Australian government announces $52.5 million financial assistance package for Ford

Friday, May 5, 2006

Australian Prime Minister John Howard and federal industry minister Ian MacDonald today announced that the federal government would be providing Ford Australia with a AU$52.5 million (US$40.4 million) “financial assistance package”. Additional assistance will also be provided by the Victorian state government.

According to Mr Howard, the injection will secure Ford’s manufacturing operations in Australia “for the long term”.

From the package, AU$40 million will be used for the design and manufacture of Ford’s next model Falcon and Territory vehicles, which will be built in Australia.

Despite being given a major facelift in 2002 and another in 2005, the Falcon’s bodyshell dates back to 1998. The current Falcon will need to serve the company until at least 2007 when the new model is anticipated. In the meantime, it will face stiff competition from the completely new Holden Commodore (the Falcon’s major competitor) which will be released in the second half of this year.

The additional AU$12.5 million will be spent on the development of a light commercial vehicle platform, which will be built overseas and marketed to around 80 countries. Mr Howard said that the light commercial project would involve construction of a research and development centre, which will become the base for R&D projects in the region.

Mr MacFarlane said that the research facility was exciting for Australia and that it would put the Australian automotive in the spotlight.

“The funding has helped Ford Australia secure the largest automotive R&D project ever undertaken in Australia which is equally exciting news for local Ford employees and Australian component producers” he said.

“The project will see Ford Australia become a centre for automotive design and engineering excellence in the Asia Pacific region which will bring spin-off benefits for the broader industry,”

“This opportunity will put both Ford Australia, and the Australian automotive and components sectors on the world map as far as our automotive design and engineering capabilities are concerned.” Mr MacFarlane said.

Mr Howard claims that the projects will create 273 jobs and secure the future of the “iconic” Ford Falcon, which has been built in Australia since 1960.

The financial package is conditional upon Ford Australia giving the Australian automotive component industry an opportunity to supply components for the vehicles produced by the two projects.

Retrieved from “https://en.wikinews.org/w/index.php?title=Australian_government_announces_$52.5_million_financial_assistance_package_for_Ford&oldid=565461”

Gay Talese on the state of journalism, Iraq and his life

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Gay Talese wants to go to Iraq. “It so happens there is someone that’s working on such a thing right now for me,” the 75-year-old legendary journalist and author told David Shankbone. “Even if I was on Al-Jazeera with a gun to my head, I wouldn’t be pleading with those bastards! I’d say, ‘Go ahead. Make my day.'”

Few reporters will ever reach the stature of Talese. His 1966 profile of Frank Sinatra, Frank Sinatra Has a Cold, was not only cited by The Economist as the greatest profile of Sinatra ever written, but is considered the greatest of any celebrity profile ever written. In the 70th anniversary issue of Esquire in October 2003, the editors declared the piece the “Best Story Esquire Ever Published.”

Talese helped create and define a new style of literary reporting called New Journalism. Talese himself told National Public Radio he rejects this label (“The term new journalism became very fashionable on college campuses in the 1970s and some of its practitioners tended to be a little loose with the facts. And that’s where I wanted to part company.”)

He is not bothered by the Bancrofts selling The Wall Street Journal—”It’s not like we should lament the passing of some noble dynasty!”—to Rupert Murdoch, but he is bothered by how the press supported and sold the Iraq War to the American people. “The press in Washington got us into this war as much as the people that are controlling it,” said Talese. “They took information that was second-hand information, and they went along with it.” He wants to see the Washington press corp disbanded and sent around the country to get back in touch with the people it covers; that the press should not be so focused on–and in bed with–the federal government.

Augusten Burroughs once said that writers are experience junkies, and Talese fits the bill. Talese–who has been married to Nan Talese (she edited James Frey‘s Million Little Piece) for fifty years–can be found at baseball games in Cuba or the gay bars of Beijing, wanting to see humanity in all its experience.

Below is Wikinews reporter David Shankbone’s interview with Gay Talese.

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Australian government hopes to establish triage by phone

Sunday, January 29, 2006

The Australian federal government hopes to slash hospital emergency department waiting queues by setting up a 24-hour national medical hotline.

A government source said that the National Health Call Centre Network would be manned by registered triage nurses 24-hours a day, 7-days a week. Triage nurses would perform a diagnosis over the phone based upon the description given by the patient. The patient would then be referred to the nearest emergency department, their local GP or pharmacy – as determined by the nurse.

The issue is expected to be discussed at next month’s Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting in Canberra. It is believed that the states and territories are supportive of the system.

If agreed upon by COAG, the service will be jointly funded by state/territory and the commonwealth governments at a cost of $40 million a year. The service would take 18 months to set up.

The service will be ran from a centralised call centre and be managed by a private contractor.

Julia Gillard, the opposition’s spokeswoman for health said any national call service needed to be linked with local GPs and medical services.

Gillard claims that under a Labor government, an after-hours “Pizza Hut” style service would be implemented, with a single national number connecting to a local call centre.

“You would be talking to people in the locality you are in and who know the local services,” she said

The Australian Medical Association, an organisation representing more than 27,000 doctors in Australia has slammed the proposal saying it will only deter people from seeking appropriate medical treatment.

Retrieved from “https://en.wikinews.org/w/index.php?title=Australian_government_hopes_to_establish_triage_by_phone&oldid=1059187”

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Appalachian Mountains coal company target of protesters

Saturday, July 9, 2005

A Friday protest in downtown Richmond drew around 200 protesters to Virginia’s state capital to demonstrate against strip mining practices of Massey Energy Company. Demonstrators marched through town and gathered in front of the company’s office building where nearly 20 laid in the street of the city’s main thoroughfare, and were nearly arrested. A few linked arms around a sidewalk structure to avoid being hauled away by police.

Chanting “Blankenship, Blankenship, Blankenship,” and waving bed sheets for flags, the demonstrators demanded to be seen and heard by the Massey Chairman and CEO, Don Blankenship. Arrests for civil disobedience were avoided when two security guards were sent by the company to retrieve a list of their demands.

The demonstration, timed to coincide with Scotland’s G8 conference, was organized by a group called “Mountain Justice Summer” and environmentalists to protest mountain top removal mining techniques. The company’s mining operations are located in the Appalachian Mountain chain in the states of Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee. Massey is the United States’ fourth-largest coal mining operation.

A statement issued by a Massey spokesman defended their respect of people’s rights, and decried what they said was, “a great deal of misinformation.”

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported that unofficial “legal observers” accompanied the demonstrators and carried notebooks to record crowd and police activity.

Retrieved from “https://en.wikinews.org/w/index.php?title=Appalachian_Mountains_coal_company_target_of_protesters&oldid=4589136”

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Swine flu outbreaks appear globally; WHO raises pandemic alert level to 5

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

New cases of the swine flu virus have been reported around the world in recent days, prompting fear of a global influenza pandemic. As a result, the World Health Organization (WHO) raised the pandemic alert level to 5. The United Nations has warned that the disease can not be contained. At least 91 confirmed cases of the flu have been reported worldwide.

In a special report, Wikinews takes a look at the reaction to the outbreak, and how different countries around the world have been affected by it.

The disease, which is believed to have originated in Mexico, has now spread across the globe, with confirmed cases having been reported in Canada, the United Kingdom, Spain, New Zealand, Costa Rica and Israel. The United States has also reported its first death from the disease in a toddler. South Korea and France both had probable cases.

The WHO said on Tuesday that while it was not yet certain that the outbreak would turn into pandemic, countries should prepare for the worst. “Countries should take the opportunity to prepare for a pandemic,” said the acting assistant director-general for the WHO, Keiji Fukuda.

“Based on assessment of all available information, and following several expert consultations, I have decided to raise the current level of influenza pandemic alert from phase 4 to phase 5,” said Margaret Chan, the Director-General of the WHO, in a statement on Wednesday. “…All countries should immediately activate their pandemic preparedness plans. Countries should remain on high alert for unusual outbreaks of influenza-like illness and severe pneumonia.” After the announcement was made, Wikinews learned that the WHO website had crashed for several minutes, presumably due to high traffic volume.

There is no vaccine for swine flu. In 1976 during an outbreak of the virus, at least 500 people became seriously ill, and of them, 25 had died when inoculated with an attempt at a vaccination. The 500 that became ill developed a neurological disorder called Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) which caused paralysis “and is characterized by various degrees of weakness, sensory abnormalities and autonomic dysfunction.” Those who developed the disorder did so because of an immunopathological reaction to the drug. Nearly 40 million US residents, including then US president Gerald Ford, were inoculated.


Screening measures at Canadian airports have been raised on Tuesday to screen passengers returning from Mexico for symptoms of swine flu. The measures come amid reports that thirteen people have now been infected in the country, in four different provinces.

The Public Health Agency has recommended Canadians who have booked flights to Mexico to delay them if possible. Those who choose to fly anyway will be asked questions about their health after they return, such as whether they have had symptoms of the flu, like diarrhea, coughing, or a sore throat. If anyone answers in the affirmative, they may be further assessed and perhaps transferred to a quarantine officer, who will suggest that they seek medical help, or isolate themselves at home.

“These measures will help to prevent further spread and protect the health of Canadians and we thank you for your patience and co-operation with this process,” said the chief public health officer, David Butler-Jones.

Several Canadian airlines have also limited or cancelled flights to Mexico. Air Transat and its partner tour companies, Nolitours and Transat Holidays, have cancelled all flights bound to Mexico until June 1. West Jet has also stated that it will suspend all vacation planning and air flights for Cancun, Mazatlan, Cabo San Lucas, and other destinations in Mexico.

Egypt, which has not yet reported any cases of the flu, has recently begun a campaign to slaughter all 300,000 pigs in the country, despite assurances by health officials that the disease is not transmitted from animals to humans. “It has been decided to immediately start slaughtering all the pigs in Egypt using the full capacity of the country’s slaughterhouses,” Egypt’s health minister, Hatem el-Gabaly, told reporters.

Farmers have been protesting the measure. At one pig farming area in the country, crowds of farmers blockaded the roads to prevent health officials from entering to slaughter their pigs. Some of the farmers hurled stones at officials’ vehicles, and the latter was forced to retreat without killing any of the animals.

In Mexico, the epicentre of the outbreak, officials have announced up to 159 suspected deaths from the virus, out of a total of 2,498 suspected cases. The Mexican cabinet has announced that all flights departing from Mexico City will be suspended, while Argentina and Cuba have both cancelled all flights to the country. The European Union and the US have both issued warnings against traveling to Mexico.

The Royal Caribbean cruise line has suspended all stops in Mexico indefinitely, while Norwegian Cruise Line announced that its vessels will not make stops at Mexican ports until September of this year.

The government has ordered all restaurants in the country’s capital to serve only carry-out food, and closed archaeological sites with the intent of limiting large groupings of people. Churches, gyms, pool halls, and other institutions in Mexico City have been asked to close. School classes across the country have been suspended until May 6.

The Mexican government has estimated that the epidemic is costing companies in the capital at least US$57 million per day, and that tourism revenue has dropped by 36%. The finance ministry has set up a special fund of $450 million to fight the disease.

Thirteen confirmed cases have been known in New Zealand. All of them have been prescribed the antiviral drug Tamiflu.

New Zealand airports have now started to screen at least ten thousand people who arrive in the country from flights from Northern America. Those who display symptoms of the flu are taken aside by health authorities and placed into a quarantine.

“The number of suspected cases is likely in increase,” said Fran McGrath, the Deputy Director of Public Health. “While the numbers in any category will fluctuate, this is a pattern to be expected from an influenza outbreak. It is important to note that the 13 people we are treating as confirmed cases have all had mild flu symptoms, have received treatment and are all on the mend of have recovered.”

Spain’s health minister Trinidad Jinenez announced on Wednesday that a total of 53 persons in the country are under observation for the influenza. The number of confirmed cases in the country has been risen from four to ten, including one person who did not obtain the illness by traveling to Mexico.

Until now, Jimenez said that all of Spain’s confirmed cases involved persons who had recently visited Mexico, where the outbreak is believed to have began.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced that five people who recently visited Mexico are now ill with the swine flu in the United Kingdom. “All of them have traveled recently from Mexico,” he said. “All of them have mild symptoms. All of them are receiving and responding well to treatment.”

The school of one the infected people, a twelve-year-old girl from Torbay, has been shut down and its 230 pupils given the drug Tamiflu, Brown said.

The Prime Minister said that the country is preparing for a possible pandemic. It has increased its stocks of antiviral drugs, enough for fifty million people, and ordered additional face masks for health workers. The government has encouraged all British residents to avoid travel to Mexico.

A 23-month-old boy from Mexico died at a Houston, Texas hospital on Wednesday, the first casualty from swine flu in the United States. The child had arrived in Brownsville, Texas, near the border with Mexico, with unspecified “underlying health issues” on April 4. Several days later, he presented symptoms of swine flu, and was hospitalized on April 13. The next day, the boy was transferred to a Houston hospital, where he remained until dying on Monday night of pneumonia brought on by the virus.

In response to the epidemic, Texas governor Rick Perry has given a disaster declaration. Schools have closed down statewide. Californian governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has also declared a state of emergency in his state.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated the number of incidents of swine flu in the country to 64 on Tuesday.

President Barack Obama has asked Congress for a fund of $1.5 billion to fight the outbreak, saying that it is needed for “maximum flexibility to allow us to address this emerging situation.”

US health authorities have warned that more cases and fatalities from the flu are probable. “We expect to see more cases, more hospitalizations, and, unfortunately, we are likely to see more deaths from the outbreak,” said Kathleen Sebelius, the Health and Human Services secretary.

Retrieved from “https://en.wikinews.org/w/index.php?title=Swine_flu_outbreaks_appear_globally;_WHO_raises_pandemic_alert_level_to_5&oldid=4513549”

St. Lucian footballer Philip Tisson shot dead in Brooklyn, New York

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Philip Tisson, a member of the Saint Lucia national football team, has been killed by a gunshot wound to the head in New York. Tisson was in New York participating in the Digicel Caribbean Cup tournament.

Several members of the team were at Tropiks Bar and Grill in Brooklyn celebrating an earlier victory over Saint Kitts and Nevis. At 4.30am, Tisson entered a parked car outside of Tropiks. While seated in the rear of the car, Tisson was shot in the head. Three women were in the car at the time of the shooting, with one requiring medical attention for a shoulder wound.

According to teammate Sheldon Emmanuel, Tisson left the bar at 3:30 A.M. (EST) with an unknown woman. Tisson’s brother remained with his teammates and only found out about the shooting afterwards by phone. Emmanuel also stated that no one witnessed Tission involved an argument with anyone. A police official said that there are no known suspects. Police are waiting for video evidence.

Tisson had scored in the Saint Kitts and Nevis game. St. Lucia advanced to the finals with their win over Saint Kitts and Nevis to face Jamaica. The team stated they will still play in the final on Sunday “despite the loss of a friend, a teammate and one of their most powerful players”.

In St. Lucia, Tisson is survivied by his three year-old daughter.

Retrieved from “https://en.wikinews.org/w/index.php?title=St._Lucian_footballer_Philip_Tisson_shot_dead_in_Brooklyn,_New_York&oldid=4597434”

Teen broadcasts suicide online

Sunday, November 23, 2008

A Pembroke Pines, Florida teenager killed himself Wednesday, November 19, while broadcasting on the live video site Justin.tv. After making suicide threats and being encouraged by Justin.tv viewers and Bodybuilding.com forum members, Abraham K. Biggs, 19, committed suicide by taking an overdose of opiates and benzodiazepine, which had been prescribed for his bipolar disorder.

Biggs first began blogging about his planned suicide 12 hours before the actual event. He died after taking pills and lying on the bed in front of the webcam. After the broadcast, viewers who apparently thought it was a hoax posted messages such as “OMG”, “LOL”, and “hahahah”.

Hours later, after being alerted by viewers who had noticed that Biggs had stopped breathing, law enforcement and paramedics arrived, discovered his body, and covered the camera. The Broward County Medical Examiner’s Office has reportedly confirmed Biggs’ death.

According to Montana Miller of the Bowling Green State University, the circumstances of this case were not shocking: “If it’s not recorded or documented, then it doesn’t even seem worthwhile. For today’s generation it might seem, ‘What’s the point of doing it if everyone isn’t going to see it?'”

Biggs’ sister Rosalind was angry that neither the website nor its viewers reacted soon enough to save him. “They got hits, they got viewers, nothing happened for hours,” she said. She described him as “very happy” and “friendly and outgoing.” “On a normal day, you couldn’t really tell that he got as low as he did.” However, he did have relationship problems with his girlfriend, according to a friend.

Mental health professionals have warned about the possibility that other mentally troubled people would copy his actions. According to Dr. David Shaffer of Columbia University, “Any video showing it as heroic or romantic or glamorous could reduce the anxiety people might feel about suicide. It becomes a respectable behavior and lowers the threshold of suicide.” He and other psychiatrists recommend that potentially suicidal teens talk to others and “tell what’s going on.”

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