeding". As in Heiligendamm, the writing press got a big working area to itself. So you have a nice collection of journalists there, and plenty of organisations giving press briefings used this circumstance to do some "canvasing" for themselves. From the US State Department, to the NGO I had some contact with, Germanwatch, you'd have people going around placing sheets stating where, when and what their press conference is going to be (about).
And with the amount of stuff going on, people (including me) would follow these invites (its not as if the information weren't easy at hand either: there were "daily programmes" lying about in stacks that did include a timetable of all press briefings). I know because I gave a hand doing some canvasing myself for a youth delegation doing a "stunt", as it is called (they dressed up as sleazy corporate bosses, they were doling out monopoly money to any delegates they found), and there were quite a few people I was pressing the advertisement into the hands of, that said: "oh right, I wanted to go there, where is it happening?" or "no time, but I'll give my colleague a call".
On the press briefings themselves: You might remember me saying that there was one room where press briefings were held more or less non stop. Well, at least on the last days, there were also journalists that were their more or less all the time. How do you know, you ask. You must have been there all the time as well then! Well I guess I have to admit that yes, I was there most of the time as well, and there was not much else you could do on Friday, so I guess the case I'm making isn't a strong one. Still, it did get me thinking, at least at times, we were entirely dependent of the information we were being given in the briefings. Still, I guess its nevertheless worlds apart from Heiligendamm, were the best you got was press briefings... over TV. And a number of limited Photo opportunities.
Speaking of which what I hadn't anticipated was how various NGOs had a good number of "stunts" set up (one I already mentioned). The fossil awards, which were handed out daily to the countries the Climate action network (CAN) viewed as the most obstructive that day, even advertised: "good photo opportunities" on their flyers. I never did get round to watching one, but apparently they didn't just name which nations and why got the awards, no, they always had someone from the appropriate nation stand in to "receive" the reward, and made quite a show of it :). And this was not just anybody handing them out, but a network of the greater part of the environmental NGOs present (see also http://www.climatenetwork.org/).
So yes, a lot of what the NGOs were doing was centred around getting press coverage, and I had the impression that the press on the other hand, often had a hard time understanding what was going on, or getting something good to cover, if it wasn't fed us bite size (see for example my "scientists urge action on climate change" article, based entirely on the information I was given). So yes, I find the image of two cog wheels running in one another quite adequate.
What else have I missed until now ? Maybe just how accessible the delegates were. I myself didn't actually talk in much with any one of them, but tagging along with Toby Heaps on one day (a Canadian journalist I was sharing a Bungalow with), we were at a restaurant at the Canadian Delegations Hotel, and they had just finished eating together with a bunch of Canadian Press people when we got there. Toby (who later released a paper on Carbon taxing he had coauthored) took up the opportunity and presented some of the thoughts of the paper to one of the delegates.
And this didn't seem too uncommon. One of the young Europeans I met up with, a woman from Norway, said they (the members of their/the Norwegian NGO(s), not sure) had regular meetings with the delegates, where they would of course lobby for their position. A young woman from Belgium had actually been invited onto the delegation, and was thus even more involved in the whole process (she once bemoaned that it was difficult to lobby if your government was already getting things pretty right. She stated that the Belgians position inside the EU was a progressive one, but that they had to tone it down outwards, as the EU was presenting one common position).
I was of course previously aware that lobby work happened, but I guess I had never thought about how it worked in detail, and so it was quite interesting and somewhat surprising for me to see and hear about the process. Anything else? Their's certainly still plenty I could tell, but to sum it up I'll just say that I realized time and again that all those attending, NGOs, press, security or delegates, are just humans in the end and, of course, act that way as well and not just in the roles they have been given,
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
It's that time of year again. We at Wikinews are trying something new.
We write articles everyday over a wide variety of subjects and events. Now it is time for you to pick the articles that affected you most in 2007.
Was it the Madeline McCann story? Or maybe it was the shooting at Virginia Tech. School. Maybe it was Ahmadinejad's speech.
Whatever the story may be, we want you to choose your favorite story of 2007.
Please add suggestions here. And please help by writing briefs for the chosen articles.
Yedioth Aharonoth, Israel's largest daily newspaper, recently did an article in their Friday edition about David Shankbone's interview with Shimon Peres, recording this historic Wiki meeting (Peres is the first world leader to meet with Wikinews to discuss politics). The interview lasted for over an hour, with many issues discussed. A translation of the Hebrew article is found on the Israeli government's blog:
Although there are some inaccuracies in the article, it is generally excellent coverage for Wikimedia and should be a boost for the Hebrew Wikipedia/Wikinews projects.
Friday, December 21, 2007
A delegation from the Lakota Indian Tribe, an Indian nation on United States soil, have signed a document stating that their tribe withdraws and or cancels all treaties with the U.S. and formally establish independence from the country. The letter was hand delivered by activists for the tribe to Deputy to the Public Liaison at the State Department, Daniel Turner.
"We are no longer citizens of the United States of America and all those who live in the five-state area that encompasses our country are free to join us. This is according to the laws of the United States, specifically article six of the constitution. It is also within the laws on treaties passed at the Vienna Convention and put into effect by the US and the rest of the international community in 1980. We are legally within our rights to be free and independent," said Russell Means, an activist for Native American rights to reporters at a press conference on Wednesday in Washington, D.C..
The delegation wrote a formal letter to the Department of State which was hand-delivered by activists of the tribe announcing their secession. So far, the U.S. has not issued a public response regarding their decision. Wikinews attempted to contact the State Department, but in an e-mail Director of the Office of Media Affairs Kirsten Petree stated that "this is not an issue for the State Department" and referred us to the Department of the Interior.
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.
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.
Monday, December 17, 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 about when he arrived to the country, what happend, and some interesting discussions that took place. You can read it here.
Sunday, December 16, 2007
The following is copied from his user page at his request. It has not been edited.
Yes, its over. After a day of limbo (at least thats how I felt) the Climate conference (finally) ended yesterday. And how crazy was that last day. Some of you might have seen comments I was making on Wikinews, and I just have to say again that I was really relieved when the US so unexpectedly agreed to the amended text (I was up there on the press gallery giving them standing ovations together with the rest of the plenary :D). I really saw everything coming apart beforehand, and from the worried expressions of fellow journalists, I saw that others were thinking the same (those that I spoke only confirmed this). I was glad I didn't see the guys from Germanwatch I did the translation for till after it was over though, cause their policy guy (who does the lobby work), told me that he had also been afraid it might fail at the last minute, and I would have given quite something on his opinion! But I guess this might all be a bit of detail overload (I reckon it shows you were my heart is).
So what happened/what have I been doing in the second week here on Bali? One quite nice thing that springs to mind was being invited by the Canadian Journalist I'm sharing a bungalow with (Toby Heaps) to have Dinner with some guys from TV. Afraid I can't recall their names, but these two, both based in Beijing had some real interesting stories to tell, from the US base in Kabul till how to get around paying Bagshish (bribe, have absolutely no idea how its usually spelt) when travelling in Indonesia or elsewhere.
Oh right, I did the aforementioned translation for the German NGO Germanwatch. They released their climate risk index on Monday or Tuesday, and I translated the press release into english (that being one of a number of things that kept me up till late during that week, SVTCobra :D).
Otherwise I've been connecting up to some young people from Europe with a view to the next two conferences on Monday and Tuesday (when there wasn't too much happening to be reported on, as all the action was behind closed doors in small groups then; hmm, not that this changed too much towards later really...). But I guess I should stay more focused on the news side of things :).
The high level segment was a blessing for me: there were no parallel events and the speeches weren't contributing to the ongoing negotiations in any meaningful manner, so I actually haven't seen one of them :D. I was guessing that as this (to me) non event went on there were sure to be some delegates available to interview, so I sent out some requests. Unfortunately most remained unreplied, the only ones to really get back to me were the Brazilians, but he told me something I hadn't fully realized previously: That everybody was pretty engaged in negotiations within smaller groups, and that he therefore did not believe that I'd be able to get to talk with anyone (which is what happened).
I have the impression I'm not really in storyteller mode at the moment, so thats all for now, and I hope it wasn't too boring. I hope to add a bit more over the next few days!
Regards, Sean Heron.
Friday, December 14, 2007
The Register, a British technology and satirical website, reports that a former Wikimedia Foundation Chief Operating Officer (COO) has a criminal record in at least four U.S. states: Texas, Maryland, Virginia and Florida.
Carolyn Bothwell Doran was the COO for six months from January to July 2007. The site lists known convictions as four counts of driving under the influence, two of check fraud and petty larceny, and one hit and run car accident which killed an unnamed individual. She also pleaded guilty to shooting a former boyfriend in the chest.
Thursday, December 13, 2007
Reggie Bibbs is a 42-year-old-man living in Houston, Texas. Mr Bibbs was born with a genetic disease called neurofibromatosis (NF), which causes him to develop tumours on his body. NF can be a subtle disease, but in Bibbs' case it has left him with a disfigured face. But he is happy with the way he looks, and doesn't want to change his appearance to please other people. He has launched a succesful campaign entitled "Just Ask", and that's just what Wikinews did in a video-interview.
The interview was prepared by Wikinews reporter Michaël Laurent with the help of Bertalan Meskó (who has a popular genetics and web 2.0 blog). Their questions were sent to a close friend of Mr. Bibbs, Lou Congelio, who conducted the interview.
The following is copied from his user page at his request. It has not been edited.
Wow, yes, I´ve been here for a week now, but it doesn´t seem it! There tonnes of stuff going on, and its not easy to choose where to go and what to do: Monday and Tuesday there were two plenary sessions running in parallel most of the time, then there is a room that press conferences are being held more or less non stop by various organizations and nations, and lastly there are commonly four to six so called "side events" going on in a neighbouring hotel, which are usually informative presentations (one of the last I saw was on how deforestation and degredation can be measured by various satellite imaging methods). At the same time your making friendly and business connections with people here, astonishingly easy as well.. And in between all that I try to get to do some of the stuff I originally came here for, which is writing news :D. Under these conditions it easily turns 4 in the morning before you get home. On one occasion, noting that there was a market just opening, me and a befriended journalist from Canada (Toby Heaps) popped in between the dead chickens and piles of vegetables to grab some tuck, as he hadn´t eaten that evening.
But back to the event: I was very amazed at how accesable everything is, its in stark contrast to the way things were in Heiligendamm: At least this first week before the ministers arrived you could walk around the plenary while the sessions were being held, just approach the delegates in breaks, get up on stage after a Press Conference and ask Yvo de Boer this and that, basicly do more or less anything you please. The limits are the closed sessions, though I know some people that have slipped in those as well...
So all very open, but the flip side of the coin is that what your told informally is generally considered off the record. That means although I may be plenty in the know, there is nothing I can source that information to. So why have I done no interviews you ask? Well, no easy answer to that, I guess it comes down to me having set my priorities differently. One problem still is that, as I haven´t planned things out, the day rushes by, which one event racing after the next, hardly leaving a breather to think about what I could be doing instead of listening to the Umbrella group and the G77+ China argue about whether or not technology transfer is on the agenda or not for a good two hours. I must also admit that I´ve been contacting some enviromental NGO´s asking them if I can give them a hand in any way. I didn´t have much any luck with that at first, but I yesterday met with a German organisation, and might help them with a presentation and the entailing press release. I hope I don´t offend my colleagues here when I say that lending my support to these organisations is more important to me personally than doing reporting :/ .
Well, its been very interesting so far, and I want to thank those of you at home who have given me a hand with the articles, that was definitely much appreciated :D , as well as the feedback I´ve recieved. I reckon you might not be hearing from me here before the end of the conference, so till then I suppose.
Monday, December 10, 2007
On Sunday The Jerusalem Post wrote an article about David Shankbone's upcoming trip to Israel for Wikimedia work, citing it as an "acknowledgement of the importance that the Internet encyclopedia Wikipedia has in shaping opinion..."
The story is found here.
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
At least 9 people were killed and five were injured during a shooting at a shopping mall in Omaha, Nebraska with the gunman committing suicide. Of the injured, two are still in critical condition.
"The shooter is male, and has died from a self inflicted gunshot wound," said a Omaha Police spokesman during a live press conference.
"We are setting up a station at the Hampton Inn for families and the victims," added the spokesman.
Police are not releasing names until all family members can be notified.
In an exclusive report, the United States military has confirmed to Wikinews, in an e-mail, the authenticity of the 2004 Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for Camp Delta at the U.S. Naval base in Guantánamo Bay, which was leaked by Wikileaks on December 3, and first reported on by Wikinews.
"The document appears to be a valid 2004 Camp Delta SOP," said Rick Haupt, Commander, United States Navy Director of Public Affairs, Joint Task Force (JTF), Guantanamo Bay.
"While the document is 'Unclassified,' it is designated 'For Official Use Only' and for many reasons (to include the safety and security of U.S. service members) was not intended for mass distribution," added Haupt.
Click here for the exclusive report.
Former 'Top Model' contestant Whitney Cunningham defends plus size models, celebrates the "regular woman"
First of all, she is confident and headstrong, which is a must on these kinds of shows, almost as much as it is to take a beautiful modelesque picture. Second, she turns that confidence into drive. She has been receiving steady work as a model since leaving the show, and still believes that her goal of being the first woman to wear a size ten dress on the cover of Vogue is in reach. Third, and probably most important to television viewers, she obliterates the age-old model stereotype that to be pretty and photograph well, one must also be vapid and without a thought. A graduate of Dartmouth College, Cunningham also dreams of becoming a writer, and is working toward dual goals: a model who can express herself like no other model before her.
Cunningham recently sat down with Wikinews reporter Mike Halterman in an impassioned interview, taking hours to field questions from the reporter as well as from fans of America's Next Top Model. Always in high spirits, Cunningham shows that she is a distinct personality who has carved her own niche in the Top Model history books. At the same time, she exhibits a joie de vivre that is oddly reminiscent of earlier Top Model fan favorite Toccara Jones, who showed America just how to be "big, black, beautiful and loving it." However, Cunningham is quick to remind everyone that she isn't big at all; she is simply a regular woman.
This is the first in a series of interviews with America's Next Top Model contestants. Interviews will be published sporadically.
Monday, December 3, 2007
The wiki-based site Wikileaks today revealed another chapter in the story of the Standard Operations Procedure manual for the Camp Delta facility at Guantanamo Bay. The latest documents they have received are the details of the 2004 copy of the manual signed off by Major General Geoffrey D. Miller of the U.S. Southern Command. This is following on from the earlier leaking of the 2003 version. Wikileaks passed this document to people they consider experts in the field to carry out an analysis trying to validate it. Following this, they set out to assess what had changed between 2003 and 2004; including attempts to link publicly known incidents with changes to the manual.
Read the exclusive report, see the entire document, changes and Wikileaks investigation.
At Thanksgiving dinner David Shankbone told his white middle class family that he was to interview Reverend Al Sharpton that Saturday. The announcement caused an impassioned discussion about the civil rights leader's work, the problems facing the black community and whether Sharpton helps or hurts his cause. Opinion was divided. "He's an opportunist." "He only stirs things up." "Why do I always see his face when there's a problem?"
Shankbone went to the National Action Network's headquarters in Harlem with this Thanksgiving discussion to inform the conversation. Below is his interview with Al Sharpton on everything from Tawana Brawley, his purported feud with Barack Obama, criticism by influential African Americans such as Clarence Page, his experience running for President, to how he never expected he would see fifty (he is now 53). "People would say to me, 'Now that I hear you, even if I disagree with you I don’t think you’re as bad as I thought,'" said Sharpton. "I would say, 'Let me ask you a question: what was "bad as you thought"?' And they couldn’t say. They don’t know why they think you’re bad, they just know you’re supposed to be bad because the right wing tells them you’re bad."
Saturday, December 1, 2007
Our next interview will be ten times as informative and fun, as we interview ten contestants from past cycles of America's Next Top Model. If you'd like to get some final questions in for:
...then please go to this page. We encourage anyone and any agencies to ask a question.
The interview will be held in the chat room #wikinews-interviews at 4 p.m. Eastern Time tomorrow (Sunday, December 2). Considering the volume of questions received, the interview probably will not end until 5:30, or 6:00 at the very latest.
For assistance in using IRC and logging onto the freenode network, please see this page.
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Out of a record number of applications and 273 nominees, the World Economic Forum (WEF) has chosen the Wikimedia Foundation as one of the 2008 Pioneers of Technology. 38 other organisations or companies have also been selected for the list of pioneers.
"Technology Pioneers are companies that have been identified as developing and applying highly transformational and innovative technologies in the areas of energy, biotechnology and health, and information technology," said a press release issued by the Forum.
The Wikimedia Foundation was chosen in part because of the ability to provide free, collaborative knowledge which is distributed by people all over the world and its involvement in "the development of life changing technology innovation" with the "potential for long-term impact on business and society, demonstrating visionary leadership and having a proven technology," referring to Wikipedia, Wikinews, Wikiversity and Commons.
Click here for the full story.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
On November 15, 2007, Wikinews reported about an internal United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) memo, in an exclusive report, detailing the threat of al-Qaeda and Hezbollah to the mainland of the U.S. and us interests abroad.
The authenticity of the 27-page document can now be undeniably confirmed. Wikinews, in another exclusive report, has obtained a DHS video of a recording from the briefing on the report, which is presented by Steven Maebus, a representative for the DHS and ex U.S. army intelligence officer of 21 years. The video also shows the memo projected onto a screen, in nearly 20 slides, so that the attendees of the briefing can see it in detail.
Maebus, who says he is at the briefing "on behalf of his boss Charles Allen," who is the chief intelligence officer and former CIA member of 50 years, talks about "threats to the homeland" and begins to go into detail about alleged foiled terror plots involving bombs, and individuals overseas. The briefing was held on or around the date of October 22, 2007, and the alleged plots and threats not mentioned in the memo, took place within the "past few weeks," says Maebus.
Click here to see the full story.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Wikinews is currently taking questions for nine past 'America's Next Top Model' contestants in our next free, collaborative interview.
The following past contestants will be interviewed:
Jennipher (Cycle 3)
Michelle (Cycle 4)
Keenyah (Cycle 4)
Furonda (Cycle 6)
Brooke (Cycle 7)
Jaeda (Cycle 7)
Samantha (Cycle 8)
Diana (Cycle 8)
Whitney (Cycle 8)
We encourage anyone and any agencies to ask a question. If you would like to be part of this interview, please go here and ask your questions(s) at the bottom of the page.
Sunday, November 25, 2007
In the 18 months since Andrea Muizelaar was crowned winner of the reality TV series Canada's Next Top Model, her life has been in a complete whirlwind. From working in a dollar store in her hometown of Whitby, Ontario, to modeling haute couture in Toronto, she had reached her dream of becoming a true Top Model.
But at what cost? Unknown to casual television viewers, Muizelaar had been enveloped in the eating disorder anorexia nervosa, which inevitably became too much for her to bear. She gave up modeling and moved back to Whitby, where she sought treatment for her disorder, re-entered college, and now works at a bank. Where is she now? Happy and healthy, she says.
Recently Andrea Muizelaar sat down with Wikinews reporter Mike Halterman in a candid interview that stretched to nearly two hours, as she told all about her hopes and aspirations, her battle with anorexia, and just what really happened on Canada's Next Top Model.
Despite the hopes of many University of Wisconsin at Madison students, The Onion was not named after their student center. "People always ask questions about where the name The Onion came from," said President Sean Mills in an interview with David Shankbone, "and when I recently asked Tim Keck, who was one of the founders, he told me the name—I’ve never heard this story about ‘see you at the un-yun’—he said it was literally that his Uncle said he should call it The Onion when he saw him and Chris Johnson eating an onion sandwich. They had literally just cut up the onion and put it on bread." According to Editorial Manager Chet Clem, their food budget was so low when they started the paper that they were down to white bread and onions.
Long before The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, Heck and Johnson envisioned a publication that would parody the news--and news reporting--when they were students at UWM in 1988. Since its inception, The Onion has become a veritable news parody empire, with a print edition, a website that drew 5,000,000 unique visitors in the month of October, personal ads, a 24 hour news network, podcasts, and a recently launched world atlas called Our Dumb World. Al Gore and General Tommy Franks casually rattle off their favorite headlines (Gore's was when The Onion reported he and Tipper were having the best sex of their lives after his 2000 Electoral College defeat). Many of their writers have gone on to wield great influence on Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert's news parody shows.
And we are sorry to break the news to all you amateur headline writers: your submissions do not even get read.
David Shankbone a freelance journalist writing for Wikinews sat down to interview Chet Clem and Sean Mills about the news empire that has become The Onion.
You can see the full interview by clicking here.
Saturday, November 24, 2007
Naked News' slogan reads “The Program With Nothing to Hide,” and everything holds true to that. The Canadian-based programme presents the news completely bare, with little exception, including a segment they present outside naked. The exception being if they are in the process of disrobing, or if they are reporting a tragic news event. Gabriel Pollard, writing for Wikinews, interviewed Victoria Sinclair about the “sensual, but not sexual” Naked News, and her presenting role.
The show had a fairly basic start, with two friends, Fernando Perreira and Kirby Stasnyk, bluntly thinking that the news would be better presented naked. Sinclair said, “In this case, these men had the means and the will to turn their idea into reality.” A Russian program with a similar concept, "600 seconds" on M1 TV, in which news anchor Svetlana Pesotskaya removed an article of clothing after each story, received high ratings within eight months of its introduction in 1999. Naked Broadcasting Network Inc. also started a male edition in 2001, but this was later discontinued a few years later due to lack of interest from its key demographic, the gay community. It failed to get the same kind of grounding experienced by the female edition. Later imitators in Hong Kong and Japan have also proved successful.
In 1999—its inception—Naked News only had around 8,000 subscribers of a free five-minute show hosted on Daily Dirt. They now boast six million paid subscribers to a much longer news programme of 22-minutes produced every six days from 172 countries worldwide. Lead Anchor and spokeswoman Victoria Sinclair puts the success of the international viewership due to the “captivating, saucy, and certainly different” way of presenting the news.
Click here for the full story.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Last night HBO premiered I Am An Animal: The Story of Ingrid Newkirk and PETA. Since its, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has made headlines and raised eyebrows. They are almost single-handedly responsible for the movement against animal testing and their efforts have raised the suffering animals experience in a broad spectrum of consumer goods production and food processing into a cause célèbre.
PETA first made headlines in the Silver Spring monkeys case, when Alex Pacheco, then a student at George Washington University, volunteered at a lab run by Edward Taub, who was testing neuroplasticity on live monkeys. Taub had cut sensory ganglia that supplied nerves to the monkeys' fingers, hands, arms, legs; with some of the monkeys, he had severed the entire spinal column. He then tried to force the monkeys to use their limbs by exposing them to persistent electric shock, prolonged physical restraint of an intact arm or leg, and by withholding food. With footage obtained by Pacheco, Taub was convicted of six counts of animal cruelty—largely as a result of the monkeys' reported living conditions—making them "the most famous lab animals in history," according to psychiatrist Norman Doidge. Taub's conviction was later overturned on appeal and the monkeys were eventually euthanized.
David Shankbone, a freelance journalist writing for Wikinews attended the pre-release screening of 'I Am An Animal' at HBO's offices in New York City on November 12, and the following day he sat down with Ingrid Newkirk to discuss her perspectives on PETA, animal rights, her responses to criticism lodged against her and to discuss her on-going life's work to raise human awareness of animal suffering. Below is her interview.
Click here for full story.
Monday, November 19, 2007
Buenos Aires, Argentina – On Saturday the 17th of November, thousands of lesbians and gays marched in the 16th Gay Pride Parade in the Argentine capital of Buenos Aires.
During the early hours of the evening, a crowd of people began to gather in the traditional and historical Plaza de Mayo, near of the Casa Rosada, seat of the country's executive power. The police positioned operatives by the Buenos Aires Metropolitan Cathedral to avoid clashes between Catholic groups and those protesting for gay and lesbian rights.
In statements made exclusively to Wikinews, the chairwoman of the National Institute Against the Discrimination, Xenophobia and Racism (INADI) expressed that the march was of utmost importance.
"This is an advance for democracy, that we can gather so many people to celebrate diversity. We must work against all type of discrimination, and especially on this day against homophobia, and also pursue the rights not afforded us; for example, the identity of transsexual people," stated María José Lubertino, chairwoman of the INADI.
Sunday, November 18, 2007
Drag—dressing in the clothing atypical of your born gender—in recent years has found mainstream success. Films such as Priscilla, Queen of the Dessert, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil and To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar have prominently featured drag performers. But they have all focused on men in drag as women.
Murray Hill is a comedian, emcee and performer. He is also a drag king. Called "The Hardest Working Middle-aged Man in Show Business", The New York Times christened him "the current reigning patriarch of the downtown performance community." He is seemingly everywhere, emceeing a bingo night at the now closed, Jimmy Fallon-backed Mo Pitkins' House of Satisfaction on Avenue A, or hosting the Polyamorous Pride Day in Central Park. Hill has become a legend in New York's "anything goes" counterculture theater scene who is beginning to find mainstream success; which would be a first for a drag king.
David Shankbone's examination of New York City's culture has brought him to the whip's end of a BDSM dungeon, on the phone with RuPaul, matching wits with Michael Musto, grilling Gay Talese, eating dinner with Augusten Burroughs and quizzing the bands that play the Bowery Ballroom. In this segment he talks to downtown legend Murray Hill, former New York City mayoral candidate and comedian, on the last night of Mo Pitkins' House of Satisfaction.
GO HERE TO READ THE INTERVIEW.
A spokesperson for the Justice Department in the Netherlands has confirmed to the Dutch magazine Intermediair that it will temporary suspend access to Wikipedia for it's 30,000 employees, following recently revealed vandalism by staff members.
The magazine has confronted the department with some untasteful edits which originated from their IP addresses. Anonymous users are registered through these unique internet fingerprints when they edit Wikipedia. The magazine exposed the vandalism through Wikiscanner.nl, a website which combines a database of Wikipedia alterations with a server database from large institutions. The site can be used to reveal which organisations are behind anonymous Wikipedia editors.
One of the edits involved the article on the murder of controversial filmmaker Theo van Gogh by a muslim extrimist, which shocked the Netherlands and led to an intense debate about integration and the safety of public figures. In 2005, the vandal added to the article that Mr. van Gogh was riding his bicycle through a street in Amsterdam "with his penis hanging out of his pants" when he was shot.
>> READ THE FULL STORY
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
In an exclusive report, Wikinews has obtained documents via Wikileaks that state al-Qaeda, Hezbollah and or single interest groups is planning to attack the United States homeland within three years, this according to a 27-page internally distributed memo circulated by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on the threat of al-Qaeda. The document also details al-Qaeda's threat in other parts of the world including Iraq, Afghanistan, Africa and Pakistan. Wikileaks claims that the report was published on October 22, 2007.
"Al-Qaeda is intent in striking the U.S. homeland and the U.S. will face a persistent and evolving terrorist threat over the next three years. Al-Qaeda homeland plotting is likely to continue to focus on prominent political, economic, and infrastructure targets. Lebanese Hezbollah may (also) attempt to attack the Homeland and non-muslim, 'single-issue' groups will probably conduct attacks," stated the report which also said that likely targets include the "mass transit sector and the aviation sectors."
Click here for the full story and link to the report.
Kasur Tashi Wangdi was appointed Representative of the Dalai Lama to the Americas on April 16, 2005. He had previously served as His Holiness' representative in Delhi, the Indian capital. He has served the Tibetan government-in-exile since 1966, starting as a junior officer and rising to the highest rank of Kalon (Cabinet Minister). As a Kalon, he at one time or another was head of the major ministries, including the Department of Religion and Culture, Department of Home, Department of Education, Department of Information and International Relations, Department of Security, and Department of Health. He is not a Buddhist scholar but describes himself as a civil servant. He possesses a BA in Political Science and Sociology from Durham University.
Wikinews reporter David Shankbone recently spoke to him about Chinese-Tibetan relations, the status of the Panchen Lamas, the awarding of the Congressional Gold Medal to Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th and current Dalai Lama, the appointment of Tibetan high monks by the Chinese government and some of the Dalai Lama's views on topics on religions and societal topics.GO HERE TO READ THE INTERVIEW
In an exclusive report, Wikinews has obtained an internal FBI document from Wikileaks detailing symbols used by organized pedophiles to identify one another.
Wikileaks obtained the document though an organization in Spain called "child erotica networks." The document was supposed to be issued to local law enforcement agencies under "Crimes Against Children Standing Intelligence Requirements." According to Wikileaks, the document was only briefly published by the Ann Arbor, Michigan police department in a newsletter, which was later removed from the internet.
The document, which is titled Symbols and Logos Used by Pedophiles to Identify Sexual Preferences states that "pedophiles, to include those who sexually abuse children as well as those who produce, distribute, and trade child pornography, are using various types of identification logos or symbols to recognize one another and distinguish their sexual preferences."
Click here for the full story and pictures.
Sunday, November 11, 2007
Wikinews is currently taking questions for Canada's first 'Top Model' in our next free, collaborative interview.
We encourage anyone and any agency(s) to ask a question. If you would like to be part of this interview, please go here and ask your questions(s) at the bottom of the page.
Vanity Fair contributing editor Craig Unger on the Bush family feud, neoconservatives and the Christian right
In a recent interview with the Dalai Lama’s Representative to the Americas, Tashi Wangdi, David Shankbone remarked to him that Americans have trouble relating to centuries-long conflicts that exist between peoples around the world, including those in Asia. Many Asian countries dislike each other tremendously, and the conflict over Tibet is just one enduring multi-national battle. Americans wonder why other people can not settle their differences and get along, like we do in the United States.
According to Vanity Fair contributing editor Craig Unger, it is not that Americans do not have these deep-seeded conflicts; it is that they do not remember them and thus have no context in which to see them as they resurface in our political culture.
On the same day he spoke to the Dalai Lama’s representative, Shankbone sat down with Unger, author of The New York Times best-seller House of Bush, House of Saud. In his new book, The Fall of the House of Bush, Unger attempts to fill in some of the blanks of an epochal narrative in American politics. Using a mix of painstaking research, interviews with cultural and political leaders and delving into previously classified records to come up with some overview of how America has arrived at this particular political moment.
To make sense of such complicated history, Unger draws upon three themes: He illustrates the conflict within the modern Republican Party via the oedipal conflict between George W. Bush and his father, George H.W. Bush. Things are not well within the House of Bush. Bush Jr. has not only shut out his father and his allies from his administration—something Bob Woodward discovered in his interviews with the President—but he also appointed many of his father’s bitterest enemies to key cabinet positions.
Unger’s second theme draws upon this Bush family feud: many of Bush Sr.’s foes happen to be leaders of the neoconservative movement, who had been working against the President’s father since the 1970’s. Back then the neoconservatives did not have a base of political support within the Republican Party, which brings Unger to his third theme: the marriage between the neoconservatives and the Christian right to create a formidable ideological block.
Unger is a Fellow at the Center for Law and Security at NYU’s School of Law. In addition to his work at Vanity Fair, he is a former editor-in-chief of Boston Magazine, and former Deputy Editor of the New York Observer. A journalist of the old school who believes in verifying his sources’ veracity, Unger illuminates the Republican Party’s ideological struggle between the old and the new and traces its history for those who do know it.
Unger disputes the recent assertion by The New York Times that these forces are dead; they are thriving. Below is David Shankbone’s interview with Craig Unger about his book, The Fall of the House of Bush.
Thursday, November 8, 2007
I got a lot of this report from a police scanner and an anonymous witness. I read this over and over, and still cannot comprehend, thinking: What the hell?
The Buffalo Fire Department is currently investigating how 12 "fire bombs" ended up inside an abandoned apartment house on 15 Allen Street in Allentown, a neighborhood in Buffalo, New York on Wednesday November 7.
In an exclusive report, Wikinews has learned from a witness who wishes to remain anonymous, that at approximately 12:00 p.m. EST (UTC-5) Heidi Garner called 9-1-1 to report that while walking her dog, it had been attacked by two other dogs when it sniffed under a gate of the house. When police arrived to investigate and retrieve the assaulting dogs, they entered the house and found the 12 fire bombs. It is not known what the devices were made of or what the explosive material was, but unconfirmed reports say the main explosive source was gasoline.The Hazmat team, the bomb squad and emergency services were then dispatched to the scene, to dispose of the devices according to witness reports. It is known where they were taken.
Click here to read the full article, and see what happened to the dogs
>> Full story
India is the latest of the countries where the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) experiment has started. Children from the village of Khairat were given the opportunity to learn how to use the XO laptop.
What you are about to read is an American life as lived by renowned author Edmund White. His life has been a crossroads, the fulcrum of high-brow Classicism and low-brow Brett Easton Ellisism. It is not for the faint. He has been the toast of the literary elite in New York, London and Paris, befriending artistic luminaries such as Salman Rushdie and Sir Ian McKellan while writing about a family where he was jealous his sister was having sex with his father as he fought off his mother's amorous pursuit.
The fact is, Edmund White exists. His life exists. To the casual reader, they may find it disquieting that someone like his father existed in 1950's America and that White's work is the progeny of his intimate effort to understand his own experience.
David Shankbone understood that an interview with Edmund White, who is professor of creative writing at Princeton University, who wrote the seminal biography of Jean Genet, and who no longer can keep track of how many sex partners he has encountered, meant nothing would be off limits. Nothing was. Late in the interview they were joined by his partner Michael Caroll, who discussed White's enduring feud with influential writer and activist Larry Kramer.
Monday, November 5, 2007
Every year around November 5th, people in Great Britain and some parts of the Commonwealth celebrate Guy Fawkes night to commemorate the dissident from York and his Roman Catholic conspirators who failed to blow up the houses of Parliament on November 5, 1605. This so-called Gunpowder Plot is celebrated with firework displays and sparklers, bonfires and Guy Fawkes effigies.
>> Read more on Wikinews
Sunday, November 4, 2007
In the 1980's and the 1990's there were multiple allegations of sexual abuse of children or non-consenting adults in the context of Satanic rituals that has come to be known as The Satanic Panic. In the United States, the Kern County child abuse cases, McMartin preschool trial and the West Memphis 3 cases garnered worldwide media coverage. One case that took place in Jordan, Minnesota, when children made allegations of manufacturing child pornography, ritualistic animal sacrifice, coprophagia, urophagia and infanticide, at which point the Federal Bureau of Investigation was alerted. Twenty-four adults were arrested and charged with acts of sexual abuse, child pornography and other crimes related to satanic ritual abuse; only three went to trial with two acquittals and one conviction. Supreme Court Justice Scalia noted in a discussion of the case, "[t]here is no doubt that some sexual abuse took place in Jordan; but there is no reason to believe it was as widespread as charged," and cited the repeated, well-intentioned but coercive techniques used by the investigators as damaging to the investigation.
One of the most visible Satanic organizations--though one that was never a suspect of charged in any of the Satanic Panic cases--was the Church of Satan, founded by Anton LaVey. Members of the Church, such as Peter Gilmore, Peggy Nadramia, Boyd Rice, Adam Parfrey, Diabolos Rex, and musician King Diamond, were active in media appearances to refute allegations of criminal activity and the FBI would later issue an official report debunking the criminal conspiracy theories of this time.
LaVey's teachings are based on individualism, self-indulgence, and "eye for an eye" morality, with influence from Friedrich Nietzsche and Ayn Rand; while its rituals and magic draw heavily from occultists such as Aleister Crowley. They do not worship--nor believe in--the Devil or a Christian notion of Satan. The word "Satan" comes from the Hebrew word for "adversary" and originated from the Abrahamic faiths, being traditionally applied to an angel. Church of Satan adherents see themselves as truth-seekers, adversaries and skeptics of the religious world around them.
On a windy October day in Central Park, David Shankbone sat down with the High Priest of the Church, Peter Gilmore, who has led a LaVey's congregation of Satanists since his passing. They discussed the beliefs of the Church, current events, LaVey's children and how Satanism applies to life and the world.
Saturday, November 3, 2007
Wikinews is currently preparing an interview with Tashi Wangdi, the representative for Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama and we need questions to ask him.
Anyone can ask a question. If you would like to participate, then go here to the interview page and post your question. If there is not already a section that interests you, then you are welcome to start a new one.
You have to hurry though, because the representative is only available for a short period.
>>Click here to ask a question<<
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
American rock singer Meat Loaf has taken ill during a concert in Newcastle upon Tyne, UK. He told the audience that it was "the last concert of his life," and left the stage.
The incident came 70 minutes into the show on Halloween night. During the opening of "Paradise by the Dashboard Light" he suggested that the crowd of thousands should enjoy the performance as it was the last of his career. He attempted to sing the first line of the song, but instead said "Newcastle, I love you, but can't continue. I take off my coat to you." He thanked the audience for 30 years, and left the stage.
The venue, Metro Radio Arena, have announced that the singer had a sore throat. However, they also say that fans are unlikely to be refunded the price of their tickets (£37.50-£45) because he had performed for over an hour.
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
There are few organizations in the United States that illicit a stronger emotional response than the American Civil Liberties Union, whose stated goal is "to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States". Those people include gays, Nazis, women seeking abortion, gun owners, SPAM mailers and drug users. People who are often not popular with the public. The ACLU's philosophy is not that it agrees or disagrees with any of these people and the choices that they make, but that they have personal liberties that must not be trampled upon.
In David Shankbone's interview with the President of the ACLU, Nadine Strossen, he wanted to cover some basic ground on the ACLU's beliefs. Perhaps the area where they are most misunderstood or have their beliefs most misrepresented is their feelings about religion in the public sphere. The ACLU categorically does not want to see religion disappear from schools or in the public forum; but they do not want to see government advocacy of any particular religion. Thus, former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore's placement of a ten ton monument to the Ten Commandments outside the courthouse is strenuously opposed; but "Lone Ranger of the Manger" Rita Warren's placement of nativity scenes in public parks is vigorously defended. In the interview, she talks about how certain politicians and televangelists purposefully misstate the law and the ACLU's work in order to raise funds for their campaigns.
David Shankbone's discussion with Strossen touches upon many of the ACLU's hot button issues: religion, Second Amendment rights, drug liberalization, "partial-birth abortion" and whether or not George W. Bush should be impeached. It may surprise the reader that many ideas people have about the most visible of America's civil libertarian organizations are not factually correct and that the ACLU often works closely with many of the organizations people think despise its existence.