Wikinews attends 2018 Bangalore ComicCon

Thursday, November 29, 2018

On November 17 and November 18, Wikinews attended the 2018 Bangalore Comicbook Convention, in Karnataka, India. Beginning on Saturday morning, the ComicCon continued till Sunday. Organised by ComicCon India, who organised Comic Con in Hyderabad in October, this event was held at Karnataka Trade Promotion Organisation (KTPO)’s convention hall. Wikinews spoke to convention’s international guests Ryan O’Sullivan, Dan Watters, and Vanesa Del Ray.

UK-based freelancer comicbook writer Ryan O’Sullivan, who has worked for Image Comics and Vault Comics, and wrote video game comics including Eisenhorn, Warhammer 40,000, and Dark Souls, was one of the guests attending ComicCon. Along with him, London-based freelance comic book writer Dan Watters was also one of the attendants. Watters has worked with Image Comics on Limbo, as well as Lucifer for Vertigo Comics. Watters has also written comics for Assassin’s Creed, Wolfenstein and Deep Roots. Cuban comic book artist Vanesa Del Rey was also one of the guest attendants, who has illustrated Scarlet Witch, Daredevil Annual, and Spider-Women Alpha for Marvel Comics; and Redlands for Image Comics.

The convention started at 11 AM. Crossing between the genres of science fiction, horror, anime, fantasy and comics, the event sprawled throughout all corners of the facility. Marvel Zone, Amazon Video zone, AXN Live RED Special Session, Warner Bros’ Aquaman and Fantastic Beasts: Crimes of Grindelwald experience, and Sony Pix zone attracted large number of audience.

On day two, Sumit Kumar, creator of Chin Chin, inspired by Chacha Chaudhary and Tintin, had a panel in the afternoon.

At 1:30 PM, there was a video presentation by Yali Dream Creations. The video was about The Village. Yali Dream Creations’ Shamik Das Gupta said the story of their comic The Village is “supernatural, social, horror”. Later, there was another presentation about their other comic, Rakshak ((hi))Hindi language: ?Protector — A Hero Among Us, about a masked vigilante in India. The first part of the four-part comic was released in 2016’s Delhi ComicCon, Gupta said. Gupta also added “Delhi gang rape story pushed me”. The session ended around 1:45 PM.

After Yali Dream Creations, there was a comic launch by Rahil Mohin. Mohin had previously launched Sufi Comics in 2008, The Wise Fool of Baghdad and two comics about Persian poet Rumi and now Blame it on Rahil. While he was on the panel, he was sketching cartoon, while the host was asking questions that Mohin had prepared, focused on the 90s cartoon themes. The questions were “[What was the] breed of Courage the Cowardly Dog?”, “Catchphrase of Flintstone”, and “Arch nemesis of Dexter”. His session finished by 2 PM.

At 2 PM, there was a session with AXN, and questions about AXN shows. Musician Shrey also played scores of various AXN shows on guitar, which audience had to guess. At 2:30 PM, there was a session with Cuban comic artist Vanesa Del Rey. She said it was her first convention in India, and said, “It is like any major convention in the US”. This year, Vanesa Del Rey was nominated for an Eisner Award. During the discussion, she said she wanted to do sci-fi epic,romance, mystery and thriller comics in future. Regarding romance genre in comics, she said it is “something worth exploring”. And regarding her career choice, she said her grandmother was an artist and her “family was very supportive”.

Later, there was a session with Sony PIX, with Minions appearing on the stage.

The event finished around 8 PM.

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Under-reporting of human Bird Flu infections poses worldwide threat

Monday, November 21, 2005

Possible under reporting of bird flu infections in China and other Southeast Asian countries may be promoting an illusory sense that human infections are very limited. Common press reports only describe fewer than 130 people as infected with H5N1 avian flu and that fewer than 70 have died worldwide. Yet, there are enormous problems getting accurate data, especially in a country like China with a population of more than a billion.

“Reporting a suspected bird flu infection in bird or humans is a very unlikely event,” said Dr. Shoshana Zimmerman of the eHealth Institute. She is also a founder of www.birdflubeacon.com, a site dedicated to bird flu issues. “There are very few incentives to report, and lots of reasons to refrain from reporting. From the viewpoint of local rural small farmers, there is little to be gained and much to be lost by reporting an infection. The worse threat is that their flocks could be killed, leaving them destitute.”

There are many factors which mitigate against reporting bird or human infections of bird flu.

  • The deaths of chickens, ducks, and birds are common events for farmer. Even when a large number die at one time they may see no purpose in reporting the deaths.
  • When a human dies in locations with little or no medical services, the rural farmer’s priority for discerning the cause of death may be low.
  • In rural areas most people are not taken to hospitals when they are sick.
  • Bird flu symptoms are not widely known. If the symptoms are not known, they will not be recognized and reports of possible bird or human infections can not be made.
  • The expenses required for detection are those of proper collection and shipment of samples to one of approximately 200 laboratories worldwide, as well as the testing procedure that requires a two week period of waiting before results are obtained.
  • The lack of incentive for countries to report large scale outbreaks as it may lead to widespread panic and economic loss, as occurred with SARS. These factors can be seen at work in the way that the first bird flu death was reported in China,” Dr. Zimmerman stated.

A young woman, Zhou Maoya, died after returning home to the village of Yantan in Annui province to prepare for her wedding. Her family has stated that they did not take her to the hospital because they thought it would not do any good. Officials also note rural Chinese also often cite relatively expensive medical costs as a reason for not seeking treatment when sick.

Although initially authorities attributed her death to pneumonia the resulting political pressure prompted China to invite the World Health Organization to send experts to investigate. The authorities then rescinded the previous position and attributed her death to bird flu based on the similarity of the symptoms that she was reported to exhibit with those of bird flu. The village was quarantined and journalists were denied access. It is not known how many others might be infected in the village. Official announcements were made of plans to vaccinate and cull birds.

A local government official, Fan Qian, told AFP that it was believed Zhou was infected while she was outside of the province.

Fan Tan, a local official, told AFP news that 1,000 birds in Yantan had been culled (killed). Plans were announced to vaccinate 2 million poultry in the area, a huge and difficult task.

Zhang, another official, said authorities had met with all villagers to give them flu vaccinations and to tell them how to protect themselves against the bird flu virus, including not consuming poultry products. It is known that flu vaccinations do not protect against bird flu.

Villagers and local officials minimized the threat. In outlying areas of Yantan, residents said that they did not know of any new outbreaks. Other possible infections have been attributed to similar common causes but there have not been any tests performed validating those attributions.

Fan Litan, a peasant woman from Fantu village, about 2 miles from Yantan, lost many of her ducks, and chickens and also a dog; she has attributed these deaths to the acts of hooligans. She said her family had been extremely frightened when her animals suddenly died. “We were scared to death,” said Fan, standing next to a red sign posted on the outside wall of her home that said: “Prevention and control by the masses is basic for people.” Fan said ducks and chickens are all healthy but she admitted that she had stopped eating poultry. No testing of these birds has been reported yet.

According to a recent AFP report from Liuchang, 59 miles south of Yantan, the obstacles to identifying infections are enormous.

Like many, one Liuchang villager named Wang Hemin said he was concerned and would keep a closer eye on his ducks and chickens, but felt no immediacy since the infection was not in his province. He learned about bird flu on TV, and is aware that officials have come to his village of 2,700 people to warn residents about the virus. They offered guidelines: they told people that poultry which die suddenly could have contracted bird flu and should not be eaten or sold and that such an incident should also immediately be reported. However, the symptoms of H5N1 bird flu were not directly described.

Residents have not yet been fully informed of what symptoms to look for in ill poultry–they are fever, diarrhea, teary eyes and swelling in the legs of the birds. Though a pledge was made earlier in the week to vaccinate 2 million birds immediately, no bird vaccinations in this area have been reported yet.

In another nearby village, Nazahuang, chickens scuttle in and out of houses. One resident, Fan Jiexu, 73, said no officials had yet warned her village to take precautions. Throughout rural areas, it is customary for chickens to scuttle in and out of homes. Ducks and bird often die and are eaten by villagers when it is believed safe to do so.

China has reported 17 avian flu outbreaks as of this week. Despite the Chinese government issued high alerts, critical information is not being adequately communicated to some rural villages. The size of the poultry population, the common and normal occurrence of poultry death on farms, and status of roughly 70% of the poultry population as being kept in backyards are factors complicating infection control.

The head of World Health Organization’s China office, Henk Bekedam, is aware that slow reaction to bird flu threats and difficulty monitoring poultry in the world’s most populous country makes control of its spread challenging.

Testing is required to confirm H5N1 virus, and positive test results lead to the killing of nearby flocks. The incentive for many villagers, officials, and governments to minimize reports of H5N1 virus infections and severe medical and economic complications for making confirmations of infection are obstacles opposing complete and full reporting of the spread and infection rates of the virus.

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Sweden’s Crown Princess marries long-time boyfriend

Monday, June 21, 2010

Sweden’s first royal wedding since 1976 took place Saturday when Crown Princess Victoria, 32, married her long-time boyfriend and former personal trainer, Daniel Westling, 36. The ceremony took place at Stockholm Cathedral.

Over 1,200 guests, including many rulers, politicians, royals and other dignitaries from across the world, attended the wedding, which cost an estimated 20 million Swedish kronor. Victoria wore a wedding dress with five-metre long train designed by Pär Engsheden. She wore the same crown that her mother, Queen Silvia, wore on her wedding day 34 years previously, also on June 19. Victoria’s father, King Carl XVI Gustaf, walked Victoria down the aisle, which was deemed untraditional by many. In Sweden, the bride and groom usually walk down the aisle together, emphasising the country’s views on equality. Victoria met with Daniel half-way to the altar, where they exchanged brief kisses, and, to the sounds of the wedding march, made their way to the the silver altar. She was followed by ten bridesmaids. The couple both had tears in their eyes as they said their vows, and apart from fumbling when they exchanged rings, the ceremony went smoothly.

Following the ceremony, the couple headed a fast-paced procession through central Stockholm on a horse-drawn carriage, flanked by police and security. Up to 500,000 people are thought to have lined the streets. They then boarded the Vasaorden, the same royal barge Victoria’s parents used in their wedding, and traveled through Stockholm’s waters, accompanied by flyover of 18 fighter jets near the end of the procession. A wedding banquet followed in the in the Hall of State of the Royal Palace.

Controversy has surrounded the engagement and wedding between the Crown Princess and Westling, a “commoner”. Victoria met Westling as she was recovering from bulemia in 2002. He owned a chain of gymnasiums and was brought in to help bring Victoria back to full health. Westling was raised in a middle-class family in Ockelbo, in central Sweden. His father managed a social services centre, and his mother worked in a post office. When the relationship was made public, Westling was mocked as an outsider and the king was reportedly horrified at the thought of his daughter marrying a “commoner”, even though he did so when he married Silvia. Last year, Westling underwent transplant surgery for a congenital kidney disorder. The Swedish public have been assured that he will be able to have children and that his illness will not be passed on to his offspring.

Westling underwent years of training to prepare for his new role in the royal family, including lessons in etiquette, elocution, and multi-lingual small talk; and a makeover that saw his hair being cropped short, and his plain-looking glasses and clothes being replaced by designer-wear.

Upon marrying the Crown Princess, Westling took his wife’s ducal title and is granted the style “His Royal Highness”. He is now known as HRH Prince Daniel, Duke of Västergötland. He also has his own coat-of-arms and monogram. When Victoria assumes the throne and becomes Queen, Daniel will not become King, but assume a supportive role, similar to that of Prince Phillip, the husband of the United Kingdom’s Queen Elizabeth II.

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Robin Cook dead after collapsing

Saturday, August 6, 2005

Robin Cook, the former British foreign secretary and current Member of Parliament, has died of a suspected heart attack after collapsing on a walk with his wife on Ben Stack hill, Scotland. Cook, aged 59, was flown to a hospital in Inverness by a rescue service helicopter half an hour after collapsing.

A spokesperson for NHS Highland said that Mr. Cook arrived at hospital 90 minutes after his collapse, and was reported dead five minutes later. A postmortem examination has concluded that he died from hypertensive heart disease.

Mr. Cook was buried on August 12 at St Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh in a service attended by close family, friends and political figures from across the world. British Prime Minister Tony Blair however came under attack from Mr. Cooks friend and racing pundit John McCririck for his absence from the service.

Robin Cook served as Foreign Secretary under New Labour and was a critic of the war in Iraq. He resigned as Leader of the House of Commons in 2003 in protest against Prime Minister Blair’s foreign policies.

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Wikinews attends Maker Faire in Tyler, Texas

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Wikinews attended the sixth annual Mini Maker Faire in Tyler, Texas, United States on Saturday. Similar to a giant science fair, the event featured a variety of science, engineering and technology projects and items.

An array of technologies were on hand including 3D printers, drones, and various other physics devices. The owner of the Make Crate subscription service stated her company’s products place a strong emphasis on teaching young people about technology and coding. A traditional blacksmith was also on hand displaying metal working techniques.

Numerous Maker Clubs from an array of local schools were on hand, displaying a broad swathe of tech projects. A group of amateur hobbyists diplayed a model of the deck of the aircraft carrier, the USS Ronald Reagan with a solenoid device hooked up to launch paper airplanes.

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Blown for Good author discusses life inside international headquarters of Scientology

Friday, November 13, 2009

Wikinews interviewed author Marc Headley about his new book Blown for Good, and asked him about life inside the international headquarters of Scientology known as “Gold Base“, located in Gilman Hot Springs near Hemet, California. Headley joined the organization at age seven when his mother became a member, and worked at Scientology’s international management headquarters for several years before leaving in 2005.

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Chinese researchers crack major U.S. government algorithm used in digital signatures

Wednesday, February 16, 2005According to computer security expert Bruce Schneier, a widely-used cryptography algorithm, known as SHA-1, has been broken by three researchers at Shandong University in China. Designed by the US intelligence agency NSA, SHA-1 has been adopted as an official US government standard and has become widely-used in security applications worldwide, notably digital signatures. The three female researchers, Xiaoyun Wang, Yiqun Lisa Yin, and Hongbo Yu, have reduced the amount of time needed to find two documents with the same signature by a factor of more than 2000.

The SHA-1 algorithm is used to compute a short string of numbers, known as a hash, for any digital document. The algorithm is constructed such that small changes in the document cause the hash to change drastically. By this means, the hash can be used to verify that a document has not been tampered with.

The attack that Schneier describes is a “collision attack,” rather than the more useful “pre-image” attack. In a pre-image attack, the codebreaker is able to find a document with different contents that matches an existing hash and so can claim an existing signature was on something else. In the somewhat less valuable “collision attack,” the codebreaker is able to devise two documents that both have some particular hash. A adversary might use this to claim that an altered document is the original on the grounds that they have the same hash. A crafty adversary might also be able to trick someone into signing an innocuous document, one of a pair from a collision. The other document, which might not be as harmless, would then also appear to have been signed by the same person. If collisions can be found for SHA-1, then digital signatures will no longer vouch for a document’s authenticity.

The attack, for now, is more of a theoretical than a practical kind: it would currently take thousands of years on a modern personal computer, and would still be slow even if a large number of computers were used in parallel.

Xiaoyun Wang is currently a professor at Shandong University, while Hongbo Yu is a doctoral candidate at the same institution. Yiqun Lisa Yin is currently a visiting researcher at the Princeton Architecture Laboratory for Multimedia and Security (PALMS). Last year, Xiaoyun Wang and Hongbo Yu also took part in breaking a series of similar algorithms, including the widely used MD5 hash, as documented in their paper presented at the Crypto 2004 conference.

Officials from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have recently recommended dropping SHA-1 in favor of stronger, slower algorithms, such as SHA-256, Federal Computer Week reported on February 7, 2005, just 7 days before Schneier announced the SHA-1 break. Despite deprecating SHA-1, William Burr, the head of NIST’s security technology group, said that “SHA-1 is not broken, and there is not much reason to suspect that it will be soon.”

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Study tests the use of Google as an aid for medical diagnoses

Friday, November 10, 2006

In an internet-based study published today on the website of the British Medical Journal, Australian investigators tested how well Googling could help to establish a difficult diagnosis. The search results met against their criteria in 15 out of 26 cases.

Previous anecdotes of the use of Google in reaching a difficult diagnosis are presented in the paper. In a case described in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), a physician diagnosed IPEX syndrome after submitting the typical diagnostic clues to the search engine. A patient’s father replied to doctor’s saying that his son had acute subclavian vein thrombosis of unknown origin: “But of course hehas Paget-von Schrötter syndrome.”

Hangwi Tang and Jennifer Hwee Kwoon Ng from the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane selected clinical cases from the NEJM blind to the correct diagnosis. They selected 3 to 5 rather specific features, searched Google, and selected the 3 disorders from the results that seemed to fit the case best. If one of those was right, Google was said to be “right”.

The scientists admit that an internet search probably works better with specific symptoms rather than with phrases such as “fever ill pain”. Also, the percentage may depend on the operating physician’s knowledge base, and the test was not double-blind.

Experts commented that the internet is not a replacement for doctors, but should be seen as a way of supporting doctors and patients. A spokeswoman for the Patient Association added that “a lot of sites are not credible. There are lots of good sites out there, but we also know that there are many that are not credible.”

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Forex Basics: A Tutorial Guide For Forex Trading Beginners

Submitted by: John P.Miles

The Forex market may appear really complex and creepy to understand and workout; but in fact it is not. The idea behind Forex trading as simple since it is similar to any other trading market. You purchase low and you sell high to get the maximum yield.

Forex is a major, non-stop and a worldwide financial market which generates trillions of dollars daily, making it the most liquid market which exists.

Trading in Forex is distinctive as compare to other financial markets like stock trading since it offers trader and speculators the possibility to act on the market, whichever location they may be. In other words, the Forex Theater and its actors face no barriers or constraints at all. One can act on the Forex market regardless of his location and time zone.

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For years, the Forex market was only accessible to global corporations, large currency dealers and large monetary institutions such as banks and insurance companies. The reason behind such a trend was that the Forex Market imposes firm guidelines on the instances involved in trading currencies. In other words, sole traders and small business units found it rather impossible to penetrate the Forex Trading Market.

Fortunately, in the late 90’s, with sustained developments in the communication field the Forex Market was made accessible to individuals and small business units. Real time monitoring coupled with limitless and perpetual internet made the Financial Market more accessible, even for individuals engaged in home business.

Nowadays, Forex Trading is gaining momentum and acceptance. Individuals now see in the financial trading market the occasion to earn wealth with the least effort but however, one should not neglect the risk factor associated to it. It has been proved that Forex can may one rich but the opposite is also a reality to be feared. This is the reason why sometimes we see cyclical traders.

In line with the above, we can deduce how important it is for a beginner to learn and understand the Forex market before he actually steps in. To gain knowledge of a Forex trading is not a demanding chore since numerous websites offer Forex education. Most of these websites offers demo accounts so that one can simulate a trade, without the use of real money. These demo accounts really take you close to Forex trading and help you build up your knowledge but according to Financial Market experts, one comes to learn about Forex Trading the moment one juggles with the real market.

To jump-start your career, one needs a series of tools like high-internet access, a Forex account, Forex Trading software and the most important, the funds to trade. A basic comprehension of Forex Charts is required before entering the market. These Forex Charts are vital aids to traders and speculators since the former indicates the trend in the traded currencies’ exchange rates. One’s decision to buy or to sell currencies will be based on the liner illustrations which are charts.

Every Forex chart differs in what they indicate although they are all showing the same alterations in the currencies’ rates over a given period. For instance, in the “Daily Forex Chart”, one can appraise the market tendencies in the past 24 hours to speculator on the trends the market may adopt in the next 24 hours. As its name indicates, through the “Hourly Chart”, you can easily assess the particular day trends on an hourly basis and finally the “15 minutes Charts” depicts each quarter hour currency fluctuations. Sometimes, there exists “5 minutes Charts” to assist traders and offer them a better view on recent trends and help them in determining the investment strategy.

These fundamental rules are explained as they are the starting blocks of any Forex trader. However, one must never forget that same as the Forex Trading Market can make one wealthy, it can also cause havoc in ones financial position due to the risk element associated with it.

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Colombian military spy plane crashes

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

According to media reports, a Colombian air force AC-47 (registration FAC1670) spy plane carrying five people has crashed near the Colombian city of La Dorada, in the department of Caldas.

All on board the plane are believed to have been killed, according to Colombia Reports. Among the dead, according to Monsters and Critics, are two technicians, a major and two second lieutenants. ABS-CBN News reports that the dead included three high ranking officials and two lower ranking ones.

Jorge Ballesteros, a Colombian air force official, says that the plane took off from an air force base in the city of Puerto Salgar and was on an exercise mission when it crashed. He also states that although it was on a training exercise, the plane was carrying bombs and machine guns.

A military team has been dispatched to the area to investigate the incident, but they have already put the blame on mechanical failure. Ballestero noted that investigators have ruled out a rebel attack and terrorism as possible causes.

AC-47’s have been used by the Colombian air force for nearly 20 years, most of which were donated from the United States. They were provided to the country in an attempt to fight the illegal drug market and to defend citizens and the military against rebel attacks. They are also used to gather intelligence and come equipped with a state-of-the-art communications system, radar and infrared detection systems.

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