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Category:July 14, 2010

  • Posted on March 22, 2019 at 2:03 am
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Wikinews interviews Australian blind Paralympic skier Melissa Perrine

  • Posted on March 21, 2019 at 2:30 am

Monday, December 10, 2012

Vail, Colorado, United States — Yesterday, Wikinews sat down with Australian blind Paralympic skier Melissa Perrine who was participating in a national team training camp in Vail, Colorado.

((Wikinews)) This is Melissa Perrine. And are you like Jess Gallagher and just here training and not competing?

Melissa Perrine: I’m not competing right now.

((WN)) And you competed in 2010 in Vancouver?

MP: I did. Yeah.

((WN)) And who was your guide?

MP: Andy Bor.

((WN)) Why a male guide? He’s got to have different skis, and he can’t turn exactly the same way.

MP: I think that with me it was just that Andy was the fittest person that was with the team when I came along. He used to be an assistant coach with the team before I started with him.

((WN)) And you guys have a good relationship?

MP: Yeah!

((WN)) Like a husband and wife relationship without the sex?

MP: No, not at all. (laughs) Older brother maybe. Good relationship though. We get along really well.

((WN)) So have you ever lost communications on the course in an embarrassing moment?

MP: We ski courses without communications. (unintelligible)

((WN)) You’re a B3 then?

MP: I’m a B2.

((WN)) So you can see even less than Jessica Gallagher.

MP: Yes.

((WN)) How do you ski down a course when you can’t even see it?

MP: Andy!

((WN)) You just said you had no communications!

MP: Oh, I just have to be a lot closer to him.

((WN)) So if he’s close enough you can overcome that issue?

MP: Yeah.

((WN)) Why are you doing skiing?

MP: Why? I enjoy it.

((WN)) You enjoy going fast?

MP: I love going fast. I like the challenge of it.

((WN)) Even though you can’t see how fast you’re going.

MP: Oh yes. It’s really good. It’s enjoyable. It’s a challenge. I love the sport, I love the atmosphere.

((WN)) I’ve asked the standing skiers, who’s the craziest Paralympic skiers? Is it the ones who are on the sit skis, the blind ones or the ones missing limbs?

MP: I probably think it’s the sit skiers who are a bit nuts. I think we all think the other categories are a bit mental. I wouldn’t jump on a sit ski and go down the course. Or put the blindfold on and do the same thing.

((WN)) B1 with the black goggles. Is your eye sight degenerative?

MP: No, I’m pretty stable.

((WN)) Not going to become a B1 any time soon?

MP: Oh God, I hope not. No, I’m pretty stable so I don’t envision getting much blinder than I am now unless something goes wrong.

((WN)) And you’re trying for Sochi?

MP: Definitely.

((WN)) And you think your chances are really good?

MP: I think I’ve got a decent chance. I just have to keep training like I have been.

((WN)) Win a medal this time?

MP: I’d like to. That’s the intention. (laughs)

((WN)) Do you like the media attention you’ve gotten? Do you wish there was more for yourself and winter sports, or of women athletes in general?

MP: I think that promoting women in sport and the winter games is more important than promoting myself. I’m quite happy to stay in the background, but if I can do something to promote the sport, or promote women in the sport, especially because we’ve got such a small amount of women competing in skiing, especially in blind skiing. I think that’s more important overall.

((WN)) Most skiers are men?

MP: There’s more men competing in skiing, far more. The standards are a bit higher with the males than with the females.

((WN)) The classification system for everyone else is functional ability, and you guys are a medical classification. Do you think you get a fair shake in terms of classification? Are you happy with the classification?

MP: I think I’m happy with it, the way it’s set out. With vision impairment I’m a B2, against other B2s. It may be the same category, but we have different disabilities, so there’s not much more they can do. I think it’s as fair as they possibly can.

((WN)) You like the point system? You’re okay with it? Competing against B1s and B3s even though you’re a B2?

MP: The factors even all that out. The way they’ve got it at the moment, I don’t have any issues with them, the blind categories.

((WN)) What was it that got you skiing in the first place?

MP: An accident, basically. Complete by chance. A friend of mine in the Department of Recreation used to run skiing camps in the South West Sydney region, and she had a spare spot at one of the camps. Knew that I was vision impaired, and: “Do you want to come along?” “Yeah, why, not, give it a go.” This was back when I was about twelve, thirteen. I went, and I loved it. Went back again, and again, and again. And for the first five or six years I just skied for like a week a season sort of thing, like, you’re on a camp. Fell in love with the sport; my skiing and the mountain atmosphere, I love it, and then, when I finished my HSC, I decided to take myself off to Canada, and skiing Kimberley, the disabled race program that was run by the ex-Australian who coaches Steve Boba, and I’d heard about it through Disabled Winter Sports Australia. And I thought I’d spend some time in Canada, which is for skiing, and had a year off between school and uni, so… first time I ran through a race course actually. It was pretty awesome. So I went back again the next year, and Steve [Boba] recommended me to Steve [Graham], and he watched me skiing in September in the South Island, and invited me on a camp with the Australian team, and I trained for Vancouver, and I qualified, and I said “sure, why not?” And here I am!

((WN)) So you liked Vancouver?

MP: It was just an amazing experience. I came into Vancouver… I had quite a bad accident on a downhill course in Sestriere about seven weeks out from the games, and I fractured my pelvis. So, I was coming into Vancouver with an injury and I had only just recovered and was in quite a lot of pain. So it was an amazing experience and I was quite glad I did it, but wish for a different outcome.

((WN)) So you are more optimistic about Sochi then?

MP: Yes.

((WN)) One of the things about skiing is that it’s really expensive to do. How do you afford to ski given how expensive it is? And the fact that you need a guide who’s got his own expenses.

MP: I’m lucky enough to rank quite high in the world at the moment, so due to my ranking I’m awarded a certain amount of funding from the Australian Sports Commission, which covers my equipment and expenses, and the team picks up training costs and travel costs. All I’ve got to pay for is food and my own equipment, which is good, so I’ve managed to do it a budget.

((WN)) What do you do outside of skiing, because you look kind of young? And you being not like, 30 or 40?

MP: I’m 24. I’m a student still.

((WN)) Which university?

MP: University of Western Sydney. It’s my third university degree. I’ve completed two others prior to this one that I’m doing now.

((WN)) Which degree? That you’re currently pursuing.

MP: Currently, physiotherapy.

((WN)) Because of your experience with sport?

MP: Not really, except that my experience with sport certainly helped my interest and kind of fueled a direction to take in the physiotherapy field when I’m finished my degree, but more the medical side of injury, rehabilitation that got me interested in physiotherapy to begin with, burns rehabilitation and things like that.

((WN)) You view yourself a full-time student as opposed to a full-time professional skier.

MP: Not really. I’m a student when uni’s on and when uni’s finished I’m a skier. The way that the term structure is in Australia it gives me all this time to ski. The uni starts at the end of February and goes to the beginning of June, and then we’ve got a six or seven week break until beginning or mid-August, and uni starts again then, and we go up to mid way through November, and then we’ve got a break again. Skiing fits in very nicely to that.

((WN)) What’s the route for qualification to Sochi for you.

MP: Just maintaining my points. At the moment I’ve qualified. I just need to maintain my points, keep my points under, and then I qualify for the Australian team.

((WN)) So there’s a chance they could say no?

MP: If I’m skiing really badly. An injury.

((WN)) Or if you’re like those Australian swimmers who had the guns…

MP: I’ve no sign of picking up a gun any time soon. Giving a blind girl a gun is not a good idea. (laughs)

((WN)) It just seemed to us that Sochi was so far away on out hand, and yet seemed to be in everybody’s mind. It’s on their program. Sixteen months away?

MP: Yes, something like that. Sixteen. I think it’s been on our mind ever since Vancouver was over and done with. Next season, that was that, it was like: “what are our goals for the next four years?” And it was, “What are our goals for the next three years and two years?” And subsequently, next season, it’s Sochi. What we need to work on, what we need to accomplish for then, to be as ready as possible.

((WN)) What is your favourite event of all the skiing ones? You like the downhill because it’s fast? Or you like Giant Slalom because it’s technically challenging? Or…

MP: I prefer the speed events. The downhill; frightens me but I do love the adrenalin. I’m always keen to do a downhill. But I think Super G might just be my favourite.

((WN)) Do you do any other adrenalin junkie type stuff? Do you go bungee jumping? Jumping out of airplanes? Snowboarding?

MP: I don’t snowboard, no. I have jumped out of a plane. I thought that was fun but downhill has got more adrenalin than jumping out of a plane, I found. I do mixed martial arts and judo. That’s my other passion.

((WN)) Have you thought of qualifying for the Summer [Para]lympics in judo?

MP: As far as I know, Australia doesn’t have a judo program for the Paralympics. But, if I ever get good enough, then sure.

((WN)) They sent one.

MP: They’ve sent one, and he’s amazing. He beats up blind guys, able bodieds, quite constantly. I’ve seen video of him fight, and he’s very very good. If I ever reach that level, then sure, it’s something I’d look into it.

((WN)) Does judo help with your skiing?

MP: Yes, it increases my agility and balance, and strength, for sure.

((WN)) I want to let you get back to changing. Thank you very much.

Wikinews interviews Australian blind Paralympic skier Melissa Perrine
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Scientists find key human language gene

  • Posted on March 21, 2019 at 2:01 am

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Researchers have found a crucial genetic difference between humans and chimps that could help explain our language and speech abilities. The difference lies in a gene called FOXP2 which encodes for a protein of the same name. This acts as a transcription factor, controlling the activity of other genes.

The human and chimp versions of the protein differ in only two of their 740 amino acid components, but when researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, replaced the human gene with the chimp version in neurons grown in the laboratory, they found it affected the expression of at least 116 other genes.

The results are detailed in a paper published on Thursday in the scientific journal Nature.

Author of the study Dr. Daniel Geschwind, of the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, said the gene had a “major role” in differences between chimps and humans. “We showed that the human and chimp versions of FOXP2 not only look different but function differently too.”

We believe FOXP2 is not only important for the higher order cognitive aspect of language but also for the motor aspect of speech and language

Some of the affected genes control the formation of connections in the brain, whilst others relate to facial movements. Several have already been found to be involved in language disorders. Mutations in FOXP2 itself were also known to affect speech and language; the gene was first identified in members of a family suffering from language problems who were found to share a genetic mutation.

Frances Vargha-Khadem at University College London has studied patients with FOXP2 mutations, and agrees with the new research. As well as language problems, some of her subjects have changes in the shape of their jaws, mouths and tongues. She thinks that chimps may also have these differences.

“We believe FOXP2 is not only important for the higher order cognitive aspect of language but also for the motor aspect of speech and language,” said Genevieve Konopka, one of the authors of the paper at UCLA.

Previous research indicates that the changes in FOXP2 occurred around 200,000 years ago with the rise of modern humans. Geschwind also suggests that several of the related genes may have evolved together. Preliminary studies have shown signs that they too emerged relatively recently.

Scientists are now keen to further study FOXP2 and the genes that it affects. Geschwind believes this could eventually lead to breakthroughs in treatment for disorders such as autism and schizophrenia, which affect language skills.

The study was funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, the A.P. Giannini Foundation and the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression.

Scientists find key human language gene
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Getting the exclusive lowdown on The Lowdown

  • Posted on March 20, 2019 at 2:13 am

Thursday, January 31, 2008

The Lowdown, is a youth-targeted website aimed at helping young New Zealanders get through depression and other mental illnesses, and curbing New Zealand’s high suicide rates. Wikinews’ Gabriel Pollard spoke to Candace Bagnall who manages the Ministry of Health’s National Depression Initiative which runs The Lowdown.

The Lowdown is one of many attempts to improve access to services to young people in need.

The Lowdown is a service that allows young people to talk about how they’re feeling while facilitating the new ways of communication easily adopted by those aged 13-24 years, the demographic of The Lowdown. Young people can talk with the team via email and mobile phone texting, and they also have the opportunity to talk with other similar like-minded people through the on site Internet forum. Ms Bagnall said that research undertaken proved that text and email were the most “effective” ways of communicating with youth. “We also consulted and pre-tested with young people.”

Texting is the preferred method for communication.

Ms Bagnall said they were unsure how much the service – which started December 6, 2007 – would cost annually, but expected it to be near the half-million dollar mark due to the recent nature of the site and on going development.

They do not receive any free services from Internet providers and mobile phone companies. However this isn’t a worry for them because, as Ms Bagnall says, it is a “public service, not a commercial one so it is not trying to run at a profit.”

The Lowdown is always able to be reached. A trained health professional is available between midday and midnight each day, including Christmas Day. Ms Bagnall said, “They work shifts and have their holidays at other times.”

There are six staff members at The Lowdown. However, Ms Bagnall says, “The Ministry is aware of gaps […] in the number of health professionals available to young people. The Lowdown is one of many attempts to improve access to services to young people in need.”

Not only do they have health professionals on staff, but they also have support from celebrities. Local New Zealand celebrities accompany the exploration of the site giving helpful advice; sharing their own personal experiences and stories on depression; and home grown music provided free of charge. “The musicians were extremely generous with their time and music. They were very supportive of the purpose of the website and didn’t get paid for their contributions, but their music is being promoted through the site.”

An average of 320 visitors per day have visited the depression-focused help site between January 1 and January 23, 2008. Ms Bagnall said that most of those accessing the service are in the targeted market. “The service has been running for only a few weeks so we don’t have accurate figures yet and we don’t know the ages of site visitors unless they access the help services.”

New Zealand has high suicide statistics for both youth and older people. Each year there are 500 suicides, of which young people account for 100. Compared to other OECD countries, males between 15 and 24 years of age have the second highest suicide rate behind Finland. New Zealand is placed third behind Finland and Japan for females of the same age group. Age-standardised rates for males are fourth highest in the OECD, the fifth highest for females.

Getting the exclusive lowdown on The Lowdown
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UN calls on international community to increase aid for Iraqi refugees

  • Posted on March 19, 2019 at 2:17 am

Sunday, July 8, 2007

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) called on the international community to increase aid and assistance to the two countries shouldering the bulk of displaced Iraqis. Syria and Jordan have received the largest number of Iraqi refugees and are having difficulty coping with the numbers.

The appeal was made by UNHCR spokesman Ron Redmond at a press conference on Friday at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. He criticized governments for earlier expressing concern and pledging support for the refugees but not following through on promises. “Syria and Jordan have still received next to nothing in bilateral help from the world community,” said Redmond.

There are an estimated 2 million Iraqi refugees total in Syria and Jordan with the numbers increasing daily. Each day, Syria receives approximately 2,000 Iraqis and, of those, about 1,000 will stay for an extended time. There are a further 2 million displaced Iraqis who move and settle in safer areas within Iraq.

The large numbers of refugees is putting pressure on the infrastructure of the host countries, resulting in difficult living conditions for the inhabitants. Ron Redmond acknowledges that some US$70 million in donations have been received by the UNHCR, and a further $10 million promised since the Iraq displacement conference in April, 2007. He points out, however, that much more is required. “We stressed then and we say it again, donors must provide direct bilateral support to these host countries whose schools, hospitals, public services and infrastructure are seriously overstretched because of the presence of millions of Iraqis they have so generously welcomed,” said Redmond.

It is unconscionable that generous host countries be left on their own to deal with such a huge crisis. We strongly urge governments to step forward now to support them in dealing with this situation…

Schools are particularly difficult to set up and staff in a refugee situation. Syria has currently hundreds of thousands of Iraqi refugee children, but only has resources for 32,000 students. Syria offers free access to public schools for refugees, but doesn’t have the infrastructure to cope. Some 14,000 Iraqi refugee children in Jordan attend school, out of the possible 250,000. The refugee children in Jordan don’t have access to public schools and instead go to private schools. UNHCR is partnering with UNICEF to provide 150,000 classroom spots in Syria, Jordan and Lebanon, but the coordination of the required resources, such as buildings, teachers, and school supplies is proving difficult.

Health issues for the refugees is also a concern. UNHCR has set up three primary care medical facilities in Syria, with two more in the works. But approximately 10,000 Iraqis per month require a doctor’s attention, 3,000 of which require serious medical treatment.

Refugee situation in numbers
  • 2,000,000 in Jordan and Syria
  • 2,000,000 internally displaced
  • 750 in the United States
  • 14,000 out of 250,000 children in Jordan attend school

“It is unconscionable that generous host countries be left on their own to deal with such a huge crisis,” said Ron Redmond at the press conference. “We strongly urge governments to step forward now to support them in dealing with this situation and renew our call for international solidarity and burden sharing.”

The president of Refugees International, Ken Bacon, agrees that a more comprehensive approach to the situation is required and believes that it would be good investment for the United States to increase its aid to the region. “The United States ought to be pumping money into Jordan and Syria,” Bacon suggests. He feels that the sheer numbers of refugees can have a destabilizing influence in the Middle East. However, the complicated diplomatic relationship between the U.S. and Syria has resulted in slow progress, according to Bacon, as bilateral discussions have not taken place and the UN is forced to mediate.

Both Jordan and Syria have put in place new entry and residency conditions, which has resulted in thousands of refugees being stranded on Iraq’s borders. Families have been separated based on a person’s age and type of passport held. Jordan and Syria have not signed on to the UN Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees.

The non-governmental organization Human Rights Watch has been critical of Jordan and Syria on their policy of returning refugees, saying they “are violating on a daily basis the most fundamental principle of refugee protection – nonrefoulement, which prohibits the return of refugees to persecution or serious harm.”

To gain access to Jordan, Iraqi refugees must be over 40 or under 20, and must prove they have sufficient funds to support themselves in the country. They must also be in possession of a new generation passport.

Nasser Hikmat Jaafar drove 900 km from Baghdad with his family to reach Jordan in mid-June, 2007. Half of his family was refused entry to Jordan. “They allowed entry just for my wife and two daughters and denied me and my three sons. They didn’t tell us the reasons, but just said they are fed up with men of such ages [between 20 and 40 years old],” said Jaafar. He changed plans and traveled with all his family to the Syrian border, a distance of approximately 500 km from Iraq’s Jordanian border.

Syria has less restrictions on gaining entry, but has imposed residency conditions. Refugees can only stay up to three months and must then leave Syria and re-enter to be eligible to stay for another period.

The United States government has a program set up for Iraqi asylum seekers in Jordan who meet specific criteria. If they meet the requirements, listed below, they may be eligible for resettlement under the United States Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP).

Interested asylum seekers are encouraged to apply directly with the U.S. Overseas Processing Entity (OPE) in Amman, Jordan, which is operated by the International Organization for Migration (IOM). Individual Iraqis and their immediate family that meet one of the conditions below may seek access through the direct program:

  • Individuals who worked on a full-time basis as interpreters/translators for the U.S. Government or Multi-National Forces (MNF-I);
  • Locally Employed Staff (LES) engaged by the U.S. Government under the authority of the Chief of Mission or the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA); or
  • Surviving immediate family members of interpreters/translators or LES.

According to the U.S. government information on the process, those individuals initiating a case with the OPE will not be guaranteed an interview for resettlement in the United States. Applicants would be screened for eligibility as per the requirements listed above and are subject to approval.

In a February 14, 2007 press briefing, U.S. Under Secretary for Democracy and Global Affairs Paula J. Dobriansky addressed the Iraq refugee crisis. “Our key immediate objectives are to assist internally displaced Iraqis and Iraqi refugees by building up the capacities of UN agencies and NGOs,” said Dobriansky. “This includes increasing opportunities for permanent resettlement for the most vulnerable Iraqis, to establish specialized programs to assist Iraqis who are at risk because of their employment or close association with the United States Government, to work diplomatically with regional governments through bilateral and multilateral channels to uphold the principle of first asylum,” she continued.

In the February press briefing, the U.S. committed to receive 7,000 Iraqi refugees by fiscal year end, September 30, but clarified that perhaps only half that number would be “travel-ready” subsequent to the interview process as described above. The U.S. could accommodate 20,000 to 30,000 Iraqi refugees per year without difficulty, according to Ken Bacon of Refugees International.

To date, the U.S. has allowed 750 Iraqi refugees into the country.

UN calls on international community to increase aid for Iraqi refugees
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Radja Nainggolan announces international retirement after being left out of Belgian football world cup squad

  • Posted on March 18, 2019 at 2:31 am

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

On Monday, Belgian midfielder Radja Nainggolan announced his retirement from international football after he was left out of the national team squad for the 2018 FIFA World Cup upcoming in June.

Radja Nainggolan, who plays for Italian club AS Roma, posted on Twitter saying, “Very reluctantly my international career comes to an end…I’ve always done everything I could to represent my country[…] Being yourself can be bothering …From this day on I will be the first fan” ((nl))Dutch language: ?Met veel pijn in het hart maak ik een einde aan men internationale carriere… ik heb er altijd alles aangedaan om er bij te zijn en belgie te vertegenwoordigen[…] spijtig genoeg is ECHT zijn niet goed voor SOMMIGE… En vanaf vandaag zal ik de eerste supporter zijn.

Nainggolan announced his decision soon after Roberto Martinez, Belgium team manager, shortlisted 28 players for the Russia World Cup. Martinez travelled to Rome to inform Nainggolan about his decision before announcing the shortlisted players. Nainggolan, who turned 30 earlier this month, scored two goals for AS Roma against English club Liverpool FC in the second leg of the UEFA Champions League semi-final. In 2017, Roma club supporters voted Nainggolan the club’s Player of the Season.

Explaining his decision to leave out Nainggolan, manager Martinez said, “It was a sad and difficult decision. He is a player with a lot of class and he was voted Roma’s best player, but I’ve made my decision for purely tactical reasons.” The Spaniard added, “We know that Radja has a very important role in his club and we cannot give him that role in our squad”.

Martinez is to finalise and submit a 23-man squad for the World Cup tournament on June 4, after his team plays against Portugal in a friendly scheduled for June 2 in the Belgian capital Brussels. After Nainggolan was left out of the squad, former Belgian international Philippe Albert said, “We must be the only country in the world to be making the trip without one of the best players in the world”.

Belgium is in Group G for the World Cup, along with England, Panama, and Tunisia. Belgium is currently world number three in the FIFA rankings.

Radja Nainggolan announces international retirement after being left out of Belgian football world cup squad
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Researchers find preserving spotted owl habitat may not require a tradeoff with wildfire risk after all

  • Posted on March 18, 2019 at 2:17 am

Sunday, October 8, 2017

In a study scheduled for publication in the December 1 issue of Forest Ecology and Management, scientists from the University of California, Davis; USDA Forest Service Pacific Southwest Research Station; and University of Washington have found a way to resolve the conflict that has sprung up between protecting forests from increasingly frequent wildfires and droughts and preserving sufficient habitat for the endangered spotted owl, Strix occidentalis. The study was performed in two national parks in California, United States.

For the past twenty-five years, spotted owl habitat preservation has focused on keeping 70% or more of the total ground area covered by natural tree canopy, a tree density that leaves forests prone to wildfires and trees more likely to die during droughts. Both wildfires and droughts have become more frequent in the years since the program began.

However, the previous studies upon which the 70% figure was based only measured overall canopy coverage. In this work, researchers used aerial LiDAR (Light Detection And Ranging) imaging technology to scan areas within Kings Canyon National Park and Sequoia National Park in California. The regions were analyzed by distribution of foliage, tree height, and the sizes of the spaces between trees and stands. These data were then cross-referenced with decades of field studies showing the locations of hundreds of owl nests. They found that spotted owls clustered in areas with very tall trees and stands almost exclusively, over 150 feet (48 m), avoiding areas that only had moderate or low canopy, regardless of how dense or wide.

“This could fundamentally resolve the management problem because it would allow for reducing small tree density, through fire and thinning,” said lead author Malcolm North, of UC Davis and the USDA Pacific Southwest Research Station. “We’ve been losing the large trees, particularly in these extreme wildfire and high drought-mortality events. This is a way to protect more large tree habitat, which is what the owls want, in a way that makes the forest more resilient to these increasing stressors that are becoming more intense with climate change.”

The spotted owl gained national prominence in the United States during the 1990s, when environmentalists’ efforts to preserve its habitat resulted in federal measures forbidding logging on large swaths of land, as well as federal limits on the sales of harvested wood. There was a 1995 U.S. Supreme Court case which was preceded by lawsuits on the part of timber companies and by years of large protests by timber workers and their communities who feared job losses. For a time, it seemed that the spotted owl was also threatened by competition from the faster-breeding barred owl, which had moved west into its territory.

This is not the only major study of spotted owls to reach the public eye this week. On Thursday, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released the California Spotted Owl Conservation Objectives Report, which analyzes the past several decades of research on the California spotted owl and provides recommendations for ecologically and economically viable conservation.

Researchers find preserving spotted owl habitat may not require a tradeoff with wildfire risk after all
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Frankfurt defuses World War II-era bomb, evacuates 60,000

  • Posted on March 17, 2019 at 2:11 am

Monday, September 4, 2017

Experts in Frankfurt, Germany defused a World War II-era bomb yesterday, after more than 60,000 people, the most since World War II, evacuated from the area.

The HC 4000 blockbuster bomb, dropped by the United Kingdom’s Royal Air Force, was discovered days ago near the Goethe University Frankfurt campus in a construction site. Fire chiefs warned its reportedly 1.4 tons of explosives could have destroyed an entire city block.

Residents of the Westend neighborhood, including those of two nearby hospitals, were asked to evacuate by 8 a.m. local time (0600 UTC), though the bomb removal process only began around 2:30 p.m., as the evacuation drew on. Just after 8 a.m., Markus Röck, a spokesman for the Frankfurt fire brigade, said: “The situation is relaxed which is a good sign and everything so far is going according to plan. We will now assess if everybody has left voluntarily and go from house to house and remove people if necessary.”

About 1,100 workers assisted with the evacuation, according to the fire brigade, and helicopters and heat-detection technology were used to check everyone within 1.5 kilometers, about 1 mile, had left. A convention center and concert hall opened to house people, and at museums and the airport, other activities were offered for free.

When the area near the bomb was evaluated, other parts of the city became more populated. Peter Cachola Schmal, director of the German Architecture Museum, remarked, “It’s a different atmosphere here today, because people are settling for a longer time[…] People are coming here to sit with their laptop and work, for example, or read the newspaper for hours.”

Fire brigade director Reinhard Ries said, “the scale of this bomb is overwhelming. I have never seen anything like it.”

Likely thousands of unexploded bombs from the era remain across Germany, and reportedly eleven bomb defusal technicians have been killed there since 2000. Devices may become more unstable as time wears on and their fuses age.

Frankfurt defuses World War II-era bomb, evacuates 60,000
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Rachel Weisz wants Botox ban for actors

  • Posted on March 16, 2019 at 2:17 am

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

English actress Rachel Weisz thinks that Botox injections should be banned for all actors.

The 39-year-old actress, best known for her roles in the Mummy movie franchise and for her Academy Award-winning portrayal in The Constant Gardener, feels facial Botox injections leave actors less able to convey emotion and that it harms the acting industry as much as steroids harm athletes.

In an interview with UK’s Harper’s Bazaar, coming out next month, Weisz says, “It should be banned for actors, as steroids are for sportsmen,” she claims. “Acting is all about expression; why would you want to iron out a frown?”

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Currently living in New York, she also mentions that English women are much less worried about their physical appearance than in the United States. “I love the way girls in London dress,” she claimed. “It’s so different to the American ‘blow-dry and immaculate grooming’ thing.”

Rachel Weisz wants Botox ban for actors
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‘Daybreak’ launches on ITV in UK

  • Posted on March 16, 2019 at 2:13 am

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Daybreak, a new breakfast show on ITV in the United Kingdom, launched on Monday at 0600 BST (0500 UTC). The show was hosted by Christine Bleakley and Adrian Chiles, both of whom previously presented The One Show on BBC One.

Opening the broadcast, Bleakley commented: “Dawn is happening, day is breaking behind us here, it’s a beautiful thing here behind us in the studio.” Chiles then commented: “The sun is up and thank goodness. We spent good money bringing you this view […] at least you can see it. Thank goodness for that.” On the website for The Guardian, Stuart Heritage stated that “[a]lthough it does seem like a continuation of GMTV rather than a bold reinvention, some of the new aspects of Daybreak have worked. Adrian and Christine have done reasonably well and the other new faces all seem like good additions.” The set for the programme features two purple sofas with a large round desk in between the sofas and a skyline of London in a backdrop.

The new programme was followed at 0830 BST (0730 UTC) by another new programme, entitled Lorraine — hosted by Lorraine Kelly — which was broadcast until 0925 BST (0825 UTC). Kelly stressed: “I’ve really missed you. I hope you like our new look and we’ve got a packed show for you today.” The Lorraine set contains a pink sofa, a pink armchair and a large round white desk. The two new programmes are the successors to GMTV — which had its last broadcast on Friday.

Previously, Alison Sharman, ITV Director of Factual and Daytime, explained: “Daybreak plays a key part in ITV’s ongoing transformation and reflects the fact that creative renewal lies at the heart of our schedule, which is being modernised and improved under Peter Fincham. We want to ensure that the core audience of housewives with children keep watching but are also determined to attract new viewers to our revitalised breakfast show. As we approach the next stage of this transformational journey our newly confirmed anchors — Christine and Adrian — will be the lynchpins of Daybreak with their unique and brilliant partnership.”

‘Daybreak’ launches on ITV in UK
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