Edmund White on writing, incest, life and Larry Kramer

Thursday, November 8, 2007

What you are about to read is an American life as lived by renowned author Edmund White. His life has been a crossroads, the fulcrum of high-brow Classicism and low-brow Brett Easton Ellisism. It is not for the faint. He has been the toast of the literary elite in New York, London and Paris, befriending artistic luminaries such as Salman Rushdie and Sir Ian McKellen while writing about a family where he was jealous his sister was having sex with his father as he fought off his mother’s amorous pursuit.

The fact is, Edmund White exists. His life exists. To the casual reader, they may find it disquieting that someone like his father existed in 1950’s America and that White’s work is the progeny of his intimate effort to understand his own experience.

Wikinews reporter David Shankbone understood that an interview with Edmund White, who is professor of creative writing at Princeton University, who wrote the seminal biography of Jean Genet, and who no longer can keep track of how many sex partners he has encountered, meant nothing would be off limits. Nothing was. Late in the interview they were joined by his partner Michael Caroll, who discussed White’s enduring feud with influential writer and activist Larry Kramer.

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Thousands of Australian workers set to rally against IR reform

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Melbourne, Australia 150,000 turnout for Protest

Police and union leaders across the country expect big crowds during today’s National Community Day of protest against the Federal Government’s WorkChoices proposed changes to industrial relations laws.

The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) predicts hundreds of thousands of people will demonstrate in Sydney and Melbourne. Protest meetings in other capital cities are expected to attract workers in their tens of thousands. The rallies will take place in 300 regional sites across Australia.

Labor’s opposition spokesman on industrial relations, Stephen Smith says, “The more people become aware of the nature of the changes and the detail of the changes, the more they realise how vulnerable they are and the more they want to do something to prevent the changes.”

Mark Bethwaite, from Australian Business Ltd, believes most people will go to work as usual. “Because frankly they are not convinced by the scare campaign the ACTU has been running,” Mr Bethwaite said.

The Federal Government has been accused of instructing agencies to refuse staff leave to attend the rallies against its IR changes and says it will not be affected by a rally of one person or a 100,000.

The Federal Department of Workplace Relations has issued advice to other departments that employees wanting to attend the National Community Day of Protest should be denied leave.

State and territory leaders intend to mount a High Court challenge to the Federal Government’s proposed industrial relations changes.

The ACTU say, “the IR changes are not just an attack on workers – they fundamentally undermine the values that make Australia great. Beneath all the glossy advertising are proposals that will unfairly curtail your rights at work, cut the amount of time you can spend with family, and erode your job security.”

The federal government have spent over fifty million dollars on promoting the radical new changes.

Unions say the changes will make it easier for workers to be sacked; cut take-home pay and reduce minimum standards; change the way minimum wages are set to make them lower; replace the award safety net with just five minimum conditions; restrict access to unions; make it harder for employees to bargain as a group; and reduce the powers of the independent Industrial Relations Commission.”

In Melbourne, Australian Education Union’s Mary Bluett said the IR legislation “is not the legacy we want to leave our children.” About 12,000 public servants, 10,000 building workers and hundreds of nurses are also expected to join the protest, but workers operating road, train, tram and bus services will remain on duty to allow commuters to travel free to the rally.

Sky News estimated the number attending the rally in Melbourne as 175,000.

The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry labelled the rally “a tired union stunt”.

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New Zealand’s anti-spam legislation kicks in – exclusive report

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

File:SpamInACan.jpg
A tin of spam, which shares the same namesake as the inbox filler. Image: United States Air Force..

Freelance journalist, Gabriel Pollard, spoke to Joe Stewart and David Farrar about the new anti-spam legislation in New Zealand that comes into effect today. Joe Stewart is the Unit Manager of the Department of Internal Affairs new Anti-Spam Compliance Unit, and David Farrar is Chair of InternetNZ’s Public Policy Committee, who also had significant input into the final bill.

Keith Norris, CEO of the New Zealand Marketing Association, didn’t respond to multiple requests for an interview.

The anti-spam legislation, or the Unsolicited Electronic Messages Act 2007, promotes spam education and awareness and will enable international agencies to work together to share information and will enable cross-border pursuit of serious law breakers. And it doesn’t just cover e-mail spam, but all electronic messaging such as SMS/text messaging, etc.

However, New Zealand isn’t the most up-to-date country with implementing similar legislation, Farrar says, “We are in fact almost the last country in the OECD to have such legislation.” He urges Eastern Europe and China to take part in the fight against spam.

Stewart said that the new law would only help combat a small amount of spam, as 99%-99.9% of all spam received originates from overseas. He says the legislation alone will not solve the problem.

As well as it helping to fight New Zealand-sourced spam and preventing New Zealand from “becoming a haven for spammers”, it will promote good practices within the e-marketing community, Stewart said.

The new Act will affect legitimate marketers in New Zealand by making sure they have expressed or inferred consent to continue sending marketing messages to people on their database. Inferred consent is where the marketers have the e-mail address and send messages to those on their database, but didn’t get expressed consent to send messages. Stewart does issue a warning against using inferred consent saying, “They may have been sending these people messages for years, but this does not establish consent.”

A surge in emails has also been felt with companies/marketers making sure they have consent to continue the e-mails and asking those to confirm they wish to continue their subscription.

“However, many marketers are already fulfilling these requirements because they are standard good e-marketing practice,” Stewart said.

Due to legislative requirements, as well as having consent, businesses will have to provide details about the company sending the item, and provide a free way to unsubscribe from future mailings.

Those found breaking these requirements deliberately could find themselves facing a personal fine of up to NZ$200,000. Organisations could face a fine of up to $500,000. Farrar said, “Experience from Australia shows most cases are dealt with by way of education.”

Farrar also gives a final piece of advice to those annoyed with spam levels, “Never ever respond to a spam e-mail, and only give your real address out to people you trust.”

Retrieved from “https://en.wikinews.org/w/index.php?title=New_Zealand%27s_anti-spam_legislation_kicks_in_–_exclusive_report&oldid=495466”

Former Iranian president Hashemi Rafsanjani leads Friday prayers

Friday, July 17, 2009

Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani Image: Mesgary.

Hashemi Rafsanjani, the Iranian cleric, former president of Iran, and current head of the Expediency Council, has given his first Friday prayer service in Tehran since the disputed June 12 Iranian presidential election.

In the sermon, which was held at Tehran University and twice disrupted by loud chanting from demonstrators, Rafsanjani first discussed the earliest days of Islam and Mohammed’s lessons of the importance of human rights for all people and unity among all Muslims. He then made reference to Ja’far al-Sadiq, an 8th century C.E. Islamic leader who, while assisting a rebellion against the Umayyad caliphate, preferred to keep his own views on the conflict to himself.

In his first direct reference to current news events during the sermon, Rafsanjani called upon Chinese leaders to stop their violent suppression of unrest among the largely-Muslim Uyghur people of Xinjiang.

Turning to the disputed June 12 presidential election, Rafsanjani stated that “what happened after the election was not what we expected it to be.” The people’s participation was to be lauded, he said, and to not listen to the people’s voice is against the advice of Ayatollah Khomeini. Rafsanjani first called for the government to obey the rule of law:

We all need to follow the law. And I’m talking about the government, the parliament, the Islamic Courts and the security forces. We need to follow the laws. All problems can be solved if we only follow the framework of the laws. We need to create an environment where all sides could come together and discuss their issues. We need to be able to sit down like brothers and sisters and talk about our differences.

Rafsanjani listed several specific “proposals” for restoring unity and trust, all aimed at the government, and making particular reference to the Guardian Council’s certification of the election results, which many have termed fraudulent:

Unfortunately, The chance that was given to the Guardian Council of five days to get people together and regain their trust was not used. […] We shouldn’t imprison our own people, we should let these people return to their homes, we shouldn’t let our enemies laugh at us because we’ve imprisoned our own people. We should sit together with mourners, And we should console them, And bring them back closer to the system. We should not be impatient now. Please do not censor media outlets that have legally obtained permits. Let them do what they want to do legally.

Rafsanjani did not specifically mention any current Iranian political figure by name.

Rafsanjani’s speech was not broadcast by any Iranian state media outlet, in contrast to the usual practice of broadcasting the Friday prayers live.

IRIB headquarters Image: Zereshk.

Loud chanting was occasionally audible in the speech, with large crowds reportedly present around Tehran University. Unconfirmed reports say that after the sermon ended, a large crowd began moving toward the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB)’s headquarters on Vali Asr Avenue. According to an update to Mir-Hossein Mousavi‘s Facebook page posted last night and a report by Reuters news service, the candidate attended the ceremony.

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Wikinews interviews former Salt Lake City mayor and 2012 presidential candidate Rocky Anderson

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Rocky Anderson in 2009Image: Don LaVange.

Former Salt Lake City mayor and human rights activist Rocky Anderson took some time to discuss his 2012 U.S. presidential campaign and the newly-created Justice Party with Wikinews reporter William S. Saturn.

Anderson served as mayor of Salt Lake City for eight years (2000–2008) as a member of the Democratic Party. During his tenure, he enacted proposals to reduce the city’s carbon emissions, reformed its criminal justice system, and positioned it as a leading sanctuary for refugees. After leaving office, Anderson grew critical of the Democratic Party’s failure to push for impeachment against President George W. Bush, and for not reversing policies on torture, taxes, and defense spending. He left the party earlier this year and announced that he would form a Third party.

Anderson officially established the Justice Party last week during a press conference in Washington D.C.. He proclaimed “We the people are powerful enough to end the perverse government-to-the-highest-bidder system sustained by the two dominant parties…We are here today for the sake of justice — social justice, environmental justice and economic justice.” The party promotes campaign finance reform and is attempting to appeal to the Occupy Wall Street movement. It is currently working on ballot access efforts, and will hold a Founding Convention in February 2012 in Salt Lake City.

Among other issues, Anderson discussed climate change, health care, education, and civil liberties. He detailed his successes as mayor of Salt Lake City, stressed the importance of executive experience, and expressed his views on President Barack Obama and some of the Republican Party presidential candidates. He spoke in depth about former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, with whom he worked during the 2002 Winter Olympics, and fellow Utahan, former governor and U.S. ambassador to China Jon Huntsman, Jr..

Retrieved from “https://en.wikinews.org/w/index.php?title=Wikinews_interviews_former_Salt_Lake_City_mayor_and_2012_presidential_candidate_Rocky_Anderson&oldid=4635257”

Professional athletes in US linked to online steroid ring

Thursday, March 1, 2007

A steroid distribution network exposed by a New York prosecutor is reported to have connections to a number of high-profile professional athletes, including retired boxer Evander Holyfield and current Los Angeles Angels outfielder Gary Matthews, Jr.

Federal agents raided two pharmacies in Florida and Alabama which were tabbed by a prosecutor in Albany County, New York as having links to illicit distributors of steroids. Eight people have been arrested in connection to this ring, and up to 24 people are individuals of interest to federal agents and may be arrested before the investigation is over.

According to records seized during the raids, customers of the pharmacies included Holyfield, Matthews, former baseball star Jose Canseco, and former pitcher Jason Grimsley. Investigators reportedly have found evidence that performance-enhancing drugs were prescribed to a number of professional athletes as well as international bodybuilders. Further evidence showed that Dr. Richard Rydze, team doctor of the Pittsburgh Steelers, purchased $150,000 worth of human growth hormone on his personal credit card. Calls to Dr. Rydze were not immediately returned.

Those arrested include Stan and Naomi Loomis, owners of Signature Pharmacy in Orlando, Florida. Two other employees of the pharmacy (including Loomis’s brother, Mike) were arrested as well. P. David Soares, Albany County prosecutor, indicated in filings from his office that Signature is believed to be a “producer” of anabolic steroids. Grimsley and Rydze were reported to be customers of Signature Pharmacy. Holyfield, Matthews, and Canseco were allegedly on customer lists from Applied Pharmacy Services in Mobile, Alabama. Both pharmacies and their owners are implicated in the steroid ring.

According to SI.com, Matthews received shipments of Genotropin, a synthetic growth hormone. The shipments were sent to the address of one of his former minor-league teammates in Mansfield, Texas. Matthews claimed he did not know why his name was on Applied Pharmacy’s customer list. He did not comment further on the situation, stating that he was not “in a position to answer specific questions.”

On Wednesday, Holyfield indicated that he was “not overly concerned about the situation.” He did mention that the only purchase of medical supplies that can be attributed to him were medications for his father, who died of a heart ailment in January. Later that evening, Holyfield released a more pointed denial, stating, “I do not use steroids. I have never used steroids. I resent that my name has been linked to known steroid users by sources who refuse to be identified in order to generate publicity for their investigation.”

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Mortgage advisers attempt to collect rent from neighbors after FBI raid in Union City, California

Friday, May 6, 2005

Three months after the FBI raided the offices of the Dorean Group in Union City, California, neighboring companies in the same office park have received letters claiming that rent for the office park should now be paid to the Dorean Group. The owner of the office park, Hanover Properties, insists that they have not sold the park and called the Dorean Group’s claim fraudulent.

The first letter from the Dorean Group, dated May 2nd, 2005, purported to “inform [the tenants] of the change in ownership of the property [the tenants] now occupy,” and asked that “payment of rents be sent” to the principals of the Dorean Group. The letter also included notarized documents authorizing the sale by an alleged agent of the current owner, Hanover Properties, a “Julia Pantibratyuk.”

On the subsequent day, Hanover Properties responded in a letter to the other tenants of the park. They noted that they had not sold the office park to the Dorean Group, but that they had evicted the Dorean Group from the premises on April 26. They added that, “We do not know who Julia Pantbratyuk[sic] is.”

The letters were provided to Wikinews reporter Pingswept by an employee of one of the companies in the office park.

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Controversial medical center demolished in Buffalo, New York

Saturday, May 26, 2007

A medical center, once the site of intense controversy over abortion in the 1990s, which has been vacant for nearly 10 years, was imploded in Buffalo, New York at 6:00 a.m. [eastern time] today.

Several streets in about a 2 block radius were shut down until the implosion occurred and the dust settled. At least 200 people watched in nearby parking lots and on rooftops of buildings to get a good look at the implosion.

The ground and the walls of buildings shook as the dynamite detonated and a brief shock wave could be felt as far as 1 1/2 blocks away. Witnesses even reported small pieces of bricks and concrete falling out of some buildings, but no one was injured.

The building, owned by Kaleida Health, once housed several medical offices, including an abortion clinic. Hundreds of people protested about the abortions outside the center during the Spring of Life Movement in 1992, but other medical procedures and treatments were also part of the center’s services. It was built in 1965 and was 14 floors tall.

Kaleida Health had the building imploded so that the current Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus can be expanded. Several other major medical facilities are also in the same area including Roswell Cancer Institute and Buffalo General Hospital.

“This implosion of 50 High Street will continue the explosion of growth on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus. This event will ensure future opportunity for investment, development and growth,” said the CEO and President of Kaleida Health in a statement on Thursday.

==Sources==

This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.
This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.
  • Melinda Miller & Sharon Linstedt. “Onlookers watch from rooftops as 50 High St. implodes” — Buffalo News, May 26, 2007
  • “50 High Street Gone in a Flash” — WGRZ, May 26, 2007
  • “Medical campus building to go boom” — MSN Money, May 24, 2007
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UK drivers urged not to panic buy during delivery strikes

Friday, June 13, 2008

British drivers have been urged not to panic buy fuel because of the 4-day walkout by delivery drivers working for companies delivering to Shell petrol stations. The 600 workers have walked out over pay disagreements, wanting an increase to their current pay of £36,500, however their union Unite turned down a last-minute offer of £41,500.

Hoyer UK, which employs tanker drivers for Shell, said, “We extended our offer to the very limits that our business could sustain.” However Unite said in a press release that, “this dispute could have been resolved if Shell had advanced a fraction of the billions of pounds in profit they make every month”, continuing to say, “one of the world’s richest companies is prepared to play Pontius Pilate and see the British public inconvenienced rather than settle this dispute for a sum smaller than the chairman’s pay increase last year”

Shell admitted that the walkout could leave some of its 1,000 forecourts without fuel, but the UK Petrol Industry Association, which represent oil refiners, said that forecourts would have around 4 days of supply, maintaining usual stocking levels. Shell also commented that the strike impact would be “significant”, as the company runs around 1 in 10 of all petrol stations in the UK.

British Business Secretary, John Hutton, said that “the strike, which will have a disproportionate effect on people in Britain, cannot be justified,” and urged both sides to resume negotiations in order to settle the dispute. “We have been working closely with industry to put in place detailed contingency plans to reduce as far as possible the disruption for the driving public,” he added. Unite’s press release also confirms that “provision has been made for fire, police and the emergency services.”

Tanker drivers on strike have set up picket lines at many of Shell’s UK refineries, including those in Stanlow, Avonmouth, Plymouth, Pembroke, Cardiff, Kingsbury, Basildon, Grangemouth, Aberdeen, Inverness, Jarrow and Luton Airport.

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