John Reed on Orwell, God, self-destruction and the future of writing

Thursday, October 18, 2007

It can be difficult to be John Reed.

Christopher Hitchens called him a “Bin Ladenist” and Cathy Young editorialized in The Boston Globe that he “blames the victims of terrorism” when he puts out a novel like Snowball’s Chance, a biting send-up of George Orwell‘s Animal Farm which he was inspired to write after the terrorist attacks on September 11. “The clear references to 9/11 in the apocalyptic ending can only bring Orwell’s name into disrepute in the U.S.,” wrote William Hamilton, the British literary executor of the Orwell estate. That process had already begun: it was revealed Orwell gave the British Foreign Office a list of people he suspected of being “crypto-Communists and fellow travelers,” labeling some of them as Jews and homosexuals. “I really wanted to explode that book,” Reed told The New York Times. “I wanted to completely undermine it.”

Is this man who wants to blow up the classic literary canon taught to children in schools a menace, or a messiah? David Shankbone went to interview him for Wikinews and found that, as often is the case, the answer lies somewhere in the middle.

Reed is electrified by the changes that surround him that channel through a lens of inspiration wrought by his children. “The kids have made me a better writer,” Reed said. In his new untitled work, which he calls a “new play by William Shakespeare,” he takes lines from The Bard‘s classics to form an original tragedy. He began it in 2003, but only with the birth of his children could he finish it. “I didn’t understand the characters who had children. I didn’t really understand them. And once I had had kids, I could approach them differently.”

Taking the old to make it new is a theme in his work and in his world view. Reed foresees new narrative forms being born, Biblical epics that will be played out across print and electronic mediums. He is pulled forward by revolutions of the past, a search for a spiritual sensibility, and a desire to locate himself in the process.

Below is David Shankbone’s conversation with novelist John Reed.

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Delta Air Lines jetliner skids off New York airport’s runway

Sunday, March 8, 2015

A Delta Air Lines passenger jet skidded off the runway at New York City’s LaGuardia Airport in snowy weather on Thursday, causing a shutdown of the airport, according to officials. The jetliner was carrying 127 passengers and five crew.

The MD-88, operating as flight 1086, was flying in from Atlanta when it lost control after landing. There were a few minor injuries while the passengers were evacuated. The plane was significantly damaged and the airport was shut down. One of the runways reopened around 2 p.m., although an earlier Federal Aviation Administration statement had put reopening at 6:59 p.m.

The city fire department said five out of at least 28 passengers with minor injuries were hospitalized.

Pat Foye, executive director of the port authority, said the plane was two thirds of the way along the 7,000-foot runway when it began a leftward skid that nearly sent it into the water.

The National Transportation Safety Board sent an investigator for the flight data recorders. Delta stated they would work with authorities to investigate.

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Do You Know How To Cope With Dog Aggression?

Do you Know How to Cope With Dog Aggression?


Jordan Wilson

Dogs are predatory animals so it’s only natural that one would show signs of aggressive behavior even as a puppy. The best way to deal with aggression in a dog is to prune his behaviors early on.

It’s the master’s responsibility to train a dog to be submissive and obedient. A dog will act aggressively on different occasions for various reasons. Among the most common reasons are:

Fear or insecurity

Protecting his territory

Struggling for dominance

Feeling trapped or threatened


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Boredom (chasing cars for example)

The dog has been pampered and suddenly his needs or wants aren’t being met to his satisfaction.

Show your dog who is boss from the very beginning. There must be no doubt in his mind that your every command is to be obeyed immediately.

This will take dedication and patience to accomplish. A very well trained dog will respond favorably to his master’s commands even at a distance and without a leash. That is not to say though that you should ever take your dog out in public without a leash.

Most communities have leash laws and even though you feel that you know your dog well, he may behave erratically in an unfamiliar situation.

Once your puppy has been de-wormed and had his shots you’ll do well to gradually introduce him to other dogs. Remain in control of his actions at all times. If the other dog becomes aggressive, hold your dog back to teach him not to respond to provocation.

If your dog becomes aggressive you’ll need to take charge quickly. A stern “no” and short jerk on the leash will send him the message that this behavior will not be tolerated.

Another problematic behavior stemming from aggression is chasing cars, people, cats, other dogs etc. Not only is it unacceptable behavior but chasing has resulted in the death of untold numbers of family pets.

Chasing is instinctual, hunting behavior and nearly every dog will chase something at one time or another. Going against such a deeply ingrained and natural trait is truly a challenge.

Since hunting behavior is necessary for survival in the wild, it is probably the hardest habit to break in a dog. Even if your dog is obedient at other times he may very well ignore your commands and take off after that irresistible rabbit.

There’s no way to outrun a dog. He’ll leave you eating his dust every time. So how can you stop him from exhibiting this aggressive behavior from a distance?

The answer lies in :

*Gaining control of his ability to go after what he wants in an enclosed space.

*Place a favorite toy or piece of food just out of his reach.

*Prevent him from going after it by holding him back with the leash.

*Tell him to sit and when he obeys you, shower him with praise.

*Then offer him the thing that he wants. By repeating this training you are teaching your dog that he’s not allowed to have anything without your permission.

Start your puppy’s training early on and don’t allow aggression to take hold. You’ll have fewer headaches, passersby will be safe, and your dog will be more likely to live a few years longer.

For more information on how you could teach your dog to obey you fast,please visit:

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WWE wrestler John Cena undergoes neck surgery after injury

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Stamford, Connecticut-based company World Wrestling Entertainment issued a press release last night, stating that wrestling performer John Cena is expected to recover from his injuries, after a surgery.

WWE Medical Program head, described in a press release as a “renowned neurosurgeon” Dr. Joseph Maroon performed the operation on Cena, after he sustained injuries during the SummerSlam match on Sunday August 24. He suffered a herniated disc in his neck, in a lost match against a wrestler named Batista.

Just hours after surgery, he visited the locker room of the SmackDown/ECW taping, commenting to the WWE website that: “I feel great. Dr. Maroon is fantastic. He explained every possible procedure he could and could not perform, and the potential risks of all of them. I explained to Dr. Maroon not only my immediate goals, but also my long-term goals. He took them all into consideration and recommended the most commonplace procedure with the least amount of side effects.”

While the option of fusion surgery was chosen previously by other WWE wrestlers (Edge, Steve Austin, Chris Benoit), Maroon removed a fragment from Cena’s spinal cord, which had been blocking a nerve.

The operation lasted 90 minutes; recovery is expected to take three months, instead of a previously suggested 12-14 months.

In his WWE career, Cena is a three-time WWE Champion, a three-time United States Champion, and a two-time World Tag Team Champion. He also won the 2008 Royal Rumble. Before being promoted to the main WWE roster, Cena trained in and wrestled for Ultimate Pro Wrestling and Ohio Valley Wrestling, holding the top titles of both promotions.

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Bird Flu found in Africa

Wednesday, February 8, 2006

The H5N1 Avian Flu virus, also known as Bird Flu, has been found in Nigeria by Italian scientists. Tests done on samples in a laboratory confirm that the strain is the one that can kill people, although no human cases have been reported said the Paris-based United Nations body. This is the first time is has appeared on the continent.

Reports say tests of the virus closely resemble the virus in Asia. The virus has been discovered in poultry flocks in a large Nigerian farm. “It is the first report of the disease in Africa,” the Paris-based World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) said on Wednesday.

“It’s going to be very difficult to mount an eradication campaign,” said Dr. Alex Thiermann, president of the OIE’s international animal health code, from Paris, France. “With what we have today, it is a highly pathogenic H5N1 – the same, or very closely related to the previous ones,” said Thiermann. He also added, “a full genetic analysis of sample viruses is expected to be completed by late Thursday.”

Maria Zampaglione of the Paris-based OIE said “An outbreak has been detected. A local poultry farm keeping 46,000 birds was affected, of which 42,000 were infected and 40,000 of those, died.” The farm is located in Jaji, which is a village in the northern state of Kaduna.

“The farm is located near the Niger Delta, one of the largest over-wintering areas for wild birds in Africa.” said Thiermann.

Quarantine measures on the control and movement of poultry have been taken, and the farm has been disinfected said Nigerian authorities.

“However, it is too early to say how serious the outbreak is and how big its spread could be,” said Ilaria Capua of the Italian bird flu centre in Padua. “We have to be cautious in evaluating the possible implications of these findings.”

In Rome, Samuel Jutzi, a director of the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization said, “if the situation in Nigeria gets out of control, it will have a devastating impact on the poultry population in the region. It will seriously damage the livelihoods of millions of people and it will increase the exposure of humans to the virus.”

“When you have 46,000 chickens in a house, usually you have some degree of biocontainment…So these (chickens) are not likely to be the ones to first encounter migratory waterfowl,” Thiermann said.

Wildlife circles have been debating on whether or not wild birds are spreading the virus around the globe. Experts believe they are playing a role but most believe poultry movement, poultry products and poultry manure is the main cause of the spreading of the virus.

“But probably not in this case,” said Thiermann. “While it’s too early to blame the wildlife, it’s very likely to be in an area that’s remote enough that it’s not likely to be associated with international trade.”

OIE spokeswoman Zampiglione also said, “Experts had been fearing an African outbreak for months. The conditions there are more likely to lead to contagion from birds to man.”

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Wikinews 2020: An ‘Original reporting’ year in review

Friday, January 1, 2021

After an active year of original content published on the English-language Wikinews, we take a look back at some of the two dozen-plus original reports from our contributors during 2020.

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Prepare For The Difficulties Of Menopause By Knowing Its Symptoms

By Janet Martin

The mere mention of menopause can bring images of hot flashes or mood changes in a lot of women. Most women, even men, think that menopause is just that – the manifestation of several irritating symptoms. However, menopause is actually a process in which the ovaries start to lessen the production of sex hormones progesterone and estrogen. And this difficult phase ends when a woman’s monthly period finally ceases.

Although women in their 50s are usually the ones experiencing menopause, others find themselves having bouts with hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms even when they are just in their 40s. This stage is what is commonly known as pre-menopause or perimenopause. When a woman is around 40 years old, changes in her monthly periods are already apparent.

There are also cases when menopause is induced or experienced by younger women. This is usually due to surgical removal of ovaries, cancer therapies, or ovarian failure.

The Common Signs of Menopause

Bladder And Vaginal Problems

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Incontinence or the inability to hold urine and urinary tract infection seem to be common in women who are in their menopausal stage. In some women, incontinence can be severe such that they have to wear adult diapers in order to avoid embarrassing situations, like pissing on their pants during meetings.

Aside from urine-related woes, menopausal women also experience itching, dryness, redness or burning sensation in the vagina. As a result, sexual activities may be quite painful and unenjoyable. Vaginal infections are also common during menopause.

Hot Flashes

The most infamous symptom of menopause is having hot flash. This is usually characterized by abrupt and unexpected bursts of heat from the center of the body which spread to the limbs. Hot flashes manifested at night during sleep are called night sweating.

Altered Menstrual Cycles

Since the number of eggs inside your ovaries is already dwindling and your sex hormone levels are diminishing, there will surely be changes in your monthly periods. You will notice that the flow of menstrual blood is becoming either lighter or heavier. Many women even experience absence of monthly periods for up to six months before having another menstruation. As a result, a lot of women find themselves bearing babies even at this stage. So unless you are absolutely sure that you have already completed your menopause, it would be wise to use contraceptives, such as condoms, to prevent unwanted pregnancies.

Changed Attitude Towards Sex

Due to vaginal dryness and irritation, women who are in their menopausal stage usually are not in the mood for sex. Others, however, become more active because they are no longer burdened or worried about becoming pregnant. Whatever your reaction to sexual intercourse is, it is important to remember that you can still be prone to getting sexually transmitted diseases if you are not careful. Thus, practice safe sex all the time.

Sleep Woes

A number of women complain about either not having enough restful sleep or finding it quite difficult to fall asleep during this phase. In fact, you might find yourself waking up in the middle of the night because of profuse sweating caused by hot flashes.

Mood Changes

Scientists found that the low levels of estrogen during menopause may be the cause of mood changes in women. It seems that the sudden drop in estrogen can create havoc in women’s emotions. Thus, depression and anxiety are common problems facing menopausal women.

Hormone Replacement Therapy is one of the most popular treatments for menopause. However, many women who tried HRT experienced a lot of side effects. In fact, some studies are linking HRT with the development of severe illnesses including cancer.

About the Author: Janet Martin is an avid health and fitness enthusiast and published author. Many of her insightful articles can be found at the premiere online news magazine



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Occupation in London enters fifth day

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

In solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street and other “Occupy” protests, activists set up camp outside St Paul’s Cathedral in London on Saturday, and they plan to remain indefinitely. The protest thus far has been described as “largely peaceful” by a police spokesman.

On Saturday, an estimated thousand or more people attempted to protest in Paternoster Square, the site of the London Stock Exchange, but were blocked by police enforcing a High Court judgment. Julian Assange from Wikileaks also joined the protest to address the activists. A flag flies over the occupation showing the ‘Anonymous’ logo of a headless man in a black suit.

At around 9:30am Wednesday, many campers were still asleep, but around 30–50 people were listening in solidarity to trade union representatives from the National Shop Stewards Network, while 20 to 30 officers from the City of London police watched on. On the steps of St. Paul’s Cathedral, the speakers spoke about a variety of struggles including strikes by electricians that started in August against Balfour Beatty, one of Britain’s largest construction firms. Solidarity was expressed with the travellers at Dale Farm, and speakers described how the media and others were trying to “divide” workers, students and elderly people. One of the speakers said that while today they are occupying the square in London, “tomorrow we will be occupying universities and colleges” and spoke of the suspension of Vik Chechi, the Unison branch secretary who has been suspended by Queen Mary University. By 9:45am, the trade union talks had finished and the sound system was reactivated and reggae music started playing.

After the talks peter out, activity begins to resume on the site: people sorting out tents and serving food, under signs and banners playfully mixing politics (“The London Stock Exchange: Britain’s Biggest Casino”) with Internet memes (a Reddit cartoon man depicted saying “Y U NO JOIN US?”).

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Ed Sheeran wins Song of Year Grammy for Thinking Out Loud

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Yesterday, UK singer Ed Sheeran won the Grammy Award for Song of the Year for his song Thinking Out Loud from his album × ahead of Kendrick Lamar’s Alright; Wiz Khalifa’s, featuring Charlie Puth, See You Again; Little Big Town’s Girl Crush; and Taylor Swift’s Blank Space. Girl Crush won the Grammy Award for Best Country Song.

Welsh singer Amy Wadge co-wrote the song. Sheeran during the ceremony said they wrote the song on a couch in his house. In remarks to the Western Mail, Wadge said the album was already complete when they wrote the song.

Thinking out Loud remained #2 on Billboard Hot 100 for almost two months, and topped the UK rankings last year. Its video song has 969 Million YouTube views and has more than four million likes. The song also won the Grammy Award for Best Pop Solo Performance.

US singer Stevie Wonder announced the winner for the Song of the Year, and the envelope was written in Braille script. He joked about it saying “You can’t read it, you can’t read Braille!”

Along with Ed Sheeran’s first Grammy, Canadians The Weeknd and Justin Bieber won Grammy awards for the first time.

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