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February 12, 2012

Anti-ACTA activists protest across Europe

Anti-ACTA activists protest across Europe

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Sunday, February 12, 2012

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Anti-ACTA protestors on the steps of Trafalgar Square outside the National Gallery in London.
Image: Tom Morris.

Guy Fawkes masks were on display in cities across Europe yesterday as part of a protest against the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), an international trade agreement on copyright and intellectual property that opponents believe will limit free speech online.

Organisers of the protest said about 100,000 people turned up in German cities such as Berlin, Cologne, Hamburg, and Hanover. In Berlin, police estimated 6,500 protestors. Protests also took place in Paris, Sofia in Bulgaria, Vilnius in Lithuania, Valetta in Malta, Tallinn in Estonia, and Edinburgh and Glasgow in Scotland. In London, about 200 people protested outside some major copyright holders’ offices. Last month, there were major protests in Poland when that country signed ACTA, which has led to the Polish government deciding not to ratify the agreement, for now. Latvia and Slovakia have both delayed the process of joining ACTA.

Jim Killock from the Open Rights Group, a UK digital civil liberties campaigning group, said ACTA was “undemocratic”, “lacked scrutiny”, and was “setting up dangerous new pressures to censor the internet”.

The United Kingdom have signed ACTA, along with 21 other EU countries. Germany and the Czech Republic have held out on agreeing to it, awaiting a debate on the matter in the European Parliament in June. Baroness Wilcox, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary for the UK’s Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, claims signing the treaty was important to help bring about “common enforcement standards and more effective international cooperation” in intellectual property law.



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  • “Wikinews Shorts: January 28, 2012#EU official resigns over anti-piracy treaty” — Wikinews, January 28, 2012

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May 15, 2011

Azerbaijan win 2011 Eurovision Song Contest

Azerbaijan win 2011 Eurovision Song Contest

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Sunday, May 15, 2011

Eurovision Song Contest
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The Esprit Arena, the venue for the contest

Azerbaijan has won the 2011 Eurovision Song Contest in Düsseldorf, Germany. Duo Ell & Nikki, which consists of Eldar Gasimov and Nigar Jamal, won the contest with 221 points after their performence of Running Scared. This is the first time that Azerbaijan has won the contest, they first appeared in 2008. Italy took second place and Sweden finished third.

Commenting on their country’s win the pair said “the one thing we want to say is, we just love you. Thank you for your support”. Gasimov continued to say that he was “the happiest man in the world”.

Azerbaijan received the maximum of 12 points from three countries, Russia, Turkey, and Malta.

Ukraine came fourth in the contest and fifth place went to Denmark. Switzerland came in last with 19 points. Host and last year’s winner Germany finished in tenth place. Other countries that participated in the final include Bosnia and Herzegovina, Greece, Ireland, Georgia, the United Kingdom, Moldova, Slovenia, Serbia, France, Russia, Romania, Austria, Lithuania, Iceland, Finland, Hungary, Spain, and Estonia.

Two semi-final heats were held in the days before the final to determine which acts would proceed to the final. Greece and Sweden won the semi-finals with 133 and 155 points. The countries that failed to make it to the final are Malta, Armenia, Turkey, Albania, Croatia, San Marino, Norway, Portugal, Poland, Belgium, Bulgaria, Slovakia, Belarus, Israel, F.Y.R Macedonia, Latvia, Cyprus, and the Netherlands



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February 20, 2011

Ten children killed in Estonian orphanage fire

Ten children killed in Estonian orphanage fire

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Sunday, February 20, 2011

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The orphanage was located in Haapsalu
Image: iijjccoo.

Ten children have died after a fire at a disabled orphanage in Haapsalu, Estonia. Forty six people, including thirty seven children, were in the wooden building at the time of the fire. One adult and another child were injured in the blaze. The fire started at 2.30pm local time and firefighters arrived shortly after.

Viktor Saaremets, a spokesman for the Western Estonia Rescue Services Center, released a statement saying “By the time rescue workers and firefighters arrived at the scene three or four minutes later the building was completely in flames.” According to local media it took the firefighters two hours to put out the blaze.

The Estonian government has declared Monday a national day of mourning for the victims after an emergency meeting. President of Estonia Toomas Hendrik Ilves said “The tragic accident in the Haapsalu orphanage shocked the whole of Estonia today.”

The orphanage was opened in 1950 but moved to the current building in 1996 after funding from the Estonian government as well as foreign donors. The building was inspected in January and met all the necessary requirements according to Saaremets. The cause of the fire is still being investigated.



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September 1, 2010

Estonian soldier killed in southern Afghanistan

Estonian soldier killed in southern Afghanistan

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Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Estonia
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  • 11 October 2013: Australia has mixed OECD rankings for literacy and numeracy amongst adults
  • 26 September 2013: 2012 Report on Gender Equality and Development credits Icelandic parental policy with ‘hopeful’ changes
  • 26 September 2013: 2012 Report on Gender Equality and Development suggests Australian women are doing okay
  • 12 February 2012: Anti-ACTA activists protest across Europe
  • 8 February 2012: European cold spell kills hundreds
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Estonian forces have been in Afghanistan since 2001

An Estonian soldier has been killed in southern Afghanistan. Sgt. Herdis Sikka was on patrol with his unit in Helmand province when he was killed in an explosion. His death was announced by the Estonian Defence Ministry.

20 year-old Sikka had been the driver of the armoured personnel carrier when his unit came under attack. No one else was injured in the attack. Fellow soldiers tried to administer first aid and Sikka was transported by helicopter to Camp Bastion.

A joint statement from Prime Minister Andrus Ansip, Minister of Defense Jaak Aaviksoo and Foreign Minister Urmas Paetissued praised his “invaluable contribution to the construction of a secure future.” President Toomas Hendrick Ilves wrote a letter of condolence to Sikka’s family.

With Sikka’s death, the death-toll of Estonian soldiers in Afghanistan has risen to eight.



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October 9, 2009

18 hospitalized after gas attack in school in Valga, Estonia

Filed under: Disasters and accidents,Estonia — admin @ 5:00 am

Friday, October 9, 2009

At least 18 people have been hospitalized after two students released gas into a high school in Valga, Estonia. Two of the hospitalized were allowed home after a health check. 25 other students were treated by the school doctor.

Emergency services received the first distress call at 10:02 local time (7:02 GMT). Students were evacuated from the building and the rest of the school day was canceled at 10:45 local time (7:45 GMT). According to latest information, the gas was released by the students in the changing room on the ground floor and in the toilet on the second floor. From there it spread into a ventilation system. A local newspaper, Valgamaalane, has been told that according to preliminary information, a bottled gas was used in the incident.

Police have started an investigation and found two suspects in the case, both students at the affected school.



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18 hospitalized after gas attack in school in Valga, Estonia

Filed under: Disasters and accidents,Estonia — admin @ 5:00 am

Friday, October 9, 2009

At least 18 people have been hospitalized after two students released pepper spray into a high school in Valga, Estonia. Two of the hospitalized were allowed home after a health check. 25 other students were treated by the school doctor.

Emergency services received the first distress call at 10:02 local time (7:02 GMT). Students were evacuated from the building and the rest of the school day was canceled at 10:45 local time (7:45 GMT). According to latest information, the gas was released by the students in the changing room on the ground floor and in the toilet on the second floor. From there it spread into a ventilation system. It was later determined that it was pepper spray that was used in the attack, not “gas” as was originally reported.

Police have started an investigation and found two suspects in the case, both students at the affected school.



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June 8, 2009

Europeans go to the polls to elect Members of the European Parliament

Europeans go to the polls to elect Members of the European Parliament

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Monday, June 8, 2009

European Parliament logo

Over the course of the last four days, people across the European Union went to the polls to elect Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) as part of the European Parliament election, 2009. Voting began on Thursday in the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and parts of Ireland. It continued on Friday across the rest of Ireland and parts of the Czech Republic. On Saturday the countries of Cyprus, France (for part of Outre-mer), Italy (day 1), Latvia, Malta, Slovakia and the Czech Republic all voted. On Sunday, the final day of polling, the remaing countries of Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Germany, Denmark, Spain, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Italy (day 2), Lithuania, Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia and Sweden voted. Votes were released last night and will continue to be released over the course of today with the exception of Netherlands, which has broken rules and partialy released them on Friday.

The current President of the European Parliament, Hans-Gert Pöttering

The European Parliament is divided into constituencies, which have a group of representatives (the MEPs). Each constituency elects them proportionaly. The amount of MEPs representing a political party depends on the percentage of votes they gain. For example, if 50% of the electorate of a constituency vote for the x party then 50% of the MEPs in that constituency will be from the x party. In total there are 736 MEPs up for election by approximately 500,000,000 Europeans across 27 member states making it the largest transnational election in history.

The elections didn’t quite go to plan across the Netherlands, as the European Commission have asked that Dutch officials give an explanation to results they released. As countries across Europe vote on different days, the results of the election can only be released on the last day (Sunday), so that the results in other countries will not influence the decission made by people in countries that are still voting. Despite this, the Netherlands released some of their results on Friday: 92% of the votes have currently been counted. Further controversy arose from the results themselves. Results so far show that far-right Dutch Member of Parliament, Geert Wilders’s party the Party for Freedom (PVV), appears to have come second behind the Christian Democratic Appeal. Wilders is facing prosecution in the Netherlands for an anti Islamic statement and was refused entry to the United Kingdom on grounds of the intent to incite hatred.

It had initially been foreseen that the Treaty of Lisbon would have entered into force by the time of these elections, making them the first to be held under its provisions. However, primarily because of the failure of the referendum in Ireland, the framework established by the Treaty of Nice will be used again. Amongst other differences, the number of MEPs to be returned depends upon which rules are in effect: while 736 MEPs will be elected under the Nice rules, this number would have increased to 751 if the Lisbon Treaty were in force. A further change that Lisbon would have brought was an increase to the powers of Parliament, including powers over the appointment of the President of the European Commission.

In the previous election, German Hans-Gert Pöttering of the centre-right EPP-ED won with 34% and Martin Schulz of the Socialists came second with 26%. Despite this, during the last term the two leaders shared, each serving approximately two years in office.

European Parliament election, 2004 – Final results at 20 July 2004
Group Description Chaired by MEPs
  EPP-ED Conservatives and Christian Democrats Hans-Gert Pöttering 268 PE2004e.png
  PES Social Democrats Martin Schulz 200
  ALDE Liberals and Liberal Democrats Graham Watson 88
  G–EFA Greens and Regionalists Daniel Cohn-Bendit
Monica Frassoni
42
  EUL–
NGL
Communists and the Far Left Francis Wurtz 41
  ID Eurosceptics Jens-Peter Bonde
Nigel Farage
37
  UEN National Conservatives Brian Crowley
Cristiana Muscardini
27
  NI Independents none 29 Total: 732 Sources: [1][2][3][4][5]

Europeans have also been voting in local elections of County Councils in the United Kingdom and Ireland.



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“United Kingdom elects first British National Party members of European Parliament” — Wikinews, June 8, 2009

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December 13, 2008

Wikinews Shorts: December 13, 2008

Wikinews Shorts: December 13, 2008 – Wikinews, the free news source

Wikinews Shorts: December 13, 2008

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A compilation of brief news reports for Saturday, December 13, 2008.

President-Elect Obama’s inaugural donations to be listed online

President-Elect Obama in Austin, TX during the campaign. (Courtesy of Roxanne Mitchel)

The Presidential Inaugural Committee says it is “taking unprecedented steps to insure transparency in the public reporting of donors” by listing the names of individuals or organizations who donate over $200 towards President-Elect Barack Obama’s upcoming inaugural.

Logging onto http://www.pic2009.org/page/content/donors/ will show you a current list of over 169 current donors who have given at least that amount, and for most of the donors, much more. Donors include movie stars, real estate moguls, and sports stars, many of whom also contributed to Obama’s presidential campaign.

The Presidential Inaugural Committee states that it has raised almost $10 million dollars to cover the inaugural; and while that may seem like a large amount, the spending record for an inaugural is held by the current president, George W. Bush, with $42.8 million spent on his 2004 inaugural.


Scientists detect black hole at center of Milky Way Galaxy

A simulation of the black hole.

American and German astronomers have detected and confirmed that there is a ‘super-massive’ black hole at the center of the Milky Way galaxy. It is approximately 27,000 light years from Earth, and four million times bigger than the Sun. Scientists say it plays a significant role in forming all galaxies.

The 16-year study was performed using two telescopes located in Chile. They discovered it by tracking the movement of over two dozen separate stars. The study will be published next month in The Astrophysical Journal.

Sources


Zimbabwe accuses United Kingdom of causing cholera epidemic

An ally of Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe, Information Minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu, has said that a cholera epidemic in the country, which killed hundreds of people, was caused by the United Kingdom.

Ndlovu said of the outbreak that it was a “genocidal onslaught on the people of Zimbabwe by the British.” It was compared to a “serious biological chemical weapon”.

This comes just a day after President Mugabe announced that the cholera epidemic had been stopped, contradicting aid workers saying that the crisis was only getting worse.

Mugabe has already accused Western powers of planning to use the epidemic as a reason to oust him.

Sources


Colombia extradites drug lord to the United States

Montoya’s mugshot

Diego Montoya, who is alleged to be one of the Colombia’s most powerful drug lords, has been handed over to the United States authorities by Colombia to face trial. Montoya will face 12 charges, including those of murder, money laundering, and the trafficking of drugs. If convicted, he will serve no less than twenty years in prison.

Montoya was the leader of the Norte del Valle cartel, which is reported to have exported 70% of all the cocaine sold in both the European Union and the United States at its height. He was on the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation’s “Top Ten” most wanted fugitives.

Sources


Rare snowfall strikes southern United States

Snow has started falling in some southern states of the US, including Louisiana and Mississippi. As much as eight inches of snow were recorded, and thousands of people were left without power – one of Louisiana’s largest power suppliers, Cleco Corporation, reported ten thousand outages. Forecasters warned of dangerous driving conditions, and some flights at Louis Armstrong International Airport, located near New Orleans, were affected.

In New Orleans, snow fell today for the first time in four years. The largest snowfall amount for the city ever recorded is about 5 inches, on December 30, 1963.

Sources


Pin-up queen Bettie Page dies at age 85

Bettie Page, a model who became famous for her pin-up photos, has died at the age of 85. Page died of complications from a heart attack on Thursday, December 11.

She was born Bettie Mae Page on April 22, 1923 in Nashville, Tennessee. She was also one of the earliest Playmates of the Month for Playboy magazine.

Sources


Estonian law to allow voting by cell phone

The Parliament of Estonia has passed a law that will allow citizens to vote by mobile phone in the 2011 parliamentary elections. Voters will need free, authorized chips for their phones.

In last year’s elections, Estonians voted online. The country’s Reform Party proposed mobile voting in September 2007.

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June 12, 2008

Finland, Estonia and Greece ratify the EU\’s Treaty of Lisbon

Finland, Estonia and Greece ratify the EU’s Treaty of Lisbon

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Thursday, June 12, 2008

European Union
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Finland, Estonia and Greece have all ratified the European Union’s Treaty of Lisbon, also known as the Reform Treaty. This brings the total number of ratifications by member states to 18, with all 27 required to do so if the treaty is to come into effect.

The treaty, so named because the initial signing by the EU’s members was at Lisbon, Portugal, is a replacement for a failed constitution that aims to streamline the EU’s voting procedure and increase its efficiency, amongst other changes. It is also intended to simplify efforts and may even introduce the possibility of motions proposed by citizens. It amends the Maastricht Treaty, also known as Treaty on European Union, and the Treaty of Rome, also known as the Treaty establishing the European Community.

European leaders pose for group photo after the signing ceremony on December 13, 2007 at Jerónimos Monastery in Lisbon, Portugal.

Finland’s parliament voted to ratify the treaty by 151 votes to 27. The votes against came from most of the Left Alliance’s MPs, a small majority of the Christian Democrats, the True Finns, three Social Democrats and three MPs from the ruling Centre party.

The Estonian Riigikogu also ratified the treaty. Foreign Minister Urmas Paet said that the treaty focused on areas of key importance to the nation, saying “This is the first time that this sort of basic treaty will address, for example, a common European Union energy policy.” He also said that it would negate the arguments against further expansion.

The Greek ratification likewise went smoothly. The EU welcomed the Greek approval, with European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso saying “I would like to congratulate Greece on the successful approval of the Treaty of Lisbon by the parliament earlier this morning. I want to thank the Greek government and parliament for their unwavering support for the European Union and the new treaty.” However, the opposition parties in the Greek government have requested discussion in Parliament of the possibility of conducting a referendum on the treaty; that debate is set to begin on June 17.

The treaty has already been ratified by Hungary, Slovenia, Malta, France, Bulgaria, Romania, Poland, Slovakia, Austria, Portugal, Denmark, Germany, Luxembourg, Latvia, Lithuania, and the European Parliament. Voters in Ireland went to the polls today, the only country holding a referendum on the matter.



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May 29, 2008

Sarkozy ends French job ban for Eastern Europeans

Sarkozy ends French job ban for Eastern Europeans

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Thursday, May 29, 2008

Nicolas Sarkozy at the Charlemagne Prize ceremony in 2008.
Image: Aleph.

During a one-day visit to Warsaw on Tuesday French President Nicolas Sarkozy announced that his country would lift job restrictions on the citizens of some of the European Union’s former communist states. He also promised a deal aimed at bringing Ukraine closer to the bloc but seemed to play down its chances of membership.

France was part of a majority of EU states that imposed employment restrictions on citizens of Poland and other countries that joined the European Union in 2004. The limits now in place for workers from the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia will be lifted on July 1. However, jobs in France will remain restricted for workers from Romania and Bulgaria, which joined the EU in 2007.

“I am going to announce this during my speech in Parliament,” Sarkozy said when asked about media reports on the matter. “Poland is one of the six great countries of Europe. The EU is based on the free movement of people. Poland is also our strategic partner.” Of “old EU” member states, only Austria, Belgium, Denmark and Germany now maintain the ban. Norway and Liechtenstein – non-EU countries that are part of the European Economic Area – also restrict access to their job markets for citizens of the countries that joined the union in 2004. Switzerland, which has bilateral agreements with the EU on free movement of people, also restricts employment for those countries. Under EU law, these restrictions must be lifted by 2011.

Sarkozy also told a joint news conference with Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk on Wednesday that Ukraine would be offered closer cooperation with the European Union during a French presidency of the bloc, which starts on July 1, but said Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko told him that Ukraine did not want to join the EU outright.

“I’ve met with the president of Ukraine and his objective is not membership, rather closer cooperation on various levels. I will have opportunities to make such proposals,” he said.



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