virtu1.com

Captain and four shipping companies face legal action over 2009 Australian oil spill

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

In light of an oil spill that occurred off the coast of southeast Queensland in 2009, a captain of a cargo ship and four companies are set to appear in court.

In March of last year, the cargo ship Pacific Adventurer, with Filipino national Bernardino Gonzales Santos at the helm, encountered bad weather, which resulted in its fuel tank being damaged by loose cargo, leading to the spillage 270,000 litres of oil into the Pacific Ocean. The oil later washed up on Sunshine Coast beaches as well as Moreton and Bribie islands and was dubbed “one of Australia’s worse environmental disasters” by the media.

Santos and four companies behind Pacific Adventurer face individual counts of discharging oil into the ocean and can be fined a maximum of AU$1.75 million in the case of the companies, while Santos faces a $350,000 fine if found guilty.

Santos is also charged with not taking reasonable action following the incident.

Richard Kendall, an executive of one of the involved companies, Swire Shipping LTD, said today that “[w]e are deeply regretful. But we will vigorously defend the charges […] We stand by Captain Santos, who is a first-class captain”.

Like Swire Shipping, China Navigation Company LTD and Bluewing Shipping LTD, who are both joint owners of Pacific Adventurer, pleaded not guilty to all charges.

However, prosecutor Peter Davis stated that “[t]he prosecution’s case is that the cause of the cargo going overboard was due to faulty lashings […] By failing to maintain the lashings, the defendants acted recklessly,” an act that prosecutors say should see the companies and captain pay.

No Comments »

Sony’s DRM protected CDs install Windows rootkits

Tuesday, November 1, 2005

Mark Russinovich, of SysInternals.com, has discovered a so-called “rootkit” which is installed by Sony’s new digital rights management-protected music compact disks (CDs). A rootkit is a common name for malicious software that is used by computer criminals to hide their presence on a compromised computer. Rootkits frequently contain hidden files and are designed to be difficult for the user to detect and remove.

Russinovich classifies Sony’s rootkit as malware because it is alleged to introduce several serious security holes, one of which can be exploited to hide files and prevent the user from removing them. In particular, all executable files which begin with ‘$sys$’ are hidden when the software is installed. He points out that these security holes could be exploited by hackers, or other malware producers besides Sony.

Russinovich explains that naively removing the files will result in a crippling of the operating system on the user’s computer. He provides an explanation of the difficult step required to remove Sony’s malware.

Playing the same CDs on computers not running the Windows operating system, or on a non-computer based CD player remains safe. As removing Sony’s malware would violate the Digital Millennium Copyright Act‘s anti-circumvention provisions, ripping the CDs on computers running a non-Windows operating system may be the best legal and technically safe option for those who wish to listen to them under Windows.

The software is automatically installed when a Sony CD is played on a computer, and is not mentioned in their EULA. The rootkit has been commercially developed by First 4 Internet and licensed to Sony.

Other rights management techniques used by music publishers recently include breaking the Red Book compact disc standard format. This technique causes many CD players to not be able to play the new CDs, but also protects against casual ripping. Fiona Apple’s recent album release in the United States uses such technology.

No Comments »

BDSM as business: An interview with the owners of a dungeon

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Torture proliferates American headlines today: whether its use is defensible in certain contexts and the morality of the practice. Wikinews reporter David Shankbone was curious about torture in American popular culture. This is the first of a two part series examining the BDSM business. This interview focuses on the owners of a dungeon, what they charge, what the clients are like and how they handle their needs.

When Shankbone rings the bell of “HC & Co.” he has no idea what to expect. A BDSM (Bondage Discipline Sadism Masochism) dungeon is a legal enterprise in New York City, and there are more than a few businesses that cater to a clientèle that wants an enema, a spanking, to be dressed like a baby or to wear women’s clothing. Shankbone went to find out what these businesses are like, who runs them, who works at them, and who frequents them. He spent three hours one night in what is considered one of the more upscale establishments in Manhattan, Rebecca’s Hidden Chamber, where according to The Village Voice, “you can take your girlfriend or wife, and have them treated with respect—unless they hope to be treated with something other than respect!”

When Shankbone arrived on the sixth floor of a midtown office building, the elevator opened up to a hallway where a smiling Rebecca greeted him. She is a beautiful forty-ish Long Island mother of three who is dressed in smart black pants and a black turtleneck that reaches up to her blond-streaked hair pulled back in a bushy ponytail. “Are you David Shankbone? We’re so excited to meet you!” she says, and leads him down the hall to a living room area with a sofa, a television playing an action-thriller, an open supply cabinet stocked with enema kits, and her husband Bill sitting at the computer trying to find where the re-release of Blade Runner is playing at the local theater. “I don’t like that movie,” says Rebecca.

Perhaps the most poignant moment came at the end of the night when Shankbone was waiting to be escorted out (to avoid running into a client). Rebecca came into the room and sat on the sofa. “You know, a lot of people out there would like to see me burn for what I do,” she says. Rebecca is a woman who has faced challenges in her life, and dealt with them the best she could given her circumstances. She sees herself as providing a service to people who have needs, no matter how debauched the outside world deems them. They sat talking mutual challenges they have faced and politics (she’s supporting Hillary); Rebecca reflected upon the irony that many of the people who supported the torture at Abu Ghraib would want her closed down. It was in this conversation that Shankbone saw that humanity can be found anywhere, including in places that appear on the surface to cater to the inhumanity some people in our society feel towards themselves, or others.

“The best way to describe it,” says Bill, “is if you had a kink, and you had a wife and you had two kids, and every time you had sex with your wife it just didn’t hit the nail on the head. What would you do about it? How would you handle it? You might go through life feeling unfulfilled. Or you might say, ‘No, my kink is I really need to dress in women’s clothing.’ We’re that outlet. We’re not the evil devil out here, plucking people off the street, keeping them chained up for days on end.”

Below is David Shankbone’s interview with Bill & Rebecca, owners of Rebecca’s Hidden Chamber, a BDSM dungeon.

Contents

  • 1 Meet Bill & Rebecca, owners of a BDSM dungeon
    • 1.1 Their home life
  • 2 Operating the business
    • 2.1 The costs
    • 2.2 Hiring employees
    • 2.3 The prices
  • 3 The clients
    • 3.1 What happens when a client walks through the door
    • 3.2 Motivations of the clients
    • 3.3 Typical requests
    • 3.4 What is not typical
  • 4 The environment
    • 4.1 Is an S&M dungeon dangerous?
    • 4.2 On S&M burnout
  • 5 Criticism of BDSM
  • 6 Related news
  • 7 External links
  • 8 Sources
No Comments »

Seeds placed in Norwegian vault as agricultural ‘insurance policy’

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Svalbard Global Seed Vault, a vault containing millions of seeds from all over the world, saw its first deposits on Tuesday. Located 800 kilometers from the North Pole on the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen, the vault has been referred to by European Commission president José Manuel Barroso as a “frozen Garden of Eden“. It is intended to preserve crop supplies and secure biological diversity in the event of a worldwide disaster.

“The opening of the seed vault marks a historic turning point in safeguarding the world’s crop diversity,” said Cary Fowler, executive director of the Global Crop Diversity Trust which is in charge of collecting the seed samples. The Norwegian government, who owns the bank, built it at a cost of $9.1 million.

At the opening ceremony, 100 million seeds from 268,000 samples were placed inside the vault, where there is room for over 2 billion seeds. Each of the samples originated from a different farm or field, in order to best ensure biological diversity. These crop seeds included such staples as rice, potatoes, barley, lettuce, maize, sorghum, and wheat. No genetically modified crops were included. (Beyond politics they are generally sterile so of no use.)

It is very important for Africa to store seeds here because anything can happen to our national seed banks.

Constructed deep inside a mountain and protected by concrete walls, the “doomsday vault” is designed to withstand earthquakes, nuclear warfare, and floods resulting from global warming. Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg called it an “insurance policy” against such threats.

With air-conditioned temperatures of -18 degrees Celsius, experts say the seeds could last for an entire millennium. Some crops will be able to last longer, like sorghum, which the Global Crop Diversity Trust says can last almost 20 millenniums. Even if the refrigeration system fails, the vaults are expected to stay frozen for 200 years.

The Prime Minister said, “With climate change and other forces threatening the diversity of life that sustains our planet, Norway is proud to be playing a central role in creating a facility capable of protecting what are not just seeds, but the fundamental building blocks of human civilization.” Stoltenberg, along with Kenyan Nobel Peace Prize laureate Wangari Maathai, made the first deposit of rice to the vault.

“It is very important for Africa to store seeds here because anything can happen to our national seed banks,” Maathai said. The vault will operate as a bank, allowing countries to use their deposited seeds free of charge. It will also serve as a backup to the thousands of other seed banks around the world.

“Crop diversity will soon prove to be our most potent and indispensable resource for addressing climate change, water and energy supply constraints and for meeting the food needs of a growing population,” Cary Fowler said.

No Comments »

What Exactly Is An Exit Device In Suffolk County Ny?

byadmin

A property owner might be told that they need a new exit device in Suffolk County NY? They might get a quote on one, but how do they know it’s a fair price? After all, they might not even know exactly what an exit device is or what it does. Fortunately, it’s not too difficult to learn some basic information about what devices are.

What Is It?

YouTube Preview Image

An exit device in Suffolk County NY is something that is placed on doors that swing to the outside. It is used on the secure side of the door it is being used for. The main reason the device was invented was to help people safely exit a building during situations with a lot of panic. Prior to the use of exit devices, there were a lot of lives lost because people got pressed against closed doors.

Ratings

There are ratings for exit devices. Some devices are fire rated, while others are not rated for fire. The devices that are not rated for fire are less expensive than the ones that are and are installed on doors that are non-fire rated.

Devices that are fire rated will have a very noticeable label that will indicate the rating. A locksmith can help determine which type of exit device should be used for a door. Anyone who needs help can visit Ablelockshop.com.

Other Types

A person can also choose to have an exit device that has an alarm. When the device is used, the alarm is activated. Devices can be purchased for light commercial use, industrial use, and even based on how they make a property look. Some property owners are really concerned about how anything attached to their doors will look and affect the style.

Since they were introduced about a century ago, exit devices have come a long way. Locksmiths know all the ins and outs of exit devices and are equipped to repair and replace them. A property owner shouldn’t really try to install or repair an exit device on their own. The last thing they want is a device that doesn’t work as it was intended. You can also connect them on Facebook.

No Comments »

Interview: Danny O’Brien of the Electronic Frontier Foundation

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

January’s second Interview of the Month was with Danny O’Brien of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) on 23 January in IRC.

The EFF is coming off a series of high-profile successes in their campaigns to educate the public, press, and policy makers regarding online rights in a digital world, and defending those rights in the legislature and the courtroom. Their settlement with Sony/BMG, the amazingly confused MGM v Grokster decision by the Supreme Court of the United States, and the disturbing cases surrounding Diebold have earned the advocacy organization considerable attention.

When asked if the EFF would be interested in a live interview in IRC by Wikinews, the answer was a nearly immediate yes, but just a little after Ricardo Lobo. With two such interesting interview candidates agreeing so quickly, it was hard to say no to either so schedules were juggled to have both. By chance, the timing worked out to have the EFF interview the day before the U.S. Senate schedule hearings concerning the Broadcast flag rule of the FCC, a form of digital rights management which the recording and movie industries have been lobbying hard for – and the EFF has been lobbying hard to prevent.

No Comments »

Australians missing out on full sports coverage, media outlets say

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Major media outlets have told an Australian senate committee on environment, communications and the arts that Australians are being denied full coverage of sporting events.

They have told the inquiry that major sporting organisations are restricting how photos and text can be used on the internet and other digital media, which is threatening the reporting of sport as news.

Sporting organisations have hit back saying that such online content is a big money earner for them. They say that the money earned from those rights gets invested in grassroots programs.

Australian Associated Press asked the committee to recommend legislation guaranteeing the right of news media cover major sporting events.

“AAP reporting and photography are the lifeblood of news for regional and rural newspapers across the country,” Fairfax Media, publisher of The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and a number of regional papers, said in its submission. “Millions of Australians are being prevented from receiving full AAP coverage of major sporting events. When photographs of sport events are privatised, all forms of journalism are vulnerable to such restrictions.”

“AAP believes that the most effective way to protect the public interest in receiving news about sporting and related events is to have a legislated provision for right of access for news media,” AAP’s submission says.

The Australian Football League, in its submission, also argued for legislative amendments, but to the Copyright Act. Their recommendations would see the use of audio-visual, photographic and audio media restricted in the digital domain.

“To avoid protracted disputes with media organisations and to ensure a minimum standard of protection across digital sports news reporting in Australia, AFL believes that the best means of introducing these restrictions is by way of amendments to the Copyright Act or a mandatory industry code,” the AFL’s submission said.

Wikinews asked the AFL, Football Federation Australia and the Sunshine Coast Daily for comment. The AFL refused to comment until after their submission was formally made to the committee.

No Comments »

Interview with Tony Ciufo, City Council candidate for Ward 10 in Mississauga, Canada

Friday, September 22, 2006

The upcoming 2006 Mississauga municipal election, to be held November 13, features an array of candidates looking to represent their wards in city council.

Wikinews contributor Nicholas Moreau has contacted as many candidates as possible, including Tony Ciufo, asking them to answer common questions sent in an email. There is no incumbent in the newly created ward; the sixteen resident competing for the position are Shah Rukh Alam, John Briers, Jamie Dookie, Dale D’Souza, Prag Euclid, Adnan Hashmi, Elias Hazineh, Jack Janiak, Fasal Javaid, Craig Lawrence, Sue M. McFadden, Patrick Mendes, Barbara Polis, Graziano Roti, Ali Tahmourpour, and Scott Wilson.

No Comments »

Scottish budget rejected

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Scottish Parliament has narrowly rejected the Scottish government‘s proposed £33 billion budget.

The devolved parliament was tied 64-64 on the motion to approve the budget after two Green Party MSPs switched away from backing the minority Scottish National Party (SNP) administration. The Presiding Officer (speaker) of the parliament, Alex Fergusson, used his casting vote to reject the budget. Finance Secretary John Swinney of the SNP announced that he would immediately reintroduce it. The budget had the backing of the Scottish Conservatives.

Green MSPs had sought a £100 million, 10-year home insulation scheme, whilst the Scottish government had offered a smaller pilot scheme. This offer was increased as the vote approached but failed to convince the Greens to back the budget.

If a new budget is not in place by the start of the financial year in April, the current budget will rollover. However, Scottish ministers say this will cause a £1.8 billion cut in spending.

Scotland’s GDP fell by 0.8% in the last quarter.

No Comments »

New York executive files $60 million libel lawsuit over insurance scandal

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A former Marsh & McLennan Cos. executive has hit former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer with a $60 million defamation lawsuit over an online magazine article regarding an insurance bid-rigging scandal.

William Gilman, a former Marsh managing director, filed a complaint last Friday in the U.S. District Court in Manhattan, over allegations Mr. Spitzer defamed him in a Slate article published a year ago. A copy of the complaint was made public on Monday.

Gilman, who had a final insurance fraud charge dismissed in January, said Spitzer acted with “actual malice” by suggesting that he was guilty of crimes of which he was never accused.

Although he wasn’t named in the article, Mr. Gilman complained that Spitzer defamed him by writing that “Marsh’s behavior was a blatant abuse of law and market power: price-fixing, bid-rigging and kickbacks all designed to harm their customers and the market while Marsh and its employees pocketed the increased fees and kickbacks.”

“While Mr. Spitzer’s statements do not refer to Mr. Gilman by name, Mr. Gilman is readily identifiable as the subject of the defamatory comments,” said the complaint. “Mr. Spitzer was well aware of his own allegations as attorney general and the resolution of those allegations in favor of Mr. Gilman and yet, recklessly disregarded these facts.”

In 2004 Mr. Spizter, then the state’s Attorney General, announced an investigation into the practices at Marsh & McLennan, particularly fees paid by insures to brokers who place business with them. Gilman, who worked for the company at the time, was charged in 2005 with 37 counts of insurance fraud. Gilman’s final charge was dropped last January.

“I haven’t seen the lawsuit and so will not comment on it,” said Spitzer. “The illegalities rampant at Marsh & McLennan leading to their fine of $850 million and the multiple judicial findings of illegality are clear from the public record.”

Mr. Gilman is now seeking at least $10 million in compensatory damages; $20 million in general damages, including damage to his reputation; and $30 million in punitive damages.

No Comments »