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News briefs:June 2, 2006

  • Posted on August 18, 2019 at 1:16 am

The time is 18:00 (UTC) on June 2nd, 2006, and this is Audio Wikinews News Briefs.

Contents

  • 1 Headlines
    • 1.1 Consensus reached on incentive package for Iran
    • 1.2 Two Iraqi women, one pregnant, killed by US soldiers
    • 1.3 90 days of hard labor for Abu Ghraib dog handler
    • 1.4 World conference of expatriate Greeks to take place in Athens
    • 1.5 Federal and NSW governments withdraw Snowy Hydro shares
    • 1.6 “Metric tonne” of date rape drug was bound for US
    • 1.7 US accused of sinking The Pirate Bay
    • 1.8 New Zealand’s Taupo Airport worst in the world
    • 1.9 Katharine Close, 13, wins Scripps National Spelling Bee
  • 2 Closing statements
News briefs:June 2, 2006
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CNN headquarters infected with computer worm, exaggerates global threat

  • Posted on August 18, 2019 at 1:11 am

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

CNN television news gave extensive coverage starting around 5:30 PM EST today to a new computer virus, a worm dubbed rbot.cbq. Its reporting suggested that it had the potential to become one of the most virulent and costly yet seen. This story was unique among cyber-attacks reports as the network apparently learned of the virus through becoming one of its early victims. Media organizations ABC and the New York Times were affected as well. Perhaps first-hand experience gave the studio more insight on the virus while providing an early notice. The coverage that followed, however, raises concerns that the network’s perspective was skewed, and that perhaps the damage even diminished its reporting ability.

CNN treated the story as a potential global crisis in its manner of coverage as well as in the advice given to viewers. For over 45 minutes, by one viewer’s tally, CNN devoted exclusive air-time to this topic. Home users were advised to turn off their computers for safety, while businesses were warned that if continued operations prevented this measure, they were at high risk. CNN.com sported a bold red headline above its usual content area, warning of the virus. CNN stated they were requesting reports from key sources across the nation, including California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

After some time, the network eventually obtained a Microsoft statement describing the virus as “low-impact” and only affecting computers running Windows 2000. CNN also learned from Microsoft that there was a patch available at Microsoft’s web site. CNN’s coverage contrasted with a lack of actual evidence of widespread infections, in this reporter’s view. Much of the discussion and advice came from experts probably not officially associated with CNN, so there is a question of who is at fault.

Chris Carboni of the Internet Storm Center speculated that “The fact that CNN, ABC and the NYTimes got it may be as simple as reporters from these organizations visiting the same event and connecting to an infected network. While a firewall may have protected their office network up to now, these infected laptops were able to take out the network from the inside once they connected back to it.”

CNN headquarters infected with computer worm, exaggerates global threat
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Pennsylvania state trooper found guilty of first-degree murder

  • Posted on August 18, 2019 at 1:10 am

Friday, March 20, 2009

In the United States, a suspended Pennsylvania state trooper has been convicted of first-degree murder for killing his girlfriend’s estranged husband.

Kevin Foley, 43, faces a mandatory life sentence without parole for slashing to death John Yelenic, a Blairsville dentist who was in the final stages of divorcing his wife, Michele. Foley’s attorney said he plans to appeal the decision. Prosecutors did not seek the death penalty.

Foley previously said he “loathed Dr. Yelenic” and asked another fellow trooper to help kill him. During his testimony, which lasted several hours, Foley claimed he was joking and had no true intention of carrying out the threat, but the Indiana County jury rejected that defense after about six hours of deliberations.

John Yelenic was found dead in his home on April 13, 2006, one day before he was planning on signing his divorce papers. Charges were brought against Foley in September 2007, more than 17 months after the murder.

Foley, who had been on suspension from the Pennsylvania State Police, was himself the final witness to take the stand Wednesday in the trial. Foley insisted he was innocent during his testimony, and even made jokes that the jury laughed at on a few occasions.

“I never made a threat with the intention of carrying it out,” Foley said under cross-examination by the prosecution.

When Senior Deputy Attorney General Anthony Krastek pressed Foley for what was funny about asking another state trooper to help him kill Yelenic, Foley answered, “There isn’t any joke. It’s just my personality, my behavior (with co-workers).”

Prosecutors said Foley killed Yelenic after going to the dentist’s house to confront him over the terms of the divorce. Prosecutors claim Foley slashed Yelenic several times with a knife and pushed his head through a small window. Yelenic bled to death.

“John has his justice tonight,” Mary Ann Clark, a cousin of Yelenic, told MSNBC. “John deserved this; he was the most wonderful person in the world. He died the most horrible death and tonight, this is his night. The system worked.”

Foley had been living with Michele Yelenic for two years at the time of the homicide. Prosecutors previously said Foley and Michele helped perpetuate rumors that Dr. Yelenic molested their son. John and Michele Yelenic had been separated in 2002. Michele Yelenic stood to collect Dr. Yelenic’s estate and a US$1 million life insurance policy, and could lose about $2,500 a month in support if the divorce was finalized, a Pennsylvania grand jury previously determined.

Michele Yelenic, who has not appeared at the trial, may face legal action herself, media reports indicated. A sentencing hearing for Foley is scheduled for June 1.

Pennsylvania state trooper found guilty of first-degree murder
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Robber holds retired NYC police officer at gunpoint during convention

  • Posted on August 11, 2019 at 1:37 am

Sunday, March 29, 2009

John Comparetto, a retired New York City Police Department lieutenant, was held at gunpoint on Friday morning by an armed nineteen year old in a hotel bathroom who demanded Comparetto’s money and cellphone.

Comparetto handed over both to the thief. When the criminal took off with the money, Comparetto drew his gun from an ankle holster and immediately chased after the robber. Comparetto asked the hotel desk clerk which way the suspect went, and told the clerk to alert officers at a police convention that a fellow policeman was “in need of assistance”.

A police officer’s convention was being held at the Holiday Inn near Harrisburg Friday for 300 narcotics police officers in attendance from Pennsylvania and Ohio.

The teen departed the scene in a taxi cab outside the hotel.

Comparetto said, “I stopped the cab at gunpoint. Ten other cops came running out and we arrested probably the dumbest criminal in Pennsylvania.”

Jerome Marquis Blanchett is being held at Dauphin County Prison following his arrest.

Robber holds retired NYC police officer at gunpoint during convention
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SEPTA buys rail cars from NJ Transit to deal with crowding

  • Posted on August 11, 2019 at 1:10 am

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

As gas prices have risen in the United States, the regional transport authority for southeastern Pennsylvania, SEPTA, has seen a sharp increase in ridership, which has caused overcrowding on the trains.

“As fuel prices have continued to rise, SEPTA ridership has steadily increased and is the highest in 18 years,” said SEPTA General Manager Joseph Casey. Monthly ridership was 22 percent higher last month than a year ago.

“They have crushed loads on their rail lines, already where people are standing, and there’s not enough seats,” said Rich Bickel, the director of the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission.

“At peak times some railcars are standing room only and commuter parking lots are nearly full. All Regional Rail lines are running near full capacity and the train station parking lots are at about 90 percent capacity or more,” SEPTA spokesperson Felipe Suarez said.

While SEPTA awaits new Silverliner V trains from Hyundai Rotem, which begin arriving in 2009, it had hoped to lease eight rail cars from New Jersey Transit, at an agreed-upon rate of US$10,000 per month. However, due to problems with insurance and liability indemnification, the deal fell through, according to Casey.

SEPTA has entered a new agreement to purchase the eight rail cars from NJ Transit. The transit authority will pay US$670,000 for the cars and assorted supplies plus one additional inoperative car which will be used for spare parts. The rail cars will be operated using a SEPTA provided locomotive as they are not self-propelled.

The cars are being disposed of by NJ Transit because it has switched from single-floor cars to double-decker cars.

SEPTA is expecting to raise US$3.1 million by selling rail that has been out of service since 1981 at auction.

SEPTA buys rail cars from NJ Transit to deal with crowding
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Australia/2006

  • Posted on August 11, 2019 at 1:02 am

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]

Australia/2006
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Denny’s Super Bowl free ‘Grand Slam Breakfast’ brings 2 million diners

  • Posted on August 4, 2019 at 1:24 am

Friday, February 6, 2009

Denny’s 1,600 chain restaurants across North America, Puerto Rico and Canada, were slammed for eight hours Tuesday with hungry patrons standing on sidewalks for nearly two hours to take advantage of the $5.99 “Grand Slam Breakfast” giveaway.

Denny’s, a dining chain with annual revenue of about $900 million, has advertised in a TV commercial Sunday during the Super Bowl XLIII that it would give away its signature breakfast from 6 a.m. until 2 p.m. local time Tuesday, at all its restaurants in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico, while supplies lasted.

Denny’s Diner has promoted the iconic dish giveaway heavily, with a bold 30-second appeal ad that aired during the third quarter of the Super Bowl 43 on Sunday, plus another 15-second ad during the post-game show, offering a free breakfast to some 90 million viewers. In addition, it has placed a full-page ad in USA Today‘s Monday edition. The promotion was further announced on The Today Show and notices were also sent out to the chain’s “Denny’s Breakfast Club” members.

The NBC ad, which was bought to unveil a new promotion for customers squeezed by the recession, may have cost as much as $3 million, said Nelson Marchioli, CEO of Denny’s Corp. Super Bowl XLIII’s 30-second commercial time slot costs $2.4 million–$3 million for the airtime alone, excluding production and talent costs.

The game was televised live by the US NBC Sunday Night Football and Canada’s CTV Television Network. BayTSP has reported that, “as of 10 a.m. Wednesday, commercials that initially aired during NBC’s Super Bowl XLIII broadcast subsequently had been watched online more than 28 million times.”

“The promotion has a total cost of $5 million U.S., which includes $3 million for the commercial on NBC,” said a Denny’s spokesman, noting also that the company received about $50 million in news coverage, most of which was positive. According to a Denny’s representative, two million people walked through the restaurant chains’ doors Tuesday, and each Denny’s restaurant served an average of 130 Grand Slams per hour.

With the “Denny’s Feeds America” promotion, the company has reported 14 million hits on its Web site between Sunday night and Monday morning. Denny’s shares rose 6 cents, or 3.1 percent, to $1.98 in afternoon trading. The stock has traded in a range of $1.18 to $4.10 over the past 52 weeks.

“Denny’s free Grand Slam” has ranked in the top 10 Google searches early Tuesday and fell to No. 18 by the end of the promotion, while “denny s locations” was #9 on Google Trends, which tracks fast-rising searches. It has also held spots No. 1 (Denny’s) and 7 (Grand Slam) on Twitter‘s trending topics. It has generated much chat on Twitter, garnering 1,700 tweets on Tuesday, compared with its average of 59. Doritos, winner of the USA TODAY survey for best Super Bowl spot ad, had 933 mentions after reaching a peak of almost 3,300.

The idea of the TV ad was to get people to come in and re-evaluate Denny’s Diner. “A lot of people have forgotten what Denny’s is, or they think they know, while we’ve come out with a whole lot of new products. We felt like we needed to jump start the brand,” Denny’s Chief Marketing and Innovation Officer Mark Chmiel said.

“We’re celebrating the Grand Slam this year,” Chmiel said. According to the company’s financial data, on January 15 Denny’s reported systemwide comparable-store sales for the fourth quarter were down 6.1 percent, compared to a 0.2 percent decline from the same period in 2007.

According to Robert Gonzalez, public relations company Hill & Knowlton spokesman, Denny’s has expected at least 2 million people to eat a free Grand Slam by the end of the promotion. “Every restaurant is packed with people and lines,” Gonzalez said. “Everything today is about fast. People are on the go, and they’re eating fast food. It’s cutting into sit-down dining,” he added.

“Each of the more than 1,500 Denny’s were planning to make about 100 Grand Slams an hour,” Denny’s spokeswoman Cori Rice said. It had predicted it will have served about 1,400 people per location, more than five times the normal volume. “Grand Slam Breakfast” is a four-item option on its menu, consisting of two pancakes, two eggs, two strips of bacon and two sausage links. It weighs in at 44 grams of fat, 56 carbohydrates and 770 calories.

Nationwide, Denny’s expected to sell about 2 million Grand Slams — about 15 percent of the annual tally. According to Mark Chmiel, chief marketing operator and executive vice president, the diner chain has reported approximately 2 million meals worth more than $12 million were given away nationwide and each Denny’s restaurant served an average of 130 Grand Slams per hour. It estimated it has earned about $50 million worth of public relations following the free Grand Slam campaign, Chmiel said.

The company is also experimenting with a Grand Slam Burrito and also has introduced for this year, a Grand Slamwich, which includes eggs, bacon, sausage and cheese between two slices of bread, with a teaspoon serving. “It already has shown strong consumer appeal,” said Chmiel. The company has received flood of e-mails and letters proving the positive impact of the Grand Slam campaign and commercials on its customers.

Chmiel also announced he’s planning a third major promotion in this year’s third quarter, which happens to include another major sporting event, the World Series. “That’s one we’re definitely looking at,” he said.

Jobless Paris Winslow of downtown San Francisco, California has joined the long line which stretched from the front door on Mission Street, between Fourth and Fifth streets, to the corner of Fourth and up the block. “The economy is getting kind of scary. This line looks like those pictures of soup kitchen lines during the 1929 Great Depression,” Winslow said.

“I came all the way from San Francisco for a free $6 meal, Isn’t that pathetic? A year ago, I never would have done this. These days I’m willing to put my ego on the back burner,” said Stephen Weller, a jobless contractor who waited with his dog, Emmett. California Denny’s restaurant managers have issued rain checks (for free chilled meals, as security backed by actual bacon) to anyone who failed to get in by the 2 p.m. deadline.

A big eater could also “Slam It Up” by adding any two additional items for 99 cents each to their meal. Customers on Tuesday were also handed “bounceback” coupon books that include offers for additional free menu items with purchases. Chicago Tribune reporter Kevin Pang has eaten five free Grand Slams on Tuesday at five different Denny’s Diners in four hours. He claims to have consumed 4,100 calories at Harwood Heights, 5:36 a.m, at Schiller Park, 6:22 a.m., at Franklin Park, 7:08 a.m., at Melrose Park, 7:41 a.m. and at Grand Slam No. 5 Oak Park, 8:57 a.m.

“The Grand Slam has always been a Denny’s favorite. This free offer is our way of reacquainting America with Denny’s real breakfast and with the Denny’s brand,” Denny’s CEO Nelson Marchioli said in a statement. In 1977s, the Grand Slam started as a baseball-related promotion in Atlanta, Georgia. Its normal price averages around $5.99. Marchioli said the event was also a way to kick-off its “Year of the Grand Slam” promotion. Denny’s claimed it has sold 12.5 million Grand Slams a year.

“The economy’s tough and people are jumping all the way to fast food to try to figure it out. We all use fast food, whether it’s for time or convenience or for money. But you can go to Denny’s and you don’t have to give up a real breakfast and that was the whole focus of our commercial,” Marchioli explained. McDonald’s (MCD, Fortune 500) has done well during this economic meltdown since the global recession pushes people toward less expensive dining options.

McDonald’s has announced plans Wednesday to open 175 new restaurants in China this year despite the global economic crisis, thereby increasing the number of outlets in China by 17 percent, from 1,050 currently. Last month, McDonald’s 2008 net profit has risen 80 percent from 2007 to 4.3 billion dollars.

Marchioli has also introduced Denny’s $4 Weekday Express Slam, which is a streamlined version of the Grand Slam. “I want to take back share. For too long, we have allowed others to take share, whether it was Starbucks or McDonald’s. They’re fine competitors and I don’t expect to take all their business from them, but I’d like a little bit back,” Marchioli noted.

According to Rafi Mohammed, author of “The Art of Pricing,” people love free. “It triggers a Pavlovian response in people,” said Mohammed. If Pavlov’s dogs salivate when a bell rings, Denny’s free Grand Slam breakfast has attracted 2 million hungry customers. “I believe free maximizes trial and doesn’t devalue a product as long as it is a rare event. Aside from the cost, the major downside is that it attracts customers who truly have no intention of coming back,” he added.

According to University of Portland consumer psychology professor Deana Julka, people flock to free promotions amid just a few dollars saving because there’s nothing in life for free. “So when there’s something out there that costs nothing, it creates a psychological rush. Especially in these times when people feel overtaxed or overburden, there’s an internal reward people feel by getting something for free,” she said. “It’s being thrifty and feeling like you beat the system. Free really hits the spot for a lot of people,” Julka added.

“Free is an emotional hot button. When free is concerned, there is no downside – or, at least, we don’t see the downside immediately. So we overvalue everything that is free. People love free stuff, particularly when money’s tight,” said Dan Ariely, a business professor at Duke University, author of “Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions.”

Experts, however, explained these moves need to be done sparingly, since giveaways can teeter in the balance between desperation and a well designed marketing ploy. “Giving your product away for free is not worth it because it undermines your brand value,” said branding expert Rob Frankel, saying people are attached to the idea of it being free, than the actual product itself.

Free giveaways are not anything new in the food industry. “It just feels good when you can get something for free and not have to worry about it coming out of your wallet,” Frankel noted. Dunkin’ Donuts and Panera Bread all have had free coffee and food promos last year. “In November, Starbucks gave away free cup of coffee to anyone who came in on Election Day. Have you taken a look at how Starbucks is doing now?” Last week it has announced it would shut down 300 stores, in addition to the 600 it already planned to close.

On February 24, IHOP will be offering a free shortstack to every customer to encourage donations (in place of the cost) for Childrens Miracle Network. The International House of Pancakes (IHOP) is a United States-based restaurant chain that specializes in breakfast foods and is owned by DineEquity. The chain had more than 1950 restaurants in all 50 states, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Canada and Mexico. Since 2006, IHOP’s National Pancake Day celebration has raised over $1.85 million. In 2008, over 1.5 million pancakes (12 miles high if they were stacked) were given to customers for donations.

Denny’s (“Denny’s Diner”) is a full-service diner/family restaurant chain in the United States. It operates over 2,500 restaurants in the United States (including Puerto Rico), Canada, Curaçao, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Jamaica, Japan, Mexico, and New Zealand). The resto chain is known for always being open, serving breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert around the clock.

Today, Denny’s operates about 1,600 restaurants in all 50 U.S. states, Canada and Mexico. There are also about 578 Denny’s restaurants in Japan operated under a license by a subsidiary of Seven & I Holdings, seven Denny’s locations in New Zealand, and approximately 38 Denny’s diners in the United States. Denny’s headquarters is now located in Spartanburg, South Carolina, headquarters of the parent company Trans World Corporation that acquired Denny’s in 1987.

Denny’s was historically notable for offering a free meal to anyone on their birthday. The offer included a limited number of meal options from a special birthday menu. The promotional ritual ceased in 1993, though occasionally individual franchises will continue the tradition.

In 2008, Denny’s has ceased to be in the ranks among the top diner chains in the $83 billion breakfast market, whose top five firms — McDonald’s, Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts, Burger King and IHOP — accounted for 22 percent of the volume. “A lot of consumers have written Denny’s off their let’s-go-there list,” said Ron Paul, president of Technomic, a consulting firm.

Super Bowl XLIII was an American football game between the American Football Conference champion Pittsburgh Steelers (15–4) and the National Football Conference champion Arizona Cardinals (12–8) to decide the National Football League (NFL) champion for the 2008 NFL season. It was played on February 1, 2009, at Raymond James Stadiumin Tampa, Florida. It has an attendance of 70,774 and 98.7 million viewers. Pittsburgh earned its sixth Super Bowl win, thus securing sole possession of the record for most Super Bowl wins.

Denny’s Super Bowl free ‘Grand Slam Breakfast’ brings 2 million diners
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Pope Benedict visits Cuba urging openness, religious freedom

  • Posted on July 23, 2019 at 1:00 am

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Pope Benedict XVI arrived in Cuba on Monday beginning a three day trip in which the leader of the Catholic church met with Cuban leaders and publicly spoke on the need for religious freedom. Pope Benedict spoke before a large audience yesterday in the Plaza de la Revolución in Havana. Benedict called for change in Cuba and the rest of the world.

Cuba and the world need change, but this will occur only if each one is in a position to seek the truth and chooses the way of love, sowing reconciliation and fraternity.

“Cuba and the world need change, but this will occur only if each one is in a position to seek the truth and chooses the way of love, sowing reconciliation and fraternity,” he said.

Benedict’s arrival in Cuba comes 14 years after the first papal visit by Pope John Paul II. The late pope addressed the nation in 1998 and said that Cuba should “open itself up to the world, and may the world open itself up to Cuba.” Benedict’s speech in Havana focused on the rise of religious freedom in Cuba since the 1990s – when the country dropped official atheism – as well as the need for more religious freedom in the country.

“It is with joy that in Cuba there have been steps so that the church can carry out its mission. … The right to freedom of religion, as an individual and a community, manifests the unity of a human being, citizen and believer at the same time,” he said.

While Benedict kept the speech mostly apolitical, during the trip he made comments that could be interpreted as criticism of the communist country.

“There are those who wrongly interpret this search for the truth, leading them to irrationality and fanaticism; they close themselves up in ‘their truth’ and try to impose it on others,” Benedict said.

Also during the trip, the pope prayed for greater freedom for Cubans at the statue of the Virgin of Charity of Cobre in Santiago. The pope also said Cuba’s political system “no longer corresponds to reality.”

In Cuba, there will not be political reform.

In response, Marino Murillo, vice president of the island’s council of ministers, said Cuba is sustainable and will not change. “In Cuba, there will not be political reform,” Murillo said.

According to groups on the island, 60 individuals were detained or put on house arrest during Pope Benedict’s televised Mass. Amnesty International also reported that Cuban human rights organizations, such as the Cuban Commission on Human Rights and National Reconciliation, were unable to communicate via phones or mobile-phones starting Monday.

… some have had their houses surrounded to prevent them (from) denouncing abuses during Pope Benedict’s tour.

“The clampdown has seen an increase in arrests, activists’ phones have been disconnected, and some have had their houses surrounded to prevent them (from) denouncing abuses during Pope Benedict’s tour,” Amnesty International said.

In addition to visiting various cities in Cuba and celebrating Mass in Havana, Benedict also met with former Cuban President Fidel Castro yesterday. According to a Vatican spokesman, Castro asked for a “modest and simple” meeting with the pontiff. The two spoke for 30 minutes in which the former president – who stepped down in 2006 due to illness – asked the pope about the evolution of the Catholic church over the years and what life is like as a pope.

Castro spoke of the pope in a positive light: “…a man whose contact with children and humble members of society has, invariably, raised feelings of affection.”

Pope Benedict left Cuba Wednesday evening.

Pope Benedict visits Cuba urging openness, religious freedom
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Zambian President Edgar Lungu to undergo treatment abroad after collapse

  • Posted on July 6, 2019 at 1:01 am

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Edgar Lungu, the current President of Zambia, is to undergo medical treatment aboard after collapsing while on stage in Lusaka on Sunday during a ceremony for International Women’s Day. The Presidency announced yesterday that Lungu will have throat surgery abroad.

Doctors on Sunday diagnosed him with malaria. Lungu spoke to the press from hospital on Sunday saying “I am looking forward to going home. Doctors have done their tests and they have found traces of malaria, but they are doing further tests and they will let me know what next after before the end of the day”.

A later announcement identified his condition instead as a narrowing of the oesophagus, which he had previously received treatment for three decades ago. Despite not announcing where Lungu would head to be treated the Presidency did say he would undergo a “high-tech medical procedure which is currently unavailable in Zambia”.

Lungu, who only became the Zambian President in January, has previously dispelled rumours of his health. During the election he fought back against comments about his health calling it a “smear” campaign against him.

Some in Zambia have claimed the presidency is “jinxed”. Lungu’s predecessor Michael Sata died in October of last year at the age of 77 in London, England. Sata died only six years after serving President Levy Mwanawasa died following a stroke.

Zambian President Edgar Lungu to undergo treatment abroad after collapse
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BBC Radio Bristol presenter fired over ‘racist’ phone call

  • Posted on July 5, 2019 at 1:27 am

Thursday, November 13, 2008

A United Kingdom radio presenter with the BBC was fired on Saturday, and replaced, after an allegedly racist off-air phone call. Sam Mason of BBC Radio Bristol had earlier called up a taxi firm to arrange a booking for her 14-year-old daughter.

Mason asked the operator not to send an Asian cab driver. She said, “A guy with a turban on is going to freak her out.” After the operator refused Mason snapped back claiming, “You’ve managed it before.”

The original female operator had passed the call over to another operator. Mason then accused the first of having “a bad attitude”, and said, “I work at the BBC. I’m far from racist and that uneducated woman has no right to call me one.” The call then ended but she called back to complain.

The female operator who took the call was also fired from her job for illegally recording the call.

A statement from the taxi firm stated that “We confirm that a telephone call from Radio Bristol presenter Sam Mason to the company was illegally recorded by an employee. That employee was dismissed for similar offences on 3 November.”

A copy of the call was sent to British tabloid The Sun, which broke the story on Tuesday. The Sun informed the BBC.

A guy with a turban on is going to freak her out.

A BBC spokesman said: “Although Sam Mason’s remarks were not made on-air, her comments were completely unacceptable and, for that reason, she has been informed that she will no longer be working for the BBC with immediate effect.”

According to BBC News, Mason, who worked at the station for only six weeks, was unavailable for comment.

The incident comes just weeks after the Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross prank call scandal involving Fawlty Towers actor Andrew Sachs.

BBC Radio Bristol presenter fired over ‘racist’ phone call
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