Category:Chemical weapons

This is the category for Chemical weapons.

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Canister of Soviet military chemical agent in Albania


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David Witt, father-in-law of Floyd Landis, commits suicide

Thursday, August 17, 2006

David Witt, father-in-law of Floyd Landis, the winner of the 2006 Tour De France, has died. Witt was found dead in his car in a parking garage on August 16. He died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, San Diego Police said. He was 57.

Witt who was married to Rose, the mother of Amber, Floyd Landis’ wife, introduced Amber to Landis. Witt was an amateur cyclist who became friends with Landis after having the same coach. At one time, they were even roommates.

Witt and his wife co-own the “Hawthorn’s” restaurant in San Diego and it is adorned with Landis memorabilia, including his jerseys and magazine covers. The two had also attended the Tour de France where they witnessed Floyd’s victory.

Floyd Landis did win the 2006 Tour de France, but the result is contested after he tested positive in a doping test. He is widely expected to be stripped of the title.

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Daimler acquires stake in winning team Brawn GP, changes its name to Mercedes Grand Prix

Thursday, November 19, 2009

On Monday Daimler AG announced a deal to buy a 75.1% stake in Brawn GP.

As a result, the team who won both the 2009 Drivers’ and Constructors’ championships this year with Mercedes-engined cars, would be rebranded as Mercedes Grand Prix from 2010 Formula One Season onwards. The team could possibly use its legendary ‘Silver Arrows’ livery again since a crash at Le Mans in 1955, ending Mercedes’ 55 year absence in the sport as a sole team.

Daimler purchase went in partnership with Aabar Investments, who now own 30% of the shares. The rest of the shares will stay for Ross Brawn, who will remain as team principal, and Nick Fry.

The team still will be headquartered in Brackley (United Kingdom) which is close to Mercedes F1 engine plant at Brixworth, led by Norbert Haug, Vice-President of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport.

Mercedes will also continue to supply McLaren with engines until at least 2015, but sell its 40% stake in two years.

Mercedes is now up to decide their drivers for the next season as Rubens Barrichello already signed a contract with Williams and Jenson Button could run for McLaren together with Lewis Hamilton.

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Australia: Victorian government to trial driverless vehicles on public roads

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Yesterday, the state government of Victoria, Australia announced their decision to trial self-driving vehicles on two of the state’s major connecting motorways, the CityLink and Tullamarine Freeway. The trial is to use autonomous vehicles from automobile companies including BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Volvo, and Tesla. The two-year trial is to have three phases.

The cars are to drive alongside commuters, but in public testing a driver is always to be present, as Victorian law requires drivers always keep a hand on the steering wheel. However, in occasional closures of the Burnley Tunnel, with no other drivers to endanger, the cars are to be tested with nobody in the vehicle.

Lane assist, cruise control, and recognition of traffic signs are in the trial’s first phase, expected to complete before the end of the year. This includes monitoring how the driver-less cars respond to road conditions, including lane markings and electronic speed signs.

“Victoria is at the forefront of automated vehicle technology — we’re investing in this trial to explore ways that this technology can be used to reduce crashes and keep people safe on our roads”, said Luke Donnellan, the Victorian Minister for Roads and Road Safety. He noted, “Ninety per cent of the fault of accidents is human error […] so we know that if we can take out human error we will have less accidents”.

Tim Hansen, Victoria Police’s Acting Assistant Commissioner, said that police had founded a project team to investigate how self-driving vehicles would change policing on roads. “Can we intercept vehicles more safely to avoid pursuits and ramming?”, he asked.

The trial is a partnership between the state government, Victoria’s road management authority VicRoads, owner of the CityLink toll road Transurban, and insurance company RACV.

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World AIDS Day events held around the globe

Sunday, December 2, 2007

The 20th annual World AIDS Day was December 1, 2007. The theme selected by the World AIDS Campaign is “Stop AIDS: Keep the Promise” as it will be through 2010. The day was marked by thousands of events around the world.

“It is now time for bold leadership at all levels in order to turn the tide of HIV,” said Felicita Hikuam, Global Programmes Manager, World AIDS Campaign. An estimated 33.2 million people around the world—one in every 200—are living with HIV, and approximately 6,800 people are infected with HIV and 5,700 people die of AIDS-related illnesses every day.

“The trend is encouraging but still for every person receiving treatment four others are newly infected,” said Nelson Mandela, speaking at a concert in Johannesburg, South Africa. “If we are to stop the Aids epidemic from expanding, we need to break the cycle of new HIV infections. All of us working together with government, communities and civil society can make the difference that is needed,” he continued.

As many as 50,000 people attended the concert in Johannesburg, South Africa, which was telecast around the world. It was organized by Nelson Mandela’s 46664 AIDS campaign and featured performances by artists such as Peter Gabriel, Ludacris, Razorlight, the Goo Goo Dolls and Annie Lennox.File:20050702-Nelson Mandela Live8 Edinburgh.jpg

At a fundraiser in the town of Midrand, in the province Gauteng, near Johannesburg on Friday, singer Annie Lennox had strong words for the South African government’s AIDS policies.

“AIDS, as Madiba [Mandela] has said, is a human rights issue and should be treated as such in order to avoid this genocide that is affecting millions and millions of people around the world,” said Lennox in a speech. Lennox has previously been critical of the South African government’s position on suggesting some AIDS medications were toxic. “It is unacceptable that treatment has not been made available to those who need it most,” said Lennox.

The rock band Queen, which lost its lead singer Freddie Mercury to AIDS, released a new song entitled, Say It’s Not True, to coincide with World Aids Day. It has been made available as a free download from the band’s website. “By making the song available for free, we hope to help Nelson Mandela with his campaign to get across the message that no-one is safe from infection,” said Queen drummer Roger Taylor. “We have to be aware, we have to protect ourselves and those we love.”

In China, people distributed AIDS prevention brochures in the streets and promoted safe sex in cities like Beijing and Shanghai. In Changsha, official warning signs were put on hotel bedstands. The government announced on Friday an allocation of CNY860 million for AIDS prevention and control. According to official reports, there are estimated to be 700,000 people living with HIV/AIDS in China.

Also in China, the Miss World 2007 was in Sanya on World AIDS Day. The pageant presented a special tribute to the fight against AIDS, with a televised speech from former South African President Nelson Mandela, along with traditional dancers from South Africa who joined the contestants in a special song.

Friday, United States President George W. Bush urged the United States Congress to double the 2003 Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief to US$30 billion over the next five years. “Above all, we rededicate ourselves to a great purpose: We will turn the tide against HIV/AIDS—once and for all,” he said.

“I’m pleased to announce that Laura and I will travel to sub-Sahara Africa early next year,” Bush said. Sub-Saharan Africa suffered nearly three-quarters of AIDS-related deaths during 2006 and is home to two-thirds of those living with HIV/AIDS.

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US interrogators complain of “sickening” pressure for evidence on Iran

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

US interrogators have claimed that they are under pressure to find incriminating evidence against Iran when they interview Iraqi insurgents, The Observer reported on Sunday.

Micah Brose, a privately contracted interrogator working for the US military in Iraq, told the British newspaper that information about Iran is “gold”.

“They push a lot for us to establish a link with Iran (when interrogating prisoners)”, he claimed in the interview, adding that “it feels a lot like, if you get something and Iran’s not involved, it’s a let down.” He further claimed that people have said to him that “they’re really pushing the Iran thing”. Brose denied being asked to manufacture evidence, but stated that “if a detainee wants to tell me what I want to hear so he can get out of jail … you know what I’m saying.”

The US government accuses Iran of arming insurgents in neighbouring Iraq, and refuses to rule out military action against Iran for its alleged attempts to build nuclear weapons. In the past the US has been accused of using exaggerated and fabricated evidence to build its case against Iraq prior to the war.

The Observer article, which has not been picked up by any other mainstream news agency (but reported in Iran), also quoted a military intelligence officer as saying that “The message is, ‘Got to find a link with Iran, got to find a link with Iran.’ It’s sickening.”

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Cyber attacks in Estonia threaten national security

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Recent cyber attacks in Estonia that have paralyzed the high tech country’s Web sites are a threat to national security, according to the country’s Minister of Defense. This has concerned NATO, seeing that Estonia is a member state of the organization. The attacks have subsided this week.

The Defense Minister Jaak Aaviksoo also mentioned that Russia may have been behind the attacks. He stated that the IP numbers in the initial attack belong to Russian government offices, but says that it’s insufficient evidence that the government is behind it. The Kremlin is dismissing the accusations, saying that its caused by hackers producing fake Kremlin IP addresses.

The cyber attacks came after Estonia removed a Soviet-era statue of a Bronze Soldier in Tallinn, which angered many Russians. Riots have left 160 injured, and 1 dead.

Both NATO and the European Union views this as an attack on one of their member states. Three hundred Estonian IT specialist worked day and night to fix the problem.

The Estonian government plans to analyze server logs and data to find out who is behind the attacks.

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TaiwanRFID 2007 shows the applications at the exhibition and seminar

Friday, October 12, 2007

At the 4th day of 2007 The 1st Taiwan International RFID Applications Show (TaiwanRFID 2007), in conjunction with TAITRONICS 2007, the organizer TAITRA held an international seminar with RFID solutions at the entrance of the seminar. This seminar is mainly focused on some topics (RFID applications and solutions world-wide) continued from the exhibition at TWTC Hall 3.

According to a survey by Institute for Information Industry (III), the top 3 productive value of RFID industry in Taiwan are sensor tags (39%), readers (31% approximately), and services (21%). This market trend can be observed at this exhibition with the industry nature of participated exhibitors such as chips producer, antennas, tags, and readers. Some of prominent manufacturers like IBM, Cheng Loong Co., Ltd., and ChungHua Telecom were participated at this exhibition.

Not only the performance of RFID applications, some of companies simulated the process of RFID smart tags in the factory to buyers. NXP semiconductor and National Instruments (NI) also provided RFID solutions to ensure the quality of RFID tags such as RFID test system by NI.

This RFID exhibition and TAITRONICS will open to 3 p.m. tomorrow.

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Fuel leak prompts 17,000-vehicle recall by Toyota

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Toyota announced on Friday that it will recall around 17,000 Lexus vehicles in response to risks of the fuel tank in the cars leaking after a collision.

The Lexus HS 250h model was subjected to the recall following a US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) investigation. Despite previously passing Toyota safety inspections, the conclusions of an NHTSA sub-contracted investigator were that; when the vehicles in question collided with an object at more than fifty-miles-per hour, more than 142 grams of fuel, the maximum allowed by US law, leaked from the crashed car.

According to Toyota, further tests did not show any additional failure of the fuel tank.

In response to the findings, Toyota issued a recall of all affected vehicles, since the company had no solution immediately available. The recall includes 13,000 cars already sold, as well as another 4,000 still at dealerships.

Toyota says it plans to conduct further tests to determine the cause of the leak. A Toyota spokesman, Brian Lyons, said that the company was “still working to determine what the root cause of the condition is.” It’s still unclear when exactly the recall will take place, or when dealerships will be allowed to sell this model again. Lyons said that Toyota is “working feverishly to get this resolved as soon as possible.”

Toyota isn’t aware of any accidents stemming from the leaking fuel tank in the affected vehicles, first introduced in the summer of 2009.

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Northern Ireland First Minister Paul Givan resigns over Brexit border checks

Friday, February 4, 2022

File:Paul Givan MLA.jpg

The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) First Minister of Northern Ireland Paul Givan resigned effective midnight Friday as part of his party’s protests against checks on goods coming from Great Britain.

The checking provision was introduced as part of the Northern Ireland Protocol, which was decided during Brexit negotiations that saw the UK leave the European Union. However, prominent Unionists in Northern Ireland have strongly opposed its terms.

Givan’s resignation will also force Sinn Féin Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill from office in the devolved Executive (Stormont). This cripples the body’s legislative power, meaning it can no longer meet to pass vital policies like the three-year budget, an energy bills grant and relaxing Covid-19 restrictions. However, other Stormont ministers remain in portfolio until the next elections scheduled for May.

Givan’s emotional press statement indicated Northern Ireland’s institutions are “being tested once again and the delicate balance created by the Belfast and St Andrew’s agreements has been impacted by the agreement made by the United Kingdom government and the European Union [Brexit]”. He specifically mentioned the “cornerstone” principle of consent provided as part of the Belfast Good Friday Agreement that introduced the power-sharing Executive.

However, he emphasised his “earnest desire that all sections of the community will soon be able to give consent to the restoration of a fully functioning executive, through a resolution to the issues that have regrettably brought us to this point”.

He called his resignation after almost eight months in the post “the end of what has been the privilege of my lifetime – to serve as the First Minister of Northern Ireland”. He succeeded Arlene Foster after she resigned in June 2021. It was something “I never expected to have the opportunity to [do]” when first elected as Lagan Valley MLA in 2011, he added.

The decision was criticised by opposition parties, including “reckless and self-serving” by Sinn Féin finance minister Conor Murphy, in addition to officials in the British and Irish governments. Leader of Sinn Féin Mary Lou McDonald urged an early election to be called “in the absence of a functioning Executive” to show “the DUP actions have consequences, real consequences for people struggling”. Leader of the Ulster Unionist Party Doug Beattie framed it as destabilising, generating “more hardship for the people of Northern Ireland” and ultimately fruitless: “At the end of it all, the Protocol will still be there”.

While McDonald criticised coming inaction on the budget and healthcare investment for “the DUPs own narrow and self-serving political interests”, others expressed concern over the crippling of government services. UK Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Brandon Lewis called the move “extremely disappointing” and urged a reinstatement to “ensure the necessary delivery of public services for the citizens of Northern Ireland”. Prime Minister Boris Johnson emphasised the UK government’s priority “for a resilient Northern Ireland Executive”.

Taoiseach of Ireland Michéal Martin called Givan’s decision “a highly damaging move”. Through a spokesperson he warned “[i]t is absolutely vital for peace and prosperity in Northern Ireland that the Executive is delivering for the people of Northern Ireland, particularly now as we emerge from the Covid pandemic”. He urged “the DUP to return to full engagement with all the institutions of the Good Friday Agreement” that the Protocol protects “in all its dimensions”.

He added talks between the UK and EU, of which Ireland is a member, are ongoing and “must be given every chance to succeed”. He further said: “The [European] Commission has put forward serious proposals which directly address the concerns about outstanding issues on implementation of the Protocol”. Givan had told reporters he was resigning as Unionists were being required “to be seen and not heard” regarding the Protocol.

British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss and Commission vice president Maroš Šef?ovi? met via video conference on Thursday to discuss the Protocol, “the only solution we have found with the UK government to protect the Good Friday (Belfast) Agreement”. In a statement, Šef?ovi? called yesterday’s instruction by Stormont Agriculture Minister and former DUP leader Edwin Poots to suspend certain checks for goods entering Northern Ireland “very unhelpful”. Truss and Šef?ovi? will meet again on February 11.

Unionist politicians have made their position on the Protocol clear. Following Givan’s resignation, DUP party leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson said it “represents an existential threat to the future of Northern Ireland’s place within the Union”. He added the UK government has not held up the New Decade, New Approach agreement that was the basis for the DUP re-entering the Executive in January 2020. The deal ended a three-year impasse in power-sharing between Sinn Féin and the DUP following the Renewable Heat Incentive scandal.

The Irish Independent understands the statement and time of Givan’s resignation was confirmed in a meeting between high-ranking DUP members earlier on Thursday.

Poots’s decision to suspend sanitary and phytosanitary checks not imposed by December 31, 2020 allegedly followed legal advice which “concluded that I can direct the checks to cease in the absence of Executive approval”. Although the UK government has said it will not intervene in a “matter for the Northern Ireland Executive”, it faced criticism as “a breach of international law” by Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney. Šef?ovi? called it as “essential” that checks are still being conducted, while a spokesperson on Johnson’s behalf expressed support for “a swift resolution.”

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