Search-and-rescue dog that found 9/11 survivor to be cloned

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Search-and-rescue dog that found 9/11 survivor to be cloned

Thursday, July 3, 2008

A German shepherd who recovered the last survivor of the September 11, 2001 attacks is to be cloned. His owner, James Symington, a former police officer from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada entered an essay writing contest about why his dog should be cloned.

Trakr, the 15 year old German shepherd suffering from degenerative neurological disorder, was the subject of a contest-winning essay about why Trakr should be cloned that was written by Symington. Trakr and Symington received Humanitarian Service Awards from Jane Goodall for their heroics at Ground Zero. Symington is now an actor of film and television, sometimes credited as Peter James.

BioArts International sponsored the essay-writing contest. Five more dogs are to be cloned by its Best Friends Again program. While Trakr will receive free replication, the other dogs will have to participate in an auction with a starting bid of US$100,000.

BioArts is going to send the DNA of the 6 dogs to Sooam Biotech Research Foundation in Seoul, South Korea. A Sooam researcher said that the dog should be born in November.

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MOEA Taiwan signs MOUs with 5 global WiMAX companies to connect with networking industry world-wide

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MOEA Taiwan signs MOUs with 5 global WiMAX companies to connect with networking industry world-wide

April 18, 2019 · Filed under Uncategorized

Monday, October 22, 2007

At the 1st day of WiMAX Forum Taipei Showcase & Conference, Ministry of Economic Affairs of R.O.C. Taiwan (MOEA Taiwan) not only set M-Taiwan Pavilion supervised by Industrial Development Bureau of MOEA Taiwan, but also signed MOUs with five world-class WiMAX companies to enhance the advance of networking industry in Taiwan especially in WiMAX environment.

In the contract-signing ceremony, MOEA Taiwan chose Alcatel-Lucent, Motorola Inc., Nokia-Siemens, Starent Networks, and Sprint-Nextel to sign MOUs with different technologies such as interoperability testing (IOT) to help companies in Taiwan with testing and purchasing WiMAX networking devices and develop solutions with high prime costs to expand the opportunity in global marketing.

“Governments and networking industry in Taiwan is still promoting on M-Taiwan project, the investment with WiMAX infrastructure in Taiwan is the 2nd highest in the world, we estimate that by 2012, the production value of WiMAX will break NT$140 billion. With the MOUs signing, the industry development of WiMAX infrastructure in Taiwan will be improved rapidly with product testing and lots ways of applications to ensure the prime position in the global WiMAX chain.” Steve Ruey-long Chen (Minister of Economic Affairs of Taiwan) remarked at the Ceremony.

According to MOEA Taiwan, this MOUs signing is the 2nd time after signing with world-class companies like Intel, NEC, Nortel, and Rohde & Schwarz Technology. With this MOUs signing, it will improve the networking industry and WiMAX infrastructure in Taiwan.

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U.K. National Portrait Gallery threatens U.S. citizen with legal action over Wikimedia images

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U.K. National Portrait Gallery threatens U.S. citizen with legal action over Wikimedia images

April 18, 2019 · Filed under Uncategorized

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

This article mentions the Wikimedia Foundation, one of its projects, or people related to it. Wikinews is a project of the Wikimedia Foundation.

The English National Portrait Gallery (NPG) in London has threatened on Friday to sue a U.S. citizen, Derrick Coetzee. The legal letter followed claims that he had breached the Gallery’s copyright in several thousand photographs of works of art uploaded to the Wikimedia Commons, a free online media repository.

In a letter from their solicitors sent to Coetzee via electronic mail, the NPG asserted that it holds copyright in the photographs under U.K. law, and demanded that Coetzee provide various undertakings and remove all of the images from the site (referred to in the letter as “the Wikipedia website”).

Wikimedia Commons is a repository of free-to-use media, run by a community of volunteers from around the world, and is a sister project to Wikinews and the encyclopedia Wikipedia. Coetzee, who contributes to the Commons using the account “Dcoetzee”, had uploaded images that are free for public use under United States law, where he and the website are based. However copyright is claimed to exist in the country where the gallery is situated.

The complaint by the NPG is that under UK law, its copyright in the photographs of its portraits is being violated. While the gallery has complained to the Wikimedia Foundation for a number of years, this is the first direct threat of legal action made against an actual uploader of images. In addition to the allegation that Coetzee had violated the NPG’s copyright, they also allege that Coetzee had, by uploading thousands of images in bulk, infringed the NPG’s database right, breached a contract with the NPG; and circumvented a copyright protection mechanism on the NPG’s web site.

The copyright protection mechanism referred to is Zoomify, a product of Zoomify, Inc. of Santa Cruz, California. NPG’s solicitors stated in their letter that “Our client used the Zoomify technology to protect our client’s copyright in the high resolution images.”. Zoomify Inc. states in the Zoomify support documentation that its product is intended to make copying of images “more difficult” by breaking the image into smaller pieces and disabling the option within many web browsers to click and save images, but that they “provide Zoomify as a viewing solution and not an image security system”.

In particular, Zoomify’s website comments that while “many customers — famous museums for example” use Zoomify, in their experience a “general consensus” seems to exist that most museums are concerned with making the images in their galleries accessible to the public, rather than preventing the public from accessing them or making copies; they observe that a desire to prevent high resolution images being distributed would also imply prohibiting the sale of any posters or production of high quality printed material that could be scanned and placed online.

Other actions in the past have come directly from the NPG, rather than via solicitors. For example, several edits have been made directly to the English-language Wikipedia from the IP address 217.207.85.50, one of sixteen such IP addresses assigned to computers at the NPG by its ISP, Easynet.

In the period from August 2005 to July 2006 an individual within the NPG using that IP address acted to remove the use of several Wikimedia Commons pictures from articles in Wikipedia, including removing an image of the Chandos portrait, which the NPG has had in its possession since 1856, from Wikipedia’s biographical article on William Shakespeare.

Other actions included adding notices to the pages for images, and to the text of several articles using those images, such as the following edit to Wikipedia’s article on Catherine of Braganza and to its page for the Wikipedia Commons image of Branwell Brontë‘s portrait of his sisters:

“THIS IMAGE IS BEING USED WITHOUT PERMISSION FROM THE COPYRIGHT HOLDER.”
“This image is copyright material and must not be reproduced in any way without permission of the copyright holder. Under current UK copyright law, there is copyright in skilfully executed photographs of ex-copyright works, such as this painting of Catherine de Braganza.
The original painting belongs to the National Portrait Gallery, London. For copies, and permission to reproduce the image, please contact the Gallery at picturelibrary@npg.org.uk or via our website at www.npg.org.uk”

Other, later, edits, made on the day that NPG’s solicitors contacted Coetzee and drawn to the NPG’s attention by Wikinews, are currently the subject of an internal investigation within the NPG.

Coetzee published the contents of the letter on Saturday July 11, the letter itself being dated the previous day. It had been sent electronically to an email address associated with his Wikimedia Commons user account. The NPG’s solicitors had mailed the letter from an account in the name “Amisquitta”. This account was blocked shortly after by a user with access to the user blocking tool, citing a long standing Wikipedia policy that the making of legal threats and creation of a hostile environment is generally inconsistent with editing access and is an inappropriate means of resolving user disputes.

The policy, initially created on Commons’ sister website in June 2004, is also intended to protect all parties involved in a legal dispute, by ensuring that their legal communications go through proper channels, and not through a wiki that is open to editing by other members of the public. It was originally formulated primarily to address legal action for libel. In October 2004 it was noted that there was “no consensus” whether legal threats related to copyright infringement would be covered but by the end of 2006 the policy had reached a consensus that such threats (as opposed to polite complaints) were not compatible with editing access while a legal matter was unresolved. Commons’ own website states that “[accounts] used primarily to create a hostile environment for another user may be blocked”.

In a further response, Gregory Maxwell, a volunteer administrator on Wikimedia Commons, made a formal request to the editorial community that Coetzee’s access to administrator tools on Commons should be revoked due to the prevailing circumstances. Maxwell noted that Coetzee “[did] not have the technically ability to permanently delete images”, but stated that Coetzee’s potential legal situation created a conflict of interest.

Sixteen minutes after Maxwell’s request, Coetzee’s “administrator” privileges were removed by a user in response to the request. Coetzee retains “administrator” privileges on the English-language Wikipedia, since none of the images exist on Wikipedia’s own website and therefore no conflict of interest exists on that site.

Legally, the central issue upon which the case depends is that copyright laws vary between countries. Under United States case law, where both the website and Coetzee are located, a photograph of a non-copyrighted two-dimensional picture (such as a very old portrait) is not capable of being copyrighted, and it may be freely distributed and used by anyone. Under UK law that point has not yet been decided, and the Gallery’s solicitors state that such photographs could potentially be subject to copyright in that country.

One major legal point upon which a case would hinge, should the NPG proceed to court, is a question of originality. The U.K.’s Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 defines in ¶ 1(a) that copyright is a right that subsists in “original literary, dramatic, musical or artistic works” (emphasis added). The legal concept of originality here involves the simple origination of a work from an author, and does not include the notions of novelty or innovation that is often associated with the non-legal meaning of the word.

Whether an exact photographic reproduction of a work is an original work will be a point at issue. The NPG asserts that an exact photographic reproduction of a copyrighted work in another medium constitutes an original work, and this would be the basis for its action against Coetzee. This view has some support in U.K. case law. The decision of Walter v Lane held that exact transcriptions of speeches by journalists, in shorthand on reporter’s notepads, were original works, and thus copyrightable in themselves. The opinion by Hugh Laddie, Justice Laddie, in his book The Modern Law of Copyright, points out that photographs lie on a continuum, and that photographs can be simple copies, derivative works, or original works:

“[…] it is submitted that a person who makes a photograph merely by placing a drawing or painting on the glass of a photocopying machine and pressing the button gets no copyright at all; but he might get a copyright if he employed skill and labour in assembling the thing to be photocopied, as where he made a montage.”

Various aspects of this continuum have already been explored in the courts. Justice Neuberger, in the decision at Antiquesportfolio.com v Rodney Fitch & Co. held that a photograph of a three-dimensional object would be copyrightable if some exercise of judgement of the photographer in matters of angle, lighting, film speed, and focus were involved. That exercise would create an original work. Justice Oliver similarly held, in Interlego v Tyco Industries, that “[i]t takes great skill, judgement and labour to produce a good copy by painting or to produce an enlarged photograph from a positive print, but no-one would reasonably contend that the copy, painting, or enlargement was an ‘original’ artistic work in which the copier is entitled to claim copyright. Skill, labour or judgement merely in the process of copying cannot confer originality.”.

In 2000 the Museums Copyright Group, a copyright lobbying group, commissioned a report and legal opinion on the implications of the Bridgeman case for the UK, which stated:

“Revenue raised from reproduction fees and licensing is vital to museums to support their primary educational and curatorial objectives. Museums also rely on copyright in photographs of works of art to protect their collections from inaccurate reproduction and captioning… as a matter of principle, a photograph of an artistic work can qualify for copyright protection in English law”. The report concluded by advocating that “museums must continue to lobby” to protect their interests, to prevent inferior quality images of their collections being distributed, and “not least to protect a vital source of income”.

Several people and organizations in the U.K. have been awaiting a test case that directly addresses the issue of copyrightability of exact photographic reproductions of works in other media. The commonly cited legal case Bridgeman Art Library v. Corel Corp. found that there is no originality where the aim and the result is a faithful and exact reproduction of the original work. The case was heard twice in New York, once applying UK law and once applying US law. It cited the prior UK case of Interlego v Tyco Industries (1988) in which Lord Oliver stated that “Skill, labour or judgement merely in the process of copying cannot confer originality.”

“What is important about a drawing is what is visually significant and the re-drawing of an existing drawing […] does not make it an original artistic work, however much labour and skill may have gone into the process of reproduction […]”

The Interlego judgement had itself drawn upon another UK case two years earlier, Coca-Cola Go’s Applications, in which the House of Lords drew attention to the “undesirability” of plaintiffs seeking to expand intellectual property law beyond the purpose of its creation in order to create an “undeserving monopoly”. It commented on this, that “To accord an independent artistic copyright to every such reproduction would be to enable the period of artistic copyright in what is, essentially, the same work to be extended indefinitely… ”

The Bridgeman case concluded that whether under UK or US law, such reproductions of copyright-expired material were not capable of being copyrighted.

The unsuccessful plaintiff, Bridgeman Art Library, stated in 2006 in written evidence to the House of Commons Committee on Culture, Media and Sport that it was “looking for a similar test case in the U.K. or Europe to fight which would strengthen our position”.

The National Portrait Gallery is a non-departmental public body based in London England and sponsored by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. Founded in 1856, it houses a collection of portraits of historically important and famous British people. The gallery contains more than 11,000 portraits and 7,000 light-sensitive works in its Primary Collection, 320,000 in the Reference Collection, over 200,000 pictures and negatives in the Photographs Collection and a library of around 35,000 books and manuscripts. (More on the National Portrait Gallery here)

The gallery’s solicitors are Farrer & Co LLP, of London. Farrer’s clients have notably included the British Royal Family, in a case related to extracts from letters sent by Diana, Princess of Wales which were published in a book by ex-butler Paul Burrell. (In that case, the claim was deemed unlikely to succeed, as the extracts were not likely to be in breach of copyright law.)

Farrer & Co have close ties with industry interest groups related to copyright law. Peter Wienand, Head of Intellectual Property at Farrer & Co., is a member of the Executive body of the Museums Copyright Group, which is chaired by Tom Morgan, Head of Rights and Reproductions at the National Portrait Gallery. The Museums Copyright Group acts as a lobbying organization for “the interests and activities of museums and galleries in the area of [intellectual property rights]”, which reacted strongly against the Bridgeman Art Library v. Corel Corp. case.

Wikimedia Commons is a repository of images, media, and other material free for use by anyone in the world. It is operated by a community of 21,000 active volunteers, with specialist rights such as deletion and blocking restricted to around 270 experienced users in the community (known as “administrators”) who are trusted by the community to use them to enact the wishes and policies of the community. Commons is hosted by the Wikimedia Foundation, a charitable body whose mission is to make available free knowledge and historic and other material which is legally distributable under US law. (More on Commons here)

The legal threat also sparked discussions of moral issues and issues of public policy in several Internet discussion fora, including Slashdot, over the weekend. One major public policy issue relates to how the public domain should be preserved.

Some of the public policy debate over the weekend has echoed earlier opinions presented by Kenneth Hamma, the executive director for Digital Policy at the J. Paul Getty Trust. Writing in D-Lib Magazine in November 2005, Hamma observed:

“Art museums and many other collecting institutions in this country hold a trove of public-domain works of art. These are works whose age precludes continued protection under copyright law. The works are the result of and evidence for human creativity over thousands of years, an activity museums celebrate by their very existence. For reasons that seem too frequently unexamined, many museums erect barriers that contribute to keeping quality images of public domain works out of the hands of the general public, of educators, and of the general milieu of creativity. In restricting access, art museums effectively take a stand against the creativity they otherwise celebrate. This conflict arises as a result of the widely accepted practice of asserting rights in the images that the museums make of the public domain works of art in their collections.”

He also stated:

“This resistance to free and unfettered access may well result from a seemingly well-grounded concern: many museums assume that an important part of their core business is the acquisition and management of rights in art works to maximum return on investment. That might be true in the case of the recording industry, but it should not be true for nonprofit institutions holding public domain art works; it is not even their secondary business. Indeed, restricting access seems all the more inappropriate when measured against a museum’s mission — a responsibility to provide public access. Their charitable, financial, and tax-exempt status demands such. The assertion of rights in public domain works of art — images that at their best closely replicate the values of the original work — differs in almost every way from the rights managed by the recording industry. Because museums and other similar collecting institutions are part of the private nonprofit sector, the obligation to treat assets as held in public trust should replace the for-profit goal. To do otherwise, undermines the very nature of what such institutions were created to do.”

Hamma observed in 2005 that “[w]hile examples of museums chasing down digital image miscreants are rare to non-existent, the expectation that museums might do so has had a stultifying effect on the development of digital image libraries for teaching and research.”

The NPG, which has been taking action with respect to these images since at least 2005, is a public body. It was established by Act of Parliament, the current Act being the Museums and Galleries Act 1992. In that Act, the NPG Board of Trustees is charged with maintaining “a collection of portraits of the most eminent persons in British history, of other works of art relevant to portraiture and of documents relating to those portraits and other works of art”. It also has the tasks of “secur[ing] that the portraits are exhibited to the public” and “generally promot[ing] the public’s enjoyment and understanding of portraiture of British persons and British history through portraiture both by means of the Board’s collection and by such other means as they consider appropriate”.

Several commentators have questioned how the NPG’s statutory goals align with its threat of legal action. Mike Masnick, founder of Techdirt, asked “The people who run the Gallery should be ashamed of themselves. They ought to go back and read their own mission statement[. …] How, exactly, does suing someone for getting those portraits more attention achieve that goal?” (external link Masnick’s). L. Sutherland of Bigmouthmedia asked “As the paintings of the NPG technically belong to the nation, does that mean that they should also belong to anyone that has access to a computer?”

Other public policy debates that have been sparked have included the applicability of U.K. courts, and U.K. law, to the actions of a U.S. citizen, residing in the U.S., uploading files to servers hosted in the U.S.. Two major schools of thought have emerged. Both see the issue as encroachment of one legal system upon another. But they differ as to which system is encroaching. One view is that the free culture movement is attempting to impose the values and laws of the U.S. legal system, including its case law such as Bridgeman Art Library v. Corel Corp., upon the rest of the world. Another view is that a U.K. institution is attempting to control, through legal action, the actions of a U.S. citizen on U.S. soil.

David Gerard, former Press Officer for Wikimedia UK, the U.K. chapter of the Wikimedia Foundation, which has been involved with the “Wikipedia Loves Art” contest to create free content photographs of exhibits at the Victoria and Albert Museum, stated on Slashdot that “The NPG actually acknowledges in their letter that the poster’s actions were entirely legal in America, and that they’re making a threat just because they think they can. The Wikimedia community and the WMF are absolutely on the side of these public domain images remaining in the public domain. The NPG will be getting radioactive publicity from this. Imagine the NPG being known to American tourists as somewhere that sues Americans just because it thinks it can.”

Benjamin Crowell, a physics teacher at Fullerton College in California, stated that he had received a letter from the Copyright Officer at the NPG in 2004, with respect to the picture of the portrait of Isaac Newton used in his physics textbooks, that he publishes in the U.S. under a free content copyright licence, to which he had replied with a pointer to Bridgeman Art Library v. Corel Corp..

The Wikimedia Foundation takes a similar stance. Erik Möller, the Deputy Director of the US-based Wikimedia Foundation wrote in 2008 that “we’ve consistently held that faithful reproductions of two-dimensional public domain works which are nothing more than reproductions should be considered public domain for licensing purposes”.

Contacted over the weekend, the NPG issued a statement to Wikinews:

“The National Portrait Gallery is very strongly committed to giving access to its Collection. In the past five years the Gallery has spent around £1 million digitising its Collection to make it widely available for study and enjoyment. We have so far made available on our website more than 60,000 digital images, which have attracted millions of users, and we believe this extensive programme is of great public benefit.
“The Gallery supports Wikipedia in its aim of making knowledge widely available and we would be happy for the site to use our low-resolution images, sufficient for most forms of public access, subject to safeguards. However, in March 2009 over 3000 high-resolution files were appropriated from the National Portrait Gallery website and published on Wikipedia without permission.
“The Gallery is very concerned that potential loss of licensing income from the high-resolution files threatens its ability to reinvest in its digitisation programme and so make further images available. It is one of the Gallery’s primary purposes to make as much of the Collection available as possible for the public to view.
“Digitisation involves huge costs including research, cataloguing, conservation and highly-skilled photography. Images then need to be made available on the Gallery website as part of a structured and authoritative database. To date, Wikipedia has not responded to our requests to discuss the issue and so the National Portrait Gallery has been obliged to issue a lawyer’s letter. The Gallery remains willing to enter into a dialogue with Wikipedia.

In fact, Matthew Bailey, the Gallery’s (then) Assistant Picture Library Manager, had already once been in a similar dialogue. Ryan Kaldari, an amateur photographer from Nashville, Tennessee, who also volunteers at the Wikimedia Commons, states that he was in correspondence with Bailey in October 2006. In that correspondence, according to Kaldari, he and Bailey failed to conclude any arrangement.

Jay Walsh, the Head of Communications for the Wikimedia Foundation, which hosts the Commons, called the gallery’s actions “unfortunate” in the Foundation’s statement, issued on Tuesday July 14:

“The mission of the Wikimedia Foundation is to empower and engage people around the world to collect and develop educational content under a free license or in the public domain, and to disseminate it effectively and globally. To that end, we have very productive working relationships with a number of galleries, archives, museums and libraries around the world, who join with us to make their educational materials available to the public.
“The Wikimedia Foundation does not control user behavior, nor have we reviewed every action taken by that user. Nonetheless, it is our general understanding that the user in question has behaved in accordance with our mission, with the general goal of making public domain materials available via our Wikimedia Commons project, and in accordance with applicable law.”

The Foundation added in its statement that as far as it was aware, the NPG had not attempted “constructive dialogue”, and that the volunteer community was presently discussing the matter independently.

In part, the lack of past agreement may have been because of a misunderstanding by the National Portrait Gallery of Commons and Wikipedia’s free content mandate; and of the differences between Wikipedia, the Wikimedia Foundation, the Wikimedia Commons, and the individual volunteer workers who participate on the various projects supported by the Foundation.

Like Coetzee, Ryan Kaldari is a volunteer worker who does not represent Wikipedia or the Wikimedia Commons. (Such representation is impossible. Both Wikipedia and the Commons are endeavours supported by the Wikimedia Foundation, and not organizations in themselves.) Nor, again like Coetzee, does he represent the Wikimedia Foundation.

Kaldari states that he explained the free content mandate to Bailey. Bailey had, according to copies of his messages provided by Kaldari, offered content to Wikipedia (naming as an example the photograph of John Opie‘s 1797 portrait of Mary Wollstonecraft, whose copyright term has since expired) but on condition that it not be free content, but would be subject to restrictions on its distribution that would have made it impossible to use by any of the many organizations that make use of Wikipedia articles and the Commons repository, in the way that their site-wide “usable by anyone” licences ensures.

The proposed restrictions would have also made it impossible to host the images on Wikimedia Commons. The image of the National Portrait Gallery in this article, above, is one such free content image; it was provided and uploaded to the Wikimedia Commons under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation Licence, and is thus able to be used and republished not only on Wikipedia but also on Wikinews, on other Wikimedia Foundation projects, as well as by anyone in the world, subject to the terms of the GFDL, a license that guarantees attribution is provided to the creators of the image.

As Commons has grown, many other organizations have come to different arrangements with volunteers who work at the Wikimedia Commons and at Wikipedia. For example, in February 2009, fifteen international museums including the Brooklyn Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum established a month-long competition where users were invited to visit in small teams and take high quality photographs of their non-copyright paintings and other exhibits, for upload to Wikimedia Commons and similar websites (with restrictions as to equipment, required in order to conserve the exhibits), as part of the “Wikipedia Loves Art” contest.

Approached for comment by Wikinews, Jim Killock, the executive director of the Open Rights Group, said “It’s pretty clear that these images themselves should be in the public domain. There is a clear public interest in making sure paintings and other works are usable by anyone once their term of copyright expires. This is what US courts have recognised, whatever the situation in UK law.”

The Digital Britain report, issued by the U.K.’s Department for Culture, Media, and Sport in June 2009, stated that “Public cultural institutions like Tate, the Royal Opera House, the RSC, the Film Council and many other museums, libraries, archives and galleries around the country now reach a wider public online.” Culture minster Ben Bradshaw was also approached by Wikinews for comment on the public policy issues surrounding the on-line availability of works in the public domain held in galleries, re-raised by the NPG’s threat of legal action, but had not responded by publication time.

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Utah legalizes homebrewing

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Utah legalizes homebrewing

April 17, 2019 · Filed under Uncategorized

Sunday, March 29, 2009

The United States state of Utah has legalized homebrewing of beer and wine.

H.B. 51, “Exemption for Alcoholic Beverage Manufacturing License”, was signed into law by Utah governor Jon M. Huntsman, Jr. on March 24 after being passed by large majorities in both houses of the State Legislature. The bill was introduced by Salt Lake City representative Christine A. Johnson (D-25th district) and will take effect on May 12.

The act modifies existing Utah law to give an exemption to the state’s requirement of a brewing license for amateur brewers, as long as the beer or wine they produce is not for sale and the amount produced is less than 100 US gallons (379 liters) per year for an individual or 200 US gallons (757 liters) for a couple. The unlicensed distillation of spirits remains illegal in the United States under federal law.

Although prohibition of alcohol in the United States ended in 1933 and the homebrewing of beer has been legal at a federal level since 1978, many US states, counties and cities restrict the production, sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages more tightly than is done at the federal level. With the passage of Utah’s legislation, four US states still forbid homebrewing: Kentucky, Alabama, Mississippi and Oklahoma.

The legislation was introduced largely through the work of University of Utah law student Douglas Wawrzynski. AHA director Gary Glass was also closely involved with Rep Johnson in drafting the bill’s language. Wawrzynski told Wikinews about what led him to initiate a campaign to change the law:

I moved to Utah from Connecticut in 2005 and started into the hobby [of homebrewing] shortly thereafter. There are multiple homebrew shops that have been operating legally in Utah for several years, so it wasn’t until after I started law school in the fall of 2007 that someone suggested to me that the hobby might not be legal in Utah. After having done some research and contacting the American Homebrewers Association, I began to understand the current ambiguity of the law and how it could certainly be interpreted to adversely affect homebrewers. In fact in 2005 the city of South Salt Lake had taken steps to affirmatively enact penalties for engaging in homebrewing. While that effort was ultimately abandoned it illustrated just how the current state of the law could have a negative impact on homebrewers.

Home-brewing is a healthy and vibrant hobby in Utah

Despite the restrictions, according to the American Homebrewers Association (AHA), some seven thousand people in Utah were illegally taking part in the hobby, which has 750,000 adherents nationwide. Rep Johnson said “home-brewing is a healthy and vibrant hobby in Utah” and thanked the AHA for “thorough education, great committee testimony and association members who flooded elected officials with emails of support.”

The bill passes on Rep Johnson’s second attempt to introduce it. As H.B. 425, the act was introduced late in the Utah legislature’s 2008 session, where it did not reach a Utah Senate vote. Ms Johnson’s legislative work has primarily concerned equality and human rights in Utah, including a successful attempt to add a voluntary amount to the marriage license fee in order to fund shelters for victims of domestic violence and a failed attempt to introduce language banning discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity into Utah state law.

I’m not comfortable with home brewing. It seems fraught with mischief to me

Opposition to the bill, meanwhile, was sporadic and reflected, in Wawrzynski’s view, bad understanding of homebrewing rather than hostility toward the hobby:

In each of the several committee meetings this bill went through, the bill was met with challenging and sometimes bizarre questions regarding its impact and what this would enable people to do. One Senator, Senator Lilenquist [State Sen. Dan Liljenquist, R-23rd district] even inquired if this bill would make it legal for someone to put beer in a baby bottle and give it to a one year old.

Ronda Rudd Menlove, a Republican representing the 1st district, says her primary concern in voting against the bill was the potential for alcohol to affect children:

When the vote was taken on HB 51, I had a constituent sitting by me, a young high school student. I briefly explained the bill to him during the debate and then asked him how he would vote on the bill and why. This is what he told me. He said that he was concerned that young people would have greater access to alcohol because alcohol would be brewed in homes resulting in great accessibility for youth living in those homes. This concerned him greatly as a member of a local youth city council as well. He is concerned about the amount of under-age drinking in his community and believed that greater access to alcohol could cause an increase in under-age drinking in Utah….

My secondary reason for voting against the bill is that I am adamantly opposed to the excess use and abuse of alcohol. I am opposed to any use of alcohol by pregnant mothers. As a secondary level teacher and high school administrator, I worked with troubled youth and special education populations. I have struggled with young people who live with the effects of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. If you want to be very depressed, read about the lifelong effects of FAS. This syndrome affects learning and behavior that is often erratic and unpredictable. Most of the students with FAS fail miserably in school and find little success in school, jobs, or life. This is a very serious problem related to alcohol use and one that affects the innocent fetus and not the perpetrator of this action.

Utah has quirky alcohol laws. The overarching goal of preventing under-age drinking and the abuse of alcohol has created these laws. The intention is admirable and one that I support. How to achieve these goals is challenging and has resulted in laws that may seem strange to others living outside of Utah. Utah’s Governor and Legislature has struggled with this and recently passed legislation revamping these laws. I voted against those changes due to the fact that little information was provided about the impact of the changes.

Kraig Powell (54th district), a Duchesne County Republican, the other representative to vote against the bill in its final form, said he did so because a constituent was “concerned about increased access to alcohol and drunk driving dangers”. Meanwhile, Senate Majority Assistant Whip Gregory Bell (R-22nd district), said to the Deseret News: “I’m not comfortable with home brewing. It seems fraught with mischief to me.”

Relax, stop worrying, and have a legal homebrew

Wawrzynski believes that education and understanding from the community were critical in the passage of the bill.

[T]hrough the efforts, emails and testimony of people like Representative Johnson and Gary Glass, and most importantly, from Utah homebrewers themselves, we changed minds through education. In fact, the Chairman of the Senate Business and Labor Committee, Senator Valentine (R-14th district) openly admitted on the record that he had been compelled to change his vote to a favorable one after hearing compelling testimony from member of the Utah community.

I think that as the state of Utah continues to grow in diversity, the community will become enriched with a wide array of backgrounds and opinions. As this happens we will have an opportunity to develop a greater understanding of our own neighbors and how differences in lifestyle can ultimately be respected and embraced.

Paralleling a common motto of the homebrewing community, Wawrzynski proclaimed on passage of the bill: “Utah homebrewers are finally free to relax, stop worrying, and have a legal homebrew”.

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Wikinews interviews Joe Schriner, Independent U.S. presidential candidate

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Wikinews interviews Joe Schriner, Independent U.S. presidential candidate

April 17, 2019 · Filed under Uncategorized

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Journalist, counselor, painter, and US 2012 Presidential candidate Joe Schriner of Cleveland, Ohio took some time to discuss his campaign with Wikinews in an interview.

Schriner previously ran for president in 2000, 2004, and 2008, but failed to gain much traction in the races. He announced his candidacy for the 2012 race immediately following the 2008 election. Schriner refers to himself as the “Average Joe” candidate, and advocates a pro-life and pro-environmentalist platform. He has been the subject of numerous newspaper articles, and has published public policy papers exploring solutions to American issues.

Wikinews reporter William Saturn? talks with Schriner and discusses his campaign.

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GM and Chrysler receive Canadian loans amid US restructuring ultimata

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GM and Chrysler receive Canadian loans amid US restructuring ultimata

April 17, 2019 · Filed under Uncategorized

Friday, April 3, 2009

General Motors (GM) and Chrysler will receive bridge loans from the government of Canada and the provincial government of Ontario, however no more will be forthcoming from either Canadian or US governments unless the companies can reinvent themselves.

“This is a regrettable but necessary step to protect the Canadian economy. We are doing this on the assumption that we obviously cannot afford either in the United States or Canada a catastrophic short-term collapse.” said Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada.

“We cannot, we must not, and we will not let our auto industry simply vanish. This industry is, like no other, an emblem of the American spirit; a once and future symbol of America’s success,” said Barack Obama, President of the United States. “These companies – and this industry – must ultimately stand on their own, not as wards of the state.”File:Sinsheim quer.jpg

Chrysler will receive CA$1 billion and may in fact be eligible for as much as CA$4 billion. If Chrysler succeeds in the next 30 days with a restructuring plan it would be eligible for a US$6 billion loan. A part of Chrysler’s restructuring plan must include a partnership with Fiat within 30 days to appease the US administration. Fiat is a supplier of smaller fuel-efficient vehicles, and the merger will help Chrysler to be viable in the North American market. A Chrysler court bankruptcy would inevitably lead to it being sold off.

As a part of Chrysler’s restructuring plans, Tom LaSorda, the president of Chrysler announced that Canadian operations would fold if it does not receive both the US commitment of $2.3 billion of aid and a new Canadian Auto Workers CAW contract to reduce all-in costs by CA$19 per hour. As a result of this announcement Chrysler’s auto sales volume in Canada dropped 23% compared to March of 2008.

GM has until the end of May to restructure its company to receive up to CA$7.5 billion. As part of the companies restructuring, General Motor’s chief executive Rick Wagoner was replaced Sunday with Fritz Henderson, the current chief operating officer. Henderson spoke out on Tuesday that GM has submitted a restructuring plan which would close five plants, and this may be increased to meet the requirements for financial aid. He is in full compliance with Obama’s auto task force to seek bankruptcy if GM cannot negotiate with their unions, bondholders and others.

GM recently brought forward the “GM Total Confidence” program providing consumer purchase protection for customers who lose their job for economic reasons within the first two years from purchase. As a result of Chrysler’s restructuring announcement in Canada, GM’s Canadian vehicle sales volume fell only 17.3% compared to 2008, an increase from the previous month.

GM must reduce some of its legacy costs which include its pensions and union health care costs. A part of GM’s ailments arose from investing in supplying truck and SUVs during an economy of high gas prices when consumers were demanding fuel efficient vehicles.

Tony Clement, Canada’s Minister of Industry, is hoping that the CAW will support the restructuring process and re-negotiate their agreement. Whereas a United Auto Workers negotiator has said, “I don’t see how the UAW will do anything until they see what the bondholders will give up.”

The Obama administration is looking toward bankruptcy proceedings for the automakers, “as a mechanism to help them restructure quickly and emerge stronger. [It will] quickly clear away old debts that are weighing them down. What we are asking is difficult. It will require hard choices by companies. It will require unions and workers who have already made painful concessions to make even more. It will require creditors to recognise that they cannot hold out for the prospect of endless government bailouts.” said Obama.

The auto parts suppliers and IT software exporters in India have already been affected by the declining auto sales. GM and Chrysler software contracts provide US$300 to 350 million a year to vendors in India. As well these two major automakers usually award US$1 billion contracts to auto parts suppliers. “We are worried and closely watching the developments in the US to gauge the impact. The decline in auto sales in the US has already hit the order books of Indian suppliers,” said a Delhi auto parts supplier.

“Going forward, the industry will undoubtedly be smaller, but if our efforts are successful it will be viable and it will support good jobs for Canadians,” said Clements.

Betty Sutton, Ohio’s Congresswoman put forward the CARS act which provides a US$3,000 to 5,000 incentive for those who trade in their vehicle for a fuel-efficient car. “It clearly stimulates the economy, and it gets the consumer into the showroom and gets them buying again. But importantly — and this is what I particularly like about it — it really helps the environment quite a bit in two respects.” said William Clay Ford Jr., executive chairman of Ford Motor Co.

Ford Motor Company has not come forward with requests for assistance.

Since December GM and Chrysler have received US$17.4 billion government loans.

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Nigeria swears in new president after death of Umaru Yar’Adua

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Nigeria swears in new president after death of Umaru Yar’Adua

April 17, 2019 · Filed under Uncategorized

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Goodluck Jonathan, the acting president of Nigeria, was formally sworn in today, several hours after president Umaru Yar’Adua died.

The oath of office was administered in the capital Abjua. According to the constitution, Jonathan will be the country’s leader until next elections next April; he is also to nominate a vice president, who must be approved by the senate.

Jonathan already has been running the country when he became acting president since February, when Yar’Adua was hospitalised in Saudi Arabia for medical treatment.

After being sworn in, Jonathan made an address. “While this is a major burden on me, and indeed the entire nation, we must — in the midst of such great adversity — continue to gain our collective efforts towards upholding the values which our departed leader represented […] One of the true tests will be that all votes count, and are counted, in our upcoming presidential election,” he said.

Yar’Adua, aged 58, was buried earlier in the Katsina state; the government has declared a week of mourning.

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Iran demands that IAEA end surveillance of its nuclear program

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Iran demands that IAEA end surveillance of its nuclear program

April 16, 2019 · Filed under Uncategorized

Tuesday, February 7, 2006

Shortly after ending its cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the government of Iran has now ordered the IAEA to discontinue some of its surveillance of Iran’s nuclear facilities. Tehran has also asked the agency to remove any and all signage from their nuclear sites by the end of next week.

This is in response to the Saturday resolution by the IAEA to report Iran to the United Nations Security Council, which was made without waiting for the director of the IAEA, Mohamed ElBaradei, chairman of the IAEA, to finish preparing a report on Iran’s civilian (and allegedly military) nuclear programs for the regular IAEA meeting scheduled for March 6. ElBaradei had given Iran until March to answer IAEA questions. By a vote of 27 to three (with five abstentions), and without the information in ElBaradei’s report planned for March 2006, the IAEA recommended that the matter of the Iranian nuclear program be brought before the Security Council.

The recommendation claims that there are serious concerns about Iranian nuclear aims, and the agency does not have confidence that the program is intended solely for civilian or other non-military use. Although the meeting was taken without waiting for ElBaradei’s March report, the recommendation requests ElBaradei to make his report anyway, including a list of “steps Iran needs to take to dispel suspicions about its nuclear ambitions” by March 6.

The IAEA’s resolution calls for Iran to reinstate a freeze on its nuclear programs, consider ending construction of a plutonium-producing heavy water reactor, and to continue allowing the IAEA’s purposes and actions in Iran. However, the council will not implement any further action until ElBaradei makes his full report on March 6.

ElBaradei also reported to the IAEA Monday that Iran would also demand a reduction in the amount of facilities inspections from the agency, and that they would discontinue their agreement to the Additional Protocol of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) if the agency reported Iran to the Security Council. This protocol entitles the IAEA to hold unannounced inspections of facilities, increased surveillance capability, and placing IAEA seals on nuclear equipment.

Other diplomatic ventures are being planned. On February 16, Iranian officials will meet with the Russian government in Moscow to discuss the possibility of Russia enriching uranium for export to Iran in exchange for a halting of its nuclear enrichment program. And Wang Guangya, China’s ambassador to the UN, said Monday that “Even with the adoption of this IAEA resolution, it is the belief of most of the members there that a diplomatic solution is the way out within the framework of the IAEA.”

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Bankruptcy for U.S. automaker GM becomes almost certain after bondholder offers fail

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Bankruptcy for U.S. automaker GM becomes almost certain after bondholder offers fail

April 16, 2019 · Filed under Uncategorized

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The United States automobile manufacturing firm General Motors announced on Wednesday that most of its bondholders did not exchange GM’s US$27 billion debt for a ten percent share in the company’s stock.

The automaker, in financial straits, has a June 1 deadline to finish a government restructuring plan that includes plant closures and other debt reduction measures. U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration said it would not give more financial aid to the firm unless 90% of GM’s bondholders would agree on compromises that would significantly reduce the firm’s costs.

“The principal amount of notes tendered was substantially less than the amount required by GM to satisfy the debt reduction requirement,” GM said in a statement.

“They said no. That’s it. They tried. That’s why they’re going to have to file for bankruptcy,” said a university professor from the University of Michigan who specializes in bankruptcy.

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“One-litre car” may help traffic pollution

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“One-litre car” may help traffic pollution

April 14, 2019 · Filed under Uncategorized

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Professors at the Energy Science Centre, attached to the Federal Institute of Technology (ETHZ) in Zurich, have presented their contribution of a car quite similar to Loremo able to travel 100 kilometres (around 62 miles) on a tank with just 1 litre (around 1 quart), equalling to about 235 miles per gallon. They presented their contribution during Swiss Energy Week.

The automobile, which has and will be manufactured by the Swiss company Horlacher, is 75% lighter than an average family car and guzzles a tenth of the fuel thanks to vastly improved aerodynamics.

One drawback to this car is that it has none of the modern safety features found in many cars to-day. But the FIT team is designing technology that lets cars communicate with each other to avoid collisions, using similar computer systems to those in aircraft.

“This car does compromise on style, speed and comfort, but you can’t have a free lunch,” says Lino Guzzella, one of the centre’s members

Business as usual is no longer an option. If we are to survive in the future, we will have to drastically reduce carbon emissions.” Guzzella continued.

There are approximately 800 million cars on this planet and in Switzerland there are 500 cars per 1,000 people, compared with 800 in the United States and less than 50 per 1,000 in India and China.

Swiss drivers also favour more powerful, polluting vehicles than the rest of western Europe. According to the European Automobile Manufacturers Association, the main lobbying group of the automobile industry in the European Union, the average car in Switzerland has a 2 litre engine compared with 1.6 litres in neighbouring countries.

“The Swiss think they are better at cutting harmful emissions than anyone else, but they are not,” says researcher Peter de Haan van der Weg.

He believes Switzerland should introduce incentives to make people buy cleaner cars. Some countries already have such schemes: the US awards tax breaks worth up to $3,000 and the Netherlands offers €6,000 to green car owners. The Swiss authorities are currently thinking about two similar options presented by the city of Bern and the centre-left Social Democratic Party.

“Individuals are not capable of understanding the big picture because it is difficult for people to look 50 years into the future,” Mr. De Haan van der Weg said.

“Therefore it is necessary to have government regulations to force changes that will benefit the environment.”

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