Entries in Wales (5)


World’s First Wikipedia Town to Go Live

Wikimedia Foundation(MONMOUTH, Wales) -- The world’s first “Wikipedia town” will launch on Saturday in the small town of Monmouth in Wales.

The town now has more than 1,000 ceramic plaques on every important building, school and on hundreds of shops. The plaques each have a unique QR bar code -- a square, black-and-white bar code that can be scanned with a smartphone that will be directed to a web page.

When users scan these codes, they will be taken to a Wikipedia article about the place they are visiting in whatever language their phone is programmed to.

The project, called “Monmouthpedia,” has been in the works for six months. The whole town has a free wireless Internet network and on Saturday, the “the entire town will be bedecked with banners declaring Monmouth as the first Wikipedia Town in the world,” according to its website.

The town’s residents contributed by writing and editing stories about Monmouth, and volunteers have been translating them to dozens of languages including Hungarian, Indonesian and Hindi.

“I started Monmouthpedia because I think that knowledge can give us context and allow us to appreciate the things around us more,”  John Cummings, the Monmouthpedia project leader, said in a video on the project’s website.

“The project is a collaboration between Wikimedia UK, Monmouth City Council, the museums, the library, the University of Wales and Cardiff Met [Cardiff Metropolitan University], but, most importantly, it’s the individual contributors -- the local community groups and people not just from Monmouth but all over the world that correct the content and are making this happen,” he said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Risk-Loving Mom Straps on Toddler for Cliff Climb

aimevenhigher[dot]blogspot[dot]com(SWANSEA, Wales) -- Britons were shocked Wednesday morning to see the photo of rock-climbing fanatic Menna Pritchard climbing a 30-foot rock face with 2-year-old daughter Ffion strapped to her back.

Readers and commentators were especially critical of toddler Ffion’s not wearing a helmet.

Proud single mother Pritchard, 26, insisted the climb was “100percent safe” from falling rocks.

She was inundated with comments after she posted the photo online, many of them from concerned mothers who questioned the safety of taking such a young child up a sheer rock face.

Pritchard, a single parent, is an experienced climber and an enthusiastic promoter of outdoor sports that involve children.

“My real passion is just getting people outdoors with their kids, and I wouldn’t want to put anyone off,” she told the BBC. “I’ve had feedback on my blog and Twitter from people who have said they found it an inspiration, and have asked for advice on types of slings and things.”

Pritchard has been taking Ffion on outdoor treks through the hills and mountains of Wales for some time.

The photo that caused all the fuss was taken during a recent climb of the Three Cliffs Bay in Wales’s picturesque Gower peninsula. Pritchard is wearing a helmet but not her daughter.

Pritchard said no helmet was needed because both she and Ffion were attached to a rope held by a trusted colleague. “Some people would say I’m taking more risks than are necessary, but I am very conscious of safety,” she said.

The Daily Mail newspaper reported, however, that local climbers said the limestone rock face of The Three Cliffs was notorious for breaking off and falling.

A defiant Pritchard said, “The sue-and-blame culture means so many people are nervous, so afraid of getting into trouble, and taking small risks.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Teacher Punished for Stealing Facebook Photos

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(GWENT, Wales) -- A primary school teacher in Wales who stole Facebook photos of a child to trick her ex-boyfriend into thinking she had given birth to his baby has been banned from teaching for two years.

Victoria Jones, 23, allegedly wanted revenge after her 26-year-old boyfriend, Daniel Barberini, dumped her after they had dated for 16 months, Wales News Service reported. So she grabbed her friend's baby pictures from Facebook and passed them off as her own.

In an email to Barberini, Jones claimed she had given birth to his twins -- a boy who died soon after birth, and a girl who she had taken to live in Australia.

"This is so sick -- it has just destroyed us," the true mother of the child, Sarah Jensen, told Wales News Service this week. "Daniel had 82 pictures of Aliyah on his Facebook -- all sent by Vicky who made out the baby was theirs."

Jensen provided the emails to Wales News Service. On April 15, 2009 Jones wrote, "It's 9.15pm over here. Kei is sleeping right through now. She's growing up so quickly. I mean she was born premature, and yet she's fit and healthy and doing soooo well. I'm so proud!!!!"

In October, Jones appears to be answering a series of questions from Barberini about the little girl he thought was his child: "What's her favourite activity to do with her mum? Cuddles and she loves swimming. Has she picked up any naughty habits yet? Only throwing things when I say no!" she wrote. "How's walking? Too good - she's discovered speed so is like a running machine!"

Earlier that same year, Jones wrote, "You will never find anyone that loves you as much as I once did. I was always there for you and always cared for you ... You find that kind of loyalty and love again? Well I doubt it to be honest."

Barberini reportedly believed the child was his, until he showed pictures of the little girl to a friend who knew Jensen.

When Jensen found out, she called the Gwent Police.

Jones taught 3-year-olds at Ringland Primary School, so the police contacted the General Teaching Council for Wales, a professional regulatory body comprised of teachers. The Council then held a tribunal to examine whether Jones' actions had violated the Council's code of conduct. Jones admitted she had taken the pictures, but denied any professional misconduct.

One section of the code requires that teachers "act with honesty and integrity," by representing "themselves, their experience, professional position and qualifications honestly."

At Friday's hearing, attended by the Wales News Service, the Council found Jones guilty of misconduct, but ruled she had not compromised her trust with pupils or dishonored the school itself. She is barred from teaching for two years at which point she can reapply for her job.

A spokesman for Ringland Primary School was not immediately available for comment.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Welsh Group Attempts to Set Skinny Dipping Record

Comstock/Thinkstock(CARDIFF, Wales) -- Imagine 400 Welsh folks of all ages running into the ocean. Now imagine them naked.

Hundreds of skinny dippers may have now broken a Guinness World Record -- the largest group of naked people to jump into a body of water together and wade for at least 10 minutes.

Guinness has yet to evaluate the feat, but the group that organized the nude dip raised an estimated $20,000 for its favorite charities, the National Trust and Marie Curie Cancer Care.

What makes this record so impressive? It's either the sheer amount of nudity in one place or the hundreds agreeing to jump into cold water naked. It's also spread all over the Internet.

One youthful male participant said, "The thing about it is, it's not just the cold, it's the fact that there's 400-plus people totally naked, screaming their heads off. It's just the bizarrest experience I think I've ever had."

According to some of the 'dippers, the water didn't feel too cold at 54 degrees. And participants seemed comfortable being interviewed after the 10-minute dip.

"Exhilarating! It's much warmer than I thought it would be. So exciting to go over the waves as well," said an excited older woman.

With all the enthusiasm, this group may be in line for a little Guinness World Record fame. Believe it or not, there is more than one category for skinny dipping in the record book; the Welsh group was trying to break the record for most nudists in one place. If you have multiple locations -- well, that's why Guinness has another category.

From the Guinness website: "The largest skinny dipping event involved 13,674 participants, organised by AANR (USA) [the American Association for Nude Recreation] across multiple locations in the USA, on 11 July 2008."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Prince William and Kate to Make Public Appearance in Wales

Photo Courtesy - Indigo/Getty Images(ANGLESEY, U.K.) -- Prince William and Kate Middleton will be out and about meeting members of the public in Anglesey, North Wales Thursday.

The outing is only the second time the world will have heard Middleton speak in public, the first being last November when she and Prince William announced their engagement.

The couple will meet members of the public, and Kate will launch her first boat.

The outing is seen as a chance for Kate to learn royal protocol for public appearances from the Prince, who is experienced in such matters.

On Thursday, the couple will return to St. Andrews, Scotland, where they met as students.

The couple currently shares a secluded farmhouse in Wales.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio