3
Sep

Effort to end monkey-ing around on Delhi’s subway

Tuesday, August 8, 2006

New Delhi authorities hope a fierce looking primate will solve the problem of mischievous monkeys infilitratring the city’s subway system. The Hindustan Times reports that langurs will be used to scare away their smaller cousins. A langur-wallah (or handler) is being paid 6,900 rupees (US$ 167) a month as a retainer and “will be called in whenever there is a monkey problem” says Anuj Dayal of the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation. “There are too many monkeys” said Mr. Dayal.

In June, a monkey reportedly crawled through some pipes and into a subway car jumping around and making faces at passengers who were evacuated to another car while staff chased the creature.

Delhi is known to suffer from trouble brought on by monkeys. The animals are reported to invade homes, schools and government offices in the city. Scores of animals have moved in as the city expands into surrounding forests. In an effort to control the problem, the Delhi administration captured about 500 monkeys and took them to the outskirts of the city last year.

3
Sep

Trump administration alters citizenship rules for children born overseas to United States parents

Thursday, August 29, 2019

On Wednesday, the Trump administration announced a new policy saying some United States citizens whose children are born outside the country’s borders must apply for citizenship for their children before they turn 18. It will no longer be granted to them automatically at birth.

During the day following the announcement, the media issued contradictory reports, as did U.S. Citizenship and Naturalization Services (USCIS). Some outlets claimed the new rules would apply to all children born to U.S. citizens overseas—a measure that would disproportionately affect active members of the U.S. military.

Since then, USCIS has issued statements saying that the change will actually affect very few people. Thursday, acting USCIS director Ken Cuccinelli issued the following statement: “This policy update does not affect who is born a U.S. citizen, period,” Cuccinelli said. “This only affects children who were born outside the United States and were not U.S. citizens. This does NOT impact birthright citizenship. This policy update does not deny citizenship to the children of U.S. government employees or members of the military born abroad.” He also told PBS in an interview, “We could have communicated this a lot better, but it is almost nothing.”

One official from the U.S. Department of Defense says this change in policy may affect about 100 people each year and the USCIS places it much lower, at 20 to 25.

What has actually changed, legally, is that, until now, children born to U.S. citizens who were serving in the military overseas or to U.S. government employees stationed overseas were considered “residing in the United States” for the purposes of citizenship, meaning they were treated as if they had been born on U.S. soil. Under the new model, this will no longer be the case. Serving members of the military and government employees will have the file paperwork and submit the same applications as civilian citizens who happen to live abroad.

Under U.S. law, anyone born on actual U.S. soil is an automatic citizen regardless of the parents’ status. This model, called “birthright citizenship,” has been in force since shortly after the U.S. Civil War and was implemented as a means of confirming that the recently freed slaves and their descendants were indeed citizens. Anyone born outside the U.S. who has at least one U.S. citizen parent is also eligible to be considered a citizen from birth, but the parents may have to file paperwork or provide proof of paternity depending on whether they have themselves lived in the United States and for how long, whether they and their children are living in the United States at the time, and, in the case of unmarried couples, whether the U.S. parent is the mother or the father.

For example, a U.S. couple who happens to have a child while visiting France but who return with that child to the United States face a less complicated path to confirming their child’s citizenship than a similar couple who decide to raise their child in France. If that French-born child wishes to pass citizenship on to his or her own children, he or she must first spend a certain number of years residing in the United States, with utility bills and other paperwork to prove it.

Until this new policy, children born on U.S. military bases and to U.S. government employees were not subject to this level of complication. The military bases were considered U.S. soil for this purpose. For example, former Senator John McCain was born on a U.S. military base in Panama and considered eligible to run for President.

The new, stricter rules also apply to the children of U.S. citizen parents who have never formally lived in the U.S., parents who became citizens after their children were born, recently naturalized parents, to children adopted while their parents were living outside the United States, and the children of legal U.S. permanent residents serving overseas while awaiting citizenship at the time of their children’s births or adoptions.

“Tonight, there’s someone likely on patrol in a war zone, or at an embassy, who is scared to death that their child is no longer a citizen, just because they were born overseas,” U.S. army veteran and director of VoteVets Will Godwin told NPR. “The stress and strain that this is causing military families is a cruelty that one would never expect from a Commander in Chief.”

Ur Jaddou, who served as a lawyer for USCIS under then-President Barack Obama and now heads the immigrant advocacy organization DHS Watch accused USCIS of attempting to minimize the problem: “If you go back in the last 2 1/2 years there is a systemic attempt to narrow the circumstances … to limit the number of people who can enter the country. And now achieve citizenship through their parents.”

“Military members already have enough to deal with, and the last thing that they should have to do when stationed overseas is go through hoops to ensure their children are U.S. citizens,” said Andy Blevins of the Modern Military Association of America.

The new policy is to take effect October 29.

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24
Aug

Home Foundation Repair Services In Gainesville

byadmin

The foundation of the home is extremely important. The firmness of the foundation gives the support that the entire structure needs. When foundation is weak, it can have costly implications that compromise personal safety and the general stability of the home. Home foundation repair in Gainesville helps to establish what kind of foundation problem exists.

Homeowners need to make an effort to check their foundation to identify any signs of cracking or problems. Timely solutions will not only save on time, but money as well. Whenever there are concerns about the foundation, it’s advisable to contact experts for home foundation repair in Gainesville. A trained professional needs to verify whether or not the foundation requires repair.

Locating a reputable foundation company is a critical step towards acquiring professional and reliable repair services. Although some homeowners may not be aware of the importance of foundation repair, the reality is that factors such as soil texture can adversely affect foundation stability. It’s important to hire local companies that are aware of existing conditions and can offer the experience that is required for the job.

Proper foundation repair requires skill and knowledge that has been acquired over the years. Professionalism and experience are essential for ensuring that problems are identified quickly and precisely solved. Foundation repair experts provide the assurance that quality work is carried out, and that the desired results are produced.

Foundation repair is an extensive activity, and it needs to be performed without damaging one’s landscape or property. A good foundation repair service provider will ensure that the property is cleaned up after the repair is completed. There are various signs that can be used to detect a foundation problem. These signs include slanting floors, cracked walls, water puddles in basement, and uneven poles.

Foundation problems are generally caused by soil that lacks stability and is beneath the structure. The uneven sinking or rising of the soil will cause the structure to shift in an uneven manner. Leaks beneath the slab can also cause foundation problems by creating gaps between the foundation and soil.

If the soil was not compressed properly during construction, a foundation problem can arise. These problems can be seen in various parts of the structure. They are visible both within and outside the home. When homeowners notice certain signs, they need to consider home foundation repair in Gainesville. Visit Ramjacksf.com to learn more about foundation repair services.

11
Aug

Laws allowing same sex marriage in Washington, D.C. go into effect

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The United States capital of Washington, D.C. legalized same-sex marriage on Wednesday. Beginning at 6 A.M. local time (1100 UTC), couples began submitting marriage applications at local courthouses citywide.

Washington D.C. becomes the seventh United States territory to legalize same sex marriage. The bill was ratified by Mayor Adrian Fenty last December. Due to city’s territorial status as a federal district, the bill had to be reviewed by congress. The bill passed congressional review Tuesday night.

The bill faced opposition from many family values activists, who tried to stop the bill from becoming law. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts rejected a lawsuit to prevent the measure.

4
Aug

Haitian earthquake: in pictures

Friday, January 15, 2010

Haiti was hit by a heavy earthquake with a magnitude of 7.0 on Tuesday, killing an unknown number of people, and destroying up to ten percent of buildings in the capital, Port-au-Prince.

No official death toll has been released as of yet, although the United Nations says that up to fifty thousand people may potentially have been killed. An estimated 300,000 more were left without homes.

In a special photo report, Wikinews looks at the extensive damage caused by the disaster.


To find more information about a certain image or to enlarge it, click it. For an in-depth textual report on the same subject, please see Haiti relief efforts: in depth.

27
Jul

Ontario Votes 2007: Interview with Family Coalition Party candidate Ray Scott, Algoma-Manitoulin

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Ray Scott is running for the Family Coalition Party in the Ontario provincial election, in the Algoma-Manitoulin 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.

25
Jul

Sales of Jackson songs and memorabilia rise after his death

Saturday, June 27, 2009

The death of Michael Jackson on Thursday has caused retail demand for his songs and for memorabilia to increase.

Yesterday, the top nine selling items at Apple’s iTunes Store were albums by Jackson, with first and second being a “hits” album and the 1982 album Thriller.

Amazon.com similarly reported selling more Jackson merchandise in the 24 hours following his death than it had sold in the preceding 11 years, and that sales of Jackson CDs accounted for 60% of its total business on Thursday. Yesterday morning the top seller in the album chart for Amazon’s U.K. division was Off the Wall, followed by Bad and Thriller in second and third places, respectively.

Many stores, including Graywhale CD Exchange in Salt Lake City, several record stores in Danville, Virginia, and many retailers in New Zealand, have all reported selling out of Jackson’s CDs and DVDs. The flagship store of Tower Records Japan, in Shinjuku, sold out of several of Jackson’s DVDs and ran low on several other items including CDs. The Danville Register Bee recommended to its readers that if they had record players they should investigate antique and charity shops, after one antique shop reported discovering three Jackson Five vinyl albums in its basement.

The effect of the increase in sales had an effect on stock prices. Midday yesterday, Apple shares rose around 2%, Amazon shares rose around 1.3%, and eBay shares rose by 0.64%. Stock market analysts predict that this will be a short-term effect, however. Scott Fullman, an investment strategist at WJB Capital Group in New York, stated “This is going to be one of these events that will have an immediate impact and then wane out in a week or two.”.

In Las Vegas, 21 items of Jackson memorabilia, including handwritten lyrics for Jackson’s song “Bad” and the shirt that Jackson wore on his Victory Tour in 1984, sold at auction yesterday at the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino for a total of USD$205,000, with the shirt, at USD$52,500 the most expensive individual item.

eBay has reported an increase in individuals auctioning Jackson memorabilia. These range from records to a Fedora hat signed by Jackson.

Also for sale on eBay and elsewhere are tickets to the This Is It concerts, at the O2 arena, where Jackson had been scheduled to perform. Ticket sellers such as Ticketmaster, Seatwave, and AEG Live have announced that they will be refunding concert tickets. But under standard contract law such refunds only apply to the original purchasor of the ticket, who dealt with the ticket companies directly. Anyone buying a ticket on eBay only has recourse against the seller on eBay that they bought from, and even then only if it was explicitly stated in the terms and conditions of the particular eBay sale that a refund was available.

At the 2009 Glastonbury Festival, stalls have been selling commemorative T-shirts to Festival attendees, with various different slogans including “Michael Jackson R.I.P 1958–2009” and “I was at Glasto 09 when Jacko died”. T-shirt vendors also appeared outside of the UCLA Medical Center where paramedics took Jackson, proferring for USD$10 T-shirts with the slogan “in loving memory of Michael Jackson” and a silhouette of Jackson, although they had few takers.

In Union Square in New York, one street artist was selling hand-made buttons that have pictures of Jackson’s album covers on them. In Times Square, another T-shirt vendor was selling T-shirts printed with copies of the front page of USA Today that reported Jackson’s death.

One observer, Allison Southwick (a Better Business Bureau spokeswoman), commented “I’m honestly expecting to see a Web site pop up by the end of the day selling Michael Jackson commemorative plates.” Whilst such commemorative plates have yet to appear, collectors have been offering commemorative stamps of Jackson for sale on eBay and elsewhere. Several commemorative stamps of Jackson already exist. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines issued $5, $2, $1, and 60¢ Michael Jackson stamps in 1985, as part of its Leaders Of The World series. Tanzania issued a 350s stamp, part of a Famous Black Entertainers set, in 1990. Guinea issued a 500f stamp in 1991. St Vincent issued another $2 Jackson stamp in 1991, as part of Famous Entertainers series. And Grenada issued a 60¢ Jackson stamp, part of its Gold Record Winners series in 1992.

Gore Vidal once remarked of the death of rival Truman Capote that it was a “good career move”. The death of an artist does serve to increase the popularity of their works. People have speculated whether this will be a temporary or a permanent thing for Jackson.

Jim Lentz, who is the Chief Operating Officer of American Royal Arts (a memorabilia dealership in Boca Raton), asked “Is he Elvis or Marilyn Monroe, or is he Mike Tyson?”.

Elvis Presley died at 42, officially of heart failure. Stores sold out of his records and souveniers within hours of the news of his death. In the 20 years following his death, RCA Records sold approximately 400 million of his recordings.

In the days and weeks immediately following Presley’s death, RCA had to sub-contract pressing to other companies, as it was unable by itself to keep up with demand. Sony Corporation announced yesterday that it had received “unprecedented” levels of orders for CDs of Jackson’s music, and was considering boosting production. It had received 150,000 orders for CDs at its music unit in Tokyo. “The amount is unprecedented for one day and we think we need to consider increasing the production of CDs that we plan to sell from July.” said a spokesman for the company. Amazon has been informing customers buying Jackson CDs that they might have to wait between 1 and 3 weeks for their orders to be shipped.

25
Jul

Wells Fargo and Barclay’s rumoured to be in merger talks

Monday, January 10, 2005

Sunday Express, a tabloid newspaper from the UK reported an anonymous source claiming to be an insider to merger talks between Wells Fargo Bank and Barclays Bank.

The rumoured merger would be a radical break in the kinds of mergers Wells Fargo has done and has said it will continue to do (it is assumed that Wells with the higher market capitalization would be the buyer).

Wells Fargo has previously shown no desire to engage in retail banking outside the United States, and has only expanded internationally in its Consumer Finance business and with certain business services.

Wells Fargo currently has a market value of 100 billion, while Barclays is worth 70 billion. The wire services such as Reuters immediately wrote articles about the rumour. Barclays refused to comment on market speculation (it is standard for all corporations to consistently refuse to comment on all merger speculation).

No reporters have so far been able to reach Wells Fargo for comment. It is claimed that talks have been ongoing since October, although they are said to have stalled and then resumed.

There is however the possibility that Wells Fargo and Barclays could be contemplating a business line sale, instead of a full on merger. One possibility is Barclays selling its “Barclays Global Investor” division back to Wells Fargo.

Wells Fargo (under old management prior to the 1998 merger of Wells Fargo and Norwest Bank) previously sold its Asset Management (mutual fund) business to Barclays in 1995. Renamed Barclays Global Investors, this business remains headquartered in San Francisco, and still has some connections to Wells Fargo’s new mutual fund business.

Wells Fargo has a long term goal of deriving around 25% of its revenue from investments and insurance; currently it derives around 15 percent of its revenue from this. The purchase of Barclays Global Investor would significantly move Wells Fargo toward achieving this goal.

Another possibility is Barclays buying the private label (or store branded) credit cards of Wells Fargo Financial. In November, Barclays acquired Juniper, a fast growing player in the US private label credit card business.

6
Jul

National Museum of Scotland reopens after three-year redevelopment

Friday, July 29, 2011

Today sees the reopening of the National Museum of Scotland following a three-year renovation costing £47.4 million (US$ 77.3 million). Edinburgh’s Chambers Street was closed to traffic for the morning, with the 10am reopening by eleven-year-old Bryony Hare, who took her first steps in the museum, and won a competition organised by the local Evening News paper to be a VIP guest at the event. Prior to the opening, Wikinews toured the renovated museum, viewing the new galleries, and some of the 8,000 objects inside.

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Dressed in Victorian attire, Scottish broadcaster Grant Stott acted as master of ceremonies over festivities starting shortly after 9am. The packed street cheered an animatronic Tyrannosaurus Rex created by Millenium FX; onlookers were entertained with a twenty-minute performance by the Mugenkyo Taiko Drummers on the steps of the museum; then, following Bryony Hare knocking three times on the original doors to ask that the museum be opened, the ceremony was heralded with a specially composed fanfare – played on a replica of the museum’s 2,000-year-old carnyx Celtic war-horn. During the fanfare, two abseilers unfurled white pennons down either side of the original entrance.

The completion of the opening to the public was marked with Chinese firecrackers, and fireworks, being set off on the museum roof. As the public crowded into the museum, the Mugenkyo Taiko Drummers resumed their performance; a street theatre group mingled with the large crowd, and the animatronic Tyrannosaurus Rex entertained the thinning crowd of onlookers in the centre of the street.

On Wednesday, the museum welcomed the world’s press for an in depth preview of the new visitor experience. Wikinews was represented by Brian McNeil, who is also Wikimedia UK’s interim liaison with Museum Galleries Scotland.

The new pavement-level Entrance Hall saw journalists mingle with curators. The director, Gordon Rintoul, introduced presentations by Gareth Hoskins and Ralph Applebaum, respective heads of the Architects and Building Design Team; and, the designers responsible for the rejuvenation of the museum.

Describing himself as a “local lad”, Hoskins reminisced about his grandfather regularly bringing him to the museum, and pushing all the buttons on the numerous interactive exhibits throughout the museum. Describing the nearly 150-year-old museum as having become “a little tired”, and a place “only visited on a rainy day”, he commented that many international visitors to Edinburgh did not realise that the building was a public space; explaining the focus was to improve access to the museum – hence the opening of street-level access – and, to “transform the complex”, focus on “opening up the building”, and “creating a number of new spaces […] that would improve facilities and really make this an experience for 21st century museum visitors”.

Hoskins explained that a “rabbit warren” of storage spaces were cleared out to provide street-level access to the museum; the floor in this “crypt-like” space being lowered by 1.5 metres to achieve this goal. Then Hoskins handed over to Applebaum, who expressed his delight to be present at the reopening.

Applebaum commented that one of his first encounters with the museum was seeing “struggling young mothers with two kids in strollers making their way up the steps”, expressing his pleasure at this being made a thing of the past. Applebaum explained that the Victorian age saw the opening of museums for public access, with the National Museum’s earlier incarnation being the “College Museum” – a “first window into this museum’s collection”.

Have you any photos of the museum, or its exhibits?

The museum itself is physically connected to the University of Edinburgh’s old college via a bridge which allowed students to move between the two buildings.

Applebaum explained that the museum will, now redeveloped, be used as a social space, with gatherings held in the Grand Gallery, “turning the museum into a social convening space mixed with knowledge”. Continuing, he praised the collections, saying they are “cultural assets [… Scotland is] turning those into real cultural capital”, and the museum is, and museums in general are, providing a sense of “social pride”.

McNeil joined the yellow group on a guided tour round the museum with one of the staff. Climbing the stairs at the rear of the Entrance Hall, the foot of the Window on the World exhibit, the group gained a first chance to see the restored Grand Gallery. This space is flooded with light from the glass ceiling three floors above, supported by 40 cast-iron columns. As may disappoint some visitors, the fish ponds have been removed; these were not an original feature, but originally installed in the 1960s – supposedly to humidify the museum; and failing in this regard. But, several curators joked that they attracted attention as “the only thing that moved” in the museum.

The museum’s original architect was Captain Francis Fowke, also responsible for the design of London’s Royal Albert Hall; his design for the then-Industrial Museum apparently inspired by Joseph Paxton’s Crystal Palace.

The group moved from the Grand Gallery into the Discoveries Gallery to the south side of the museum. The old red staircase is gone, and the Millennium Clock stands to the right of a newly-installed escalator, giving easier access to the upper galleries than the original staircases at each end of the Grand Gallery. Two glass elevators have also been installed, flanking the opening into the Discoveries Gallery and, providing disabled access from top-to-bottom of the museum.

The National Museum of Scotland’s origins can be traced back to 1780 when the 11th Earl of Buchan, David Stuart Erskine, formed the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland; the Society being tasked with the collection and preservation of archaeological artefacts for Scotland. In 1858, control of this was passed to the government of the day and the National Museum of Antiquities of Scotland came into being. Items in the collection at that time were housed at various locations around the city.

On Wednesday, October 28, 1861, during a royal visit to Edinburgh by Queen Victoria, Prince-Consort Albert laid the foundation-stone for what was then intended to be the Industrial Museum. Nearly five years later, it was the second son of Victoria and Albert, Prince Alfred, the then-Duke of Edinburgh, who opened the building which was then known as the Scottish Museum of Science and Art. A full-page feature, published in the following Monday’s issue of The Scotsman covered the history leading up to the opening of the museum, those who had championed its establishment, the building of the collection which it was to house, and Edinburgh University’s donation of their Natural History collection to augment the exhibits put on public display.

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Selection of views of the Grand Gallery Image: Brian McNeil.

Selection of views of the Grand Gallery Image: Brian McNeil.

Selection of views of the Grand Gallery Image: Brian McNeil.

Closed for a little over three years, today’s reopening of the museum is seen as the “centrepiece” of National Museums Scotland’s fifteen-year plan to dramatically improve accessibility and better present their collections. Sir Andrew Grossard, chair of the Board of Trustees, said: “The reopening of the National Museum of Scotland, on time and within budget is a tremendous achievement […] Our collections tell great stories about the world, how Scots saw that world, and the disproportionate impact they had upon it. The intellectual and collecting impact of the Scottish diaspora has been profound. It is an inspiring story which has captured the imagination of our many supporters who have helped us achieve our aspirations and to whom we are profoundly grateful.

The extensive work, carried out with a view to expand publicly accessible space and display more of the museums collections, carried a £47.4 million pricetag. This was jointly funded with £16 million from the Scottish Government, and £17.8 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund. Further funds towards the work came from private sources and totalled £13.6 million. Subsequent development, as part of the longer-term £70 million “Masterplan”, is expected to be completed by 2020 and see an additional eleven galleries opened.

The funding by the Scottish Government can be seen as a ‘canny‘ investment; a report commissioned by National Museums Scotland, and produced by consultancy firm Biggar Economics, suggest the work carried out could be worth £58.1 million per year, compared with an estimated value to the economy of £48.8 prior to the 2008 closure. Visitor figures are expected to rise by over 20%; use of function facilities are predicted to increase, alongside other increases in local hospitality-sector spending.

Proudly commenting on the Scottish Government’s involvement Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs, described the reopening as, “one of the nation’s cultural highlights of 2011” and says the rejuvenated museum is, “[a] must-see attraction for local and international visitors alike“. Continuing to extol the museum’s virtues, Hyslop states that it “promotes the best of Scotland and our contributions to the world.

So-far, the work carried out is estimated to have increased the public space within the museum complex by 50%. Street-level storage rooms, never before seen by the public, have been transformed into new exhibit space, and pavement-level access to the buildings provided which include a new set of visitor facilities. Architectural firm Gareth Hoskins have retained the original Grand Gallery – now the first floor of the museum – described as a “birdcage” structure and originally inspired by The Crystal Palace built in Hyde Park, London for the 1851 Great Exhibition.

The centrepiece in the Grand Gallery is the “Window on the World” exhibit, which stands around 20 metres tall and is currently one of the largest installations in any UK museum. This showcases numerous items from the museum’s collections, rising through four storeys in the centre of the museum. Alexander Hayward, the museums Keeper of Science and Technology, challenged attending journalists to imagine installing “teapots at thirty feet”.

The redeveloped museum includes the opening of sixteen brand new galleries. Housed within, are over 8,000 objects, only 20% of which have been previously seen.

  • Ground floor
  • First floor
  • Second floor
  • Top floor

The Window on the World rises through the four floors of the museum and contains over 800 objects. This includes a gyrocopter from the 1930s, the world’s largest scrimshaw – made from the jaws of a sperm whale which the University of Edinburgh requested for their collection, a number of Buddha figures, spearheads, antique tools, an old gramophone and record, a selection of old local signage, and a girder from the doomed Tay Bridge.

The arrangement of galleries around the Grand Gallery’s “birdcage” structure is organised into themes across multiple floors. The World Cultures Galleries allow visitors to explore the culture of the entire planet; Living Lands explains the ways in which our natural environment influences the way we live our lives, and the beliefs that grow out of the places we live – from the Arctic cold of North America to Australia’s deserts.

The adjacent Patterns of Life gallery shows objects ranging from the everyday, to the unusual from all over the world. The functions different objects serve at different periods in peoples’ lives are explored, and complement the contents of the Living Lands gallery.

Performance & Lives houses musical instruments from around the world, alongside masks and costumes; both rooted in long-established traditions and rituals, this displayed alongside contemporary items showing the interpretation of tradition by contemporary artists and instrument-creators.

The museum proudly bills the Facing the Sea gallery as the only one in the UK which is specifically based on the cultures of the South Pacific. It explores the rich diversity of the communities in the region, how the sea shapes the islanders’ lives – describing how their lives are shaped as much by the sea as the land.

Both the Facing the Sea and Performance & Lives galleries are on the second floor, next to the new exhibition shop and foyer which leads to one of the new exhibition galleries, expected to house the visiting Amazing Mummies exhibit in February, coming from Leiden in the Netherlands.

The Inspired by Nature, Artistic Legacies, and Traditions in Sculpture galleries take up most of the east side of the upper floor of the museum. The latter of these shows the sculptors from diverse cultures have, through history, explored the possibilities in expressing oneself using metal, wood, or stone. The Inspired by Nature gallery shows how many artists, including contemporary ones, draw their influence from the world around us – often commenting on our own human impact on that natural world.

Contrastingly, the Artistic Legacies gallery compares more traditional art and the work of modern artists. The displayed exhibits attempt to show how people, in creating specific art objects, attempt to illustrate the human spirit, the cultures they are familiar with, and the imaginative input of the objects’ creators.

The easternmost side of the museum, adjacent to Edinburgh University’s Old College, will bring back memories for many regular visitors to the museum; but, with an extensive array of new items. The museum’s dedicated taxidermy staff have produced a wide variety of fresh examples from the natural world.

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At ground level, the Animal World and Wildlife Panorama’s most imposing exhibit is probably the lifesize reproduction of a Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton. This rubs shoulders with other examples from around the world, including one of a pair of elephants. The on-display elephant could not be removed whilst renovation work was underway, and lurked in a corner of the gallery as work went on around it.

Above, in the Animal Senses gallery, are examples of how we experience the world through our senses, and contrasting examples of wildly differing senses, or extremes of such, present in the natural world. This gallery also has giant screens, suspended in the free space, which show footage ranging from the most tranquil and peaceful life in the sea to the tooth-and-claw bloody savagery of nature.

The Survival gallery gives visitors a look into the ever-ongoing nature of evolution; the causes of some species dying out while others thrive, and the ability of any species to adapt as a method of avoiding extinction.

Earth in Space puts our place in the universe in perspective. Housing Europe’s oldest surviving Astrolabe, dating from the eleventh century, this gallery gives an opportunity to see the technology invented to allow us to look into the big questions about what lies beyond Earth, and probe the origins of the universe and life.

In contrast, the Restless Earth gallery shows examples of the rocks and minerals formed through geological processes here on earth. The continual processes of the planet are explored alongside their impact on human life. An impressive collection of geological specimens are complemented with educational multimedia presentations.

Beyond working on new galleries, and the main redevelopment, the transformation team have revamped galleries that will be familiar to regular past visitors to the museum.

Formerly known as the Ivy Wu Gallery of East Asian Art, the Looking East gallery showcases National Museums Scotland’s extensive collection of Korean, Chinese, and Japanese material. The gallery’s creation was originally sponsored by Sir Gordon Wu, and named after his wife Ivy. It contains items from the last dynasty, the Manchu, and examples of traditional ceramic work. Japan is represented through artefacts from ordinary people’s lives, expositions on the role of the Samurai, and early trade with the West. Korean objects also show the country’s ceramic work, clothing, and traditional accessories used, and worn, by the indigenous people.

The Ancient Egypt gallery has always been a favourite of visitors to the museum. A great many of the exhibits in this space were returned to Scotland from late 19th century excavations; and, are arranged to take visitors through the rituals, and objects associated with, life, death, and the afterlife, as viewed from an Egyptian perspective.

The Art and Industry and European Styles galleries, respectively, show how designs are arrived at and turned into manufactured objects, and the evolution of European style – financed and sponsored by a wide range of artists and patrons. A large number of the objects on display, often purchased or commissioned, by Scots, are now on display for the first time ever.

Shaping our World encourages visitors to take a fresh look at technological objects developed over the last 200 years, many of which are so integrated into our lives that they are taken for granted. Radio, transportation, and modern medicines are covered, with a retrospective on the people who developed many of the items we rely on daily.

What was known as the Museum of Scotland, a modern addition to the classical Victorian-era museum, is now known as the Scottish Galleries following the renovation of the main building.

This dedicated newer wing to the now-integrated National Museum of Scotland covers the history of Scotland from a time before there were people living in the country. The geological timescale is covered in the Beginnings gallery, showing continents arranging themselves into what people today see as familiar outlines on modern-day maps.

Just next door, the history of the earliest occupants of Scotland are on display; hunters and gatherers from around 4,000 B.C give way to farmers in the Early People exhibits.

The Kingdom of the Scots follows Scotland becoming a recognisable nation, and a kingdom ruled over by the Stewart dynasty. Moving closer to modern-times, the Scotland Transformed gallery looks at the country’s history post-union in 1707.

Industry and Empire showcases Scotland’s significant place in the world as a source of heavy engineering work in the form of rail engineering and shipbuilding – key components in the building of the British Empire. Naturally, whisky was another globally-recognised export introduced to the world during empire-building.

Lastly, Scotland: A Changing Nation collects less-tangible items, including personal accounts, from the country’s journey through the 20th century; the social history of Scots, and progress towards being a multicultural nation, is explored through heavy use of multimedia exhibits.

5
Jul

Accident at Russian hydroelectric plant kills ten

Monday, August 17, 2009

The Sayano–Shushenskaya hydroelectric power station, located on the Yenisei River in Russia, experienced a problem after a pressure surge caused water pipes to burst, flooding the engine room. The water triggered an explosion in a transformer.

Ten workers were confirmed dead and as many as 68 more injured. Some are still missing.

The power station was shut down, and backup sources were enabled. The dam across the Yenisei was not damaged and there is reportedly no possibility of territory flooding. Two of ten turbines were destroyed, with a third seriously damaged.

The hydroelectric plant is the most powerful in Russia, supplying several major aluminum plants, including Rusal. It was opened in 1978 and generates more than 23.5 terawatt hours annually.