Chemical plant fire decimates Danvers, Massachusetts neighboorhood

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

According to outgoing Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, an explosion that was “equivalent to a 2,000 lb. bomb” and registered 0.5 on the Richter scale decimated an area of Danvers and is also a “Thanksgiving miracle.”

The explosion occurred around 2:45 am EST, this morning in the Danversport area of Danvers, Massachusetts at the plant for solvent and ink manufacturer, CAI Inc. The explosion, which was caught on security camera and was heard up to over 25-50 miles away in southern Maine and New Hampshire.

The explosion damaged over 90 homes, blowing out windows and knocking some houses off their foundations. Officials believe that some of the more extensively damaged houses will have to be leveled and rebuilt. Some of the buildings damaged included a bakery, boats at a close by marina and the New England Home for the Deaf, an assisted-living facility for people who are deaf or deafblind and elderly residents requiring constant care. “These people are extremely fragile,” said state Rep. Ted Speliotis, D-Danvers, whose district includes the affected area. “Many of them have Alzheimer’s and other illnesses. It’s clear they can’t stay here long, but it’s clear they won’t be able to return for quite a while.”

Danvers Fire Chief James P. Tutko toured the area by helicopter and said many residents would be kept from their homes for the foreseeable future. “It looks like a war zone, that’s the only thing I can say,” Tutko said. When asked about the loss of no life at all, he responded “Somebody out there likes us.” Finally, he said that finding out the cause of the explosion would take days.

Outgoing governor Mitt Romney toured the area and said the explosion was a “Thanksgiving miracle” as the explosion was “equivalent to a 2,000 lb bomb going off in a residential neighborhood,” and that no one was killed and only about 10 people suffered only minor injuries in area that included over 300 residents. Residents of the area have been evacuated to the Danvers High School where temporary shelter has been set up by the American Red Cross of Massachusetts Bay. Donations are being taken for residents affected by the explosion. Residents are also being told to start filing insurance claims right away and to keep track of their expenses for items bought.

There were minor environmental concerns due to water runoff of chemicals. According the Environmental Protection Agency‘s on-scene coordinator Mike Nalipinski, preliminary tests showed low levels of toluene, a solvent, but said it was nothing of significance. Water runoff from the water used by firefighters left a purple sheen on the river and tests were being conducted. However, the water is not a local drinking water supply and the chemical evaporates quickly. Chief Tutko said there was no risk of toxic fumes getting into the air.

An Eastern Propane facility was also located near the area, however, it was not the source of the explosion. A spokesman for the company said that although the property suffered some minor damage, their tanks are secure.

According to WHDH television, a person who answered the telephone at CAI’s Georgetown, Massachusetts headquarters refused comment, and a telephone message left at the company president’s home was not immediately returned.

Thai prime minister dismisses offer by anti-government protesters

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Thailand’s prime minister, Abhisit Vejjajiva, has ruled out a compromise offer by anti-government protest leaders for parliament to be dissolved in thirty days, with elections to be held in 90 days.

In a televised address on Sunday, with army chief General Anupong Paochinda at his side, the prime minister dismissed the offer made by the National United Front of Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD), saying such issues could not be resolved in such a short period of time, and “because they use violence and intimidation. I cannot accept this.”

Abhisit said the government stood by an offer made during earlier talks with the UDD for the house to be dissolved within the next nine months.

In reaction, the UDD, also called the Red Shirts, maintained an earlier call for parliament to be dissolved immediately. The UDD also withdrew from any further negotiations with the government. UDD leaders have repeatedly warned supporters rallying in central Bangkok’s retail and business areas of the threat of a new government crackdown.

There have been two large incidents of street violence in the past month or so, resulting in 26 deaths and injuries to hundreds of people. The Red Shirts primarily consist of supporters of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, ousted in a 2006 coup. He was later given a two-year prison term on charges of corruption, although Shinawatra left the country in self-exile to avoid being jailed.

Wikinews reports from 2008 Taiwan Open Source Developers’ Conference

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Developers involved in open source products across Taiwan gathered together at the 2008 Taiwan Open Source Development Conference on Saturday and Sunday to present a variety of research relevant to the open-source community.

A variety of different issues were discussed at the conference, including 3D Graphical User Interfaces,web developing tools, new software platforms,and various hardware. Google, Yahoo, and Canonical also gave talks about Google Gears, Yahoo UI, and Ubuntu Mobile.

Discover The Facts About Lasik Surgery}

Discover The Facts About LASIK Surgery


Jon Arnold

Lasik surgery has been steadily gaining popularity in recent years. It is a very safe surgical procedure, but there are many factors you should consider other than cost before deciding that this is for you. This eye surgery procedure uses lasers to reshape the cornea of the eye, allowing people with less-than-perfect vision to be able to get rid of their glasses or contact lenses. Recovery from this type of surgery is usually less than a day, but it is not for everyone. You should understand what the procedure is and what problems this procedure is designed to correct.

For example, if you currently wear contact lenses and need reading glasses to read or have bifocal glasses, you will still need reading glasses after this surgery in almost all cases. Repeat that sentence to yourself, because a majority of people do not understand that aspect of it. Many lasik surgeons will not consider you as a candidate for surgery if you have other severe medical problems, or if you have a severe astigmatism.

When considering Lasik eye surgery, also known as refractive surgery, one of the things that you will want to do is find a surgeon that you are comfortable with. This only makes sense, since this is your eyes that he is going to be pointing a surgical laser into! Although there is not evidence to support the theory that a lasik surgical center does better work than a lasik clinic next door to Hallmark at the local mall, it is still something you need to be comfortable with.

As far as the LASIK surgeon, I would suggest finding out how many surgeries he has done and for how long. Note that lasik surgery has been around for less than 10 years, so do not accept an answer of 25 to 30 years. It is not out of line for you to ask for references of previous patients where the surgeon has performed the same type of surgery with approximately your same level of vision deficiency. You can learn a lot if you contact these references and I encourage you to do so.

Find out how long the surgeon has been affiliated with the hospital or clinic where the surgery will be performed. Also find out the policy if enhancement surgery is needed within the first six months to a year. Enhancement surgery is sometimes necessary to make final corrections to the lasik surgical procedure, and if required, is normally done within the first year. Also find out what is recommended as far as follow-up visits, especially how many of them and how frequently, as well as whether or not these follow-up visits are included in the quoted cost.

It is also important to find out if your lasik surgeon candidate is part of any hospital organization or research organization. Frequently, doctors and surgeons will belong to and/or be affiliated with research organizations, which allows them to keep up to date on the latest findings and the latest techniques as more and more studies and research is done. Although you may not want to consider this type of affiliation a requirement in your lasik surgeon selection, it is certainly a point in the surgeons favor if he does belong to one or more organizations such as this.

Once you have found the right clinic or hospital and are comfortable with the surgeon that you have interviewed and consulted with, then you can move on to the next steps of your lasik eye surgery planning and scheduling.

Jon is a computer engineer and long-term world traveler who maintains many websites to pass along his knowledge and findings. You can read more about LASIK surgery and LASIK information at his web site at

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Discover The Facts About LASIK Surgery }

Scientists find key human language gene

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Researchers have found a crucial genetic difference between humans and chimps that could help explain our language and speech abilities. The difference lies in a gene called FOXP2 which encodes for a protein of the same name. This acts as a transcription factor, controlling the activity of other genes.

The human and chimp versions of the protein differ in only two of their 740 amino acid components, but when researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, replaced the human gene with the chimp version in neurons grown in the laboratory, they found it affected the expression of at least 116 other genes.

The results are detailed in a paper published on Thursday in the scientific journal Nature.

Author of the study Dr. Daniel Geschwind, of the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, said the gene had a “major role” in differences between chimps and humans. “We showed that the human and chimp versions of FOXP2 not only look different but function differently too.”

We believe FOXP2 is not only important for the higher order cognitive aspect of language but also for the motor aspect of speech and language

Some of the affected genes control the formation of connections in the brain, whilst others relate to facial movements. Several have already been found to be involved in language disorders. Mutations in FOXP2 itself were also known to affect speech and language; the gene was first identified in members of a family suffering from language problems who were found to share a genetic mutation.

Frances Vargha-Khadem at University College London has studied patients with FOXP2 mutations, and agrees with the new research. As well as language problems, some of her subjects have changes in the shape of their jaws, mouths and tongues. She thinks that chimps may also have these differences.

“We believe FOXP2 is not only important for the higher order cognitive aspect of language but also for the motor aspect of speech and language,” said Genevieve Konopka, one of the authors of the paper at UCLA.

Previous research indicates that the changes in FOXP2 occurred around 200,000 years ago with the rise of modern humans. Geschwind also suggests that several of the related genes may have evolved together. Preliminary studies have shown signs that they too emerged relatively recently.

Scientists are now keen to further study FOXP2 and the genes that it affects. Geschwind believes this could eventually lead to breakthroughs in treatment for disorders such as autism and schizophrenia, which affect language skills.

The study was funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, the A.P. Giannini Foundation and the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression.

Observing the 2012 Human Trafficking Awareness Day in the US, and wider world

Friday, January 13, 2012

This week US citizens observed National Human Trafficking Awareness Day through acts of education, legislation, and enforcement; whilst, around the world, other people highlighted or tackled this global problem in their own countries.

According to an annual report on human trafficking released by the US State Department in June last year, 27 million men, women and children are exploited through human trafficking. Worldwide, at least two million children are estimated to be trafficked victims of the sex trade; and, in military conflicts, it is not uncommon for children to be forced to bear arms. In releasing the report last year, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton highlighted the importance of international cooperation in addressing trafficking, and cultural issues associated with it.

Under the United Nations’ Palermo Protocols, human trafficking encompasses cases where victims are born into slavery, forcibly transported for exploitation, consented to work with a trafficker, and/or were forced to participate in criminal activities. The Protocols also recognize the unique status and rights of children.

Reports from across the United States show a number of communities taking local action to solve, or otherwise highlight, this global problem.

In Southern California, Sister Caritas Foster is an advocate for the area’s victims of human trafficking. Commenting on the area’s involvement, she stated: “We in the San Francisco Bay Area are one of the largest receiving areas with our borders and coasts”. For over four years, Foster has worked on educating the public on human trafficking, speaking to civic and religious groups and describing the power traffickers hold over their victims through vivid accounts of situations trafficked individuals find themselves in. Many have no idea where they are located, suffer under the constant threat of deportation, and most often lack the language abilities to seek help.

Los Angeles politician Don Knabe said human trafficking was not a distant problem but one that hits close to home. As the county supervisor overseeing the fourth district in Los Angeles County, Knabe cited figures from the Probation Department showing 84 percent of arrests of children on prostitution charges in 2010 were in his district; he believes the overall problem for the county is much larger, and wants the Probation Department to establish a special unit dedicated to sexually exploited minors.

Northward in Seattle, Washington, members of the King County Sheriff’s department realized that law enforcement had to deal supportively with the symptoms of human trafficking — rather than putting victims in jail. This gave birth to the “Genesis Project” where sheriff’s deputies offer potential victims of trafficking a comfortable safe haven with amenities for 24 hours, and put them in touch with social services for counselling, job training, and education advice.

Politicians from several states have sought to address the connection between tourism and human trafficking; Indiana’s state Senate unanimously passed a human trafficking bill on Tuesday morning. Current legislation only considered forced marriage and prostitution as human trafficking; loopholes in the existing laws allowed some forms of human trafficking to escape prosecution. Lawmakers in the state hope to toughen their human trafficking laws, and have new legislation on the statute books in time for the Super Bowl, due to be held in Indianapolis on February 5. The just-passed bill now goes to the House for approval.

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Also on Tuesday, lawmakers from Hawaii held a special hearing on human trafficking. Kathryn Xian, of Pacific Alliance to Stop Slavery, says traffickers capitalize on the state’s tourist-based economy. She introduced a package of seven bills she says will help prevent human trafficking in the state.

At a national level, the US government continues to work abroad on the issue of trafficking; Luis CdeBaca, a special ambassador for human trafficking, is working with Myanmar, commonly known as Burma, as the country seeks to improve diplomatic relations with the United States. Myanmar was identified by the US State Department as having one of the worst records of forced labor, and as a country that lacks necessary laws to curb human trafficking.

Although National Human Trafficking Awareness Day is a US-based effort to recognise, and highlight, this issue — as a topic of global concern being highlighted through the United Nations, others around the world continue efforts to increase public awareness and tackle trafficking.

Forty-six women from the international group Operation Mobilization sought to raise awareness by climbing Tanzania’s Mount Kilimanjaro. The summit is called “Uhuru Peak”, with Uhuru meaning “freedom” in Swahili. Each of the non-professional climbers raised US$10,000 to help those affected by human trafficking.

In the Middle East, several countries are reported to have problems with human traffickers recruiting unemployed gay Kenyan men to become sex slaves. Saudi Arabia and Qatar are supposedly the more-common destination countries into which Kenyans are lured with offers of high-paying jobs. However, in the United Arab Emirates — where no law prohibits trafficking, but homosexuality is illegal — the problem is compounded.

Enforcement of existing laws, and acting against trafficking, are seen as key steps in reducing the activity. Showing that no country is unaffected, Northern Ireland police are currently investigating five sex trafficking cases; and, on Monday, Filipino police rescued fifteen women following a tip-off regarding women recruited, and being held, prior to being sent to work abroad.

In the Northern Ireland situation, Detective Superintendent Philip Marshall stated that fifteen men are to be contacted, suspected of having paid for sex with trafficked women. Identifying victims within the UK, or victims seeking help, is becoming more challenging with the sex industry having switched to using hotel rooms as-opposed to street corners. Many victims of trafficking are found to be unaware of where within the country they are.

In the Philippines situation, Zamboanga City police are still seeking the recruiter of the fifteen women rescued in Rio Hondo.

A range of complexities are involved in the sentencing of both those convicted of human trafficking, and their victims. In one Canadian case, 43-year-old Hungarian Lajos Domotor pled guilty to trafficking men and women into forced labor. Following being charged with conspiracy to commit human trafficking, he developed terminal stomach cancer and has been given a 10 to 15 percent chance of living five years.

In the UK, officials are seeking to detect exploitation prior to sentencing — as a counter to the high number of foreign women in jails, frequently having been victims of trafficking. One in seven women prisoners across England and Wales are foreign, with the primary offenses being drug or immigration-related. A report into the issue recommends sentencing decisions should consider the role of women, and of coercion, in such cases.

Artists also have a special role to play in the education and awareness of the public. The first opera about sex trafficking will premiere in Liverpool, England, on March 7. Anya17 was composed by Adam Gorb with a libretto written by Ben Kaye. Performers will come from Manchester’s Royal Northern College of Music and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic contemporary music ensemble 10/10. Funding for the production was provided in part by the United Nations.

George Bush: Rescue plan will get through

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

George W. Bush vowed to get the USD 700 billion economic rescue plan through congress in a statement to the media made today.

“Yesterday, the House of Representatives voted on a financial rescue plan that had been negotiated by Congressional leaders of both parties and my administration,” Bush reminded the audience. “Unfortunately, the measure was defeated by a narrow margin. I’m disappointed by the outcome, but I assure our citizens and citizens around the world that this is not the end of the legislative process.”

“Producing legislation is complicated, and it can be contentious. It matters little what a path a bill takes to become law,” he continued. “We’re at a critical moment for our economy, and we need legislation that decisively address the troubled assets now clogging the financial system, helps lenders resume the flow of credit to consumers and businesses, and allows the American economy to get moving again.”

Market Data

23:45, 30 September, 2008 (UTC)
10.850,70 485,21 4,68%
2.082,33 98,60 4.97%
1.166,36 59,97 5,42%
11.752,90 467,83 4.15%
24.888,90 933,23 3,90%
1.598,170 52.720 3,41%
49.541,27 3,513.21 7,63%
4.902,45 83,68 1,74%
5.831,02 23,94 0,41%
4.032,10 78,62 1,99%
6.654,89 154,76 2,38%
331,45 7,90 2,44%
2.672,20 82,73 3,19%
19.512,00 110,00 0,56%
10.987,50 41,80 0,38%
4.631,30 207,90 4,30%
11.259,90 483,75 4,12%
18.016,20 135,53 0,76%
2.293,78 3,72 0,16%

“I recognize this is a difficult vote for members of Congress. Many of them don’t like the fact that our economy has reached this point, and I understand that. But the reality is that we are in an urgent situation, and the consequences will grow worse each day if we do not act. The dramatic drop in the stock market that we saw yesterday will have a direct impact on the retirement accounts, pension funds, and personal savings of millions of our citizens. And if our nation continues on this course, the economic damage will be painful and lasting.” World and US markets today are up after severe declines yesterday. Most have recovered 30% of their previous losses, meaning that the potential government expenditure was similar to the market losses.

Bush then said that he knows “many Americans are especially worried about the cost of the legislation.” He then attempted to justify the cost. “The bill the House considered yesterday commits up to 700 billion taxpayer dollars to purchase troubled assets from banks and other financial institutions. That, no question, is a large amount of money. We’re also dealing with a large problem. But to put that in perspective, the drop in the stock market yesterday represented more than a trillion dollars in losses.”

If passed, the bailout plan would have allowed for the United States government to purchase devalued mortgage backed securities, resulting from the subprime mortgage crisis, from troubled financial institutions. The US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said the plan could cost up to $700 billion.

Unique Thank You Gift Baskets 5 Basket Ideas

By Marie-Claire Smith

Showing gratitude is a big word. It is one of those things that may be more of a gift to the giver than the receiver. Have you ever noticed how, when you give thanks, the world just seems to take on a special glow and life seems a bit better?

While it can be very refreshing to thank God or the Universe for what you have been given, in a smaller, more personal way, thanking another person can also do wonders for your soul. The act of giving thanks tells others that we appreciate them and all that they do.

A great way to give thanks is with unique thank you gift baskets. Whether you plan to make your own or purchase just the right gift basket, here are 5 ideas for unique thank you gift baskets:

1. Make it fun for him or her with a Gone Golfing golf cart gift bag tote:

Ideal for a man or a woman, this golf cart paperboard gift tote is filled with enough goodies and gourmet snacks to keep your favorite golfer going all day long! He or she will enjoy its “Great Golfing” premium coffee, vintage cheddar cheese, too good gourmet sugar cookies, chocolate chip cookies and more. This gift bag tote is perfect for any thank you gift occasion – or anytime you want to make that person’s day a bit more special with a thank you gift.

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2. Go classy with a Tuxedo gift basket for him:

The Tuxedo basket is designed exclusively for men. It is perfect for when you want to show your heartfelt gratitude while at the same time spoiling a man in your life. It contains: 4 oz hand and foot balm (non perfumed), 3 masculine-scented organic soap bars, and much more. The black & white tuxedo packaging brings the whole thing together.

3. The Because You’re Special basket for a special woman in your life:

Make a special woman in your life feel truly appreciated with the Because You’re Special gift basket. Your gift will delight her great foods such as soothing apricot tea, a sampling of chai teas featuring Peace, Joy and Serenity, specialty chocolate chip cookies, butter toffee popcorn, a pretty keepsake a picture frame, truffle cookies, and rich chocolate fudge. Yummy! Everything inside is packed in a pretty little package.

4. Get romantic with her with a Timeless Romance rose bath and body set:

If the woman you feel grateful for happens to be a love interest, bring a hint of romance into her life with the beautifully Timeless Romance rose bath and body set. It features the timeless scent of rose infused into the bath and body products. Treat her to a “day at the spa” at home with fragrant shower gel, bubble bath, exfoliating body scrub, and more. It’s the perfect way to say thank you – romantically.

5. For teens, give the It’s Game Time boredom and stress relief gift set:

Know a teen to whom you’d like to show some gratitude? Check out the It’s Game Time boredom and stress relief gift set. With this set, you are giving the gift of family time spent together. It is filled with yummy snacks and hours of games and entertainment for the whole family. He or she can use it on their next family vacation, take it on a road trip, or just as an excuse to spend time together on a Sunday afternoon. This one is filled with hours of fun and games for all!

Consider giving any one of these 5 unique thank you gift baskets to someone you admire and care about.

About the Author: Get these and more unique gift basket ideas at:

Unique Gift Basket Ideas



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Author of My Billion Year Contract reflects on life in elite Scientology group

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Wikinews interviewed author Nancy Many about her book My Billion Year Contract, and asked her about life working in the elite Scientology group known as the “Sea Org“. Many joined Scientology in the early 1970s, and after leaving in 1996 she later testified against the organization. Published in October, Many’s book has gone on to become one of the top selling new books on Scientology at

Sealing in New Delhi put off until Monday

Thursday, November 2, 2006

 Correction — November 9, 2006 The article incorrectly reports that the “opposition parties opposed” the HC notice on exempting Lal Deora areas from building bylaws. The article should read, BJP Municipal corporators opposed some provisions of resolutions passed by the MCD on March 13 urging postponement of demolition and sealing of buildings. The error is regretted. 

The Group of Ministers which is overseeing the issue has decided not to resume the sealing of unauthorised commercial establishments until Monday. The decision came after seeing the current tense situation in New Delhi.

The Group of Ministers is headed by Home minister Shivraj Patil and comprised of Law minister H R Bhardwaj, Delhi CM Sheila Dikhit, Union Urban Development minister S Jaipal Reddy and his deputy Ajay Makan.

S Jaipal Reddy told reporters that it is very difficult to conduct the sealing drive in the city under these circumstances. He made the statement after a meeting of Group of Ministers.

The Supreme Court had already sent the notice to Municipal Corporation of Delhi to resume the sealing drive from Thursday. They will approach the apex court on Friday and will apprise the court about the difficulties in carrying out the sealing drive in these circumstances where the traders are going on strike and creating situation of tension in the capital.

Supreme Court’s Monitoring committee called on the MCD to resume the sealing of unauthorised shops in the city on Friday.


  • 1 History of sealing drive in New Delhi
    • 1.1 MCD movement to demolish commercial establishments in residential areas
    • 1.2 Traders’ movement against the demolition activities
    • 1.3 Notifications from the authorities
    • 1.4 MCD’s drive of sealing commercial establishments
    • 1.5 Delhi Laws (Special Provisions) Bill, 2006
  • 2 Related news
  • 3 Sources
  • 4 References
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