16
Dec

SEPTA buys rail cars from NJ Transit to deal with crowding

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

As gas prices have risen in the United States, the regional transport authority for southeastern Pennsylvania, SEPTA, has seen a sharp increase in ridership, which has caused overcrowding on the trains.

“As fuel prices have continued to rise, SEPTA ridership has steadily increased and is the highest in 18 years,” said SEPTA General Manager Joseph Casey. Monthly ridership was 22 percent higher last month than a year ago.

“They have crushed loads on their rail lines, already where people are standing, and there’s not enough seats,” said Rich Bickel, the director of the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission.

“At peak times some railcars are standing room only and commuter parking lots are nearly full. All Regional Rail lines are running near full capacity and the train station parking lots are at about 90 percent capacity or more,” SEPTA spokesperson Felipe Suarez said.

While SEPTA awaits new Silverliner V trains from Hyundai Rotem, which begin arriving in 2009, it had hoped to lease eight rail cars from New Jersey Transit, at an agreed-upon rate of US$10,000 per month. However, due to problems with insurance and liability indemnification, the deal fell through, according to Casey.

SEPTA has entered a new agreement to purchase the eight rail cars from NJ Transit. The transit authority will pay US$670,000 for the cars and assorted supplies plus one additional inoperative car which will be used for spare parts. The rail cars will be operated using a SEPTA provided locomotive as they are not self-propelled.

The cars are being disposed of by NJ Transit because it has switched from single-floor cars to double-decker cars.

SEPTA is expecting to raise US$3.1 million by selling rail that has been out of service since 1981 at auction.

16
Dec

Hamas preparing for Israeli ‘incursion’ into Gaza

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Hamas, the current government controlling Gaza and a labeled as a “foreign terrorist organization” by the United States, is claiming that the Israel Defense Forces are preparing for an incursion into Gaza, and they are preparing for any such attempt, performing military exercises and drills to “surprise” Israeli forces with “ferocious fighting.” Hamas says that Israel is planning to attack after several rockets were fired into populated cities the southern portion of Israel from Hamas controlled portions of the strip.

“Your brothers, the sons of Hamas … have the weapons that they claimed as booty from the war of cleansing (of Fatah) and will now fight the state of Israel with them,” said Nizar Rayyan a senior Hamas government official in a statement who also added that they would kidnap any Israeli soldiers attempting an attack on the government or the city.

Drills and exercises including training their forces in handling and firing rocket launchers and automatic rifles. They also train in “taking cover” and wear camouflage outfits. An abandoned building was also blown up in a controlled explosion.

Israeli officials don’t deny that any military action is not part of possible plans to stop the rocket fire into the country, but also say that there are several other plans to try and stop rocket attacks.

“I think there are a series of actions other than military actions,” said Tzipi Livni, the Foreign Minister of Israel.

Some plans include stopping supplies such as water and fuel from going into Gaza, and shutting off the gas and electricity to homes and businesses in the attempt to stop attacks.

15
Dec

Texan bystanders kill car passenger after child injured

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

A man who was trying to protect the driver of a vehicle that had hit a child pedestrian was killed by an angry crowd the evening of Wednesday, June 20, in Austin, Texas.

The man was identified today by Austin police as David Rivas Morales, age 40. The driver had just dropped Morales off at his sister’s townhouse moments before. Then while still in the parking lot, he allegedly bumped the toddler with the vehicle. The child was not injured and was not taken to the hospital. A group of 3 or 4 men confronted the driver and Morales came back to assist him. The assailants then turned on Morales. Police indicated the driver, who had escaped the scene of the crime, was cooperating with the investigation. Morales died at the hospital from injuries that included a cracked skull and brain hemorrhaging.

The neighborhood was crowded at the time with some 2,000 to 3,000 people who were participating in the annual Juneteenth celebration, which commemorates the day the emancipation of slaves was announced in Texas. It was not immediately known whether any of the attackers had been part of the celebration.

In a news conference on Wednesday, members of League of United Latin American Citizens called on the community not to assume the killing was racially motivated solely because Juneteenth celebrants are predominately African-American and the victim was Latino. Police officers stated that early reports were incorrect in implying thousands of potential witnesses, as investigations suggested only 10 to 15 people had been in the parking lot when the incident occurred and most of these were residents of apartments nearby.

15
Dec

Australian governments to meet for first COAG meeting of 2006 today

Friday, February 10, 2006

The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) will meet in Canberra today for its first meeting of 2006. Members of COAG are the Prime Minister, State Premiers, Australian Capital and Northern Territory Chief Ministers, and the President of the Australian Local Government Association. COAG is chaired by the Prime Minister.

On the agenda is a wide range of issues such as health, economic reform, regulation, and education.

The state leaders (all of whom are members of the Australian Labor Party), met last night to develop a strategy for dealing with John Howard, Australia’s Prime Minister.

15
Dec

Wikinews’ overview of the year 2008

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Also try the 2008 World News Quiz of the year.

What would you tell your grandchildren about 2008 if they asked you about it in, let’s say, 20 years’ time? If the answer to a quiz question was 2008, what would the question be? The year that markets collapsed, or perhaps the year that Obama became US president? Or the year Heath Ledger died?

Let’s take a look at some of the important stories of 2008. Links to the original Wikinews articles are in all the titles.

15
Dec

Things To Look For With Insurance In Latham, Ny

byAlma Abell

Insurance is an important thing to have for unexpected events. It’s there to help us in our time of need and makes us financially ready for anything. Unfortunately, many don’t people realize the important of insurance until they need it. When looking for Insurance in Latham, NY people should shop carefully. They should look for something that works for them. Insurance plans can vary tremendously on numerous factors, each working in tandem. Whether it’s home, car, or health insurance people are after, they should pay attention to coverage, premiums, and deductibles.

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The coverage an insurance plan has can make a huge difference. The coverage is the amount of money an insurance company will give to policy holders when they make a claim. This is usually a set dollar amount. Depending on the situation, insurance companies will give this money to the policy holder until cap is met, then the policy holder will receive no more coverage. Then they’ll being left to pay for expenses out of pocket. While it’s impossible to predict the amount of coverage needed, it’s always important to get a plan that will cover enough. Policy holders can also set money on the side to cover additional expenses should that coverage cap be met.

The deductible is the amount of money a policy holder will pay before the Insurance in Latham, NY will start providing coverage. This is to ensure that insurance companies don’t have to pay for every little thing. It’s good to pick a deductible amount that is affordable at a moment’s notice, for the insurance company won’t start providing coverage until this amount is met. Usually, the deductible and coverage amount will affect each other. The lover the deductible is, the less coverage the plan has and vice versa.

The premium is what the Insurance in Latham, NY is worth. It’s essentially the cost of the insurance. This amount is usually paid monthly or quarterly depending on the policy. Again, this should be something that’s affordable. However, policy holders should take coverage into account, as the premium usually helps determine coverage. Failing to pay a premium will effectively stop coverage, so it’s important to keep up with premium payments. Insurance is there to help us, so picking the right policy is important. Insurance companies will work with policy holders to ensure that their needs are met. They can often work one on one to get the perfect plan.

14
Dec

‘Jelly bellies’ memo costs Florida police chief his job

Thursday, November 2, 2006

Winter Haven, Florida police chief Paul Goward was tired of seeing fat hanging out over the belts of some of his officers. So he posted a memo to encourage the so-called ‘jelly bellies’ to get in shape.

The memo, entitled ‘Are You A Jelly Belly?’ didn’t single anyone out, and, apart from the title, didn’t call anyone names.

Goward, a former deputy police chief in Wichita, wrote “If you are unfit, do yourself and everyone else a favor. See a professional about a proper diet and a fitness training program, quit smoking, limit alcohol intake…Don’t mean to offend, this is just straight talk. I owe it to you.”

It provided a list of 10 reasons cops should get fit. Goward said that overweight cops poorly represent the profession, are liable to ‘poop out’ when chasing suspects, and may have to use a higher degree of force.

In the end, Goward resigned from his position as police chief.

14
Dec

Cadillac unveils Obama’s ‘Beast’, the 2009 Presidential State Car

Saturday, January 17, 2009

The US Secret Service has released the first photos Wednesday of the new presidential limousine that will transport Barack Obama down Pennsylvania Avenue next Tuesday as part of the 56th Presidential inaugural parade after he is sworn in at the Capitol. The First Limo – the 2009 Cadillac Presidential Limousine – will replace President Bush’s Cadillac DTS Presidential Limousine that rolled out in 2004.

Nicknamed “The Beast”, the hulking machine is a new model year 2009, modified limousine. According to General Motors, the new “2009 Cadillac Presidential Limousine” is the first not to carry a specific model name. The Obama Mobile was introduced on January 14 with noticeably different styling borrowed from the Cadillac Escalade and STS, while the suspension is most likely related to the Chevrolet Kodiak medium-duty truck.

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Mr. David Caldwell of General Motors has revealed that the sleek black car would include a hand-crafted interior and “state of the art electronics.” The car’s high-tech security features include five-inch-thick (12.7-centimeter-thick) bombproof glass, tough-as-nails tires, and a sealed interior that’s invulnerable to chemical attack. The armoured limousine has been heavily modified to withstand potential attacks by weapons or bombs. The San Francisco Chronicle puts it in a proper perspective noting, “a half-inch of transparent armor is enough to stop a .44 Magnum round at point-blank range; at a thickness of 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 inches, the same material can withstand higher-velocity bullets fired from military assault rifles.”

According to spy photographer, Brenda Priddy, and General Motors, the limousine, which has the intricate, dual-textured grille, is also equipped with standard Goodyear Regional RHS truck tires in a 285/70R19.5 size, on 19.5-inch wheels. The rims have a run-flat device (manufactured by Hutchinson Industries). Xenon headlights from the Escalade are installed in the front, while the rear has some STS part. The doors are at least 20 centimeters (8 inches) thick. It carries the US flag on the front fenders and an embroidered Seal of the President of the United States is affixed to several panels in the back.

According to the US Secret Service, the vehicle would be a “valuable asset” in providing the President with the highest level of protection. “Although many of the vehicle’s security enhancements cannot be discussed, it is safe to say that this car’s security and coded communications systems make it the most technologically advanced protection vehicle in the world,” Nicholas Trotta, Assistant Director for the Office of Protective Operations said in a statement. The new limousine is the responsibility of White House Transportation Agency.

One of the specifications is that we don’t talk about the specifications.

The Presidential State Car is the official state car used by the President of the United States. It is informally known as “Cadillac One”. The current Presidential State Car is a 2005 hand-crafted, armored, and stretched DTS (DeVille Touring Sedan) built on a GM four-wheel drive platform. It was first used on the second inauguration parade of George W. Bush in 2005. But the version to be used by President Obama uses a GMC Topkick chassis, while maintaining the Cadillac exterior.

The President of the United States travels in one of two armoured Cadillac limousines based upon the normal sedan, the Cadillac DTS, with heavy customisation. Lincoln cars have also been used in the past, most notably by President John F Kennedy. The current limousines were custom-built by O’Gara, Hess and Eisenhart, founded in Fairfield, Ohio in 1942. It specializes in armouring limousines for presidents and heads of state.

President William McKinley was the first US president to ride in an automobile. However, it was President Theodore Roosevelt who rode on the first government-owned car, a white Stanley Steamer. Roosevelt’s successor, William Howard Taft, was the first president to use a presidential state car that was permanently stored in the White House garage.

Meanwhile, Obama’s 2005 Chrysler 300C Hemi was auctioned on eBay with a starting bid of $100,000 and a buy-it-now price of $1,000,000. It has less than 21,000 miles on it and is in like-new condition. He leased the car in 2004 and traded it for a Ford Escape Hybrid in 2007. The car was sold to Tim O’Boyle.

12
Dec

Million Dollar Homepage is close to achieving million-dollar goal

Friday, December 30, 2005

Alex Tew, a student in England, has almost reached his target of one million dollars on his website: Million Dollar Homepage. He came up with the idea after jotting down ideas before he went to bed on how to become a millionaire before he went to university. Then he came up with the million-dollar idea: selling pixels at USD $1 each on a web page. Alex currently believes he can make his goal by the end of 31st December, 2005.

Advertising companies especially appreciate the website, as they wish to “make Internet history” on the Million Dollar Homepage. In fact as of writing, he has already made USD $999,000. The student says advertisers get to keep their ads for a period of five years from purchase and he says he will use the money he has made to guarantee it. Alex has said he has already got numerous job offers from companies aiming to secure his money making talent.

Tew is undergoing a business management course at Nottingham and needed GBP £7000 a year to complete his studies. He is understandably overwhelmed by the success he has achieved: “It’s just nuts. I’m in a state of disbelief. It’s like Monopoly money but then I look at my bank account and there’s a lot of cash in it.” The British National Union of Students claim that 90% of students are in debt. However, what only worries him is how he’s going to spend his money. He has already spent some of his money on a car for himself, as he thinks of what to do with his new fortune.

His website’s method is simple; his website is made up of one page divided into 10,000 boxes, each 100 pixels in size. Companies can buy one or more boxes for USD $100 each and cover it with a logo, which, when clicked on, transports web users to the customers’ own site.The figures add up with the site now carrying over 240 advertisements and has 30,000 hits a day. Even the actor Jack Black, star of “School of Rock” and “Shallow Hal“, is using the site to advertise his band Tenacious D.

12
Dec

Saturn moon Enceladus may have salty ocean

Thursday, June 23, 2011

NASA’s Cassini–Huygens spacecraft has discovered evidence for a large-scale saltwater reservoir beneath the icy crust of Saturn’s moon Enceladus. The data came from the spacecraft’s direct analysis of salt-rich ice grains close to the jets ejected from the moon. The study has been published in this week’s edition of the journal Nature.

Data from Cassini’s cosmic dust analyzer show the grains expelled from fissures, known as tiger stripes, are relatively small and usually low in salt far away from the moon. Closer to the moon’s surface, Cassini found that relatively large grains rich with sodium and potassium dominate the plumes. The salt-rich particles have an “ocean-like” composition and indicate that most, if not all, of the expelled ice and water vapor comes from the evaporation of liquid salt-water. When water freezes, the salt is squeezed out, leaving pure water ice behind.

Cassini’s ultraviolet imaging spectrograph also recently obtained complementary results that support the presence of a subsurface ocean. A team of Cassini researchers led by Candice Hansen of the Planetary Science Institute in Tucson, Arizona, measured gas shooting out of distinct jets originating in the moon’s south polar region at five to eight times the speed of sound, several times faster than previously measured. These observations of distinct jets, from a 2010 flyby, are consistent with results showing a difference in composition of ice grains close to the moon’s surface and those that made it out to the E ring, the outermost ring that gets its material primarily from Enceladean jets. If the plumes emanated from ice, they should have very little salt in them.

“There currently is no plausible way to produce a steady outflow of salt-rich grains from solid ice across all the tiger stripes other than salt water under Enceladus’s icy surface,” said Frank Postberg, a Cassini team scientist at the University of Heidelberg in Germany.

The data suggests a layer of water between the moon’s rocky core and its icy mantle, possibly as deep as about 50 miles (80 kilometers) beneath the surface. As this water washes against the rocks, it dissolves salt compounds and rises through fractures in the overlying ice to form reserves nearer the surface. If the outermost layer cracks open, the decrease in pressure from these reserves to space causes a plume to shoot out. Roughly 400 pounds (200 kilograms) of water vapor is lost every second in the plumes, with smaller amounts being lost as ice grains. The team calculates the water reserves must have large evaporating surfaces, or they would freeze easily and stop the plumes.

“We imagine that between the ice and the ice core there is an ocean of depth and this is somehow connected to the surface reservoir,” added Postberg.

The Cassini mission discovered Enceladus’ water-vapor and ice jets in 2005. In 2009, scientists working with the cosmic dust analyzer examined some sodium salts found in ice grains of Saturn’s E ring but the link to subsurface salt water was not definitive. The new paper analyzes three Enceladus flybys in 2008 and 2009 with the same instrument, focusing on the composition of freshly ejected plume grains. In 2008, Cassini discovered a high “density of volatile gases, water vapor, carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide, as well as organic materials, some 20 times denser than expected” in geysers erupting from the moon. The icy particles hit the detector target at speeds between 15,000 and 39,000 MPH (23,000 and 63,000 KPH), vaporizing instantly. Electrical fields inside the cosmic dust analyzer separated the various constituents of the impact cloud.

“Enceladus has got warmth, water and organic chemicals, some of the essential building blocks needed for life,” said Dennis Matson in 2008, Cassini project scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

“This finding is a crucial new piece of evidence showing that environmental conditions favorable to the emergence of life can be sustained on icy bodies orbiting gas giant planets,” said Nicolas Altobelli, the European Space Agency’s project scientist for Cassini.

“If there is water in such an unexpected place, it leaves possibility for the rest of the universe,” said Postberg.