Friday, September 29, 2006

Diamond Brownridge, a 5-year old girl from Chicago, Illinois, has died after a visit to the dentist. Children’s Memorial Hospital officials say that the girl was rushed to the hospital when she never woke up after being sedated for a dental procedure. She had been in a coma, on life support, since being admitted to the hospital early in the weekend.

“She passed very peacefully and beautifully,” said the hospital in a statement that the family issued.

Ommettress Travis, the mother of the girl, was asked not to remain inside the room while dentists were operating on the girl to repair two cavities and to have at least two caps replaced. Travis says after thirty minutes she was asked to come back in and found Brownridge not breathing, in the dentist chair.

Hicham Riba, a specialist and professional in anesthesia, who was also licensed, was the dentist in charge of the procedure.

“My family and I are so sad. May God bless Diamond and her family. Every time you have a tragedy like this, you pray more. I don’t think I will ever go back to a normal life after an experience like this,” Riba said in a statement on Wednesday, September 28.

According to the family, the girl had been given at least a triple dose of medicine that sedated her. Those drugs include: nitrous oxide gas, a single dose of an “oral agent” and an IV.

A judge has ordered that all equipment and materials used during the operation be protected and examined. The girl’s medical records have also been ordered to be examined.

There is no word on whether or not any charges will be filed against Riba or any of the dentist’s staff.

Atlas V successfully launches spy satellite

Posted May 23rd, 2019 by e76yKR

Thursday, March 13, 2008

An Atlas V rocket has successfully launched a classified spy satellite for the United States National Reconnaissance Office (NRO). The satellite, currently known to the public as NRO L-28, or Launch 28, is believed by amateur enthusiasts to be a signals intelligence (SIGINT) spacecraft, known by the codename Trumpet. The Atlas V carrier rocket flew in the 411 configutation, with a 4 metre diameter fairing, one solid rocket motor, and a single-engine Centaur upper stage.

The rocket lifted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Space Launch Complex 3 East (SLC-3E), at 10:02 GMT (03:02 local time) this morning. Today’s flight marks the thirteenth launch of the Atlas V, and the first Atlas V launch from Vandenberg. It is also the tenth orbital launch of 2008. The satellite entered a Molniya orbit, usually used by the NRO for SIGINT and communications satellites.

The launch was conducted by United Launch Alliance, a joint venture between Lockheed Martin, who designed and built the Atlas V, and Boeing, to provide EELV launches for the US Government. ULA president Michael Gass described the launch as “a proud moment in our company’s history”. The launch had been delayed by two years, from early 2006, due to a number of factors.

In addition to its reconnaissance payload, the satellite is carrying two small experiments. SBIRS-HEO 2 and TWINS-B. SBIRS is a test article for a missile detection system, slated to launch late this year or early next, and TWINS is a NASA infrared astronomy experiment. They will remain attached to the satellite for the duration of its mission.

Following the separation of the payload fairing, around five minutes after launch, all information on the launch was withheld, however about an hour into the flight, the launch was confirmed to have been successful. ULA will conduct its next launch on Saturday, when a Delta II will orbit a GPS satellite. The next Atlas launch is scheduled for mid-April, with the ICO G1 communication satellite.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Late last month, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed objections to the United States Government’s ‘secret’ attempts to obtain Twitter account information relating to WikiLeaks. The ACLU and EFF cite First and Fourth amendment issues as overriding reasons to overturn government attempts to keep their investigation secret; and, that with Birgitta Jonsdottir being an Icelandic Parliamentarian, the issue has serious international implications.

The case, titled “In the Matter of the 2703(d) Order Relating to Twitter Accounts: Wikileaks, Rop_G, IOERROR; and BirgittaJ“, has been in the EFF’s sights since late last year when they became aware of the US government’s attempts to investigate WikiLeaks-related communications using the popular microblogging service.

The key objective of this US government investigation is to obtain data for the prosecution of Bradley Manning, alleged to have supplied classified data to WikiLeaks. In addition to Manning’s Twitter account, and that of WikiLeaks (@wikileaks), the following three accounts are subject to the order: @ioerror, @birgittaj, and @rop_g. These, respectively, belong to Jacob Apelbaum, Birgitta Jonsdottir, and Rop Gonggrijp.

Birgitta is not the only non-US citizen with their Twitter account targeted by the US Government; Gonggrijp, a Dutch ‘ex-hacker’-turned-security-expert, was one of the founders of XS4ALL – the first Internet Service Provider in the Netherlands available to the public. He has worked on a mobile phone that can encrypt conversations, and proven that electronic voting systems can readily be hacked.

In early March, a Virginia magistrate judge ruled that the government could have the sought records, and neither the targeted users, or the public, could see documents submitted to justify data being passed to the government. The data sought is as follows:

  1. Personal contact information, including addresses
  2. Financial data, including credit card or bank account numbers
  3. Twitter account activity information, including the “date, time, length, and method of connections” plus the “source and destination Internet Protocol address(es)”
  4. Direct Message (DM) information, including the email addresses and IP addresses of everyone with whom the Parties have exchanged DMs

The order demands disclosure of absolutely all such data from November 1, 2009 for the targeted accounts.

The ACLU and EFF are not only challenging this, but demanding that all submissions made by the US government to justify the Twitter disclosure are made public, plus details of any other such cases which have been processed in secret.

Bradley Manning, at the time a specialist from Maryland enlisted with the United States Army’s 2nd Brigade, 10th Mountain Division, was arrested in June last year in connection with the leaking of classified combat video to WikiLeaks.

The leaked video footage, taken from a US helicopter gunship, showed the deaths of Reuters staff Saeed Chmagh and Namir Noor-Eldeen during a U.S. assault in Baghdad, Iraq. The wire agency unsuccessfully attempted to get the footage released via a Freedom of Information Act request in 2007.

When WikiLeaks released the video footage it directly contradicted the official line taken by the U.S. Army asserting that the deaths of the two Reuters staff were “collateral damage” in an attack on Iraqi insurgents. The radio chatter associated with the AH-64 Apache video indicated the helicopter crews had mistakenly identified the journalists’ equipment as weaponry.

The US government also claims Manning is linked to CableGate; the passing of around a quarter of a million classified diplomatic cables to WikiLeaks. Manning has been in detention since July last year; in December allegations of torture were made to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights regarding the conditions under which he was and is being detained.

Reports last month that he must now sleep naked and attend role call at the U.S. Marine facility in Quantico in the same state, raised further concern over his detention conditions. Philip J. Crowley, at-the-time a State Department spokesman, remarked on this whilst speaking at Massachusetts Institute of Technology; describing the current treatment of Manning as “ridiculous and counterproductive and stupid”, Crowley was, as a consequence, put in the position of having to tender his resignation to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Despite his native Australia finding, in December last year, that Assange’s WikiLeaks had not committed any criminal offences in their jurisdiction, the U.S. government has continued to make ongoing operations very difficult for the whistleblower website.

The result of the Australian Federal Police investigation left the country’s Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, having to retract a statement that WikiLeaks had acted “illegally”; instead, she characterised the site’s actions as “grossly irresponsible”.

Even with Australia finding no illegal activity on the part of WikiLeaks, and with founder Julian Assange facing extradition to Sweden, U.S. pressure sought to hobble WikiLeaks financially.

Based on a State Department letter, online payments site PayPal suspended WikiLeaks account in December. Their action was swiftly followed by Visa Europe and Mastercard ceasing to handle payments for WikiLeaks.

The online processing company, Datacell, threatened the two credit card giants with legal action over this. However, avenues of funding for the site were further curtailed when both Amazon.com and Swiss bank PostFinance joined the financial boycott of WikiLeaks.

Assange continues, to this day, to argue that his extradition to Sweden for questioning on alleged sexual offences is being orchestrated by the U.S. in an effort to discredit him, and thus WikiLeaks.

Wikinews consulted an IT and cryptography expert from the Belgian university which developed the current Advanced Encryption Standard; explaining modern communications, he stated: “Cryptography has developed to such a level that intercepting communications is no longer cost effective. That is, if any user uses the correct default settings, and makes sure that he/she is really connecting to Twitter it is highly unlikely that even the NSA can break the cryptography for a protocol such as SSL/TLS (used for https).”

Qualifying this, he commented that “the vulnerable parts of the communication are the end points.” To make his point, he cited the following quote from Gene Spafford: “Using encryption on the Internet is the equivalent of arranging an armored car to deliver credit card information from someone living in a cardboard box to someone living on a park bench.

Continuing, the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (KUL) expert explained:

In the first place, the weak point is Twitter itself; the US government can go and ask for the data; companies such as Twitter and Google will typically store quite some information on their users, including IP addresses (it is known that Google deletes the last byte of the IP address after a few weeks, but it is not too hard for a motivated opponent to find out what this byte was).
In the second place, this is the computer of the user: by exploiting system weaknesses (with viruses, Trojan horses or backdoors in the operating system) a highly motivated opponent can enter your machine and record your keystrokes plus everything that is happening (e.g. the FBI is known to do this with the so-called Magic Lantern software). Such software is also commercially available, e.g. for a company to monitor its employees.
It would also be possible for a higly motivated opponent to play “man-in-the-middle”; that means that instead of having a secure connection to Twitter.com, you have a secure connection to the attacker’s server, who impersonates Twitter’s and then relays your information to Twitter. This requires tricks such as spoofing DNS (this is getting harder with DNSsec), or misleading the user (e.g. the user clicks on a link and connects to tw!tter.com or Twitter.c0m, which look very similar in a URL window as Twitter.com). It is clear that the US government is capable of using these kind of tricks; e.g., a company has been linked to the US government that was recognized as legitimate signer in the major browsers, so it would not be too large for them to sign a legitimate certificate for such a spoofing webserver; this means that the probability that a user would detect a problem would be very low.
As for traffic analysis (finding out who you are talking to rather than finding out what you are telling to whom), NSA and GCHQ are known to have access to lots of traffic (part of this is obtained via the UK-USA agreement). Even if one uses strong encryption, it is feasible for them to log the IP addresses and email addresses of all the parties you are connecting to. If necessary, they can even make routers re-route your traffic to their servers. In addition, the European Data Retention directive forces all operators to store such traffic data.
Whether other companies would have complied with such requests: this is very hard to tell. I believe however that it is very plausible that companies such as Google, Skype or Facebook would comply with such requests if they came from a government.
In summary: unless you go through great lengths to log through to several computers in multiple countries, you work in a clean virtual machine, you use private browser settings (don’t accept cookies, no plugins for Firefox, etc.) and use tools such as Tor, it is rather easy for any service provider to identify you.
Finally: I prefer not to be quoted on any sentences in which I make statements on the capabilities or actions of any particular government.

Wikinews also consulted French IT security researcher Stevens Le Blond on the issues surrounding the case, and the state-of-the-art in monitoring, and analysing, communications online. Le Blond, currently presenting a research paper on attacks on Tor to USENIX audiences in North America, responded via email:

Were the US Government to obtain the sought data, it would seem reasonable the NSA would handle further investigation. How would you expect them to exploit the data and expand on what they receive from Twitter?

  • Le Blond: My understanding is that the DOJ is requesting the following information: 1) Connection records and session times 2) IP addresses 3) e-mail addresses 4) banking info
By requesting 1) and 2) for Birgitta and other people involved with WikiLeaks (WL) since 2009, one could derive 2 main [pieces of] information.
First, he could tell the mobility of these people. Recent research in networking shows that you can map an IP address into a geographic location with a median error of 600 meters. So by looking at changes of IP addresses in time for a Twitter user, one could tell (or at least speculate about) where that person has been.
Second, by correlating locations of different people involved with WL in time, one could possibly derive their interactions and maybe even their level of involvement with WL. Whether it is possible to derive this information from 1) and 2) depends on how this people use Twitter. For example, do they log on Twitter often enough, long enough, and from enough places?
My research indicates that this is the case for other Internet services but I cannot tell whether it is the case for Twitter.
Note that even though IP logging, as done by Twitter, is similar to the logging done by GSM [mobile phone] operators, the major difference seems to be that Twitter is subject to US regulation, no matter the citizenship of its users. I find this rather disturbing.
Using 3), one could search for Birgitta on other Internet services, such as social networks, to find more information on her (e.g., hidden accounts). Recent research on privacy shows that people tend to use the same e-mail address to register an account on different social networks (even when they don’t want these accounts to be linked together). Obviously, one could then issue subpoenas for these accounts as well.
I do not have the expertise to comment on what could be done with 4).
((WN)) As I believe Jonsdottir to be involved in the Icelandic Modern Media Initiative (IMMI), what are the wider implications beyond the “WikiLeaks witchhunt”?
  • Le Blond: Personal data can be used to discredit, especially if the data is not public.

Having been alerted to the ongoing case through a joint press release by the ACLU and EFF, Wikinews sought clarification on the primary issues which the two non-profits saw as particularly important in challenging the U.S. Government over the ‘secret’ court orders. Rebecca Jeschke, Media Relations Director for the EFF, explained in more detail the points crucial to them, responding to a few questions from Wikinews on the case:

((WN)) As a worse-case, what precedents would be considered if this went to the Supreme Court?
  • Rebecca Jeschke: It’s extremely hard to know at this stage if this would go to the Supreme Court, and if it did, what would be at issue. However, some of the interesting questions about this case center on the rights of people around the world when they use US Internet services. This case questions the limits of US law enforcement, which may turn out to be very different from the limits in other countries.
((WN)) Since this is clearly a politicised attack on free speech with most chilling potential repercussions for the press, whistleblowers, and by-and-large anyone the relevant U.S. Government departments objects to the actions of, what action do you believe should be taken to protect free speech rights?
  • Jeschke: We believe that, except in very rare circumstances, the government should not be permitted to obtain information about individuals’ private Internet communications in secret. We also believe that Internet companies should, whenever possible, take steps to ensure their customers are notified about requests for information and have the opportunity to respond.
((WN)) Twitter via the web, in my experience, tends to use https:// connections. Are you aware of any possibility of the government cracking such connections? (I’m not up to date on the crypto arms race).
  • Jeschke: You don’t need to crack https, per se, to compromise its security. See this piece about fraudulent https certificates:
Iranian hackers obtain fraudulent httpsEFF website.
((WN)) And, do you believe that far, far more websites should – by default – employ https:// connections to protect people’s privacy?
  • Jeschke: We absolutely think that more websites should employ https! Here is a guide for site operators: (See external links, Ed.)

Finally, Wikinews approached the Icelandic politician, and WikiLeaks supporter, who has made this specific case a landmark in how the U.S. Government handles dealings with – supposedly – friendly governments and their elected representatives. A number of questions were posed, seeking the Icelandic Parliamentarian’s views:

((WN)) How did you feel when you were notified the US Government wanted your Twitter account, and message, details? Were you shocked?
  • Birgitta Jonsdottir: I felt angry but not shocked. I was expecting something like this to happen because of my involvement with WikiLeaks. My first reaction was to tweet about it.
((WN)) What do you believe is their reasoning in selecting you as a ‘target’?
  • Jonsdottir: It is quite clear to me that USA authorities are after Julian Assange and will use any means possible to get even with him. I think I am simply a pawn in a much larger context. I did of course both act as a spokesperson for WikiLeaks in relation to the Apache video and briefly for WikiLeaks, and I put my name to the video as a co-producer. I have not participated in any illegal activity and thus being a target doesn’t make me lose any sleep.
((WN)) Are you concerned that, as a Member of Parliament involved in the Icelandic Modern Media Initiative (IMMI), the US attempt to obtain your Twitter data is interfering with planned Icelandic government policy?
  • Jonsdottir: No
((WN)) In an earlier New York Times (NYT) article, you’re indicating there is nothing they can obtain about you that bothers you; but, how do you react to them wanting to know everyone you talk to?
  • Jonsdottir: It bothers me and according to top computer scientists the government should be required to obtain a search warrant to get our IP addresses from Twitter. I am, though, happy I am among the people DOJ is casting their nets around because of my parliamentary immunity; I have a greater protection then many other users and can use that immunity to raise the issue of lack of rights for those that use social media.
HAVE YOUR SAY
Do you believe the U.S. government should have the right to access data on foreign nationals using services such as Twitter?
Add or view comments
((WN)) The same NYT article describes you as a WikiLeaks supporter; is this still the case? What attracts you to their ‘radical transparency’?
  • Jonsdottir: I support the concept of WikiLeaks. While we don’t have a culture of protection for sources and whistleblowers we need sites like WikiLeaks. Plus, I think it is important to give WikiLeaks credit for raising awareness about in how bad shape freedom of information and expression is in our world and it is eroding at an alarming rate because of the fact that legal firms for corporations and corrupt politicians have understood the borderless nature of the legalities of the information flow online – we who feel it is important that people have access to information that should remain in the public domain need to step up our fight for those rights. WikiLeaks has played an important role in that context.I don’t support radical transparency – I understand that some things need to remain secret. It is the process of making things secret that needs to be both more transparent and in better consensus with nations.
((WN)) How do you think the Icelandic government would have reacted if it were tens of thousands of their diplomatic communications being leaked?
  • Jonsdottir: I am not sure – A lot of our dirty laundry has been aired via the USA cables – our diplomatic communications with USA were leaked in those cables, so far they have not stirred much debate nor shock. It is unlikely for tens of thousands of cables to leak from Iceland since we dont have the same influence or size as the USA, nor do we have a military.
((WN)) Your ambassador in the US has spoken to the Obama administration. Can you discuss any feedback from that? Do you have your party’s, and government’s, backing in challenging the ordered Twitter data release?
  • Jonsdottir: I have not had any feedback from that meeting, I did however receive a message from the DOJ via the USA ambassador in Iceland. The message stated three things: 1. I am free to travel to the USA. 2. If I would do so, I would not be a subject of involuntary interrogation. 3. I am not under criminal investigation. If this is indeed the reality I wonder why they are insisting on getting my personal details from Twitter. I want to stress that I understand the reasoning of trying to get to Assange through me, but I find it unacceptable since there is no foundation for criminal investigation against him. If WikiLeaks goes down, all the other media partners should go down at the same time. They all served similar roles. The way I see it is that WikiLeaks acted as the senior editor of material leaked to them. They could not by any means be considered a source. The source is the person that leaks the material to WikiLeaks. I am not sure if the media in our world understands how much is at stake for already shaky industry if WikiLeaks will carry on carrying the brunt of the attacks. I think it would be powerful if all the medias that have had access to WikiLeaks material would band together for their defence.
((WN)) Wikinews consulted a Belgian IT security expert who said it was most likely companies such as Facebook, Microsoft, and Google, would have complied with similar court orders *without advising the ‘targets*’. Does that disturb you?
  • Jonsdottir: This does disturb me for various reasons. The most obvious is that my emails are hosted at google/gmail and my search profile. I dont have anything to hide but it is important to note that many of the people that interact with me as a MP via both facebook and my various email accounts don’t always realize that there is no protection for them if they do so via those channels. I often get sensitive personal letters sent to me at facebook and gmail. In general most people are not aware of how little rights they have as users of social media. It is those of uttermost importance that those sites will create the legal disclaimers and agreements that state the most obvious rights we lose when we sign up to their services.
This exclusive interview features first-hand journalism by a Wikinews reporter. See the collaboration page for more details.
((WN)) Has there been any backlash within Iceland against US-based internet services in light of this? Do you expect such, or any increase in anti-American sentiments?
  • Jonsdottir: No, none what so ever. I dont think there is much anti-American sentiments in Iceland and I dont think this case will increase it. However I think it is important for everyone who does not live in the USA and uses social services to note that according to the ruling in my case, they dont have any protection of the 1st and 4th amendment, that only apply to USA citizens. Perhaps the legalities in relation to the borderless reality we live in online need to be upgraded in order for people to feel safe with using social media if it is hosted in the USA. Market tends to bend to simple rules.
((WN)) Does this make you more, or less, determined to see the IMMI succeed?
  • Jonsdottir: More. People have to realize that if we dont have freedom of information online we won’t have it offline. We have to wake up to the fact that our rights to access information that should be in the public domain is eroding while at the same time our rights as citizens online have now been undermined and we are only seen as consumers with consumers rights and in some cases our rights are less than of a product. This development needs to change and change fast before it is too late.

The U.S. Government continues to have issues internationally as a result of material passed to WikiLeaks, and subsequently published.

Within the past week, Ecuador has effectively declared the U.S. ambassador Heather Hodges persona-non-grata over corruption allegations brought to light in leaked cables. Asking the veteran diplomat to leave “as soon as possible”, the country may become the third in South America with no ambassadorial presence. Both Venezuela and Bolivia have no resident U.S. ambassador due to the two left-wing administrations believing the ejected diplomats were working with the opposition.

The U.S. State Department has cautioned Ecuador that a failure to speedily normalise diplomatic relations may jeapordise ongoing trade talks.

The United Kingdom is expected to press the Obama administration over the continuing detention of 23-year-old Manning, who also holds UK citizenship. British lawmakers are to discuss his ongoing detention conditions before again approaching the U.S. with their concerns that his solitary confinement, and treatment therein, is not acceptable.

The 22 charges brought against Manning are currently on hold whilst his fitness to stand trial is assessed.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Benet Academy Redwings 68 54 Glenbard East Rams

Top-seeded Glenbard East High School was expected to win the Class 4A Neuqua Valley High School Sectional championship on Friday night. Yet with a lot of determination and a strong defense, the Benet Academy varsity boys basketball team defeated the Rams 68–54. 

The game marks Benet’s sixteenth straight victory this season, giving the Redwings a 26–3 overall record. It is also their first sectional championship since the 1982–1983 season, which was the last time Benet advanced to the Class AA state tournament; there they lost to Thornton Township High School in the quarterfinals.

The Redwings’ aggressive man-to-man defense certainly kept the Rams out of their comfort zone amidst the crowds in the sold-out Neuqua gym. As Benet forward Mike Runger said, “We made them play to their weaknesses instead of letting them get comfortable doing what they want to do.”

Benet scored 71 percent of its shots in the first half, while Glenbard East scored only 27. While the Rams led twice in the first few minutes (3–0 and 7–5), the Redwings led 12–7 after the first quarter. A three-point shot made by Dave Sobolewski two seconds before the buzzer gave Benet a 27–16 lead at the end of the first half. 

Glenbard East desperately attempted a comeback in the second half, but Benet maintained a lead ranging from 10 to 18 points. Rams guard made four three-pointers in the fourth quarter, but to no avail. As Benet coach Gene Heidkamp said, “…we knew they were going to come at us and give us a ton of pressure. We were a long, long way from being comfortable at halftime.”

Benet will play Simeon Career Academy from Chicago in the supersectionals at Hinsdale Central High School on Tuesday night. 

Beijing cracks down on manhole cover thefts

Posted May 21st, 2019 by e76yKR

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Beijing’s utilities are cracking down on manhole cover thefts by removing the incentive to steal them. A pilot program is using a new material with negligible recycling value in over 2,921 installations of various types.

“We are still looking for the perfect substitutes for the manhole covers,” said city spokesman Wang Xin.

Over 240,000 covers were stolen from Beijing’s streets in 2004, nearly half of the 600,000 installations scattered throughout the city.

The high recycling value of the metal used to manufacture the previous models led to a crime wave of thefts, driven by illegal scrap metal dealers who purchased them for approximately US$2.4 dollars.

The covers cost between US$145 and US$182 to replace.

2010 UK general election results

Posted May 21st, 2019 by e76yKR

Thursday, May 6, 2010

This table shows the results for 649 of 650 constituencies in the 2010 general election in the United Kingdom (not including the delayed constituency of Thirsk and Malton, which will hold its election on 27 May).

The “Constituency” column shows the name of each constituency, linked to the relevant Wikipedia article. the “Result” column shows the winning party, and whether they held or gained the seat (and, if relevant, who they gained it from). The “Votes” column shows how many votes were received by the winning party, the “Share” column their share of the vote, and the “Swing” column the swing in the direction of the gaining party.

In the general election, people over the age of eighteen around the United Kingdom may choose to vote for a candidate at their local polling booth, and Members of Parliament are elected to each constituency based on the first past the post system. Whichever party has a majority of MPs after all constituencies have announced their results has the opportunity to form a government.

The incumbent party before the dissolution of parliament was Gordon Brown’s Labour Party, exit polls suggested a small Conservative Party majority, which—when this swing is projected nationally—would cause a hung parliament. The exit polls also suggested that despite reports that support for the Liberal Democrats had surged following the first national televised leaders’ debates in the United Kingdom, the Liberal Democrats would suffer from a third party squeeze.

On the morning of Friday 7, 2010 the accuracy of the exit polls was demonstrated when it was revealed that there was indeed a hung Parliament and that although the Conservative Party had the greatest number of seats and votes it would be impossible for them to achieve an outright majority. The constitution of the United Kingdom allows for the incumbent Labour Party to first attempt to form a government and incumbent Prime Minister, Gordon Brown announced that he would allow civil servants from the Cabinet Office to help facilitate negotiations. Despite the Labour Party openly courting the Liberal Party, their leader Nick Clegg has stated that as the party with the most seats and most votes the Conservatives have the right to attempt to form a government.

Some seats were also be contested by one or more of a number of smaller parties and independents, including the United Kingdom Independence Party, the British National Party, and the Green Party of England and Wales, who all already hold seats in the European Parliament and local government authorities, all hoped to gain their first seats in the House of Commons in this election. History was made when the Greens won their first Parliamentery with their leader Caroline Lucas winning Brighton Pavilion. In Northern Ireland the Alliance Party also won their first seat with Naomi Long taking Peter Robinson’s seat.

Please refresh this page periodically to see the latest results as they come in.


Party Seats Net gain Votes Share
Conservative Party 305 +97 10,681,417 36.1%
Labour Party 258 -91 8,601,441 29.1%
Liberal Democrats 57 -5 6,805,665 23.0%
Democratic Unionist Party 8 -1 168,216 0.6%
Scottish National Party 6 0 491,386 1.7%
Sinn Féin 5 0 171,942 0.6%
Plaid Cymru 3 +1 165,394 0.6%
Social Democratic & Labour Party 3 0 110,970 0.4%
Alliance Party 1 +1 42,762 0.1%
Green Party of England and Wales 1 +1 284,566 1.0%

Contents

  • 1 Overall standings
  • 2 Table
  • 3 Sources

Finnish metal band win 51st Eurovision Song Contest

Posted May 21st, 2019 by e76yKR

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Lordi, described as “cartoon metalheads” wearing latex monster masks, beat runner-up Russian “heart throb” Dima Bilan to win this year’s 51st Eurovision song contest held in Athens, Greece. Bosnia’s Hari Mata Hariwas came third.

In a spectacular show, hosted by Maria Menounos and Sakis Rouvas, Lordi amassed 292 points after a public vote – 44 ahead of Russia. Greece’s singer Anna Vissi, who was one of the favourites to win, came 9th, followed by Ireland’s Brian Kennedy. From the start of the song contest as well as during the televoting, the Greek organisers presented viewers choreographies and dances inspired by Greek culture and music, both ancient and modern. In addition, the world famous Greek singer Nana Moushouri was presented by the hosts and gave the sign for the start of televoting.

Wielding spark-spewing instruments, the “Monster-themed” rock band beat 23 other competitors, scoring 292 points from telephone voters in 38 countries with its song “Hard Rock Hallelujah” in a performance that both shocked and amused viewers.

A spokesperson for Lordi said: “We won the contest, looking like this,” he said. “It just goes to show that Europe is not such a bad place.” The Finnish band thanked viewers for voting for their song, which featured the lead singer hoisting a double-headed-axe microphone stand above his head. The win has been dubbed as a “radical departure” from the catchy pop tunes, folk songs and emotional ballads normally associated with Eurovision.

Complete with distorted guitars, a catchy chorus and “mock-demonic imagery,” Lordi is reminiscent of 1970s American band Kiss – an inspiration acknowledged by lead singer Mr Lordi. “What this has shown is that there are different styles of music than just pop and rock,” Mr Lordi told news media after the surprise victory. “That should be the goal of Eurovision,” he said.

Mr. Lordi, whose real name is Tomi Putaansuu, hails from Lapland and says his band’s masked personas are just characters. “The guys behind the masks are not interesting – underneath, there’s just a boring, normal guy who walks the dogs, goes to the supermarket, watches DVDs and eats candies. You really don’t want to see him.” he said. But the characters “live on stage and they live in a fantasy world”, he said. “This element of mystery is one of the cornerstones of Lordi.”

The band has upset many Finns with their outrageous behaviour. “This is a victory for rock music… and also a victory for open-mindedness,” Mr Lordi said. “For the millionth time, we’re not Satanists or devil worshippers. This is entertainment. The masks are like our calling card and we’ll never perform without them. It would be like Santa Claus handing a child his gifts at Christmas time and then pulling off his beard…”

The 51st annual Eurovision was broadcast live across Europe, watched by an estimated 100 million viewers. Regarded by many as the “contest good taste forgot,” Eurovision is adored by fans of kitsch and camp everywhere.

Lordi join the likes of Abba, Bucks Fizz, Dana and Celine Dion on the elite list of Eurovision winners.

Because of Lordi’s first place finish, next year the 52nd Eurovision Song Contest will take place, for the first time, in Helsinki, Finland.

Five dead in attack in Pakistan

Posted May 16th, 2019 by e76yKR

Thursday, March 2, 2006

Two explosions near a US consulate in Karachi, Pakistan killed five and wounded more than fifty early Thursday morning. The explosions come just prior to United States President George W. Bush’s scheduled visit to the country. According to Forbes report on the incident, Pakistani officials speculated that the attack was timed to coincide with Bush’s visit.

According to police, a suicide bomber apparently hit the vehicle of a United States diplomat, detonating one of the explosions. It is not clear whether a subsequent explosion was another bomb or a vehicle explosion triggered by the initial blast.

The Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) reports that a hospital in the region has confirmed at least five persons were killed in the attacks, and over fifty more were injured, including a young Moroccan girl. According to the Associated Press, among the dead was a United States diplomat, a Pakistani official who worked at the consulate, a security guard for the consulate, and an unidentified woman. The driver of the car bomb is also presumed dead.

During a press conference in New Delhi, India, President Bush stated he would still travel to Pakistan despite the explosions, saying that: “Terrorists and killers are not going to prevent me from going to Pakistan. My trip to Pakistan is an important trip. It’s important to talk with President Musharraf about continuing our fight against terrorists.” Bush also expressed his condolences to the individuals lost in the attack during the conference.

The Pakistani news source GEO states that the first explosion occurred at 9:05 local time (0505 UTC), with the second explosion occurring minutes afterwards. The explosions occurred at the parking lot of the Marriott Hotel in Karachi, about 60 feet (18 meters) from the consulate gate. Damage to the building as well as over ten nearby vehicles was also reported.

The Associated Press reports that the same consulate has been targeted twice in the recent past: an attack in 2002 left 14 Pakistanis dead, and in 2004 police defused a time bomb before it was set to detonate.

US Capitol lockdown lifted after shooting

Posted May 16th, 2019 by e76yKR

Sunday, April 12, 2015

In Washington D.C., the U.S. Capitol building has reopened after shots were fired in front of it. For safety, no entry or exit was permitted from the building after a man committed suicide just before 2pm local time yesterday. The lockdown lasted until around 3:50pm while members of the bomb squad investigated the man’s backpack, suitcase, and the surrounding area.

A witness estimated 60 other persons were in the area at the time of death. Witnesses reported the man had a sign of protest about taxation and social justice.

The shooting occurred during the annual Cherry Blossom Festival, a busy Washington tourist season. Congress was not in session during the attack but are returning from recess tomorrow.

Worldwide markets fall precipitously

Posted May 16th, 2019 by e76yKR

Monday, October 6, 2008

Stock markets around the world have fallen dramatically today. This is following the ongoing events in the financial world, including the US Government’s $700 billion bail out of the financial sector.

As of 14:48 UTC, the primary UK index, the FTSE 100, dropped in value by 6.50% (323.65 points) to a point even further below the 5000 mark at 4656.60. The Dow Jones, was down 3.76% at 16:08 UTC, a slight increase from earlier today. The Dow Jones currently has a value of 9936.94 points, below the ten thousand mark. The Nasdaq index has fallen by 100.12 points to 1847.27, while the DAX was 6.62% lower than the start of the day as of 16:08 UTC.

The Dow Jones index was one that fared particularly poorly today, as not one of its companies increased its share price. The same is true for the CAC 40 index. The Merval index is another one that fared badly today. It dropped in value by 10.12%, while the affiliated Merval 25 index dropped by nearly as much, 10.03%. One of the worst faring indexes of the day was the Brazilian Bovespa index. It has already fallen by 14.45% today, despite the fact that it is not even half way through the trading day.

20:15, 06 October, 2008 (UTC)
  • DJIA
  • 9.955,50 369,88 3,58%
  • Nasdaq
  • 1.862,96 84,43 4.34%
  • S&P 500
  • 1.056,85 42,38 3,86%
  • S&P TSX
  • 10.298,80 504,50 4.67%
  • IPC
  • 21.669,70 1,319,82 5,74%
  • Merval
  • 1.423,350 89.360 5,91%
  • Bovespa
  • 42.090,94 2,426.36 5,45%
  • FTSE 100
  • 4.589,19 391,06 7,85%
  • DAX
  • 5.387,01 410,02 7,07%
  • CAC 40
  • 3.711,98 368,77 9,04%
  • SMI
  • 6.458,72 421,10 6,12%
  • AEX
  • 312,56 31,46 9,14%
  • BEL20
  • 2.567,59 189,42 6,87%
  • MIBTel
  • 17.976,00 1,615,00 8,24%
  • IBEX 35
  • 10.726,00 692,50 6,06%
  • All Ordinaries
  • 4.544,70 158,10 3,36%
  • Nikkei
  • 10.473,10 465,05 4,25%
  • Hang Seng
  • 16.803,80 878,64 4,97%
  • SSE Composite
  • 2.173,74 120,05 5,23%