Trial ‘soon’ for aid worker who facilitated release of Italian journalist in Afghanistan

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Trial ‘soon’ for aid worker who facilitated release of Italian journalist in Afghanistan

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

An Afghan doctor, Rahmatullah Hanefi, who works for the Italian non-governmental organization (NGO), Emergency, will go on trial in Afghanistan for his alleged role in the March, 2007 slaying of Afghan interpreter and reporter, Adjmal Nashbandi.

Italian journalist, Daniele Mastrogiacomo, his driver and interpreter were kidnapped by the Taliban in Helmond Province, Afghanistan on March 5, 2007. During the ensuing negotiations for Mastrogiacomo’s release, his driver, Sayed Agha, was killed by their Taliban captors. Mastrogiacomo’s interpreter, Adjmal Nashbandi, was later executed by the Taliban. The release of Mastrogiacomo was controversial and criticized at the time for the exchange of five Taliban prisoners in return. Hanefi mediated negotiations, reportedly, with the Taliban for the release of Mastrogiacomo.

Afghanistan’s ambassador in Rome said Tuesday that Hanefi would be put on trial “soon”. It was not revealed what the specific charges against Hanefi are, but it has been suggested that the offence may be accessory to murder in the death of Nashbandi. “Hanefi’s case will come to trial soon, maybe in a week, and a lawyer will be nominated to assist him,” said Musa Maroufi, Afghanistan’s ambassador to Italy. He added that “no execution will be carried out” against Hanefi.

In April, Emergency closed the three hospitals it operates in Afghanistan. The NGO has denied that Hanefi had anything to do with Nashbandi’s death. In a news update on its U.S. website Monday, Emergency suggested that their international staff were forcibly removed from the hospitals by Afghan authorities.

“Continuing under a pretense of normalcy in this situation would provide services so inadequate as to endanger our patients,” said Emergency in the news update. They have decided “to suspend all activity until conditions allowed for the return of… international staff” and suggested a clarification was required from the Afghan government “concerning intimidating threats” allegedly made by the government.

Emergency is pressing for the release of Hanefi.

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Samsung releases its first tablet computer

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Samsung releases its first tablet computer

Monday, September 6, 2010

File:Samsung-galaxy-tab.jpg

At the Internationale Funkausstellung Berlin (IFA) industrial exhibition in Berlin, the South Korean corporation Samsung released its first tablet computer, called “Galaxy Tab”.

The device features the Android operating system and a seven-inch screen. Samsung’s own applications, called “Reader’s Hub” and “Media Hub,” display ebooks and videos respectively. Latest Flash, and an interface to stream to TV also are included. Wireless technologies supported include 3G networks, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth.

The device is a competitor to Apple’s iPad. British newspaper The Daily Mail considered the appearance of the Galaxy Tab on the market as a serious event for Apple, because the device has a smaller screen, and Samsung was expecting to set a price 1.5 to 2 times lower than the iPad. Samsung were considering a ten inch screen on future models. Galaxy Tab is “the first of the company’s tablet devices”, as a spokesperson said.

Head of product portfolio Thomas Richter expressed optimism about the device’s market future : “This is not just another tablet. We call it a Smart Media device.”

Samsung’s head of mobile communications J.K. Shin was also positive about the release of Galaxy Tab, commenting that “[t]here is a new and emerging consumer demand that Samsung can satisfy since mobile is in our DNA.”

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Fires at Baxter Immigration Detention Centre in South Australia

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Fires at Baxter Immigration Detention Centre in South Australia

Saturday, November 12, 2005

34 accommodation units have been destroyed by fire at the Baxter Detention Centre near Pt Augusta in South Australia today. The blaze also gutted a kitchen, laundry, recreational area and officers’ station. The original blaze broke out around 4am ACST in the kitchen of the “White One” compound which houses single men. Fire units took almost three hours to put them out.

Fifty-eight detainees were evacuated from Baxter IDC. Six have been treated for smoke inhalation.

Immigration minister Amanda Vanstone says about 17 rooms have been ruined and others damaged. She says deliberate property damage will not be tolerated and the Australian Federal Police are questioning four detainees over the blazes and anyone found responsible will be charged.

“Anyone with no lawful right to be in Australia should leave irrespective of the behaviour that they’ve undertaken, but if someone with a visa or without a visa to be in Australia engages in criminal conduct that would be taken into account in terms of cancelling a visa,” she said.

The Metropolitan Fire Service (MFS) said four fires appeared to have been deliberately lit. “The first fire in the kitchen area was followed by three other separate fires within the complex,” an MFS spokesman said.

Refugee rights advocate Pamela Curr said she had concerns about the safety of detainees in the event of a fire because of the electronic doors. She said detainees at a detention centre at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport had been killed during a fire last month because authorities had been unable to manually open the electronic doors. “Thank heavens nobody seems to have been hurt today,” she said. “We’re always on the alert that Baxter is not a safe detention centre”.

Bernadette Wauchope from Rural Australians for Refugees says the destruction will continue until something is done. “They become so desperate that they attempt self-harm or attempt suicide or maybe resort to lighting fires,” she said. “After being locked up for years and years the feeling that they’re isolated and that nobody’s listening to what their stories are, often that, well it does contribute to these kinds of acts,” she said.

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Commonwealth Bank of Australia CEO apologies for financial planning scandal

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Commonwealth Bank of Australia CEO apologies for financial planning scandal
Published by
Aug 18

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Ian Narev, the CEO of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, this morning “unreservedly” apologised to clients who lost money in a scandal involving the bank’s financial planning services arm.

Last week, a Senate enquiry found financial advisers from the Commonwealth Bank had made high-risk investments of clients’ money without the clients’ permission, resulting in hundreds of millions of dollars lost. The Senate enquiry called for a Royal Commission into the bank, and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).

Mr Narev stated the bank’s performance in providing financial advice was “unacceptable”, and the bank was launching a scheme to compensate clients who lost money due to the planners’ actions.

In a statement Mr Narev said, “Poor advice provided by some of our advisers between 2003 and 2012 caused financial loss and distress and I am truly sorry for that. […] There have been changes in management, structure and culture. We have also invested in new systems, implemented new processes, enhanced adviser supervision and improved training.”

An investigation by Fairfax Media instigated the Senate inquiry into the Commonwealth Bank’s financial planning division and ASIC.

Whistleblower Jeff Morris, who reported the misconduct of the bank to ASIC six years ago, said in an article for The Sydney Morning Herald that neither the bank nor ASIC should be in control of the compensation program.

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Reasons To Keep One Of The Locksmiths In Tulsa On Speed Dial

Published by
Aug 17

byAlma Abell

While most people do not think of calling one of the Locksmiths in Tulsa unless there is an emergency, the fact is that these professionals can help with all sorts of situations. For this reason, it pays to identify a reliable locksmith and keep the phone number listed for quick access. Here are some situations that call for making the call and getting the help when and as needed.

Locked Out of the House

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While hurrying to get out the door and on the way to work, the hapless homeowner hears the lock click just as it is remembered that the car and house keys are still in the house. Since no one else is home, ringing the doorbell will be futile. Unless the owner wants to break a window to retrieve the keys, the best approach is to settle into a lawn chair and use a smart phone to call one of the Locksmiths in Tulsa. In a short time, help will arrive and it will be possible to get to those keys.

Changing the Apartment Locks

After a tenant moves out, it pays for the landlord to have the locks changed before renting the unit to a new tenant. Doing so ensures that if a spare key is still floating around somewhere, it will no longer be of any use. The new tenant can rest assured that the only people with keys is the renter and the landlord.

Buying a Safe

Having a safe place to store important documents, cash, and expensive pieces of jewelry is important. Since not everyone wants to rent a safety deposit box at a bank, choosing to install a safe at home is a good idea. A locksmith will be familiar with different types of safes and can provide practical help in selecting a model that is right for the home. From safes that mount behind wall art to models that fit in the floor underneath an area rug, the locksmith can take care of ordering the safe and taking care of the installation.

For anyone who needs help with new locks, new keys, or some type of secure home storage, call Tulsa Mobile Locksmith today. In a short amount of time, the customer will have the right solution and know who to hire in order to get things done. Visit website for complete details.

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Woman arrested after caught living in man’s closet

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Woman arrested after caught living in man’s closet
Published by
Aug 16

Saturday, May 31, 2008

In the town of Kasuya, Fukuoka, Japan, a 58-year-old woman was arrested after surveillance tape from inside an unnamed man’s home showed her living in his closet.

According to police, Tatsuko Horikawa had been living in his closet for over one year. One day when the man left, she walked through his front door which had been left unlocked. From then on, she would take small amounts of food from the kitchen and even take showers. When the man noticed food missing, he set up cameras to catch what he thought was someone robbing him.

The woman had placed a small bed mattress into a enclosed shelf area inside the closet to sleep on and when police searched the apartment, they found her curled up in the closet.

“We searched the house … checking everywhere someone could possibly hide. When we slid open the shelf closet, there she was, nervously curled up on her side,” said Hiroki Itakura, a police spokesman.

The woman, who was described by police as “neat and clean”, will be charged with trespassing.

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National Museum of Scotland reopens after three-year redevelopment

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National Museum of Scotland reopens after three-year redevelopment
Published by
Aug 16

Friday, July 29, 2011

Today sees the reopening of the National Museum of Scotland following a three-year renovation costing £47.4 million (US$ 77.3 million). Edinburgh’s Chambers Street was closed to traffic for the morning, with the 10am reopening by eleven-year-old Bryony Hare, who took her first steps in the museum, and won a competition organised by the local Evening News paper to be a VIP guest at the event. Prior to the opening, Wikinews toured the renovated museum, viewing the new galleries, and some of the 8,000 objects inside.

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Dressed in Victorian attire, Scottish broadcaster Grant Stott acted as master of ceremonies over festivities starting shortly after 9am. The packed street cheered an animatronic Tyrannosaurus Rex created by Millenium FX; onlookers were entertained with a twenty-minute performance by the Mugenkyo Taiko Drummers on the steps of the museum; then, following Bryony Hare knocking three times on the original doors to ask that the museum be opened, the ceremony was heralded with a specially composed fanfare – played on a replica of the museum’s 2,000-year-old carnyx Celtic war-horn. During the fanfare, two abseilers unfurled white pennons down either side of the original entrance.

The completion of the opening to the public was marked with Chinese firecrackers, and fireworks, being set off on the museum roof. As the public crowded into the museum, the Mugenkyo Taiko Drummers resumed their performance; a street theatre group mingled with the large crowd, and the animatronic Tyrannosaurus Rex entertained the thinning crowd of onlookers in the centre of the street.

On Wednesday, the museum welcomed the world’s press for an in depth preview of the new visitor experience. Wikinews was represented by Brian McNeil, who is also Wikimedia UK’s interim liaison with Museum Galleries Scotland.

The new pavement-level Entrance Hall saw journalists mingle with curators. The director, Gordon Rintoul, introduced presentations by Gareth Hoskins and Ralph Applebaum, respective heads of the Architects and Building Design Team; and, the designers responsible for the rejuvenation of the museum.

Describing himself as a “local lad”, Hoskins reminisced about his grandfather regularly bringing him to the museum, and pushing all the buttons on the numerous interactive exhibits throughout the museum. Describing the nearly 150-year-old museum as having become “a little tired”, and a place “only visited on a rainy day”, he commented that many international visitors to Edinburgh did not realise that the building was a public space; explaining the focus was to improve access to the museum – hence the opening of street-level access – and, to “transform the complex”, focus on “opening up the building”, and “creating a number of new spaces […] that would improve facilities and really make this an experience for 21st century museum visitors”.

Hoskins explained that a “rabbit warren” of storage spaces were cleared out to provide street-level access to the museum; the floor in this “crypt-like” space being lowered by 1.5 metres to achieve this goal. Then Hoskins handed over to Applebaum, who expressed his delight to be present at the reopening.

Applebaum commented that one of his first encounters with the museum was seeing “struggling young mothers with two kids in strollers making their way up the steps”, expressing his pleasure at this being made a thing of the past. Applebaum explained that the Victorian age saw the opening of museums for public access, with the National Museum’s earlier incarnation being the “College Museum” – a “first window into this museum’s collection”.

Have you any photos of the museum, or its exhibits?

The museum itself is physically connected to the University of Edinburgh’s old college via a bridge which allowed students to move between the two buildings.

Applebaum explained that the museum will, now redeveloped, be used as a social space, with gatherings held in the Grand Gallery, “turning the museum into a social convening space mixed with knowledge”. Continuing, he praised the collections, saying they are “cultural assets [… Scotland is] turning those into real cultural capital”, and the museum is, and museums in general are, providing a sense of “social pride”.

McNeil joined the yellow group on a guided tour round the museum with one of the staff. Climbing the stairs at the rear of the Entrance Hall, the foot of the Window on the World exhibit, the group gained a first chance to see the restored Grand Gallery. This space is flooded with light from the glass ceiling three floors above, supported by 40 cast-iron columns. As may disappoint some visitors, the fish ponds have been removed; these were not an original feature, but originally installed in the 1960s – supposedly to humidify the museum; and failing in this regard. But, several curators joked that they attracted attention as “the only thing that moved” in the museum.

The museum’s original architect was Captain Francis Fowke, also responsible for the design of London’s Royal Albert Hall; his design for the then-Industrial Museum apparently inspired by Joseph Paxton’s Crystal Palace.

The group moved from the Grand Gallery into the Discoveries Gallery to the south side of the museum. The old red staircase is gone, and the Millennium Clock stands to the right of a newly-installed escalator, giving easier access to the upper galleries than the original staircases at each end of the Grand Gallery. Two glass elevators have also been installed, flanking the opening into the Discoveries Gallery and, providing disabled access from top-to-bottom of the museum.

The National Museum of Scotland’s origins can be traced back to 1780 when the 11th Earl of Buchan, David Stuart Erskine, formed the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland; the Society being tasked with the collection and preservation of archaeological artefacts for Scotland. In 1858, control of this was passed to the government of the day and the National Museum of Antiquities of Scotland came into being. Items in the collection at that time were housed at various locations around the city.

On Wednesday, October 28, 1861, during a royal visit to Edinburgh by Queen Victoria, Prince-Consort Albert laid the foundation-stone for what was then intended to be the Industrial Museum. Nearly five years later, it was the second son of Victoria and Albert, Prince Alfred, the then-Duke of Edinburgh, who opened the building which was then known as the Scottish Museum of Science and Art. A full-page feature, published in the following Monday’s issue of The Scotsman covered the history leading up to the opening of the museum, those who had championed its establishment, the building of the collection which it was to house, and Edinburgh University’s donation of their Natural History collection to augment the exhibits put on public display.

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Selection of views of the Grand Gallery Image: Brian McNeil.

Selection of views of the Grand Gallery Image: Brian McNeil.

Selection of views of the Grand Gallery Image: Brian McNeil.

Closed for a little over three years, today’s reopening of the museum is seen as the “centrepiece” of National Museums Scotland’s fifteen-year plan to dramatically improve accessibility and better present their collections. Sir Andrew Grossard, chair of the Board of Trustees, said: “The reopening of the National Museum of Scotland, on time and within budget is a tremendous achievement […] Our collections tell great stories about the world, how Scots saw that world, and the disproportionate impact they had upon it. The intellectual and collecting impact of the Scottish diaspora has been profound. It is an inspiring story which has captured the imagination of our many supporters who have helped us achieve our aspirations and to whom we are profoundly grateful.

The extensive work, carried out with a view to expand publicly accessible space and display more of the museums collections, carried a £47.4 million pricetag. This was jointly funded with £16 million from the Scottish Government, and £17.8 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund. Further funds towards the work came from private sources and totalled £13.6 million. Subsequent development, as part of the longer-term £70 million “Masterplan”, is expected to be completed by 2020 and see an additional eleven galleries opened.

The funding by the Scottish Government can be seen as a ‘canny‘ investment; a report commissioned by National Museums Scotland, and produced by consultancy firm Biggar Economics, suggest the work carried out could be worth £58.1 million per year, compared with an estimated value to the economy of £48.8 prior to the 2008 closure. Visitor figures are expected to rise by over 20%; use of function facilities are predicted to increase, alongside other increases in local hospitality-sector spending.

Proudly commenting on the Scottish Government’s involvement Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs, described the reopening as, “one of the nation’s cultural highlights of 2011” and says the rejuvenated museum is, “[a] must-see attraction for local and international visitors alike“. Continuing to extol the museum’s virtues, Hyslop states that it “promotes the best of Scotland and our contributions to the world.

So-far, the work carried out is estimated to have increased the public space within the museum complex by 50%. Street-level storage rooms, never before seen by the public, have been transformed into new exhibit space, and pavement-level access to the buildings provided which include a new set of visitor facilities. Architectural firm Gareth Hoskins have retained the original Grand Gallery – now the first floor of the museum – described as a “birdcage” structure and originally inspired by The Crystal Palace built in Hyde Park, London for the 1851 Great Exhibition.

The centrepiece in the Grand Gallery is the “Window on the World” exhibit, which stands around 20 metres tall and is currently one of the largest installations in any UK museum. This showcases numerous items from the museum’s collections, rising through four storeys in the centre of the museum. Alexander Hayward, the museums Keeper of Science and Technology, challenged attending journalists to imagine installing “teapots at thirty feet”.

The redeveloped museum includes the opening of sixteen brand new galleries. Housed within, are over 8,000 objects, only 20% of which have been previously seen.

  • Ground floor
  • First floor
  • Second floor
  • Top floor

The Window on the World rises through the four floors of the museum and contains over 800 objects. This includes a gyrocopter from the 1930s, the world’s largest scrimshaw – made from the jaws of a sperm whale which the University of Edinburgh requested for their collection, a number of Buddha figures, spearheads, antique tools, an old gramophone and record, a selection of old local signage, and a girder from the doomed Tay Bridge.

The arrangement of galleries around the Grand Gallery’s “birdcage” structure is organised into themes across multiple floors. The World Cultures Galleries allow visitors to explore the culture of the entire planet; Living Lands explains the ways in which our natural environment influences the way we live our lives, and the beliefs that grow out of the places we live – from the Arctic cold of North America to Australia’s deserts.

The adjacent Patterns of Life gallery shows objects ranging from the everyday, to the unusual from all over the world. The functions different objects serve at different periods in peoples’ lives are explored, and complement the contents of the Living Lands gallery.

Performance & Lives houses musical instruments from around the world, alongside masks and costumes; both rooted in long-established traditions and rituals, this displayed alongside contemporary items showing the interpretation of tradition by contemporary artists and instrument-creators.

The museum proudly bills the Facing the Sea gallery as the only one in the UK which is specifically based on the cultures of the South Pacific. It explores the rich diversity of the communities in the region, how the sea shapes the islanders’ lives – describing how their lives are shaped as much by the sea as the land.

Both the Facing the Sea and Performance & Lives galleries are on the second floor, next to the new exhibition shop and foyer which leads to one of the new exhibition galleries, expected to house the visiting Amazing Mummies exhibit in February, coming from Leiden in the Netherlands.

The Inspired by Nature, Artistic Legacies, and Traditions in Sculpture galleries take up most of the east side of the upper floor of the museum. The latter of these shows the sculptors from diverse cultures have, through history, explored the possibilities in expressing oneself using metal, wood, or stone. The Inspired by Nature gallery shows how many artists, including contemporary ones, draw their influence from the world around us – often commenting on our own human impact on that natural world.

Contrastingly, the Artistic Legacies gallery compares more traditional art and the work of modern artists. The displayed exhibits attempt to show how people, in creating specific art objects, attempt to illustrate the human spirit, the cultures they are familiar with, and the imaginative input of the objects’ creators.

The easternmost side of the museum, adjacent to Edinburgh University’s Old College, will bring back memories for many regular visitors to the museum; but, with an extensive array of new items. The museum’s dedicated taxidermy staff have produced a wide variety of fresh examples from the natural world.

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At ground level, the Animal World and Wildlife Panorama’s most imposing exhibit is probably the lifesize reproduction of a Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton. This rubs shoulders with other examples from around the world, including one of a pair of elephants. The on-display elephant could not be removed whilst renovation work was underway, and lurked in a corner of the gallery as work went on around it.

Above, in the Animal Senses gallery, are examples of how we experience the world through our senses, and contrasting examples of wildly differing senses, or extremes of such, present in the natural world. This gallery also has giant screens, suspended in the free space, which show footage ranging from the most tranquil and peaceful life in the sea to the tooth-and-claw bloody savagery of nature.

The Survival gallery gives visitors a look into the ever-ongoing nature of evolution; the causes of some species dying out while others thrive, and the ability of any species to adapt as a method of avoiding extinction.

Earth in Space puts our place in the universe in perspective. Housing Europe’s oldest surviving Astrolabe, dating from the eleventh century, this gallery gives an opportunity to see the technology invented to allow us to look into the big questions about what lies beyond Earth, and probe the origins of the universe and life.

In contrast, the Restless Earth gallery shows examples of the rocks and minerals formed through geological processes here on earth. The continual processes of the planet are explored alongside their impact on human life. An impressive collection of geological specimens are complemented with educational multimedia presentations.

Beyond working on new galleries, and the main redevelopment, the transformation team have revamped galleries that will be familiar to regular past visitors to the museum.

Formerly known as the Ivy Wu Gallery of East Asian Art, the Looking East gallery showcases National Museums Scotland’s extensive collection of Korean, Chinese, and Japanese material. The gallery’s creation was originally sponsored by Sir Gordon Wu, and named after his wife Ivy. It contains items from the last dynasty, the Manchu, and examples of traditional ceramic work. Japan is represented through artefacts from ordinary people’s lives, expositions on the role of the Samurai, and early trade with the West. Korean objects also show the country’s ceramic work, clothing, and traditional accessories used, and worn, by the indigenous people.

The Ancient Egypt gallery has always been a favourite of visitors to the museum. A great many of the exhibits in this space were returned to Scotland from late 19th century excavations; and, are arranged to take visitors through the rituals, and objects associated with, life, death, and the afterlife, as viewed from an Egyptian perspective.

The Art and Industry and European Styles galleries, respectively, show how designs are arrived at and turned into manufactured objects, and the evolution of European style – financed and sponsored by a wide range of artists and patrons. A large number of the objects on display, often purchased or commissioned, by Scots, are now on display for the first time ever.

Shaping our World encourages visitors to take a fresh look at technological objects developed over the last 200 years, many of which are so integrated into our lives that they are taken for granted. Radio, transportation, and modern medicines are covered, with a retrospective on the people who developed many of the items we rely on daily.

What was known as the Museum of Scotland, a modern addition to the classical Victorian-era museum, is now known as the Scottish Galleries following the renovation of the main building.

This dedicated newer wing to the now-integrated National Museum of Scotland covers the history of Scotland from a time before there were people living in the country. The geological timescale is covered in the Beginnings gallery, showing continents arranging themselves into what people today see as familiar outlines on modern-day maps.

Just next door, the history of the earliest occupants of Scotland are on display; hunters and gatherers from around 4,000 B.C give way to farmers in the Early People exhibits.

The Kingdom of the Scots follows Scotland becoming a recognisable nation, and a kingdom ruled over by the Stewart dynasty. Moving closer to modern-times, the Scotland Transformed gallery looks at the country’s history post-union in 1707.

Industry and Empire showcases Scotland’s significant place in the world as a source of heavy engineering work in the form of rail engineering and shipbuilding – key components in the building of the British Empire. Naturally, whisky was another globally-recognised export introduced to the world during empire-building.

Lastly, Scotland: A Changing Nation collects less-tangible items, including personal accounts, from the country’s journey through the 20th century; the social history of Scots, and progress towards being a multicultural nation, is explored through heavy use of multimedia exhibits.

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4-year-old boy killed by dog in Liverpool, England

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4-year-old boy killed by dog in Liverpool, England
Published by
Aug 15

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A four-year-old boy has been killed by a dog in the city of Liverpool in Merseyside, England. The child has been identified as John Paul Massey. The animal belonged to his uncle. The boy’s 63-year-old grandmother Helen Foulkes tried to protect the boy but ended up getting bitten by the dog in the process. She had to receive hospital treatment for the injury.

The dog itself was shot dead in the front garden of the house where the attack had taken place. The police had said that they did not take further action after receiving a report about dog breeding earlier this year.

Chief Superintendent Steve Ashley from the police force said about the incident: “In February this year a housing officer rang Merseyside Police to say they had received complaints of dog breeding at the address. At that time the police said it wasn’t a police matter and no action was taken by Merseyside Police.

That is contrary to our policies and an investigation is now launched into exactly what happened in February.”

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Charles Lazarus, founder of US-based toy retail giant Toys ‘R’ Us, dies at 94

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Charles Lazarus, founder of US-based toy retail giant Toys ‘R’ Us, dies at 94
Published by
Aug 14

Saturday, March 24, 2018

On Thursday, Charles Lazarus, the founder of United States toy retailer Toys “R” Us, died in Manhattan, New York, New York of respiratory failure. He was 94. His death came a week after Toys “R” Us announced that all of the stores were closing.

Toys “R” Us issued a statement in which they said, “There have been many sad moments for Toys “R” Us in recent weeks, and none more heartbreaking than today’s news about the passing of our beloved founder, Charles Lazarus. He visited us in New Jersey just last year and we will forever be grateful for his positive energy, passion for the customer and love for children everywhere. Our thoughts and prayers are with Charles’ family and loved ones.”

Michael Goldstein, who was a close friend and former Toys “R” Us chairman, said: “He was the father of the toy business. He knew the toys and loved the toys and loved the kids who would shop in the stores. His face lit up when he watched kids playing with toys.” In a phone interview Goldstein said that Charles Lazarus died in Manhattan.

Lazarus no longer held a stake in the chain, CNN reported. Lazarus took over his father’s bicycle repair shop in 1948 at the age of 25 and changed it to baby furniture. He opened the first Toys “R” Us store in 1957. Lazarus had remained its CEO until 1994.

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Federal judge rules warrantless wiretaps illegal

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Federal judge rules warrantless wiretaps illegal
Published by
Aug 12

Thursday, August 17, 2006

A United States District federal judge ruled Thursday that the Bush administration’s wiretapping program is “unconstitutional” and that it “must be halted immediately.” The ruling came in a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union(ACLU) challenging federal intelligence agencies’ eavesdropping of international phone calls without obtaining court warrants.

The defendants, the National Security Agency (NSA), the Central Security Service and NSA Director and Chief of the Central Security Service, Lieutenant General Keith B. Alexander asserted that they cannot defend their case without exposing state secrets.

Judge Anna Diggs Taylor, US District Judge for the Eastern District of Michigan, wrote in an opinion that the defense argument was “without merit”.

“Defendants have supported these arguments without revealing or relying on any classified information,” Taylor wrote in an opinion accompanying the ruling.

Judge Taylor also ruled that the tapping violates “the separation of powers enshrined in the Constitution, privacy and free speech.”

The Bush Administration has been firmly committed to the wiretapping, known as the Terrorist Surveillance Program (TSP), and said the practice has a valid basis in law, despite public criticism. Defenders of the program contended that the President has the authority under the AUMF and the Constitution to authorize the continued use of the TSP.

Judge Taylor wrote in her 43-page opinion that, “We must first note that the Office of the Chief Executive has itself been created, with its powers, by the Constitution. There are no hereditary Kings in America and no powers not created by the Constitution. So all ‘inherent powers’ must derive from that Constitution.”

The ACLU filed the lawsuit to protect the privacy and unreasonable search of lawful verbal exchanges by journalists, lawyers and scholars among others. The court order ruled that powers granted by TSP violated the U.S. Separation of Powers doctrine, the Administrative Procedure Act, and the First and Fourth Amendments.

An appeal over the court decision is expected.

In 2001, President George W. Bush approved a program that allowed the NSA to monitor international calls for possible terrorist activity when one party to the call was outside U.S. territory. The government argued that the program is well within the president’s authority. The Justice Department wrote, “In the ongoing conflict with al Qaeda and its allies, the president has the primary duty under the Constitution to protect the American people”.

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