Media round-up: April Fools’ Day 2008

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Many media outlets traditionally deliberately spread hoaxes on April Fools’ Day, including notable quality sources such as National Geographic and Science.

The popular British tabloid The Sun wrote that French President Nicolas Sarkozy is to undergo stretch surgery to make him taller than his wife, Italian artist and model Carla Bruni. The report claimed the 5 foot 5 inch leader would be made 5 inches taller in one year using a method by Israeli professor Ura Schmuck. The Sun noted that during his visit to Britain last week, Sarkozy had high-heel shoes while his wife wore a pair of flat pumps.

The Guardian on the other hand ran an article that suggested that Carla would head an initiative by Prime Minister Gordon Brown to bring more glamour, good taste and sophistication to the U.K. general population. This would involve collaboration with Marks & Spencer for high-street fashion and Jamie Oliver for meals and wine.

BBC News had real-looking footage of flying penguins fronted by documentary host Terry Jones, which were actually an advertisement for its new iPlayer.

Regain The Youthful Appearance With Laser Hair Reduction

Regain The Youthful Appearance With Laser Hair Reduction



Laser hair reduction is a renowned non surgical procedure which has been improved by new technologies and research. This technique is non-invasive to your skin and works conveniently with your body to remove unwanted body hair. Besides hair reduction, this laser procedure also works for

tattoo removal

, acne and pimple treatment, wrinkle reduction, etc.

How the laser hair reduction procedure works:

The whole work of this surgery is based on a low energy laser beam. This beam when focused on the, to be treated body part, penetrates the skin and is being absorbed by the hair follicles. This causes follicles to lose their growth capacity. Thus, with every laser treatment, a percentage of follicles lose their capacity and get permanently disabled. A single laser procedure lasts for few minutes to few hours depending upon the area of the body involved in the treatment.

Why should I opt for laser therapy:

Gentle process which works on the unwanted body hair to give you smooth and everlasting beautiful skin.

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Large areas can be effectively treated as it works on the more hair at a time.

Less pain with better results

Minimum downtime so that you can resume your activities soon.

Free you from general painful procedures like waxing, electrolysis and razors

Though, laser technique works for every individual and brings positive results, however, there are certain considerations to be kept in mind which could cause a variation in the end results.

Firstly, remember the technique gives better results with multiple sessions. If you are looking for results just after a single session, you must look for other options.

Do not panic with the slight redness and swelling. These are just immediate effects and wither away with time.

Individual having dark pigmented skin experience less satisfactory results as compared to others

The therapy is very less responsive or sometimes not responsive for white, gray or blonde hair individuals.

You may have to use specially formulated skin care products or sunscreen on the treated, exposed areas.

How the procedure is different from electrolysis and IPL

Electrolysis is one of the oldest methods for the hair removal. This is a permanent solution for fine and light colored hair. The process causes 100% removal of hair and is effective on all types of hair. In a study conducted at ASVAK Laser Center in the year 2000, it was concluded that the laser process works 60 times faster, less painful and reliable as compared to electrolysis.

Intense pulsed light, though do not use lasers have xenon flash which emit full spectrum light. These IPl based methods are these days sometimes referred as laser hair removal.

Laser hair reduction works for enhancing the personal appearance of an individual. However, it is of utmost importance that you visit a certified and authentic clinic for the same.

Laser Bella offers

hair reduction

, hair removal,

tattoo removal

, and so much more. For more info call us at 520-495-4059.

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‘Electra’-fying competition faces ‘Fockers’

Friday, January 14, 2005

U.S. and Canada – North American movie box offices were dominated by Universal pictures last weekend as two of its films, a comedy, Meet the Fockers, and a horror flick, White Noise, together raked in a combined $52.6 million, more than half the $98.3 all films made over the Jan. 7 weekend, according to film tracking firm Box Office Mojo.

But Universal’s dominance of the North American box office receipts is in danger as 20th Century Fox, Paramount, Warner Brothers and Sony all have films debuting in wide release Friday.

After a two-week drought of new releases with Noise the only debut, the Jan. 14 weekend is relatively crowded as three new films bow and one Oscar-buzz movie expands into wide release.

  • Elektra (PG-13) [1:37] Among the new entries is the Jennifer Garner star vehicle Elektra a semi-sequel to 2003’s comic-book based Daredevil where Garner reprise a role of anti-hero. Elektra bows in 3,204 theatres.
  • Coach Carter (PG-13) [2:14]: Paramount pictures releases the 134-minute metaphor heavy Coach Carter, a production of MTV Pictures, featuring Samuel L. Jackson in an inspirational inner-city high school sports movie. Coach Carter will debut in 2,524 U.S. and Canadian movie houses.
  • Racing Stripes (PG) [1:24]: Warner Bros. also enters the debut fray with its live-action talking animal family movie, Racing Stripes, featuring the voices from such a diverse cast as Snoop Dogg, Mandy Moore and Dustin Hoffman. Racing Stripes starts its run with 3,185 venues.
  • House of Flying Daggers (PG-13) [1:59]: Sony Pictures Classics is expanding its wire fu Chinese war epic, House of Flying Daggers. The film has made it to several critics best-of-the-year lists and is considered a front runner for Academy Award nominations in several technical categories.

European Commission to investigate anti-competitive allegations against Google

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The European Union’s executive body, the European Commission, has started investigating web search giant Google over anti-trust allegations by price comparison service Foundem and French legal services website At stake are allegations that Google’s AdWords results are manipulated to prioritise certain advertisers.

The complainants allege price comparison sites receive a lower ‘quality score’, thus being knocked out of fully automated, unpaid-for results; or, being required to pay more for advertising through the search giant’s AdWords program. Google rejects Foundem’s allegations, arguing the majority of content on price comparison sites is duplicated from other sites, asserting Foundem “duplicates 79% of its website content from other sites, thus adding no value.” The company line is, “[w]e have consistently informed webmasters that our algorithms disadvantage duplicate sites”.

The European Commission has a history of carrying out anti-trust investigations involving technology companies. Microsoft was ordered to pay substantial penalties for ‘bundling’ Windows with their Media Player; and, within the EU, must distribute a version of Windows that does not have said bundled software. A similar battle was fought over the automatic inclusion of Internet Explorer with their operating systems.

Google has previously been the subject of anti-trust allegations and investigations. United States authorities blocked Google from buying Yahoo!, citing concerns over a near-monopoly in search; Google’s purchase of mobile advertising company AdMob was also subject to anti-trust scrutiny by the US prior to being allowed to go ahead.

USPTO partially confirms validity of Amazon “1-click patent”

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Today, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) issued an office action, which confirmed the patentability of claims 6 to 10 of the Amazon 1-Click patent, US 5,960,411. The patent examiner, however, rejected claims 1 to 5 and 11 to 15. Amazon now has up to six months to amend the rejected claims to overcome the examiner’s rejection, provide arguments to demonstrate that the examiner is in error and/or provide evidence to demonstrate the patentability of their claims. During this period, the entire patent is still considered valid under US patent law.

The USPTO is reconsidering the patentability of the claims due to a request for reexamination filed by New Zealander Peter Calveley. Mr. Calveley used internet archives to show that defunct company Digi Cash used a similar technique prior to Amazon. Despite costing a substantial sum of cash and requiring donations to prepare and file the request for reexamination, Calveley said he did it as a game and hopes that his success inspires others to play the same game.

“One Click” shopping is an ecommerce technique, which allows a customer to purchase products via the Internet without repeatedly entering personal information such as name and address. At the time it was introduced it eased the frustration of on-line shopping.

Amazon filed the patent application for 1-click shopping in early 1997 and was granted the patent in September 1999. 23 days later Amazon sued rival Barnes & Noble for alleged infringement by its “Express Lane” ordering which was introduced in 1998. In December 1999 Amazon won an interim injunction against Barnes & Noble but the USA Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit lifted this injunction in February 2001. The parties then settled their dispute for undisclosed terms. Amazon has since successfully licensed the technique to other e-sellers such as Apple.

US home sales fall at fastest pace on record

Monday, January 25, 2010

Sales of previously owned homes in the US fell at the fastest rate ever recorded last December, according to data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

According to the association, existing home sales fell 16.7% last month, to an annual rate of 5.45 million, the largest crash since 1968. The figure was less than the 5.90 million units, or an eleven percent drop, predicted by most analysts.

Sales of homes went up for the entire of 2009 to 5.156 million units, or 4.9% for the year, and prices dropped from 2008 by 12.4%.

NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun described the figures as being “probably the largest annual drop since the Great Depression”. He said that “the market is going through a period of swings driven by the tax credit. We’re likely to have another surge in the spring. Job creation is the key to a continued recovery in the second half of the year.”

Pierre Ellis, a senior economist for Decision Economics in New York, commented on the figures, saying: “The drop in home sales is the payback for the acceleration of sales that occurred with the original first-time home buyers tax credit. […] There is an issue as to whether the decline represents a fundamental weakening.”

“The housing market continues to face significant headwinds, including high unemployment, record delinquencies and foreclosures, the specter of rising mortgage rates as the Fed’s [mortgage-backed securities] purchase programs comes to a close in late March, and tight credit,” Omair Sharif, an economist for RBS Securities, noted.

“Still, the resale market showed resilience in the second half of 2009, and the expansion and extension of the tax credit to April 30 could boost purchases during the spring selling season,” he said.

“We’ll see a pickup in existing home sales in the next couple of months as people take advantage of the tax-credit extension”, economist Adam York of Wells Fargo Securities LLC in Charlotte, North Carolina claimed. He fore-casted a pace of 5.4 million. He said that there were unlikely to be buyers of homes, despite the fact that the U.S. was “past the bottom.”

All four regions of the country saw a decline in sales. In the Northeast, sales fell 19.5 percent, in the Midwest, they plunged 25.8 percent. The South, the country’s largest region, saw a 16.3% decline, while in the West, sales waned by 4.8%.

US stocks fell slightly after the announcement, but went back up later in the day.

News briefs:June 30, 2006

The time is 20:00 (UTC) on June 30th, 2006, and this is Audio Wikinews News Briefs.


  • 1 Headlines
    • 1.1 Interior Ministry, Fatah offices in Gaza hit by Israeli airstrikes
    • 1.2 Palestinian PM: Israel aims to topple gov’t
    • 1.3 Portuguese Minister of Foreign Affairs Freitas do Amaral resigns
    • 1.4 French Parliament adopts controversial copyright bill
    • 1.5 Police crackdown on illegal tow operations in Sydney
    • 1.6 Amsterdam to open a “Chocolate Factory”
    • 1.7 Australian shot in Thailand
    • 1.8 Germany master penalties to beat Argentina to semi-final spot
    • 1.9 Ullrich and Sevilla suspended from Tour de France
  • 2 Closing statements


Tips For Locating A Pest Control Service

byAlma Abell

Having pests and bugs in your home can really make you feel uncomfortable. Many of these pests are just gross to look at and you definitely don’t want to see them where you are trying to relax. Some bugs will get into your food supply and destroy what you have causing hundreds of dollars worth of damage. Nobody wants to deal with problems like this, and nobody has to either.

There are quality pest control services which can take care of any bug or pest problem you are experiencing. There are some things you want to keep in mind when looking for an exterminator. When you are looking to have your home treated for a bug problem you want to have professional work done so that you never experience the problem again. A quality exterminator is going to get on their hands and knees to find where the bugs are getting inside your home.

When this area is sealed up it can cause a drastic decrease of bugs inside your home. Your home my also need to be treated multiple times. A quality exterminator will return to your home however many times it takes to make sure the pests are completely gone. Bates Exterminating is one example of a popular exterminator in Florida. They are one of the most popular pest control services in the state because they also assist with lawn maintenance and care in addition to taking care of pest issues.

These services are convenient to have with one company, and cheaper as well. Keep this in mind when you are searching for a pest control company in your area. You want to find a company that is going to make your life easier. Extra services like lawn care is a bonus that you should try to find when you need a service in your area.

This will also ensure that they are coming around all the time to take care of your lawn, so if you are having any pest issues you can easily speak to them about it. Find a quality pest control company like in your area so that you never have to deal with any bug problems inside your home.

G20 protests: Inside a labour march

Wikinews accredited reporter Killing Vector traveled to the G-20 2009 summit protests in London with a group of protesters. This is his personal account.

Friday, April 3, 2009

London – “Protest”, says Ross Saunders, “is basically theatre”.

It’s seven a.m. and I’m on a mini-bus heading east on the M4 motorway from Cardiff toward London. I’m riding with seventeen members of the Cardiff Socialist Party, of which Saunders is branch secretary for the Cardiff West branch; they’re going to participate in a march that’s part of the protests against the G-20 meeting.

Before we boarded the minibus Saunders made a speech outlining the reasons for the march. He said they were “fighting for jobs for young people, fighting for free education, fighting for our share of the wealth, which we create.” His anger is directed at the government’s response to the economic downturn: “Now that the recession is underway, they’ve been trying to shoulder more of the burden onto the people, and onto the young people…they’re expecting us to pay for it.” He compared the protest to the Jarrow March and to the miners’ strikes which were hugely influential in the history of the British labour movement. The people assembled, though, aren’t miners or industrial workers — they’re university students or recent graduates, and the march they’re going to participate in is the Youth Fight For Jobs.

The Socialist Party was formerly part of the Labour Party, which has ruled the United Kingdom since 1997 and remains a member of the Socialist International. On the bus, Saunders and some of his cohorts — they occasionally, especially the older members, address each other as “comrade” — explains their view on how the split with Labour came about. As the Third Way became the dominant voice in the Labour Party, culminating with the replacement of Neil Kinnock with Tony Blair as party leader, the Socialist cadre became increasingly disaffected. “There used to be democratic structures, political meetings” within the party, they say. The branch meetings still exist but “now, they passed a resolution calling for renationalisation of the railways, and they [the party leadership] just ignored it.” They claim that the disaffection with New Labour has caused the party to lose “half its membership” and that people are seeking alternatives. Since the economic crisis began, Cardiff West’s membership has doubled, to 25 members, and the RMT has organized itself as a political movement running candidates in the 2009 EU Parliament election. The right-wing British National Party or BNP is making gains as well, though.

Talk on the bus is mostly political and the news of yesterday’s violence at the G-20 demonstrations, where a bank was stormed by protesters and 87 were arrested, is thick in the air. One member comments on the invasion of a RBS building in which phone lines were cut and furniture was destroyed: “It’s not very constructive but it does make you smile.” Another, reading about developments at the conference which have set France and Germany opposing the UK and the United States, says sardonically, “we’re going to stop all the squabbles — they’re going to unite against us. That’s what happens.” She recounts how, in her native Sweden during the Second World War, a national unity government was formed among all major parties, and Swedish communists were interned in camps, while Nazi-leaning parties were left unmolested.

In London around 11am the march assembles on Camberwell Green. About 250 people are here, from many parts of Britain; I meet marchers from Newcastle, Manchester, Leicester, and especially organized-labor stronghold Sheffield. The sky is grey but the atmosphere is convivial; five members of London’s Metropolitan Police are present, and they’re all smiling. Most marchers are young, some as young as high school age, but a few are older; some teachers, including members of the Lewisham and Sheffield chapters of the National Union of Teachers, are carrying banners in support of their students.

Gordon Brown’s a Tory/He wears a Tory hat/And when he saw our uni fees/He said ‘I’ll double that!’

Stewards hand out sheets of paper with the words to call-and-response chants on them. Some are youth-oriented and education-oriented, like the jaunty “Gordon Brown‘s a Tory/He wears a Tory hat/And when he saw our uni fees/He said ‘I’ll double that!'” (sung to the tune of the Lonnie Donegan song “My Old Man’s a Dustman“); but many are standbys of organized labour, including the infamous “workers of the world, unite!“. It also outlines the goals of the protest, as “demands”: “The right to a decent job for all, with a living wage of at least £8 and hour. No to cheap labour apprenticeships! for all apprenticeships to pay at least the minimum wage, with a job guaranteed at the end. No to university fees. support the campaign to defeat fees.” Another steward with a megaphone and a bright red t-shirt talks the assembled protesters through the basics of call-and-response chanting.

Finally the march gets underway, traveling through the London boroughs of Camberwell and Southwark. Along the route of the march more police follow along, escorting and guiding the march and watching it carefully, while a police van with flashing lights clears the route in front of it. On the surface the atmosphere is enthusiastic, but everyone freezes for a second as a siren is heard behind them; it turns out to be a passing ambulance.

Crossing Southwark Bridge, the march enters the City of London, the comparably small but dense area containing London’s financial and economic heart. Although one recipient of the protesters’ anger is the Bank of England, the march does not stop in the City, only passing through the streets by the London Exchange. Tourists on buses and businessmen in pinstripe suits record snippets of the march on their mobile phones as it passes them; as it goes past a branch of HSBC the employees gather at the glass store front and watch nervously. The time in the City is brief; rather than continue into the very centre of London the march turns east and, passing the Tower of London, proceeds into the poor, largely immigrant neighbourhoods of the Tower Hamlets.

The sun has come out, and the spirits of the protesters have remained high. But few people, only occasional faces at windows in the blocks of apartments, are here to see the march and it is in Wapping High Street that I hear my first complaint from the marchers. Peter, a steward, complains that the police have taken the march off its original route and onto back streets where “there’s nobody to protest to”. I ask how he feels about the possibility of violence, noting the incidents the day before, and he replies that it was “justified aggression”. “We don’t condone it but people have only got certain limitations.”

There’s nobody to protest to!

A policeman I ask is very polite but noncommittal about the change in route. “The students are getting the message out”, he says, so there’s no problem. “Everyone’s very well behaved” in his assessment and the atmosphere is “very positive”. Another protestor, a sign-carrying university student from Sheffield, half-heartedly returns the compliment: today, she says, “the police have been surprisingly unridiculous.”

The march pauses just before it enters Cable Street. Here, in 1936, was the site of the Battle of Cable Street, and the march leader, addressing the protesters through her megaphone, marks the moment. She draws a parallel between the British Union of Fascists of the 1930s and the much smaller BNP today, and as the protesters follow the East London street their chant becomes “The BNP tell racist lies/We fight back and organise!”

In Victoria Park — “The People’s Park” as it was sometimes known — the march stops for lunch. The trade unions of East London have organized and paid for a lunch of hamburgers, hot dogs, french fries and tea, and, picnic-style, the marchers enjoy their meals as organized labor veterans give brief speeches about industrial actions from a small raised platform.

A demonstration is always a means to and end.

During the rally I have the opportunity to speak with Neil Cafferky, a Galway-born Londoner and the London organizer of the Youth Fight For Jobs march. I ask him first about why, despite being surrounded by red banners and quotes from Karl Marx, I haven’t once heard the word “communism” used all day. He explains that, while he considers himself a Marxist and a Trotskyist, the word communism has negative connotations that would “act as a barrier” to getting people involved: the Socialist Party wants to avoid the discussion of its position on the USSR and disassociate itself from Stalinism. What the Socialists favor, he says, is “democratic planned production” with “the working class, the youths brought into the heart of decision making.”

On the subject of the police’s re-routing of the march, he says the new route is actually the synthesis of two proposals. Originally the march was to have gone from Camberwell Green to the Houses of Parliament, then across the sites of the 2012 Olympics and finally to the ExCel Centre. The police, meanwhile, wanted there to be no march at all.

The Metropolitan Police had argued that, with only 650 trained traffic officers on the force and most of those providing security at the ExCel Centre itself, there simply wasn’t the manpower available to close main streets, so a route along back streets was necessary if the march was to go ahead at all. Cafferky is sceptical of the police explanation. “It’s all very well having concern for health and safety,” he responds. “Our concern is using planning to block protest.”

He accuses the police and the government of having used legal, bureaucratic and even violent means to block protests. Talking about marches having to defend themselves, he says “if the police set out with the intention of assaulting marches then violence is unavoidable.” He says the police have been known to insert “provocateurs” into marches, which have to be isolated. He also asserts the right of marches to defend themselves when attacked, although this “must be done in a disciplined manner”.

He says he wasn’t present at yesterday’s demonstrations and so can’t comment on the accusations of violence against police. But, he says, there is often provocative behavior on both sides. Rather than reject violence outright, Cafferky argues that there needs to be “clear political understanding of the role of violence” and calls it “counter-productive”.

Demonstration overall, though, he says, is always a useful tool, although “a demonstration is always a means to an end” rather than an end in itself. He mentions other ongoing industrial actions such as the occupation of the Visteon plant in Enfield; 200 fired workers at the factory have been occupying the plant since April 1, and states the solidarity between the youth marchers and the industrial workers.

I also speak briefly with members of the International Bolshevik Tendency, a small group of left-wing activists who have brought some signs to the rally. The Bolsheviks say that, like the Socialists, they’re Trotskyists, but have differences with them on the idea of organization; the International Bolshevik Tendency believes that control of the party representing the working class should be less democratic and instead be in the hands of a team of experts in history and politics. Relations between the two groups are “chilly”, says one.

At 2:30 the march resumes. Rather than proceeding to the ExCel Centre itself, though, it makes its way to a station of London’s Docklands Light Railway; on the way, several of East London’s school-aged youths join the march, and on reaching Canning Town the group is some 300 strong. Proceeding on foot through the borough, the Youth Fight For Jobs reaches the protest site outside the G-20 meeting.

It’s impossible to legally get too close to the conference itself. Police are guarding every approach, and have formed a double cordon between the protest area and the route that motorcades take into and out of the conference venue. Most are un-armed, in the tradition of London police; only a few even carry truncheons. Closer to the building, though, a few machine gun-armed riot police are present, standing out sharply in their black uniforms against the high-visibility yellow vests of the Metropolitan Police. The G-20 conference itself, which started a few hours before the march began, is already winding down, and about a thousand protesters are present.

I see three large groups: the Youth Fight For Jobs avoids going into the center of the protest area, instead staying in their own group at the admonition of the stewards and listening to a series of guest speakers who tell them about current industrial actions and the organization of the Youth Fight’s upcoming rally at UCL. A second group carries the Ogaden National Liberation Front‘s flag and is campaigning for recognition of an autonomous homeland in eastern Ethiopia. Others protesting the Ethiopian government make up the third group; waving old Ethiopian flags, including the Lion of Judah standard of emperor Haile Selassie, they demand that foreign aid to Ethiopia be tied to democratization in that country: “No recovery without democracy”.

A set of abandoned signs tied to bollards indicate that the CND has been here, but has already gone home; they were demanding the abandonment of nuclear weapons. But apart from a handful of individuals with handmade, cardboard signs I see no groups addressing the G-20 meeting itself, other than the Youth Fight For Jobs’ slogans concerning the bailout. But when a motorcade passes, catcalls and jeers are heard.

It’s now 5pm and, after four hours of driving, five hours marching and one hour at the G-20, Cardiff’s Socialists are returning home. I board the bus with them and, navigating slowly through the snarled London traffic, we listen to BBC Radio 4. The news is reporting on the closure of the G-20 conference; while they take time out to mention that Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper delayed the traditional group photograph of the G-20’s world leaders because “he was on the loo“, no mention is made of today’s protests. Those listening in the bus are disappointed by the lack of coverage.

Most people on the return trip are tired. Many sleep. Others read the latest issue of The Socialist, the Socialist Party’s newspaper. Mia quietly sings “The Internationale” in Swedish.

Due to the traffic, the journey back to Cardiff will be even longer than the journey to London. Over the objections of a few of its members, the South Welsh participants in the Youth Fight For Jobs stop at a McDonald’s before returning to the M4 and home.

Search for Brazilian plane with four UK passengers called off after seven days

Friday, May 9, 2008

Search and rescue operations for a light aircraft that disappeared seven days ago in Brazil have ceased having failed to locate the plane. In addition to two local pilots the Cessna 310 was carrying four businessmen who were citizens of the United Kingdom.

Rescue teams utilising two air force helicopters and a fixed-wing aircraft, as well as several naval vessels, scoured an area of 3,475 square miles off the North-East of the country for the missing plane, which was chartered from Aero Star. Although the plane and its occupants remain missing, some floating personal possessions from those on board and several pieces of wreckage have been recovered.

The pilot and co-pilot have been identified as Clovis de Figueiredo e Silva and Leandro Oliveira Veloso respectively, and the passengers as Alan Kempson, Sean Woodhall, Ricky Every and Nigel Hodges. The businessmen were flying in connection to a propsed luxury housing development at the Bahia town of Ilheus, whose airport the plane had been a few kilometres away from and intending to land.

The four Britons, three of whom reside abroad, had initially attempted to hire a helicopter for the journey but were denied this due to weather conditions that were deemed to poor for rotorcraft operation. Their relatives have hired a boat with sonar equipment and intend to search deeper waters for the lost plane.