Australia/2006

Contents

  • 1 January
  • 2 February
  • 3 March
  • 4 April
  • 5 May
  • 6 June
  • 7 July
  • 8 August
  • 9 September
  • 10 October
  • 11 November
  • 12 December

[edit]

 

Different Laws That Apply To A Business Bankruptcy

byAlma Abell

The laws that apply to the various types of business bankruptcy in Chicago focus on how debt is either repaid by the company or forgiven. In the United States there are essentially only two types of bankruptcy that are used by business; Chapter 7 and Chapter 11. In the case of Chapter 7 this involves winding up the company, selling off the assets, giving the money from the sale as partial compensation to the debtors. In the case of Chapter 11, this is a type of bankruptcy that will allow the company to develop a court approved restructuring plan and it will continue to operate as before while it pays down the debt.

The laws that apply to business bankruptcy in Chicago determine if the business even meets the necessary qualifications needed to declare bankruptcy. To qualify, the business is considered to be insolvent which means that it is unable to meet the financial obligations that were specified in the original contract. In cases like this court will appoint a trustee to oversee the situation, ensuring that creditors are paid, although it is a foregone conclusion that the creditor will receive but a percentage of the debt which is actually owed.

If a company is allowed to go into Chapter 11 bankruptcy the company is given an opportunity to reorganize its finances with a view to paying the accumulated debt and still stay in business. For Chapter 11 to be approved a petition, either voluntary or involuntary must be filed in court. Part of the petition is a plan that lays out how the company will repay the creditors. The company is then known as the debtor in possession which means that retain control of the assets during the restructuring process.

Chapter 11 also calls for a complete disclosure of all the assets and their value as well as any debt against them. It is this information that is used to determine if the plan satisfies the interests of the creditors. The creditors are given an opportunity to voice their opinion and vote to either accept or reject the plan.

The laws that apply to a Chapter 7 business bankruptcy in Chicago are different. In Chapter 7 the business must close and cease all operations. To gain approval for the company must prove to the court that it is unable to meet its financial obligations. A trustee is appointed, the assets are sold, usually at auction, the debtors are paid and the debts are discharged, the creditors have no further legal recourse to collect the debt.

There are differences in the laws and structure of the various ways in which a business bankruptcy in Chicago can be declared. To fully appreciate how the laws can affect your business you are invited to contact Chicago Debt Solutions.

 

Ontario Votes 2007: Interview with Progessive Conservative candidate Tyler Currie, Trinity-Spadina

Monday, October 1, 2007

Tyler Currie is running as an Progressive Conservative candidate in the Ontario provincial election, in the riding of Trinity-Spadina. 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.

 

Amtrak train smashes freighter in Chicago

Saturday, December 1, 2007

An Amtrak train collided with a parked Norfolk Southern freight train in Chicago on Friday. 30 people were injured, five of them Amtrak personnel who were most seriously injured.

Amtrak train 371, the Pere Marquette, started in Grand Rapids, Michigan and carried 193 people on board including six crew members. The train was in south Chicago heading towards its destination of Chicago Union Station when the crash occurred around 17:30 UTC. No injuries were reported among the crew of the Norfolk Southern freight train. Amtrak’s locomotive, a GE Genesis, was derailed by the force of the impact, although the rest of the passenger train remained on the tracks.

All Amtrak trains between Chicago and Michigan are currently cancelled while workers remove the locomotive from the scene and perform any needed repairs. A National Transportation Safety Board “Go Team” led by Ted Turpin was dispatched to the scene to conduct a federal investigation into the crash.

 

500 stranded melon-headed whales rescued in Philippine bay

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Philippine fishermen, volunteers and authorities with dozens of fishing boats have joined hands in guiding back to sea about 500 disorientated melon-headed whales that were stranded in the shallow waters near the mouth of Manila Bay delta in the Bataan Peninsula.

The gentle mammals were first spotted swimming back and forth and straying very dangerously close (about a mile or 1.6 kilometers) to the shores of the coastal towns of Pilar, Orion and Abucay 135 kilometers northwest of Manila at around at around 4:00 am on Tuesday, said Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) Commodore Luis Tuazon and Bataan Governor Enrique Garcia Jr.

The Philippines Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) said its has responded to the reported mass “stranding” of whales off Pilar coastal waters in the province of Bataan where the famous and historic Corregidor Island is located.

Using dozens of fishing boats with machines shut down and bare hands, more than 100 village fishermen and volunteers along with BFAR, local police and Philippine Coast Guard personnel have joined the massive rescue. With great difficulty, the emergency team has waded into the chest-deep water, clapping their hands and hitting the surface to guide and drive the whales farther away from the coastal shore to deeper waters.

“The mammals were at first thought to have been dolphins, but experts then identified them as melon-headed whales,” local veterinarian Mariel Flores said. “This type of whale can be easily mistaken for dolphins because of their size and their teeth, which resemble those of dolphins. The mammals have ears that are sensitive to large changes in pressure underwater,” she added.

This type of [melon-headed] whale can be easily mistaken for dolphins because of their size and their teeth, which resemble those of dolphins. If their eardrums are damaged they become disorientated and they float up to the surface.

“It looked like they never wanted to leave. They looked sad,” said Rodolfo Joson, a village councilor. Joson and his son, Joey, a fisherman like him, have rushed home at about 4 a.m. to report the pod sighting. “It was still dark when we waded into the water. The whales were about 200 meters from the shore. The water was up to my neck. We first checked their conditions by playing with them. They did not repel us or leave. They were making hooting sounds,” Joson explained the mass beaching. “It seemed they were running away from waters that they didn’t like. Dolphins are happy and strong creatures. They raced with ships,” he added.

A post-mortem examination has revealed that four dead whales found beached farther up north in Abucay, Bataan, include two adult females, one of which was pregnant, while the other gave birth to a calf that also died, said Dr. Lemnuel Aragones of Ocean Adventure in Subic Freeport who did the necropsy at the Bataan fisheries office in Balanga City.

This is the first time that such large numbers of dolphins had been stranded in the Philippines. “We are trying to come up with a possible explanation to this unusual occurrence. It could be that the dolphins had lost their bearings and inadvertently ended up on the shallow portion of the coast unable to extricate themselves,” said Dr Lemuel Aragones, Associate Professor at the UP Institute of Environmental Science and Meteorology.

Dr Aragones, who holds a PhD on Tropical Environmental Studies (Marine Ecology) from Australia’s James Cook University, explained that “the melon-headed whales of the dolphin family have sophisticated navigation systems that operate on a principle similar to sonar instruments used in submarines. Like humans, dolphins also follow a ‘leader’ of their pod. It is possible that the leader of this dolphin [pod] had somehow lost its way. In turn, the leader’s acoustic system, which serves as its guidance system, might have been impaired,” the marine expert elaborated.

Dr Aragones said “BFAR, UPIESM, and the Ocean Adventure Marine Park in Subic started the Philippine Marine Mammals Stranding Network (PMMSN) in 2005 as a response to cetacean strandings or beachings.” She cited the PMMSN training received by BFAR officers in Bataan during Tuesday’s mass beaching. She has asked the government to release funds for marine mammal studies.

The two adults had damaged eardrums, Alberto Venturina, the provincial veterinarian, said. “Dolphins with injured eardrums become disoriented, cannot dive for food and are too weak to swim and just flow with the current. If it’s a sick leader, the animal needs to be identified and taken out of sight of the rest of the pod so the healthy dolphins could be prodded back to sea,” he added.”The two animals were identified as melon-headed dolphins, weighing about 250 to 300 kilograms (550 to 660 pounds),” explained Venturina, adding “the third dolphin was only a month old and measured barely a meter long. Its gender had not yet been determined.”

According to Nelson Bien, head of the Fisheries Resource and Management Division of BFAR Region III, a necropsy by BFAR, the provincial veterinarian, and veterinarians from the Ocean Adventure in Subic Freeport has traced the cause of their death to drowning.

The marine doctors have determined that the marine mammals might have drowned after failing to extricate themselves from the fishing nets or “baklad,” explained Dr. Mundita Lim, director of the Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau (PAWB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). “There were no injuries to their ears, like visible lesions, but the possibility of an acoustic problem or trauma is still there,” Dr Lim explained, saying, “more tests, like analysis of tissue samples and MRI tests will have to be done to see if there were other injuries to the animals not visible externally.”

They are sending tissue samples to the University of Philippines in Los Baños, Laguna for analysis. “If it was something like climate change, then it would be a bigger environmental problem,” Lim added.

A fourth and pregnant one was also found dead in the village of Tortugas in the town of Balanga, Bataan, said Bien, saying they were investigating the incident and would conduct a “water quality and water parameter test” to determine why the dolphins beached to shallow waters. The condition of melon-headed whale found at Talisay River and taken to Ocean Adventure in Subic Freeport has improved amid forced feeding and treatment of its 2 wounds, said Nilo Ramoso, Biologist III, Pawikan Conservation Project.

Dr. Westly Rosario, BFAR Center chief in Dagupan City, has reported that BFAR personnel were also investigating a “problem in the water, probably chemical pollution,” to explain why the dolphins beached and sought shelter in the shallow waters. The dolphins have faced the same direction and their blowholes above water, they seemed to be avoiding something. “The dolphins were behaving in the same way, they have the same action. People were trying to drive them back into the sea but they refused. There could be chemical pollution somewhere which they were avoiding,” Rosario explained.

Dolphins’ disorientation is sometimes caused by the changes in earth’s magnetic field “that cause the dolphins’ navigational mechanisms to go haywire,” Dr. Edgardo Gomez, professor emeritus of the University of the Philippines Marine Science Institute, said, adding that “it could also be chemicals in the water that affected the dolphins, although this should be proven by water tests.” Philippine marine biologist Rizza Salinas said a possible cause for the stranding of large pods of distressed whales is that there could have been illegal dynamite fishing in the area.

“This is very strange. What is also unusual is they appeared disoriented. I am on my way to Bataan on board BFAR’s patrol vessel. We will look into the situation. Our patrol boats are also on their way to the area. We are also getting experts on stranding,” said BFAR director Malcolm Sarmiento Jr. Sarmiento, explaining that the highest number of stranded dolphins recorded by the BFAR was only 20 to 30. “It’s something unusual. It’s the first time that such a large pod has entered Manila Bay, and is acting strangely,” Sarmiento added.

“Most strandings are caused by seaquakes, heat wave or disturbances at sea. Such disturbances affect the pressure underwater, which subsequently affects the dolphins’ eardrums and sense of balance, leading to their “disorientation.” The creatures then will avoid diving in deeper parts of the ocean and will swim to shallow areas. They came from the north and were headed towards the South China Sea,” Sarmiento explained, adding that the unusual occurrence may have also been caused when the pod could have been following a sick or injured leader.

Sarmiento has appealed to the public not to inflict harm on the dolphins, which are considered threatened species. “Please do not harm the dolphins because they are already endangered. The authorities should also prevent the people who want to inflict harm on the creatures. They should be arrested, if needed.” Melon-head dolphins are considered threatened species — meaning they are likely to become endangered in the future.

“At around 12 noon, the dolphins were finally guided to the open seas, but residents in Hermosa near Mariveles were surprised to see the dolphins near their shoreline, but around 4:30 pm, all the dolphins have left the shoreline and swam towards into deeper waters,” said Governor Garcia.

“The dolphins swam parallel back to Abucay, Hermosa, and Manila Bay before they were eventually herded farther offshore. There are theories that this phenomenon was a result of the Monday night lunar eclipse. The Fisheries Bureau will know after their tests,” Garcia added.

Having suspected the dolphins’ habitat must have been disrupted, forcing them to flee and seek refuge in shallow waters, Senate of the Philippines Majority Leader, Juan Miguel Zubiri on Tuesday asked experts to probe the cause of the sudden appearance of more than 300 electra dolphins near the shores of Pilar town in Bataan province Tuesday morning.

Senator Zubiri wanted the experts to examine the possibility that an earthquake study, involving an undersea experiment using blasting in the South China Sea by the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory (L-DEO) – a collaborator of Columbia University – caused the abnormal behavior of the small whales.

Citing an International Union for Conservation of Nature research concluding that the melon-headed whales may have been distracted by the South China Sea study, forcing the dolphins to wander in the shallow waters, Senator Zubiri said that “the earthquake study is a sea floor investigation project in the exclusive economic zone that includes Taiwan, China, Japan and the Philippines for its earthquake research. On top of saving stranded dolphins, we should find the cause for the tragedy in order to avoid them in the future and to be prepared when it occurs again,” he explained.

But according to Erlinton Olavare, Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) science research specialist, “no significant event was recorded by their stations in Bolinao, Sta. Cruz and Lubag, near Pilar at the time the dolphins were stranded Tuesday.”

Department of Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Jose L. Atienza, Jr. said Bataan Gov. Enrique “Tet” Garcia on Wednesday confirmed there was dynamite fishing in his province. “I asked him [Garcia] and he confirmed it. He also said he was battling this illegal activity,” said Atienza. “The causes of the acoustic trauma could have been sound waves caused by dynamite fishing or sounds emitted by passing ships or seaquakes,” Gov. Garcia said.

“Dolphins are a ‘cohesive’ group and that they follow where their leader takes them. If the leader of the dolphins was sick, then the animal could have committed a “navigational error” and led the rest of the group to shore,” said the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society (WDCS).

“The pod of melon-headed whales (dolphins) on Manila Bay were injured by a rather nasty group of more than 120 undersea earthquakes. The swarm started with a small magnitude-4.5 event on December 21, 2008. Things got red-hot on January 3, 2009 when a magnitude-7.6 event erupted near the water’s edge on Papua Island in Indonesia, 700 miles southeast of Davao City in Mindanao. The 7.6 magnitude quake was followed by more than 120 major aftershocks each one capable by itself of inflicting injury on a pod of dolphins,” said Capt. David Williams, a retired marine mammal researcher, a commercial sea captain for 40 years and active whale conservationist.

Capt. Williams explained that whales and dolphins have small air sacs (pterygoid sinuses) that surround each inner ear and help then sense sound direction underwater. A damaged pterygoid air sac results in the loosing of echonavigation and echolocation. “In summary, my Seaquake Theory indicates that barotrauma, as a result of exposure to potent earthquake-induced changes in ambient pressure, solves the centuries-old mystery of why whales and dolphins mass-strand on beaches around the world,” Capt. Williams concluded.

An explosive blast and explosive decompression create a pressure wave that can induce barotrauma. The difference in pressure between internal organs and the outer surface of the body causes injuries to internal organs that contain gas, such as the lungs, gastrointestinal tract, and ear.

According to the Natural History Museum experts, whale and dolphins can become confused, mis-read the Earth’s magnetic fields, fear certain sounds and get lost. Since 1913, it has investigated all strandings, more than 11,000 so far, and it runs the UK Whale and Dolphin Stranding Scheme.

New Zealand‘s Project Jonah has claimed that the largest recorded beach stranding was in 1918 when 1,000 pilot whales were stranded on New Zealand’s Chatham Islands.

The last mass beaching in the Philippines was in 1956 when around 12 sperm whales were stranded in a coastal area in Capiz, amid at least 10 yearly strandings that happened in the country involving only one or two animals that were either sick or dying.

Last January this year, Filipino fishermen have also rescued an endangered sea cow. The fishermen aided the beached sea cow to the deep sea, according to the Worldwide Fund for Nature.

The Melon-headed whale (Peponocephala electra; many-toothed blackfish and electra dolphin) is a cetacean of the oceanic dolphin family (Delphinidae). As small members of the dolphingroup, it is closely related to the Pygmy Killer Whale and Pilot Whale, and collectively these dolphin species are known by the common name blackfish.

The tender mammal can grow up to 2.7 meters (9 feet) and weigh as much as 210 kilograms (460pounds). With black triangular “mask” on its face, it appears dark gray to black in color, has no discernible beak and its head is shaped like a rounded melon, thus the name. Its primary diet is squid and fish. The Melon-headed whale lives well off-shore in all the world’s tropical and sub-tropical oceans.

At the northern fringes of its range it may also be found in the warm currents of temperate waters. Ordinarily, however, it is found beyond the continental shelf between 20° S and 20° N. The Melon-headed whale is widespread throughout the world’s tropical waters, although not often seen by humans on account of its preference for deep water. It has been found in Ireland, Hawaii and Cebu, in the Philippines.

As social species, they are covered by the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 in the United States. In July 2004, between 150 and 200 melon-headed whales occupied the shallow waters of Kauai island in Hawaii for over 28 hours, after which, they were rescued and guided to deeper water. This incident may have been related to nearby United States Navy sonar exercise.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) which includes the melon-headed whales in its Red List of threatened species said that the number of whales involved in mass stranding had increased in the last 30 years.

“The melon-headed whales are likely to be “vulnerable” to loud sounds, such as those generated by navy sonar and seismic exploration. Evidence from stranded whales also has indicated that they may have died after swallowing plastic items. It has been predicted that the whales will be affected by global climate change, but the impact is still unclear,” the IUCN explained.

 

2000 houses still have no power in Canterbury, New Zealand

Monday, June 19, 2006

2000 Cantabrians are still without power a week after a huge snowstorm struck and took out the electricity in mid and south Canterbury.

Sunday June 18 came and brought more snow to mid and south Canterbury, but just a minuscule amount compared to last weeks.

Civil Defence says “It is keeping an eye on the situation, and welfare work is continuing to make sure everyone is coping. Iroquois helicopters are reportedly on standby at Wigram Air Base if needed,”

Chief executive of Orion (a power company) Roger Sutton says, “Another 20 or 30 homes are without power in the Lake Coleridge area.”

Repair crews were taken out of duty on Sunday because the snow got too deep, but should be back on the job Monday June 19.

NZ Post also reports that they have had to cancel deliveries to some Dunedin suburbs because it got too icy. NZ Post says that deliveries will continue on Tuesday June 20 or if the weather clears up before that.

The MetService has put severe weather warnings for some of the central cities of the North Island.

Barry Stratton, Transit, says that all roads are open in the South Island, but some will have delays.

 

Google launches Google Mars

Monday, March 13, 2006

If you thought Google Maps, Google Earth and Google Moon was enough, then meet Google Mars.

Google officially launched the new Google Mars yesterday as another add-on to Google Maps. The service offers three different ways to view Mars: elevation, visible landscape, and infrared view. The images come from two different NASA missions, Mars Global Surveyor and 2001 Mars Odyssey, and the data was prepared in collaboration with NASA researchers at Arizona State University.

The color-coded elevation data is a shaded-relief map taken by the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) on NASA’s Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft. The visible data is made from black and white images taken by the Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC), which is also located onboard the Mars Global Surveyor, and the infrared images were produced by the Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS) on NASA’s Mars Odyssey spacecraft. The THEMIS data is the sharpest map of Mars made so far, as it shows colder areas in darker colors and warmer regions in brighter colors, and as they are infrared images dust and clouds are transparent.

Google has added various bookmarks showing points of interest such as landings of spacecraft, locations of mountains, and craters.

The data is not currently available through Google’s Google Earth client.

 

Tips For Making Her Halloween Princess Costume Safe Warm And Fun!

As I’m sure most of you parents are aware, typically a disconnect exists between making your children safe on Halloween night and having the most fun on the planet. If you live in the colder climates, for example, you think your young superman or Little Bo Peep should wear a coat to keep warm, but that can ruin the whole effect of the costume for our little ones. Those beautiful glittery shoes are traded in for the more practical sneakers on the big night. What’s fun and magical about that?

If your little girl is planning on dressing up as a princess for Halloween this year, there are many ways to make her both safe as well as happy on that spooky night. You shouldn’t have to choose safety and warmth over fun. All you need to do is take some time in advance planning how to accomplish all of these objectives which will ultimately result in your little princess being the fairest one of them all.

When selecting a tiara or wand for trick-or-treating, you should consider options that light up. Not only do light up accessories make for extra fun for your little princess, but they will improve her safety as well. Now how magical will that wand or tiara be on Halloween night? If you plan on using a light up tiara or wand for trick-or-treating, you might want to consider purchasing a new one and setting it aside until Halloween since you don’t want the battery to run out in the middle of the evening when it’s needed most.

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In perusing the costume catalogs in the mail, you might be attracted to those long gowns that reach the floor. While these dresses are most definitely beautiful in the catalog pictures, try picturing your little girl running through the streets wearing this dress on Halloween. Not only will the dress get filthy, but more importantly, it is very likely that your little princess could stumble in this dress when running from house to house gathering her loot. Don’t be disheartened. Many very lovely princess dresses are available with hem lines that land mid-calf.

As we all know, wearing a coat over a Halloween costume is always frowned upon by our kids. So think ahead and make her costume fitting for the cold weather. If your child plans on wearing her princess costume in a parade or trick-or-treating when the weather is somewhat chilly, we recommend buying a cape or cloak to help keep her warm. These princess cloaks are offered in a variety of colors and styles and you’re sure to find one that matches her attire and meets your girl’s royal expectations. Another option to consider is choosing a princess gown with long sleeves. In most instances she can wear another long sleeve shirt under the costume making it doubly warm.

Her princess ensemble is only complete once she slips into those glitterly shoes. Unfortunately, the majority of princess shoes are not truly appropriate for Halloween. If you are contemplating sparkly princess footwear, just make sure to have her “break in” the shoes prior to the big night, because a princess with blisters is just not fun. Whatever type of shoes she chooses, just make sure that they fit securely on her feet. No slides with a heel because those will just result in a sprained ankle when running from house to house collecting princess treasures. A good dress up shoe option might be ballet slippers since those will surely stay “put.” However, they will not function well if the ground is the least bit damp. You could always choose to lug your princess around in her own carriage. Just transform the household wagon into a beautiful Cinderella carriage with streamers and pretty painted cardboard and voila you have the perfect royal vehicle.

So with just a little for-thought and some imagination, your little girl’s princess costume will be magical on Halloween. Only smiles, warmth, safety and lots of candy of course and her night will be a dream come true.

Article Source: sooperarticles.com/home-and-family-articles/kids-teens-articles/tips-making-her-halloween-princess-costume-safe-warm-fun-651540.html

About Author:

This article is courtesy of Everything Princesses. If you’re looking for other great ideas about princess costumes and other princess gifts such as toys, games, dolls and jewelry, then check them out at everything-princesses.com.Author: Melanie Rivers

 

US fans turn out for 2012 Phoenix Comicon

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Phoenix, Arizona — Last weekend, Phoenix fans of comics, science fiction, horror, fantasy, cos-play, anime and manga, Society for Creative Anachronism, and more, marked a milestone as the city held its tenth annual Phoenix Comicon at the Phoenix Convention Center. The event — which is entirely the work of more than 700 volunteers according to coordinator Colin Aprill — generated around US$5 million for the “Valley of the Sun” during its four-day run. Wikinews was there.

As one unknown source from the crowd was overheard saying, “It’s all about the fans.” Descending into the hall by escalator gave a sense of the scale to the creativity in the center. Fans could be seen scattering about in a flurry of motion on their way from one event to another and producing their own spectacle, most in costume, on their way.

This year the four-day convention in the Valley was estimated to set a new attendance record as 30,000 visitors showed. Most were clothed in costumes that transformed themselves into Batmans, creeper box heads, furries, Lady and Knight couple, pirates, pixies, Star Trek officers, Star Wars’ Empire troopers, Superwomen, and zombies. One of the most common activities at Comicon was people taking photos of each other while they took turns posing or snapping shots.

The Camp family stopped intermittently to have their photos taken by others. The Camps were led by eldest brother Jim “Batman” Camp. He attended Comicon with his sister Tina “Good Witch” Camp, who brought her daughter Katie “Super Woman.” Sibling Tony Camp, who attended with his daughter Stella “Bat Girl,” was said to be “the instigator” behind the family’s turnout at Comicon. “You get to be dressed up and can act goofy, and you don’t feel weird because everybody is dressing up, too,” said Tony about the family-friendly event.

The exhibit hall was filled with artists and merchants selling comic books, trinkets, memorabilia, wares and keepsakes. Amidst the shoppers, the photo opportunities continued to attract the most attention. For all the star-studded autograph booths and an artist alley with famed comic book artists, the most fun was simply enjoying the presence of other fans in costume.

The Thirteenth Floor Haunted House took advantage of the photo-op activity by supplying monsters “Nemesis” and “Collosus” for more of this activity. Manager Tim Pugsley says the company owns five out of the top 1300 haunted houses in the United States. The monsters’ human counterparts remained anonymous on purpose. “The characters don’t get ruined that way,” said a handler.

Montana E. had his picture taken with “Nemesis” by friend Joey Deihl, while Eddie Deleon and young Raquel Munguia posed with “Collosus.”

Fans also gathered Saturday for a flash mob event, in which people danced or acted to Michael Jackson’s mega-hit song “Thriller”. An entertainment group calling themselves “The Zombie Chicks” attended the flash mob and then later drifted in trance through the exhibitor hall of the convention center. “We’re here for the performance, not for the stuff,” said Tori Hoganson, who pointed like a bored consumer at the trinkets in a stall. She was careful to use as few words as possible to speak her mind out of character before going back mindfully to her mindless performance. She was accompanied by her friends, who in human form are known as Emmalaine Wright and Lyle Yanak. The group was watched closely and held at bay by “The Keeper” Ben Fondren, who lurked nearby as a faceless shadow.

The fans also turned out to see big stars, like William Shatner, who portrayed Captain Kirk in the original Star Trek series; LeVar Burton, who is synonymous with the ship’s engineer Geordi La Forge in Star Trek: The Next Generation; or Jon Bernthal, who was the sometimes hero and sometimes anti-hero Shane Walsh in the TV series The Waking Dead.

Father and son John and David Phelps, who are both Star Trek fans, attended the event together and were excited to see Shatner. “He can be funny, but he’s also fun to laugh at,” said John Phelps with a smile. His son David liked to laugh at Shatner when the artist attempted to sing. Shatner has had an alternative “tongue-in-cheek” career singing hits such as “Common People” on the 2004 album Has Been.

Hunter Lewis got Jon Bernthal’s autograph, which came penned with the message, “I F@&#’in hate Zombies.” Zombies were the main source of the angst that bedeviled characters in his hit TV show. Hunter’s friends Justin Rose, Ryan Scola and Taylor Fagen also met with Bernthal in the autograph line. This was just one of many examples of how friends and family were bonding and sharing together in the spectacle throughout the convention center.

There were also breakout sessions for classes, performances, gaming, and crafts. Nyki Robertson Crosby, a.k.a. “Lady Thunder,” who is the matriarch of one of the largest houses for the Society for Creative Anachronism in the Phoenix area, sponsored a class on creating a “Basic T-shirt Tunic” so that anyone who wanted to attend an S.C.A. event in costume could fit in with a minimal investment in time, effort and money. She said the secret is to create a costume that could be one someone would wear between 600–1600 A.D. “We’re the Society of Creative Anachronism and not the Society of Creative Accuracy,” Robertson Crosby said.

The Phoenix Comicon was carnivalesque in its look and feel. And it spread well beyond the convention center as knights and Wonderland characters and more walked the streets of Phoenix and lunched and dined with the “civilians”. The civilians were the ones who kept asking, “What’s going on?”

They may have been “out of towners” visiting the “Valley of the Sun” between May 24–27, because after ten years, Phoenix now has an established tradition.

This year’s largest Comicon is to be Comic-Con International San Diego 2012, July 12–15 in California.

 

Former Japanese prime minister Hashimoto indicated his retirement

Friday, August 12, 2005

On the 11th August, the former Prime Minister of Japan Riyutaro Hashimoto, age 68, formally indicated he would not run for the Okayama 4th constituency of the House of Representatives, the Lower House of Japan, due to defectiveness of his physical condition, possibly nominally. Since the current prime minister Junichiro Koizumi had resolved that House, an election will be held on September 11.

The next day of that announcement, on the 12th, the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) executive committee showed they had no intention to recognize him as a candidate to proportional representative constituency. There might be no possibility for him to run for the coming election as the LDP candidate and his political career would inevitably end.

On the July, 2004 it was reported that Hashimoto did not state the donation of 1 hundred million yen from a lobbist organisation in the annual political financial income and outgo report, which is legally mandatory to all minister and parliament speakers. Hashimoto had received that donation from the Japan Dental Political Federation, one of his main supporting organisations. His relation between medical and pharmacy lobbyists began at least in 1963 when he was appointed as a secretary of Minister of Health and Welfare. In the same year, he ran for a constituency for which his father had run since his death in that year. Later he was appointed to the Minister of Health and Welfare and played a roll as the representative of this ministry during his career.

Hashimoto had been a speaker of the House of Representatives since September 1963. He had not lost his seat until now. He was appointed to the Minister of Health and Welfare, and the Minister of Industrial Minister successively. He was the president of the LDP from 1995 until the party lost at the election of the House of Councillors in 1998. He was also the Prime Minister of Japan from 1996 till his resignation from LDP presidency. In 2001 he ran again for the presidency of the party, but was defeated by the present Prime Minister Koizumi Junichiro.