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March 21, 2012

Wikinews Shorts: March 21, 2012

Wikinews Shorts: March 21, 2012 – Wikinews, the free news source

Wikinews Shorts: March 21, 2012

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A compilation of brief news reports for Wednesday, March 21, 2012.

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Iraq bombings cause security concerns for Arab summit

A series of car bombings in Iraq left around 50 dead and more than 200 wounded on Tuesday. Seven of Iraq’s 18 provinces were attacked. The attacks were described as coordinated although no group behind them has been identified.

The bombings raise safety concerns ahead of next week’s Arab League summit meeting. In response, Iraqi officials will declare a holiday beginning Sunday that will run through April 1 in Baghdad, allowing restriction of traffic around the summit meeting area.

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Mexico damaged by quake

Mexico Earthquake Density Map

Mexican authorities continue assessing damages from yesterday’s earthquake. Around 800 homes were damaged in the town of Igualapa, Guerrero, and close to the epicenter in the south. The number of injuries totaled eleven so far but no deaths have been reported. Most of the injuries were reported in Oaxaca, which borders Guerrero. Mexico’s government has sent out helicopters to assess damage and set up shelters for residents in need.

Yesterday’s incident was measured by the U.S. Geological Survey as a 7.4 magnitude quake, which makes it one of the strongest since 1985.

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  • “Magnitude 7.4 earthquake strikes Mexico; no fatalities reported” — Wikinews, March 21, 2012

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Apple officials scorch iPad 3 concerns

The iPad 3

Consumer Reports revealed through testing that Apple’s iPad 3 can reach a sizzling 116 degrees Fahrenheit, or 46 Celsius. The new iPad was found to operate hotter than the previous versions. Apple Computer did not agree that its product was overheating. The company said the latest iPad runs within a normal range and would warn users if it passed its limit, but the company declined to state what that range was.

Apple’s forums house several consumer concerns about the new iPad overheating. Some debated whether to return the product.

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Moto2 Wraps up final pre-season test at Jerez

Taltrans Racing rider Claudio Corti made his way to the top of the time sheets with a blazing 1’41.983 on the third and final day of testing at Jerez circuit. The Italian Moto2 rider was just .004 ahead of Thomas Lüthi of Interwetten Paddock GP who was fastest the first two days. All riders except Scott Redding (7th), Randy Krummenacher (21st), Gino Rea (23rd), and Elena Rosell (33rd) ran their fastest times today.

The test at Jerez was the first to feature the official Moto2 engine, and the last chance for an official practice before the first race in Qatar April 5-8.

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NFL Fines New Orleans Saints for “bounties”

Head coach for the New Orleans Saints American football team Sean Payton has been suspended for the entire 2012 season and the team fined US$500,000 for operating a bounty program to injure opponents in games. Gregg Williams, the former defensive coach who is now with the St. Louis Rams, has been suspended indefinitely, and will have his status reviewed at the season’s end.

The team will lose it’s second round draft picks for the 2012 and 2013 season. General Manager Mickey Loomis was suspended without pay for the first eight regular-season games of the 2012 season, the National Football League (NFL) said. The assistant head coach was also suspended for six games without pay.

The NFL is currently receiving class action law suits from former players for multiple injuries.

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February 5, 2012

UN resolution on Syria vetoed by Russia and China

UN resolution on Syria vetoed by Russia and China

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Sunday, February 5, 2012

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Meeting chambers of the United Nations Security Council
Image: Patrick Gruban.

The United Nations Security Council did not pass a resolution supporting Arab League actions pursuing peace in Syria. The resolution was vetoed by Council Permanent Members Russia and China. This is the second time in the past four months that a resolution to control violence in Syria has been vetoed by Russia and China.

All of the other members of the Security Council voted for the resolution. The Moroccan Ambassador Mohammed Loulichki who sponsored the resolution said that he was “frustrated and sad” that it did not pass. United States ambassador to the UN Susan Rice said “The United States stands with you, the Syrian people, and we will not rest until you and your bravery achieve your basic, universal human rights, to which all human beings are entitled. Today, we saw clearly which countries are prepared to support the people of Syria — and, indeed, the people of the entire region — as they struggle to attain a future of peace and democracy.” US President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton both supported the passage of the resolution.

The resolution was intended to control a violent civil war in Syria as part of the Arab Spring. Since protests broke out last year, as many as 6,000 protesters and 1,000 members of the Syrian Armed Forces have been killed. The protesters are calling for an end of the regime of Bashar al-Assad.



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January 24, 2012

Wikinews Shorts: January 24, 2012

Wikinews Shorts: January 24, 2012 – Wikinews, the free news source

Wikinews Shorts: January 24, 2012

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A compilation of brief news reports for Tuesday, January 24, 2012.

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

Christine Lagarde: World economy ‘faces a downward spiral’

In a speech yesterday in Berlin, International Monetary Fund (IMF) managing director, Christine Lagarde warned that the world was facing “[a] 1930s moment… A moment, ultimately, leading to a downward spiral that could engulf the entire world.” To avoid a repeat of the Great depression she urged leaders of the Eurozone to moderate austerity measures in order to maintain demand and to find further funds to bolster the 500 billion European Stability Mechanism.

In order to mitigate the Eurozone crisis the IMF is also seeking to raise 500 billion US dollars to support developing economies that would be caught up in the fallout of a Eurozone collapse.


International Criminal Court calls for four Kenyans to face trial for communal violence

The International Criminal Court has presented formal charges against three senior Kenyan politicians and a radio executive accused of orchestrating the wave of communal violence that followed the 2007 presidential election in that country. Of the six individuals initially investigated enough evidence to prosecute has been found in only four cases – including 2012/13 presidential hopefuls Uhuru Kenyatta and his rival William Ruto a former education minister. Menyatta is deputy prime-minister and finance minister.

In the past the rich and powerful in Kenya have often escaped justice. Kenyatta is the nation’s richest man.


Syria accuses Arab League of interference as GCC withdraws observers

The Gulf Co-operation Council is to withdraw its observers from the Arab League observer mission in Syria following Syrian dismissal of plans for President Bashar al-Assad to hand power to his deputy and share power in a unity government as “flagrant interference”.

The United Nations estimate that upwards of 5000 people have died in almost a year of anti-government protests and demonstrations.

Salman Rushdie literature festival video-link cancelled over fears of violence

A planned video-link address by Salman Rushdie at the Jaipur Literature Festival has been cancelled admidst fears of violence. Sanjoy Roy, the festival’s organiser, said “Earlier today, a number of organisations came to us and threatened violence.”

Salman Rushdie, whose book The Satanic Verses remains controversial 24 years after its publication, had earlier cancelled attending the festival citing assassination threats, and it is claimed several authors who read excerpts from The Satanic Verses in support can be prosecuted.





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January 3, 2012

Two Syrian journalists killed around New Year\’s Day

Two Syrian journalists killed around New Year’s Day

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Tuesday, January 3, 2012

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The last two journalists reported killed at the turn of the year were Syrians; just at a time when protests and violence in the country are escalating, and the Arab League begins its initial assessment of the situation.

Shot on December 30, and the first journalist to die in 2012, was veteran journalist Shukri Ratib Abu Burghol. The senior journalist was shot in the face after arriving home from work at a radio station in Darayya, on the southern outskirts of the capital city Damascus. According to Reporters Without Borders, he died three days after the shooting at Al Mouwsat Hospital.

The Syrian uprising began 11 months ago with a “Day of Rage” on February 3, last year. Homs, north of Damascus, has been a flashpoint of the revolution.

Burghol, 56, was a journalist for about 21 years, working for the newspaper Al-Thawra (The Revolution) whilst also hosting a weekly show for Radio Damascus. A source told the Xinhua news agency Burghol had received threats.

Basil Al-Sayed became the last journalist to die in 2011, shot on December 29 by a sniper in the city of Homs. The Arab League has confirmed that the Syrian government have been seen using snipers against protesters elsewhere in Daraa. The shooting of Al-Sayed took place in the Bab Amr section of Homs. The city has been one of the hot spots for protests against Bashar al-Assad‘s government during 2011. In the last week of the year, the Bab Amr neighbourhood was attacked by the Syrian military and experienced heavy violence.

The 24-year-old camera operator was a citizen journalist who uploaded his videos to video-sharing sites to spread information about the protests. Photojournalists and camera operators have been some of the the most at-risk during the Arab uprisings in Tunisia and Libya. Ferzat Jarban — the first known journalist to be killed in Syria — was a freelance camera operator, arrested on November 19 whilst filming protests in Al-Qusayr, Homs Governorate. He was found dead the following day. In Syria, citizen journalists like Al-Sayed, and freelancers like Jarban, have been risking their lives by openly recording videos of protests which may serve as documentary evidence of human rights’ abuse.

Currently information is hard to verify and reliable independent sources are largely banned or restricted inside Syria. Foreign journalists have been barred from the country, and from covering the protests.

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At the end of 2011 Arab League observers had sent out observers to different cities in Syria to monitor the situation, whilst one of its advisers called for the organization to retreat after Al-Assad’s government reneged on agreements to halt the crackdown.

According to Navi Pillay, High Commissioner for Human Rights at the United Nations, more than 5,000 people have been killed during the Syrian uprising, a figure that includes around 300 children.

Three journalists are now known to have been killed in Syria.

In December, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) addressed an open letter to Syrian President Al-Assad calling for the release of all journalists in detention; the CPJ documented 29 cases of journalists being detained in 2011.

The CPJ reported that 45 journalists were killed worldwide in 2011, whereas — using differing criteria — Reporters Without Borders state that 66 journalists around the world died in 2011, and assert that, by almost every indicator, violence and censorship against international journalists was worse in 2011, up 16% on their 2010 figures.

 
This story has updates
 
See Syrian citizen journalists risk death, targetted; city of Homs facing starvation
 

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August 21, 2011

Egypt recalls envoy in Israel

Egypt recalls envoy in Israel – Wikinews, the free news source

Egypt recalls envoy in Israel

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Yasser Reda Ali Abdullah Said, the Egyptian ambassador in Israel, was recalled by the Egyptian government yesterday, who claim that the countries’ 1979 peace treaty had been breached by the killing of five Egyptian security personnel as Israeli forces pursued cross-border raiders.

Attacks inside Israel which killed eight Israelis led to what Reuters describes as the most acute crisis in ties between the countries since Hosni Mubarak was overthrown in February, with Egyptian troops being killed in a subsequent shootout between Israeli soldiers pursuing the militants along the Israeli-Egypt border.

The Egyptian cabinet, in an official statement, said that they laid “the political and legal responsibility for the incident, which constitutes a breach of the peace treaty” between the countries, on Israel. They also ordered foreign minister Mohamed Kamel Amr to summon the Israeli ambassador and demand an official condemnation from Israeli leaders for their statements accusing Egyptian military rulers of losing their grasp on the Sinai peninsula, a huge desert buffer zone between Egypt and Israel.

A few hundred Egyptians burned Israeli flags and tore down metal barriers, at the Israeli embassy in Cairo, demanding the expulsion of the Israeli envoy.

Cquote1.svg One thing is sure, there is not a single person in Israel who wants to harm an Egyptian policeman or soldier Cquote2.svg

—Amos Gilad on Kol Yisrael

“One thing is sure, there is not a single person in Israel who wants to harm an Egyptian policeman or soldier,” Amos Gilad, a liaison officer with the Palestinians and Egypt, said on Kol Yisrael.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu consulted cabinet ministers about a potential response.

The Egyptians had also recalled their ambassador in Tel Aviv on previous occasions, such as Israel’s 1982 invasion of Lebanon and during the heavy Israeli shelling of the Gaza Strip in 2000.

“The cabinet committee has decided to withdraw the Egyptian ambassador in Israel until the result of investigations by the Israeli authorities is provided and an apology from the Israeli leadership over the hasty and regrettable statements about Egypt is given,” the cabinet statement said.

Citing concern about security in the Sinai Peninsula, the Israelis said the attackers infiltrated from the Gaza Strip, which is run by Hamas, through the Egypt-controlled Sinai Desert, despite Egyptian security’s attempts to find the Islamist radicals.

Cairo rejected the accusation which stated that it had lost control of Sinai. The cabinet’s decisions came after a meeting attended by generals in the army and Murad Muwafi, the Egyptian intelligence chief.

Cquote1.svg Egypt will take every precaution to secure its border with Israel to deter any infiltrators, and to respond to any Israeli military activity toward the Egyptian border. Cquote2.svg

—Egyptian cabinet statement

The cabinet statement also added that “Egypt will take every precaution to secure its border with Israel to deter any infiltrators, and to respond to any Israeli military activity toward the Egyptian border.”

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The peace treaty of 1979 limits the number of troops Egypt can deploy in the Sinai.

Emad Gad, senior researcher at Cairo’s Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, said that neither Egypt nor Israel was keen to escalate the issue further. “Withdrawing the Egyptian ambassador is a good step but Egypt still has to insist on a formal apology from Israel,” he added.

The Cairo-based Arab League will hold an urgent meeting on Sunday in order to discuss the Israeli air strikes on the Gaza Strip, following the attacks on Israel, that killed fifteen Palestinians.



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August 9, 2011

Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait recall ambassadors to Syria

Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait recall ambassadors to Syria

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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

 
Correction — December 22, 2014
 
This article names Jordanian politician Nasser Judeh as the nation’s Prime Minister. He has never held that role.
 
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Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Kuwait all recalled their ambassadors to Syria Monday over concerns about the crackdown on protestors by the Syrian government.

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia announced the decision to recall the country’s Syrian ambassador in a statement read on state television, saying that “[t]he Kingdom of Saudi Arabia [demands] the stoppage of the killing machine and bloodshed, and the use of reason before it is too late”.

Foreign Minister Sheikh Khaled bin Ahmad al-Khalifa of Bahrain said that Syria should “resort to reason” and Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammad al-Sabah called for an end to military action, saying that “no-one can accept the bloodshed.” al-Sabah also said that officials from several countries in the region plan to meet in the near future to discuss Syria.

In addition to the recall of the ambassadors, diplomatic pressure increased on Syria from other fronts, with Prime Minister Nasser Judeh of Jordan making a televised request for talks between the protestors and government, and the Arab League issuing its first statement about the situation in Syria on Sunday, saying it is “alarmed” by events.



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March 26, 2011

Qatar becomes first Arab country to fly fighter jets over Libya

Qatar becomes first Arab country to fly fighter jets over Libya

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Saturday, March 26, 2011

Mirage 2000

Qatar participated in a combat mission to enforce a no-fly zone over Libya on Friday, one day after NATO agreed to take command. Qatar is the first Arab country to take part in the operation against Moammar Gadhafi’s regime. The French Defence Ministry said two Qatai Mirage 2000 interceptor fighters flew Qatar’s first sortie over Libya accompanied by a French jet.

Besides Qatar, the United Arab Emirates has agreed to send 12 warplanes to support the international no-fly alliance. No other countries from the Arab League have agreed to join so far. Qatar’s combat deployment as the first by an Arab or Muslim-majority country thus is of critical impact.

Cquote1.svg Having our first Arab nation join and start flying with us emphasizes that the world wants the innocent Libyan people protected from the atrocities perpetrated by pro-regime forces Cquote2.svg

U.S. Air Forces Africa Commander Maj. Gen. Margaret Woodward

Qatar’s participation has great diplomatic importance. Major General Margaret Woodward, Commander of U.S. Air Forces Africa, stated: “Having our first Arab nation join and start flying with us emphasizes that the world wants the innocent Libyan people protected from the atrocities perpetrated by pro-regime forces”.

The emir of Qatar has typically preferred subtle diplomacy rather than confrontation, as Qatar is vulnerable because of its tiny size and its position on the tip of the Arabian peninsula. Qatar’s decision to send planes is related to its need to maintain its independence from its bigger neighbors like Iran and Saudi Arabia, according to The Guardian.

France, the United Kingdom and the United States are among thirteen states which have so far joined the no-fly mission over Libya. The no-fly zone over Libya was established by the UN Security Council on March 17.



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March 14, 2011

Libyan rebels retake town of Brega

Libyan rebels retake town of Brega – Wikinews, the free news source

Libyan rebels retake town of Brega

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Monday, March 14, 2011

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A day after Libyan government forces captured the town of Brega in eastern Libya, rebels claim they have retaken control of the area.

Only hours after rebel forces were reported to have left the town, they issued claims that they again controlled Brega, having killed or captured several government troops. A group of special forces reportedly were responsible for capturing the town during Sunday night.

According to a rebel leader, “[t]he exact information that we have today … is that the revolutionaries have taken back Brega and then they captured more than 70 soldiers belonging to Gadhafi troops.”

As the violence continues, 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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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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March 12, 2011

Arab League calls for Libyan no-fly zone

Arab League calls for Libyan no-fly zone

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Saturday, March 12, 2011

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The Arab League joined calls to impose a no-fly zone over Libya after a meeting of the 22-nation group in Cairo on Saturday.

The proposal was settled upon during a six-hour-long emergency meeting at the Arab League’s headquarters, with only Algeria and Syria in opposition. According to League officials, the group had been in contact with rebels engaged in fighting prior to the meeting.

According to Amr Moussa, the organization’s secretary general, it had “officially requested the United Nations Security Council to impose a no-fly zone against any military action against the Libyan people.” Moussa went on to say that he was “talking about a humanitarian action … supporting the Libyan people in their fight for freedom against a regime that is more and more disdainful.”

According to onlookers, some members of the League, including Saudi Arabia and Algeria, are concerned about establishing a no-fly zone because they have experienced protests as well, and they worry that uprisings similar to the Libyan one could occur. Additionally, even though the League voted in favor of a no-fly zone, other analysts say internal dissent could lead to them going no further than stating their support.

During the meeting, Libyan protesters gathered outside the headquarters building in support of a no-fly zone. One protester, originally from the Libyan city of Benghazi, said that “[w]e want the Arab League to show the same resolve on this situation as the rest of the world…if they don’t, it will be embarrassing for them in front of their own peoples and everyone else.”

NATO considers the support of regional powers essential if a no-fly zone is to be established, as some members believe that it could be seen as outside interference by Western powers. According to Britain’s Foreign Secretary, William Hague, “You need support within the region from the Arab world” for a no-fly zone and “[the UK] would like Arab nations to participate in it militarily.”



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