Australian cricketer dies after being struck in neck

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Australian cricketer Phillip Hughes has died in St Vincent’s Hospital, Sydney today (Thursday, local time). Hughes was playing a Sheffield Shield match for South Australia at the Sydney Cricket Ground when he was struck in the neck by a bouncer.

“It is my sad duty to inform you that a short time ago Phillip Hughs passed away,” said Australian national team doctor Peter Brukner in a statement.

As the news broke, condolences came from around Australia’s sporting community.

“A sad, sad day. Absolutely devastating. Thoughts go out to Phillip Hughes’ family and friends. #RIPPhillipHughes,” Australian women’s captain Meg Lanning tweeted.

“Our thoughts are with Philip’s family and everyone affected by this tragic accident,” said Football Federation Australia CEO David Gallop.

“The West Australian Football Commission [WAFC] on behalf of football in WA extends sincere sympathies to the family and friends of Phillip Hughes,” tweeted the WAFC.

Today was meant to be the third day of the Sheffield Shield match Hughes was involved in. The entire round of matches was abandoned after the incident.

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Wikinews interviews 2020 Melbourne Lord Mayor Candidate Wayne Tseng

This article mentions the Wikimedia Foundation, one of its projects, or people related to it. Wikinews is a project of the Wikimedia Foundation.

Thursday, October 22, 2020

2020 Melbourne Lord Mayor candidate Wayne Tseng answered some questions about his campaign for the upcoming election from Wikinews. The Lord Mayor election in the Australian city is scheduled to take place this week.

Tseng runs a firm called eTranslate, which helps software developers to make the software available to the users. In the candidate’s questionnaire, Tseng said eTranslate had led to him working with all three tiers of the government. He previously belonged to the Australian Liberal Party, but has left since then, to run for mayorship as an independent candidate.

Tseng is of Chinese descent, having moved to Australia with his parents from Vietnam. Graduated in Brisbane, Tseng received his PhD in Melbourne and has been living in the city, he told Wikinews. Tseng also formed Chinese Precinct Chamber of Commerce, an organisation responsible for many “community bond building initiatives”, the Lord Mayor candidate told Wikinews.

Tseng discussed his plans for leading Melbourne, recovering from COVID-19, and “Democracy 2.0” to ensure concerns of minorities in the city were also heard. Tseng also focused on the importance of the multi-culture aspect and talked about making Melbourne the capital of the aboriginals. Tseng also explained why he thinks Melbourne is poised to be a world city by 2030.

Tseng’s deputy Lord Mayor candidate Gricol Yang is a Commercial Banker and works for ANZ Banking Group.

Currently, Sally Capp is the Lord Mayor of Melbourne, the Victorian capital. Capp was elected as an interim Lord Mayor in mid-2018 after the former Lord Mayor Robert Doyle resigned from his position after sexual assault allegations. Doyle served as the Lord Mayor of Melbourne for almost a decade since 2008.

Retrieved from “https://en.wikinews.org/w/index.php?title=Wikinews_interviews_2020_Melbourne_Lord_Mayor_Candidate_Wayne_Tseng&oldid=4598699”

GM and Chrysler receive Canadian loans amid US restructuring ultimata

Friday, April 3, 2009

General Motors (GM) and Chrysler will receive bridge loans from the government of Canada and the provincial government of Ontario, however no more will be forthcoming from either Canadian or US governments unless the companies can reinvent themselves.

“This is a regrettable but necessary step to protect the Canadian economy. We are doing this on the assumption that we obviously cannot afford either in the United States or Canada a catastrophic short-term collapse.” said Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada.

“We cannot, we must not, and we will not let our auto industry simply vanish. This industry is, like no other, an emblem of the American spirit; a once and future symbol of America’s success,” said Barack Obama, President of the United States. “These companies – and this industry – must ultimately stand on their own, not as wards of the state.”File:Sinsheim quer.jpg

Chrysler will receive CA$1 billion and may in fact be eligible for as much as CA$4 billion. If Chrysler succeeds in the next 30 days with a restructuring plan it would be eligible for a US$6 billion loan. A part of Chrysler’s restructuring plan must include a partnership with Fiat within 30 days to appease the US administration. Fiat is a supplier of smaller fuel-efficient vehicles, and the merger will help Chrysler to be viable in the North American market. A Chrysler court bankruptcy would inevitably lead to it being sold off.

As a part of Chrysler’s restructuring plans, Tom LaSorda, the president of Chrysler announced that Canadian operations would fold if it does not receive both the US commitment of $2.3 billion of aid and a new Canadian Auto Workers CAW contract to reduce all-in costs by CA$19 per hour. As a result of this announcement Chrysler’s auto sales volume in Canada dropped 23% compared to March of 2008.

GM has until the end of May to restructure its company to receive up to CA$7.5 billion. As part of the companies restructuring, General Motor’s chief executive Rick Wagoner was replaced Sunday with Fritz Henderson, the current chief operating officer. Henderson spoke out on Tuesday that GM has submitted a restructuring plan which would close five plants, and this may be increased to meet the requirements for financial aid. He is in full compliance with Obama’s auto task force to seek bankruptcy if GM cannot negotiate with their unions, bondholders and others.

GM recently brought forward the “GM Total Confidence” program providing consumer purchase protection for customers who lose their job for economic reasons within the first two years from purchase. As a result of Chrysler’s restructuring announcement in Canada, GM’s Canadian vehicle sales volume fell only 17.3% compared to 2008, an increase from the previous month.

GM must reduce some of its legacy costs which include its pensions and union health care costs. A part of GM’s ailments arose from investing in supplying truck and SUVs during an economy of high gas prices when consumers were demanding fuel efficient vehicles.

Tony Clement, Canada’s Minister of Industry, is hoping that the CAW will support the restructuring process and re-negotiate their agreement. Whereas a United Auto Workers negotiator has said, “I don’t see how the UAW will do anything until they see what the bondholders will give up.”

The Obama administration is looking toward bankruptcy proceedings for the automakers, “as a mechanism to help them restructure quickly and emerge stronger. [It will] quickly clear away old debts that are weighing them down. What we are asking is difficult. It will require hard choices by companies. It will require unions and workers who have already made painful concessions to make even more. It will require creditors to recognise that they cannot hold out for the prospect of endless government bailouts.” said Obama.

The auto parts suppliers and IT software exporters in India have already been affected by the declining auto sales. GM and Chrysler software contracts provide US$300 to 350 million a year to vendors in India. As well these two major automakers usually award US$1 billion contracts to auto parts suppliers. “We are worried and closely watching the developments in the US to gauge the impact. The decline in auto sales in the US has already hit the order books of Indian suppliers,” said a Delhi auto parts supplier.

“Going forward, the industry will undoubtedly be smaller, but if our efforts are successful it will be viable and it will support good jobs for Canadians,” said Clements.

Betty Sutton, Ohio’s Congresswoman put forward the CARS act which provides a US$3,000 to 5,000 incentive for those who trade in their vehicle for a fuel-efficient car. “It clearly stimulates the economy, and it gets the consumer into the showroom and gets them buying again. But importantly — and this is what I particularly like about it — it really helps the environment quite a bit in two respects.” said William Clay Ford Jr., executive chairman of Ford Motor Co.

Ford Motor Company has not come forward with requests for assistance.

Since December GM and Chrysler have received US$17.4 billion government loans.

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6-year-old boy in Colorado found alive, unhurt after runaway balloon allegedly carried him away

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Falcon Heene, a 6-year-old boy from Fort Collins in the US state of Colorado, has been found safe and unharmed after earlier reports said he boarded an experimental balloon the family was building and then floated away. The Larimer County sheriff announced during a press conference at 6:11 p.m. that Heene was found hiding inside a box in the family’s attic above the garage.

Earlier reports had said that Heene might have been inside a box attached to the bottom of the balloon, something authorities were focusing part of their search on. However, there were conflicting reports as to whether or not there was anything else attached to the balloon. The New York Times reports that the small compartment present on the bottom of the balloon when it landed, was the alleged box.

“It [the box] was damaged. Basically, it was folded over and damaged,” said Larimer County sheriff spokeswoman, Kathy Messick to the Times.

This balloon was never meant to actually carry anybody.

The balloon landed south of Prospect Springs. Police stated that they were searching for Heene based on what his two other brothers told authorities. A witness had earlier said that he might have seen something fall off the balloon on Weld County Roads 28, 41 or 43. Authorities were also looking into the possibility that Heene was never inside the balloon at all, and that he was hiding somewhere in his neighborhood to avoid punishment. This ultimately turned out to be true.

Initial reports were that Heene allegedly climbed into the balloon in his backyard in Fort Collins at about 11:00 a.m. local time. He then detached the anchor and began to float away. Police later said in a press conference that the story came from Falcon’s two brothers. Local residents were able to snap pictures of the balloon. Shortly after, a news helicopter was able to locate the balloon, which was initially flying at an altitude of 7,000 feet.

The balloon was never meant to carry a human, according to Fort Collins police. “This balloon was never meant to actually carry anybody. It was just a family project they were working on. The little compartment where their son is in is very small and it’s not attached very well.”

The Heene family lives in Fort Collins. The boy’s father, Richard, is a storm chaser and scientist. One report said they were building the experimental balloon in an effort to help commuters get to work easier. Officials say it has the ability to fly at an altitude of 10,000 feet. It is reported to be about 20 feet long, covered in tinfoil and resembles a flying saucer. Richard and his wife Naomi previously appeared on an episode of the U.S. television show Wife Swap and Richard has appeared in several videos chasing storms and dust devils. One of those chases was previously featured on an ABC News report.

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‘Top Model’ winner Jaslene Gonzalez on her career and being a Latina role model

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Jaslene Gonzalez is not your typical model. She rose to fame after winning Cycle 8 of America’s Next Top Model, and since then, has been aggressively tapping into the fashion industry. As a result of her Latin background, Gonzalez has been successful at marketing herself both in the English-speaking and Spanish-speaking worlds. However, Gonzalez is much much more – a fighter, a humanitarian, and a good Latin granddaughter.

Born in Chicago to a Latina mother, and a Puerto Rican-born father, Gonzalez had, in many ways, a typical U.S. Latino experience – her tight knit family, grandparents, and spirituality played an intrinsic part in her upbringing.

“I went to an all-girl Catholic school and grew up with tons of family…..My family was very close knit and supportive. They were involved in my life everyday. So there was so much joy in every little occasion…..Every Sunday we would go to my grandmother’s house where we [the family] would hang out together….We enjoyed being around each other and being together,” states Gonzalez.

Her grandfather was the director of a local dance group, Viva La Gente, which Gonzalez credits with impacting her life positively.

“I was a dancer for 12 years and life revolved around dancing. I was a very active girl, and was always involved with my grandfather’s dance studio. The whole family was. My aunts, my cousins – everyone took part in performances and were involved in the group…That’s how we spent our summers, and we looked forward to being outside, dancing salsa, hip hop, merengue,” states Gonzalez. Through her involvement in the dance studio, Gonzalez’s horizon was broadened significantly, and her humanitarian streak began to deepen.

“We were always constantly traveling. We traveled to Mexico to poor villages where we gave performances to give back to the community,” said Gonzalez.

Ironically, ANTM gave her the opportunity to overcome her own difficulties and to further help those in need. “I went in there, without knowing that I was in an abusive relationship. They were the ones that brought that up to me…they felt I was emotionally destroyed, they wanted me to get support,” commented Gonzalez. While the ANTM staff was supportive, she also credits her life long dream for helping her get out of the abusive relationship.

“Having a dream and having a goal in life, is the most important thing I did in my life. Because of that I maneuvered my way to that dream. I knew I was better than that, I wanted to be happier,” stated Gonzalez.

Soon after winning ANTM, Gonzalez became a spokesperson for Liz Claiborne and the National Domestic Violence Hotline, and began traveling the country reaching out to women.

“We had several meetings, and they asked me to be a spokesperson. I was so happy and blessed to help women, to have that title. It’s something I want to do, besides modelling….I enjoy sharing my personal experiences because I can educate them, but I can also save someone’s life. It’s something precious, it’s a gift,” stated Gonzalez.

Abuse is not the only obstacle Jaslene has had to face. Growing up Latina had its own set of difficulties. “Being a minority is a challenge no matter what,” states Gonzalez.

However, Gonzalez also states that being a Latina has many positive aspects in regards to her profession. “As a Latina, you have the advantage of being a Latina. Not only do you have this corporate job, but you can relate to many groups as a person.”

When asked if the fashion industry forces Latina models to change certain aspects about themselves, she remarks that she focuses on always staying true to herself. “Modeling is a difficult job because of what you go through. 80% of the time it’s a no…When I go in, I go in like me, I don’t have to change anything. Any time I get a chance to show who I am, I do. I am a Spanish girl, trying to pursue my dreams. I try to be the best I can be,” remarked Gonzalez.

It is that same confidence and will to succeed that she seems to appreciate in other woman. “I find women beautiful. I find a girl with no makeup, not worrying about her style and appearance, I find that sexy. I find confidence beautiful…Its so simple. It’s being natural and confident,” said Gonzalez.

As a role model, she has two key pieces advice that she offers women: nurture your mind with positive thoughts, and identify and foster the principles in life you value.

It is not surprising to see why Gonzalez’s family is proud of her. “My family is so funny. They are so happy. I’ve never seen them so full of life. My mom acts like she won. My grandmother screams ‘mi flaca‘ every time she sees me. They are so proud. Especially my grandparents. I was practically raised by them. To see them see you so happy and successful, there couldn’t be a better feeling,” said Gonzalez.

She adds that her grandparents would be extremely happy if she appeared on Cristina, the Spanish-language talk show whose host is referred to as “the Spanish Oprah Winfrey.”

In the coming years, Gonzalez plans to continue on the path she is on. She wants to continue gracing magazine covers, as well as dedicating herself to helping young teens develop self growth and esteem. “Every time I wake up, God gives me the opportunity to be a better me…Life gets better as it goes by.”

This is the third in a series of articles with America’s Next Top Model contestants.

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Obama to suspend Arctic oil drilling

Thursday, May 27, 2010

According to Democratic Senator Mark Begich from Alaska, the U.S. Department of the Interior has decided to halt all new Arctic exploratory oil drilling applications until 2011. The response is believed to be caused in part by the two current oil spill disasters (that of the Deepwater Horizon Incident and more recently the Alaska oil pipeline malfunction). However, Begich is not happy about the actions taken by the White House.

“I am frustrated that this decision by the Obama administration to halt offshore development for a year will cause more delays and higher costs for domestic oil and gas production to meet the nation’s energy needs,” Begich claims.

Last September, the state of Alaska made a public notice about Shell’s desire to drill off the coast of the Beaufort Sea, placing experimental drilling rigs at two drill site location: “Torpedo” and “Sivulliq”.

“Shell is committed to undertaking a safe and environmentally responsible exploration program in the Chukchi Sea and Beaufort Sea in 2010,” said Shell Oil Company President Marvin E. Odum to the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Mineral Management Service (MMS).

Odum follows with, “I am confident that we are ready to conduct the 2010 Arctic exploratory program safely and, I want to be clear, the accountability for this program rests with Shell.”

Chuck Clausen, director of the Alaska project at the Natural Resources Defense Council is not so optimistic: “Hazards present in the Arctic can include frigid temperatures, presence of sea ice, gale-force winds, intense storms and heavy fog … The potential for loss in the Arctic is great.”

Odum believes that the climate in the arctic will make any spill easier to clean up because, “Arctic conditions create differences in responding to oil in cold and ice conditions. Differences in evaporation rates, viscosity and weathering provide greater opportunities to recover oil. In Arctic conditions, ice can aid oil spill response by slowing oil weathering, dampening waves, preventing oil from spreading over large distances, and allowing more time to respond.”

However, Clausen believes that there are no current systems to remove oil from icy ocean waters.

This is not the first time that President Obama’s administration has taken the environmentally cautious path in Alaska. The President put Bristol Bay off limits to oil and gas exploration until 2017. Bristol Bay currently is one of the top salmon fishing grounds in the state.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar is expected to give a speech at Thursday’s White House address, regarding the suspension of Arctic oil drilling projects.

Retrieved from “https://en.wikinews.org/w/index.php?title=Obama_to_suspend_Arctic_oil_drilling&oldid=4502410”

Explosion in Turkey kills seventeen

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Reuters, AFP, the Associated Press are reporting that a gas explosion in a Turkish school killed at least seventeen girls Friday.

Reuters reports the initial death toll at sixteen, with 27 injured. The number of deaths later rose to 17 when a body was removed from the rubble. Two survivors were pulled from the rubble as rescuers worked into the night. One girl is still missing.

“We won’t stop until we find her,” village mayor Mehmet Demirgul, told the Associated Press.

About fifty students and teachers were in the school, where some had gathered on for Islamic study in the three-story structure in the village of Balcilar, near Taskent in the Konya province .

Merve Avci, a 13-year-old, slightly injured student spoke to the Anatolian news agency: “I was in the part of the building which didn’t collapse with five of my friends immediately after the explosion, and we felt flames rising from the downstairs to upper floors.”

Anatolian says that Avci was in the process of washing before pre-dawn prayers, when a noise in the building’s kitchen led Avci and some teacher to investigate. She says she saw a loose gas pipe before being ordered back to her room. She says she smelled gas coming from somewhere above her room before the explosion.

“We think the collapse was caused by a gas canister explosion in the building, given the burns on the injured,” Konya province health service official Galip Sef told Reuters.

Mayor Demirgul said a leak in a pipe carrying liquefied petroleum gas is the probable cause of the pre-dawn blast.

“We are hearing voices. I believe those inside the rubble will be saved,” Demirgul told reporters, according to the Associated Press and Reuters.

The Associated Press reports that a small portion of all three stories of the building were left standing. This is confirmed by images displayed on the Reuters website.

The building is owned by a religion foundation and is under investigation when Turkish authorities found an non-approved annex to the structure, according to AFP.

The explosion is unrelated to the bomb blast in northern Turkey on July 28.

Retrieved from “https://en.wikinews.org/w/index.php?title=Explosion_in_Turkey_kills_seventeen&oldid=3787886”

Controversial Queensland Premier of 19 years dies at 94

Saturday, April 23, 2005Queensland Australia’s Sir Joh Bjelke Petersen, a controversial figure who served as the State’s Premier for 19 years and reigned over the government that later became the subject of the Fitzgerald Inquiry, has died in hospital at Kingaroy, aged 94.

“By any measurement, Sir Joh was an exceptional state builder who will be remembered for consistently placing Queensland first,” said the Australian Governor General, Major General Jeffery, in a statement.

Australian Prime Minister, John Howard: “He was certainly a strong political figure and I extend my condolences to his wife and his family.”

But not all voices were sympathetic, prominent Queensland Aboriginal activist Sam Watson for example: “Aboriginal people will always remember him as a racist, a thug and a dictator.”

Having suffered severe ill-health for some weeks, and declining health for years, Sir Joh passed away at around 6pm AEST. He was surrounded by his family, who had been summoned yesterday by Lady Flo, his wife and one-time Senator, for final goodbyes.

Phrases such as “Don’t you worry about that” and “Goodness gracious me” were like trademarks to the maverick leader.

Known simply as ‘Joh’ to many, he would famously describe press conferences as ‘feeding the chooks’. Today Kingaroy locals taunted waiting press with cries from “You’re chooks, you’re chooks, ha ha” to “Go home, ya vultures”, and some obscenities, reported the Courier-Mail of Brisbane.

His fall from power at the end of the 80s was surrounded in controversy, with the state embroiled in corruption findings going to the level of his deputies, and Bjelke Petersen’s claims of ignorance coming under challenge with charges of perjury. The case was never heard due to a controversial hung jury: the foreman of the jury, Luke Shaw, had been an office-bearer of the Young Nationals — an arm of Bjelke Petersen’s National Party — as well as a member of a group calling themselves ‘Friends of Joh’.

Having had his start in life as a peanut farmer in remote Kingaroy, the former Premier was fit up until the very end, but palsy was paralyzing his muscles and organs, to which he eventually succumbed.

“Throughout his life Sir Joh combined enormous energy, vision and an immense capacity for hard work, most especially during his 19-year term as Premier of Queensland,” the Governor General said.

“What looked to us to be huge risks at the time turned out to be nation building,” said Bob Katter, a former minister of Joh’s Government, who credited Sir Joh with starting the Queensland coal, aluminum and tourism industries.

He is also remembered for dismantling many of the State’s unions, and for a somewhat totalitarian and heavy handed style of keeping control.

Under Joh, street protests were banned and Special Branch monitored extensively those the authoritarian leader saw as subversives, measures prompting Queenslander, Australian Civil Liberties Council, Terry O’Gorman, to comment Sir Joh was “the most appalling premier Queensland has ever had in terms of civil liberties and human rights”.

Joh was also influential in the famous case of the Dismissal by the Governor General of then-Prime Minister Gough Whitlam, in 1975.

In his last years as Premier, he had taken his cause to the nation’s capital, with the “Joh for PM” campaign. But this distraction has been credited with the downfall of his government, with corruption investigations at last being conducted by his stand-in, Bill Gunn.

The body of Sir Joh, who was of Lutheran faith, is to be buried at Bethany, the family property near Kingaroy.

Unsolicited quotes from ordinary Australians, many ex-Queenslanders seeking refuge in southern states, on hearing the news:

“Outrageous bastard! Oh God! That was polite!” — “Karen”

“Guilty as Hell. And that’s where he is now.” — “Michael”

“Yay! Good riddence to bad rubbish” — “Liza”

“The dictator is gone our time 2 sing” — “John. H.”

“Yeah he took a while — about 90 f*cking years overdue!” — “Hose Man”

“The pope an joh at least somethin going right” — “Helen”

“Corrupt f*cking sh*teating Bible-bashing f*ckw*t is dead. And thank f*ck. I haven’t been so happy since September 11!” — “Greg”

“I don’t drink but I’ll be having a red whilst dancing on his grave.” — “Cellest”

“Ding dong the d*ck is dead!” — anon.

“Yeahhh!!! Fucking finally” — “Leo”

“It’s a great day today the Rednecks are silent a great victory has been won” — “Zenner”

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.
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Chilean miners trapped after mine collapse; miscalculated drilling delays rescue

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A gold mine collapse in Copiapó, Atacama Region, Chile has trapped 33 miners since last Thursday. Another collapse occurred on Saturday, that provoked temporary suspension of the rescue works.

Rescue efforts were first focused on a ventilation shaft, but attempts to reach the miners failed. Rescuers have been drilling into the mine since Sunday. “The situation is very complex, the mine continues to have collapses because there is a geological fault-line,” said Sebastián Piñera, President of Chile, who “pledged to do everything possible to get to the trapped miners,” but acknowledged he was pessimistic.

There is no certainty that the miners, who are trapped about 400 meters (1300 feet) below the ground, are still alive.

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Hospitality exchange organisation grows to 100,000 members

Thursday, January 12, 2006

The Hospitality Club became the first hospitality exchange network to pass the 100,000 members milestone on January 11, 2006. Its closest competitors, CouchSurfing and GlobalFreeLoaders, have 40,000 and 30,000 members.

Hospitality exchange organisations are dedicated to putting travellers in contact with locals offering to host them in their house for free, or simply offer them a tour of their city or share a meal with them. Besides the obvious financial advantage, the Hospitality Club believes that “bringing people together and fostering international friendships will increase intercultural understanding and strengthen peace.”

Servas Open Doors, the oldest network, in fact formally views itself as a peace initiative, and there are also a number of smaller hospitality exchange networks which focus on specialized audiences, such as Agritourism.

w:Veit Kühne from Dreseden, Germany, who founded the Hospitality Club in 2000 while he was still a student, believes that “one day, everyone will have the opportunity to visit any country knowing that someone will be waiting to receive them with open arms. People will travel in a different way, meet each other and build intercultural understanding through personal contact.”

“There will be many members in places like Israel and Palestine, Northern Ireland, the Balkans, Chechnya, Rwanda, or Timor who will exchange hospitality with each other, and in small steps the Hospitality Club will have helped making peace a lasting vision for our wonderful planet,” he adds.

Hospitality Club was the first online organisation to offer on a major scale the possibility for travellers to find and contact locals open to cultural exchange. The whole system is entirely free, and hosting fees are supported by Google advertisements. The safe and efficient operation of the 30+ languages website and its database, forum, and chatroom depends on the work of hundreds of volunteers from around the world.

Anybody can become a member, but they must provide their full name and address, for security reasons. All members have a profile they can fill with information about themselves and their preferences, to help prospective visitors contact the person most likely to welcome them.

The most often mentioned drawback of the system is lack of security. The main difference between hospitality exchange networks and other social networking platforms such as Orkut or LiveJournal is that the former’s ultimate objective is to allow for face-to-face meetings. Users should realise that there is a risk involved, although according to Frenchman Jean-Yves Hégron, main software developer of the Hospitality Club, “By using the Club you have the same level of risk as the one you face whenever you get out from your home.”

Discussion about strategic or security issues is not allowed on the website’s forum, hence critics often mention lack of transparency in how they perceive decisions are taken by volunteers in Hospitality Club. Another point of critique is the fact that there is no legal organisation behind Hospitality Club, and the domain name is registered to the founder of the Club himself. Messages containing links to other hospitality exchange networks were at some point deleted without further notice though this policy has since then been reverted. Exponential growth of the network has also caused server failures alike to those observed in Wikipedia until recently.

The idea of free hospitality exchange is not new. Servas was the first organisation to develop it, right after World War II. It still exists to this day, with over 15,000 members, and is represented as an NGO in the United Nations. Because democratic, paper-based Servas is perceived as bureaucratic by some, Hospex was created as the first online network in 1991.

Hospitality Club succeeded to Hospex in August 2000, introducing innovative security features ranging from spam protection to passport control and a sophisticated feedback system, thus making online hospitality exchange available to travellers with higher safety concerns. From 1000 members in July 2002 to 10,000 in February 2004, it quickly grew to 100,000 on 11 January 2006 and is expected to reach the million in about two years.

A Wikipedia article has a list of hospitality exchange services.
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