Anthrocon 2007 draws thousands to Pittsburgh for furry weekend

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania — Local caterers get ready for big business, as almost three thousand fans converge on the David L. Lawrence Convention Center over the Independence Day weekend for the world’s largest ever furry convention, Anthrocon 2007.

Many hope to renew acquaintances, or meet new friends. Others look to buy from dealers and artists, or show off new artwork or costumes. Some attend to make money, or even learn a thing or two. But one thing unites them: They’re all there to have fun.

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Surgeons reattach boy’s three severed limbs

Tuesday, March 29, 2005A team of Australian surgeons yesterday reattached both hands and one foot to 10-year-old Perth boy, Terry Vo, after a brick wall which collapsed during a game of basketball fell on him, severing the limbs. The wall gave way while Terry performed a slam-dunk, during a game at a friend’s birthday party.

The boy was today awake and smiling, still in some pain but in good spirits and expected to make a full recovery, according to plastic surgeon, Mr Robert Love.

“What we have is parts that are very much alive so the reattached limbs are certainly pink, well perfused and are indeed moving,” Mr Love told reporters today.

“The fact that he is moving his fingers, and of course when he wakes up he will move both fingers and toes, is not a surprise,” Mr Love had said yesterday.

“The question is more the sensory return that he will get in the hand itself and the fine movements he will have in the fingers and the toes, and that will come with time, hopefully. We will assess that over the next 18 months to two years.

“I’m sure that he’ll enjoy a game of basketball in the future.”

The weight and force of the collapse, and the sharp brick edges, resulted in the three limbs being cut through about 7cm above the wrists and ankle.

Terry’s father Tan said of his only child, the injuries were terrible, “I was scared to look at him, a horrible thing.”

The hands and foot were placed in an ice-filled Esky and rushed to hospital with the boy, where three teams of medical experts were assembled, and he was given a blood transfusion after experiencing massive blood loss. Eight hours of complex micro-surgery on Saturday night were followed by a further two hours of skin grafts yesterday.

“What he will lose because it was such a large zone of traumatised skin and muscle and so on, he will lose some of the skin so he’ll certainly require lots of further surgery regardless of whether the skin survives,” said Mr Love said today.

The boy was kept unconscious under anaesthetic between the two procedures. In an interview yesterday, Mr Love explained why:

“He could have actually been woken up the next day. Because we were intending to take him back to theatre for a second look, to look at the traumatised skin flaps, to close more of his wounds and to do split skin grafting, it was felt the best thing to do would be to keep him stable and to keep him anaesthetised.”

Professor Wayne Morrison, director of the respected Bernard O’Brien Institute of Microsurgery and head of plastic and hand surgery at Melbourne’s St Vincent’s Hospital, said he believed the operation to be a world first.

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Bird flu spreading through Indonesia and China

Thursday, February 9, 2006

Two Indonesian women, 23 and 27, have tested positive for the H5N1 strain of avian influenza. They are in “serious condition but seem to be improving,” said Hariadi Wibisono, a senior health ministry official. They are being treated in the designated bird flu hospital, Sulianti Suroso in eastern Jakarta. It is believed that both women had contact with infected poultry. This brings Indonesia’s number of confirmed cases of the virus to 25.

A 26 year old female farmer in Fujian, China whose surname is Lin, also has the deadly H5N1 virus. She was admitted to the hospital in January, but it was only confirmed on Wednesday that she had the virus. Some of the people that have come in close contact with the woman are under observation by local health officials. Her current condition is reported as stable. This is China’s eleventh confirmed case of the virus.

Julie Hall of the Beijing-based World Health Organization said that the latest patient was “highly likely to have had contact with sick animals,” but the WHO is still waiting for information on how she could have gotten the disease.

Some experts believe migrating birds from China’s Qinghai Lake nature reserve are spreading the virus; however, there others who believe it’s shipments of poultry and poultry products along with poultry manure.

As avian influenza confirmed in Nigeria, “We shouldn’t assume that is just in Nigeria” said David Nabarro, the United Nations’ coordinator for bird flu and pandemic influenza. “The outbreak in Nigeria means [we] have another central point for the virus to become embedded into the poultry population.”

About 20 countries have reported outbreaks of the virus in birds which has sickened people who come in contact with the infected birds. If the rate of human infection continues to increase, so does the chance the virus will change into a form easily transmitted by humans.

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Residents and business owners attend “private” meeting on Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Buffalo, N.Y. Hotel Proposal Controversy
Recent Developments
  • “Old deeds threaten Buffalo, NY hotel development” — Wikinews, November 21, 2006
  • “Proposal for Buffalo, N.Y. hotel reportedly dead: parcels for sale “by owner”” — Wikinews, November 16, 2006
  • “Contract to buy properties on site of Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal extended” — Wikinews, October 2, 2006
  • “Court date “as needed” for lawsuit against Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal” — Wikinews, August 14, 2006
  • “Preliminary hearing for lawsuit against Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal rescheduled” — Wikinews, July 26, 2006
  • “Elmwood Village Hotel proposal in Buffalo, N.Y. withdrawn” — Wikinews, July 13, 2006
  • “Preliminary hearing against Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal delayed” — Wikinews, June 2, 2006
Original Story
  • “Hotel development proposal could displace Buffalo, NY business owners” — Wikinews, February 17, 2006

Residents, business owners and developers attended a low profile, “private” neighborhood meeting about the Elmwood Village Hotel proposal and redesign in Buffalo, New York last night. At least 50 people from the Penhurst block, the Claremont block, the Granger block and various other locations attended. A representative from Forever Elmwood was also at the meeting. Joel Golombeck, City Councilman for the Elmwood area, was also among the attendees.

The Elmwood Village Hotel is a seven million dollar proposal by Savarino Construction Services Corp. The hotel would be built on the intersection of Elmwood and Forest Aves. in Buffalo. In order for the hotel to be built, the demolition of at least five currently occupied buildings will be required.

Golombeck found out about the proposal just three weeks ago when Sam Savarino of Savarino Construction Services Corp. called Golombeck.

Golombeck said that he was asked, by the City of Buffalo to “approve” the proposal “tomorrow”, (February 28, 2006). When asked to do so Golombeck replied, “That is just not possible. I did not realize how fast tracked this plan was. My first question to Savarino was, did you talk to the neighborhood?”

Golombeck also stated that he would not approve or deny the proposal until a reasonable amount of time was given to the community to make a judgment on the new design.

Golombeck also stated that the City of Buffalo wanted Savarino to obtain both 605 Forest and 607 Forest for the proposal, but, according to Golombeck, Savarino “does not want to do that.” In order for the two buildings to be included in the development, Savarino will have to apply for a C-2 zoning permit. It is unknown if an attempt will be made to obtain those properties or make the zoning changes.

Wendy Pierce of Forever Elmwood stated that she had found out about the proposal only “two weeks ago from today.” She also stated that the original design “felt too massive.” Pierce also stated that she wanted to “speak more with the block clubs and residents” around the area.

Ms. pierce also stated that “other options” for parking will be looked into “if possible.”

The new design will have less retail space and now has at lease three conference rooms. Parking has been increased to a total of fifty-five spaces, both underground and above.

Rocco Termini, a Buffalo developer also attended the meeting still stating that the hotel would “destroy Elmwood’s urban streetscape.” Mr. Termini has proposed a second development that would not include a hotel, but increase retail shops to at least seven.

The City of Buffalo Planning Board is still scheduled to meet at 8:00a.m Tuesday. The Common Council is still expected to meet at 2:00p.m. on the same day.

Joel Golombeck is expected to attend both meetings.

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U.S. Housing prices down 9% since February

Sunday, June 26, 2005

The median house price in the United States plunged 6.5% in May to $217,000. In February of 2005, the median price of a home was $237,300.

The Economist newspaper said in its June 16th issue; “In other words, it looks like the biggest bubble in history.” by way of reference to what is happening with housing prices in the USA and much of Europe.

Japan provides an example of how a boom can turn to bust. Property prices have dropped for 14 years in a row (40% from their peak in 1991); and yet, the rise in prices in Japan during the decade before 1991 was less than the increase over the past ten years in most of today’s “housing boom” countries.

The total value of residential property rose by more than $30 trillion over the past five years in developed economies, an increase equivalent to 100% of the combined GDPs of those countries. This increase dwarfs all previous house-price booms and is greater than the global stockmarket bubble in the late 1990s. Much of the recent housing activity is being driven by speculative demand. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported that 23% of all American houses bought in 2004 were for investment, not for owners to live in. Another 13% were bought as second homes. NAR also found that 42% of all first-time buyers made no down-payment on their home purchase last year.

Many investors are buying solely because they think prices will keep rising, which is a warning sign of a financial bubble. In Miami, Florida, as many as half of the original buyers resell new apartments even before they are built, and properties can change hands two or three times before somebody finally moves in.

Britain’s Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) reported prices have been falling for ten consecutive months. Forty nine percent of their surveyors reported falling prices in May. This was the weakest report since 1992 during Britain’s previous house-price bust.

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School on Australia’s Sunshine Coast makes staff redundant, requests they apply for ‘new’ jobs

This article’s primary contributor, Patrick Gillett, is an alumnus of Sunshine Coast Grammar School.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Wikinews has obtained a list of middle management teaching staff allegedly made redundant, or laid off due to restructuring, by Sunshine Coast Grammar School (SCGS), in Queensland, Australia. Sources say that those staff have been told that they can apply for new positions that have opened up.

The list, published on the SCGS alumni Facebook page, contains the names of twenty-two staff members, eight of which taught this article’s primary contributor. Seventeen positions are reportedly being opened up by the private Christian school, eight of which seem to significantly overlap the old ones.

The changes are, apparently, designed to get teachers back into the classroom. “We are not cutting subject choices and extracurricular activities, but retaining a student-driven curriculum that integrates with the new Australian Curriculum, in keeping with our commitment to teaching and learning opportunities,” said headmaster Nigel Fairbairn.

Fairbairn could not guarantee that any of the staff would be given a position in 2011. “That will depend on how many people on that list apply for new positions of responsibility and are successful,” he said.

“The Head of the School cannot guarantee the 21 staff a job at the School in the future, with many of the positions being advertised to external applicants,” said Terry Burke, secretary for the Independent Education Union of Australia Queensland branch (Queensland Independent Education Union, QIEU).

“There has been little or no consultation with affected staff, who should not have to reapply for their jobs,” he said. “Most of the proposed restructuring is highly questionable and places at risk the high quality education at the School.”

Some former students responded angrily to the news.

Four of the affected teachers “were the backbone of the school when [controversy surrounded founding headmaster John Burgess] happened,” a former prefect (student leader) said. “They got it through that crisis and this is the thanks they get.”

“People are angry and shocked,” they continued. “I am aware of at least 10 families who have said they will pull their children out of the school – it’s that bad.”

The student body has not ruled out protesting the schools plans. “It’s getting to that stage,” the former prefect said. “People are trying to look at it in an intelligent way but there is so much anger out there.”

Wikinews understands that Fairbairn attracted criticism when he was a head teacher in Christchurch, New Zealand, where a former student claimed that Fairbairn “replaced the open and welcoming culture … with the tyrannical and oppressive one.”

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Looted, possibly contaminated body parts transplanted into USA, Canadian patients

Monday, March 20, 2006

Fears of contaminated bone and skin grafts are being felt by unsuspecting patients following the revelation that funeral homes may have been looting corpses.

Janet Evans of Marion, Ohio was told by her surgeon, “The bone grafts you got might have been contaminated”. She reacted with shock, “I was flabbergasted because I didn’t even know what he was talking about. I didn’t know I got a bone graft until I got this call. I just thought they put in screws and rods.”

The body of Alistair Cooke, the former host of Masterpiece Theatre, was supposedly looted along with more than 1,000 others, according to two law enforcement officials close to the case. The tissue taken was typically skin, bone and tendon, which was then sold for use in procedures such as dental implants and hip replacements. According to authorities, millions of dollars were made by selling the body parts to companies for use in operations done at hospitals and clinics in the United States and Canada.

A New Jersey company, Biomedical Tissue Services, has reportedly been taking body parts from funeral homes across Brooklyn, New York. According to ABC News, they set up rooms like a “surgical suite.” After they took the bones, they replaced them with PVC pipe. This was purportedly done by stealth, without approval of the deceased person or the next of kin. 1,077 bodies were involved, say prosecutors.

Investagators say a former dentist, Michael Mastromarino, is behind the operation. Biomedical was considered one of the “hottest procurement companies in the country,” raking in close to $5 million. Eventually, people became worried: “Can the donors be trusted?” A tissue processing company called LifeCell answered no, and issued a recall on all their tissue.

Cooke’s daughter, Susan Cooke Kittredge, said, “To know his bones were sold was one thing, but to see him standing truncated before me is another entirely.” Now thousands of people around the country are receiving letters warning that they should be tested for infectious diseases like HIV or hepatitis. On February 23, the Brooklyn District Attorney indicted Mastromarino and three others. They are charged with 122 felony counts, including forgery and bodysnatching.

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Gastric bypass surgery performed by remote control

Sunday, August 21, 2005

A robotic system at Stanford Medical Center was used to perform a laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery successfully with a theoretically similar rate of complications to that seen in standard operations. However, as there were only 10 people in the experimental group (and another 10 in the control group), this is not a statistically significant sample.

If this surgical procedure is as successful in large-scale studies, it may lead the way for the use of robotic surgery in even more delicate procedures, such as heart surgery. Note that this is not a fully automated system, as a human doctor controls the operation via remote control. Laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery is a treatment for obesity.

There were concerns that doctors, in the future, might only be trained in the remote control procedure. Ronald G. Latimer, M.D., of Santa Barbara, CA, warned “The fact that surgeons may have to open the patient or might actually need to revert to standard laparoscopic techniques demands that this basic training be a requirement before a robot is purchased. Robots do malfunction, so a backup system is imperative. We should not be seduced to buy this instrument to train surgeons if they are not able to do the primary operations themselves.”

There are precedents for just such a problem occurring. A previous “new technology”, the electrocardiogram (ECG), has lead to a lack of basic education on the older technology, the stethoscope. As a result, many heart conditions now go undiagnosed, especially in children and others who rarely undergo an ECG procedure.

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Proud Boys chapter leader pleads guilty in US Capitol attack

Sunday, April 10, 2022

On Friday, leader of the North Carolina chapter of the Proud Boys organization Charles Donohoe pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to obstruct the United States Congress and assault of an officer of the law, both felonies, on January 6, 2021.

Donohoe’s plea was part of a bargain in which he also agreed to cooperate with federal prosecutors’ investigations of the Proud Boys and its leadership. Other alleged leaders, including national chairman Enrique Tarrio, have entered not guilty pleas on charges of seditious conspiracy. According to prosecutors, they were members of an elite group of leaders called the “Ministry of Self Defense” and hand-picked by Tarrio.

Prosecutors’ filings also said Donohoe supplied the Proud Boys with radio transmitters, so they could communicate before and during the 2021 attack on the Capitol. Tarrio was arrested two days before the riot. Immediately after Tarrio’s arrest, Donohoe deleted the group’s messages on the Telegram communication platform and messaged that plans might be compromised. “Well at least they won’t get our boots on the ground plan because we are one step ahead of them,” he wrote in a follow-up.

Donohoe reportedly never entered the Capitol, even though he was in the first wave of people descending upon the building, as he was overcome by pepper spray. Nevertheless, his assault charges stemmed from throwing two water bottles at Capitol Police officers. He allegedly also sent messages stating: “We stormed the capitol unarmed … we took it over.”

The assault on the Capitol took place while Congress was certifying the results of the 2020 presidential election won by Joe Biden. The Proud Boys were in favor of a second term for former president Donald Trump.

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Dell joins Microsoft-Nortel VoIP Team

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Dell Inc. announced on Tuesday that it will partner up with the Microsoft-Nortel Innovative communications alliance (ICA) team to sell Unified Communications and VoIP products.

The announcement on Tuesday the 16th of October 2007 includes Dell selling VoIP, data and wireless networking products from Nortel and the Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 and other unified communications products.

The partnership with both manufacturers should allow Dell to provide a pre-integrated solution.

In March 2007, competitors IBM and Cisco announced they would join in the competition for developing unified communications applications and the development of open technologies around the unified communications and collaboration (UC2) client platform an application programming interfaces (APIs) offered by IBM as a subset of Lotus Sametime.

“We want to make it simple for our customers to deploy unified communications so their end users can get access to all their messages in one place – whether its e-mail, phone or mobile device. This will pave the way for more business-ready productivity tools,” said vice president of solutions, Dell Product Group, Rick Becker.

  • Customers have four options:
    • Core Office Communication Server 2007 – provides instant messaging and on-premise Microsoft Live Meeting.
    • Office Communication Server: Telephony – enables call routing tracking and management, VoIP gateway and public branch exchange (PBX) integration.
    • Audio and Video Conferencing – allows point-to-point conference, video conference and VoIP audio conference.
    • Exchange Unified Messaging – provides voicemail, e-mail and fax in Microsoft Outlook, and anywhere access of Microsoft Outlook Inbox and Calendar.
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