Widespread looting blamed for disrupted rescue efforts in New Orleans, Louisiana

Thursday, September 1, 2005

The Mayor of New Orleans, Ray Nagin, has ordered most of the local police force to stop rescue efforts and shift their efforts to prevent looting [1]. At the same time, FEMA has reportedly been blocking aid shipments into the city on the grounds that it is too dangerous.

A rescue helicopter attempting to retrieve stranded people from New Orleans’ Superdome stadium was reportedly shot at; but this has not yet been confirmed. A member of the National Guard was reportedly shot, but was not seriously injured. Official reports say that one New Orleans police officer was shot in the head, but was expected to survive. Other reports say that police stranded on the roof of a hotel were being fired upon by looters in the streets. Meanwhile, reports from many blogs and grassroots journalists about police officers looting cars and stores have started to filter up to the mainstream media [2].

Food, diapers, and other supplies are the target of most looters. Some are reportedly taking non-essential and luxury items, such as TVs and computers. Reportedly, gun and pawn shops are also a popular target for looting.

Earlier today, buses were taking the most vulnerable away to the state capital of Louisiana, Baton Rouge. Evacuees in the Superdome are also being moved by bus to the Astrodome in Houston, Texas.

US President George W. Bush, in an interview on ABC television, condemned the looting, saying “I think there ought to be zero tolerance of people breaking the law during an emergency such as this.”

A hospital in Gretna was evacuated after a supply truck carrying food, water and medical supplies was stopped at gunpoint. Spokesman Stephen Campanini estimated there to be approximately 350 employees in the hospital, along with between 125 and 150 patients. Campanini said, “There are physical threats to safety from roving bands of armed individuals with weapons who are threatening the safety of the hospital.”

Despite this, some of the other rumors of looting have proven to be false. One of the most prevalent was the story that armed looters laid siege to the Children’s Hospital. The Times-Picayune reported that this story was false.

U.S. Army Surgeon General: Many soldiers with personality disorders can perform well

Saturday, July 8, 2006

The U.S. Army’s surgeon general, Lt. Gen. Kevin C. Kiley, told reporters Friday that soldiers exhibiting personality disorders would not be automatically discharged because many can continue to perform their duties well. However, the army did discharge more than 1,000 soldiers last year for personality disorders. Among them was Steven Dale Green, who now stands accused of raping a young Iraqi female and murdering her and her family.

Kiley also said; “There is something very demanding and tough about being in combat. And anything that would be perceived as being weak and not ready and tough carries with it some stigma.”

U.S. Defense Department officials announced last month that they have set up a task force to study the mental health of American troops. The 14-member Mental Health Task Force’s primary job is to produce a required report for Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Congress before June 2007 that lays out a long-term plan to improve the effectiveness of the military’s mental health treatments, according to a Pentagon press release.

On May 4, prior to the creation of the task force, U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer said the military faces a “mental health crisis” and criticized the Pentagon for inaction. In a letter to Rumsfeld, Boxer noted that 25 soldiers committed suicide in Iraq and Afghanistan in 2005, up from 20 soldiers the year before.

Wikinews interviews New Zealand Paralympic skier Adam Hall

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Recently, Wikinews spent time with with New Zealand Paralympic skier Adam Hall who was at Copper Mountain, Colorado for the IPC Nor-Am Cup.

((Wikinews)) We’re interviewing famous Kiwi Paralympic legend Adam Hall, Paralympic skier. What classification are you?

Adam Hall: An LW1.

((WN)) LW1. So you are a standing skier?

Adam Hall: Stand up skier.

((WN)) And how does a Kiwi end up skiing? Because it’s not known as the world’s greatest country for skiing.

Adam Hall: Oh, actually we have quite a lot of good resources down in New Zealand for skiing and a lot of world class athletes and countries from all over the world come down to New Zealand and train during the off season. So, actually, kind of world-renowned for skiing.

((WN)) New Zealand’s had a couple of really famous skiers compared to their neighbour [Australia], right?

Adam Hall: Yeah I guess so. Especially in the able bodied world. Back in the early 90s we had some good success at the Olympic medal.

((WN)) You’re the most decorated New Zealand Paralympian on the winter side?

Adam Hall: Uh, no, not yet. We’ve also had a very successful Winter Paralympics ski racing team also in the 90s as well and also in the 80s as well when Paralympic skiing first evolved. We have had quite a successful team over the years, and we try to continue that[?].

((WN)) Are you from the South Island?

Adam Hall: From the South Island.

((WN)) So you ski in Otago?

Adam Hall: Yeah, I am from Otago and I train out of Wanaka.

((WN)) After the Summer Olympics, your government had all sorts of budget issues. Has that impacted the Paralympic stuff on the winter side or in general, or is it just the Olympics where they are like “we don’t want to fund everything”?

Adam Hall: I’d much rather stay out of all that political side of things, and I don’t really know much about it…

((WN)) They are giving you money to ski?

Adam Hall: Based on your results you’re pretty well supported, and you have to obviously show your results to get the kind of resources and help. If you’re successful you’re lucky enough to get world class resources to help you along.

((WN)) Do you think you’re better resourced than, say, the Americans?

Adam Hall: It’s hard to say what each country gets, but I’m really happy and definitely privileged to have the support that I have behind me.

((WN)) Are you going to go to Sochi?

Adam Hall: Definitely, yeah. That what my eyes are set on at the moment and it’s for Sochi in 2014.

((WN)) Have you qualified points-wise points already?

Adam Hall: Yeah, right now I have the qualifications and [?] points to qualify for the games.

((WN)) What’s your favourite skiing events?

Adam Hall: Slalom and Super G, and the two combined.

((WN)) It’s because you like to go fast?

Adam Hall: I like to go fast and I like the technical things as well.

((WN)) Anything that people should know about disability sport in New Zealand?

Adam Hall: No, not really, the whole disability world, world-wide, is moving in a positive way and continues to when you look back in previous years with people with disabilities were kind of classed as second-hand[?] citizens and it is moving in a positive way and continues to.

((WN)) Okay, cool. Thank you very much.

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Billy West, voice of Ren and Stimpy, Futurama, on the rough start that shaped his life
This article mentions the Wikimedia Foundation, one of its projects, or people related to it. Wikinews is a project of the Wikimedia Foundation.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Ren and Stimpy. Bugs Bunny. Philip J. Fry and Professor Hubert Farnsworth on Futurama. Sparx. Bi-Polar Bear. Popeye the Sailor Man. Woody Woodpecker. You may not think you have ever heard Billy West, but chances are on a television program, a movie, a commercial, or as Howard Stern’s voice guru in the 1990’s, you have heard him. West’s talent for creating personalities by twisting his voice has made him one of a handful of voice actors—Hank Azaria and the late Mel Blanc come to mind—who have achieved celebrity for their talent. Indeed, West is one of the few voice actors who can impersonate Blanc in his prime, including characterizations of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Elmer Fudd and other characters from Warner Bros. cartoons.

What is the fulcrum in Mr. West’s life that led him to realize a talent to shape personalities with his voice, and how did the discovery of that gift shape him? Wikinews reporter David Shankbone found that like many great comedians, West faced more sour early in life than he did sweet. The sour came from a physically and emotionally abusive alcoholic father (“I could tell you the kind of night I was going to have from the sound of the key in the door or the way the car pulled up.”), to his own problems with drug and alcohol use (“There is a point that you can reach in your life where you don’t want to live, but you haven’t made the decision to die.”).

I’m telling you stuff that I never said to anybody…

If sin, suffering and redemption feel like the stages of an endless cycle of American existence, West’s own redemption from his brutalized childhood is what helped shape his gift. He performed little bits to cheer up his cowed mother, ravaged by the fact she could not stop her husband’s abuse of young West. “I was the whipping boy and she would just be reduced to tears a lot of times, and I would come in and say stuff, and I would put out little bits just to pull her out of it.”

But West has also enjoyed the sweet. His career blossomed as his talent for creating entire histories behind fictional characters and creatures simply by exploring nuance in his voice landed him at the top of his craft. You may never again be able to forget that behind the voice of your favorite character, there is often an extraordinary life.

Below is David Shankbone’s interview with renowned voice actor Billy West, who for the first time publicly talks about the horrors he faced in his childhood; his misguided search for answers in anger, drugs and alcohol; and the peace he has achieved as one of America’s most recognizable voice actors.


  • 1 The use of celebrities for voiceovers
  • 2 Iconic characters and choosing projects
  • 3 Discovering his talent
  • 4 “It was a horror chamber where I grew up”
  • 5 West moves to Boston after his parents divorce
  • 6 How West dealt with his father’s abuse
  • 7 Rehabilitation and sobriety
  • 8 Is West glad he experienced addiction?
  • 9 West on his career
  • 10 West on politics
  • 11 Billy West on modern American society
  • 12 Billy West on telling it like it is
  • 13 Source

British TV presenter Rico Daniels tells Wikinews about being ‘The Salvager’

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Rico Daniels is a British TV presenter living in France who is known for his two television series — The Salvager — whilst he still lived in the UK and then Le Salvager after he moved to France. Rico has been in a variety of jobs but his passion is now his profession – he turns unwanted ‘junk’ into unusual pieces of furniture. Rico’s creations and the methods used to fabricate them are the subject of the Salvager shows.

Rico spoke to Wikinews in January about his inspiration and early life, future plans, other hobbies and more. Read on for the full exclusive interview, published for the first time:

The Benefits Of Choosing A Family Dentist For Teeth Whitening In Lakewood

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byAlma Abell

Teeth whitening can take years off of your looks, and today most dentists offer the service. However, it is smart to use a family practice for Teeth Whitening in Lakewood. Full service practices, such as Lakewood Family Dental Association, offer important benefits that include:

  • GENERAL DENTISTRY: When you choose a family practice for Teeth Whitening in Lakewood, you are treated by well-rounded professionals who can also take care of your general dentistry needs. They can schedule needed cleanings, provide tooth-colored fillings, perform extractions, and add crowns. During a visit that includes Teeth Whitening Professionals will evaluate your overall dental health, and recommend any needed work.
  • COSMETIC PROCEDURES: In addition to brightening teeth, the staff at a full-service practice can consult with you about other cosmetic procedures that will help give you the smile you want. These include bonding, veneers, and a series of procedures that create a smile makeover.
  • TOOTH REPLACEMENT: Family dentists are experts at finding solutions for missing teeth. Often this involves providing implants, which are long lasting, strong, and natural looking. Dentists offer dentures, single tooth replacements, denture stabilization, multiple tooth replacement, and fixed bridges.
  • EMERGENCY SERVICES: A full-service practice ensures that all patients have access to an Emergency Dentist when needed. They will accept emergency patients without an appointment, even on the weekends. Patients can get fast help with chipped teeth, root canals, denture repairs, emergency extractions, and more.
  • AFFORDABLE CARE: Many family practices offer discounts, including low-cost new patient welcome packages. Patients may also be offered special pricing on specific procedures, such as teeth whitening. The practices typically accept major credit cards and work with a wide range of insurance types. These can include state family care programs, union plans, and other reduced-fee plans. Family dentists may also offer in-house financing, to help make major work affordable.

Although most dentists today offer teeth whitening services, it is smart to have this procedure done at a family practice. Their dentists offer many important services, including an evaluation of overall dental health, general dentistry, cosmetic dentistry, tooth replacement options, emergency help, and flexible payment choices.

Swiss reject single health insurance

Monday, March 12, 2007

24 of 26 Swiss Cantons rejected the proposal for a single health insurance system, in which premiums would be based on income and wealth. The vote on Sunday was the latest in a series of attempts to cut rising costs and ease the financial burden on citizens.

Around 71% of voters rejected the reform. Turnout was at about 46%, slightly above the Swiss average.

As expected, voters in the main German-speaking part of the country turned down the planned reform, which was supported by the centre-left but opposed by the centre-right as well as the business community, parliament and the government.

Opposition in the French and Italian speaking regions was less pronounced. The cantons Jura and Neuchâtel in the French speaking regions voted in favor of the proposed reforms.

Health insurance premiums are higher in southern and western Swiss cantons than in German-speaking areas.

The Swiss Interior Minister Pascal Couchepin said an important part of the Swiss Population appeared to be opposed to “a revolution” in health insurance but he said that he wanted current reforms currently under discussion in the Swiss Parliament to go ahead. He called on all sides, especially health insurers and the cantonal authorities, to make efforts to reduce spending on health insurance and aim for a greater cost efficiency. Currently Switzerland has 87 private insurers providing mandatory basic health care coverage for Swiss residents under a 1996 law. But costs have sky-rocketed. Over 100,000 people are not covered by health insurance due to non payment.

To win the battle of the cost of health care, everyone must place his or her private interests behind the interests of the general public. -Pascal Couchepin at a news conference

Opponents to the initiative argued that a single insurance system would lead to complacency and create a two-tier system, in which the wealthy would be the only ones available to afford to have additional private insurance coverage.

Supporters of the initiative said a single health insurer would increase the system’s efficiency and allow for annual savings of at least 300 million Swiss Francs (about $245 million) in administrative costs. Currently, the funding system is unbalanced, since many clients on low incomes use state subsidies to pay their premiums, according to the Green Party and the Social Democrats.

The initiative to unite all the insurance companies and introduce premiums based on wealth and income was the most recent in a series of attempts over the past ten years to reduce the public spending on health care. A proposal, similar to this recent proposal, to modify the funding system of the health insurance companies was rejected by 73% of voters in 2003.

Switzerland has the most expensive health system in Europe. Switzerland’s expenditure on health care was 11.6% in 2005, in front of Germany and France but behind the United States.

Learn more about Swiss Federal Council and Voting in Switzerland on Wikipedia.

Rachel Weisz wants Botox ban for actors

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

English actress Rachel Weisz thinks that Botox injections should be banned for all actors.

The 39-year-old actress, best known for her roles in the Mummy movie franchise and for her Academy Award-winning portrayal in The Constant Gardener, feels facial Botox injections leave actors less able to convey emotion and that it harms the acting industry as much as steroids harm athletes.

In an interview with UK’s Harper’s Bazaar, coming out next month, Weisz says, “It should be banned for actors, as steroids are for sportsmen,” she claims. “Acting is all about expression; why would you want to iron out a frown?”

Should Botox be banned for actors?
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Currently living in New York, she also mentions that English women are much less worried about their physical appearance than in the United States. “I love the way girls in London dress,” she claimed. “It’s so different to the American ‘blow-dry and immaculate grooming’ thing.”

Excessive surgeries swell Medicare costs in United States

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

At least 10% of the increase in Medicare expenditures since the mid-1990s is due to increased rates of one type of elective surgery, according to a recent study, and many of the patients may not need it. University of California, San Francisco found that only 44% of patients who undergo an elective cardiac surgery called angioplasty get the recommended test to determine whether the procedure is appropriate.

As a result, patients may be receiving a procedure that they either do not need or for which the risk outweighs the benefit. The operation opens partially clogged arteries in patients with heart disease and the annual rate of elective angioplasties has tripled in the United States during the last decade.

Angioplasties are currently being performed at a rate of over 800,000 per year in the U.S. The average cost was $44,110 per procedure in 2004. Since the operation tends to be performed on older Americans, Medicare covers most patients and compensates US$10,000 to $15,000 for each case.

Reuters reporter Julie Steenhuysen writes that angioplasty is “big business for medical device makers including Boston Scientific Corp, Medtronic Inc, Abbott Laboratories Inc and Johnson & Johnson”. Dr. Raymond Gibbons, a professor of medicine who specializes in cardiology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, criticizes the current U.S. health care system for compensating doctors based upon procedures performed rather than for following recommended practices.

We didn’t expect to find 100 percent, but we expected a much higher percentage than 44

A stress test in which the patient walks on a treadmill is recommended to determine whether a partial obstruction impairs heart function. Although not all patients who need angioplasty are strong enough to undergo the stress test, UC San Francisco researchers were surprised that testing preceded so few of the surgeries.

Professor of medicine Dr. Rita F. Redberg told U.S. News and World Report, “We didn’t expect to find 100 percent, but we expected a much higher percentage than 44”. Dr. Redberg co-authored a report on the findings for the Journal of the American Medical Association this month.

Dr. Grace Lin, another co-author of the study, noted: “What really matters is whether or not that blockage is affecting blood flow to the heart. That is why the stress test is important.” Their research analyzed over 23,000 Medicare cases and over 1,600 commercial insurance cases.

American Heart Association president Timothy Gardner called the study “a good wake-up call” to remind medical doctors to make sure they do not perform unnecessary procedures. Dr. Gardner regards the study as evidence that many unnecessary angioplasties are being performed.

You can do a stress test every year to be sure things are normal. That is an important baseline that is being ignored all too frequently.

The study found great variation in the rate of stress testing. Geographic areas ranged from 22% to 76% with the highest rate of testing in the Northeastern and Midwestern states. Testing rates also varied by gender, with men more likely to receive a stress test than women, and by other factors including the age of the physician. Dr. Gibbons points to some of these variances as indications that some physicians may be performing angioplasties indiscriminately.

Not all physicians agree. Although the various types of stress testing usually cost a few hundred dollars instead of tens of thousands, the chief cardiologist at University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics Dr. Matthew Wolff notes that stress tests yield false negative results in about 10% of cases. In his opinion, doctors who rely on stress tests “are going to be missing people with severe disease.” Although he agrees that some angioplasties are unnecessary, he contends that the new study does not offer a solution to the dilemma.

The American College of Cardiology plans to release new guidelines soon to help doctors determine when a stress test is appropriate, yet the payment system lacks a financial incentive to abide by testing guidelines. Dr. Eric Topol of Scripps Translational Science Institute in La Jolla, California noted the underuse of stress tests in a study of private insurance records 14 years ago. Dr. Topol agrees that testing guidelines “should be much more clear-cut”, and adds that stress tests ought to be performed annually. “You can do a stress test every year to be sure things are normal. That is an important baseline that is being ignored all too frequently.”

Cardiologist, Dr. Anthony DeFranco of Aurora St. Luke’s Medical Center, considers stress testing to be appropriate in at most 65% of cases, since a substantial minority of patients have other health problems that prevent them from undergoing the test.

38 miners killed in Russian mine explosion

Thursday, May 24, 2007

At least 38 miners are dead after methane exploded in an underground coal mine in Russia. 180 people made it out of the mine, and at least 7 of those were seriously injured. At least 217 miners were inside when the explosion occurred.

“Up to 45 people could have been at the epicenter of the blast. One hundred and eighty people have been brought out. Of these, five have life-threatening injuries. The fate of the other [trapped] miners is unknown. According to the (mining) company’s information, there were 194 workers and 23 engineering inspectors underground [when the mine exploded],” said a spokesman for Russia’s Emergency Ministry.

The explosion occurred at the Yubileynaya (Jubilee) Mine located in Novokuznetsk, Russia in the Kemerovo Oblast at approximately 7:40 a.m. local time on Thursday [11:40 p.m. eastern time on Wednesday]. Yuzhkuzbassugol currently owns the mining facility.

The mine has already received several violations, and according to Russia’s industrial safety agency the mine would likely lose its license to operate. “Such a decision could be taken after an inquiry into all the circumstances of the accident at the Yubileinaya mine. Particularly since we have already found violations at Yuzhkuzbassugol mines.”