Creator of G.I. Joe action figure to create a line of Bible-themed toys

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

According to the Christian Post, Don Levine, the creator of the G.I. Joe, will be creating a line of action figures based on characters from the Old Testament. Released this month are action figures of Samson, David, Noah, Moses, and dolls of Queen Esther and Deborah the Warrior. The toys come with their own Bible storybook. By the fall, the line will expand to 35 products. Levine has began developing a DVD series and television show.

While certainly not the first action figures, dolls, or animated programs based on Biblical characters, it is perhaps the first to launch with a full-fledged licensing program. Already a comic book, narrated CDs, wallet, flashing pins, dog tags, and necklaces have been released.

Levine created G.I. Joe for Mattel in 1963, after a licensing agent suggested soldier figures might have the same success as their Barbie line.

Dorothy’s dress from Wizard of Oz sells for £140,000

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

The auction hammer came down Wednesday, in London, on Judy Garland’s blue gingham dress, worn in the 1939 movie “The Wizard of Oz.” It sold for £140,000 (about US$262,157.40).

The identity of the buyer, who sealed the deal on the telephone, was not immediately revealed. Bonham auctioneers told reporters there was a pre-sale estimate of £35,000 (about US$65,529.47).

The dress, one of the most recognizable in the movie world, was made for the 17-year-old Garland who had a 27-inch (68-centimetre) waist. Her name is still on a tag on an inside hem. It was auctioned as part of a sale of rock and film memorabilia and was described as a “cherished memory for millions of fans worldwide.”

The story of the “Wizard of Oz,” which sealed Garland’s legend as a worldwide star, tells the story of a young Kansan, Dorothy (Judy Garland) and her dog Toto. They are whisked away from their rural Kansas home by a tornado to a magical realm called OZ.

In their travels, they meet other now-famous characters, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, and the Cowardly Lion.

Although the film started with only modest success, it has since become a screen classic.

Lobby groups oppose plans for EU copyright extension

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The European Commission currently has proposals on the table to extend performers’ copyright terms. Described by Professor Martin Kretschmer as the “Beatles Extension Act”, the proposed measure would extend copyright from 50 to 95 years after recording. A vast number of classical tracks are at stake; the copyright on recordings from the fifties and early sixties is nearing its expiration date, after which it would normally enter the public domain or become ‘public property’. E.U. Commissioner for the Internal Market and Services Charlie McCreevy is proposing this extension, and if the other relevant Directorate Generales (Information Society, Consumers, Culture, Trade, Competition, etc.) agree with the proposal, it will be sent to the European Parliament.

Wikinews contacted Erik Josefsson, European Affairs Coordinator for the Electronic Frontier Foundation (E.F.F.), who invited us to Brussels, the heart of E.U. policy making, to discuss this new proposal and its implications. Expecting an office interview, we arrived to discover that the event was a party and meetup conveniently coinciding with FOSDEM 2008 (the Free and Open source Software Developers’ European Meeting). The meetup was in a sprawling city centre apartment festooned with E.F.F. flags and looked to be a party that would go on into the early hours of the morning with copious food and drink on tap. As more people showed up for the event it turned out that it was a truly international crowd, with guests from all over Europe.

Eddan Katz, the new International Affairs Director of the E.F.F., had come over from the U.S. to connect to the European E.F.F. network, and he gladly took part in our interview. Eddan Katz explained that the Electronic Frontier Foundation is “A non-profit organisation working to protect civil liberties and freedoms online. The E.F.F. has fought for information privacy rights online, in relation to both the government and companies who, with insufficient transparency, collect, aggregate and make abuse of information about individuals.” Another major focus of their advocacy is intellectual property, said Eddan: “The E.F.F. represents what would be the public interest, those parts of society that don’t have a concentration of power, that the private interests do have in terms of lobbying.”

Becky Hogge, Executive Director of the U.K.’s Open Rights Group (O.R.G.), joined our discussion as well. “The goals of the Open Rights Group are very simple: we speak up whenever we see civil, consumer or human rights being affected by the poor implementation or the poor regulation of new technologies,” Becky summarised. “In that sense, people call us -I mean the E.F.F. has been around, in internet years, since the beginning of time- but the Open Rights Group is often called the British E.F.F.

Contents

  • 1 The interview
    • 1.1 Cliff Richard’s pension
    • 1.2 Perpetual patents?
    • 1.3 The fight moves from the U.K. to Europe
    • 1.4 Reclaiming democratic processes in the E.U.
  • 2 Related news
  • 3 Sources
  • 4 External links

Wikinews Shorts: August 13, 2009

A compilation of brief news reports for Thursday, August 13, 2009.

Contents

  • 1 Paris suffers second night of violence
  • 2 No concrete progress but North American leaders express solidarity
  • 3 Mexican federal police foil plot to assassinate President Calderón
  • 4 Aung San Suu Kyi sentenced to another three years of house arrest
  • 5 Four Rio Tinto employees formally arrested for bribery
  • 6 Michael Jackson to be the star one last time

The French capital Paris has seen a second night of violence by demonstrators, who have blamed police for the death of a motorcyclist on Sunday.

On Sunday night youths in the eastern suburb of Bagnolet, set 29 vehicles alight and threw stones and petrol bombs at police. Monday night was “relatively calm” according to Samira Amrouche, spokeswoman for the regional administration, the authorities having depolyed 40 vans of riot police only 8 vehicles were burnt.

The motorcyclist, a pizza deliveryman, was killed when he fled police attempting to examine his documents, dying when he was struck by a pursuing police vehicle according to the youths,however in the police version his death was a result of him crashing into barriers.

The current violence has echoes of the unrest in 2005, with again dissaffected youths of Arab and black descent venting their anger and frustration.

Sources

The leaders of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) met in Guadalajara, Mexico on Sunday and Monday. The leaders of the three countries (Barack Obama of the United States, Felipe Calderón of Mexico, and Stephen Harper of Canada) promised to work together on swine flu, organised crime and green issues.

Despite disputes in a number of areas remaining unresolved, the three leaders succeeded in presenting an amiable Three Amigos image. The three leaders expressed solidarity, and an understanding of each others position.

The unresolved issues include the buy American clauses in the US stimulus package, tit for tat reprisals by the Mexican authorities over Canadian visa restrictions on Mexican travellers, and the US ban on Mexican trucks from crossing the border.

Risking the ire of human rights activists back home President Obama expressed support for President Calderón’s war against drugs saying he had “great confidence” in the Mexican authorities.

Sources

Mexican Federal Police (Policía Federal) have foiled an alleged plot to assasinate the President of Mexico Felipe Calderón. Acting on intelligence gathered over a year the Federal Police arrested five drug cartel members on Sunday and publicly paraded their captives and a number of weapons ,including automatic rifles, on Monday. Speaking during a summit of North American leaders Calderón played down the threats on his life, saying that the cartels are being destroyed by his policies.

Some 11000 have died since President Calderón’s took office in 2006 and made the war on drugs a cornerstone of his administration.

Sources

Aung San Suu Kyi has been sentenced by a court in Burma to a further three years of house arrest for violating the terms of her previous sentence. However her sentence was immediately commuted to 18 months on the orders of Burmese head of state Senior-General Than Shwe out of respect for her father General Aung San and out of a desire for “national reconciliation”.

The period of her arrest will prevent Aung San Suu Kyi from participating in the general elections scheduled for 2010. The sentence was immediately condemned by Western leaders, and breaking from their usual silence, the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) through its current chair Thailand issued a statement expressing disappointment. The ASEAN statement and talk of further European Union and United States sanctions are unlikely to have any impact on Southeast Asian country given the support of India and China.

The Chinese issued a statement calling for the world to respect Burmese sovereignty and laws, and is seen as an indication that China, a veto power will not support any United Nations actions.

John Yettaw whose unauthorised visit led to Aung San Suu Kyi’s prosecution has himself been sentenced to seven years imprisonment, four of which will be for hard labour.

Sources

Four employees of the Rio Tinto Group have been formally arrested in China on charges of bribery and using improper practises in its negotiations with Chinese companies. The Chinese accuse the men of improperly learning the negotiating position of Chinese companies wishing to buy iron ore, and through this charging 700 billion yuan (US$102.46 billion) more then they would otherwise have been able to

The four were initially held on espionage charges and have been held since early July. The formal charges allows the Chinese authorities to hold the four a further seven months as it prepares its case against them. Their arrests followed the collapse of an attempted by Chinese owned Chinalco to raise its stake in the Anglo-Australian Rio Tinto Group to 18%.

Sources

Michael Jackson will be the star of a film to be released on October 28, some four months after his death. The film will be primarily cut from footage of Jackson rehearsing for the series of concerts that would have taken place at the O2 in London, but will also feature interviews with Jackson’s family and friends.

The film becomes possible after AEG Live, the promoter of the O2 concerts, reached an US$60 million agreement with Columbia Pictures for over 100 hours of footage of Jackson preparing for his swan song.

“He was the architect of ‘This is it‘, and we were his builders…” said Kenny Ortega, Jackson’s collaborator on the project “…it was clear that he was on his way to another theatrical triumph.”

Sources

Ontario Votes 2007: Interview with Green candidate Jim Reeves, York-Simcoe

Monday, October 1, 2007

Jim Reeves is running for the Green Party of Ontario in the Ontario provincial election, in the York-Simcoe riding. Wikinews’ Nick Moreau interviewed him regarding his values, his experience, and his 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.

Day 1 report of Wikimania 2006

This article mentions the Wikimedia Foundation, one of its projects, or people related to it. Wikinews is a project of the Wikimedia Foundation.

Sunday, August 6, 2006

Wikimania 2006 is the second annual Wikimedia conference. Hosted by the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at the Harvard Law School campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts, it began August 4 and will run until August 6.

Wikimania began with a keynote presentation from Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia and the Wikimedia Foundation. Wales played a short portion of a clip from a recent episode of U.S. television program The Colbert Report discussing Wikipedia. In the clip, Colbert says that “any website that has a longer entry on truthiness than Lutheranism has got its priorities straight.” His keynote continued by re-emphasising Wikimedia’s mission, as stated by Wales in a Slashdot interview: “Imagine a world in which every single person on the planet is given free access to the sum of all human knowledge. That’s what we’re doing”.

Wales stated that Wikipedia is “not as good as Britannica — yet”. Additionally, he also stated that in the coming year, Wikipedia will be making “a turn towards quality”. “We have always had this goal, but we all know we’re not there yet – in the coming years one of the themes is going to be a turn towards quality.” said Wales.

He then introduced Brad Patrick, the general counsel and recently-appointed interim CEO of Wikimedia. Patrick said he found Wikimedia after reading Wales’ list Ten Things That Will Be Free on Lawrence Lessig‘s blog. After discovering the Wikimedia Foundation, Patrick emailed Wales about meeting for lunch. He had lunch with Wales a few months later and was hired as general counsel shortly after.

Wales went on to describe Wikia, the company he co-founded with Angela Beesley. He announced that Wikia has received venture capital, allowing them to hire full-time engineers to work on the MediaWiki software. He emphasized that Wikia, has “a total commitment to free knowledge and respect for communities.”

Later, Wales announced that the One Laptop Per Child project will be including Wikipedia as the first element in the content repository. He also announced that the board has approved Wikiversity as “a center for the creation and use of free learning materials and activities”. Wikiversity will “create and host a range of free-content multilingual learning materials for all age groups in all languages”. It will be launched soon with a three language, six month, beta trial period.

Wales described a project called Wikiwyg: a WYSIWYG editor for the wiki. Wikiwyg is an attempt to make the wiki easier to edit. “An intelligence test by making it hard to edit, just does not work,” noted Wales. While the release date is uncertain both Wikia and Socialtext are devoting full-time engineers to the project.

Wales emphasized the need to focus on quality. He also briefly discussed the commitment in the German Wikipedia to rolling out a stable version. He stated that if we do not have it rolled out by next year’s keynote “we are making a big mistake”.

Wales finished his keynote by giving an update on his Ten Things That Will Be Free and proposing “that the foundation seek funding to hire community coordinator and recruiters for important languages where we currently do poorly”.

This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.
This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.

Other notable speakers included Ward Cunningham, Lawrence Lessig, Eben Moglen and many members of the Wikimedia communities.

The day wrapped up with a poster reception and a party celebrating Wikia’s 250,000 articles and Wikia’s founders Angela Beesley and Jimmy Wales birthdays.

Archived copies of many of the presentations are available on the Wikimania wiki.

Portland, Oregon mayor admits to sexual relationship he previously denied

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

After an investigation by the Portland, Oregon weekly newspaper Willamette Week, mayor Sam Adams admitted he did have a sexual relationship with Beau Breedlove in 2005. The openly gay mayor said Breedlove was 18 years of age when the sexual relationship began, however the two met when Breedlove was still a minor. Adams also admitted he previously lied about the relationship and asked Breedlove to also lie about the relationship during the time Adams was running for mayor. The Oregon Attorney General‘s office is investigating the matter.

“In the past, I have characterized my relationship with Beau Breedlove as purely nonsexual. That is not true. Beau Breedlove and I had a sexual relationship for a few months in the summer of 2005 after he turned 18 years of age. I want to apologize to the people of Portland for my dishonesty and for embarrassing them. My job now is to come clean — I mucked it up — and to press forward,” said Adams in a statement to the media.

Newspapers such as The Oregonian, Just Out, the Portland Tribune, and the Portland Business Journal, as well as the Portland Police Union have called for Adams to resign. Others such as city commissioner Randy Leonard and Multnomah County district attorney Michael Schrunk want an investigation to be launched into Adams’ actions. Portland commissioner Randy Leonard expressed distraught when he heard Adams had lied about the relationship. Leonard previously defended Adams when the allegations first came to light. There are also allegations that Breedlove was only 17 when the sexual relationship started, bringing up memories of the sex scandal that tainted former mayor Neil Goldschmidt‘s legacy after he admitted to sex with his 14-year-old babysitter.

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“The part I’m having trouble with is the thing he did was to ask the young man to lie. That I’m having a hard time understanding,” said Leonard in a statement. Adams has no plans to resign as mayor.

Breedlove met Adams in April 2005 at the Oregon State Capitol when Breedlove was an intern for then Oregon House of Representatives member Kim Thatcher. Breedlove sought Adams out for advice on coming out of the closet. Later, the two spent time together and Adams attended Breedlove’s 18th birthday party.

Rumors of a sexual relationship surfaced in the fall of 2007, but Adams denied any sexual relationship at that time. Adams is currently in a relationship with reporter Peter Zuckerman.

Facebook acquires Instagram for US$1 billion

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The popular social networking site Facebook agreed to purchase the Instagram photo-sharing mobile app for US$1 billion in cash and stock Monday.

The app, which can be used to apply faux-vintage filters to photographs, allows users to share photos with one another both directly and through posts to social networking sites. Instagram was founded less than two years ago by two Stanford University graduates near San Francisco, California and the purchase is one of the largest acquisitions in Facebook history following after a failed takeover bid in early 2011 which had been declined by Instagram.

Facebook, despite its prominence as the largest website for social networking in the world, has had difficulties expanding into the mobile market, particularly the realm of mobile advertising. As of yet, Facebook lacks an advertising platform for its apps and has yet to capitalize off the boom in mobile phone use that Instagram is intertwined with.

We think the fact that Instagram is connected to other services beyond Facebook is an important part of the experience.

Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg noted the importance of the ability to post to multiple social media sites at once in a post. He wrote on his personal timeline, “We think the fact that Instagram is connected to other services beyond Facebook is an important part of the experience.” He said Facebook “plan[s] on keeping features like the ability to post to other social networks, the ability to not share your Instagrams on Facebook if you want, and the ability to have followers and follow people separately from your friends on Facebook.”

Many other small services that Facebook has acquired, namely Gowalla, Hot Potato, and FriendFeed, were all shuttered shortly after acquisition. The co-founder of Instagram, Kevin Systrom, in a company blog post, has denied any claims that Instagram would share the fate of these past services. “It’s important to be clear that Instagram is not going away. We’ll be working with Facebook to evolve Instagram and build the network. We’ll continue to add new features to the product and find new ways to create a better mobile photos experience,” he wrote.

Many reasons have been put forth for the purchase, and Zuckerberg commented, “for years, we’ve focused on building the best experience for sharing photos with your friends and family. Now, we’ll be able to work even more closely with the Instagram team to also offer the best experiences for sharing beautiful mobile photos with people based on your interests.”

Ford’s US auto sales spike, surpassing GM

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Ford Motor Company said on Tuesday that its sales in the United States rose 43% in February compared to the same period last year, as the automaker outsold rivals Toyota and General Motors.

The strength of our new products … are resonating with customers

Ford said that total sales improved to 142,285 units, compared to 141,951 units sold by GM. Additionally, Ford said that its share of the total US car market rose to 17%, up from 14% a year ago. The increase was better than analysts had predicted, and Ford’s stock rose to a five-year high in morning trading, before declining later in the day. Ford’s sales were significantly influenced by a 74% increase in fleet sales to businesses. Rental car agencies alone accounted for around 30,000 units sold. Sales to retail consumers increased only 28%.

The increases were led by sales of two sedans, the Fusion and Taurus, which rose 166.5 and 93.3% respectively, although sales of other models such as SUVs and pickup trucks also increased. Both models were significantly redesigned last year, and analysts said that improved quality from such cars were driving the increases.

Other companies also reported February sales today, nearly all reporting sales gains as well, although none as large as those of Ford. Toyota was the sole exception to the sales gains, as their sales declined 8.7%, as the company was faced with a global recall during the month that led to a temporary stoppage of production for some models.

“The strength of our new products … are resonating with customers,” said Ken Czubay, Ford’s vice president of sales and marketing. However, he believed that traditional Toyota customers were not buying rival autos, but rather awaiting the results from the recalls.