Netta wins Eurovision Song Contest for Israel

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Netta wins Eurovision Song Contest for Israel
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Tuesday, May 15, 2018

On Saturday, Israel won its fourth victory, first since 1998, at the Eurovision Song Contest, held at Lisbon’s Altice Arena in Portugal. Netta Barzilai’s song Toy won 529 points from public and professional judges. Cyprus and Austria finished second and third respectively with 436 and 342 points.

Out of 43 countries participating this time, 26 countries including hosts Portugal and the Big Five — France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom — competed in the finals. The competition began on May 8. Spain and United Kingdom finished in the bottom five while the hosts and last year’s winners, Portugal, ended up at the bottom of the vote ranking; collecting respectively 61, 48, and 39 points.

Israel won the first semi-final round with 283 points. The 25-year-old Netta won the HaKokhav HaBa competition earlier this year to represent the country in this contest. Netta performed Toy, written by Doron Medalie and Stav Beger, with a Chicken Dance and chicken noises. With a lot of scat singing involved, the song lyrics included, “I’m not your toy; you stupid boy”. Her performance included 112 Maneki-nekos, Japanese beckoning cats used as lucky charms, which were placed in two shelves.

Apart from the Japanese Maneki-neko dolls, Netta wore a kimono; a Japanese dress, styled her hair in two buns as well as referenced Pokémon, a Japanese anime and video game, in her song, which led to some people including Portuguese writer Joana Ramiro to point out cultural appropriations in her performance. “Can I, however, ask if anyone here has already commented on the quite shocking Japanese cultural bastardisation-appropriation going on in Netta’s song?”, Ramiro tweeted.

Shortly after the contest began, last year’s winner Salvador Sobral called Toy “a horrible song”. In an interview with Wiwibloggs, Sobral said, “YouTube thought I would like the Israeli song. I opened it and a horrible song came out of it.” After winning the contest in Ukraine last year, Sobral had said, “We live in a world of disposable music; fast food music without any content. I think this could be a victory for music with people who make music that actually means something […] Music is not fireworks; music is feeling. So let’s try to change this and bring music back.” Toy’s performance used strobe lighting and quirky noises.

After Netta was declared the winner, she said, “Thank you so much for choosing different. Thank you so much for accepting differences between us. Thank you for celebrating diversity. Thank you. I love my country. Next year in Jerusalem.” Previously, Israel won the contest in 1978 and 1979, and 1998.

UK’s artist SuRie, who performed Storm, was interrupted in her performance when a stage invader snatched her microphone. UK was given another chance to perform, but SuRie declined after discussing with her team. SuRie said, “We had that conversation, but I was really proud of that performance.” “You don’t get to do the 100m sprint at the Olympics again because your shoelace is untied or something. You had that one shot and that was my moment, and we didn’t need to repeat that […] We had those conversations backstage, I saw the reaction and faces of my team, who were very proud of the recovery and the power of that, and we didn’t need to go again”, the British singer added.

As the winner of this edition of the competition, Israel is to host next year’s competition. Last year, then 27-year-old Salvador Sobral won the competition, receiving 758 points for the song Amar Pelos Dois, a ballad written by his sister.

For the preparations of next year’s contest, Israeli Deputy Health Minister Ya’akov Litzman wrote a letter to Culture and Sport Minister Miri Regev asking shabbat, the Jewish holy day to rest, not to be violated. In the letter, he wrote, “In the name of hundreds of thousands of Jewish citizens from all the populations and communities for whom Shabbat observance is close to their hearts, I appeal to you, already at this early stage, before production and all the other details of the event has begun, to be strict [in ensuring] that this matter does not harm the holiness of Shabbat and to work in every way to prevent the desecration of Shabbat, God forbid, as the law and the status quo requires”. Last year, he submitted resignation after Jewish workers were made to undertake railway work on shabbat. That time, both Israeli welfare minister Haim Katz and Israeli transportation minister Yisrael Katz expressed potential threat to passengers if the railway work was postponed.

Order Country Artist(s) Song Music & lyrics Total points Ranking
01 ?? Ukraine Mélovin Under the Ladder Mélovin & Mike Ryals 130 17
02 ?? Spain Amaia & Alfred Tu canción Raul Gomez Garcia, Sylvia Ruth Santoro Lopez 61 23
03 ?? Slovenia Lea Sirk Hvala, ne! Lea Sirk, Tomy DeClerque & Lea Sirk 64 22
04 ?? Lithuania Ieva Zasimauskait? When We’re Old Vytautas Bikus 181 12
05 ?? Austria Cesár Sampson Nobody but You Sebastian Arman, Cesár Sampson, Joacim Persson, Johan Alkenäs, Borislav Milanov 342 3
06 ?? Estonia Elina Nechayeva La forza Mihkel Mattinsen, Timo Vendt & Elina Nechayeva, Ksenia Kuchukova 245 8
07 ?? Norway Alexander Rybak That’s How You Write a Song Alexander Rybak 144 15
08 ?? Portugal Cláudia Pascoal O Jardim Isaura 39 26
09 ?? United Kingdom SuRie Storm Nicole Blair, Gill Lewis, Sean Hergreaves 48 24
10 ?? Serbia Sanja Ili? & Balkanika Nova deca Aleksandar Sanja Ili?, Tatjana Karajanov Ili? & Danica Krstaji? 113 19
11 ?? Germany Michael Schulte You Let Me Walk Alone Michael Schulte, Thomas Stengaard, Katharina Müller, Nisse Ingwersen 340 4
12 ?? Albania Eugent Bushpepa Mall Eugent Bushpepa 184 11
13 ?? France Madame Monsieur Mercy Emilie Satt, Jean-Karl Lucas 173 13
14 ?? Czech Republic Mikoláš Josef Lie to Me Mikoláš Josef 281 6
15 ?? Denmark Rasmussen Higher Ground Niclas Arn, Karl Eurén 226 9
16 ?? Australia Jessica Mauboy We Got Love Anthony Egizii, David Musumeci & Anthony Egizii, David Musumeci, Jessica Mauboy 99 20
17 ?? Finland Saara Aalto Monsters Saara Alto, Joy Deb, Linnea Deb, Ki Fitzgerald 46 25
18 ?? Bulgaria Equinox Bones Borislav Milanov, Joacim Persson, Brandon Treyshun Campbell, Dag Lundberg 166 14
19 ?? Moldova DoReDoS My Lucky Day Philipp Kirkorov & John Ballard 209 10
20 ?? Sweden Benjamin Ingrosso Dance You Off MAG, Louis Schoorl & K Nita, Benjamin Ingrosso 274 7
21 ?? Hungary AWS Viszlát nyár Dániel Kökényes, Bence Brucker, Áron Veress, Soma Schiszler & Örs Siklósi 93 21
22 ?? Israel Netta Barzilai Toy Doron Medalie, Stav Beger 529 1
23 ?? Netherlands, The Waylon Outlaw in ‘Em Waylon, Ilya Toshinskiy, Jim Beavers 121 18
24 ?? Ireland Ryan O’Shaughnessy Together Ryan O’Shaughnessy, Mark Caplice, Laura Elizabeth Hughes 136 16
25 ?? Cyprus Eleni Foureira Fuego Alex Papaconstantinou, Geraldo Sandell, Anderz Wrethov, Viktor Svensson, Didrick 436 2
26 ?? Italy Ermal Meta and Fabrizio Moro Non mi avete fatto niente Ermal Meta, Fabrizio Moro, Andrea Febo 308 5

Posted on September 24th 2018 in Uncategorized

Eurovision ’09 competitor Chiara talks about her current song “What If We” and her past accolades

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Eurovision ’09 competitor Chiara talks about her current song “What If We” and her past accolades
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Thursday, March 5, 2009

The small archipelago of Malta in the Mediterranean Sea takes the Eurovision Song Contest very seriously. Leading a fight to remove a cap on the number of competing countries brought them back to the Contest in 1991 after a 16-year absence, and ever since the nation has had perfect attendance.

Since then, Malta’s dependable “shining star” has been Chiara Siracusa, who goes by her first name in her music career. First competing in 1998 at the age of 21, she was pushed to the brink of victory until the votes from the final country that evening leveled her placement to third. Her rendition of the song “The One That I Love,” and the recognition she received not only for herself, but for her country, made her a star in Malta overnight, and helped her launch a singing career in Europe.

She would later return to the Contest in 2005 with “Angel,” an anthem she penned herself, and achieved second place. Now, in 2009, she will be going back to Eurovision for a third try, hoping for the “3-2-1” charm and a victory — something that has eluded her thus far. Her entry, the ballad “What If We,” has special memories for Chiara; it is dedicated to her father, who is recently deceased.

What if Chiara could take home the gold in Moscow; for Malta, for her father, and for herself? Only time will tell. Chiara took time out of her Eurovision promotional schedule to answer some questions from Wikinews’ Mike Halterman about her past performances, and most importantly, her upcoming one.

This is the fourth in a series of interviews with past Eurovision contestants, which will be published sporadically in the lead-up to mid-May’s next contest in Moscow.


((Mike Halterman)) You’ll be going to Moscow for a third try at possibly winning Eurovision. Why did you decide to compete this year? How did your partnership with Marc Paelinck and Gregory Bilsen come about?

Chiara: Well, I met Marc Paelinck long time ago through a friend in Belgium. We started working together and it brought us to this collaboration today. I was thinking of going back to the festival [for a long time] and this year felt like the right year to do so.

((Mike Halterman)) Eurovision fans from across Europe picked you as the wide favorite to win Malta’s preselection this year. Were you as confident? Were you nervous about competing in the semi-final rounds this time around, or did you think this was something you could handle?

Chiara: When I go into a competition, I always go to win, but I was nervous like everyone else…I think [when] you win a festival, [you win] for what you present, not for what your history is.

((Mike Halterman)) Growing up, did you always want to become a singer? Who were your musical influences, and what genres do you think are your favorite? Do you think these preferences have molded you into the singer you are today?

Chiara: Definitely. My mum always says I used to sing and dance for them all the time since I was a baby, and I’ve always loved ballads. In fact, my favourite singer has always been Whitney Houston.

((Mike Halterman)) How did you come to the decision to enter the Eurovision pre-selection for Malta back in 1998? What kinds of feelings did you experience during the path you took to eventual victory in the national final?

Chiara: 1998 was my first time in the festival. I was very young and I felt I could never win it. I wanted just to try and be there with the big names of those times. It was very scary and overwhelming, [and] then I won.

((Mike Halterman)) Did you feel overwhelmed performing in front of an international audience in Birmingham? What kind of personal feelings and emotions made you relate to the song you sang, “The One That I Love”? There were remarks afterwards that your performance was great, but your dress had similarities to Barbara Dex’s from five years before (and she has become well-known for her “fashion don’t”). Looking back on it, what did you think of that dress?

Chiara: Well…looking back I remember that I was completely overwhelmed [singing] in front of so many people. I was very scared but managed to do well. As for the dress, they were different times [back then] and it was beyond my control.

((Mike Halterman)) You came very close to winning the Contest for Malta back in 1998. When you didn’t, how did it make you feel? Did you feel “robbed”? As an addenda, some Wikipedians I’ve talked to have hypothesized that tabloid hype before the event helped Dana International win; in other words, she would not have won had she not been a transsexual. Do you feel that’s true, and did you like her song?

Chiara: I know a lot of Maltese who voted for Dana because they liked the song and for no other reason. The song was good and we still hear it today.

Obviously when you are so close to winning something and you don’t, yes, you feel a bit robbed, but [then there’s] the moment [when] you realise you did well and you are happy.

((Mike Halterman)) After Eurovision, you made a transformation from an unknown singing hopeful to a true recording artist. Tell us a bit about your transformation, and how you felt during this time. Also, around this time you started to perform in concerts and festivals abroad. What was your best memory from this time, when you were performing abroad and people from outside Malta not only knew who you were, but were interested in your life and music.

Chiara: Everything came like rain in my life, from one thing to the other, and before I knew it I became “Chiara of Malta.” I loved it, but I didn’t have much time to think about it. It came quickly; I went to a lot of places and sang with many people but I think what I will always remember is the concert I did with my band, where Seal was as well in the same event, in Frankfurt. It was incredible.

((Mike Halterman)) In 2005, you entered the Contest again, this time with a song you wrote yourself. What is the meaning behind “Angel,” and what kind of story do the lyrics tell about your own life and experiences?

Chiara: “Angel” is a love song and it will always have a special place in my heart. It’s about the love you give someone without wanting anything back, and the unlimited support too.

((Mike Halterman)) You achieved the best placing for Malta in Eurovision history with your performance in 2005. What did you learn from your experiences in 1998 and, in your mind, how did you improve to become more successful in 2005?

Chiara: I think it’s the maturity and the experience. [Through] the years, without knowing, you [gather] so many lessons and behave better and take things a bit more serious and so on.

((Mike Halterman)) Surely you’ve read not only supportive comments, but negative ones as well, particularly concerning your weight. At the same time, however, you have become a role model of sorts for fuller-figured women across Europe, who aren’t accustomed to seeing “people like them” at Eurovision. How did you deal with the negativity, both in the context of the Contest and in your personal life, and what message do you hope to give to full-figured women who look to you for inspiration?

Chiara: Well, I have always been “full figured,” as you put it. I have spent time in my life trying to become as thin as I could, but I could never make it. Through the years I have learnt to accept myself and love me for what I am and how I look. I feel I have nothing less than others and my advice is to be happy with yourself, and love yourself, because you can never get someone to love you if you yourself don’t.

((Mike Halterman)) Tell us about the emotions you convey in the song “What If We.” Every song has a story, so what is the story played out in this song?

Chiara: The story for me with this song is completely about my father. He was the one to contact Marc [Paelinck] and he was the machine behind Eurovision for me, so he’s entirely what this song is about for me and being that he passed away three months ago, well, it makes the song very special when I sing it.

((Mike Halterman)) If you had to absolutely pick one song, which of the three songs you’ve submitted is your favorite, and why?

Chiara: The three songs [each] have a story of [their own]. “The One That I Love” gave me my whole career, my fame and everything I am today so i can never forget it; “Angel” is too special because it’s like my baby, I wrote it myself; and “What If We” is very deep in my heart because of my dad, so I can never choose between them. Sorry!

((Mike Halterman)) What are your plans for after the Contest? What kinds of projects would you like to pursue? Have you considered launching a singing career in the United States?

Chiara: My immediate project after the festival is an album which I have already started working on, in my style [which] is completely ballads, then wherever that takes me I’ll go, [whether it be] the U.S. or elsewhere.

((Mike Halterman)) Finally, what would you like to tell all of your fans, awaiting your performance this May in Moscow?

Chiara: I would like to thank them for the ongoing support they have always showed me, and promise them I will give them my all on the performance night in Moscow.

Posted on September 23rd 2018 in Uncategorized

Ingrid Newkirk, co-founder of PETA, on animal rights and the film about her life

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Ingrid Newkirk, co-founder of PETA, on animal rights and the film about her life
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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Last night HBO premiered I Am An Animal: The Story of Ingrid Newkirk and PETA. Since its inception, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has made headlines and raised eyebrows. They are almost single-handedly responsible for the movement against animal testing and their efforts have raised the suffering animals experience in a broad spectrum of consumer goods production and food processing into a cause célèbre.

PETA first made headlines in the Silver Spring monkeys case, when Alex Pacheco, then a student at George Washington University, volunteered at a lab run by Edward Taub, who was testing neuroplasticity on live monkeys. Taub had cut sensory ganglia that supplied nerves to the monkeys’ fingers, hands, arms, legs; with some of the monkeys, he had severed the entire spinal column. He then tried to force the monkeys to use their limbs by exposing them to persistent electric shock, prolonged physical restraint of an intact arm or leg, and by withholding food. With footage obtained by Pacheco, Taub was convicted of six counts of animal cruelty—largely as a result of the monkeys’ reported living conditions—making them “the most famous lab animals in history,” according to psychiatrist Norman Doidge. Taub’s conviction was later overturned on appeal and the monkeys were eventually euthanized.

PETA was born.

In the subsequent decades they ran the Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty against Europe’s largest animal-testing facility (footage showed staff punching beagle puppies in the face, shouting at them, and simulating sex acts while taking blood samples); against Covance, the United State’s largest importer of primates for laboratory research (evidence was found that they were dissecting monkeys at its Vienna, Virginia laboratory while the animals were still alive); against General Motors for using live animals in crash tests; against L’Oreal for testing cosmetics on animals; against the use of fur for fashion and fur farms; against Smithfield Foods for torturing Butterball turkeys; and against fast food chains, most recently against KFC through the launch of their website kentuckyfriedcruelty.com.

They have launched campaigns and engaged in stunts that are designed for media attention. In 1996, PETA activists famously threw a dead raccoon onto the table of Anna Wintour, the fur supporting editor-in-chief of Vogue, while she was dining at the Four Seasons in New York, and left bloody paw prints and the words “Fur Hag” on the steps of her home. They ran a campaign entitled Holocaust on your Plate that consisted of eight 60-square-foot panels, each juxtaposing images of the Holocaust with images of factory farming. Photographs of concentration camp inmates in wooden bunks were shown next to photographs of caged chickens, and piled bodies of Holocaust victims next to a pile of pig carcasses. In 2003 in Jerusalem, after a donkey was loaded with explosives and blown up in a terrorist attack, Newkirk sent a letter to then-PLO leader Yasser Arafat to keep animals out of the conflict. As the film shows, they also took over Jean-Paul Gaultier‘s Paris boutique and smeared blood on the windows to protest his use of fur in his clothing.

The group’s tactics have been criticized. Co-founder Pacheco, who is no longer with PETA, called them “stupid human tricks.” Some feminists criticize their campaigns featuring the Lettuce Ladies and “I’d Rather Go Naked Than Wear Fur” ads as objectifying women. Of their Holocaust on a Plate campaign, Anti-Defamation League Chairman Abraham Foxman said “The effort by PETA to compare the deliberate systematic murder of millions of Jews to the issue of animal rights is abhorrent.” (Newkirk later issued an apology for any hurt it caused). Perhaps most controversial amongst politicians, the public and even other animal rights organizations is PETA’s refusal to condemn the actions of the Animal Liberation Front, which in January 2005 was named as a terrorist threat by the United States Department of Homeland Security.

David Shankbone attended the pre-release screening of I Am An Animal at HBO’s offices in New York City on November 12, and the following day he sat down with Ingrid Newkirk to discuss her perspectives on PETA, animal rights, her responses to criticism lodged against her and to discuss her on-going life’s work to raise human awareness of animal suffering. Below is her interview.

This exclusive interview features first-hand journalism by a Wikinews reporter. See the collaboration page for more details.

Contents

  • 1 The HBO film about her life
  • 2 PETA, animal rights groups and the Animal Liberation Front
  • 3 Newkirk on humans and other animals
  • 4 Religion and animals
  • 5 Fashion and animals
  • 6 Newkirk on the worst corporate animal abusers
  • 7 Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act
  • 8 Ingrid Newkirk on Ingrid Newkirk
  • 9 External links
  • 10 Sources
Posted on September 23rd 2018 in Uncategorized

Ontario Votes 2007: Interview with Green Party candidate John Ogilvie, Carleton—Mississippi Mills

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Ontario Votes 2007: Interview with Green Party candidate John Ogilvie, Carleton—Mississippi Mills
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Sunday, October 7, 2007

John Ogilvie is running for the Green Party of Ontario in the Ontario provincial election, in the Carleton—Mississippi Mills 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.

Posted on September 23rd 2018 in Uncategorized

High winds in Texas cause property damage and utilities loss for many

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High winds in Texas cause property damage and utilities loss for many
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Sunday, December 23, 2012

Wind storms swept across a large part of Texas on Wednesday, leaving property damaged and many homes without power.

Downed lamposts and trees were reported in multiple locales. One media source reported overturned playground equipment in the city of Rockwall. Winds up to 40 miles-per-hour (mph) were reported over much of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. Approximately 9,500 people within Tarrant and Dallas counties were without electrical power as late as Thursday afternoon.

Late Wednesday evening, the National Weather Service reported winds at Dallas Love Field up to 66 mph. The city of Edgewood recorded wind speeds up to 70 mph during the storm; three homes, two barns and two business buildings sustained damage. A home in Chandler was damaged when a tree was toppled during the storm (see photo at left).

Dust from as far away as west Texas covered vehicles and other property early Thursday morning in the eastern part of the state. A car wash manager in Tyler told media his business cleaned about three hundred cars on Thursday, busier than usual even for holiday season.

Posted on September 22nd 2018 in Uncategorized

Memorial for toddler who died under care of controversial ‘1 Mind Ministries’ group

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Memorial for toddler who died under care of controversial ‘1 Mind Ministries’ group
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Saturday, August 30, 2008

A memorial service was held Friday for Javon Thompson, a toddler that died in Baltimore, Maryland, while under the care of a religious group called “1 Mind Ministries”. Thompson died in late 2006 or early 2007 in an apartment in West Baltimore. According to police statements, members of 1 Mind Ministries refused the boy food and water because he did not say “amen” after group meals. Police say the boy would have been about 19 months old when members of the group stopped feeding him in December 2006.

I loved this baby more than anything in my life.

The Baltimore Sun spoke with Seeta Khadan-Newton, Javon Thompson’s grandmother, at the funeral service which took place at March Funeral Homes in Northwest Baltimore. “I loved this baby more than anything in my life,” she said.

The Baltimore Sun reported that Khadan–Newton told them she had contacted Baltimore’s Division of Social Services at least four times between April and December of 2006 out of worries for Thompson’s wellbeing and location. DSS officials stated that they received only two phone calls, and the complaints about Thompson’s treatment were not enough to look into further.

WJZ-TV reported that “Queen Antoinette”, the 40-year-old leader of 1 Mind Ministries, allegedly concealed Javon Thompson’s body in a blanket and sprayed it with fabric softener to mask the odor before having a member of the group leave the body in a friend’s backyard shed in Philadelphia. According to police, members of 1 Mind Ministries placed Thompson’s remains in a suitcase and took it to Philadelphia in February 2007, where they left it with an elderly friend. Subsequently members of the group moved to Brooklyn, New York. Law enforcement authorities found the suitcase with Thompson’s remains in April 2008.

Ria Ramkissoon, 21, Thompson’s mother, and four others, have been charged with first-degree murder by Baltimore homicide detectives in connection with the boy’s death. The Associated Press reported that police charging documents state that Queen Antoinette instructed her followers to pray for Javon Thompson to be resurrected while he lay dead in the back room of the Baltimore apartment. An informant told police Queen Antoinette left Javon Thompson’s body in the back room of the apartment for over a week, and told her followers: “God was going to raise Javon from the dead”.

The members of this cult, who were more than twice her age, were calling the shots.

Ramkissoon’s mother and her attorney assert that she was brainwashed by the 1 Mind Ministries group and acted under the control of Queen Antoinette. “The members of this cult, who were more than twice her age, were calling the shots,” said Ramkissoon’s attorney Steven Silverman at a court hearing for his client. Inside the group, Ria Ramkissoon referred to herself as “Princess Marie”.

Court documents revealed that 1 Mind Ministries conducted operations in secret, did not believe in medical care and dressed in all-white clothing. Members of the group were referred to as “princes” and “princesses” by Queen Antoinette, also known as Toni Sloan or Toni Ellsberry. Documents also state that they viewed Javon Thompson as a “demon” for not saying “amen” after meals, that they stopped feeding him in December 2006, and did not seek out medical attention when the boy stopped breathing and died.

It fits the profile of a classic cult…

Rick A. Ross of The Ross Institute Internet Archives for the Study of Destructive Cults, Controversial Groups and Movements spoke with the Associated Press about the nature of the 1 Mind Ministries group, and asserted that it meets the definition of a “cult“. Ross has given expert testimony in cases related to controversial groups and has studied them for 26 years. Law enforcement officials also used the term to describe the 1 Mind Ministries group, specifically characterizing it as a “Christian fundamentalist cult”.

“It fits the profile of a classic cult in the sense that it’s a personality-driven group and that Queen Antoinette is that animating personality and central defining element of the group,” said Ross. He compared the group to others where children were killed because they did not follow the instructions of the group. The Ross Institute Internet Archives maintains a page about 1 Mind Ministries, which contains archived news articles, a photo of Queen Antoinette, and links to other resources.

Prosecutors in the murder case have also referred to the 1 Mind Ministries group as a “cult”, and said that members of the group would likely follow Queen Antoinette’s instructions during the trial. In a hearing August 13 where Queen Antoinette and group member Trevia Williams, 21, were denied bail, they both also refused legal representation from Baltimore public defenders, and both declined a preliminary hearing. “Chances are, the cult members are going to do what she tells them to do,” said Baltimore Assistant State’s Attorney David C. Chiu at the court proceeding. Ria Ramkissoon is being held in the psychiatric unit of a city jail in Baltimore, Queen Antoinette, Trevia Williams and group member Marcus Cobbs are also being held in jail in Baltimore, and federal officials in New York from the United States Marshals Service are searching for another member of the group.

This baby died so that they could be exposed.

Rev. Anna V. Nelson spoke to the family at the memorial service in Baltimore, saying: “I would like to think that this boy died for us. This baby has left a message here for the whole world. This baby died so that they [1 Mind Ministries] could be exposed.”

The memorial service ended with a presentation of video clips of Javon Thompson playing, being held by his mother, and finally watching the camera as a female voice says goodbye to him.

Posted on September 21st 2018 in Uncategorized

Earth Day 2009 celebrated around the globe

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Earth Day 2009 celebrated around the globe
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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Today is the 39th observance of Earth Day in the northern hemisphere. Earth day is celebrated in Autumn on November 30 in the southern hemisphere. Senator Gaylord Nelson initiated the first Earth Day in April 1970 in the United States, and it is now celebrated by over 1 billion people in over 170 countries worldwide. Earth Day is the biggest environmental event which addresses issues and educates people on environmental awareness on a global scale.

This year, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) will beam high-definition images to the NASA website and television. By doing so, NASA hopes to increase appreciation of global climate issues. There will also be a Washington exhibit relating to environmental issues viewed from space as well.

At the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center activities will focus on their slogan for Earth Day 2009, “Just One Drop … PRICELESS” and will demonstrate how the Environmental Control Life Support System operates as used on the International Space Staton (ISS).

Amongst the many festivals, WorldFest is a solar powered music celebration held in Los Angeles, California. Buenos Aires will also feature its second Earth Day event featuring a music festival as well.

“We are in a new era of energy innovation,” said Daniel Yergin at a Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) forum. Lithium-ion batteries are providing electric storage solutions for electric cars such as the Chevrolet Volt and the Dodge Circuit EV. Algae fuel is a new form of biofuel, but is still under development.

“Energy Smackdown” was a competitive household activity which compared energy usage between 60 separate households across three cities in or near Boston. The various competitors came up with a variety of innovative methods to cut their carbon footprint, installing solar electric panels, geothermal heat pumps, wind turbines, and using a caulking gun to seal the home from drafts.

“In the average home, 75 percent of the electricity used to power home electronics is consumed while the products are turned off.” is a United States Department of Energy (DOE) estimate.

Miami is installing a smart grid which will use individual household smart meters to allow energy consumers know via a web site, their exact home energy usage. “To me these are prudent and smart investments that will easily pay for themselves. It will show the nation how to address environmental, energy, and economic challenges all at the same time.” said Miami mayor Manny Diaz.

Cal Dooley, CEO of the American Chemistry Council ACC, says the plastic bag industry is prepared to spend US$50 million to revamp their manufacturing facilities and will collect 470 million pounds of recycled plastic every year to make plastic bags of 40% recycled content. The ACC is providing a donation to the Keep America Beautiful environmental organisation, both of whom endorse this new project. The Earth Day Network (EDN) and Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) would like to see an end to the use of plastic bags, however. “We don’t want people to use disposable bags. We want people to use reusable bags,” says Darby Hoover of the NRDC.

Calgary researchers will begin field surveys to help save the “Northern Leopard Frog (Rana Pipiens). “Northern Leopard Frogs are threatened in Alberta, but endangered in British Columbia,” said Dr. Des Smith, Primary Investigator and Research Scientist with the Calgary Zoo’s Centre for Conservation Research. “It is essential to develop new monitoring techniques for Northern Leopard” said Breana McKnight, Field Team Leader and Endangered Species Researcher.

The traditional Earth day ceremony of planting trees is garnering further attention in Japan as Koichi Nakatani, the nation’s Tree Planting Father travels from Hokkaido to Okinawa.

Students can take part in an Earth Day photo contest sponsored by the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies which will feature images and scientific student research for the environmental change depicted in each photo submitted.

“Earth Day should be about teaching about the environment every day,” said Sean Mille director of education for EDN, “We emphasize taking action for your classroom, school, district or community.” 25,000 schools across America made use of the environmental curriculum developed by the National Civic Education Project, the Green Schools Campaign and the Educator’s Network. Lesson plans are broad and varied and may focus on water pollution, recycling, composting, using chemistry to convert cafeteria left-overs into biodiesel or ethanol fuel or converting go-carts to operate on biodiesel or ethanol fuels in shop class.

Posted on September 21st 2018 in Uncategorized

Judge jails ‘monstrous’ London serial killer Stephen Port

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Judge jails ‘monstrous’ London serial killer Stephen Port
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Sunday, November 27, 2016

More than a year after he was first charged, a judge on Friday sentenced London serial killer Stephen Port to life imprisonment without parole for four murders and a host of poisoning and sexual offences, calling him “wicked and monstrous”. Port was convicted of the murders on Wednesday.

Chef Port, 41, was first charged on October 18 last year and made his first court appearance the following day. He initially faced four counts of murder and four of “administering a poison with intent to endanger life or inflict grievous bodily harm”. Two days later a provisional trial date was set in April but Port did not end up entering his pleas of not guilty until July 25.

The truth sounded like a lie, so I lied to make it sound like the truth

Delays were caused by post-charge investigations. By then Port was also facing the remaining charges; six more of administering a poison, seven of rape, and four of assault by penetration. These charges involved eight additional [alleged] victims. The poisoning charges were changed to “administering a substance with intent to stupefy / overpower to allow sexual activity” by the time of the trial.

The case revolved around allegations Port drugged, raped, and murdered men at his London flat. The prosecution told jurors Port’s modus operandi was to arrange to meet gay men via Grindr and other gay dating sites, then administer sometimes-lethal overdoses of recreational drug GHB.

Three of the deaths occurred in 2014. Anthony Patrick Walgate, 23, was found dead on June 19, 2014 in Cooke Street. Port lived in Cooke Street. The other three victims were found in the vicinity of St. Margaret’s Church on North Street. Gabriel Kovari, 22, was discovered dead on August 28, 2014. Daniel Whitworth, 21, was found dead the following month on September 20, 2014. Fourth victim Jack Taylor, 25, was found a year later on September 14, 2015.

The Metropolitan Police has referred itself to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) concerning what police called “potential vulnerabilities in [our response] to the four deaths.” Police only linked the deaths less than a week before Port’s arrest.

Detectives released security footage of Taylor’s movements, with an officer telling the press “the man captured on CCTV may well be the last person to talk to Jack.” Shortly after Port was charged police again appealed for anybody with knowledge of him “no matter how insignificant” to come forward in what local press called a “highly unusual” move.

The ten male jurors and two women were warned at the opening of the trial to face potentially graphic evidence in “a cool, dispassionate and analytical manner” by Jonathan Rees QC, prosecuting. He told the court Port satisfied his “appetite for penetrating drugged young men”. The case was tried before Mr Justice Openshaw, who sentenced Port on Friday, at the Old Bailey, a famous London courthouse. Port was represented by David Etherington QC.

CCTV of Port and Taylor at Barking Train Station featured in the trial. After exchanging Grindr messages the duo agreed a meet for September 13, 2014; the day prior to Taylor’s body being found. The meeting was set for 3:00 at the station; Port is seen walking to the scene while Taylor arrives in a taxi. By 7:20 Port had blocked Taylor’s Grindr account and later that day deleted his own account.

I just thought he was disgusting and vile. He thought it was fine. He thought it was funny.

A rubbish collector found Taylor’s body, propped up and with his clothing ridden up as if he had been dragged. A bottle and bag of drugs were on his body, as was a syringe.

Port contacted Walgate on website Sleepyboys. Walgate worked as a prostitute and had notified a friend of the planned night “in case I get killed”. Port left the corpse outside his flat before phoning 999. Initially he denied knowing Walgate but later told police Walgate took drugs voluntarily while alone in the flat. Port, who said he “panicked” after returning from work to find Walgate dying, was imprisoned for eight months and released on licence after three in 2015 for lying in the investigation.

The prosecution told jurors Walgate was too cautious to consume drugs and it must have been Port who slipped him GHB, which led to death. Port’s 999 call was played to jurors; he hangs up early after saying he has to go to his parked car and the operator calls back to ask further questions. In the call Port says the man has apparently collapsed, is possibly drunk, and is a stranger to him.

Port was to tell police he slapped the man’s face and heard a “gurgling noise” in response, but a statement from the first paramedic on-scene stated the body was already cold when help arrived. After being alerted to the death by the ambulance service police tracked down Port. Pathologist Olaf Biedrzycki testified at the trial that Walgate’s death was due to GHB overdose, his underwear was both inside out and back to front, his fly was down, and there were fourteen injuries to the body.

Port’s police statement was that he had also propped the man into a sitting position, which was how paramedics found him. He said after ending the call he went to sleep rather than waiting for the ambulance. Walgate’s top was raised suggesting dragging of the body, and there were drugs in a holdall beside the body. After the trial the BBC reported a nearby CCTV camera was not working.

The bodies of both Kovari and Whitworth were found in the same spot as each other in St Margaret’s churchyard, about 500m (1600 feet) from Port’s home, within a month of each other. Both were found by Barbara Denham who testified she walked her dog at least once a day through the area. Like Walgate, both men were found sitting. Like Walgate, a bottle of GHB was with Whitworth’s body. Both of their clothing had again ridden up suggesting dragging. Whitworth was on a blue sheet; Port’s semen was on the sheet, which had come from his flat.

Whitworth’s body bore an apparent suicide note in which he seemed to blame himself for Kovari’s death, saying he had injected Kovari with GHB. The note said he could not confess to police for fear of his family seeing him going to prison. The note said “please do not blame the guy I was with last night, we only had sex and then I left, he knows nothing of what I have done.”

Rees told jurors an expert in handwriting analysis had ruled out Whitworth as the author and found it to be written by Port in what Rees called a “wicked” bid to frame Whitworth. Rees also said Port’s DNA was on the bottle of drugs on Whitworth’s corpse. Police initially accepted the note as genuine and did not investigate further; no effort was made to find who “the guy I was with last night” might be. The note was written on paper traced to Port’s flat, and in a plastic sleeve also traced to the flat.

Rees said the man was Port, the two having met via Fitlads, and that “cruel and manipulative” Port deleted his Fitlads account shortly after the meet. Rees also said Kovari told friends he had found a flat in the Barking area of London five days before he was found dead, alleging this was Port’s flat. Port’s defence was Whitworth had dictated the note to him.

Whitworth’s boyfriend, Ricky Waumsley, told the court Whitworth’s behaviour was inconsistent with guilty or suicidal thoughts. Waumsley also testified Port had never to his knowledge taken recreational drugs aside from experimenting with cannabis during a holiday in Amsterdam.

Katie Impey, a friend of Whitworth, said the deceased’s mother committed suicide and thereafter Whitworth viewed taking one’s own life as “the most selfish thing anyone could ever do, and you should never do it, so I know he didn’t kill himself.” Impey also spoke of the final conversation she had with her friend in which he spoke of a new romantic interest called Gab. “He was really excited. He said ‘I’ve met someone, he’s really artsy, he’s really cute, I don’t know how I’m going to tell Ricky’.”

The trial featured five months of content from a Facebook account named Jon Luck. Port’s computer was used to access the account, and Port admitted he was the user. The account was used to exchange messages with Kovari’s boyfriend Thierry Amodio, with Port pretending to be a Californian student who knew Kovari.

Port, via the Jon Luck account, told Amodio he spent two days with Kovari and that Kovari attended a drugs-fueled orgy with a man named Dan. Amodio was seeking information on his partner’s death; Port wrote “I hope he wasn’t murdered or anything like that as that would be awful.” After Amodio assured him this was unlikely Port replied “Thanks god for that I would hate anyone who could hurt him”.

Around the time of Whitworth’s death Port informed Amodio he had discovered Dan and Kovari had attended a party where young men were raped whilst drugged. Posing as Luck he said he had “been expecting [police] to come to my door any second cuss of my DNA and my messages on [Kovari’s] phone.” When Amodio told Port he’d been visited by police probing Whitworth’s death Port replied “OMG your joking[…] please don’t let them arrest me.”

please do not blame the guy I was with last night, we only had sex and then I left, he knows nothing of what I have done

Port would also press Amodio for information on police investigations and suggested Dan had accidentally killed Kovari with an overdose and then “did same to himself” because he “could not live with the guilt”, an apparent reference to Daniel Whitworth’s death. Amodio tried to get “Jon Luck” to contact police but this was never successful. Port told a neighbour Kovari died of infection in Spain after travelling to join somebody Kovari had met online.

Kovari had in fact moved from Spain to London, having been living with his Spanish boyfriend Thierry Amodio. After initially failing to find a place to live Kovari met John Pape. Pape allowed Kovari to stay with him, which he did for several weeks before securing a rented room with Port in the Barking area of London. Turning down an offer to stay longer, Kovari moved in with Port on August 23, 2014.

The same day Kovari sent another friend a map showing Port’s Cooke St home as his new abode. The next day Port invited friend and neighbour Ryan Edwards to meet Kovari. On August 25 Kovari texted Edwards “Stephen is not a nice person”. The same day Kovari messaged the friend he sent the map to, saying “I’m fine.”

Pape texted Kovari on August 26, asking “Hey, hows it going in Barking?” There was no reply. A text from Edwards to Port the same day asked “How is Gabriel?” Port responded Kovari had already moved out to live with “some soldier guy he had been chatting to online” in the area. The body was found two days later. The corpse was clad in sunglasses and Kovari’s possessions were in two bags beside him.

The first alleged victim to give evidence, a nineteen-year-old student when he encountered Port, told jurors he met Port via Grindr and accepted a glass of wine at Port’s flat. After noticing a bitter taste and sludge at the bottom of the glass, the complainant said he felt ill and upon sipping a second drink containing vodka he “felt so dizzy. I was ricocheting off the walls. The room was tilting.”

The man told the court he fell asleep and awoke naked on his front with Port raping him, describing himself as “half asleep, half aware of what was happening” before passing out again. He said he left the flat after coming round in the morning, still feeling the effects. The witness claimed that while he was considering having sex with Port when he arrived he did not at any stage consent.

The next alleged victim to give evidence, also a student, told the court he met Port via Fitlads. The witness said they met at Port’s flat on several occasions. He said he declined alcohol because he was Muslim but on his fourth visit he accepted a glass of coke. He said swallowing it caused an instant burning sensation like acid, but Port pled ignorance and they met a fifth time. On that occasion Port gave the man what he said was ‘poppers’, and a massage, according to the witness.

The witness said he fell asleep and on waking was given a glass of what Port claimed was water, which instantly knocked him out. “The next thing I remember I was on the floor screaming and shouting. It was like I was going mad.” The witness claimed he was naked and confused, not even recalling his own name.

Port drove the man to nearby Barking Rail Station. The victim was “screaming and shouting” and described Port “kind of dragging me along and holding me up.” Police and ambulance attended, with British Transport Police Constable Alesha Owers testifying Port seemed “worried and jittery” and accepted he had taken meth. Port claimed the man had turned up at his door and Port was helping him get home.

The witness did not give a statement to police, telling the trial he did not want his family to discover the encounters and simply wished to be home. He says on arriving he telephoned Port. “I was shouting at him: ‘What did you give me? What the hell did you give me, because it certainly wasn’t poppers?'[…] I got the impression it was a normal thing what happened to me.”

The witness added he had one final meeting with Port at the accused’s flat. Port, he claimed, apologised to him but still did not say what substance was involved.

He said, ‘I’m going to sit down here for a bit, I’m feeling tired.’

A transgender man in his early twenties told the court he met Port via Facebook and they met for sex because the witness was angry his boyfriend had cheated on him. The man said after consensual sex and drinking he passed out and Port filmed himself raping the complainant.

The witness claimed Port showed off the video the following morning: “I just thought he was disgusting and vile. He thought it was fine. He thought it was funny.” The witness told the court he “felt angry because you don’t carry on having sex with someone when they pass out. I said, ‘you’re disgusting.'”

Another man, now 24, told the court he met Port via Gaydar when he was 16 and grew close to Port as the man had few friends. He said Port pressured him into taking mephedrone and he passed out, wakening to find himself on his back with his legs over Port’s shoulders and Port raping him. He said he returned a week later, at which time Port again gave him mephedrone and raped him, as well as non-consensually injecting drugs into him. He told the court Port was “god in his flat”, someone “you did not argue with”. He told the Old Bailey “I didn’t feel like I was being treated like a person.”

The court was played six homemade sex tapes from Port’s phone, with police and prosecutors alleging they showed Port raping an unconscious 24-year-old man. The six were amongst over 80 sex tapes in total Port had made involving himself. The alleged victim testified that while he and Port had consensual sex and sniffed poppers after meeting via Manhunt he did not consent to any activity in the videos.

At least three other men can be seen or heard in the videos. Port sniffs a bottle in one video and tells an unidentified man “you fuck him”. In another an unidentified voice says “I’ll leave you guys to carry on, I have got work in the morning.” Port then says to a second man “Shall we do more stuff?” “Yeah babe” comes the reply.

Two of the rape charges are sample counts relating to the videos. Sample counts are a method by which prosecutors can try multiple similar crimes based on a single count. Port routinely browsed the Internet for rape-themed pornography.

Stephen Port’s own sister, Sharon Port, was a prosecution witness. She spoke of a conversation with her brother — who smiled when she entered court to testify against him — the day before Slovakian national Kovari’s body was found. Speaking quietly, she said she had rung him and found him “very distressed”; he said there was a corpse in his flat.

Sharon Port testified that the conversation left her with the understanding the pair had been doing drugs together and Kovari expired. She said she urged Stephen Port to alert the police; the following day, she drove from her Essex home to visit him after he became unresponsive to messages. She described her brother as quiet, and saying he had been released on police bail to return in a month or two.

You try to manipulate the evidence to fit the facts as you know them to be and you have done this throughout this case

Kovari’s body was found that day. Sharon Port said Stephen didn’t mention the incident again at the time.

After Rees finished, defence lawyer Etherington questioned her further. During this she added that in March 2015, when he was imprisoned for lies to police after the first death, Stephen told her that the conversation had not referred to a body at all. Instead, he was talking about another man altogether.

Two former partners of Port testified early in the trial. Both said the accused wore a wig to help him feel confident about his appearance, and one further said both would watch ‘twink’ porn together. In the gay community, slender young men are sometimes referred to as twinks. The man also testified Port “never tried any sexual acts I wasn’t happy with.” The court also heard Port was a prostitute and sometimes wore the wig to meet men. Port was said to have called Kovari his “new Slovakian twink flatmate” who was “quite cute, tall and skinny” to friends.

Port’s sister, during her evidence, spoke of a bullied, quiet schoolboy who revealed his sexuality at 26. She said their mother did not approve. She also testified she was wholly unaware of Port’s drug use until the August 2014 phone call and even after did not know which substances were involved.

Port gave evidence in his own defence. Starting on October 27 he spoke of his version of the deaths. He started with the death of Walgate, confirming he offered the student £800 to spend the night with him. Port claimed Walgate visited the bathroom during sex, returning “high and very rampant.” Port testified he was unaware what Walgate had taken but spoke of his own experiences with GHB, which he said “could knock you out” before reawakening aroused. Port said he used it to have “hyper high” sex and in one relationship it was normal for him to have sex with his partner while the latter was unconscious through GHB use.

Port claimed Walgate became unwell and slept at the flat; Port went to work that morning and returned to find the deceased still there and woke that night to discover the “very rigid” body. Port said he “just panicked” when he carried Walgate’s corpse outside to call an ambulance, lying about the circumstances because he was “in shock”.

The next day Port confirmed Kovari shared his flat and said the pair went to a party to take drugs and have sex. He said his “friend” Kovari left early with ‘Dan’.

Port testified he realised weeks later Dan was Daniel Whitworth, whom he had met online. He spoke of Kovari and Whitworth having sex at the party with several onlookers but said he would not be able to find where the party was held and did not know who lived there. He said Kovari and Whitworth went to his flat “to get a bit more privacy”.

Rees asserted Port was “caught out” in a lie. The prosecution claimed Whitworth could be placed in a pub elsewhere when the alleged party happened and Rees said Port’s account amounted to the pair getting “coy and bashful” after public sex. Rees asked Port to explain Whitworth’s presence “in two places at once”. “I’ve no idea. I just know it was as I remember it,” said Port.

Port said Whitworth later recounted to him a story in which Whitworth and Kovari had sex at St Margaret’s. After both passed out, Whitworth claimed he was unable to rouse Kovari and could not revive him.

“He said he panicked. He was going to call an ambulance but did not know what to do, so he left him.” Port said he reassured a worried and guilt-ridden Whitworth and urged him to go to police. Port and Whitworth had sex with drugs at Whitworth’s suggestion, Port said, before Whitworth dictated the suicide note.

“I thought it was just the [drugs] talking and he was just getting his emotions out of his system,” Port told jurors. “I didn’t believe he was actually going to do it. I would have stopped him. I would have done anything to prevent him doing it.” Port said he added the line reading “please do not blame the guy I was with last night.”

one of the most dangerous individuals I’ve encountered

Rees accused Port of manipulating evidence, saying he left a hoodie belonging to Kovari on Whitworth’s body alongside a bottle of GHB. Port countered he only agreed to write the suicide note because Whitworth promised sex in exchange for it. Port testified they did not in fact have sex because Whitworth gave him a drink laced with GHB, causing Port to fall unconscious.

“You are not suggesting he may have drugged you Mr Port?” asked Rees. “You are not suggesting he may have taken advantage of you whilst you were drugged?” Port confirmed this was possible, leading to Rees asking “Why did you raise the suggestion this young man may have raped or sexually assaulted you? Against this dead boy?” Port answered “I wouldn’t have minded if he did.”

“Come on, Mr Port!” Rees retaliated. “That’s not true, is it? You ‘top’ other people, they don’t top you. So you would have minded if he raped you whilst you were unconscious.” Port’s response was “It’s just a shame we didn’t get to do more together.” Rees later said “You just cannot bring yourself to accept the truth of what is going here. To the families. Lie after lie, that’s what’s being played out here in this court.”

He also recounted his time with Taylor. The pair met on Grindr and Port testified Taylor accepted a suggestion to get “mega high”, before the two left for “fresh air” and had “rampant” sex at St Margaret’s. Port described this in detail: “I realised our height difference was quite significant[…] It was a bit of a struggle at first, I had to hold him around the chest. Then we just had sex like that for two hours.”

Port testified he suggested going back to the flat; “He said, ‘I’m going to sit down here for a bit, I’m feeling tired.'” Port said he left around 2:30 in the morning and never saw Taylor again but he was “very much alive” at this point. He testified he left as he had a new job to go to the next day and did not expect anything further as Taylor “was not happy being gay.”

Port spoke of his previous accounts to police, especially his denials of knowing Taylor and Kovari while being uncertain if he knew Whitworth. He said “The truth sounded like a lie, so I lied to make it sound like the truth.” Under cross-examination from Rees, he also admitted his version was hard to accept and appeared as if he was a “determined liar to save your own skin”.

“The essence of it is, you like playing God and manipulating and controlling young men”, Rees told him in front of jurors. “The key to this case is you like penetrating young men who are unconscious. That is at the heart of this case, isn’t it? You try to manipulate the evidence to fit the facts as you know them to be and you have done this throughout this case.”

Rees asked “Do you agree it is never too late to tell the truth? Do you agree it would be a good thing for the families of the four dead men to learn the truth about what happened to them?” Port responded “of course.” After agreeing all four deceased met similar deaths shortly after being in his company, Port was asked “I know it’s very late in the day, Mr Port, would you care to change any part of your account you have given to the jury?” “No,” he replied.

The jury began deliberations on Monday last week, deliberating for over 28 hours. They faced a question of intent. The prosecution had to prove intent to cause very serious harm for a murder conviction. The prosecution case was Port administered GHB in a bid to cause comas, and Walgate’s death at least was likely unexpected. The jury had to decide if a coma met the test; if not, they could convict on alternative charges of manslaughter. The jury unanimously convicted Port of three murders, and by an 11–1 majority of Walgate’s murder.

Port was simultaneously convicted of most other charges and on Wednesday Mr Justice Openshaw informed jurors a 10–2 verdict would be acceptable for the remaining counts. Port was ultimately convicted of all charges against six surviving victims. He was also convicted of offences against a seventh but acquitted of raping him. The jury acquitted him of two rapes relating to an eighth man.

During Port’s trial one of his drug dealers, Peter Hirons, 48, separately pleaded guilty at Snaresbrook Crown Court to supplying ?MDMA, crystal meth, mephedrone, brephedrone, chloromsthcathinone, and GBL, the last being metabolised into GHB when ingested. He also admitted possessing £6,060 of drug-dealing proceeds. He was jailed for two and a half years. Gerald Matovu appeared before Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Thursday, charged with supplying Port with mephedrone and GHB.

If four young well-off women had been murdered in Mayfair, I believe the police would have made a public appeal much sooner and mounted a far more comprehensive investigation

Lead investigator DCI Tim Duffield called Port “one of the most dangerous individuals I’ve encountered”. Victims’ relatives clapped, cheered, and yelled as Port was sentenced.

Police were criticised early in the case after the LGBT website Pink News revealed a friend of Kovari had contacted them after the death. Pink News in turn contacted the Metropolitan Police but received assurances police did not view the death as suspicious. The revelations coincided with the police appeal following Port’s initial charges. “This appeal should have been made in June and August last year after the first two killings”, said human rights activist Peter Tatchell at the time. “If the police had done that, the killer may have been caught and some of these men might still be alive.”

Following murder convictions it was revealed Taylor’s family triggered the homicide investigation themselves after pressuring police. Taylor’s relatives have indicated they intend to sue the police. The IPCC probe is examining possible failings by seventeen officers. In July the IPCC appealed for anybody who raised concerns with police prior to the launch of the murder investigation to contact them, and revealed they had met with London’s LGBT community.

On Wednesday the IPCC reiterated its call for witnesses, revealing seven Metropolitan Police officers had been informed they faced gross misconduct probes and ten more faced less-serious misconduct probes. Officers under investigation rank from constable to inspector. British Transport Police are not under investigation.

IPCC Commissioner Cindy Butts said “It is important we establish whether the police response to the deaths of all four men was thorough and appropriate in the circumstances, including whether discrimination played any part in actions and decisions[…] our investigators are continuing to work hard to scrutinise the police response to the tragic deaths of these four young men.”

Tatchell accused police of “class, gender and sexuality bias” and called the verdict “no compensation for the loss of four young gay men who had their lives, hopes and dreams cut short.” “If four young well-off women had been murdered in Mayfair, I believe the police would have made a public appeal much sooner and mounted a far more comprehensive investigation”, he said on Wednesday. Tatchell said police could have prevented some murders; Taylor’s family agreed. “We do believe Jack would still be here if they had done their job” they said. “The police should be held accountable for Jack’s death. We do understand it’s not them who took Jack’s life, but Stephen Port would have been stopped.”

“This has been an incredibly detailed and wide-ranging inquiry with detectives not only investigating these crimes but providing full support to all the families and victims” said Stuart Cundy, a Metropolitan Police Commander. “Throughout this case we have worked very closely with the LGBT community” he added. Cundy claimed none of the surviving victims had been in touch with police prior to Port facing murder charges.

A Metropolitan Police statement said the force takes “Offences against members of the LGBT community[…] extremely seriously.” The force said it had 900 hate crimes investigators in addition to 150 specialist LGBT officers.

Cundy however acknowledged “potential missed opportunities” to catch Port. He said he has written to the deceaseds’ families, apologising. “I have offered to meet them if they would like to do so, both now and at the conclusion of the IPCC investigation.” He said police were co-operating with the IPCC probe.

When Port was arrested for perverting the course of justice police seized his laptop, but did not examine it. Detectives took advice from homicide specialists but a murder investigation was not launched and Port was released on bail while the Crown Prosecution Service considered charging him. Port murdered Kovari and Whitworth while on bail.

Port’s laptop, when eventually examined, showed Port first looked at Walgate’s escorting ad on June 13, 2014. On the same day he also sought out gay rape pornography. Searches included “sleeping boy”, “unconscious boys”, “drugged and raped”, “taking date rape drug”, “gay teen knocked out raped” and “guy raped and tortured young nude boy”. Friends of Walgate pressed police to examine the laptop, with one alleging police told her it was too expensive.

We can’t rule out the fact there may be other victims out there who suffered at Port’s hands and have yet to come forward

Amodio emailed a detective about the Jon Luck communications. Over several exchanges the detective asked Amodio to get Luck to contact him, but police did not take it upon themselves to trace Luck. Had they done so they would have found Port. Amodio also linked the deaths of Kovari and Whitworth to the earlier death of Walgate, but the detective told him the first death was “nothing about Gabriel or Daniel.”

Whitworth’s death also caused his friends to press police for further action, but police again did not treat the death as suspicious despite seeking advice from homicide specialists. Port’s DNA was on the blanket with Whitworth’s body; police already had his DNA from arresting Port during the Walgate investigation. Police did not trace his movements or investigate the man referred to in the apparent suicide note.

DCI Tony Kirk said to press the two deaths were “unusual and slightly confusing” but not murders. A pathologist found Whitworth had “bruising below both arms in the armpit regions which is unlikely to have been caused accidentally and may have resulted from manual handling of the deceased, most likely prior to death.” At inquest coroner Nadia Persaud recorded open verdicts and advised police to perform additional forensic tests, but this was not done.

Port was finally caught after Taylor’s murder when the victim’s older sisters linked his death to the other three. While pressing police to take action, they learned of CCTV showing Taylor and an unidentified person. Taylor’s sisters convinced police to release the footage in a bid to trace the man; when this was done, another officer recognised Port from the footage. He was arrested and the case became a murder probe.

Police are re-examining a further 58 fatal GHB overdoses from June 2011 to October 2015. “We can’t rule out the fact there may be other victims out there who suffered at Port’s hands and have yet to come forward,” Cundy said. “We would appeal for them to contact us as soon as possible.”

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Posted on September 18th 2018 in Uncategorized

Tarja Turunen to perform at Doro Pesch’s 25th anniversary concert and record duets with her

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Tarja Turunen to perform at Doro Pesch’s 25th anniversary concert and record duets with her
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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Tarja Turunen, a Finnish symphonic rock artist best known for being the former frontwoman of symphonic power metal band Nightwish, has been scheduled to appear at the 25th anniversary concert of heavy metal vocalist Doro Pesch. Pesh, like Turunen, first gained fame fronting a band, in her case Warlock.

Doro and Tarja are now also confirmed to be planning to record duets with each other. Doro will feature on Tarja’s next solo album, while Tarja will sing a role in Doro’s upcoming 25th-anniversary album.

Tarja announced the planned duets at the same time as confirming her appearance at the December 13th concert in Düsseldorf, Germany’s ISS Dome, where she says she will perform “a new song and an old song”. At the same time, Norwegian symphonic metal band Leaves’ Eyes have also been confirmed for the event.

When making the announcements Tarja also said “there will be a co-operation between me and Doro in the future” although it was unclear if this refers to a more permanent arrangement or simply that which has been announced now.

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Posted on September 17th 2018 in Uncategorized

Israel buys nuclear capable subs

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Israel buys nuclear capable subs
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Friday, August 25, 2006

Israel has purchased two more Dolphin class submarines which have the capacity to carry nuclear warheads. Israel already has three older nuclear weapons-capable Dolphin submarines but the new Dolphins have propulsion systems that allow them to remain submerged for longer periods of time, according to the Jerusalem Post, making it harder for them to be tracked by satellite. Experts view the purchase as a clear signal to Iran that Israel can retaliate if subjected to a nuclear attack.

“The Iranians would be very foolish if they attacked Israel,” said Paul Beaver, a British based defence analyst, speaking to the Washington Post. According to Beaver, the submarines would provide Israel with both first strike and second strike capability.

Israel already has land-based nuclear-capable ballistic missiles in the form of the Jericho I and II missiles.

German officials confirm that the contracts for the new submarines was signed July 6. The Jerusalem Post reports that they will be operational shortly.

Israel has never confirmed nor denied that it has nuclear weapons but is believed to have the world’s sixth largest stockpile of the devices, with most outside estimates putting their stockpile in the low hundreds. Israel’s possession of nuclear arms has often been a locus of bitter controversy in the Middle East, especially among countries who believe that the world community, and especially the United States, is hypocritical in its tolerance of Israeli nuclear arms while decrying the efforts of other Middle Eastern nations to develop their own nuclear capabilities.

Meanwhile, the Jerusalem Post reports there is a growing mood among Israel’s defence establishment that the country will have to act independently to stop Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons as the United States is unlikely to do so.

“America is stuck in Iraq and cannot go after Iran militarily right now,” according to an unnamed official quoted by the paper.

A report by the US House of Representatives’ Intelligence Committee released on Wednesday asserts that if Iran arms itself with nuclear weapons, Israel would be pressed to respond militarily. “A nuclear armed Iran would likely exacerbate regional tensions. Israel would find it hard to live with a nuclear armed Iran and could take military action against Iranian nuclear facilities,” the report states. Iran has continually maintained that it seeks only to develop nuclear technology for the production of electrical power, though this has been disputed by many nations.

Posted on September 17th 2018 in Uncategorized