Celebrities contribute to Katrina relief

Published:Wednesday, September 7, 2005Updated:Saturday, September 10, 2005 (Travolta, Preston, Moore, Stones, Three Doors Down, Johnson, Smith)

After Hurricane Katrina passed across the United States, various artists and media stars have leapt at a call to action.

John Travolta and wife Kelly Preston flew his private plane to deliver a load of supplies and tetanus vaccine to Baton Rouge and New Orleans. Part of a Scientology project which has been using their non-massage “assists”, in an interview Preston mentioned that “auditing” had also been performed on victims.

Kevin Smith is holding an online auction on his Web site.

Sean Penn actually went to Louisiana. After loading down a small boat with his entourage, it was discovered one of them had neglected to seal a hole in the bottom. Penn was wearing a white vest rather than a life vest while bailing. After the motor wouldn’t start, the crew paddled down a flooded New Orleans street. Bystanders jeered at whether any victims could fit aboard the crowded craft. No report on rescue stunts. Local authorities had previously been criticized for not allowing volunteer boaters in to help.

Morgan Freeman, whose home fared well, is organizing an online auction of celebrity items at, to benefit the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund.

Curt Schilling opened his home to a family of nine driven out of their New Orleans home. The Schilling family will provide housing for the Fields for a year while their home in New Orleans is rebuilt and repaired.

Some celebrities “graced” disaster zones with their presence in the days following Katrina.

Singer Macy Gray and television personality Phil McGraw visited Houston’s Astrodome.

Celebrities visiting New Orleans include Michael Moore (opposite side of lake), singer Harry Connick, Jr., CNN’s Anderson Cooper, actor Jamie Foxx, singer Faith Hill, actor Matthew McConaughey, singer Lisa Marie Presley, comedian Chris Rock, and The Oprah Winfrey Show contributor Lisa Ling and interior decorator Nate Berkus.

Oprah Winfrey visited New Orleans, Houston, and Mississippi.

PostHeaderIcon Therapeutic Dog Beds A Bed Of Roses

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By Sarah McDermott

The medicinal impact of therapeutic dog beds is more than description. The benefits endowed through a therapeutic dog bed can preferably give more life to your dog. These medicinal beds fit the bill, conquering all the expectations of a perfect dog bed. They wipe away sores, and instead give rigidity to the whole body.

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About the Author: This author lives in Flemington, NJ with her husband and 5 month old daughter and is an expert contributing author for a luxury dog feeders boutique offering variety of dog beds and personalized dog beds.


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Space Shuttle Endeavour enters history books after nineteen years following penultimate landing of program

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Space Shuttle Endeavour landed for the final time at 2:34 a.m. EDT (0534 UTC) at Cape Canaveral, Florida, U.S. Wednesday, marking the end of its nineteen-year operational career. The mission, STS-134, is the penultimate of the NASA Space Shuttle program; Atlantis is scheduled to fly the final mission in July.

The commander of the mission, Mark Kelly, paid tribute to the spaceship shortly after touchdown, saying, “It’s sad to see her land for the last time, but she really has a great legacy.” Endeavour launched earlier this month on a mission to carry the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) and several spare parts to the International Space Station (ISS). The AMS will enable scientists to examine cosmic rays and learn more about the history of the universe.

The six-member crew of STS-134 consists of commander Mark Kelly, pilot Greg Johnson, and mission specialists Michael Fincke, Roberto Vittori, Andrew Feustel, and Gregory Chamitoff. European Space Agency’s Vittori is scheduled to be the last non-American to fly aboard the Shuttle.

Kelly is the husband of U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords, who was wounded during a January shooting in Tucson, Arizona. Giffords watched the launch from the Kennedy Space Center on May 16, but was asleep in a hospital during the early morning landing, according to Kelly.

The end of the shuttle program comes after NASA opted to phase out the aging fleet, which has been in use since 1981, due to financial problems with maintaining the crafts. According to BBC News Online, NASA thinks that allowing private businesses to win space transportation contracts will generate enough revenue to pay for sending astronauts to and from the International Space Station.

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In a statement, NASA Administrator Charles F. Bolden, Jr., said, “We are very proud of Endeavour’s legacy, and this penultimate flight of the space shuttle program once again demonstrated the amazing skill and dedication of our astronauts and the entire workforce.” He stated that as NASA “begin[s] the transition from the shuttle program to the commercial transportation of [its] crews and cargo, [its] ability to tackle big challenges remains steadfast and will ensure that NASA reaches even more destinations farther in the Solar System.”

Space Shuttle Endeavour began service after the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded shortly after lifting off in 1986; all seven astronauts aboard died as a result of the disaster. Endeavour launched on its maiden flight, STS-49, in May 1992. During her career, Endeavour has orbited the planet 4,671 times, spent 299 days in space, and transported a total of 170 astronauts. The vehicle has traveled a total distance longer than 197.6 million kilometres (122.8 million miles). While in space, NASA’s Michael Fincke set a space endurance record, spending the longest total time of any American in space at 382 days. STS-134 was Fincke’s third spaceflight and first on the Space Shuttle. The spaceflight was the 25th and final flight of Endeavour, as well as the 134th and second-to-last of the entire Space Shuttle Program.

During the crew’s stay at the ISS, the crew completed the final four spacewalks scheduled to be performed by Space Shuttle crews. During these spacewalks, the crew installed components to the exterior of the station. Space Shuttle crews performed a total of 164 spacewalks, 159 of which contributed to the maintenance and completion of the International Space Station. Preparations are currently underway for Endeavour to go on public display in Los Angeles, California.

The final mission in the Space Shuttle program, STS-135, is scheduled to launch on July 8.

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Endeavour touching down at the Kennedy Space Center on Wednesday.Image: NASA / Bill Ingalls.

Endeavour shortly after touchdown.Image: NASA / Mike Kerley and Tony Gray.

Endeavour after wheel stop.Image: NASA / Kenny Allen.

The International Space Station as seen from Endeavour, which was departing from there at the time, on May 30, 2011.Image: NASA.

The crew of STS-134 pose for a picture on the runway at Kennedy Space Center after Space Shuttle Endeavour’s final landing.Image: NASA / Bill Ingalls.

STS-134 crew patch.Image: NASA / Crew of STS-134.

Space Shuttle Endeavour on launch pad 39A prior to mission STS-127 on May 31, 2009.Image: NASA / Kim Shiflett.

Current NASA logo.Image: US Government.

Mark E. Kelly, commander of STS-134, seen here in January 2005.Image: NASA / JSC.

Pilot Gregory H. Johnson, seen here in October 2007.Image: NASA.

Michael Fincke was a mission specialist for this spaceflight.Image: NASA.

Roberto Vittori, as seen here in November 2000, was the flight engineer.Image: NASA.

Andrew J. Feustel, seen here in February 2008, was also a mission specialist on the spaceflight.Image: NASA.

Gregory Chamitoff, seen here in November 2007, was a fourth mission specialist for STS-134.Image: NASA.

Space Shuttle Challenger, which Endeavour replaced, launching on STS-7 in June 1983.Image: NASA.

Endeavour replaced Challenger after the craft exploded in January 1986.Image: Kennedy Space Center.

Space Shuttle Program patch.Image: NASA.

Space Shuttle Atlantis, which is due to carry out the final mission of the Space Shuttle program, seen here in February 2008, launching on STS-122.Image: NASA.

Patch for STS-135, the last planned space shuttle mission.Image: NASA.

Official photo of STS-135 crew members.Image: NASA / Robert Markowitz.

2012 Report on Gender Equality and Development credits Icelandic parental policy with ‘hopeful’ changes

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Tuesday, World Bank released the 2012 World Development Report on Gender Equality and Development. In discussing Iceland, it suggests mandatory paid parental leave for mother and father have played an important role in changing norms in the country. Parents have a government mandated nine months leave, three for the mother, three for the father and three to to distribute between the two. Leave is paid at 80% of their wages. The report describes the changes in gender relations in Iceland as “promising” in terms of impact at work and at home.

Iceland’s boys and girls mean scores for the Programme for International Student Assessment mathematics test were nearly identical with boys just edging out girls with both scores around 510. Girls outperformed boys on the literacy test with a mean score of approximately 525 to 480. Iceland’s girls mathematics performance was similar to that of girls from Estonia, Germany and Belgium. Their performance on literacy was similar to Sweden, Poland, Switzerland, Estonia and Belgium.


Mortality rates in Iceland for 1,000 people aged 15–60 sits at 56, significantly better than the United States at 107, China at 113, India at 213, Iraq at 285, Afghanistan at 479, Malawi at 481 and Zimbabwe at 772. One of the reasons the report cites for Iceland’s relatively low mortality rate is it not located in a conflict country or in an HIV/AIDS affected country.

Iceland was one of 23 countries that currently have over 30% of its Parliamentarians who are female. Other countries with over 30% representation include Rwanda, Argentina, Cuba, Finland, the Netherlands, and Sweden. In the mid-1990s, there were only 5 countries. The report cites the 1983 creation of the Women’s Alliance, an all women’s political party, as bringing additional attention to women’s issues and deliberately attempting to increase the representation of women in Icelandic politics.

Despite some of the good news highlighted in the report about Icelandic women, there exists a systematic gender difference in earning potential. Icelandic women in both the private and public sector earn approximately 22% less than their male counterparts. Icelandic men have slightly more access to the Internet than Icelandic women by about 2%. Despite this slight disadvantage for Icelandic women, it is much better than some countries where the percentage differences are much greater. These countries include Austria, Croatia, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Azerbaijan, Serbia, Turkey, and Macedonia.

Rescue efforts underway after China earthquake

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Humanitarian aid groups and Chinese military forces are beginning rescue operations in western China after a heavy 7.1 magnitude earthquake struck the region on Wednesday, that reportedly killed over 600 people and injured almost ten thousand.

The quake, which was centered around the remote town of Yushu, was largely destroyed by the heavy temblor, which occurred early in the morning as residents were waking up. The official death toll stands at 617, while 9,980 more were injured and an additional 313 reported as missing. The Chinese ministry of civil affairs reports that 15,000 houses had collapsed and 100,000 people – almost the entire population in the area – remain without homes.

The plateau where the earthquake hit is frequently visited by tremors; however, there are rarely many casualties due to its remoteness and small population. However, in May 2008 a heavy 8.0 magnitude earthquake struck near Sichuan foothills, killing 80,000 people.

Rescue efforts are underway, but impeded due to the area’s remoteness and landslides, which have blocked many roads in the area. Also a factor is the high altitude at which the area is located – about 4,000 metres above sea level (13,000 feet) – which could adversely affect rescue crews not used to being in such thin air. Sniffer dogs, for instance, who aren’t accustomed to working at high sea levels, could have a harder time detecting living people buried beneath rubble.

Power and telephone lines were also downed by the temblor, affecting communication, although the authorities commented that electricity and phone links have been repaired to tens of towns.

China’s state media reports that troops garrisoned in the Yushu county, with help from locals, have already rescued over a thousand people buried beneath debris.

Residents and troops garrisoned in the Yushu county have managed to pull out more than 1,000 people alive, according to Chinese state media. They are using shovels and bare hands.

Further exacerbating the situation is the weather: temperatures are freezing, and meteorologists predict sleet and wind to come within the next few days. Many people were forced to sleep outdoors, protecting themselves from the cold in blankets, or spending the night in vehicles.

Pierre Deve for the non-governmental organisation Snowland Service Group, was present in Yushu. He described the damage to Times Online, saying: “There are corpses everywhere on the street. They don’t have time to deal with them. There is a real need for medicine, for food, for water and for doctors. People are terrified that there will be another earthquake. They are also afraid that a dam that has been cracked will burst and flood the town.”

A local doctor, Karma Sherab, also commented on the problems the area is facing: “Most of the hospitals have collapsed and others had become dangerous. The only thing we can do is to clean the wounds in a simple way or simply amputate instead of curing.”

Chinese president Hu Jintao, meanwhile, said that he would be dispatching over 5,000 rescuers and soldiers to the scene of the disaster; the government has pledged over US$29 million worth of aid. Hu described the quake as being a “huge calamity”. He is also shortening his visit to a summit in Brazil to return to his country. “That is why I decided to bring forward my return to China,” he said from Brasilia.

Premier Wen Jiabao has visited Yushu to oversee relief work; he decided to delay a visit to southeastern Asia due to the disaster. “As long as there is the slightest hope, we will make efforts that are 100-fold. Your disaster is our disaster, your suffering is our suffering.”

The head of China’s disaster relief department, Zou Ming, says that 120,000 articles of clothing, 120,000 quilts, food, and close to 40,000 tents were to be sent to the disaster zone; he encouraged people to donate money to assist in longer-term relief work.

Meanwhile, some foreign countries have offered financial help; among them is Japan, which has pledged over one million dollars to disaster victims. The United States also said it is “ready to assist” if China requests international aid.

Popular soap opera ‘The Young and the Restless’ celebrates 35 years on the air

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The popular American soap opera The Young and the Restless, currently the reigning Emmy Award-winner for best daytime drama, celebrated 35 years on the air Wednesday.

The 35th anniversary also comes after the series, known colloquially as Y&R, marked its 1,000th straight week as the highest-rated soap opera in a daytime slot. In addition to keeping the #1 spot every week since December 1988, Y&R has also been the top-rated soap in the African-American demographic since 1991.

A trend-setter since the beginning, Y&R relied on character-driven storytelling, accentuated with understated sexuality from its cast, which at that time was mostly young, in order to bring in teenage and twentysomething viewers who were ignored by soap producers and networks up to that time. These traits immediately set Y&R apart from other soap operas, and other soaps have since mimicked Y&R’s formulaic approach to offering something for everyone, especially younger viewers.

Since premiering on March 26, 1973, Y&R has become a worldwide cultural institution in its own right, racking up an impressive 100 Emmy Awards between the writers, producers, cast and crew since 1974. The show has aired in over 100 countries, including Australia, New Zealand, France, Germany, Italy, and Turkey, and reaches a worldwide audience of ten million daily. So far-reaching was Y&R’s appeal that Romanian gymnast Nadia Comaneci chose the serial’s theme song as accompanying music to her floor exercises at the 1976 Summer Olympics. In Australia, where Y&R has aired since 1974, the show was canceled by the original network that aired it in 2007, prompting a widespread fan backlash in that country. It was quickly moved to a pay channel.

Over the past 35 years, countless characters, marriages, divorces, births, deaths, and every joy and trauma in between have visited the residents of Genoa City, where Y&R is set. To commemorate the milestone, Mike Halterman from Wikinews interviewed three actresses who have played long-running characters on Y&R, and asked them to share their memories. All three responded to questions about what being on Y&R means to them, what their favorite storylines were, what they perhaps would have wanted to do all over again, and what they’d love to tell their fans directly.

Below are portions of all three interviews.


  • 1 Wikinews interviews Y&R cast members
    • 1.1 Questions asked to all three
    • 1.2 Questions asked to Melody Thomas Scott
    • 1.3 Questions asked to Michelle Stafford
    • 1.4 Questions asked to Tricia Cast
  • 2 Sources

British chef Keith Floyd dies at age 65

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

British chef Keith Floyd has died at the age of 65 after a heart attack in Dorset, England.

Keith Floyd was best known for his cookery programmes, particularly on British television channel BBC, although he has also featured on shows on ITV. He was arguably most popular for his Floyd on series, with shows like Floyd on Food, Floyd on Spain, Floyd on Italy etc. He also presented Floyd on GMTV in 1998. Keith had been presenting programmes from 1984 to 2001.

On July 29, it was reported that Floyd had been diagnosed with bowel cancer in June. After undergoing five serious operations, 90% of the cancer was removed. He later had chemotherapy. He died on Monday of a heart attack in his partner’s house in Dorset, England.

Famous chefs around the world have been expressing their sadness for his death and made comments about him to British newspaper, The Guardian. Among them was Rick Stein, who said, “I first met Keith in the early 80s. He used to come to the restaurant regularly and knew Padstow well because his first wife came from Port Isaac. At a time when I was experimenting with Provençal dishes like Bouillabaisse and Bourride he was a Gauloise-smoking, red wine drinking hero who had actually owned a restaurant next to the Mediterranean. One thing was certain — he cooked like a dream and loved food and wine with a passion.”

Other cooks such as Michel Roux, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Heston Blumenthal expressed condolences. Gordon Ramsay stated, “Keith Floyd was a true original. A natural performer and a superb cook, he broke new ground with his programmes and his contribution to television cookery was immense.”

What was your opinion on Keith Floyd?
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Marco Pierre White stated that, “A little piece of Britain died yesterday which will never be replaced. He was an individual, he was a maverick, he was mercurial, he was magical, he was special, he was rare.”

Keith Floyd died on September 14, the same day a documentary was broadcast on Channel 4 called Keith Meets Keith, which featured comedian Keith Allen interviewing Keith Floyd. It emerged that his death was just a few hours beforehand, however the information was unknown at the time of broadcast.

Celia Martin, who was staying with Floyd at the time of his death, gave an interview with London local newspaper Evening Standard.

“When we got home he had a siesta and got up feeling a bit headachy. We had both eaten a lot so I put it down to that. He laid down on the sofa and I thought he went to sleep. Then suddenly his breathing became erratic,” Martin said. “I phoned for an ambulance and the operator gave me instructions on how to help him. He didn’t say anything at all. The ambulance people were here for about an hour. They thought there was a chance they could save him. It was so bizarre, we were sitting down to watch the documentary at 10pm but by that time he had died.”

Demonstrator in coma – serious allegations against the French police

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

During the large demonstration against the impending so-called First Employment Contract law (in French: Contrat de Première Embauche – CPE) on Saturday in Paris, one of the demonstrators was perilously injured in the head. Now, allegations have been brought against the French riot police Compagnies Républicaines de Sécurité (CRS). Eyewitnesses report that officers of the CRS kicked 39-year-old Cyril Ferez while he was lying on the ground. A report of a CRS-officer draws a different picture of the incident.

The incident happened during the evacuation of the Place de la Nation by the CRS at the end of the demonstration against the first employment contracts at about 8.30 p.m. Cyril Ferez works for the Orange telecommunication company in Torcy and is a member of the trade union Sud-PTT, which represents workers at post offices and telecommunication companies. According to the photographer Bruno Stevens, Cyril Ferez was running away from the police, together with some other demonstrators. “He was slower. He was hit directly on the head. He collapsed like a sack. They hit him further while he was lying on the ground,” the photographer told the French newspaper Libération. While he was hit by the police, he did not react in any hostile way towards them, said another photographer, Victor Tonelli. The police are said to have hit the demonstrator with night sticks and with their feet. The trade union Sud-PTT accuses the police of not having called for medical help for the injured person, despite having been called to do so. The trade union demands an official meeting with the home secretary on Wednesday afternoon and calls the behaviour of the police as not being worthy of the government of a democratic state. According to a report of the press association Reuters, the seriously injured person was immediately hospitalised. According to members of the government, referring to the treating doctors, Cyril Ferez was admitted to the hospital Henri-Mondor de Créteil with 2.7 grammes of alcohol in his blood. According to a report of a CRS-officer, with a copy of it on hand of the press association AFP and relying on statements of Cyril Ferez (before he fell into his coma), the injuries are not a result of a fight between CRS-officers and Cyril Ferez. According to this report, Cyril Ferez was attacked by other demonstrators. The report was given to the police audit. Members of the opposition party and the trade unions demand a complete clearing up of the incident.

On Sunday morning, Cyril Ferez fell into a coma. The police audit “Inspection générale des services” wants to investigate the incident. Therefore, the police audit would like to find out which witnesses were on site and which officers of the CRS were involved in the incident. Doctors assume that Cyril Ferez, if he survives, will suffer from neurological consequences. Directly after the demonstration, the police prefecture had claimed that 18 demonstrators had been injured, but that there was no seriously injured person among them.

French trade unions and student organisations have announced a general strike for 28 March. On Saturday, about 1.5 million people participated in the countrywide demonstrations against CPE.

This is a translation of the article “Demonstrant im Koma – Schwere Vorwürfe gegen die französische Polizei” from German Wikinews.

New South Wales Liberal leader attempts suicide

Friday, September 2, 2005

Australian New South Wales Liberal Party leader John Brogden was found to have attempted suicide in his electoral office late on the night of August 30, after he resigned due to heavy media criticism of comments he had made against the previous Government premier Bob Carr‘s wife, Helena Carr. Mr Brogden called her a “mail-order bride”.

He was rushed to a North Shore hospital. Carr, who originally had stated he did not accept Brogden’s earlier apology, later capitulated, stating that his wife had asked to forgive him.

It was also argued whether The Daily Telegraph newspaper, which was aiming to release new allegations of sexual harassment after Brogden had resigned, played any part in the suicide attempt. Many in the community, such as Rod Tiffen of the University of Sydney, on ABC Radio National’s The Media Report had decried tabloid journalism and the Telegraph for “only wait[ing] till the man’s down before they start kicking” with allegations that were found to be unsourced, whilst the editor of the Telegraph, David Penberthy, claimed that they were only acting in their duty to publish what they had discovered, and said that “to say that [Brogden’s attempt] is our fault off the basis of one story is I think, just fatuous.”

One political editor, Andrew West, for The Australian, a publication produced by the same company that owns The Daily Telegraph, resigned over the placement of his byline on a story where he said he only produced a memo noting the unreliability of the sources for a similar story that the Telegraph were to publish.

Egyptian archaeologists announce discovery of marble statue and 132 new sites

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Zahi Hawass, Egypt’s pre-eminent archaeologist, and Secretary General of the The Supreme Council of Antiquities, has announced that a rare statue constructed of white marble whose features resemble Alexander the Great has been discovered in Egypt. Hawass also stated that there are satellite photographs identifying many archeological sites which may also reveal buried monuments.

Calliope Papacosta was leading the Greek archaeological excavation in Alexandria when the white marble statue was found.

“A ribbon around the head of the statue proves that it belongs to an important person for such ribbon was used only be[sic] rulers,” said Hawass, “The 80 cm long, 23 cm wide statue has been discovered eight meters deep under the earth surface.”

Farouk Hosni, Egypt’s Culture Minister, is supporting archaeological dig sites and has set into place laws restricting illegal digging in confirmed archaeological sites which may contain historical monuments. The monument photography project, National Authority for Remote Sensing, Space Sciences (NARRS) and Mubarak City for Scientific Research (MuCSAT) combined Satellites technology, aerial photography and ground laser to locate 132 sites which have not yet been excavated.

One of these sites is north of Lake Qarun in the Faiyum area, and another at Habu city. Archaeologists are presently being sent out by the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism to areas before construction and building excavations to preserve invaluable archaeological treasures. At the Faiyum site near Cairo artifacts dating to diverse time periods have been found amongst these, an awl for stitching leather, fishing tackle, weapons, jewellery, pottery, coins, sawfish, whale fossils, and a 3150 BC block portraying one of the two leaders named King Scorpion.

Meanwhile, in other archaeological news, Iran’s three salt mummies found in the Chehrabad Salt Mine in 1993 will be moved to a technologically advanced vacuum chamber display case in Zanjan for better preservation. These mummies or Salt Men have been dated as being from the Parthian 237 BCE – 224 CE and Sassanid era, 224 – 651 CE.