Author Amy Scobee recounts abuse as Scientology executive

Monday, October 11, 2010

Wikinews interviewed author Amy Scobee about her book Scientology – Abuse at the Top, and asked her about her experiences working as an executive within the organization. Scobee joined the organization at age 14, and worked at Scientology’s international management headquarters for several years before leaving in 2005. She served as a Scientology executive in multiple high-ranking positions, working out of the international headquarters of Scientology known as “Gold Base”, located in Gilman Hot Springs near Hemet, California.

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Belgian bus company knows solution for car parking problems

Monday, May 21, 2007

Do you have a hard time finding a parking space? Take the bus or tram if you go to the city. That’s the message Belgian bus company De Lijn (The Line) is sending to promote public transport as a solution for car parking problems. As a part of their media campaign, they have jokingly suggested that people use the top of the busses as parking space.

Another idea they are using in their media campaign: maybe you could park your car on the bottom of a canal? The bus company is using an invented diving company called Cardive, which has divers that offer to dump your car in the canal. The divers walk around in cities and hand out free bus tickets and maps of the bus network.

To reach car drivers who are not using public transport, the media campaign has several radio commercials that present other solutions to the car parking problem. You could use “asphalt-spray” to camouflage your car, making it invisible for policemen (although you then need to remember where you’ve parked). Or you could use the “flat tire kit”, which comes with a fake flat tire and an inflatable dummy, so it looks like you’re replacing your flat tire. The final idea the bus company has is to use a View-Master to fool parking guards into believing that your car has been stationed correctly.

A survey among 4000 customers of De Lijn shows that two out of three car owners who use public transport, do so to avoid parking space troubles, and in cities this percentage rises to 90%. The survey further shows that 39% use the bus to go shopping.

During the month of May, the auto-bus and the divers tour several cities in Flanders (Leuven, Hasselt, Ghent, Bruges and Antwerp).

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Mandela discharged from hospital

Monday, September 2, 2013

Nelson Mandela has left hospital to return to his home in Johannesburg, in a critical condition, South African officials said on Sunday.

The 95-year-old anti-apartheid leader and former South African president has spent nearly three months in hospital for treatment of a recurring lung infection and has returned to his residence in Johannesburg where he will continue to recover.

A statement from the office of current South African president Jacob Zuma confirmed Mandela homecoming:

“His teams of doctors are convinced that he will receive the same level of intensive care at his Houghton home that he received in Pretoria.”

“His home has been reconfigured to allow him to receive intensive care there. The health care personal providing care at his home are the very same who provided care to him in hospital.”

Several ambulances and TV crews gathered outside Mandela’s home in the Houghton suburb of Johannesburg on Sunday, where well-wishers gathered to pray for his recovery.

Mandela’s last public appearance was at the 2010 football World Cup, held in South Africa.

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Cosmetic Surgery

What Is Cosmetic Surgery?

There is much talk about cosmetic surgery these days–on the internet, in magazines, on television and in the movies. It has become much more common than decades ago for a variety of reasons. Yet many average citizens are confused about what this practice actually entails. Here are some important points about it.- Cosmetic operations are considered to be elective procedures. This means that the patient elects to undergo the scalpel rather than needing it for their health.- These surgeries are done in order to improve or enhance a persons appearance. Reconstructive work also falls into this category and would entail reparation or alteration of ones physical appearance after a disfiguring disease, accident or due to a genetic flaw.- A patient should seek out a board certified plastic surgeon in order to perform their operations. A regular M.D. does not have substantial training in this complex specialty.- Every patient has a different immune response, skin type, musculature and skeleton. Each result will be different depending on the individual.- While bodies appear to be symmetrical, they actually are not. The results of a cosmetic surgery procedure will be asymmetrical, as well.- No one is perfect before a plastic surgery operation and no one will be perfect afterward. The goal is enhancement rather than perfection. Realistic expectations are an important requirement.- Immune response is improved by a patients physical health. Every person should follow a healthy diet and exercise program before asking their body to heal from an elective operation.- Mental health is important, too. A person should be in a balanced place in their emotional and mental life before undergoing cosmetic surgeries.- Before the day of surgery, the patient will need to go for an initial consultation plus a second appointment along with lab work. Post-op will entail follow-up appointments, as well.- Procedures may be performed in a hospital, clinic or surgical suites at the doctors office. General or local anesthesia will be administered during the process in order to keep the patient pain free.- It is imperative that patients give up tobacco in the form of smoking it themselves or second hand smoke. Immune function will be hampered by being in the presence of cigarette smoke.- While bruising, swelling and initial pain are all temporary, the scars from operations will be permanent.- Insurance companies do not pay for elective procedures unless there is a medical reason, as well. Some examples of medical issues taken care of along with cosmetics include the repair of a deviated septum during a nose job or restoring peripheral vision during an eyelid lift.- Patients must be prepared to take time off of work to allow for post-op recovery. Having a friend or family member around to help them out in the initial days and weeks is imperative, as well.- Some of the most popular procedures include rhinoplasty, liposuction, abdominoplasty, facelifts, brow lifts and breast augmentation.If an individual is interested in obtaining more information about cosmetic surgery or whether they are a good candidate, they should make an appointment with a plastic surgeon to discuss their options.

Gambling sites favor Cardinals Marc Ouellet, Peter Turkson, Francis Arinze as next Pope

Monday, February 11, 2013

With news of Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation only hours old, online gambling sites have already published odds for who will become the next leader of the Roman Catholic Church, with Cardinals Marc Ouellet and Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson as early odds-on favorites.

Online Australian gambling site SportsBet has Canadian Cardinal Marc Ouellet as their favorite with 7/2 odds. The Irish Paddy Power brokers has 11/4 odds with the Canadian Cardinal being chosen as Pope. Bwin has Ouellet becoming the next Pope with odds at 7/2. British SportingBet also has odds for Ouellet at 7/2.

British Ladbrokes has Nigerian Cardinal Francis Arinze with 7/2 odds.

SkyBet has the betting odd for Ghanian Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson at 7/2, its best odds for any potential Papal candidate. BetVictor also has the best odds on Turkson with 5/2. Stan James has the best odds for Turkson at 3/1. You Win has odds for Turkson at 5/2.

Bets are also being taken by Paddy Power for the name of the next Pope, with Peter their odds-on favorite at 2/1. It is followed by Pious at 5/1, and John Paul and John at 6/1.

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No injuries after Antarctica research station support plane crashes

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

A Basler BT-67, chartered from Canadian air carrier Kenn Borek Air for the National Science Foundation (NSF), a United States government agency, has crashed whilst attempting take-off during a support assignment in Antarctica. None of the ten people on board were injured, but the modified Douglas DC-3 was substantially damaged in the accident.

The accident occurred on the morning of December 20 local time, about 550 miles from McMurdo Station, a US-run Antarctic base. The aircraft was carrying a crew of four, and six researchers. The flight was part of the Polar Earth Observatory Network project, which is part-funded by the NSF. The project sets up GPS equipment and seismic sensors in various locations across Antarctica, in order to monitor changes in the ice sheets that cover the continent. It is thought that this will aid understanding of global warming.

Although the NSF refused to publicise any details of the crash, one anonymous passenger has come forward about the accident, releasing his account in the form of an online report. According to the passenger, one side of the plane failed to lift off, and the aircraft’s wing subsequently dug into the ice.

“My seat came unbolted from the floor with me still strapped into the seatbelt,” the passenger said. “When we finally came to a halt, we were all in big pile in the corner of the plane with all of the equipment. We got shaken up pretty bad, but there were no major injuries other than some minor cuts and bruises… The wings, props, and tail all got bent up pretty bad. The landing gear, skis, and hydraulic system all were ripped from the plane and strewn about the ice.”

Following the accident, all those on board spent about twenty hours before they were flown back to McMurdo Station on board two Twin Otter aircraft sent from the base on a rescue mission. A full investigation has been launched into the crash by the Department of the Interior‘s Aircraft Management Division (AMD), who have signed a memorandum of agreement with NSF to conduct any necessary investigations on their behalf. The AMD have subsequently contacted the United States National Transportation Safety Board, who will participate in conjunction with the Transportation Safety Board of Canada.

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

Thursday, September 1, 2005

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Weight Loss Surgery

A Solution To The Obesity Epidemic

A Solution to the Obesity Epidemic


Dr. Kevin Huguet

One of the biggest health risks facing people today is obesity. Numerous health organizations have reported that people with obesity are at an increased risk for several leading causes of death, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer and stroke among many others.

Roughly 72 million Americans are obese, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC). This number accounts for nearly 34 percent of adults, more than double the percentage of obese adults 30 years ago. Obesity rates among children are at 17 percent, triple the amount when compared to the same time frame.

These statistics far surpass a goal set in the 1990s by federal health officials to limit the amount of obese Americans to 15 percent in 2010, according to a New York Times article.

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Diets, exercise and medicine are commonly used when trying to lose weight. However, their effectiveness has been mixed at best. Americans spend over $33 billion a year on weight-loss products and services. Yet the failure rate for these programs is reported as high as 95 percent after a five year period.

The Bariatric Solution to Weight Loss

Frustrations over the effectiveness of these methods have prompted more people to opt for bariatric surgery instead. Roughly 220,000 Americans with morbid obesity had bariatric weight loss surgery in 2009, according to the American Society for Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS). Bariatric Surgery is currently approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for morbidly obese people and those with medical conditions such as diabetes.

New research has found significant improvements in urinary function and quality of life among women who have undergone gastric bypass surgery.

Women participating in an Australia-based study started to see the reported improvements roughly three to four months following surgery. Researchers believe the changes in urinary function were triggered by reductions in inner-abdominal pressure caused by weight loss. Both men and women involved in the study saw their weight drop by an average of 50 pounds when assessed roughly 32 months following the surgery.

LapBand Surgery

One of the most popular types of bariatric surgery is adjustable gastric banding. Also known as LapBand surgery, this procedure places a small, inflatable silicone pouch at the top of the stomach that holds approximately two or three tablespoons. As a result, food flows through the stomach at a slower pace, giving the patient the feeling that they are full much quicker than usual. An FDA advisory committee recently recommended the FDA approve LapBand surgery as safe for use in patients suffering with lower levels of obesity.

For more information on LapBand surgery, contact one of the bariatric surgeons in your area.

Kevin Huguet, of Bay Surgical Specialists, is a

bariatric surgeon

in St. Petersburg, FL and is the author of this article about

bariatric weight loss surgery

, specifically gastric banding. Bay Surgical Specialists is a group practice of board-certified surgeons specializing in Hernia Repair, laparoscopic surgery and breast surgery.

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Calls for corporate tax reform in Australia goes unheeded

Friday, May 12, 2006

Peter Costello’s budget announcement has led to rejoicing for small businesses, but the lack of joy for those pushing for radical corporate taxation reform has led to many businesses asking “what about us?”

Personal taxation and small business have been the big winners after this year’s federal budget. Although dampened by the twin economic threats of rising interest rates and petrol prices, there should be a reasonable amount of real income savings for both low and high income earners, with those receiving Medicare, or a superannuation benefit, privy to an even lower level of taxation (0% for those on super benefits).

Small business also has benefited from the Howard government’s 11th annual budget, with them receiving a higher level of reducing depreciation, leading to a higher level of deductions in the years following the uptake of new technology or other capital. They are also privy to a AU$435 million dollar tax cut to compensate for their changing accounting requirements under the government’s new AIFRS reporting standards, as well as increasing the uptake of both the small business tax relief scheme and CGT (Capital Gains tax) Concessions.

The budget was not a complete loss for big business however, as superannuation laws have been tweaked to streamline contribution and payment rules previously impeding those with multitudes of staff.

But this is not enough, says Big 4 accounting firm Ernst & Young. In their newly published paper “Taxation of Investment in Australia: the need for ongoing reform”. In it they lead the charge for a greater streamlining and organization of the corporate tax system in Australia, submitting that it will lead to reductions in “disincentives to work save and invest in Australia [as well as improving] the international competitiveness of Australian businesses.” This follows from a recent report brought out by Mr. Costello himself about the need for tax reform in Australia.

A budget night Mr. Costello was notably coy about any future reform of corporate tax in Australia. He alluded to the report by his ministers but kept from outlining the government’s plan precisely.

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