Police track kidney doctor to Brampton, Canada

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

The hunt for alleged kidney harvester, Dr. Amit Kumar, has led investigators to Brampton, a city in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) of Ontario, Canada.

Indian investigators allege that Kumar is the kingpin of a ring that removed kidneys of poor laborers in India for transplantation to the highest bidding patients, usually foreigners. After a request by Indian police via an Interpol “red notice”, Canadian police located a house in Brampton owned by Kumar, who has been dubbed “Dr. Horror” by the Indian press.

The house is occupied by a woman, presumed to be his wife, and two young children. Kumar purchased the 5,600 sq ft (~510 ) home on February 2, 2007 for C$610,000. Reportedly, additional upgrades were performed at the home, including an in-ground pool, at a cost of C$100,000. The family drives an expensive SUV. The children, two boys aged 4 and 5, are said to be enrolled at private schools.

Dr. Kumar, a nephrologist, born Santosh Rameshwar Raut, was known to his neighbors. He told them that he was a cardiovascular surgeon in India, but that he wanted to buy a hotel in Canada and, after one last trip to India to tie up loose ends, permanently relocate to Canada.

“We are completely shocked,” a neighbor told the Toronto Star. “We used to joke at parties that he must be loaded to get such a beautiful wife, but nothing prepared us for this.” Another neighbor told the paper, “It’s very unusual for someone to come here from India and buy a big house like this and a Lexus. Doctors in India just don’t make that kind of money.”

Meanwhile, investigators are no closer to Amit Kumar, than they were a few days ago. It is widely believed that he is trying to flee India for Canada via Nepal, a country for which he is alleged to have a passport.

Police in Mumbai, however, believe he is still in India. “He is very much in India,” commissioner Rakesh Maria said on Tuesday. “We suspect he will never leave.”

“He will stay in India — it won’t be easy to conduct his illegal activities anywhere else,” he said. “In a country like Canada, it would almost be impossible to find [kidney] donors in large numbers.”

They think they can buy the kidney for peanuts. That’s why the likes of [Amit Kumar] can prosper.

However, after a request by the Haryana state government, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) will soon take lead in the investigation.

“We haven’t yet received a final word to start investigations,” CBI Director Vijay Shankar said. “We will begin working on the case as per legal process.” Thus far, police in Gurgoan, Moradabad, Mumbai and Rajasthan have been investigating the case separately.

The case has called attention to medical tourism, the practice of traveling abroad for health care at more affordable rates. Kumar is alleged to have charged US$50,000 for a kidney transplant. The donors are said to have been paid the equivalent of US$1,200. Even so, the donors, according to widespread reports and testimonials, may not have realized what they were getting into when they went with a stranger for a well-paying job.

The Toronto Star interviewed a medical tourism travel agent, who operates openly. Aruna Thurairajan, who runs Overseas Medical Services in Calgary, Alberta, says that she frequently gets calls from patients in need of a kidney. Thurairajan refuses to give referrals for transplants because it “gives medical tourism a bad rap.”

“Money is a big factor for people to decide where to go. Often they want to bargain how much to pay the vendor [organ donor]. Some of them can be quite selfish and mean. They think they can buy the kidney for peanuts. That’s why the likes of [Amit Kumar] can prosper. So the patient should also be blamed along with him, because the patient bargains down the price,” said Thurairajan.

But the victims of this illegal trade are not exclusively the poor day laborers but sometimes the clients themselves, according to a report by Hindustan Times. The investigation cited a driver for a close associate of Amit Kumar and claims that at least three foreigners died on Dr. Kumar’s operating table. He was able to name three Turkish nationals who all died in India between 2003 and 2005, officially from cardiac arrest. The driver, Harpal, says that the bodies were brought to a hospital in Ballabgarh, Faridabad, where the local authorities colluded with the doctors to list the cause of death as heart failure.

Retrieved from “https://en.wikinews.org/w/index.php?title=Police_track_kidney_doctor_to_Brampton,_Canada&oldid=4197281”

International Criminal Court to investigate war crimes in Palestine

Friday, March 5, 2021

On Wednesday, Chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) Fatou Bensouda announced her office’s decision to formally investigate alleged war crimes in Palestine. The investigation is to be led by British lawyer Karim Ahmad Khan, who is scheduled to replace Bensouda as chief prosecutor on June 16.

Bensouda said “[t]he decision to open an investigation followed a painstaking preliminary examination undertaken by my office that lasted close to five years”. Bensouda promised a “principled, non-partisan, approach” for the case and said the case will be handled “independently, impartially and objectively, without fear or favor.” The preliminary examination was conducted in December 2019, finding “war crimes have been or are being committed in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip”.

The chief prosecutor said the probe will focus on alleged war crime committed since June 13, 2014, a few weeks before the Israeli military operation in the Gaza Strip. Bensouda said the priorities of investigation are to be “determined in due time”. She named both Israeli Defense Forces as well as Palestinian militant group Hamas as the potential perpetrators.

Palestine is a member of the ICC since 2015 and has long accused Israel for war crimes. Israel is not a member of the ICC and claims the court has no jurisdiction over Palestinian Territories because Palestine is not sovereign.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called ICC’s decision “the essence of anti-Semitism and hypocrisy” and said the court was “turning a blind eye to Iran, Syria, and the other dictatorships that are committing real war crimes.”

In the statement Netanyahu also said: “Without any jurisdiction, it decided that our brave soldiers, who take every precaution to avoid civilian casualties against the worst terrorists in the world who deliberately target civilians, it’s our soldiers who are war criminals”. He has promised to “fight for the truth until we annul this scandalous decision”. Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi called the ICC’s decision “morally bankrupt and legally flawed”.

Spokesperson from the U.S. State Department Ned Price said “[w]e will continue to uphold our strong commitment to Israel and its security”. Price also said ICC “has no jurisdiction over this matter”. Israeli ambassador to the U.S. Gilad Erdan promised to “continue working together” with the US.

The United States, also a non-member of the organisation, has targeted sanctions against the prosecutor’s office under former US President Donald Trump. American Israel Public Affairs Committee urged current US President Joe Biden to keep the sanctions in place calling this move by ICC “illegitimate, politically motivated investigation”. The United States also opposes the ICC investigation on U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

The Foreign Ministry of the Palestinian National Authority, which exercises authority in the West Bank, called the decision “a long-awaited step that serves Palestine’s tireless pursuit of justice and accountability”, while also asking nations not to politicise “these independent proceedings”.

Spokesperson for Hamas Hazem Qassem, who had asserted rocket attacks fired on Israel in 2014 were legal under international law, said: “we welcomed the ICC decision to investigate Israeli occupation war crimes against our people”. Qassem also told the Associated Press it “is a step forward to implement justice, punish the occupation, and do justice to the Palestinian people”.

According to the estimates by the United Nations, 2200 Palestinians including 1500 civilians were killed in the 2014 Gaza war, referred to as Operation Protective Edge in Israel. According to Israeli estimates at least 73 Israelis including six civilians were killed in that operation.

The Israeli government has conducted public relations and diplomatic campaigns in an attempt to prevent the investigation, The Associated Press reported.

Retrieved from “https://en.wikinews.org/w/index.php?title=International_Criminal_Court_to_investigate_war_crimes_in_Palestine&oldid=4672978”

Gastric bypass surgery performed by remote control

Sunday, August 21, 2005

A robotic system at Stanford Medical Center was used to perform a laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery successfully with a theoretically similar rate of complications to that seen in standard operations. However, as there were only 10 people in the experimental group (and another 10 in the control group), this is not a statistically significant sample.

If this surgical procedure is as successful in large-scale studies, it may lead the way for the use of robotic surgery in even more delicate procedures, such as heart surgery. Note that this is not a fully automated system, as a human doctor controls the operation via remote control. Laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery is a treatment for obesity.

There were concerns that doctors, in the future, might only be trained in the remote control procedure. Ronald G. Latimer, M.D., of Santa Barbara, CA, warned “The fact that surgeons may have to open the patient or might actually need to revert to standard laparoscopic techniques demands that this basic training be a requirement before a robot is purchased. Robots do malfunction, so a backup system is imperative. We should not be seduced to buy this instrument to train surgeons if they are not able to do the primary operations themselves.”

There are precedents for just such a problem occurring. A previous “new technology”, the electrocardiogram (ECG), has lead to a lack of basic education on the older technology, the stethoscope. As a result, many heart conditions now go undiagnosed, especially in children and others who rarely undergo an ECG procedure.

Retrieved from “https://en.wikinews.org/w/index.php?title=Gastric_bypass_surgery_performed_by_remote_control&oldid=4331525”

Wikinews interviews Steve Burke, U.S. Democratic Party presidential candidate

Sunday, December 13, 2015

This article is a featured article. It is considered one of the best works of the Wikinews community. See Wikinews:Featured articles for more information.

Macomb, New York Councilman Steve Burke took some time to speak with Wikinews about his campaign for the U.S. Democratic Party’s 2016 presidential nomination.

Burke, an insurance adjuster and farmer, was elected councilman in Brookhaven, New York in 1979. He left the town after being accused and found not guilty of bribery in the 1980s. Since 1987 he has served as Macomb councilman off-and-on and currently holds the post. From 1993 to 1996 and 1999 to 2002 he worked as chairman of the Democratic Party of St. Lawrence County, New York. Among his many political campaigns, Burke unsuccessfully sought the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination in 1992 and recently attempted to run for U.S. Congress in 2014 but too many of his ballot petition signatures were found invalid. Burke filed with the Federal Election Commission to run for president in the 2016 election on September 18, 2015 and has qualified for the first-in-the-nation New Hampshire Primary.

With Wikinews reporter William S. Saturn?, Burke discusses his political background, his 2016 presidential campaign, and his policy proposals.

Retrieved from “https://en.wikinews.org/w/index.php?title=Wikinews_interviews_Steve_Burke,_U.S._Democratic_Party_presidential_candidate&oldid=4698309”

Chesapeake Bay Program issues first-ever water quality forecast

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

For the Chesapeake Bay, the largest estuary in the United States, a first-time-ever “water quality forecast” was issued Monday for the upcoming summer season by the Chesapeake Bay Program. The eastern mid-Atlantic region’s heavy spring rainfalls are predicted to increase nutrient levels in bay waters, leading to oxygen eating algae blooms and leaving deep water dead zones.

Project leader William Dennison, of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Studies said, “The forecast indicates that recent weather conditions and heavy pollutant loads could lead to a bad summer for the Bay.” The prediction is for this to be the fourth-worst season for dissolved oxygen in two decades.

The Chesapeake Bay Program launched the new forecast to build on a base of environmental data gathered over the last two decades as water quality concerns have grown. The forecast is meant to be a proactive tool that provides resource managers with information that can be used to guide policies for the bay’s protection and restoration.

Cars, fertilizer, human and animal wastes, industrial and agricultural pollutants all play a part. “This means that we need to do a lot more to reduce phosphorus and nitrogen pollution from getting into the bay,” said Beth McGee, of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. “The biggest source of pollution in the bay is agriculture, and we’ve got to find a way to provide farmers with more resources to manage the land better.”

Nutrient rich pollutants composed mainly of nitrogen and phosphorous come from far away places carried by rivers, and nearby the bay from farm and metropolitan runoff. They collect in the huge bay and meet tidal flows from the ocean.

Algae feed off the nutrients, and they are either consumed by aquatic life or sink at the end of their life cycle. With such an abundant food source, algae blooms can cover large surfaces of water and choke off sunlight to underwater plants. Later when the plants die, the process of their decomposition on the bottom consumes oxygen to a state where the water becomes anoxic, and unable to support life.

As notorious as weather forecasters are for often being wrong, it should come as no surprise if this first forecasting step by the federally funded program misses its mark. Forces such as heavy storms or hurricanes, which churn water, would have an effect. Excessive wind and unexpected precipitation, or nutrient level jumps, would also contribute.

Retrieved from “https://en.wikinews.org/w/index.php?title=Chesapeake_Bay_Program_issues_first-ever_water_quality_forecast&oldid=434882”

Petition pressures City of Edinburgh Council to review clause affecting live music scene

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Live music venues in Edinburgh, Scotland are awaiting a review later this year on the 2005 licensing policy, which places limitations on the volume of amplified music in the city. Investigating into how the policy is affecting the Edinburgh music scene, a group of Wikinews writers interviewed venue owners, academics, the City of Edinburgh Council, and local band The Mean Reds to get different perspectives on the issue.

Since the clause was introduced by the government of the city of Edinburgh, licensed venues have been prohibited from allowing music to be amplified to the extent it is audible to nearby residential properties. This has affected the live music scene, with several venues discontinuing regular events such as open mic nights, and hosting bands and artists.

Currently, the licensing policy allows licensing standards officers to order a venue to cease live music on any particular night, based on a single noise complaint from the public. The volume is not electronically measured to determine if it breaches a decibel volume level. Over roughly the past year there have been 56 separate noise complaints made against 18 venues throughout the city.

A petition to amend the clause has garnered over 3,000 signatures, including the support of bar owners, musicians, and members of the general public.

On November 17, 2014, the government’s Culture and Sport Committee hosted an open forum meeting at Usher Hall. Musicians, venue owners and industry professionals were encouraged to provide their thoughts on how the council could improve live music in the city. Ways to promote live music as a key cultural aspect of Edinburgh were discussed and it was suggested that it could be beneficial to try and replicate the management system of live music of other global cities renowned for their live music scenes. However, the suggestion which prevailed above all others was simply to review the existing licensing policy.

Councillor (Cllr) Norma Austin-Hart, Vice Convenor of the Culture and Sport Committee, is responsible for the working group Music is Audible. The group is comprised of local music professionals, and councillors and officials from Edinburgh Council. A document circulated to the Music is Audible group stated the council aims “to achieve a balance between protecting residents and supporting venues”.

Following standard procedure, when a complaint is made, a Licensing Standards Officer (LSO) is dispatched to investigate the venue and evaluate the level of noise. If deemed to be too loud, the LSO asks the venue to lower the noise level. According to a document provided by the City of Edinburgh Council, “not one single business has lost its license or been closed down because of a breach to the noise condition in Edinburgh.”

In the Scotland Licensing Policy (2005), Clause 6.2 states, “where the operating plan indicates that music is to be played in a premises, the board will consider the imposition of a condition requiring amplified music from those premises to be inaudible in residential property.” According to Cllr Austin-Hart, the high volume of tenement housing in the city centre makes it difficult for music to be inaudible.

During the Edinburgh Festival Fringe during the summer, venues are given temporary licences that allow them to operate for the duration of the festival and under the condition that “all amplified music and vocals are controlled to the satisfaction of the Director of Services for Communities”, as stated in a document from the council. During the festival, there is an 11 p.m. noise restriction on amplified music, and noise may be measured by Environmental Health staff using sophisticated equipment. Noise is restricted to 65dB(A) from the facades of residential properties; however, complaints from residents still occur. In the document from the council, they note these conditions and limitations for temporary venues would not necessarily be appropriate for permanent licensed premises.

In a phone interview, Cllr Austin-Hart expressed her concern about the unsettlement in Edinburgh regarding live music. She referenced the closure of the well-known Picture House, a venue that has provided entertainment for over half a century, and the community’s opposition to commercial public bar chain Wetherspoon buying the venue. “[It] is a well-known pub that does not play any form of music”, Cllr Austin-Hart said. “[T]hey feel as if it is another blow to Edinburgh’s live music”. “[We] cannot stop Wetherspoon’s from buying this venue; we have no control over this.”

The venue has operated under different names, including the Caley Palais which hosted bands such as Queen and AC/DC. The Picture House opened in 2008.

One of the venues which has been significantly affected by the licensing laws is the Phoenix Bar, on Broughton Street. The bar’s owner, Sam Roberts, was induced to cease live music gigs in March, following a number of noise complaints against the venue. As a result, Ms Roberts was inspired to start the aforementioned petition to have Clause 6.2 of the licensing policy reviewed, in an effort to remove the ‘inaudibility’ statement that is affecting venues and the music scene.

“I think we not only encourage it, but actively support the Edinburgh music scene,” Ms Roberts says of the Phoenix Bar and other venues, “the problem is that it is a dying scene.”

When Ms Roberts purchased the venue in 2013, she continued the existing 30-year legacy established by the previous owners of hosting live acts. Representative of Edinburgh’s colourful music scene, a diverse range of genres have been hosted at the venue. Ms Roberts described the atmosphere when live music acts perform at her venue as “electric”. “The whole community comes together singing, dancing and having a party. Letting their hair down and forgetting their troubles. People go home happy after a brilliant night out. All the staff usually join in; the pub comes alive”. However licensing restrictions have seen a majority of the acts shut down due to noise complaints. “We have put on jazz, blues, rock, rockabilly, folk, celtic and pop live acts and have had to close everything down.” “Residents in Edinburgh unfortunately know that the Council policy gives them all the rights in the world, and the pubs and clubs none”, Ms Roberts clarified.

Discussing how inaudibility has affected venues and musicians alike, Ms Roberts stated many pubs have lost profit through the absence of gigs, and trying to soundproof their venue. “It has put many musicians out of work and it has had an enormous effect on earnings in the pub. […] Many clubs and bars have been forced to invest in thousands of pounds worth of soundproofing equipment which has nearly bankrupted them, only to find that even the tiniest bit of noise can still force a closure. It is a ridiculously one-sided situation.” Ms Roberts feels inaudibility is an unfair clause for venues. “I think it very clearly favours residents in Edinburgh and not business. […] Nothing is being done to support local business, and closing down all the live music venues in Edinburgh has hurt financially in so many ways. Not only do you lose money, you lose new faces, you lose the respect of the local musicians, and you begin to lose all hope in a ‘fair go’.”

With the petition holding a considerable number of signatures, Ms Roberts states she is still sceptical of any change occurring. “Over three thousand people have signed the petition and still the council is not moving. They have taken action on petitions with far fewer signatures.” Ms Roberts also added, “Right now I don’t think Edinburgh has much hope of positive change”.

Ms Roberts seems to have lost all hope for positive change in relation to Edinburgh’s music scene, and argues Glasgow is now the regional choice for live music and venues. “[E]veryone in the business knows they have to go to Glasgow for a decent scene. Glasgow City Council get behind their city.”

Ms Martina Cannon, member of local band The Mean Reds, said a regular ‘Open Mic Night’ she hosted at The Parlour on Duke Street has ceased after a number of complaints were made against the venue. “It was a shame because it had built up some momentum over the months it had been running”. She described financial loss to the venue from cancelling the event, as well as loss to her as organiser of the event.

Sneaky Pete’s music bar and club, owned by Nick Stewart, is described on its website as “open and busy every night”.”Many clubs could be defined as bars that host music, but we really are a music venue that serves drinks”, Mr Stewart says. He sees the live music scene as essential for maintaining nightlife in Edinburgh not only because of the economic benefit but more importantly because of the cultural significance. “Music is one of the important things in life. […] it’s emotionally and intellectually engaging, and it adds to the quality of life that people lead.”

Sneaky Pete’s has not been immune to the inaudibility clause. The business has spent about 20,000 pounds on multiple soundproofing fixes designed to quell complaints from neighboring residents. “The business suffered a great deal in between losing the option to do gigs for fear of complaints, and finishing the soundproofing. As I mentioned, we are a music business that serves drinks, not a bar that also has music, so when we lose shows, we lose a great deal of trade”, said Mr Stewart.

He believes there is a better way to go about handling complaints and fixing public nuisances. “The local mandatory condition requiring ‘amplified music and vocals’ to be ‘inaudible’ should be struck from all licenses. The requirement presupposes that nuisance is caused by music venues, when this may not reasonably be said to be the case. […] Nuisance is not defined in the Licensing Act nor is it defined in the Public Health Act (Scotland) 2008. However, The Consultation on Guidance to accompany the Statutory Nuisance Provisions of the Public Health etc (Scotland) Act 2008 states that ‘There are eight key issues to consider when evaluating whether a nuisance exists[…]'”.

The eight key factors are impact, locality, time, frequency, duration, convention, importance, and avoidability. Stewart believes it is these factors that should be taken into consideration by LSOs responding to complaints instead of the sole factor of “audibility”.He believes multiple steps should be taken before considering revocation of licenses. Firstly, LSOs should determine whether a venue is a nuisance based on the eight factors. Then, the venue should have the opportunity to comply by using methods such as changing the nature of their live performances (e.g. from hard rock to acoustic rock), changing their hours of operation, or soundproofing. If the venue still fails to comply, then a board can review their license with the goal of finding more ways to bring them into compliance as opposed to revoking their license.

Nick Stewart has discussed his proposal at length with Music is Audible and said he means to present his proposal to the City of Edinburgh Council.

Dr Adam Behr, a music academic and research associate at the University of Edinburgh who has conducted research on the cultural value of live music, says live music significantly contributes to the economic performance of cities. He said studies have shown revenue creation and the provision of employment are significant factors which come about as a result of live music. A 2014 report by UK Music showed the economic value generated by live music in the UK in 2013 was £789 million and provided the equivalent of 21,600 full time jobs.

As the music industry is international by nature, Behr says this complicates the way revenue is allocated, “For instance, if an American artist plays a venue owned by a British company at a gig which is promoted by a company that is part British owned but majority owned by, say, Live Nation (a major international entertainment company) — then the flow of revenues might not be as straightforward as it seems [at] first.”

Despite these complexities, Behr highlighted the broader advantages, “There are, of course, ancillary benefits, especially for big gigs […] Obviously other local businesses like bars, restaurants and carparks benefit from increased trade”, he added.

Behr criticised the idea of making music inaudible and called it “unrealistic”. He said it could limit what kind of music can be played at venues and could force vendors to spend a large amount of money on equipment that enables them to meet noise cancelling requirements. He also mentioned the consequences this has for grassroots music venues as more ‘established’ venues within the city would be the only ones able to afford these changes.

Alongside the inaudibility dispute has been the number of sites that have been closing for the past number of years. According to Dr Behr, this has brought attention to the issue of retaining live music venues in the city and has caused the council to re-evaluate its music strategy and overall cultural policy.

This month, Dr Behr said he is to work on a live music census for Edinburgh’s Council which aims to find out what types of music is played, where, and what exactly it brings to the city. This is in an effort to get the Edinburgh city council to see any opportunities it has with live music and the importance of grassroots venues. The census is similar to one conducted in Victoria, Australia in 2012 on the extent of live music in the state and its economic benefit.

As for the solution to the inaudibility clause, Behr says the initial step is dialogue, and this has already begun. “Having forum discussion, though, is a start — and an improvement”, he said. “There won’t be an overnight solution, but work is ongoing to try to find one that can stick in the long term.”

Beverley Whitrick, Strategic Director of Music Venue Trust, said she is unable to comment on her work with the City of Edinburgh Council or on potential changes to the inaudibility clause in the Licensing Policy. However, she says, “I have been asked to assess the situation and make recommendations in September”.

According to The Scotsman, the Council is working toward helping Edinburgh’s cultural and entertainment scene. Deputy Council Leader Sandy Howat said views of the entertainment industry needs to change and the Council will no longer consider the scene as a “sideline”.

Senior members of the Council, The Scotsman reported, aim to review the planning of the city to make culture more of a priority. Howat said, “If you’re trying to harness a living community and are creating facilities for people living, working and playing then culture should form part of that.”

The review of the inaudibility clause in the Licensing Policy is set to be reviewed near the end of 2016 but the concept of bringing it forward to this year is still under discussion.

Retrieved from “https://en.wikinews.org/w/index.php?title=Petition_pressures_City_of_Edinburgh_Council_to_review_clause_affecting_live_music_scene&oldid=3854385”

Investigation into US Airways river ditching in New York completed

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The United States National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has completed its investigation into the ditching of US Airways Flight 1549 into New York’s Hudson River. The fifteen-month probe began after the Airbus A320 performed a water landing when bird strikes damaged both engines in a move dubbed the “Miracle on the Hudson” by the media. Nobody was killed.

The NTSB’s final report, adopted after a board meeting today, concluded that a combination of safety equipment better than the mandatory minimums and good reactions by the crew were the main reasons the 150 passengers and five crew survived. The board stated that the aircraft’s equipment met the standards required for “extended overwater operations”, equipment that was not needed for the January 2009 flight.

The aircraft was equiped with escape slides that doubled as water rafts at the front and aft emergency exits, but the aft ones were rendered unavailable. Airbus assumed when designing the aircraft that only one engine would be inoperative during an emergency ditching, and current emergency checklists assume plenty of prior warning for dual-engine failure since the aircraft would be at a high altitude. The A320 was at just 2,700 feet when the incident occurred, having just taken off when it collided with a flock of Canada geese, almost completely removing the engines’ ability to generate thrust.

The final report has blamed a number of factors for extensive fuselage damage caused in the impact, which cracked a rear bulkhead and caused the aircraft to flood, as well as taking the rear slides out of action. The board said standards aircraft should meet in ditchings — set by the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) — were inadequate, training in industry was not sufficient for ditchings and the high level of tasks the crew had to focus on made it difficult for the pilot to maintain his airspeed. The pilot’s decision to ditch was credited as being the best possible solution to the emergency.

The NTSB noted that while the rear rafts failed, 64 people climbed into the forward rafts, and said many of these people would have been immersed in the frigid river. The board claimed that this could induce “cold shock”, which can lead to drowning within minutes.

The report found that the good visibility, calm water, nearby ferries which provided rescues within twenty minutes and good cockpit resource management, allowing the crew to maintain control, were further factors that contributed to the survival of those on board. However, it also found that “more creative and effective methods of conveying safety information to passengers” are required after learning that most passengers had not paid attention to the in-flight safety announcement. It also noted that many passengers had difficulty putting on the life vests supplied under the seats.

The report further stated that the accident was hard to predict due to the fact that bird strikes tend to occur much lower, usually below 500 feet. It considered the possibilities of fitting engine screens or redesigning engines to mitigate bird strike risk, but these proposals were rejected after consideration since they were deemed unfeasable.

NTSB Chairman Deborah A.P. Hersman described the circumstances as “a great example of the professionalism of the crewmembers, air traffic controllers and emergency responders who all played a role in preserving the safety of everyone aboard.” She further discussed the safety recommendations the report will contain when it is released. “I believe the safety recommendations that have come out of this investigation have an extraordinary origin – a very serious accident in which everyone survived. Even in an accident where everyone survives, there are lessons learned and areas that could use improvement. Our report today takes these lessons learned so that, if our recommendations are implemented, every passenger and crewmember may have the opportunity to benefit from the advances in safety.” A total of 35 recommendations have been made seeking improved checklists for emergencies, better certification standards for aircraft and their engines, advances in crew training, better safety equipment and improved safety briefings to passengers.

One result of these findings is that the board will likely ask the FAA to require emergency equipment for water landings on all commercial aircraft. The FAA has until now held that such a move would place a disproportionately high cost on airlines.

Retrieved from “https://en.wikinews.org/w/index.php?title=Investigation_into_US_Airways_river_ditching_in_New_York_completed&oldid=4539317”

Ontario Votes 2007: Interview with Progressive Conservative candidate Jim Chapman, London-Fanshawe

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Jim Chapman is running for the Progressive Conservative of Ontario in the Ontario provincial election, in the London-Fanshawe riding. Wikinews’ Nick Moreau interviewed him regarding his values, his experience, and his campaign.

Stay tuned for further interviews; every candidate from every party is eligible, and will be contacted. Expect interviews from Liberals, Progressive Conservatives, New Democratic Party members, Ontario Greens, as well as members from the Family Coalition, Freedom, Communist, Libertarian, and Confederation of Regions parties, as well as independents.

Retrieved from “https://en.wikinews.org/w/index.php?title=Ontario_Votes_2007:_Interview_with_Progressive_Conservative_candidate_Jim_Chapman,_London-Fanshawe&oldid=519021”

Interview with Sean Semper-Whyte, City Council candidate for Ward 6 in Mississauga, Canada

Saturday, September 23, 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 Sean Semper-Whyte, asking them to answer common questions sent in an email. There is no incumbent in the ward; also competing for the position are Matanat Khan, Olive Rose Steele, Terry Pierce, Jr., Ron Starr, and former MP Carolyn Parrish.

Retrieved from “https://en.wikinews.org/w/index.php?title=Interview_with_Sean_Semper-Whyte,_City_Council_candidate_for_Ward_6_in_Mississauga,_Canada&oldid=4568122”

US Senator Ted Stevens convicted on 7 counts

Monday, October 27, 2008

United States Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska was convicted Monday on seven counts of failing to report gifts. Stevens, a senior United States Senator from Alaska and the longest serving Republican in the Senate, had been accused of not reporting tens of thousands of dollars worth of gifts from the VECO Corporation including free house remodeling. The jury in the District of Columbia found Stevens guilty on all seven counts.

Bill Allen, VECO’s CEO, is a longtime friend of Stevens and much of the case involved the specific interaction between Stevens and Allen. Allen had been previously convicted and had agreed to testify against Stevens and to record conversations he had with Stevens. The gifts given to Stevens included a massage chair that Stevens claimed was a loan but prosecutors noted was in Stevens house for over seven years.

Stevens is up for reelection and was facing a tough reelection bid before the convictions. It is unlikely that Stevens will retain his seat in the Senate given the convictions.

Stevens is considered to be a moderate Republican and was a member of the Republican Main Street Partnership. While a long-time Senator with many accomplishments, Stevens is known to many for a speech against net neutrality in which he referred to the internet as a series of tubes.

The New York Times has speculated that out-going United States President George W. Bush might pardon Stevens.

Retrieved from “https://en.wikinews.org/w/index.php?title=US_Senator_Ted_Stevens_convicted_on_7_counts&oldid=1979469”