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Friday, June 29, 2007

Chris Benoit mystery Wikipedia editor confesses to Wikinews: claims 'terrible coincidence'

Chris Benoit mystery editor confesses: claims "terrible coincidence"

As if things could not get any weirder for Wikinews.

The same anonymous IP address to make the edit of claiming Nancy Benoit's death 14 hours before police discovered the Benoit family dead, has confessed to the edit as being a "terrible coincidence."

After Wikinews broke the story first, the anonymous user was distraught and surprised at the incredible amount of attention that his edits received.

"Last weekend, I had heard about Chris Benoit no showing Vengeance because of a family emergency, and I had heard rumors about why that was. I was reading rumors and speculation about this matter online, and one of them included that his wife may have passed away, and I did the wrong thing by posting it on wikipedia to spite there being no evidence. I posted my speculation on the situation at the time and I am deeply sorry about this, and I was just as shocked as everyone when I heard that this actually would happen in real life. It is one of those things that just turned into a huge coincidence. That night I found out that what I posted, ended up actually happening, a 1 in 10,000 chance of happening, or so I thought. I was beyond wrong for posting wrongful information, and I am sorry to everyone for this. I just want everyone to know it was stupid of me, and I will never do anything like this again. I just posted something that was at that time a piece of wrong unsourced information that is typical on wikipedia, as it is done all the time," said the user who still wished to remain anonymous.

Read the full confession

The user has refused an interview
stating, "I would prefer not to do an interview, I really just want to put all this behind us. I made a mistake and I'm sorry, I know I've said that a million times but today has just been a bad day with this getting all this mainstream coverage even though it was just a huge coincidence."

The user goes on to say "I also want to clarify again that the comment wasn't meant to be a prank, but just speculation on my part from some rumors that I had heard on the internet about the family emergency that caused Chris to miss the pay per view Vengeance. It was stupid of me to post, and I regret it, but I did and that won't change, but as long as everyone knows that it was simply a coincidence and nothing more then we can move on from this."

Wikinews originally broke the story about the suspicious edit after receiving a tip from Wikipedia administrators. The fact the edit originated from a computer in Stamford, CT (the site of WWE headquarters) appears to be another coincidence.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Death of Chris Benoit's wife posted on Wikipedia 14 hours prior to body being found

Death of Nancy Benoit rumour posted on Wikipedia hours prior to body being found

I was reading around Wikinews last night and noticed a comment placed on the article Professional wrestler Chris Benoit and family found dead that was showing an edit made to Wikipedia on the death of Chris Benoit's wife.

After an investigation, Wikinews learned that anonymous edits on the Wikipedia article Chris Benoit were added about the death of his wife Nancy Benoit 14 hours before police entered the Benoit home to find the former professional World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) Canadian wrestler and his family dead.

The first sign that it was possible that the WWE had leaked, or attempted to leak the information was by an anonymous edit from IP address using the Internet service provider Optimum Online which is located in Connecticut, the world headquarters of the WWE. A second edit was made just under one hour later by using, a wireless Internet service provider in Australia.

Both edits were made at least 13-14 hours prior to police finding the bodies and being called to the Benoit residence by the WWE. However; the investigation cannot confirm that the first edit was made using a WWE computer or network. Both edits were reversed and later added once the information was confirmed.

I must point out that this is not the first time Benoit's article has been edited to show false or unsourced information, as the article's edit history indicates a long history of promotional spam and vandalism.

Soon after the edits were made, the authorities, according to WIkipedia, were notified of this information, but it is not yet known if authorities looked into these claims or investigated them.

At the moment, Wikinews is unable to conclude whether the anonymous editors had inside information about the death of Nancy Benoit, and it is not known if the edits were made by a WWE employee or someone closely affiliated with the WWE or the murder investigation.

The investigation is on going.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Buffalo, NY fire: Media shows bias?

(click link for full story)
Four families left homeless after apartment fire in Buffalo, New York

Today I went and covered another fire in an apartment in a four apartment building at 630-632 Plymouth Avenue in Buffalo, New York.

When I arrived, thick gray smoke was pouring out of the roof and windows at the north end of the building on all three floors and firefighters were just getting ready to put out the blaze.

I immediately asked the fire Lt. if there was anyone inside, and he siad no, but there had been one person who was trapped on the second floor and "jumped out of a window to the neighbors second floor porch," said Buffalo Fire Department Chief Joe Fahey.

When I got the feel of the situation, I began to walk around the scene, but not for a better view or to take pictures, but to see if there were any other media agencies present. To my knowledge, there were none. I happened to be the only one.

I was in some ways surprised, but in some ways not. The location of this fire was not in the best part of the city. It was located on the city's lower West Side, an area where poverty is high and crime is very frequent.

On June 22, I covered a story about a fire in the city's Elmwood Village District near Buffalo State College where nearly a dozen animals were trapped. Just across the street from this block where the house is, are prominent mansions and "well to do people." There were cameras and photographers all around and even a news truck. It was a struggle to get a statement from anyone with the media fury.

So why, when people were trapped in this fire, was there no other media presence other than me? Did it have to do with the animals and the fact that they needed to be revived? Or was it because the house on Plymouth was not surrounded by rich people with mansions? I pick door number two. I just simply thought that the media had o interest because the house was in a neighborhood that was populated by mostly Hispanics and African Americans.

Of course its news when a house near mansions in a high tax crime-free area. Those "are good people." At least that's how the minds of the media work when it comes to a "who cares" prospective.

The point is, regardless of where the fire is and who or what is trapped inside, the firefighters fought just as hard to put this fire on Plymouth out as they did to put out the fire with the dozen animals inside. So in my eyes, there was no less of a reason that this fire was any more important than the last fire, and the firefighters should get the same recognition from the media on every fire.

Hail to NPOV.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Wikinews reports from anarchist demonstration in Belgium

>> Full story (and more pictures) : Police ends demonstration of anarchist squatters in Belgium

This Friday, I passed another exam, and to celebrate I decided to do some original reporting. Since I also contribute to the Belgian Indymedia, I got a request from the editor to cover a demonstration of squatters in my home town Leuven.

When I arrived at the rendez-vous point, I was amazed by the impressive amount of security forces present. The police had cordoned off the square in front of city hall with barb wire fence, and a police helicopter followed the movements of the crowd.

The protest was loud but fairly non-violent at first. It's just a matter of positioning yourself as a reporter: sometimes behind the police line (I climbed on a police car to get some great shots of the protesters pushing the policemen) waving your press card, sometimes as far as possible from the police, if it rains projectiles. A colleague from the national TV network was less fortunate and sustained a minor head injury.

The demonstrators were not at all happy with how the police kept them out of the city centre: so they decided to occupy the ring road around the city! Of course the police had to take decisive action -too late, they should've seen it coming and prevented it. The photos of the arrests were a lot better than the ones of the fights in the centre... I really should learn how to use another function than "auto" on my camera.

The police chased the protesters through the bushes... one was chasing me, waving his baton at me -I yelled "PRESS,PRESS!!! You wanna see my card?!" The officers looked really scared and outnumbered. So they called reinforcements: in all, 250 officers worked overtime to control less than 100 protesters (they had already arrested everyone else by then).

I followed the protesters into another squat, an empty house near the canal, where they wanted to hide out from the police. A masked anarchist teenager pulled me by the backpack, and waved a big stick at me as if he was preparing to hit me, but he wanted to here what I had to say for myself first. "Indymedia, man..." I told him, and he immediately apologised. They're all eager readers of the site, and the Indymedia press card was a welcome alternative to the Wikinews card during these protests.

They had clearly been there before, some of there stuff were stored there. But it was too dark for pictures. On leaving, I was stopped by another group of squatters, but again the Indymedia press card did the trick so I could walk out of there with no problem.

After all spectators were scared off the square, I was left with 2 camera crews, from the state and from the main commercial TV station. My credentials were checked a few times. Luckily the police wasn't really paying attention to us: some officers ordered us back, others allowed our free movement... I should really inform myself about the rights I actually had and didn't have.

There would be no action for hours because the police was waiting for a court order, I was cold, sleepy, tore my paints while running on the ring road, and it was too dark for good pictures... I headed home to get a good night's rest before writing 'Police ends demonstration of anarchist squatters in Belgium'.

Wikinews originals: Awards, monarchies and presidents

Irish president opens new park dedicated to Irish refugees in Toronto, Canada

Wikinews user Joshua Sherurcij reports the activities of Irish president Mary McAleese (pictured) from Toronto. The president wrapped up a two-day visit to Toronto, Canada on Thursday by cutting the ribbon at the opening of a new park. The city's Ireland Park is dedicated to the Irish immigrants who fled the great famine to start a new life in Canada 160 years ago.

MMVAs handed out in Toronto, Canada; Wikinews was there

Nicolas Moreau (User:Zanimum) managed to get yet another professional photographer to get quality images of stars on Commons for all Wikimedia projects to benefit from... without paying the photographer! This time it was at the MuchMusic Video Awards in Toronto. Some of the stars include Avril Lavigne (pictured), Joss Stone and Hilary Duff.

Noel Cox talks to Wikinews about New Zealand's constitutional monarchy

Gabriel Pollard, who has been very active with interview with New Zealand's finest lately, conducted an e-mail interview with the chairman of the Monarchist League of New Zealand Incorporated", who told him: "In this time of increasing globalisation it is also good to remember that we are already part of an international family of nations, sharing the Queen with Australia, Britain, Canada and so on."

Friday, June 22, 2007

Nearly a dozen animals rescued in Buffalo, NY house fire

Firefighters rescue nearly a dozen animals in Buffalo, New York house fire

A three alarm fire at a house owned by John and Evelyn Bencinich, two of the initiators of a lawsuit filed against the Elmwood Village Hotel proposal in Buffalo, required firefighters to rescue eight cats and two dogs in Buffalo, New York today.

I used to live at 50 Granger, next door to this house.

I have seen on TV cats and dogs receiving CPR from firefighters, but I never thought in a million years that I would see it in real life.

Just this past winter, they owners of the house had to put one of their dogs to sleep because it was old and sick. If I had to see any of the animals die or not get rescued, i would have been as devastated as they would have been.

These people mean nothing but good, and are some of the nicest people on the street.

I was amazed at the amount of support they received from their surrounding neighbors who were offering food for the animals and places for them to stay as well as the residents. I truly do miss this neighborhood as I never realized just how much the community there cares about their neighbors.

Anna Bencinich, who is the mother of Evelyn, was rescued by the neighbors, just before the fire department arrived. Now thats what I call "love thy neighbor."

I also never realized just how much firefighters care about life in general. They were not required to save those animals or to revive them. The Buffalo Fire Department, in my opinion, went above and beyond the call of duty to save the life of these animals. They responded very quickly to the scene and made sure, even while the fire was burning, that all the animals were rescued despite firefighters being injured by them.

One firefighter is being treated for bite injuries to his face that he received while attempting to rescue a dog. The other firefighter was treated for injuries he received to his hand, which was believed to have been caused a cat scratching him. The names of the injured firefighters are not known. The injuries are said to not be life threatening.

I thank the fire department for their efforts, as they have been busy fighting at least 3 other fires overnight in Buffalo.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

What is it? Security camera captures 'unexplainable' object

Security camera records 'unexplainable' object

Some say its a ghost. Some think its a spider. And others say its a piece of "fluff" from a cottonwood tree.

I first saw this report when I was watching the news this morning. I saw the clip on TV, but decided to track it down and watch it for myself, as I am a skeptic.

In the image to the right, the object is highlighted by the circle.

I watched the video which is only a few minutes long, several times. I was in amazement.

The object, which is literally glowing, spins from the top corner of the video and casually floats past a police car and down towards the lower left corner of the video. I have never seen anything like it and I for one will say that it is not a spider, because they do not glow, spin or twinkle. I do not think it s cottonwood for the same reasons. Is it a ghost? Well I am no expert, but I am open-minded and I say its possible. If you watch the video, despite its poor quality, you can see that it very much resembles a star, or some might say the "Star of David." How about a UFO?

Either way I myself have never seen anything like it. I have seen hundreds of so-called UFO videos, and this one is likely, for me, the most convincing.

What do you think?

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Watching a spacewalk: Fixing Atlantis' thermal blanket

Astronauts fix thermal blanket on Atlantis

I have never sat down and turned on NASA TV, whether it be on a television set or the computer, to watch a spacewalk by least until the other day.

Since the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster, I have been very interested in NASA and the shuttle program and started to follow the missions more frequently and closely.

The recent tear in the Space Shuttle Atlantis' Thermal Protection System (TPS) has got me monitoring the mission closely.

I decided to turn on the computer, go to the NASA website and click on watch NASA TV. I knew the spacewalk started at 1:00 p.m. (eastern time) on June 15, but I was just starting to watch at 2:00 p.m., so i was hoping I did not miss the astronaut fixing the thermal blanket.

Much to my relief, they managed to fix the tear.

Astronauts tucked the material back into place and then stapled up the seams where the material was torn.

But the repair did not go without flaws. Astronauts repairing the tear say that the tear line was "higher than expected," according to radio transmissions heard live on NASA TV. Astronauts also report that the area where the tear was present is "well worn away" and because of that, no staples were able to be placed on the top side of the blanket near the top of the tear, leaving a small "gap" between the seams.

To watch was not only educational, but entertaining and amazing. To think that just miles above my head, these men and women are floating around fixing a shuttle. Only to look down and I only wonder if they are looking at me ;)

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Expect a windfall of music pics on Wikimedia

Wikinews will be attending the 20th MuchMusic Video Awards this Sunday, thanks to the talented (and surprisingly generous) professional photographer Robin Wong. Robin will be lending his fantastic camera skills to Wikipedia for the night, photographing all of the stars attending this popular event.

Performing at the show will be Avril Lavigne, Fergie, Billy Talent, Hilary Duff, Alexisonfire, Maroon 5, Belly, The Used, and Finger Eleven.

On stage presenting will be Nickelback, Jay Manuel (Canada's Next Top Model, America's Next Top Model), Tara Reid (American Pie, this fall's Land of Canaan), Joss Stone, Sum 41, Amber Tamblyn (Joan of Arcadia, Grudge 2), Hedley, Chris Bosh (Toronto Raptors), Sean Avery (New York Rangers), George, Sam Roberts, Emilie de Ravin (LOST), Marianas Trench, and Kardinal Offishall.

Robin first helped Wikipedia out a few months ago, photographing a Hilary Duff appearance at the same station. The images were added to the article on Duff, as well as the CD she was promoting at the time.

Wong's extensive client list includes Fidelty Investments, Flare Magazine, Masterfile, First Light, Fashion Television, FCB Canada, Profit Magazine, Financial Post, and Publicis. His works have appeared in the 2004 and 2005 Applied Arts Awards Annual, the top publication for the creative industry.

The best pics will appear on Wikinews this Monday; additional pictures will be uploaded throughout the week to Wikimedia Commons, and spread onto the English Wikipedia.

Wikinewsie uncovers Michael Moore movie leak

Michael Moore's new film 'Sicko' leaked via P2P

Wikinewsie Brian McNeil has uncovered evidence that Michael Moore's new movie SiCKO has been leaked onto various Peer-to-Peer networks.

But it doesn't seem to have been leaked by any Joe Schmo, but may have been leaked by Moore himself or by a close associate.

The movie, "Sicko" contrasts the U.S. health care system with that of several other countries and includes a trip to Cuba which Moore is being investigated for. He has, according to agency reports, stored a copy of the original film in Canada as a result of the investigation. His concern is that an attempt may be made to confiscate the section of the film shot in Cuba.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Wikinews sends reporter to G8

Wikinews reporter Sean Heron, who is mostly active as an admin on the German Wikinews, requested accreditation because he wanted to cover the G8 summit in Heiligendamm.

Problem was he needed a letter of authorisation from Wikinews, something hadn't occured before. Unsure about how to proceed (and who should sign the letter), Wikinews contributors tried to draw the attention of Board Member and Wikinews founder Eloquence, and asked on Jimbo's talk page, but didn't get any response. Wikinews veteran Brian McNeil said he was disappointed by the lack of interest in this local project problem, calling Wikinews "a neglected step-child" in the Wikimedia family. To make sure that Sean didn't miss the opportunity waiting for the Board to react, he was provided with a letter and a press card, and he got accepted by the G8 organisation.

Sean is currently in Heiligendamm, but is faced with several problems, one being transportation difficulties because of the many protesters... Meanwhile his notes were used to write part of the Wikinews article:

Post-Kyoto agreement is subject of G8 debate