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January 23, 2012

Wikinews Shorts: January 23, 2012

Wikinews Shorts: January 23, 2012 – Wikinews, the free news source

Wikinews Shorts: January 23, 2012

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A compilation of brief news reports for Monday, January 23, 2012.

If you believe any of these stories deserves more in-depth coverage, feel free to write a full article on the issues raised.

Western show of unity in the Strait of Hormuz on the eve of further anti-Iran sanctions

A six-strong flotilla of United States, French, and British warships, centered around the USS Abraham Lincoln, has sailed through the Strait of Hormuz. The move comes on the eve of an expected embargo on the import of Iranian oil by the European Union, and an Iranian threat to close the straits to international shipping.

Thirty five percent of the world’s supply of crude oil passes through the Strait of Hormuz.

Libyan deputy leader resigns over protests

Abdul Hafiz Ghoga, the vice-chair of Libya’s National Transitional Council (NTC) resigned following protests in Benghazi on Saturday. Talking to Al Jazeera on Sunday he said, “[m]y resignation is for the benefit of the nation and is required at this stage.”

A human rights lawyer, Ghoga became the focus of discontent over the prominence of former Gaddafi loyalists on the NTC, the pace of reform and the belief that Benghazi was sidelined in the political process.



Nigeria death toll set to rise

The confirmed death toll of 178 in co-ordinated attacks against Nigerian government targets in Kano on Friday, with police and soldiers amongst the many dead and wounded, is expected to rise.

Attacks by Boko Haram, who seek to create an Islamic state, are becoming increasingly sophisticated, with fears the group aims to provoke a civil war between Nigeria’s Muslim north and Christian south.


Economy not Sharia will be the focus of Egypt’s new Islamic government

Improving the economy and fighting poverty, not legislating to create a Muslim state, will be the Muslim Brotherhood‘s agenda when they form Egypt’s first post-Mubarak government today. “We can’t talk about implementing Islamic Shariah law when the country is experiencing such devastating economic problems,” said Mohammed Gouda, a party policymaker and economics committee member.

Islamists form a majority in the new assembly with the Muslim Brotherhood winning 46% of seats and the conservative Al-Nour Party 23%.


UK unemployment increases to 2.68m as profit warnings increase

The UK‘s unemployment rate has reached 8.4% — 2.685 million people — according to data released by the Office of National Statistics. The figure reflects the quarter ending last November and is a 0.3% increase on the previous quarter.

Unemployment amongst younger people now stands at 22.3% — 1.043 million people, and the number of people claiming Jobseekers’ Allowance has now reached 1.6 million; in December, 1,200 new claimants began receiving unemployment benefits.

Profit warnings from firms within the UK have increased from 51 in the third quarter to 88 in the fourth, say Ernst & Young. The nation saw 206 firms issue 278 warnings profits were not as high as initially expected.

Three years after British retailer Woolworths collapsed, 24,000 who lost their jobs as a result have won a fight for compensation; each will receive 60 days’ pay, a total payout of £67.8 million and averaging £2,800 per person.





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June 24, 2011

Libyan rebels in Misrata restrict press freedoms

Libyan rebels in Misrata restrict press freedoms

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Friday, June 24, 2011

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Rebel authorities in the Libyan city of Misrata have begun implementing tighter restrictions on foreign journalists in the city this week, in response to fears that spies for President Muammar al-Gaddafi may be among them.

Under the new restrictions, reporters have been barred from traveling to the front lines of the conflict, denied access to high-speed internet links and ordered to use translators approved by Misratan officials. Additionally, reporters accredited by the rebel government based in Benghazi, the National Transitional Council, are no longer recognized as such by local officials and are required to register with Misrata authorities or face deportation.

According to Mohammed Durat, an official in charge of the Misrata media center, the changes have come about because authorities “are afraid of spies from Gaddafi.” He also said that the new restrictions are intended to benefit reporters, saying that “[w]e are caring about you, we don’t want you to get any bad thing” and that “[y]ou should be happy about this.”

Morale in Misrata has fallen in recent weeks, after rebel forces have failed to expand the area they control after a month of fighting and are suffering increasing casualties. In the urban areas, after a month of reletive calm, pro-Gaddafi forces have again begun shelling buildings, with minimal response from NATO forces, despite a declaration on June 14 that NATO helicopter strikes would be carried out if civilian targets were attacked.



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March 22, 2011

U.S. military denies reports helicopter opened fire on Libyan civilians during rescue mission

U.S. military denies reports helicopter opened fire on Libyan civilians during rescue mission

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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

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File photograph of a V-22 Osprey.
Image: U.S. Navy.

Wikinews understands the Pentagon is to open an investigation into the rescue mission.
Image: Mariordo.

A spokesperson for the United States military has tonight categorically denied reports of a U.S. helicopter opening fire on Libyan civilians during a rescue mission of two fighter pilots who crashed near the eastern city of Benghazi.

Conflicting reports have emerged of the mission to rescue the two U.S. fighter pilots who ejected from their aircraft. The F-15E Strike Eagle that they were flying reportedly suffered a mechanical failure on Monday night and crashed. Soon after the accident, a U.S. military helicopter landed in the area to extract the airmen and reportedly opened fire on civilians, wounding six of them.

Unconfirmed reports indicate the six civilians were taken to a hospital in the area after being fired upon by the helicopter, a V-22 Osprey. One of the wounded, a young boy, was shot in the leg, which will likely now require amputation. Another of those reported injured said the shooting caused “great panic.” Wikinews understands the Pentagon is to open an investigation into the rescue mission.

However, a U.S. military spokesperson denied the reports “one hundred percent”, and said the incident “didn’t happen”. He said the aircraft which rescued the two airman was not fitted with weapons. “The Osprey is not armed and the Marines barely came off the aircraft,” he said.

The pilot of the fighter aircraft was extracted during the rescue mission, while the weapons officer was found and cared for by Libyan rebels before later being retrieved by American forces. Both crew members suffered only minor injuries, the military said. The fighter aircraft was deployed over Libya in support of the no-fly zone approved by the United Nations Security Council over Libya as part of Operation Odyssey Dawn.



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March 17, 2011

Libyan rebels and Gaddafi troops in battle on two fronts

Libyan rebels and Gaddafi troops in battle on two fronts

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Thursday, March 17, 2011

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Libyan government forces and rebel fighters have been fighting in two different cities Wednesday, in both the east and west of the country.

Fighting was reported in the cities of Ajdabiya, an eastern city that is the last settlement before Benghazi, the main rebel location, and in Misrata, the only town still controlled by rebels in western Libya. Rebels claimed to have held off government troops in both cities, though dozens of people are reported dead in the latest violence.

Control of Ajdabiya has reportedly shifted between government and rebel troops in the past two days. Government forces apparently captured the city during the day on Tuesday, but retreated by evening. On Wednesday, the city was under attack by airplanes, tanks and mortars. At the end of the day, the rebels still appeared to control much of the city.

According to a doctor in the city, at least 26 people have died in Ajdabiya in the past two days. On Tuesday, Libyan state TV reported that Ajdabiya was “totally controlled and is being cleansed of armed gangs.” However, a rebel official later said that “[t]here’s heavy, sustained tank shelling and earlier there were air strikes, but now the revolutionaries managed to take seven tanks from those dogs and, God willing, we will succeed.”

Rebel leaders also claimed that warplanes and a helicopter under their command had been involved in the fighting, and said they had superior weapons than government forces. Outside the city, however, government forces were reported to be amassing several hundred troops, as well as increasing supplies of ammunition and weaponry.

In Misrata, rebels claim that they had repelled government forces using tanks and other artillery weapons, though this could not be confirmed. Eleven people are reported to have died on Wednesday in Misrata.

International diplomatic efforts to resolve the situation continue. French president Nicolas Sarkozy wrote to the UN Security Council in support of a proposed resolution that includes the establishment of a no-fly zone in Libya. The international community is still split on the idea of military intervention, though; while the Arab League supports a no-fly zone, a G8 meeting on Tuesday ended without support for the idea.



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UN Security Council approves Libya no-fly zone

UN Security Council approves Libya no-fly zone

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Thursday, March 17, 2011

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The United Nations Security Council has approved the establishment of a no-fly zone over Libya after a vote on Thursday evening.

A meeting in New York City resulted in the approval of a resolution that would mark the beginning of “all necessary measures short of an occupation force to protect civilians and civilian-populated areas” in Libya. The vote on the measure passed with ten of the fifteen members of the Security Council in support and Russia, China, India, Germany and Brazil absenting.

The resolution had been proposed by the United Kingdom, France and Lebanon. In his remarks introducing the measure before the Council, Alain Juppe, the French foreign minister, said that “[w]e cannot let these warmongers do this, we cannot abandon civilians.”

Air attacks on government forces in Libya could take place within hours, flown by the French and British air forces, after NATO meets to review plans for military action.

In response to the vote, a statement aired on Libyan state TV said that “[a]ny foreign military act against Libya will expose all air and maritime traffic in the Mediterranean Sea to danger, and civilian and military [facilities] will become targets of Libya’s counterattack.”

Libya’s ruler, Muammar Gaddafi, also said that government troops planned to move against Benghazi Thursday night. “No more fear, no more hesitation, the moment of truth has come. […] There will be no mercy. Our troops will be coming to Benghazi tonight.”

The UK ambassador to the UN, Mark Lyall Grant, said after the vote that “[t]he international community has come together in deploring the actions of the Gaddafi regime and demanding that the regime end this violence against the Libyan people.”

In Benghazi, rebels celebrated the passage of the resolution with fireworks after a live broadcast of the vote was shown on an outdoor projection.



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March 13, 2011

Libyan government forces capture eastern town from rebels

Libyan government forces capture eastern town from rebels

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Sunday, March 13, 2011

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Libyan government troops have captured the seaport of Brega as they continue to move east through the country.

Over the past several days, government troops have captured several previously rebel-held areas, including the town of Ra’s Lanuf on Saturday. In Sunday’s events, government forces reportedly used air strikes and shelling against rebel forces, who retreated in the direction of Benghazi, with government forces in pursuit.

A Libyan military source said on state television that “Brega has been cleansed of armed gangs.” A rebel involved in the fighting in Brega said that “There’s no uprising any more. The other day we were in Ras Lanuf, then Brega, the day after tomorrow they will be in Benghazi.”

As government forces move east, morale among rebel forces is claimed to be low by the government. A military spokesperson said that rebels “are people who when we come to them raise their hands and give up.”

Internationally, calls for a no-fly zone over Libya are increasing. The Arab League voted on Saturday for a no-fly zone, while France has said it will increase its efforts to persuade the international community put one in place.


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Al Jazeera cameraman killed in eastern Libya

Al Jazeera cameraman killed in eastern Libya

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Sunday, March 13, 2011

Libya
Other stories from Libya
  • 16 February 2015: Islamic State execute 21 Coptic Christians held in Libya
  • 15 September 2014: Libya accuse Qatar of intervening on side of rebels
  • 7 September 2014: Libya accuse Sudan of arming ‘terrorist group’
  • 28 August 2014: US says Egypt and UAE responsible for air attacks on Tripoli
  • 24 August 2014: Renegade General’s forces claim responsibility for aerial attacks on Tripoli
…More articles here
Location of Libya

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A rally taking place in Benghazi

An Al Jazeera cameraman working in Libya was killed in an alleged ambush on Saturday as he was returning with his team to the rebel-held city of Benghazi. Al Jazeera, in an official statement, called the act a “cowardly crime” and “part of the Libyan regime’s malicious campaign targeting Al Jazeera and its staff”.

Ali Hassan al-Jaber, along with two colleagues, was returning from a reporting assignment on an opposition protest in a nearby town, when unidentified gunmen opened fire on the car in which the group was traveling. Al Jaber was rushed to a hospital but a bullet had apparently penetrated his heart and he died. One of his colleagues was wounded.

The director general of Al Jazeera Wadah Khanfar paid tribute to Jaber at the network’s media forum. He said, “He was one of those people who lived and eventually died in the pursuit of truth. We are determined to carry on regardless. We cannot sacrifice our lives except for noble causes. There is no nobler cause than the pursuit of truth.”

Al Jaber, a Qatari national, is the first journalist reported to have been killed in the Libyan conflict. Reporters who were previously welcomed by opponents of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi now feel threatened by Gaddafi supporters as his forces near Benghazi. There are signs that Gaddafi intends to drive the foreign press out of Libya. He has already announced that foreign reporters working in the east of the country are working for “Al-Qaeda.” Many journalists are now planning to leave the city.

The director of Al Jazeera, Wadah Khanfar, said that the killing of the cameraman followed “an unprecedented campaign” against the news organization by Gaddafi. He said, “Al Jazeera reiterates the assault cannot dent its resolve to continue its mission, professionally enlightening the public of the unfolding events in Libya and elsewhere.” He described the people in Benghazi who expressed support of the station once news of the ambush was reported.



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March 11, 2011

France first to recognise Libyan rebels as \”legitimate representatives of the people\”

France first to recognise Libyan rebels as “legitimate representatives of the people”

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Friday, March 11, 2011

Libya
Other stories from Libya
  • 16 February 2015: Islamic State execute 21 Coptic Christians held in Libya
  • 15 September 2014: Libya accuse Qatar of intervening on side of rebels
  • 7 September 2014: Libya accuse Sudan of arming ‘terrorist group’
  • 28 August 2014: US says Egypt and UAE responsible for air attacks on Tripoli
  • 24 August 2014: Renegade General’s forces claim responsibility for aerial attacks on Tripoli
…More articles here
Location of Libya

A map showing the location of Libya

To write, edit, start or view other articles on Libya, see the Libya Portal
Flag of Libya

Flag of the former Kingdom of Libya, which the National Transitional Council and the Libyan opposition in general has adopted as their flag.

France became the first country to formally recognize a newly formed Libyan opposition council as the “legitimate representative of the Libyan people.” The office of French President Nicolas Sarkozy said on Thursday it will send ambassadors to the rebel stronghold in Benghazi, and in return the Libyan opposition council will set up an embassy in Paris.

The decision was made after President Sarkozy met with two representatives of the opposition group, the National Transitional Council, in Paris. Mustafa Gheriani, a representative for the Libyan opposition, said he expected other EU members to follow Sarkozy’s lead. Other EU members expressed uneasiness, and declined to meet with the two representatives.

Although the EU has approved tighter sanctions in response to Muammar Gaddafi’s bloody crackdown on the opposition, EU members held back from endorsing a specific opposition group. Dutch Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal, whose government still maintains an embassy in Tripoli, cautioned, “There is not yet enough clarity about these opposition groups in and around Benghazi”. Baroness Ashton, spokesman for the EU foreign affairs chief, stated: “We cannot unilaterally rush into recognising groups.” Other members expressed the need for the EU to speak in a unified voice.

Contact between EU officials and opposition leaders is occurring. British Foreign Secretary William Hague said he had spoken by telephone with Mahmoud Jabril, special envoy of the Libyan Transitional National Council, before he left for NATO talks in Brussels on the Libyan situation. The talks planned to include a discussion of a no-fly zone over Libya.

Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said she plans to meet with Libyan opposition members on her trip to Egypt and Tunisia next week.



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February 22, 2011

Runways \’destroyed\’ at Libya’s Benina International Airport

Runways ‘destroyed’ at Libya’s Benina International Airport

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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

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An aerial shot of Benina International Airport

The runways at Benina International Airport in Benghazi, Libya have been destroyed according to an Egyptian government minister. Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit said that the runways had been destroyed during the violence that is currently taking place. Protests have spread to Tripoli as Muammar Gaddafi has made no signs of stepping down from his 35-year rule as leader of Libya.

Aboul Gheit told media at a news conference “Regarding east of Libya, the Benghazi airport runways have been destroyed. It is not possible for Egyptair flights or any other flights to land in that airport.” He added “If Egyptians need to leave, and I always advise [them] to stay home, then they would have to travel to Egyptian borders by land some 500km in proximity to danger. Such trips must be in groups and in buses.”

Egypt is currently awaiting permission to land at Tripoli Airport. Aboul Gheit compared the situation to the evacuation of Egyptian nationals from Iraq in 1991 during the outbreak of the Iraq war. Greece, Italy, and the Netherlands have all sent transport planes to bring their nationals back home.



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Libya blocks access to Internet

Libya blocks access to Internet – Wikinews, the free news source

Libya blocks access to Internet

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Tuesday, February 22, 2011 File:Muammar Abu Minyar al-Gaddafi in Dimashq.jpg

Muammar Abu Minyar al-Gaddafi, also known as Colonel Gaddafi, has been the leader of Libya since 1969. In the picture, al-Gaddafi in Dimashq, Syria.
Image: James Gordon.
(Image missing from commons: image; log)

The Libyan government has cut off Internet access in the country. The General Posts and Telecommunications Company, Libya’s main provider of Internet access, has ceased to function. It was shut down following citizen protests against the country’s leader, Muammar Abu Minyar al-Gaddafi, who has been in power since 1969.

The government of Egypt took a similar measure last month, when it cut off Internet trying to quell public protests against the regime. Despite the government’s efforts, Egyptians who took to the streets for two weeks were able to oust the nation’s president, Hosni Mubarak, after 30 years in office.

Limited access to the Internet makes it difficult to get information from the country. Libya is a country with a smaller population than Egypt, and has fewer service providers, which has apparently made the task of disconnecting everything a little easier.

In Egypt, the military refused to attack people protesting. The situation is different in Libya, where the armed forces attacked hundreds of demonstrators in the square of the city of Benghazi, causing many deaths.

The increasing violence in Libya has prompted the 27 European Union ministers to issue a statement protesting Libyan governmental violence toward protesters, saying it “condemns the ongoing repression against demonstrators in Libya and deplores the violence and death of civilians.” Two Libyan pilots have defected to Malta and asked for asylum, saying that they were ordered to fire on protesters, according to Maltese officials.

The violence has spread to Tripoli. Witnesses have reported that a “massacre” occurred today in suburbs of the Libyan capital with the indiscriminate shooting of women and children. According to Human Rights Watch, hundreds have died over the last four days.

The escalating violence is causing turbulence in the world energy markets. The International Monetary Fund says that energy exports accounts for approximately 95% of Libya’s export earning.

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