Wikinews interviews Spanish Paralympic track and field athlete Alberto Suárez Laso

Filed Under (Uncategorized) by Tud95B on 23-08-2019

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

With the IPC Athletics World Championships scheduled to start this Friday, Wikinews interviewed Spanish T12 classified long distance runner Alberto Suárez Laso at Madrid–Barajas Airport Monday before he departed for Lyon, France. Suárez is scheduled to compete in two events, the T12 5,000 meters and marathon events.

((Wikinews)) Hi this is Laura Hale. I’m interviewing Alberto Suárez, who is a visually-impaired runner competing for Spain in the IPC World Championships. What events are you doing? ((es))Spanish language: ?¿En qué eventos estás?

Alberto Suárez Laso : Marathon and 5000m. ((es))Spanish language: ?Maratón y 5000m.

((WN)) You have a World Record? Are you going to smash it and give Spain a gold medal? ((es))Spanish language: ?¿Vas a romper el record mundial y darle a España un oro?

Alberto Suárez Laso: This time it’s a bit complicated because I’m going a bit injured. ((es))Spanish language: ?Esta vez está un poco complicado porque voy un poco lesionado

((WN)) Ah. You finished second in London [the 2012 Summer Paralympics]? ((es))Spanish language: ?¿Terminaste segundo en Londres?

Alberto Suárez Laso : I finished first.

((WN)) The injury has impacted you training? ((es))Spanish language: ?¿La lesión ha perjudicado tu entrenamiento?

Alberto Suárez Laso : For the last three weeks I’ve been doing gym and walking machine only. I have pain in my Achilles tendon. ((es))Spanish language: ?Llevo tres semanas solo con gimnasio y elíptica. Tengo dolor en el tendón de Aquiles.

((WN)) So, as someone who writes from an international perspective, do you think Spain’s got all that stuff to help you properly? The medical support, stuff to help you recuperate and be a great runner?

Alberto Suárez Laso : I hope so. We’re there, they’ve been treating me very well and I hope to be able to run without pain, which is the most important thing. I’ve got the training, but I need to remove that pain. ((es))Spanish language: ?Espero que sí. Estamos ahí, me están tratando bastante bien y espero correr sin dolor, que es lo fundamental. La preparación la tengo, pero hay que quitar ese dolor.

((WN)) Do you run with a guide?

Alberto Suárez Laso : No.

((WN)) Okay, so are you T-13?

Alberto Suárez Laso : T-12.

((WN)) Oh. So it’s optional for a guy at T-12?

Translator : He could, but he’s not too badly impaired. He can run by himself.

((WN)) So is your preference to run without a guide?

Alberto Suárez Laso : It’s complicated because of the pace I run at. I would require several guides, and it’s hard to find them. ((es))Spanish language: ?Es una complicación por el ritmo al que corro. Necesitaría varios guías y es dificil conseguirlos.

((WN)) Do most of your competitors run with guides?

Alberto Suárez Laso : Not among the first ones. Well, there are a couple that do run with guides, but the rest don’t. ((es))Spanish language: ?Los primeros no. Bueno, hay un par de ellos que corren con guía, los demás no.

((WN)) Is there anything you would like to say about this competition coming up that people from an international sporting community would find valuable to know?

Alberto Suárez Laso : Mm, I don’t know what to say!

((WN)) Okay. Thank you very much! ((es))Spanish language: ?¡Muchas gracias!

Alberto Suárez Laso : You’re welcome! ((es))Spanish language: ?De nada.

Fort Lauderdale Condos For Sale: Will They Sell Faster In 2012?

Filed Under (Loan Agreements) by Tud95B on 23-08-2019

By Mike Benton

Fort Lauderdale has everything you might look for in a second home location-tropical climates year round, ocean breezes, golf galore, nautical lifestyles, sports venues for every sports lover, and the many amenities found in a greater metropolitan area. In addition, Florida is a very tax friendly state with no state income tax and the option of the Homestead Tax Exemption. With a growing population of over half a million residents, this area has something for everyone.

Apparently, many people are recognizing the value of owning a primary residence or second home in the greater Fort Lauderdale area. In addition to the steady improvements we are seeing in the Fort Lauderdale real estate market, we are also noticing an increased number of people relocating to this beautiful area for reasons related to career relocation or retirement. How do we know this, you ask? The answer is simple: the number of Fort Lauderdale homes for sale are shrinking, and the competition for the existing Fort Lauderdale homes for sale is increasing.

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The same goes for the number of Fort Lauderdale condos for sale, particularly waterfront condos in Fort Lauderdale. The prices for oceanfront condos have obviously decreased, but we arent seeing any further decrease in waterfront property value. In fact, the growing competition for the Fort Lauderdale condos for sale on the market seems to be triggering a slight but significant value increase in waterfront condos for sale here. Will that trend continue? Were not sure, but we have a hunch that it will due to a combination of record low mortgage interest rates and the growing rental market.

One of the best real estate investment options is a one of the many Fort Lauderdale condos for sale, particularly a waterfront condos on Las Olas or the nearby beaches. These make excellent seasonal rentals for those who wish to use it as a second home while offsetting the mortgage costs with renters. There are also some well priced condos near local universities that can easily be rented on an annual basis to college or graduate students. These are often rented to longer term renters who attend school near Davie, FL. We find that our investors usually have an excellent cap rate with either of these choices.

If you are in the market to buy one of the many Fort Lauderdale homes for sale, please take a look at the inventory on this site. You may also wish to send us an email, as some of the best deals are those short sale homes that fell through, or become available again and are not yet listed on MLS. The same goes for those looking for the best Fort Lauderdale condos for sale. Whether you want an oceanfront luxury condo in Fort Lauderdale for your primary residence or a triplex in Davie, FL for investment purposes, we can find the best available investment for you.

You can also read a review with further information regarding the optimistic real estate market forecast for 2012 here, where we discuss some excellent market indicators and the price index relative to the Fort Lauderdale Homes for Sale.

About the Author: Mike Benton is a real estate professional specializing in short sale and foreclosure properties in the greater Fort Lauderdale area. He has 10 years of real estate experience, with 6 of those focusing on successful transfers of short sale and foreclosure properties. Learn more at

Fort Lauderdale Homes for Salefortlauderdaleforeclosures.org/?attachment_id=1186 Source: isnare.com

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Gastric bypass surgery performed by remote control

Filed Under (Uncategorized) by Tud95B on 18-08-2019

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.

US swimmer Phelps suspended over ‘pot pipe’

Filed Under (Uncategorized) by Tud95B on 18-08-2019

Friday, February 6, 2009

United States swimmer Michael Phelps has been banned from competition and his training stipend revoked for three months by USA Swimming after Phelps was photographed smoking from a glass pipe, often used for smoking cannabis. The picture was published last Sunday by British tabloid News of the World.

USA Swimming, which is the governing body of swimming in the United States, however said that no “anti-doping” rules had been violated.

“This is not a situation where any anti-doping rule was violated, but we decided to send a strong message to Michael because he disappointed so many people, particularly the hundreds of thousands of USA Swimming member kids who look up to him as a role model and a hero,” it stated. “Michael has voluntarily accepted this reprimand and has committed to earn back our trust.”

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The suspension will end in time for Phelps to train for the US Championships, which are to be held on the 7th of July.

Phelps has also lost sponsor Kellogg, who said that it would not renew its deal with the swimmer next month.

Phelps won a record eight gold medals at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing last year, and has since become one of the world’s most famous athletes.

Earthquake, tsunami combo caused devastation in Pichilemu, Chile

Filed Under (Uncategorized) by Tud95B on 11-08-2019

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Pichilemu, Chile – Last Saturday, Chile was hit by a 8.8 earthquake. Many coastal towns were also hit by a tsunami, and Pichilemu was one of them. Its inhabitants were surprised by the giant waves that destroyed the most of the costanera and that reached the city square.

Pichilemu, that means in Mapudungun language small forest, is one of the most famous Chilean resort towns in the central zone of Chile. It is recurrently visited by surfers from all the world, because the Punta de Lobos beach is considered one of the best for surf practice worldwide.

Central Pichilemu was not severely damaged by the earthquake, but the tsunami caused significant destruction. The Fishermen Creek, located in front of the beach, was completely destroyed, and its machines are now unusable. Most of the Agustín Ross architecture that characterized the city, three of them being National Monuments of Chile, were damaged. The Agustín Ross Mirador, a famous location in front of the beach, located less than 200 meters from the Fisherman Creek, was completely destroyed. Its famous balustrades were washed away or thrown asunder. Many restaurants, kiosks and a circus were affected by the tsunami.

The rural parts of Pichilemu, like Ciruelos, Rodeillo and Espinillo feature houses constructed from adobe. Many were more than 100-years old, and were destroyed or are now uninhabitable.

The most powerful aftershock was produced almost 40 kilometers in front of the coast of Pichilemu, at the 03:10 local time (07:10 UTC) in March 2, with an intensity of 5.5 in the Richter scale, according to the USGS.

The Intendant of the O’Higgins Region, Juan Núñez, had a meeting with the Governor of the Cardenal Caro Province, Loreto Puebla, the Mayor of Pichilemu, Roberto Córdova, and naval and military authorities, juntas de vecinos representatives. They decided to leave the Carabineros police force to maintain the security of the city.

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The Arturo Prat square was severely damaged by the earthquake and later by the tsunami. In the left picture, can be seen some kiosks, all of them were destroyed, as can be seen on the right picture. Image: Diego Grez.

A boat that was originally in front of the Fisherman Creek of Pichilemu, was thrown almost a block away by the powerful tsunami that hit Chile last Saturday. Image: Diego Grez.

A fair was located in front of the beach, called Feria Internacional Artesanal, where Peruvian and Chilean craftsman were selling their crafts. All of their premises were destroyed, and later looted by the people that were passing by the costanera. Image: Diego Grez.

This is how looked the Agustín Ross ‘Mirador’ (balcony) in the past. Image: Diego Grez.
The Famous Agustín Ross balcony (mirador), before and after the earthquake and tsunami. Image: Diego Grez.

A strong aftershock was originated around Pichilemu, in March 5, 2010, at 12:34:32 AM at epicenter (03:34:32 AM UTC). Image: USGS.

Professional athletes in US linked to online steroid ring

Filed Under (Uncategorized) by Tud95B on 11-08-2019

Thursday, March 1, 2007

A steroid distribution network exposed by a New York prosecutor is reported to have connections to a number of high-profile professional athletes, including retired boxer Evander Holyfield and current Los Angeles Angels outfielder Gary Matthews, Jr.

Federal agents raided two pharmacies in Florida and Alabama which were tabbed by a prosecutor in Albany County, New York as having links to illicit distributors of steroids. Eight people have been arrested in connection to this ring, and up to 24 people are individuals of interest to federal agents and may be arrested before the investigation is over.

According to records seized during the raids, customers of the pharmacies included Holyfield, Matthews, former baseball star Jose Canseco, and former pitcher Jason Grimsley. Investigators reportedly have found evidence that performance-enhancing drugs were prescribed to a number of professional athletes as well as international bodybuilders. Further evidence showed that Dr. Richard Rydze, team doctor of the Pittsburgh Steelers, purchased $150,000 worth of human growth hormone on his personal credit card. Calls to Dr. Rydze were not immediately returned.

Those arrested include Stan and Naomi Loomis, owners of Signature Pharmacy in Orlando, Florida. Two other employees of the pharmacy (including Loomis’s brother, Mike) were arrested as well. P. David Soares, Albany County prosecutor, indicated in filings from his office that Signature is believed to be a “producer” of anabolic steroids. Grimsley and Rydze were reported to be customers of Signature Pharmacy. Holyfield, Matthews, and Canseco were allegedly on customer lists from Applied Pharmacy Services in Mobile, Alabama. Both pharmacies and their owners are implicated in the steroid ring.

According to SI.com, Matthews received shipments of Genotropin, a synthetic growth hormone. The shipments were sent to the address of one of his former minor-league teammates in Mansfield, Texas. Matthews claimed he did not know why his name was on Applied Pharmacy’s customer list. He did not comment further on the situation, stating that he was not “in a position to answer specific questions.”

On Wednesday, Holyfield indicated that he was “not overly concerned about the situation.” He did mention that the only purchase of medical supplies that can be attributed to him were medications for his father, who died of a heart ailment in January. Later that evening, Holyfield released a more pointed denial, stating, “I do not use steroids. I have never used steroids. I resent that my name has been linked to known steroid users by sources who refuse to be identified in order to generate publicity for their investigation.”

Mars studies find water

Filed Under (Uncategorized) by Tud95B on 11-08-2019

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Studies of Mars point to evidence of the presence of liquid water on the planet’s surface and a vast amount of underground ice near the equator within the past few million years. Liquid water is believed to be a key ingredient for life, therefore the presence of water on Mars helps support chances of extraterrestrial life, reported the journal Nature today. In the studies, strong indications of glacial and volcanic activity were presented. The combined research on this subject, including a study in December 2004 indicating that five volcanoes were active as recently as two million years ago, justifies further search for signs of life on Mars scientists say.

A few million years is a mere minute on the geological timescale of Mars which has been around for 4.5 billion years.

The scarred surface of Mars cannot be attributed solely to asteroids. New images of the landscape taken by the High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) on the European Space Agency’s Mars Express Mission show that flowing water, large glaciers and active volcanoes have also taken their toll on the face of Mars.

Some evidence collected by two Mars rovers that NASA sent to explore the planet shows that Mars was hotter and more humid millions of years ago than it is today. Also important were active volcanoes that can stimulate the forming of microbial life as they do here on Earth. Scientists recently discovered bacteria near the mouths of undersea volcanic vents on Earth where bacteria live off sulfur instead of oxygen and discharge methane as a by-product of their life cycle. Though controversial, the discovery of signs of methane gas in Mars’ atmosphere also interests researchers who believe it indicates the possibility of subsurface life.

Geologist James Head of Brown University led a group of researchers who examined landforms thought to be glacial during the Viking program in the 1970s. They found evidence that glaciers moved from the poles to the equator between 3.5 and 4 million years ago, suggesting that Mars is currently in an interglacial period.

A third study looked at an area of frozen water roughly the size of the North Sea that formed near the equator around five million years ago. It is now thought that the ice was once liquid water carried along by volcanic eruptions in a region known as Cerberus Fossae.

Researchers have long assumed water on Mars had all evaporated into the Martian atmosphere. A 1991 hypothesis, then considered outrageous by suggesting Mars was no stranger to floods, is now supported by recent findings. The HRSC data suggests water is still present both in liquid form and ice. Mars Express will deploy a special radar instrument in early May which should be able to detect water and ice even several miles beneath the surface.

Should water be found on Mars, the chances of finding life are great. Many extremophiles, bacteria living under extreme conditions such as extreme salinity or heat, have already been discovered on Earth. In February 2005, scientists announced the discovery of bacteria that survived in a state of frozen suspension for 32,000 years.

Likewise on Mars, a sample of ice could offer great insight into the evolution of the Martian environment and atmosphere. These discoveries may offer a great chance to get objective evidence for Mars research.

China offers Africa financial aid including $10 billion in loans

Filed Under (Uncategorized) by Tud95B on 05-08-2019

Sunday, November 8, 2009

China has offered Africa concessional loans worth US$10 (€6.5) billion as part of a host of new measures aimed at improving the economy of African nations. The announcement was made at the opening of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. Leaders of nearly 50 African countries are attending the two-day conference.

China had already stated today at the 3rd Conference of Chinese and African Entrepreneurs, held immediately before the FOCAC, that Chinese firms would be encouraged to invest in Africa, while both sides would work together to improve the tourism, telecommunications and finance industries. China also said that governments should work with businesses to ensure co-operation between China and Africa.

As well as the loans, made over three years, China will write off the debt of Africa’s poorest countries, build 100 African green energy facilities and systematically lower import duties on 95% of all African products exported to China. Another promise is a loan of one billion dollars aimed at small and medium sized businesses in Africa. There will also be efforts to promote each other’s culture and increased medical assistance to Africa. Medical assistance comes in the form of 500 million yuan (US$73.2 million) of goods for the 60 hospitals and malaria centers China has already built, as well as 3,000 doctors and nurses. Roads will also be improved.

China also plans to assist with satellite weather monitoring, to help combat desertification and work within the urban environment, all aimed at reducing global warming. The new energy facilities will focus on solar, biogas and small-scale hydroelectrical installations. Another new measure is a promise to aid African farmers to ensure the continent is fed, increasing the number of demonstrations of agricultural technology in Africa to 20 and sending 50 teams of agricultural technology experts to the continent. Training in agricultural technology will be provided to 2,000 people.

“The Chinese people cherish sincere friendship toward the African people, and China’s support to Africa’s development is concrete and real,” said co-chair Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao as the FOCAC opened up, adding “Whatever change that may take place in the world, our friendship with African people will not change.” He described this friendship as ‘unbreakable’. Two years ago China pledged US$5 (€3.37) billion at the last FOCAC in Beijing and now, according to Jiabao, “China is ready to deepen practical cooperation in Africa.”

We want more investment from China

China has fulfilled its 2006 pledge, investing a total of US$7.8 (€5.26) billion in Africa last year alone. 49 African countries are represented at the FOCAC, which was created in 2000, although Jiabao noted that relations between China and Africa go back fifty years. China had already forgiven or reduced the debt for thirty nations at that FOCAC summit.

According to Chinese state-owned paper China Daily, trade between China and Africa increased by 45% last year, to give a total value of US$107 (€72.1) billion, a tenfold increase since 2001 and up from US$491 (€331) million in 2003. The Chinese have a 9.8% market share, the largest of any nation, according to the U.S. Commerce Department. China has paid for schools, hospitals, malaria clinics and Chinese scholarships for African students. 50 more schools are to be built and 1,500 people trained to staff them.

Since 2006 Chinese energy firms have committed to spend at least US$16 (€10.8) billion securing African oil and gas. China’s Sinopec Group, an oil giant, bought up Addax Petroleum Corporation from its Swiss owners that year, gaining control of oilfields in Nigeria, Cameroon and Gabon. China promised earlier this year to spend US$9 (€6) billion on infrastructure in the Congo in exchange for mineral deposits for mining operations.

Jean Ping, leader of the African Union, said the told those at the conference that the money is coming at an opportune time, because African growth was “totally compromised” by the global financial crisis. Ping said one of the lessons learned is that the world is paying for “the irresponsible and lax behavior” of large financial companies whose philosophy was to make short-term profits.

We thank China particularly for backing efforts by our countries to achieve peace and stability in Africa’s zones of conflict

Not all Africans are happy with China’s increasing involvement in their continent. Trade practices are a concern for some, with a view that China exploits Africa for raw materials before selling back finished goods. Among these are Egyptian Trade and Industry Minister Rachid Mohamed Rachid. Egypt is the richest nation in the Middle East and is discussing this perceived issue with China. Rachid told Bloomberg “What is a worry for me is if competition is unfair. That is where we are unhappy.” Jiabao described the trade as being based on “win-win programmes… and transparency.”

Others in Africa are delighted with the situation. “We want more investment from China,” Tanzanian President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete told the forum. Egypt’s own President Hosni Mubarak talked of “peace, security and growth,” and of “boosting cooperation between China and Africa.”

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Jiabao also used his speech to respond to criticisms that China worked with nations regardless of their human rights record, such as Sudan, whose President Omar al-Beahir is wanted on a warrant issued by the International Criminal Court for war crimes. “Africa is fully capable of solving its own problems, in an African way,” he said, adding that “China has never attached any political strings […] to assistance to Africa.”

Beshir thanked China in a speech for diplomatic work in Sudan, including working to defuse the Darfur conflict, which the United Nations says has left 300,000 dead. “We express our deep appreciation for China’s efforts in backing the comprehensive peace agreement in Sudan and its peace efforts in Darfur,” he said, referring to a peace deal between the northern and southern parts of his country. “We thank China particularly for backing efforts by our countries to achieve peace and stability in Africa’s zones of conflict.” Jiabao said China was willing to work towards “the settlement of issues of peace and security,” in Africa.

A further criticism has been that China has brought in Chinese workers and used their own knowledge, instead of training locals. Jiabao’s speech indicated an intention to co-operate better in the fields of science and technology, as well as improve training for African students on technical courses.

“Why do some only criticise China?” asked Jiabao. “Is this a view representing African countries, or rather the view of Western countries?”

Proposal for Buffalo, N.Y. hotel reportedly dead: parcels for sale “by owner”

Filed Under (Uncategorized) by Tud95B on 04-08-2019

Buffalo, N.Y. Hotel Proposal Controversy
Recent Developments
  • “120 year-old documents threaten development on site of Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal” — Wikinews, November 21, 2006
  • “Proposal for Buffalo, N.Y. hotel reportedly dead: parcels for sale “by owner”” — Wikinews, November 16, 2006
  • “Contract to buy properties on site of Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal extended” — Wikinews, October 2, 2006
  • “Court date “as needed” for lawsuit against Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal” — Wikinews, August 14, 2006
  • “Preliminary hearing for lawsuit against Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal rescheduled” — Wikinews, July 26, 2006
  • “Elmwood Village Hotel proposal in Buffalo, N.Y. withdrawn” — Wikinews, July 13, 2006
  • “Preliminary hearing against Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal delayed” — Wikinews, June 2, 2006
Original Story
  • “Hotel development proposal could displace Buffalo, NY business owners” — Wikinews, February 17, 2006

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Buffalo, New York —A proposed hotel that was supposed to be built at the corner of Elmwood and Forest Avenues in Buffalo, New York is apparently off the table. The former proposal was going to be called The Elmwood Village Hotel and would have consisted of 72 rooms and cost between $7 to $10 million American dollars to build.

Today several unknown individuals were seen removing a sign that was dedicated to the “Elmwood Village Gateway,” which signifies the beginning of the Elmwood Village at the formerly proposed project’s location.

Nearly an hour later the men replaced the sign with a different and unexpected sign: “For Sale: 5 commercial parcels and 1 carriage house, By: Owner.” Those 5 “parcels” are 1109-1121 Elmwood and 999 Forest Avenue, which is located in an illegal alley, according to the City of Buffalo, behind the 5 other properties on Elmwood. Hans Mobius owns all properties named in the sale.

Sam Savarino, CEO of Savarino Companies never owned the properties and has repeatadly told Wikinews in exclusive interviews that he still had a “contract to buy the properties” and on October 2, 2006 told Wikinews in an exclusive interview that he “extended” the “agreement to purchase the property[s] and will have it under contract for what we hope is a sufficient period of time.”

“He [Mobius] is undoubtedly concerned because he has lost some tenants and is a bit impatient. I think he has properly portrayed the situation,” said Savarino in an exclusive interview with Wikinews.

Savarino also says that there may be “legal issues” to work out now, before anything else can move forward, regarding the proposal.

“There are some legal complexities that must be sorted out before anything can happen there,” added Savarino.

The welcome sign was; however, not removed entirely. The sign was placed, facing the same direction of north, on the side of the Forest Plaza Art Gallery, a new art gallery located on the corner of Forest and Elmwood.

Nancy Pollina, owner of Don Apparel which was located at 1109 Elmwood, but closed on October 14, 2006 considers this a possible “victory” in regards to the lawsuit filed against the hotel to stop it from being built, alleging that several laws were broken, including not performing an Environmental Impact Study before the proposal was approved by the city, during its approval and the proposal was “rushed.” Patricia Morris, who operates Don Apparel with Pollina, Angeline Genovese and Evelyn Bencinich, owners of residences on Granger Place which abut the rear of the proposed site, Nina Freudenheim, a resident of nearby Penhurst Park, and Sandra Girage, the owner of a two-family residence on Forest Avenue less than a hundred feet from the proposed hotel’s sole entrance and exit driveway, were also plaintiffs in the lawsuit. They filed the suit with a lawyer representing them, Arthur J. Giacalone, on April 25, 2006 in New York State Supreme Court, but the case has never gone to a courtroom.

Giacalone believes that a press release issued in July regarding the project was nothing but a statement to “save face,” but that the placement of the for sale sign might be a way of convincing Savarino to speed up the sale of the properties.

“I thought all along that Savarino’s July press release might be no more than an effort to save face. But we have no way of knowing. Similarly, Mobius might have put the for-sale sign up in an attempt to pressure Savarino into closing the deal. There’s no way to tell,” said Giacalone in an exclusive interview with Wikinews.

In regards to the lawsuit, Giacalone thinks it may now be in “limbo.”

“The lawsuit still sits in limbo,” added Giacalone.

Standard Operating Procedure changes at Camp Delta, Guantanamo Bay

Filed Under (Uncategorized) by Tud95B on 27-07-2019

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

In an investigation reported on first by Wikinews, Wikileaks today revealed another chapter in the story of the Standard Operations Procedure (SOP) manual for the Camp Delta facility at Guantanamo Bay. The latest documents they have received are the details of the 2004 copy of the manual signed off by Major General Geoffrey D. Miller of the U.S. Southern Command. This is following on from the earlier leaking of the 2003 version. Wikileaks passed this document to people they consider experts in the field to carry out an analysis trying to validate it. Following this, they set out to assess what had changed between 2003 and 2004; including attempts to link publicly known incidents with changes to the manual.

Wikinews obtained the document and did an in-depth analysis. The American Civil Liberties Union had previously made a request to view and obtain copies of the same document, but was denied access to them.

One of the first notable changes to the document relates to the detainees themselves. Previously they read the camp rules during admission processing. Rules are now posted around the camp in detainees’ languages. The English version of the rules is as follows:

  1. Comply with all rules and regulations. You are subject to disciplinary action if you disobey any rule or commit any act, disorder, or neglect that is prejudicial to good order and discipline.
  2. You must immediately obey all orders of U.S. personnel. Deliberate disobedience, resistance, or conduct of a mutinous or riotous nature will be dealt with by force. Be respectful of others. Derogatory comments toward camp personnel will not be tolerated.
  3. You may not have any articles that can be used as a weapon in your possession at any time. If a weapon is found in your possession, you will be severely punished. Gambling is strictly forbidden.
  4. Being truthful and compliance will be rewarded. Failure to comply will result in loss of privileges.
  5. All trash will be returned immediately to U.S. personnel when you are finished eating. All eating utensils must be returned after meals.
  6. No detainee may conduct or participate in any form of military drill, organized physical fitness, hand-to-hand combat, or martial arts style training.
  7. The camp commander will ensure adequate protection for all personnel. Any detainee who mistreats another detainee will be punished. Any detainee that fears his life is in danger, or fears physical injury at the hands of another person can report this to U.S. personnel at any time.
  8. Medical emergencies should be brought to the guards’ attention immediately.

Your decision whether or not to be truthful and comply will directly affect your quality of life while in this camp.

Of concern to groups such as Amnesty International who campaign for the camp’s closure, or Human Rights Watch concerned about prisoner handling under the prisoner of war aspects of the Geneva Convention, is the fact that policy for newly admitted detainees still allows for up to 4 weeks where access to the detainee by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) may be denied. In addition, guards are not to allow ICRC staff to pass mail to detainees.

A new process has been formed which allows guards to determine whether or not a detainee receives awards, or is punished. The form is called a GTMO Form 508-1 (pictured to the right). According to the manual, the form “is used to determine which rewards the detainee will lose or gain,” but “special rewards” can also be earned, outside of the process. One special reward is time allowed outside. Another special reward is a roll of toilet paper, but the detainee cannot share it with others. Doing so will result in “punishment” and confiscation of the roll. If the detainee already has a roll of toilet paper, he is not allowed to have another.

“Guards need to ensure that the detainee doesn’t receive additional toilet paper when the detainee already has it. The amount given to the detainee will be the same amount as normally distributed to the detainee,” states the manual.

No matter how bad a detainee may act, “haircuts will never be used as punitive action” against them, but they can have hair removed for health reasons. They can, however, be segregated from other detainees.

“If a detainee has committed an offense that requires segregation time, even if a segregation cell is not available, the detainee will receive a shave and a haircut for hygiene and medical reasons. If the detainee is IRFed, the haircut and shave will follow the decontamination process,” adds the manual. Barbers are also part of cell searches.

Despite these changes, a great deal of effort has gone into ensuring the furore over detainee abuse does not recur. Rules governing the use of pepper spray (Oleoresin Capsicum, or OC) appear at an earlier point in the manual with considerable expansion. Infractions such as spitting, throwing water at, or attempting to urinate on guards appear as explicitly listed cases where pepper spray may not be used. Extensive decontamination procedures are included in the document, including immediately calling for a medical check on any detainee exposed to pepper spray. This was not previously present.

As a counter to the clearer instructions on use of pepper spray, Wikileaks asserts that many of the stricter rules for guards (referred to as Military Police or MPs in the 2003 manual) aim to reduce fraternisation that may improve detainee morale and adversely influence any interrogation process. Guards are informed in the manual not to take personal mail and parcels within the detention blocks or at any other duty stations. All electronic devices except issued materiel are prohibited, and guards may face disciplinary action should they keep detainees apprised of current affairs or discuss issues in their personal lives.

Additional restrictions on the detainees’ chaplain are included in the revised document. Wikileaks speculated that many of these changes might have stemmed from the widely publicised case of James Yee. Captain Yee, a West Point graduate, served at the Guantanamo Bay base as a Muslim chaplain to the detainees and received two Distinguished Service medals for his work. Following discovery of a list of detainees and interrogators by U.S. Customs in Florida Yee was charged with sedition, aiding the enemy, spying, espionage, and failure to obey a general order. Eventually all charges were dropped with national security concerns being raised should evidence be released.

The most notable changes surrounding the role of the chaplain include its removal as a permanent position on the facility’s Library Working group and its exclusion from the decision process on appropriate detainee reading material. Wikileaks contacted lawyers representing detainees in the camp to perform their own analysis. Their opinion of the changes were that the library operation had been considerably tightened up. Duplicate books are required for the individual four camps to prevent covert use of books to communicate between camps. Periodicals, dictionaries, language instruction books, technology or medical update information, and geography were additions to the prohibited material. Instructions indicate such books must be returned to the source or donor.

The revised SOP manual makes considerable progress on documenting procedures, even those that are remote possibilities. A lengthy addition details rules to follow in the event of an escape or escape attempt. Laced throughout this procedure is an emphasis on having any such incident fully documented and – wherever possible – filmed. The procedure is explicit in how to recapture an escaped detainee with minimal use of force. One additional procedure covers the admission of ambulances to the main base area. A detailed security protocol to ensure only expected and authorised traffic gains access is included, as is a procedure streamlined to ensure the ambulance arrives on the scene as quickly as possible.

Unchanged from the 2003 manual is the set menu of four ready-to-eat meals (Meal, Ready-to-Eat or MRE) issued to detainees. However, additional steps are to be taken for “MRE Sanitization”; supply personnel must remove anything that can damage waste disposal systems— presumably a military term for toilets. Under normal camp conditions, detainees should be fed hot meals as opposed to MREs, but no details on the variety of menu are included.

Wikinews attempted to get feedback on this. US Southern Command passed a query on to Rick Haupt (Commander, U.S. Navy Director of Public Affairs, Joint Task Force at Guantanamo) who responded that “questions were forwarded along with a request to authenticate the leaked document; a response is pending.” At this time no response to emails has been received from the ICRC or Human Rights Watch.

The Pentagon has requested that the document be removed from Wikileaks because “information with the FOUO (For Official Use Only) label is not approved for release to the public.” They then state that the document can be “made available through a Freedom Of Information Act request through official channels.”

 This story has updates See US military confirms authenticity of Standard Operating Procedures for Guantanamo Bay