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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

US Dept of Justice IP address blocked after 'vandalism' edits to Wikipedia

>>Click here for the full EXCLUSIVE story.
>>Click here to Digg this article.

Wikinews has learned that a United States Department of Justice (DOJ) IP Address has been blocked on Wikipedia after making edits to an article which were considered "vandalism". In two separate instances, the IP address from the DOJ removed information from the Wikipedia article about the organization Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA), regarding an attempt by the organization to secretly gain influence on the site. The IP address has been confirmed by Wikinews to be registered and used by the DOJ located in Washington, D.C.

On April 21, Electronic Intifada published a report based on leaked emails written between CAMERA and Wikipedia contributors who are allegedly planning to gain influence on the online encyclopedia. Information about CAMERA's campaign to influence Wikipedia was first added to the site's article about the organization on April 21 by user 'Bangpound', who cited the Electronic Intifada article.

According to the edit history on the Wikipedia article CAMERA, the entire subsection relating to this controversy was removed by the IP address, which is hosted by '' and is used by the DOJ. The IP address removed information regarding CAMERA's plan to "cooperate with prominent Wikipedia editors to promote a Zionist viewpoint and oppose pro-Arab viewpoints on Wikipedia" at least two separate times, on April 24 and April 25.

The IP address belonging to the DOJ also made edits identified as vandalism to the Wikipedia articles Tracy Jordan, Roger Ebert, and James E. Akins. After several warnings on the IP address's "talk page", the IP address was blocked for four days for "repeated vandalism." Several hours prior to the DOJ edits, an IP address also from Washington D.C.,, removed the same information. Wikinews can confirm the IP address is located in Washington D.C. and belongs to Verizon.

>>Click here for the full EXCLUSIVE story.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Crimes on Wikipedia: A Wikinews interview

>>Click here for the full EXCLUSIVE interview.
>>Click here to Digg this article.

Wikinews interviewed Wikipedia administrator John Reaves, the administrator who contacted police in Los Angeles about the threats made on Wikipedia.

A 15-year-old boy, arrested last Friday in conjunction with criminal threats made on Wikipedia, was charged Thursday with seven felonies in Pomona Juvenile Court in Pomona, California. Prosecutors stated that the teen posted two threats on Wikipedia, saying that six named students as well as members of his school's badminton team would be shot. The court arraignment had initially been set for Tuesday, but was continued until Thursday. Wikinews interviewed the Wikipedia administrator who contacted police after the threats had been made on the site.

Though officials had said the boy made a full confession that he had made threats to other students via the online encyclopedia Wikipedia, he denied the charges at the Thursday court petition. The court ordered that he remain detained pending a May 9 scheduled appearance before Pomona Juvenile Court. He has remained in custody since his arrest.

The threats were made via two separate edits to the Wikipedia article about Glen A. Wilson High School in Hacienda Heights, California on April 16. Wikipedia administrators were made aware of the threats in a post to the "Administrators' noticeboard" on April 16 by Wikipedia admin Dreadstar. Another Wikipedia administrator, John Reaves, contacted the police in Los Angeles, California, and helped them work with the Internet service provider to find more information on the IP address that made the threat. A third Wikipedia administrator, Persian Poet Gal, removed the threats from the edit history of the article after finding out that the student had been arrested.

Students' backpacks were searched prior to entering Glen A. Wilson High School on April 17 and all after-school activities were canceled that day. All classes were canceled April 18, and classes resumed on Monday.

>>Click here for the full EXCLUSIVE interview.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Semi truck crashes into viaduct in Buffalo, New York - According to police in Buffalo, New York, no one was injured after a semi truck carrying paper from Ontario, Canada hit a railroad viaduct, tearing the truck in half.

At approximately 11:00 p.m. (eastern time) on April 21, an unidentified man driving the truck westbound on Walden Avenue between Wasmuth and Roetzer streets hit the viaduct which tore his truck in half sending debris and cargo over most of the road.

Police describe the truck's cabin as a "can of sardines."

"He made it all the way through, but his truck looks like a can of sardines," said officers on police radio communications who were on scene.

The driver was given a traffic citation and admits he did not notice signs posted along Walden which state the bridge's clearance.

The street and the viaduct remained closed into the early morning hours of Tuesday April 22. According to Don Poleto of the city's Public Works office, the bridge was not damaged.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Getting even with the law: Wikinews interviews New York City's 'Jimmy Justice'

>>Click here for the full EXCLUSIVE interview.

>>Click here to Digg this article.

A civilian known as 'Jimmy Justice' who resides in New York City (NYC), New York, the largest city in the United States, has been videotaping NYC police officers and city workers, breaking the law while on the job.

Since 2007, he claims to have caught "hundreds of officers and other city employees violating the law," and says he has them all on camera. He has posted his best confrontations with them to the video sharing website YouTube. As a result, Justice states that he has been asked to do a United States television show and Wikinews got an exclusive interview with him. For protection, Justice wished not to be called by his real name in fear of police retaliation.

Last year, Justice videotaped a police officer parking in front of a fire hydrant, but has only recently gained attention on social networking news sites such as Digg and So Wikinews contacted Mr. Justice, known as JimmyJustice4753 on YouTube, for an exclusive interview to find out what caused him to get revenge on the law.

On June 30, 2007, Justice caught officer E. Anderson of the NYPD, traffic division, parking directly in front of a fire hydrant while she went inside a restaurant to take a 15 minute lunch break.

Since 2007 Justice says he has caught "hundreds of law enforcement officers and city officials" on "over 30 hours of video" violating laws from illegal U-turns in business districts to blocking bus stops and fire hydrants. Justice has only uploaded the "most colorful ones to YouTube" and recently, on April 8, 2008, Justice videotaped a NYPD tow truck officer blocking a hydrant while he also ate lunch inside a restaurant. According to NYC law, it is illegal for any vehicle to park within 15 feet of a fire hydrant and to park in front of a bus stop. It is also illegal for any person to make a U-turn in a business district. Fines for these violations can cost a driver up to US$115.00 for each violation occurred.

>>Click here for the full EXCLUSIVE interview.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Halema`uma`u crater erupts in Hawaii, USA

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What began as a new gas vent (fumarole) in Halemaʻumaʻu crater sometime between March 10 and March 12 2008, has progressed to be the first explosive eruption in Halemaʻumaʻu Crater since 1924, and the first lava erupted from the crater since 1982. The gases accompanying the eruption have prompted the Hawaiʻi Dept. of Health to announce no-burn days for the island sugar cane industries.

The March 19 explosion of the gas vent partially destroyed the Halemaʻumaʻu Crater Overlook. On April 9 2008, thousands of people were evacuated from Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and the nearby villages because sulfur dioxide reached critical level creating a very dangerous vog. The evacuation lasted two days. Two more explosions occurred on April 9 2008 and April 16 2008, the latter spreading a faintly pink ash on the overlook parking lot. Scientists think molten lava may reside at shallow depth within the new vent.

Halemaʻumaʻu is a pit crater located in the summit caldera, of Kīlauea, Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park. The roughly circular caldera measures 3x5 km (or 6x6 km, including the outermost ring faults). According to the traditions of the native people, Halemaʻumaʻu is home to Pele, Goddess of Hawaiian volcanoes.

>>Click here for the EXCLUSIVE pictures.

Copy of handbook for leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints obtained by Wikinews

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Wikinews has obtained a copy of the General Handbook for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. The document, which was obtained via Wikileaks, was previously only made available to leaders of the church.

It provides information on a variety of different issues. One of these is receiving organ donations. “The decision to receive a donated organ should be made after receiving competent medical counsel and confirmation through prayer,” says the handbook.

The handbook also explicitly bans assisted suicide. It claims that “a person who participates in euthanasia, including so-called assisted suicide, violates the commandments of God.”

>>Click here for the full story.

California student arrested in criminal threats made on Wikipedia

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>Click here to Digg this article.

A student at Glen A. Wilson High School in Hacienda Heights, California was arrested Friday on suspicion of making criminal threats against students. The student arrested, described as a male minor by Hacienda La Puente Unified School District police, confessed to making threats against students at the high school via a post to the Wikipedia article about the school.

The student was arrested on Friday at approximately 11:30 a.m. PST, according to a statement from Hacienda La Puente Unified School District Department of Police and Safety Chief Al Vasquez made to Pasadena Star-News. The student made "a complete confession", said Superintendent Barbara Nakaoka to the Whittier Daily News. She also said that "Our police officers are continuing to work with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department to determine the validity of the threat."

Sheriff's Lt. Victor Sotelo told the Whittier Daily News that the police filed a "detain petition" which recommends that the minor not be released to his parents, and be held at Juvenile Hall. The California Youth Authority will decide what happens next to the boy. Lt. Sotelo said that law enforcement searched the student's home and recovered evidence.
>Click here for the full story.

Eric Bogosian on writing and the creative urge

Eric Bogosian is one of America's great multi-dimensional talents. "There's sort of three different careers, and any one of them could exist by itself, on its own two feet. There was that solo stuff, and then I started writing plays in the late seventies." Although his work has spanned genres, most readers will recognize Bogosian for his acting, which has included a memorable performance in Woody Allen's Deconstructing Harry to co-writing and starring in the Oliver Stone movie Talk Radio (based upon his Pulitzer Prize-nominated play) to playing the bad guy in Under Siege 2 to his current role in Law & Order: Criminal Intent as Captain Danny Ross. They may not know, however, that he had collaborated with Frank Zappa on a album, worked with Sonic Youth, and was a voice on Mike Judge's Beavis & Butthead Do America. He started one of New York City's largest dance companies, The Kitchen, which is still in existence. He starred alongside Val Kilmer in Wonderland and his play Talk Radio was recently revived on Broadway with Liev Schreiber in the role Bogosian wrote and made famous.

Currently at work on his third novel, tentatively titled The Artist, Bogosian spoke with David Shankbone about the craft of writing and his life as a creative.


Thursday, April 17, 2008

YouTube accounts of Scientology critics suspended

>>Click here for the EXCLUSIVE story and interviews.
>>Digg this article.

Two well-known critics of Scientology have had their user accounts on the video sharing website YouTube suspended. The YouTube accounts of both Tory Christman and Mark Bunker were suspended this week. In an exclusive statement to Wikinews, YouTube explained why accounts are suspended, but did not specifically state why these particular accounts were suspended. Neither Christman nor Bunker received a notice or explanation from YouTube as to why their accounts were suspended.

On Tuesday April 15, Tory Christman a former Scientologist and volunteer for their Office of Special Affairs, and known as ToryMagoo44 on YouTube, had her account suspended for unknown reasons. On Wednesday, after complaints to YouTube from other YouTube users and from members of the group Anonymous, Christman's account was restored.

Wikinews confirmed Friday that Mark Bunker known as 'xenutv1' on YouTube, a television journalist and critic of Scientology, had his user account suspended. This is the second time that Bunker's account was suspended. He was formerly known as 'xenutv' when his account was suspended the first time.

"I want to see the complaint and on what grounds did YouTube suspend my account. I have done nothing on that account that would violate any of their terms and my videos and account should not have been pulled. The only caveat to this is my first account "XenuTV" was suspended a while back for a Steven Colbert video I had from Comedy Central. At that time I created XenuTV1 and according to YouTube's terms you can only have one account. Any time I have ever been asked to remove something that may violate their terms for copyright materials, I comply immediately. It would be wrong and a misuse of power to pull my account because of this lone loophole in their terms," said Bunker exclusively to Wikinews.

>>Click here for the EXCLUSIVE story and interviews

Monday, April 14, 2008

Teräsbetoni frontman J. Ahola on representing Finland at Eurovision 2008 & more

Teräsbetoni means "steel-reinforced concrete", and is also the name of a Finnish heavy metal band formed in 2002. Their music, which centres on an honourable warrior lifestyle or on metal itself, quickly became popular in 2003 on the Internet, resulting in a petition by fans being sent to several record labels demanding a recording deal. In late 2004 the band signed to Warner Music Finland, and the following year debut single Taivas lyö tulta rose to number one in the Finnish charts, and debut album Metallitotuus hit number two and went platinum, and has now sold about 47,000 copies.
The band, who sing exclusively in Finnish, have just released their third album, Myrskyntuoja. The lead single on this album is Missä miehet ratsastaa, which Teräsbetoni decided to enter in the Finnish selections for the 2008 edition of the Eurovision Song Contest, where it was selected to go on to the semi-final in Belgrade, Serbia as Finland's representative this year. Although Finland has seen limited success in the contest, their only victory was with a comparable group. In 2006 hard rock band Lordi - whose monster costumes and pyrotechnic displays are famed - achieved a record 292 points in the final with Hard Rock Hallelujah.
Teräsbetoni's frontman, vocalist and bass guitarist Jarkko Ahola's fame extends beyond the band he heads. He also features in Finnish symphonic power metal cover supergroup Northern Kings, alongside Marco Hietala of Nightwish and Tarot, Tony Kakko of Sonata Arctica and Juha-Pekka Leppäluoto of Charon.
Wikinews was able to conduct an exclusive interview with Jarkko Ahola to discuss these various achievements. >> Click here for the full exclusive interview

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Wikinews interviews team behind the 2,000th featured Wikipedia article

>>Click here to read the full EXCLUSIVE interview.

This week saw the English-language version of Wikipedia, the collaboratively written online encyclopedia, reach 2,000 featured articles with the inclusion of the article El Señor Presidente. Featured articles (FAs) meet Wikipedia's highest standards for quality, accuracy, neutrality, completeness, and style, and thus are considered the best articles on Wikipedia.

The Wikipedia team that carries out the assessment and quality control before conferring the status of featured articles promoted five articles to FA status at the same time: Walter de Coventre, Maximian, El Señor Presidente, Lord of the Universe, and Red-billed Chough. With five promoted at the same time, conferring the status of 2,000th on one is an arbitrary decision and in some respects any of these articles could actually make a claim to the honour.

The article El Señor Presidente was created and developed by a University of British Columbia class, "Murder, Madness, and Mayhem: Latin American Literature in Translation". While an important milestone, the 2,000th featured article is also symbolic of Wikipedia's growing role in the 21st century learning arena.

The professor of the class, Jon Beasley-Murray, began using Wikipedia as a collaborative space where his students could both do coursework and provide a type of virtual public service. Thus, he created a Wikipedia project, Murder Madness and Mayhem, that focussed on creating articles relating to the Latin American literature covered in his class. Not surprisingly, El Señor Presidente is considered one of the most important books in Latin American literature, written by Nobel Prize-winning Guatemalan writer, Miguel Ángel Asturias.

The Wikinews team contacted Prof. Beasley-Murray, who agreed to be interviewed for this story. His responses can be found below. Included are sections soliciting responses from two students who took the class and helped create and bring El Señor Presidente to Feature Article status. Thus far the project has created seven good articles in addition to the 2,000th featured article.

>>Click here to read the full EXCLUSIVE interview.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Authorities in Belgium raid Church of Scientology

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According to reports, authorities in Belgium have seized documents, financial records and computer equipment form the local branch of the Church of Scientology (Church) and then sealed off the building.

The reports state that the Church in Belgium is being investigated for extortion and fraud for allegedly posting false job openings in newspapers and then attempting to get those who applied to join the Church. Several ex-members of the Church has also reportedly approached authorities with accusations of intimidation and extortion.