Archive for May, 2019

29
May

Parajet Skycar expedition takes off from London to Timbuktu

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Two explorers have set off from Knightsbridge, London Wednesday morning (0900 GMT) in a propeller-powered dune buggy heading for the Sahara. Giles Cardozo, age 29, from Dorset, with chief pilot and expedition leader Neil Laughton, age 45, an ex-SAS officer, will fly and drive the amazing two-seater vehicle more than 6,000-km (3,750-miles) to fabled Timbuktu on February 20.

“I just can’t wait to see their faces when we fly in and start playing football with them. I don’t think they will be able to believe somebody in a flying car has just visited them,” ‘extreme golfer’ Mr Laughton said before the departure. Timbuktu (Timbuctoo; Koyra Chiini: Tumbutu; French: Tombouctou) is an isolated city in Tombouctou Region, in the West African nation of Mali. They will traverse Europe and Africa about 42 days to arrive at the city in Mali, West Africa before returning home via Senegal.

The home-made 450-kilogram Skycar has been designed by Cardozo in just 18 months. It is the world’s first road legal bio fuelled flying car. It is a four cylinders modified Rage Motorsport off-road racing buggy which was approved by the government last month. It runs on bioethanol and is powered by a modified 140bhp Yamaha R1 superbike engine with a lightweight automatic continuously variable transmission from a snowmobile.

The team invested about £250,000 ($380,000) to make the 1000cc engine Skycar desert-proof. In its maiden voyage, the flying car will be escorted by up to 13 people convoy including an eight-wheel truck, two Toyota Land Cruiser 4x4s and several motorbikes. It has left London’s Sheraton Park Tower hotel, heading through the capital to Dunsfold airfield in Surrey.

The team had initially planned to take the air route across the English Channel, but the 35km flight was vetoed by aviation authorities. Skycar is required by law to obtain a license from Britain’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), including a permit from the British Microlight Aircraft Association (BMAA). Skycar spokeswoman, Charlie Bell, however clarified that the team was “in liaison with the CAA and they are looking to finalize the permit,” adding that it is in order for the rest of the trip.

The Skycar will thereafter fly over the high-altitude Pyrenees near Andorra, and would cross over the 14-km (nine-mile) Strait of Gibraltar. The prepared journey also includes the route through Mauritania, Atlas Mountains in Morocco and into Mali. It will further cross the harsh environment of Sahara’s remote “Rub’ al Khali” (empty quarter), for up to two weeks amid real fears of terrorist attacks.

The expedition will not have an easy task, especially since the Skycar will be tested to the limits amid punishing operating environments and weather conditions. “Clearly the reliability of the car is crucial,” said Mr Laughton. “We’re going to have to cope with wind chill temperatures as low as -30 deg C and blistering heat of up to 50 deg C. But it’s been fully tested at a secret location and it 100 per cent works,” he added.

The Parajet Skycar is a prototype flying car. It was developed by British paramotor manufacturer Parajet. The flying car utilizes a paramotor and a parafoil attached to a modified dune buggy to achieve sustained level flight. Should the engine fail, the vehicle can glide back to the ground. Should the canopy rip, an emergency reserve parachute would be deployed. It requires three minutes to convert it from a car to an aircraft. The prototype runs on biodiesel and is fully road-legal.

In 2004 British engineer Giles Cardozo, a paramotor manufacturer, has invented a fan-powered flying car to prove the Skycar is real and works. “I started making a paramotor on wheels that you sit on and take off and it suddenly occurred to me, ‘Why not just have a car that does everything?’” Cardozo said. His Wiltshire-based company Parajet built the paramotor that the adventurer Bear Grylls did fly near Everest in 2008. In 1998, Grylls, aged 23, became the youngest British to ascend Mount Everest. In May 2007, Grylls and Cardozo departed from Pheriche, about 32 kilometres south of Mount Everest.

I thought this would be an interesting challenge… Timbuktu is an iconic and quirky destination.

Cardozo has claimed he may finally have made it. “I’ve been dreaming about making flying cars since I was a boy, thinking about all the ways it could be done and seeing how all the other people in the world have done it wrong. No one’s ever made one that really does work that you can go out and buy. But here’s the ultimate solution: it’s cheap, it’s safe, it works, all the technology’s already there. So I pushed ahead and thought, ‘We’ve got to do it’,” he said.

If the Skycar becomes successful, Cardozo’s company plans a limited production with a selling price of £35,000 to £40,000 for a standard model and £60,000 for a high-performance sports version. “It will be a serious aircraft but also a proper road machine, with acceleration to match your average sports car,” says Cardozo. “I’m not going to sell millions of them but even if we sell 20 we’ll be laughing,” he added.

The explorers, with the aid of sponsors, supporters and benefactor Sir Ranulph Twisleton-Wykeham-Fiennes, 3rd Baronet OBE (known as ‘Ranulph (Ran) Fiennes’), have aimed to raise more than £100,000 for some charities including an African orphanage.

24
May

Brazilian Ministry of Education defends external control over Universities

Wednesday, February 2, 2005

BRASILIA, Brazil –The Brazilian government has proposed a policy to increase external control on public and private Universities. The Brazilian magazine Veja published a cover story about the subject criticizing this proposal[1].

The magazine put a picture of a donkey on the cover, a critical allusion to the recent political decisions related to Education taken by the government (in Brazil the donkey is a symbol of stupidity). The magazine claims the recent decision of the government’s new education policy is motivated more by ideological rather than technical reasons.

On June 06, 2004 during a convention of intellectuals, the president of the Confenen (National Confederation of the Educational establishments) Robert Dornas said the idea of external control conflicts with the idea of the university autonomy. “This is the way of all totalitarian States” , he added.

The Vice-chancellor of the UFRJ (Federal University of Rio De Janeiro), Aloísio Teixeira, said to fear that the advice finishes obliquing the activities of the university. According to him the university should be evaluated by already existing mechanisms, as the National Congress. Pablo Alcântara Gomes, the chairman of the board of the Brazilian Universities’ Vice-chancellors, said Brazilian universities do not need external control, but internal advice with participation of the society.

There are worries that with the external control universities may be subject only to political and ideological oriented decisions of non-representative groups.

The Ministry of Education Tarso Genro is a defender of the external control: “I am enthusiastic about the external control. Me and my friend Olívio Dutra (minister of the Cities), are the founders of the shared public budget program in Porto Alegre. This model of management worked like a organized social external control over what is the exposed power nerve, the public budget. And it worked. Therefore, I think it is a good thing. We have to enrich what is not the State, but the public space.”

24
May

Belgian bus company knows solution for car parking problems

Monday, May 21, 2007

Do you have a hard time finding a parking space? Take the bus or tram if you go to the city. That’s the message Belgian bus company De Lijn (The Line) is sending to promote public transport as a solution for car parking problems. As a part of their media campaign, they have jokingly suggested that people use the top of the busses as parking space.

Another idea they are using in their media campaign: maybe you could park your car on the bottom of a canal? The bus company is using an invented diving company called Cardive, which has divers that offer to dump your car in the canal. The divers walk around in cities and hand out free bus tickets and maps of the bus network.

To reach car drivers who are not using public transport, the media campaign has several radio commercials that present other solutions to the car parking problem. You could use “asphalt-spray” to camouflage your car, making it invisible for policemen (although you then need to remember where you’ve parked). Or you could use the “flat tire kit”, which comes with a fake flat tire and an inflatable dummy, so it looks like you’re replacing your flat tire. The final idea the bus company has is to use a View-Master to fool parking guards into believing that your car has been stationed correctly.

A survey among 4000 customers of De Lijn shows that two out of three car owners who use public transport, do so to avoid parking space troubles, and in cities this percentage rises to 90%. The survey further shows that 39% use the bus to go shopping.

During the month of May, the auto-bus and the divers tour several cities in Flanders (Leuven, Hasselt, Ghent, Bruges and Antwerp).

24
May

AU peacekeepers killed in Somalia, Islamists vow more attacks

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

On Sunday, suicide bombers killed 11 African Union (AU) peacekeepers in Somalia and injured at least 15 others. Two bombers drove a truck loaded with explosives into the AU camp housing Burundi soldiers in Mogadishu and detonated it.

“These attacks have reached today an unprecedented level, resulting in the killing of 11 Burundian soldiers, while 15 others have sustained serious injuries,” the African Union said in a statement. Troops were unloading supplies for their camp when militants drove a truck into the camp, then detonating it.

“Attacks by these evil forces will not deter Burundi or the African Union to help Somalis. We will reinforce our contingent with material and personnel,” the Burundi government said.

Al-Shabaab, a Somali militia, claimed responsibility. The group’s leader, Mukhtar Robow, issued a statement after the attack warning residents and troops to “go home, otherwise you will meet our hell”. Al-Shabaab is considered to be formed from remnants of the Islamic Courts Union (ICU). The group claims that at least 52 people were killed and 34 others injured in the suicide attack.

“This is our land and you are non-believers,” read an Al-Shabaab statement in Somali on a website used by the militants. “Leave us for your safety or we shall never tire of increasing your death toll.” The site showed images of the alleged militants responsible for the attack.

Recently, other Islamist groups have pledged loyalty to President Sharif Ahmed, also formerly of the ICU, though considered a moderate. Al-Shabaab has rejected his government, which won a January 31 election.

“They are trying to destabilize the situation and take away attention from the good news,” said Susannah Price, a spokesperson for the United Nations.

There are 3,400 Burundi and Uganda troops in Somalia, however, the AU peacekeeping force is supposed to number 8,000.

21
May

Creator of website satirizing Glenn Beck on winning domain name case

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Wikinews interviewed the creator of a parody website satirizing American political commentator Glenn Beck, about his thoughts after prevailing in a domain name dispute brought by Beck before the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in Geneva, Switzerland. Florida resident Isaac Eiland-Hall created the website in September, and it asserts Beck uses questionable tactics “to spread lies and misinformation”. Eiland-Hall was represented in the case by free speech lawyer Marc Randazza.

Wikinews interviewed Randazza for the article “US free speech lawyer Marc Randazza discusses Glenn Beck parody”, and previously reported on the Beck v. Eiland-Hall case in articles, “US free speech lawyer defends satire of Glenn Beck”, “Satirical website criticizes Glenn Beck for ‘hypocritical’ attempts to silence free speech”, and “Glenn Beck loses domain name case over parody website”.

19
May

Ontario Votes 2007: Interview with Green candidate Jim Reeves, York-Simcoe

Monday, October 1, 2007

Jim Reeves is running for the Green Party of Ontario in the Ontario provincial election, in the York-Simcoe riding. Wikinews’ Nick Moreau interviewed him regarding his values, his experience, and his campaign.

Stay tuned for further interviews; every candidate from every party is eligible, and will be contacted. Expect interviews from Liberals, Progressive Conservatives, New Democratic Party members, Ontario Greens, as well as members from the Family Coalition, Freedom, Communist, Libertarian, and Confederation of Regions parties, as well as independents.

19
May

Election in Moldova instigates rioting mob demanding recount

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Protests which began Monday escalated to a riot on Wednesday consisting of over 10,000 people in Chi?in?u, the capital of Moldova, protesting the results of Sunday’s 2009 Moldovan parliamentary election, which showed an apparent, narrow victory for the Communist Party (Partidul Comuni?tilor din Republica Moldova, PCRM). Demonstrators claim the victory was the result of electoral fraud.

The demonstration escalated to a “flash mob” of between 10,000 to 15,000 communicating via online tools like email, micro-blogging tool Twitter, and social-networking website Facebook. “We sent messages on Twitter but didn’t expect 15,000 people to join in. At the most we expected 1,000”, said Oleg Brega of the activist group Hyde Park.

Police deployed tear gas and water cannons, and fired blanks into the crowd. The rioters threw stones at the riot police and took control of the parliament building and presidential office. A bonfire was built out of parliamentary furniture and all windows below the 7th floor were broken.

Approximately one hundred protesters and 170 police officers are reported as injured. There have been conflicting reports as to whether a female protester died during the altercation.

193 protesters “have been charged with looting, hooliganism, robbery and assault,” said an Interior Ministry spokesperson. This announcement sparked another protest by those demanding the release for those detained.

There is wide speculation about who was to blame for the rioting.

President Vladimir Voronin has expelled the Romanian ambassador from Moldova, blaming Romania for the violent protests. “We know that certain political forces in Romania are behind this unrest. The Romanian flags fixed on the government buildings in Chisinau attest to this” said Voronin. “Romania is involved in everything that has happened.“ Voronin also blamed the protests on opposition leaders who used violence to seize power, and has described the event as a coup d’état.

Protesters initially insisted on a recount of the election results and are now calling for a new vote, which has been rejected by the government. Rioters were also demanding unification between Moldova and Romania. “In the air, there was a strong expectation of change, but that did not happen”, said OSCE spokesman Matti Sidoroff.File:Dorin Chirtoaca.jpg

“The elections were fraudulent, there was multiple voting” accused Chi?in?u mayor Dorin Chirtoac? of the Liberal Party. “It’s impossible that every second person in Moldova voted for the Communists. However, we believe the riots were a provocation and we are now trying to reconcile the crowd. Leaders of all opposition parties are at the scene,” said Larissa Manole of the Liberal Democratic Party of Moldova.

The Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) proclaimed the PCRM to have won 61 seats in initial counts, enough to guarantee a third term in power for Voronin, who has held the position since 2001. But the Central Election Commission has received evidence of election violations, according to RIA Novosti, and upon recounts conducted of disputed polls, the commission reported that the Communists achieved 49.48% of the Moldovian vote, giving them 60 parliamentary seats — one short of the total needed to win the presidential election. “The electoral commission also granted opposition parties permission to check voter lists, fulfilling one of their chief demands,” said Yuri Ciocan, Central Election Commission secretary.

Voronin will step down in May, however his party could elect a successor with 61 parliamentary seats without any votes from outside parties as well as amend the Constitution. With the PCRM garnering 60 seats, the opposition will have a voice in the presidential election for a new successor.

The western part of Moldova was a part of Romania from the Romania’s independence until the region was detached by the USSR in 1940 to form the Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic. On independence in 1990 the country sought union with Romania but the eastern, Russian- and Ukrainian-inhabited areas of the country declared themselves independent from Moldova and formed the state of Transnistria and movement toward union was halted.

Moldova is Europe’s poorest country, where average income is less than $250 (£168) a month. The country’s neighbours are Romania and Ukraine. Romania is a European Union (EU) state.

18
May

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.

16
May

UK Wikinews Shorts: July 8, 2013

A compilation of brief news reports for Monday, July 8, 2013.

15
May

Retired U.S. vets sue Donald Rumsfeld for excessive service cutbacks

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

One thousand residents of the Defense Department-managed Armed Forces Retirement Home in Washington, D.C. filed a class-action lawsuit on May 24, asserting that the cut-backs in medical and dental services imposed by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld are illegal. The operating budget for the home was reduced from $63 million in 2004 to $58 million for 2005. The residents cite cuts in on-site X-ray, electrocardiogram, physical and dental services, and the closing of the home’s main clinic and an on-site pharmacy.

Chief Financial Officer Steve McManus responded that the changes not only save money but also achieved improved efficiencies. “We’re really trying to improve the benefits to our residents,” he said.

Most of the home’s costs are paid for by a trust fund and monthly fees paid by residents. By law, the Armed Forces Retirement Homes are required to fund, “on-site primary care, medical care and a continuum of long-term care services.”