Shooting at school leaves one dead in Tennessee, United States

Thursday, August 21, 2008

On Thursday, 15-year-old student, Ryan McDonald, was shot and killed. The shooting occurred at just after 8:00am (UTC-5), at Central High School, in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Map of Tennessee, showing where Knoxville is.

According to Deputy Chief of Police of the Knoxville police department, William C. Roehl stated that the shooting was not “random” and that “they had contact with one another”. The shooting which occurred 8:11am (UTC-5), followed a confrontation in the cafeteria. Police arrived on the scene at 8:13am, and the suspect was taken into custody at 8:17am. McDonald was taken to the University of Tennessee Medical Center where he died at 8:57am, according to the police.

Police have arrested Jamar B. Siler, also 15, and charged him with first-degree murder. Judge Tim Irwin set September 17, 2008 as the trial date. Siler is being held at a juvenile detention center.

Kevin Perry, a pastor at Word of Life Ministries, said he had spoken to a student who witnessed the shooting.

“He saw them when they were arguing and pushing and shoving,” Perry said, recounting what the student had told him. “He didn’t see the guy shoot him. What he did see was the guy fall.”

Another high school student, Chad Griffin, was ten feet away from where the confrontation occurred and said that “he [McDonald] got shot and started walking and he was holding his chest. There was blood everywhere. And then he fell and his arm hit me.”

The school was preparing to release students, and bring them to a local church were they could be picked up by their guardians. Central High School has around 1,400 students.

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Bulgaria Property Investments Off Plan

Submitted by: K Damian Qualter BA MBA

Why Bulgarian Property Investment?

The Bulgarian Economy is growing steadily and doesn t seem to be changing any time soon. There is currently a strong growth in industrial production in Bulgaria. Employment and credit has resulted in high GDP growth over the last few years. The economy in Bulgaria has grown at an average yearly rate of 4.8 % over the last five years and in spite of this, inflation has been greatly reduced to the of 2.3 % in 2003.


Foreign direct investment ( FDI ) into Bulgaria has also increased every year since then. FDI reached US$7.4 billion in 2003 from a rate of US$5.7 billion in 2002 (which is a 30% increase). The outstanding growth in the Bulgarian economy should maintain a strong property market and lead to higher Bulgarian property prices. Bulgaria Property prices are currently low; making the best time to invest. Property in the better residential areas of Sofia sells for around 67 82 per square foot.

It is clear that Bulgaria property is significantly cheaper than many other countries in the areas surrounding Bulgaria. When it comes to the low Currency risk; the Lev has been pegged to the Euro since its introduction at a fixed rate. From 1997 the Lev was pegged to the DM at a rate of 1 Lev to 1 DM. The current cost of domestic borrowing is relatively high – The rate that Bulgarians pay for a floating rate mortgage is around 10 12% pa.

It is currently possible to achieve high rental yields on property when you invest in Bulgarian property. The current Rental yields on residential property in Bulgaria are currently in the range of 10 12% of the purchase cost and on commercial / industrial property you get yields of 16% which makes the property more obtainable to foreigners.

A lot of residential property that is available is unsuitable for letting. There is currently no set up where individual leaseholders can be compelled to contribute towards the cost of repairs to common parts and exterior of buildings unless their leases specifically contain provisions about it. While suitable provision can occasionally be made in the leases of recently constructed buildings, the buildings that are constructed in the communist era, or earlier, hardly ever have these kinds of clauses in leases. The result of this is that unless all the owners in a block agree to make the repair, nothing may be done about it all. Even in the best residential areas of Sofia the common parts of older blocks are often run down looking and are, difficult to let. Good quality modern blocks of flats therefore command a premium in the letting market. This allows the new investor to get their property extremely cheap.

About the Author: For More Information Please go to our website

Bulgaria Off Plan Property Investment


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Ingrid Newkirk, co-founder of PETA, on animal rights and the film about her life

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Ingrid Newkirk (with Little Man):I want to more closely associate humans with the other animals, because if we took Biology 101 we know we are all animals. It’s just that we decide we’re gods, they’re trash. That’s just invalid, wrong from every point of perspective: scientific, moral and everything else. I want people to relate to the other animals.“Image: David Shankbone.

Last night HBO premiered I Am An Animal: The Story of Ingrid Newkirk and PETA. Since its inception, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has made headlines and raised eyebrows. They are almost single-handedly responsible for the movement against animal testing and their efforts have raised the suffering animals experience in a broad spectrum of consumer goods production and food processing into a cause célèbre.

PETA first made headlines in the Silver Spring monkeys case, when Alex Pacheco, then a student at George Washington University, volunteered at a lab run by Edward Taub, who was testing neuroplasticity on live monkeys. Taub had cut sensory ganglia that supplied nerves to the monkeys’ fingers, hands, arms, legs; with some of the monkeys, he had severed the entire spinal column. He then tried to force the monkeys to use their limbs by exposing them to persistent electric shock, prolonged physical restraint of an intact arm or leg, and by withholding food. With footage obtained by Pacheco, Taub was convicted of six counts of animal cruelty—largely as a result of the monkeys’ reported living conditions—making them “the most famous lab animals in history,” according to psychiatrist Norman Doidge. Taub’s conviction was later overturned on appeal and the monkeys were eventually euthanized.

PETA was born.

In the subsequent decades they ran the Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty against Europe’s largest animal-testing facility (footage showed staff punching beagle puppies in the face, shouting at them, and simulating sex acts while taking blood samples); against Covance, the United State’s largest importer of primates for laboratory research (evidence was found that they were dissecting monkeys at its Vienna, Virginia laboratory while the animals were still alive); against General Motors for using live animals in crash tests; against L’Oreal for testing cosmetics on animals; against the use of fur for fashion and fur farms; against Smithfield Foods for torturing Butterball turkeys; and against fast food chains, most recently against KFC through the launch of their website

They have launched campaigns and engaged in stunts that are designed for media attention. In 1996, PETA activists famously threw a dead raccoon onto the table of Anna Wintour, the fur supporting editor-in-chief of Vogue, while she was dining at the Four Seasons in New York, and left bloody paw prints and the words “Fur Hag” on the steps of her home. They ran a campaign entitled Holocaust on your Plate that consisted of eight 60-square-foot panels, each juxtaposing images of the Holocaust with images of factory farming. Photographs of concentration camp inmates in wooden bunks were shown next to photographs of caged chickens, and piled bodies of Holocaust victims next to a pile of pig carcasses. In 2003 in Jerusalem, after a donkey was loaded with explosives and blown up in a terrorist attack, Newkirk sent a letter to then-PLO leader Yasser Arafat to keep animals out of the conflict. As the film shows, they also took over Jean-Paul Gaultier‘s Paris boutique and smeared blood on the windows to protest his use of fur in his clothing.

The group’s tactics have been criticized. Co-founder Pacheco, who is no longer with PETA, called them “stupid human tricks.” Some feminists criticize their campaigns featuring the Lettuce Ladies and “I’d Rather Go Naked Than Wear Fur” ads as objectifying women. Of their Holocaust on a Plate campaign, Anti-Defamation League Chairman Abraham Foxman said “The effort by PETA to compare the deliberate systematic murder of millions of Jews to the issue of animal rights is abhorrent.” (Newkirk later issued an apology for any hurt it caused). Perhaps most controversial amongst politicians, the public and even other animal rights organizations is PETA’s refusal to condemn the actions of the Animal Liberation Front, which in January 2005 was named as a terrorist threat by the United States Department of Homeland Security.

David Shankbone attended the pre-release screening of I Am An Animal at HBO’s offices in New York City on November 12, and the following day he sat down with Ingrid Newkirk to discuss her perspectives on PETA, animal rights, her responses to criticism lodged against her and to discuss her on-going life’s work to raise human awareness of animal suffering. Below is her interview.

This exclusive interview features first-hand journalism by a Wikinews reporter. See the collaboration page for more details.
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SEPTA buys rail cars from NJ Transit to deal with crowding

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

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

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

SEPTA Silverliner II train in 2006 Image: Adam E. Moreira.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Five hundred Euro note withdrawn from sale in UK

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The €500 note has been withdrawn from sale in the UK

Currency exchanges offices in the United Kingdom have today stopped the sale of €500 notes after an investigation by the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) concluded that up to 90% of the notes were being used by money launderers and other organised criminals. Ian Cruxton, deputy director of SOCA, said that the Euro had been chosen as the currency of choice by criminal gangs due to the large denomination of the notes, adding “[i]t should now be impossible now to buy a €500 note over the counter from one of the suppliers. And that’s going to have an effect on the criminals — it means they are going to have to find other means of trying to move their money.”

The note was introduced by the European Central Bank in 2002, when the currency itself officially entered into circulation. The notoriety of the note’s criminal uses has earned it the nickname “the Bin Laden” after Al-Qaeda suspect Osama bin Laden — something that everyone knows is out there, but law-abiding people rarely see. The Euro is the official currency of 16 European countries, colloquially known as the Eurozone, as well as unofficially in a further 4 nations.

Since its introduction, there has been mounting international concern over criminal use of the large denomination note, which facilitates money laundering by allowing large concentrations of cash to be concealed in small spaces, for example, €20,000 can be concealed in a cigarette packet and £1 million in €500 notes weighs 2.2kg while the equivalent in £20 notes weighs 50kg. The highest denomination note in Sterling is £50, making high-value denominations in other currencies, such as the Euro, tempting for those wishing to move large amounts of money.

Should the five hundred Euro note be withdrawn from the whole of Europe?
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When asked if criminal demand for the note would simply be displaced to other high-value notes, such as the €200 note (the next-highest denomination), Ian Cruxton, deputy director of SOCA said he believed that would be the case, however, with less of the €200 note in circulation, their movements would be easier to track than those of the €500.

Tourists returning to the UK from holidays in Europe will still be able to change their €500 notes for Sterling but will be unable to purchase them. The European Central Bank has no plans for a withdrawal of the note, given the legitimate demand for it in countries such as Germany and Italy, where cash is used far more frequently than alternatives such as credit cards.

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Anthrocon 2007 draws thousands to Pittsburgh for furry weekend

Lucky Coyote welcomes guests to the hotel

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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Plant explosion in Apex, North Carolina

Friday, October 6, 2006

EQ Industrial Services Apex, NC on October 6, 2006

Up to 17,000 people are being evacuated in Apex, North Carolina after a chlorine gas leak occurred during a Hazardous Waste facility explosion and fire.

Map showing location of plant (Red dot) and approximate evacuation zone (in Blue). Note: Evacuation zone shown is indicative only and should not be relied upon for guidance, Contact local authorities instead.

Residents are advised to keep windows closed, turn off all air conditioning and that tenderness of the mouth, gagging and nausea are typical signs of poisoning. They are advised to stay away from the fire and any smoke, as it could be a health hazard. CNN reports that air quality tests run by the NCDENR indicate nothing especially harmful in the air near the plant.

Area residents are being advised to call 919-856-7044 for general information as 911 lines are overloaded. Bruce Radford, manager of the town in suburban Raleigh, said that the business district, schools and the town hall will remain closed on Friday.

Wake County, NC

No fatalities have been reported. WRAL-TV reported that 90 residents of a nearby nursing care facility were moved to a local hospital as a precautionary measure. About 20 Apex residents were reported to have been treated and released for respiratory symptoms related to exposure.

Officials are presently unsure of the cause. The fire and subsequent explosions started sometime after 9 p.m. EST Thursday, October 5.

Changing weather conditions in the area threaten additional evacuations. A section of State Highway 55 has been shut down near the incident.

The company, Environmental Quality of Wayne, Michigan, had been warned and fined $32,000 by state regulators in March of 2006 for hazardous conditions at the plant, which temporarily stores hazardous materials including chlorine, pesticides, and PCBs.

WRAL-TV reports that Sulfur, Oxidizers, Chlorine, Pesticides and PCBs were stored in the facility.

Fire crews from Cary, Apex, Raleigh, Wake County and Fairview are assisting in the effort. However, there is no effort to fight the fire as it would be too dangerous to firefighting personnel. It will eventually burn itself out.

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