Monday, June 7, 2010

An acrobatic group known by the name of Spelbound has been declared as the winner of Britain’s Got Talent 2010, a televised variety talent show competition broadcast on ITV in the United Kingdom. As the winning act of the show, Spelbound have won £100,000 (US$144,580, €120,313, A$175,079) and a place at The Royal Variety Performance, an annual gala evening that is attended by senior members of the British Royal Family.

In no particular order, the top three acts were revealed to be two dancers known by their stage name of Twist and Pulse, gymnastic group Spelbound and Kieran Gaffney, whose act involves playing on the drum kit. After Kieran Gaffney was revealed to be in third place, Anthony McPartlin, who hosts Britain’s Got Talent with Declan Donnelly, said to Kieran: “Well done Kieran. Kieran, you’re a star, you came back, you got all the way to the final. I know you’ve loved this. You’ve loved this, haven’t you?” In response to this, Kieran Gaffney stated: “Thank you very much. Thank you, everyone for supporting me. Thank you.”

Shortly afterwards, on the episode that was broadcast live on ITV1 on Saturday, Anthony announced: “After tens of thousands of auditons, five semi-finals and an amazing final, this…this is it. One of you is about to walk away with £100,000 and a place at this year’s Royal Variety Performance. The winner of Britain’s Got Talent 2010 is…Spelbound!” Glen Murphy from Twist and Pulse commented about finishing in second place, stating: “Yeah, it’s amazing. I can’t even believe it. I can’t believe it at all.”

Alex Uttley, a 24-year-old member of Spelbound, commented on the gymnastic group’s victory, commenting: “Oh, my god. This is unbelieveable. We just want to say thank you to everyone out there. It just shows that all our hard work has paid off.” One of the coaches of Spelbound, named Neil Griffiths, stated about Spelbound: “Oh, they’ve worked so hard over the last few weeks. Um, since the semi-final, we…we really had to pull out the stops to try and up the game. They’ve not known they’ve worked in the gym from six in the morning till twelve…twelve o’clock of the night. I couldn’t have asked for more. Um, it’s a team of coaches. I don’t take all the credit myself. There’s, uh, two people up there that know who they are who’ve been fantastic.”

Spelbound consists of 24-year-old Alex Uttley, Nicholas Illingworth, aged 24, Adam Buckingham, aged 21, 20-year-old Adam McAssey, 19-year-old Douglas Fordyce, 18-year-old Edward Upcott, 18-year-old Leighanne Cowler, 17-year-old Katie Axten, 17-year-old Lauren Kemp, 15-year-old Jonathan Stranks, Abigail Ralph, aged 15, 13-year-old Hollianne Wood and Amy Mackenzie, aged 12. Bookmakers had previously predicted that Spelbound would be the most likely act to become the winner of the series.

The running order for the final started with Twist and Pulse. The second act to perform was Liam McNally, a 14-year-old singer. The running order subsequently continued with 40-year-old impressionist Paul Burling, singer Christopher Stone, aged 28, Tina & Chandi, a woman and dog dancing act, Connected, a five-piece singing group, Kieran Gaffney, aged 12, 22-year-old Tobias Mead, a dancer, 80-year-old singer Janey Cutler and Spelbound in that particular order.

Earlier on in the final, Britain’s Got Talent judge Amanda Holden has stated to Spelbound: “We are hosting the 2012 Olympics and I think ‘what a brilliant opening act’.” Fellow judge Piers Morgan also commented that “[t]he purpose of this show is to identify hidden great British talent. You are that act.” After Spelbound won in the final, another judge, named Simon Cowell, stated that “the right boys and girls won on the night” and that he could “only say on live TV that that was one of the most astonishing things I have ever seen. Seriously.”

byAlma Abell

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Startup web broadcaster Joost signs deal with Warner Brothers

Friday, May 11, 2007

Internet TV came one step closer to reality as startup web broadcaster Joost recently announced that it signed a deal with Warner Brothers to host some of its WBTV-branded content. This deal, along with content deals with other television providers, lately Time Warner and Sony Pictures Television, makes Joost (pronounced “juiced”) the sweetheart aggregator and provider in the coming on-demand, freely distributed online TV broadcasts.

Joost bills itself as an online community where viewers, “can watch what you want, when you want, in full-screen eye-quality proper TV.” The service currently provides about 150 channels, although the availability of some channels varies by country or region due to copyright restrictions. Viewers can navigate screen menus to make programming choices, and then use “widgets” from drop-down menus that allow users to interact with the programming.

“Widgets include a clock, integration of instant messaging, RSS/News feeds and a chat room for the particular channel being viewed on the screen. Users have the ability to opt out of the widgets during viewing or can easily access them from the mouse-activated menus,” according to John P. Gamboa of the Dailey Aztec.

The development efforts at Joost are backed by technology-savvy web entrepreneurs Niklas Zennström and Janus Friis. The two used Internet peer-to-peer networking to create Kazaa, and then later Skype. The cutting-edge music file sharing and telephony implementations of these two applications, some say bleeding edge, appear to have had an affect on the approach being used now by the two at Joost along with co-developers. The copyright infringement-plagued Kazaa was sold to Sharman Networks in 2002. Skype was sold to eBay in October 2005 for $2.6 billion. In July last year, Kazaa settled with music record labels by making a $100 million payment as reparations for illegal file sharing activities employed by users of the application that enabled the distribution of copyright-infringed music files.

People are looking for increased choice and flexibility in their TV experience…

Kazaa became a copyright bust. Skype became a jaw-dropping hit, and a hit in the jaw of telcom carriers whose management of voice transmission became undermined by the sub-set of Internet users with broadband connectivity and peer-to-peer web awareness. The evolution is distinctively one-way. Online broadband peer-to-peer connectivity is here to stay after a nasty birth.

“People are looking for increased choice and flexibility in their TV experience, while the entertainment industry needs to retain control over their content,” said Joost chief executive officer Fredrik de Wahl. “We’ve married that consumer desire with the industry’s interests.”

The “marriage” of TV content to “consumer desire” is the hot-spot that media conglomerates are still seemingly trying to figure out as they dispense their less valuable content for Internet consumption. Joost has managed to secure some rights to webcast programming, but the content is not the highest quality broadcasted TV programming currently available through established subscription cable and satellite distribution channels, or even free airwave TV.

Underlying the concept of Internet TV is the distribution of content in a way that is more efficient than the existing model. Peer-to-peer networking over the Internet makes programming available when a user asks for it. The ‘on-demand’ feature of this approach frees up space in the distribution pipeline and provides feedback to the aggregator to know exactly what is in demand. It gives a middle-man the leverage to negotiate with media conglomerates and then manage a pipeline flooded with unviewed content, thereby conserving bandwidth. It also lets viewers opt for free online TV programming through content arrangements made by the web broadcaster, who acts as a gateway to the programs. However, it is not an advertising-free service.

The Joost hoopla is partly spurred on by its expansionist decision on May 1 to allow users of the Beta version to distribute 99 invitations to other people who could become Beta users.

“Avast ye scurvy file sharers!”: Interview with Swedish Pirate Party leader Rickard Falkvinge

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“Avast ye scurvy file sharers!”: Interview with Swedish Pirate Party leader Rickard Falkvinge
Author: U5M4mh Posted under: Uncategorized

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

MP3s for the people? The Pirate Party, a new Swedish political party first publicized in January, wants to legalize sharing music, movies, and other copyrighted content using the Internet. What may seem like a doomed effort by a small group of idealists is attracting significant media attention, in part due to a recent police raid on The Pirate Bay, an extremely popular BitTorrent tracker (see Wikinews coverage).

The Pirate Bay allows people to download content listed in its database using the BitTorrent protocol (including the latest Hollywood movies or computer games) and has gained something of an international cult status, in part for its public and irreverent responses to legal threats received from copyright lawyers of major corporations. The site was reopened days after the raid on Dutch servers (but is now back in Sweden again). Rickard Falkvinge, leader of the Pirate Party, argues that regardless of the legal outcome in the case, the web site demonstrates that copyright law in its current form is not sustainable.

Adopting the moniker of the maligned “Internet pirates”, the party argues for drastically limiting the scope and enforcement of copyright law, abolishing patent law, and protecting privacy in what it sees as a “control and surveillance society”. The party is hoping to garner enough votes in the September election to become a small but important faction in the next Swedish parliament. Rickard Falkvinge found some time in between interviews and party work to answer our questions.

There are rumours that the Swedish government was indirectly acting on behalf of the U.S. MPAA in shutting down the site. Do you feel that your government is beholden to U.S. interests?

Oh, the MPAA said so themselves in a press release, it’s more than a rumor. Check their press release “Swedish authorities sink Pirate Bay”. [Ed.: see below]

And yes, this particular fact has caused something of an uproar in Sweden. It’s widely believed that Swedish authorities were more or less ordered by a foreign power to act forcefully against an entity that was in, at worst, a legal gray area according to Swedish law.

The raid must have boosted your recognition. How many members do you currently have, and how successful has your fundraising effort been so far?

Our member count is at 6540, no, 6541, no wait, 6543… well, you get the picture. Our members register themselves on our website after paying the membership fee electronically, which helps reduce our admin load considerably.

Fundraising brought in 108,000 SEK [Ed.: approx. 14,700 USD or 11,600 EUR], enough to buy 3 million ballots, which is some kind of at-least-we’re-not-starving minimum. We’re not full, but we’re not starving, either. Following the raid on the Pirate Bay, we have received another 50K in donations. My sincere thanks to everybody who wants to help out; we are now looking into getting more ballots to make sure we don’t run out on election day. (10 million ballots was our initial full-score aim.)

Do you think you will be able to cover future expenses such as radio and television ads?

Following the raid on the Pirate Bay, and our tripling of the member roster, we don’t need advertising. We’ve been mentioned almost every news hour across all channels on national television in the last week.

Also, the established parties have now started to turn, following our success. Parties representing almost half of the elected parliament are now describing today’s copyright situation as not working. They still don’t understand why, though, they are just echoing what we say without understanding what the words mean. We’ll get around to teaching them — them and the voters alike.

This might be hard for people not following the Swedish media to grasp, but we have made a big splash. Today, our Minister of Justice was quoted as saying that he’s open to changes to copyright laws that would make file-sharing legal, with the headline “Bodström (his name) flip-flops about file sharing.” Immediately underneath were the Pirate Party’s comments to his suggestions. Let’s take that again: when a minister makes a statement about file sharing, media calls us for comments, and publishes them next to that statement. That’s how big we have become since the raid on the Pirate Bay.

The Minister of Justice later denied having made that statement to the press that reported it.

We will never be able to pay for television ads, the way I see it. Unless a very wealthy donor comes on stage. (If any such person is reading this, we have planned how to spend up to $375,000 in a cost-efficient way up until the elections, on the chance that donations appear. That spending does still not include any TV ads.)

Are you aware of similar initiatives in other countries?

Some are trying, but none have achieved the necessary momentum and critical mass that we have. We expect that momentum to happen once we get into Swedish Parliament and show that it can be done.

[Ed.: A United States variant of the party was recently launched. See also: Intellectual property activism category on Wikipedia]

The name “Pirate Party” seems to identify the party with what is currently defined as a crime: piracy of software, movies, music, and so on. Will a name like “Pirate Party” not antagonize voters, given that the label is so negatively used? How about potential allies abroad who argue for a more balanced copyright regime, such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation or Creative Commons?

Oh, it is a crime. That’s the heart of the problem! The very problem is that something that 20% of the voters are doing is illegal by punishment of jail time. That’s what we want to change. Where the established parties are saying that the voters are broken, we are saying it’s the law that is broken.

Besides, it’s a way of reclaiming a word. The media conglomerates have been pointing at us and calling us pirates, trying to make us somehow feel shame. It doesn’t work. We wear clothes saying “PIRATE” in bright colors out on the streets. Yes, we are pirates, and we’re proud of it, too.

Also, the term is not that negative at all in Sweden, much thanks to the awesome footwork of the Pirate Bureau (Piratbyrån), who have been working since 2003 to educate the public.

If you are elected, and have the opportunity to become part of the next government of Sweden, do you intend to focus only on the issues in your platform (IP law and privacy)?

Our current plan is to support the government from the parliament, but not be part of it. If we’re part of it, that means we get a vested interest to not overthrow it, which puts us in a weaker position if they start going against our interests.

Overall, our strategy is to achieve the balance of power, where both the left and right blocks need our votes to achieve a majority, and then support the issues of whichever government that agrees to drive our issues the strongest. Basically, we sell our votes on other issues to the highest bidder in exchange for them driving ours.

Have you already made any contacts in Swedish politics?

Contacts… I’m not sure what you mean. Several of us have been shaking hands with some of the established politicians, particularly in the youth leagues, if that’s what you mean.

I was thinking along the lines of exploring possible modes of cooperation with established political parties — are you already taken seriously?

We are taken seriously by most of the youth leagues and by at least one of the represented parties. In particular, which is what counts, we are now taken seriously by national media. However, we can’t tie contacts that explore modes of cooperation quite yet — since our strategy depends on holding the balance of power, we need to not express a preference for whom we’d like to cooperate with, or we’d put ourselves in a weaker bargaining position.

What is your position on moral rights, as recognized by European Union copyright laws: the right of attribution, the right to have a work published anonymously or pseudonymously, and the right to the integrity of the work. Do you think these rights should be preserved?

We safeguard the right to attribution very strongly. After all, what we are fighting for is the intent of copyright as it is described in the US constitution: the promotion of culture. Many artists are using recognition as their primary driving force to create culture.

Publishing anonymously or pseudonymously happens every day on the Internet, so no big deal there either.

The right to integrity, however, is an interesting issue. We state that we are for free sampling, meaning you can take a sound that I made for my tune and use it in your own tunes, or for that matter, a whole phrase. That’s partially in line with today’s copyright law on derivative works; as long as you add your own creative touch to a work, you get your own protection for the derivation. We want to strengthen that right.

You might want to consider the alternative. In the 50s and 60s, a lot of rock and roll bands started doing covers of old classical music. This would almost certainly have been considered to violate the integrity of the original artist — and was considered to do so by many — but in the eyes of many others, it was instead great new culture of a previously unseen form and shape.

So I don’t have a definite answer on the integrity issue. While I am leaning towards the promotion of new culture taking precedence over a limitation right, there may be unconsidered cases.

Do you feel that trademark law is adequate as it is?

Yes. We have not seen any hidden costs to trademarks that outweigh the benefits of reducing transaction costs on a market where seller and buyer are not personally acquainted.

How do you intend to deal with EU treaties which define certain legal frameworks for the protection of intellectual works?

What can they do? Fine us? Send us an angry letter?

Come on, countries need to think more like corporations. If the fine is less than the cost to society, which it is in this case, then the right thing to do is to accept the fine with a polite “thank you”.

Actually, national media just called me about this very question; the Department of Justice has stated that we can’t allow file sharing, as it would break international treaties. My response was that it is more important to not have 1.2 million Swedes criminalized, than it is to avoid paying a penalty fee.

Do you think that weaker intellectual property laws would lessen the amount of products released in Sweden by foreign companies, such as Hollywood studios?

As long as they believe that they will have a revenue here that exceeds the cost of operations, they will keep coming here. Anything else would be wrong from a corporate standpoint.

Besides, you need to remember what we are doing is to change the map according to what reality looks like. We do not want to change people’s behavior. We want to change the law so it reflects what the world actually looks like.

So, as they apparently make a profit today, I expect that to continue.

Do you feel that the music industry in its current form will still be needed in a world where non-commercial copying is permitted?

It’s not so much if they are needed where non-commercial copying is permitted, rather if they are needed when they’re not necessary any more to be the middle man between consumer and artist.

The music industry will lose its current chokepoint, because they don’t add any value to the end product any longer. They will probably survive as a service bureau for artists, but they will not be able to control distribution.

It’s actually quite simple: if they get their act together and provide a service that people want to buy, they will remain. If not, they will vanish. Today, they have legislated that people must buy their service regardless of whether it adds value or not, and that’s not gonna hold in the long term.

Why fight against intellectual property laws, instead of focusing your energy on creating freely licensed content, such as Creative Commons films or open source software?

I want to raise the issue a level, to show that it’s not about payment models or what level of control the copyright holder chooses to exert over his or her work.

Let me put it this way: we have achieved the technical possibility of sending copyrighted works in digital, private communications. I can send a piece of music in e-mail to you, I can drop a video clip in a chat room. That technology is not going away, leaving us with two choices.

So — if copyright is to be enforced — if you are to tax, prohibit, fee, fine, or otherwise hinder the transmission of copyrighted works in private communications, the only way to achieve that is to have all private communications constantly monitored. It’s really that large.

Also, this is partly nothing new. We’ve been able to do this since the advent of the Xerox copier — you could photocopy a poem or a painting and put it in a letter in the mail. Again, the only way to discover or stop that would have been for the authorities to open all letters and check their content.

So we’re at a crossroads here. Either we, as a society, decide that copyright is the greater value to society, and take active steps to give up private communications as a concept. Either that, or we decide that the ability to communicate in private, without constant monitoring by authorities, has the greater value — in which case copyright will have to give way.

My choice is clear.

The Pirate Bay was shut down and re-opened days later on a Dutch server. According to a Swedish newspaper report, traffic has doubled since then. How long do you think the cat and mouse game will continue?

Until one of two things happen: The authorities realize they can’t enforce laws that require monitoring all private communications, especially given the large international level of grassroots support, or [they] actually start monitoring all private communications.

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Commonwealth Bank of Australia CEO apologies for financial planning scandal

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Commonwealth Bank of Australia CEO apologies for financial planning scandal
Author: U5M4mh Posted under: Uncategorized

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Ian Narev, the CEO of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, this morning “unreservedly” apologised to clients who lost money in a scandal involving the bank’s financial planning services arm.

Last week, a Senate enquiry found financial advisers from the Commonwealth Bank had made high-risk investments of clients’ money without the clients’ permission, resulting in hundreds of millions of dollars lost. The Senate enquiry called for a Royal Commission into the bank, and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).

Mr Narev stated the bank’s performance in providing financial advice was “unacceptable”, and the bank was launching a scheme to compensate clients who lost money due to the planners’ actions.

In a statement Mr Narev said, “Poor advice provided by some of our advisers between 2003 and 2012 caused financial loss and distress and I am truly sorry for that. […] There have been changes in management, structure and culture. We have also invested in new systems, implemented new processes, enhanced adviser supervision and improved training.”

An investigation by Fairfax Media instigated the Senate inquiry into the Commonwealth Bank’s financial planning division and ASIC.

Whistleblower Jeff Morris, who reported the misconduct of the bank to ASIC six years ago, said in an article for The Sydney Morning Herald that neither the bank nor ASIC should be in control of the compensation program.

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TV show Firefly’s “Serenity” movie trailer released, could spoil enjoyment for fans

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TV show Firefly’s “Serenity” movie trailer released, could spoil enjoyment for fans
Author: U5M4mh Posted under: Uncategorized

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

The trailer for Joss Whedon’s new feature film, Serenity, is expected to be released today (Tuesday, April 26). Joss Whedon, the creator of such prime time television successes as Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, is promoting his latest movie with the official Serenity movie web site and a formal announcement. Joss Whedon has also warned fans of the Firefly show to avoid viewing the trailer, as it may be a spoiler for the movie, and may ruin their enjoyment.

This popular television writer and creator developed Serenity as a follow up to Firefly, a genre defining Sci-FiWestern that has received critical acclaim among science fiction enthusiasts, but failed to capture the interest of the typical prime time viewer. Firefly debuted on the FOX network in September, 2002, but was quickly canceled after one season.

Serenity uses many of the same lead actors and characters as the original television series. In an interview with Firefly actor Alan Tudyk, Serenity is the first film in a three-picture Firefly contract with Universal Studios.

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Early morning fire kills four New York group home residents

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Early morning fire kills four New York group home residents
Author: U5M4mh Posted under: Uncategorized

Sunday, March 22, 2009

After an early morning fire began, four out of the nine people living at the Riverview Individual Residential Alternative group home located in Wells, New York were killed by the blaze. The Sunmount Developmental Disabilities Services Office, which supervises the home, told the media that the fire started at approximately 5:30 AM Eastern Daylight Time. Two staff members were at the home at the time, who safely evacuated four of the five survivors.

The names of the residents killed in the fire were not able to be released due to New York’s Mental Hygiene Law, but are able to be identified as two adult men, aged 32 and 52, and two adult women, aged 43 and 60. A 71-year-old male was injured in the fire, and was taken to a hospital in Utica, a nearby city. The other four residents have been relocated to an unnamed group home. Both staff members are also being examined at the hospital.

“On behalf of all New Yorkers, I wish to extend my heartfelt condolences to the families, loved ones and friends of the four victims and to continue to pray for the full recovery of those five people and two staff members who survived this incident. I also want to express my thanks and appreciation for the first responders and volunteers who worked swiftly and diligently to respond to this tragedy,” David Patterson, the governor of New York, said to the media.

The exact cause of the fire has yet to be determined. However, the New York Civil Liberties Union stated that “the blaze appears to have been an electrical fire and the sprinkler system was knocked out immediately.” They also called for “an immediate investigation into the causes of and contributing factors of the fire.”

The New York State Department of State Office of Fire Prevention and Control is currently investigating the causes of the blaze, with help from New York State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation and the New York State Commission on Quality of Care and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities.

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Canadian university students would prefer MP3 players over car radios

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Canadian university students would prefer MP3 players over car radios
Author: U5M4mh Posted under: Uncategorized

Friday, March 30, 2007

At Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, students are finding that popular MP3 players, such as Apple’s iPod, are very convenient devices for listening to music at the gym, while traveling on foot, and in the car.

In a recent ad-hoc survey conducted by Wikinews contributor Darren Mar, 150 students were randomly pulled aside in the hallways of the university, and asked if they own an MP3 player. 94 of the 150 students (62.66%) did in fact own MP3 devices, most of who were found to be carrying it on them when questioned. There was one simple follow up question for those who had a player: “If it were possible to have complete and safe control of the device on the steering wheel of a car, would you rather listen to your device, or the radio?” There were three answers possible, yes, no or both. Of the 94, 78 (82.98%) said yes, eleven (11.70%) said no, and five (5.32%) said both. The reporting took place primarily on March 16, 2007. The reasons for those who would listen to their device were commercial free music, personalized choice of music, and complete control of what you are listening to.

This study was motivated by the new design of 2006+ model cars. Many are being built with auxiliary jacks for the stock radio, allowing the driver to easily connect any audio playing device to the car’s sound system with a simple 3.5mm plug. What’s more, cars in the upper price echelon are being built with (1) a custom made area in the dash for MP3 players (iPod’s being the most popular), and (2) implementing audio device control right onto the steering wheel. A good example of this is the Ford Fusion or the 2007 Lexus IS250: “The centre console input port allows an iPod, MP3 or Windows Media Audio player to be plugged into the IS audio system.”

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Cars big winner as 34th Annual Annie Awards handed out

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Cars big winner as 34th Annual Annie Awards handed out
Author: U5M4mh Posted under: Uncategorized

Monday, February 12, 2007

Cars drove home the big prize last night, from the 34th Annual Annie Awards. The animation industry’s highest honor, ASIFA-Hollywood’s Annies recognise contributions to animation, writing, directing, storyboarding, voice acting, composing, and much more.

As mentioned, Pixar took home the big prize last night, after facing stiff competition from four other Happy Feet, Monster House, Open Season, and Over the Hedge.

But the biggest winner of the night didn’t get a “Best Animated Feature” nod at all. Flushed Away won five feature animation categories including Animated Effects (Scott Cegielski), Character Animation (Gabe Hordos), Production Design (Pierre-Olivier Vincent), Voice Acting (Sir Ian McKellan as Toad), Writing (Dick Clement, Ian La Frenais, Chris Lloyd, Joe Keenan, and Will Davies).

Over The Hedge won awards for Directing (Tim Johnson and Karey Kirkpatrick), Storyboarding (Gary Graham), and Character Design (Nicolas Marlet).

Of little surprise, Randy Newman won an Annie for Cars in the “Music in an Animated Feature Production” category. Newman has won many Oscars for his movie music, and has a nomination this year for the song “Our Town”. Newman didn’t attend the Annies, instead picking up a Grammy for “Best Song Written For Motion Picture, Television Or Other Visual Media”.

DisneyToon Studios’ Bambi II won “Best Home Entertainment Production”, while “Best Animated Short Subject” went to Blue Sky Studios’ No Time For Nuts, which is based on Ice Age.

“Best Animated Video Game” went to Flushed Away The Game, while a United Airlines ad named “Dragon” won a “Best Animated Television Commercial” Annie for DUCK Studios.

Contents

  • 1 Foster an Annie fav on TV
  • 2 Wikinews was there
  • 3 Related news
  • 4 Sources
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U.S. Supreme Court eases government ability to seize property

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U.S. Supreme Court eases government ability to seize property
Author: U5M4mh Posted under: Uncategorized

June 24, 2005

In a major decision, the Supreme Court of the United States has expanded the right of government to seize private property for public good by allowing the city of New London, Connecticut to invoke eminent domain and seize homeowners’ property for economic development reasons.

In a closely-divided decision, 5-4, the court determined that the city’s economic development plan constituted a “public use”, and therefore qualified under the U.S. Constitution’s fifth amendment’s Eminent Domain clause.

Justice John Paul Stevens wrote the majority decision, and was joined by Justices David H. Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen G. Breyer and Anthony Kennedy. “Promoting economic development is a traditional and long accepted function of government,” Stevens wrote, and justified the decision further by saying municipal authorities are better positioned to make decisions regarding a community’s best interests than judges.

Writing the dissenting opinion, Justice Sandra Day O’Connor rejected the economic justification as a public use, pointing out that wealthy individuals are more capable of defending themselves and so are less at risk. But the greatest issue was the liklihood of abuse of eminent domain:

“The specter of condemnation hangs over all property. Nothing is to prevent the state from replacing any Motel 6 with a Ritz-Carlton, any home with a shopping mall or any farm with a factory.” A separate dissent was also included written by Justice Clarence Thomas.

[edit]

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