British TV presenter Rico Daniels tells Wikinews about being ‘The Salvager’

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Rico Daniels is a British TV presenter living in France who is known for his two television series — The Salvager — whilst he still lived in the UK and then Le Salvager after he moved to France. Rico has been in a variety of jobs but his passion is now his profession – he turns unwanted ‘junk’ into unusual pieces of furniture. Rico’s creations and the methods used to fabricate them are the subject of the Salvager shows.

Rico spoke to Wikinews in January about his inspiration and early life, future plans, other hobbies and more. Read on for the full exclusive interview, published for the first time:

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News briefs:July 30, 2010

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Stephen Hawking believes going to other planets is necessary for human survival

Saturday, December 2, 2006

Stephen Hawking, a renowned physicist known for having Lou Gehrig’s Disease, believes that the survival of the human race depends on whether or not we colonize other planets.

“The long-term survival of the human race is at risk as long as it is confined to a single planet,” he said during a Thursday radio interview with BBC. “Sooner or later, disasters such as an asteroid collision or nuclear war could wipe us all out. But once we spread out into space and establish independent colonies, our future should be safe.”

The idea of ‘warp drive’, popularized by science fiction writers and televised in the series Star Trek, enables space ships to travel vast distances in a short time.

“Unfortunately, this would violate the scientific law which says that nothing can travel faster than light,” said Hawking.

By using a yet-to-be developed ‘matter/anti-matter annihilation’ propulsion system, space travel velocities could approach the speed of light, according to Hawking. The closest stars could be reached in 6 years. “It wouldn’t seem so long for those on board,” he said.

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Artist who changed Hollywood sign to ‘Hollyweed’ surrenders to authorities

Thursday, January 12, 2017

On Monday, the person responsible for changing the Hollywood sign in California to read “Hollyweed” as a new year’s prank turned himself in to local authorities. 30-year-old artist Zachary Cole Fernandez surrendered himself, the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) said.

According to LAPD, Fernandez went to the police station accompanied by his lawyer, where he confessed to have changed the sign and was bailed out shortly thereafter for US$1000. LAPD charged Fernandez with trespassing; earlier reports indicated vandalism charges were ruled out as he used black and white tarps to alter the letter “O” to read lowercase “e”. The sign was not physically damaged.

A court hearing is scheduled for February 15. Fernandez said this act was an art project, and claimed he faces up to six months in prison if convicted. It took Fernandez two hours to alter the sign. Regarding conviction, he said, “I’m a person of integrity. If I do something wrong, I will own up to it.”

Exactly 41 years ago, on the same date in 1976, then-university student Daniel Finegood modified the sign to read “Hollyweed” for an art class assignment. Finegood returned to change the sign again in 1990, spelling out “Oil War” to protest against the First Persian Gulf War. Fernandez, on Tuesday, said his act was to “bring light and positivity and happiness”. He said he was inspired by Finegood’s modification to the sign.

City Councilman David Ryu said in a statement. “Pranks of this nature deplete the resources of our valuable public safety personnel”.

The term “weed” is an English slang term for cannabis, a banned drug in many countries. On November 9, a ballot for legalising recreational use of cannabis in California for the age group of 21 and above was passed. The law legalising recreational cannabis is due to come into effect in 2018.

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‘Davos man’ versus ‘Camp Igloo’; 42nd World Economic Forum convenes in Swiss alps

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel gave yesterday’s opening address to the 42nd meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF), which is facing a distinctly different geo-political landscape from twelve months ago. Outside the WEF security cordon, in the sub-zero temperatures of Davos’ train station car park, the local incarnation of the Occupy movement are setting up ‘Camp Igloo’; but, with little hope of the archetypes of the 1%, ‘Davos Man’, arriving by public transport and seeing their sub-zero protest.

David Roth, heading the Swiss centre-left’s youth wing — and an organiser of ‘Camp Igloo’, echoes much of the sentiment from ‘Occupy’ protests around the world; “[a]t meetings the rest of society is excluded from, this powerful ‘1 percent’ negotiates and decides about the fate of the other 99 percent of this world, […] economic and financial concentration of power in a small, privileged minority leads to a dictatorship over the rest of us. The motto ‘one person, one vote’ is no longer valid, but ‘one dollar, one vote’.”

Roth’s characterisation of ‘Davos Man’, a term coined by the Professor Samuel Huntington of Harvard University, is more emotive than that of the late professor who saw ‘Davos man’ as “[having…] little need for national loyalty, view[ing] national boundaries as obstacles that thankfully are vanishing, and see[ing] national governments as residues from the past whose only useful function is to facilitate the elite’s global operations”.

As Reuters highlights, many attendees will opt to make their way from Zurich to Davos by private jet, or helicopter, and the WEF itself provides handouts indicating the cost of such is 5,100 Swiss francs (approx. 5,500 USD, 3,500 GBP, 4,200 EUR). In contrast: travelling by rail, even when opting for first class — without an advance booking, is 145 Swiss francs (approx. 155 USD, 100 GBP).

Shifting fortunes see several past attendees missing this year’s exclusive get-together in the alpine resort; for a second year running — and now caught up in the UK phone hacking scandal being scrutinised by Lord Leveson’s inquiry — media mogul Rupert Murdoch will not be attending. Nor will the former head of financial services company UBS Oswald Gruebel, who resigned in the wake of US$2.3 billion losses incurred through unauthorised trading; likewise, Philipp Hildebrand, the ex-head of the Swiss National Bank, is absent following scandal associated with his wife’s currency trading activities; and, although the sexual assault charges against Dominique Strauss-Kahn were dropped, having stepped down as managing director of the International Monetary Fund Strauss-Kahn will also be absent.

As the #OccupyWEF protesters were building igloos last weekend, an anti-WEF protest in the Swiss capital Berne was broken up by police, who stated their intent to prosecute participants in the illegal protest. Allegations of calls for violent protest action led to a high number of officers being involved. In the aftermath, charges of breach of the peace are to be brought against 153 people, with some targeted for more serious offences. At least one group involved in the protest described the police response as “disproportionate”.

At ‘Camp Igloo’ Roth says he is seeking discussions with the WEF’s expected 2,000 attendees; but his voice, and that of others in the worldwide ‘Occupy’ movement, is unlikely to be given a platform in the opening debate, “Is 20th-century capitalism failing 21st-century society?” He, and others taking part in this Swiss incarnation of the ‘Occupy’ movement, are still considering an invite to a side-session issued by the World Economic Forum’s founder, Klaus Schwab; commenting on the invite Roth told the Associated Press they would prefer a debate at a more neutral venue.

As has been the case for several years now, the annual Forum meeting in Davos was preceded with the release of a special report by the World Economic Forum into risks seen as likely to have an impact the in the coming decade. The 2012 Global Risks Report is a hefty document; the 64-page report is backed with a variety of visualisation tools designed to allow the interrelations between risks to be viewed, how risks interact modelled, and their potential impacts considered — as assessed by the WEF’s panel of nearly 500 experts.

As one would expect, economic risks top both the 2012 impact and likelihood charts. Climate change is pushed somewhat further down the list of concerns likely to drive discussions in Davos. “Major systemic financial failure” — the collapse of a globally important financial institution, or world currency, is selected as the risk which carries the most potential impact.

However, “Chronic fiscal imbalances” — failing to address excessive government debt, and “Severe income disparity” — a widening of the the gulf between rich and poor, top the list of most likely risks.

At the other end of the tables, disagreeing respectively with the weight last year’s Wikinews report gave to orbital debris, and the Motion Picture Association of America’s (MPAA) fight with the Internet over copyright legislation, the 2012 Global Risks Report places “Proliferation of Orbital Debris” and “Failure of intellectual property regime” bottom of the league in terms of potential impact.

In 2011, with the current global economic crisis well under-way, “Fiscal crises” topped the WEF risks with the largest potential impact in the next ten years. However, perceived as most likely a year ago, “Storms and cyclones”, “Flooding”, and “Biodiversity loss” — all climate-change related points — were placed ahead of “Economic disparity” and “Fiscal crises”.

More mundane risks overtake the spectre of terrorism when contrasting this year’s report with the 2011 one; volatility in the prices of commodities, consumer goods, and energy, and the security of water supplies are all now ranked as more likely risks than terrorism — though the 2011 report did rank some of these concerns as having a higher potential impact. A significant shift in perception sees the 2012 report highlight food shortages almost as likely a risk the world will face over the next decade; and, one with a far more significant impact.

Attending the World Economic Forum at Davos is more than just an opportunity to discuss the current state of the global economy, and review the risks which face countries around the world. With such a high number of political and business leaders in attendance, it is an ideal opportunity to pursue new trade deals.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper is, in addition to being a keynote speaker, expected to pursue improved relations with European and Asian trade partners at private meetings on the Forum sidelines. The Toronto Star reports Harper is likely to push forward an under-negotiation Canadian-European free-trade agreement, and hold closed-door discussions prior to next month’s planned trip to China.

Similarly, Canadian trade minister Ed Fast is expected to meet South Korean counterparts to discuss an equivalent deal to the preferential ones between the Asian nation and the US and Europe. Fast’s deal does, however, face opposition at home; the Canadian Auto Workers union asserts that such a deal would put 33,0000 jobs at-risk.

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British Prime Minister David Cameron and chancellor George Osborne are expected to discuss a possible increase of UK funding to the International Monetary Fund (IMF); however, with the UK responsible for 4.5% of the US$400 billion in the IMF’s lending fund, backbench MPs have warned that committing any additional funds could provoke a Conservative revolt in parliament. Tuesday’s IMF cut of predicted global growth from 4% to 3.3%, warnings of a likely Eurozone recession in 2012, and ongoing problems with Greek financial restructuring, are likely discussion topics at Davos — as well as amongst UK backbench MPs who see adding to the IMF war-chest as bailing out failed European economies.

South Africa, less centre-stage during the 2011 Forum, will be looking to improve relationships and take advantage of their higher profile. President Jacob Zuma and several cabinet members are attending sessions and discussions; whilst former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown is to moderate a session, “Africa — From Transition to Transformation“, with Nigeria, Guinea, and South Sudan’s presidents on the panel. Wal-mart’s CEO Doug McMillon is to lead a dinner session, “Shared Opportunities for Africa’s Future” — highlighting larger multinationals looking towards the continent for new opportunities.

Davos may also serve as a place to progress disputes out of the public eye; a high-profile dispute between Chile’s state-owned copper mining business, Codelco, and Anglo American plc over the 5.39 billion USD sale of a near-quarter stake in their Chilean operations to Japan’s Mitsubishi, prompted the Financial Times to speculate that, as the respective company chiefs — Diego Hernández and Cynthia Carroll — are expected to attend, they could privately discuss the spat during the Forum.

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Securing The Seo Services You Need To Boost Your Business Success

byAlma Abell

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New London police commissioner blames middle-class cocaine users for violence in Colombia and on British housing estates

Sunday, February 6, 2005

LONDON,United Kingdom —The new London police commissioner Sir Ian Blair has warned middle class dinner party users of cocaine that he is out to get them. In contrast, he is relaxed about cannabis smokers, saying he does not wish to waste police time pursuing them. He has been quoted as saying: “People seem to think the price of a wrap of cocaine is 50 quid [UK pounds], but the cost is misery on estates here and a trail of blood back to Colombia. Someone has died to bring it [cocaine] to a dinner party. People who wouldn’t dream of having a non-organic vegetable don’t seem to notice the blood on their fingers.”

Blair is clearly trying to prick the conscience of the 624,000 estimated cocaine users in the UK, hoping to persuade them to boycott this Class A drug. Others, including Colombian Nobel Prize winner and author Gabriel García Márquez, have stated that the misery both in Colombia and on poor housing estates in the UK is caused not by drugs themselves but by the banning of them. Marquez has specifically said that he cannot see the end of the civil war in Colombia as long as the illegal drug trade exists, and he cannot see the end of the illegal drug trade unless drugs are legalized. The trade in cannabis also generates violence both at home (in the UK) and abroad, in spite of Sir Ian’s softly, softly approach to this recently reclassified Class C drug.

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French workers use threats in compensation demand

Friday, July 17, 2009Following similar threats by workers at New Fabris and Nortel, workers at JLG in Tonneins, France, threatened to blow up several platform cranes. The JLG factory announced in April 2009 that it will fire 53 of its 163 workers by the end of 2009, while the remaining 110 jobs will not be secure over the next 2 years.

JLG Tonneins was acquired in 2006 with its parent JLG Industries, a maker of aerial work platforms, by the U.S.-based Oshkosh Corporation. Despite being hugely profitable in the past, production has been much reduced since 2008 with the contraction of the construction industry and lower demand for its products. Despite excellent past results the new American management demanded sweeping cuts at the company.

In the view of locals, “the company’s actions are a disgrace given the expensive perks, such as official cars, for its corporate fat cats, compared to the sacrifice, silence, and dignity demanded by the company of those it has made redundant.”

The management offered severance pay of 3,000 (US $4,200), however the workers demanded a severance package commensurate with “the wealth that their labor has generated.” Worker’s delegates requested a “supra-legal” payment of € 30,000, on Thursday 16 of July the management responded with a counter offer of € 16,000. On Thursday night the worker’s actions secured the € 30,000 settlement initially demanded.

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Web startup Sqoot loses sponsorship after failed advert deemed sexist by social media

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Within 24-hours of posting a web advertisement for an upcoming hackathon in Boston, Massachusetts, web startup Sqoot has lost four sponsors for the event, in what has been described as the “worst startup PR crisis in recent history.” This caused them to postpone the event and apologize in response to thousands of tweets that opposed the advert and found its content sexist.

On March 20, Sqoot, an API provider that delivers daily deals like Groupon and Gilt City, posted an online advert for their upcoming Boston API Jam. The advert promoted various perks for the event, including an in-house DJ, cocktails, food trucks and access to women: women specifically there to serve beer to attendees. As soon as the ad was posted to Eventbrite, many on Twitter expressed concern. Over 3,000 tweets later, the advert was deemed sexist by many and Twitter users both condemned Sqoot and contacted the sponsors of the event. The ad, which Alex Williams of SiliconANGLE described as “bizarre” and “misogynist,” was quietly changed on Eventbrite by Sqoot, removing the mention of women as beer peddlers.

In a matter of hours, four sponsors had pulled out from the Boston event: CloudMine, Apigee, Heroku, and MongoHQ. Shortly thereafter, Sqoot offered two apologies: a brief apology which was then followed by a more detailed apology stating that they desired to have a “good party” that was not a standard hackathon experience of pizza and keynote speakers. Sqoot stated that they “aimed to call attention to the male-dominated tech world through humor and intended to be inclusive, the gravity of our wording was just the opposite. Our words completely undermined our intentions and went further to harm the world we’re trying to have a positive impact on.” Other sponsors such as Constant Contact and Simple Relevance remained as sponsors.

Shanley Kane, director of product management at Basho Technologies, supported the sponsor withdrawal and didn’t just consider the advertisement sexist, but also homophobic by ostracizing gay men by promoting a seemingly “straight” agenda for the event. Kane also believed that Sqoot had the “false assumption that women would not attend the event at all,” by promoting it with a male targeted spin. In an industry that is dominated by men, it can be assumed that more men would attend the hackathon than women, but, the advertisement ostracized women even more from attending. And this wasn’t Sqoot’s first foray into straight male targeted marketing. Blog posts like “Sqoot Makes You Yelp!” featuring the Yelp logo on a woman’s backside and “Sqoot Goes Topless” featuring an image of a topless woman, are meant to promote the opening of Yelp’s API and company transparency.

Alex Williams believes that the Sqoot situation shows that sexism within the tech industry is broad and growing. “Women are marginalized and treated more as objects than as colleagues. The trend is a disturbing one and poses a serious threat to the health and diversity of the tech sector.” Techli’s Kathryn Hough chocked it up to immaturity, “Someone needs to tell young founders that frat house behavior is not acceptable in the business world. If Sqoot’s business collapses for a few sentences of sexist copy, I hope that other young founders get to see the wreckage before following them off the plank.”

Lukas Blakk, a release engineer and advisory board member for The Ada Initiative, a non-profit that tries to increase female participation in technology and open source, believes that having a code of conduct in place is a necessity for businesses, and for those businesses who don’t “you’ve got a ticking time bomb in your organization’s future.” Social media is giving businesses a new challenge when it comes to marketing. When it comes to the criticism fielded by the public towards businesses regarding sexist content, fellow Ada Initiative board member and database analyst Selena Deckelmann agrees that businesses need to step up to the challenge and respond appropriately. “…companies need to develop the skills necessary to respond with grace and understanding, even when under intense, negative scrutiny. Silencing, gas-lighting and ignoring the messenger tactics no longer work when a social network quickly spreads information, and occasionally, outrage.”

Is there a future for Sqoot? Mike Maney believes Sqoot can recover. Maney, head of influencer management for Alcatel-Lucent, acknowledges that Sqoot will have a long way to go to regain their credibility amongst the tech industry and the clientele they serve, “But, the work they’ll have to do to undo the self-inflicted damage […] is going to require a massive effort.”

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