Scotland denies bail to terminally ill man convicted of Lockerbie bombing

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Scotland has refused bail to the Libyan man convicted of the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 despite his terminal cancer, as he can receive treatment in prison. Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al-Megrahi was jailed in 2001 for the 1988 bombing of the transatlantic airliner, killing 270 people, but is seeking to have his conviction overturned.

Minutes after Edinburgh’s Appeals Court rejected bail on compassionate grounds Jim Swire, spokesman for the victim’s families who lost his daughter in the disaster, complained about the ruling. “It has never been a goal of our group to seek revenge,” said a lawyer outside the court reading from his statement. “The refusal of a return to his family for a dying man whose verdict is not even yet secure looks uncomfortably like either an aspect of revenge — or perhaps timidity.”

Al-Megrahi, a former intelligence officer, is 54 and serving a minimum of 27 years for the bombing. He has advanced prostate cancer which is spreading through his body. His request for bail was rejected by Lord Hamilton, Scotland’s head judge, who said that as doctors say he could live a few more years he should not be released unless and until after his appeal succeeds or his condition worsens.

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Some other doctors give his time as just months, as the cancer has reached his bones. Hamilton however said that palliative hormone treatment could prolong his life. Hamilton also said Al-Megrahi was not suffering “material pain or disability”.

The Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission ruled last year that the conviction may be a miscarriage of justice. It said there was significant doubts to be raised over several key pieces of evidence in the original trial.

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US considers taxing earnings from online games

Sunday, October 22, 2006

With online gaming in persistent worlds becoming more prevalent, a US congressional committee has begun to look into the tax implications of these booming online economies. Games such as World of Warcraft and Second Life have large player driven economic systems in which – either following the rules or against them – real world currencies are exchanged for in-game currencies. With the GDP of some of these economies rivaling that of some small countries, the US government is wondering if it is missing out on a potential source of tax revenue: or as some gamers might put it, the IRS is asking “You buy gold?”.

In cases where exchange of a real world currency for in-game currency is permitted by the rules of the game, some of these online games such as Second Life require that players report any income generated by these means to his or her government. In most on-line games however, a black market exists where players buy and sell in-game currencies in direct violation of the game’s rules; situations involving black markets are notoriously hard to tax.

Compounding the issue of currency exchange is the existence of in-game assets. In the real world if someone wins a luxury vehicle, he or she is expected to pay a capital gains tax on his or her winnings. If a 40 person “raid” in World of Warcraft gets a rare “drop,” worth up to thousands of dollars if sold illegally, should they be required to pay a capital gains tax?

Even if the issue of capital gains is ignored, there is still the matter of sales tax. In many of these games, non-player characters and players alike sell items to one another. If sales tax is to be applied, at what rate should it be charged and to what State does it go? Questions such as these have just recently been answered in much less hazy situations such as online versions of brick and mortar establishments.

Dan Miller, senior economist for the Joint Economic Committee had this to say on the issue, “I found that talking about this issue with some of the other economists on the committee, they are not really familiar with what a virtual economy is. The idea of Second Life or World of Warcraft or some of these other synthetic universes, they have trouble wrapping their head around it. So there’s an educational hurdle to overcome here.”

The preliminary findings of the committee state that virtual economies deserve clarification of existing tax laws, not new taxes.

Retrieved from “https://en.wikinews.org/w/index.php?title=US_considers_taxing_earnings_from_online_games&oldid=440837”

US considers taxing earnings from online games

Sunday, October 22, 2006

With online gaming in persistent worlds becoming more prevalent, a US congressional committee has begun to look into the tax implications of these booming online economies. Games such as World of Warcraft and Second Life have large player driven economic systems in which – either following the rules or against them – real world currencies are exchanged for in-game currencies. With the GDP of some of these economies rivaling that of some small countries, the US government is wondering if it is missing out on a potential source of tax revenue: or as some gamers might put it, the IRS is asking “You buy gold?”.

In cases where exchange of a real world currency for in-game currency is permitted by the rules of the game, some of these online games such as Second Life require that players report any income generated by these means to his or her government. In most on-line games however, a black market exists where players buy and sell in-game currencies in direct violation of the game’s rules; situations involving black markets are notoriously hard to tax.

Compounding the issue of currency exchange is the existence of in-game assets. In the real world if someone wins a luxury vehicle, he or she is expected to pay a capital gains tax on his or her winnings. If a 40 person “raid” in World of Warcraft gets a rare “drop,” worth up to thousands of dollars if sold illegally, should they be required to pay a capital gains tax?

Even if the issue of capital gains is ignored, there is still the matter of sales tax. In many of these games, non-player characters and players alike sell items to one another. If sales tax is to be applied, at what rate should it be charged and to what State does it go? Questions such as these have just recently been answered in much less hazy situations such as online versions of brick and mortar establishments.

Dan Miller, senior economist for the Joint Economic Committee had this to say on the issue, “I found that talking about this issue with some of the other economists on the committee, they are not really familiar with what a virtual economy is. The idea of Second Life or World of Warcraft or some of these other synthetic universes, they have trouble wrapping their head around it. So there’s an educational hurdle to overcome here.”

The preliminary findings of the committee state that virtual economies deserve clarification of existing tax laws, not new taxes.

Retrieved from “https://en.wikinews.org/w/index.php?title=US_considers_taxing_earnings_from_online_games&oldid=440837”

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Online poker firm set for multibillion pound flotation

Saturday, June 4, 2005

Partygaming Plc, the worlds largest online poker company, has announced that it intends to float on the London Stock Exchange by the end of this month. Although it has not yet set a price, analysts in The City are speculating that the flotation could value the firm at up to STGĀ£5bn. Such a valuation would make the flotation the largest in four years.

The Gibraltar-based company, which owns the Partypoker brand, intends to sell 23% of the company in the flotation. If the company’s initial public offering is successful, the firm will enter the FTSE 100 Index (the top 100 firms on the exchange by value). Its value would be greater than that of both British Airways and Boots.

Partygaming Plc was founded in 1997 by Anurag Dikshit and has since grown at a huge rate – doubling profits in the past year alone to STGĀ£371m. At peak times it attracts 70,000 simultaneous players.

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Ontario Votes 2007: Interview with Family Coalition Party candidate Suzanne Fortin, Nepean-Carleton

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Suzanne Fortin is running for the Family Coalition Party in the Ontario provincial election, in the Nepean-Carleton riding. Wikinews’ Nick Moreau interviewed her regarding her values, her experience, and her campaign.

Stay tuned for further interviews; every candidate from every party is eligible, and will be contacted. Expect interviews from Liberals, Progressive Conservatives, New Democratic Party members, Ontario Greens, as well as members from the Family Coalition, Freedom, Communist, Libertarian, and Confederation of Regions parties, as well as independents.

Retrieved from “https://en.wikinews.org/w/index.php?title=Ontario_Votes_2007:_Interview_with_Family_Coalition_Party_candidate_Suzanne_Fortin,_Nepean-Carleton&oldid=1852352”

Why Security Through Gates Is Important

Ever wondered why asecurity gateisessential? Well, think about this. You work in a big company and have peoplecome in and go almost every minute. The numbers of people working are less thanthe amount of people who keep entering the building. In a case like this, youmay wonder about the safety of those who are working with you, and yourself.Yes, this is precisely why asecurity gatebecomes amust in your area. This is not only limited to an office but even residentialareas. Visitors who have known people and have appointments should only beallowed to enter. If there is no high-end gate and anyone is allowed to walkin, then it gets problematic. Asecurity gate, with anunderstanding of its presence today, has become a very important aspect of anylocation. More and more companies like Zaun Limited are dealing with giving thebest of services when it comes to securities.

Asecurity gatemust beplaced in the right location. Needless to say one must be at the entry andthere should be a proper check at all times. Ensuring this will only lead foryou to get safe outcomes, at all possible times. Today, a lot many people havegates of this nature outside their homes. This is done so that they know who isentering and have someone placed there for security.

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Here, you must remember that asecuritygateneed not have a guard at all times. When you think moneywise, monthly payments will be more expensive when given to the guard. Thiscost will obviously be added to the cost of installation. Well, this too has away out. You can just make a one-time investment, and get those gates, whichare fully automatic. Companies like Zaun Limited offer such services. The gateis therefore automatic and it does not require any guard. It opens up on yourwish and remains active on the level of security.

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Bolivian troops told to seize natural gas fields

Monday, May 1, 2006

Bolivian President Evo Morales has ordered that all foreign-owned natural gas fields be turned over to the national government of Bolivia.

President Morales signed a decree that orders troops to seize the fields “immediately” to ensure gas production. The decree also says that companies have 180 days to sign over their fields or leave the country.

The fields are owned by such companies as the United States‘ Exxon-Mobil Corporation, Brazil‘s Petroleo Brasileiro SA, Spanish-Argentine Repsol YPF SA, and Great Britain‘s BG Group PLC and BP PLC.

“The looting by the foreign companies has ended. We are not a government of mere promises, we follow through on what we propose and what the people demand. We want to ask (the Armed Forces) that starting now, they occupy all the energy fields in Bolivia along with battalions of engineers,” said Mr Morales after signing the decree.

“The time has come, the awaited day, a historic day in which Bolivia retakes absolute control of our natural resources,” added President Morales.

One of Morales’ vows in his presidential campaign was to “recover” the country’s natural resources by renationalizing them. President Morales explained, on a visit to Brazil in January, that renationalising the industry would not mean expelling foreign companies or expropriating foreign property. “Foreign companies have every right to recover investments and make profits, but profits should be balanced”.

Bolivia has the second largest supply of natural gas in South America after Venezuela.

Retrieved from “https://en.wikinews.org/w/index.php?title=Bolivian_troops_told_to_seize_natural_gas_fields&oldid=1986959”

US Senate passes housing aid bill

Saturday, July 26, 2008

A Saturday, July 26th, meeting of the United States Senate resulted in the passing of a $300 billion housing aid bill designed to help homeowners facing foreclosure by providing financial aid. In addition, the bill created a government emergency fund for mortgage companies, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The legislation is expected to benefit up to 400,000 homeowners. The Congressional Budget Office said that between now and December 31, 2009, that if any bailout for the companies was needed, they expected it to be less than $25 billion.

The House on July 23th, passed the bill with a final vote of 272 in favor and 152 against. The final vote in the Senate was 72 in favor and 13 against. President Bush had initial woes about the bill based upon a $3.9 billion part of the legislation allowing for repurchase and improvement of foreclosed homes by the stricken neighborhoods.

The Bush Administration believed that this could be a potential problem, because it created a incentive for mortgage companies to foreclose homes. Bush has since changed his mind on the matter and is expected to sign the bill in the near future.

The bill has been considered one of the most important pieces of housing legislation in years. Senator Christopher Dodd of Connecticut said that “this bill is going to make a difference almost immediately.” Despite the bill’s overwhelming support, it has had its dissidents. “We are pretending to chain a monster here and we are, instead, letting that monster loose,” said Arizona Representative Jeff Flake. Originally a supporter of the bill, Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa has changed his opinion because of the addition of the emergency fund for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. “This bill has fallen prey to the special interests on Wall Street and K Street at an unjustifiable expense to taxpayers and homeowners on Main Street,” said Grassley.

Retrieved from “https://en.wikinews.org/w/index.php?title=US_Senate_passes_housing_aid_bill&oldid=4493818”

Gastric bypass surgery performed by remote control

Sunday, August 21, 2005

A robotic system at Stanford Medical Center was used to perform a laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery successfully with a theoretically similar rate of complications to that seen in standard operations. However, as there were only 10 people in the experimental group (and another 10 in the control group), this is not a statistically significant sample.

If this surgical procedure is as successful in large-scale studies, it may lead the way for the use of robotic surgery in even more delicate procedures, such as heart surgery. Note that this is not a fully automated system, as a human doctor controls the operation via remote control. Laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery is a treatment for obesity.

There were concerns that doctors, in the future, might only be trained in the remote control procedure. Ronald G. Latimer, M.D., of Santa Barbara, CA, warned “The fact that surgeons may have to open the patient or might actually need to revert to standard laparoscopic techniques demands that this basic training be a requirement before a robot is purchased. Robots do malfunction, so a backup system is imperative. We should not be seduced to buy this instrument to train surgeons if they are not able to do the primary operations themselves.”

There are precedents for just such a problem occurring. A previous “new technology”, the electrocardiogram (ECG), has lead to a lack of basic education on the older technology, the stethoscope. As a result, many heart conditions now go undiagnosed, especially in children and others who rarely undergo an ECG procedure.

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