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February 9, 2005

Hamas dampens Palestinian-Israeli truce

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Hamas dampens Palestinian-Israeli truce

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Wednesday, February 9, 2005

Following the much hailed truce between the Israeli Government and the Palestinian Authority, the most powerful armed group in Palestine has declared that the conference in Sharm el-Sheikh has changed nothing.

Hamas said that although the Palestinian leaders had announced a truce, the organisation was not bound to it. The group also said in a statement that it should have been consulted first, a view shared by another militant group – Islamic Jihad.

Both groups have largely observed an unofficial ceasefire for the past three weeks, having reached an understanding with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas that would enable him to negotiate with Israel in an environment of relative calm.

The groups appear to have come to an agreement that they should continue to observe a month’s calm, as agreed with Abbas in late January. Hamas spokesman Mushir al-Masri told Aljazeera that Hamas leaders would be seeking a meeting with Abbas within the next few days to discuss the summit. Masri, however, said that the Sharm el-Sheikh talks had been “disappointing,” as the agreement did not represent many of the Palestinian groups.

Khadir Habib, a spokesman for Islamic Jihad, said, “Islamic Jihad has endorsed a one-month period of quiet and we will respect it”, indicating that some Palestinian groups may be willing to withdraw from violence in order to give the new peace process time to develop, however, some violence and hostility have greeted the new ceasefire, with gunfire from an Israeli settlement which has reportedly critically injured a 22-year-old Palestinian man. The Israeli army said it is to check the report.



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FARC surround Colombian town

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FARC surround Colombian town

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Localization of Chocó department(red) and Colombia(green) in South America.

Wednesday, February 9, 2005

Colombia – The community of the town of Condoto, 600km of Bogota, in the region of Chocó, has been surrounded by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia FARC for a week. The rebel army is interfering with the movement of people, food, and medicine to the city. According to the Government of Chocó Secretary Fredy Lloreda the action is apparently in retaliation for recent operations performed by government forces against the rebels.

The FARC are a Marxist revolutionary group with about 12,000 members which originated from the Colombian Communist Party of the 1960s. The FARC’s main stated objective is the creation of a Communist government in Colombia.

According to the Colombian government, the US FBI, and Interpol, the majority of the FARC’s recent funding has come from kidnapping, extortion, hijacking, and illegal trade in cocaine.

The FARC are considered a terrorist group by the governments of Colombia and the United States, a Colombian ally in the fight against the FARC. The FARC are a member of the Foro de São Paulo and are opposed to the influence of the government of the United States in South America.

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Danish Elections have endorsed the current Centre-Right Coalition

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Danish Elections have endorsed the current Centre-Right Coalition

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Wednesday, February 9, 2005 Copenhagen – The Danish people have voted to keep the current centre-right political coalition of the Venstre (The Liberal Party), Det Konservative Folkeparti (Conservative People’s Party) and the Dansk Folkeparti (Danish People’s Party).

Flag of Denmark

Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen’s Liberal Party retained the largest number of seats in parliament. The governing coalition between the Liberals and Conservative People’s Party remained intact. They will likely be supported largely by the Danish People’s Party, which gained 2 seats. The Radikale Venstre (Radical Left) party gained the most seats of any party, although it remains outside the governing group of parties. The election marked the second time in a row that the Social Democrats were not the largest party in the parliament, a change from most of the 20th century. The party lost 5 seats and leader Mogens Lykketoft resigned immediately after the election.

Venstre, the liberal party of the prime minister, campaigned on their municipal restructuring plan, as well as a continuation of the “tax-freeze” and tight immigration requirements. They also promised to see 60,000 jobs created during a second term.

The largest opposition party, the Socialdemokraterne (Social Democrats) led by Mogens Lykketoft focused on employment, which they claim has decreased under the current government.

The Dansk Folkeparti, who support the Venstre-Conservative coalition, criticized the “tax-freeze” but agreed, conditionally, to support it for another parliamentary term. They also wanted increasingly tough immigration restrictions.

Results

Going into the election, the governing coalition had 94 of the 175 seats up for election. (Danish overseas territories designate four additional representatives).

PRELIMINARY NATIONAL SUMMARY================================================================================Votes and seats are compared with those won at the elections of November 2001 
Party                                      Votes   %     Change   Seats   Change--------------------------------------------------------------------------------Centre-Democrats (CD)                     33,611   01.0  -00.8      -      00Danish People's Party (DF)               444,257   13.2  +01.2     24     +02Unity List-The Red Greens (ERG)          113,687   03.4  +01.0      6     +02Conservative People's Party (KF)         345,104   10.3  +01.2     19     +03Christian People's Party (KrF)            57,815   01.7  -00.6      -     -04Radical Left (RV)                        307,306   09.2  +04.0     16     +07Social Democracy in Denmark (SD)         867,857   25.9  -03.2     47     -05Socialist People's Party (SF)            201,224   06.0  -00.4     11     -01Left, Liberal Party of Denmark (VDLP)    974,700   29.1  -02.1     52     -04Others                                     8,672   00.3             ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------Total                                  3,354,233                  175-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 

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Crosswords/2005/February/9

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Crosswords/2005/February/9

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Wednesday, February 9, 2005

Feel free to use the Wikimedia sites to solve our Wikinews crossword. Please do not fill it out online as it would spoil it for other people; print it out and fill it in at your own leisure!

Previous crossword.

Quick crossword

1 2   3   4   5     6 Black 30x30.png 7 Black 30x30.png 8
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  Black 30x30.png   Black 30x30.png 34                    

Across

1. Kevlar is such a material (11)
9. Spinning tool for to etching cylindrical objects (5)
10. Check who is calling before one answers (5)
11. Study of insects (10)
12. Compose textually (5)
13. New Year is celebrated in this country at a different time (5)
15. Flat raised area (4)
16. Signifying maiden name (3)
17. Fish eggs (3)
18. Female opera singer; glamorous woman (slang) (4)
19. Definite article (4)
20. Zero; nothing (3)
21. Volcano produce (3)
22. Egress (4)
23. Strangely (5)
27. Earthen building compound (5)
29. Bird (10)
32. Happens (6)
33. Wash with water (5)
34. Vehicle identification (11)

Down

2. Sore (5)
3. Army rank (10)
4. Note; colour (4)
5. Tree component (4)
6. Knock down (5)
7. Draw a line (6)
8. February 5 this year as per # (3,5,3)
12. Type of birds making gunfire noise (10)
13. Large stringed instrument (5)
14. Matrix (5)
15. Paying attention to accuracy (10)
24. A negation prefix (3)
25. Falsehood (3)
26. Frequently (5)
29. Floppy hat (5)
30. Plant used for improving flavour (4)
31. Lion noise (4)

Answers tomorrow.

Yesterday’s solution

S E V E N Black 30x30.png Y Black 30x30.png T Black 30x30.png O R D E R
W Black 30x30.png I Black 30x30.png E G O T I S M Black 30x30.png O Black 30x30.png E
E N D O W Black 30x30.png G Black 30x30.png N Black 30x30.png I N U I T
E Black 30x30.png E Black 30x30.png T R A N S I T Black 30x30.png G Black 30x30.png R
T O O L Black 30x30.png A Black 30x30.png Black 30x30.png E Black 30x30.png Black 30x30.png O H I O
Black 30x30.png R Black 30x30.png A Black 30x30.png V A L L E Y S Black 30x30.png M Black 30x30.png
B I K I N I Black 30x30.png I Black 30x30.png X Black 30x30.png T Y P E
Black 30x30.png G Black 30x30.png S Black 30x30.png O R B I T Black 30x30.png R Black 30x30.png R Black 30x30.png
M A R S Black 30x30.png L Black 30x30.png R Black 30x30.png R A I S I N
Black 30x30.png M Black 30x30.png E M I R A T E Black 30x30.png C Black 30x30.png N Black 30x30.png
F I Z Z Black 30x30.png Black 30x30.png O Black 30x30.png Black 30x30.png M Black 30x30.png H I T S
U Black 30x30.png E Black 30x30.png G R O O V E S Black 30x30.png N Black 30x30.png O
N O B L E Black 30x30.png K Black 30x30.png I Black 30x30.png A T T I C
N Black 30x30.png R Black 30x30.png L O I T E R S Black 30x30.png E Black 30x30.png K
Y E A R S Black 30x30.png E Black 30x30.png W Black 30x30.png H O R N S


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Brazil dismisses English language skills on Diplomatic career admission

Brazil dismisses English language skills on Diplomatic career admission

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Wednesday, February 9, 2005

BRASILIA, Brazil –The Brazilian Ministry of External Relations decided to remove the English language knowledge section from qualifying tests required by the Brazilian school of diplomats, the Rio Branco Institute. The decision proved controversial among Brazilians.

In Brazil, those interested in following a diplomatic career first must study at the Brazilian school of diplomats: the Rio Branco Institute (IRBr).

After having passed the Rio Branco Institute’s (IRBr) entrance examination, the student becomes a Third Secretary. The career path then continues to Second Secretary, First Secretary, Counselor, Second Class Minister, and First Class Minister or Ambassador.

The candidate must fulfill the following requirements before signing up for the entrance examination to IRBr: be Brazilian by birth, have a clean criminal record, be up-to-date with military and electoral obligations, and have concluded a full undergraduate course recognized by the Ministry of Education before the date of inscription.[1]

The course of study is 2 years long. In the first year, the student has lectures in International Public Law, Economics, Brazilian Foreign Policy, History of International Relations, Theory of International Relations and Brazilian Readings, Diplomatic Language, English, French, and Spanish. For every three class hours on concepts, there is one lecture, seminar, workshop or debate guided by an expert in the field.

In the second year, the student develops his diplomatic professional skills. He works as a trainee in different units of the government and at Brazilian embassies and consulates in South America and Mexico.

The following written tests are part of the entrance examination: Portuguese, English, French and Spanish languages; History, Geography, Brazilian and International Law, Brazilian and International Economy, and International Politics. Also, the following oral tests are required: International Politics, English, and Portuguese language.

Until 2004, the English language tests could eliminate a candidate. However, on December 7, 2004, the Brazilian Minister of External Relations Celso Amorim changed the entrance examination rules. Failing the English test no longer removes the student from the program. [2]

The following tests can still remove a person from the program: Portuguese language, History, and Geography.

The Minister Celso Amorim explained his decision: “This is a democratic decision. I would rather have a diplomat who knows Portuguese and Brazilian History well than another one who knows English well”.

However, the decision proposed by the Ministry of External Relations caused some controversy.

The Senator and former diplomat Arthur Virgílio(PSDB) sent a letter to Minister Celso Amorim protesting against the change in the entrance examination to IRBr. He said that the minister’s decision is nonsense, a symbolic protest against the USA. The decision minimizes the importance of English in the world. According to him, the government is being underhanded. “The question is not to love or to hate the United States, but to recognize their enormous weight, until bothering, in the world-wide scenario,” he added. [3]

The journalist and high critic of the government and the Workers’ Party (PT), Percival Puggina, said: “On March 18, 2004, during a opening speech of a popular restaurant of Coca-Cola in Belo Horizonte [4], President Lula said: ‘I spent much time in my life thinking that if you wanted to be anti-American you should not drink Coca-Cola. Later, I got more mature and realized that there is nothing better than waking up at night and finding a Coca-Cola in the refrigerator.’ However, Lula’s anti-Americanism which still remains is more naive than not drinking Coca-Cola. The Ministry of External Relations under the rule of Celso Amorim gives us a clue when it eliminates the English knowledge skills as a requisite to the entrance at the Rio Branco Institute. I assume that this is a kick in both Bush’s groin and in Blair’s ankle. Camões is thankful, but he excuses the courtesy.”[5]

In an interview with the Brazilian newspaper Folha de São Paulo, the Minister Celso Amorim told:”It should be explained that the English language was not removed from the examination, and it will not stop being obligatory; it will just not remove students anymore. Brazilian diplomats will still have to know English as well as other languages too. What the Itamaraty (the Brazilian Ministry of External Relations) decided was to take for itself the costs of the necessary complementation so that the diplomat has the domain of the language.” Amorim also added: ”There are many people who I knew during my life with all the requisites to be diplomats, but who had difficulty to pass in an examination of eliminatory English.”[6]

According to Amorim, the English language elimination test favors the children of diplomats. Ricardo Neiva Tavares, spokesman of the Itamaraty, says that with the changes candidates of all regions of the country can compete evenly to enter the diplomatic career.

The former chancellor Celso Lafer criticized the decision: “Portuguese is not the language used in international communication.” According to him, the change in the admission examination is a false idea of democratization.

Cristovam Buarque professor of University of Brasilia, senator (PT) and former minister of Education during Lula’s government said: “The knowledge of foreign languages, especially of English, is absolutely necessary to the diplomat. But this knowledge little says about the potential of creativity, knowledge, and ability of a youth who intends to enter the diplomatic course. Henry Kissinger, for example, would have been disapproved of in our course of diplomacy, since he still speaks with a German accent.”

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Baugur makes a US$1,8 billion bid for Somerfield

Filed under: Archived,Economy and business,Iceland,United Kingdom — admin @ 5:00 am

Baugur makes a US$1,8 billion bid for Somerfield

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Wednesday, February 9, 2005

London/Reykjavík – The Icelandic retail and investment company Baugur is making a bid for the British supermarket chain Somerfield of £1 billion, 120 billion ISK, or US$1,8 billion. The supermarket chain has 700 Somerfield supermarkets and 500 Kwik Save discount foodstores across the United Kingdom. Baugur already owns the Iceland supermarket in the UK and Ireland, Bónus and Hagkaup supermarkets in Iceland, and other retailers in Iceland, the Faroe Islands, United Kingdom, Sweden & Denmark.

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Star ousted from galaxy by black hole

Star ousted from galaxy by black hole – Wikinews, the free news source

Star ousted from galaxy by black hole

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Wednesday, February 9, 2005

A close encounter with the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way has set a star on a one way trip into intergalactic space. The star, detected at the MMT Observatory in Tucson, Arizona, is zipping outward at a speed of 1.5 million miles per hour. Rocketing along at twice the galactic escape velocity, the Milky Way’s gravitational attraction doesn’t have the holding power to keep the star from disappearing into the emptiness between galaxies.

“We have never before seen a star moving fast enough to completely escape the confines of our galaxy,” Warren Brown of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) said. “We’re tempted to call it the outcast star because it was forcefully tossed from its home. Only the powerful gravity of a very massive black hole could propel a star with enough force to exit our galaxy.”

Using measurements of the star’s line-of-sight velocity, the scientists have concluded the star, cataloged as SDSS J090745.0+24507, is moving almost directly away from galactic center. Composition and age of the star also provide evidence of the star’s origin and ultimate fate. “Because this is a metal-rich star, we believe that it recently came from a star-forming region like that in the galactic center,” said Brown. Less than 80 million years were needed for the star to reach its current location, which is consistent with its estimated age.

Margaret J. Geller, Michael J. Kurtz and Scott J. Kenyon, along with Brown, will publish their find in an upcoming issue of The Astrophysical Journal.

The Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics is based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where scientists study the origin, evolution and ultimate fate of the universe.

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Israel-Palestine ceasefire begins with violence

Israel-Palestine ceasefire begins with violence

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Wednesday, February 9, 2005

Minor violent incidents and claims of Lebanese sabotage marked an unsteady start today for the Israeli-Palestinian truce, already threatened after militant groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad announced that they were not bound by the agreement.

Two Israeli motorists escaped uninjured in the West Bank today after coming under fire from Palestinian gunmen.

Elsewhere, Hamas militant Hassan Alami was found dead in the Khan Younis camp of Southern Gaza, killed while carrying out activities for the group. Although Hamas refused to be bound by the agreement signed yesterday in Sharm el-Sheik, it has promised to keep quiet at the request of Mahmoud Abbas.

Another Palestinian man is in a critical condition after being shot in the chest. The man, from the Rafah refugee camp, was shot near the Israeli settlement of Atzmona. The Israeli army, which has a garrison in Atzmona, is looking into the incident.

Meanwhile, Ramallah has accused Lebanese rebel group Hezbollah of attempting to sabotage the fragile peace agreement in the Middle East. The group, backed by Syria and Iran, are attempting to recruit Palestinian militants to engage in attacks of Israeli targets, claim Palestinian spokesmen. The charges mirror those made recently by Israel, which has long accused Hezbollah of bankrolling Palestinian violence in the region.

Hezbollah denies the charges, and claims to be honouring the ceasefire agreed yesterday. However, Palestinian officials claim to have intercepted bank records and email communications that prove that the guerilla group is recruiting militants in the West Bank. Abbas is shying away from any confrontation with the group at the moment, but has sent an envoy to Beirut to persuade Hezbollah to desist from its aggressive activities.

Despite the setbacks, Israel has begun to lift restrictions of travel and issue permits to 1000 Palestinians to work in Israel, as part of Tuesday’s deal. Sharon has agreed to travel to Ramallah to continue talks toward peace in the region.

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FBI Investigates 250 thousand poisoned U.S. dollars

Filed under: Archived,Crime and law,United States — admin @ 5:00 am

FBI Investigates 250 thousand poisoned U.S. dollars

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Wednesday, February 9, 2005

US Dollar bills may have been deliberately contaminated.

The FBI has taken over a case covering several cities. Police found $250,000 in sealed bags, intercepted between Columbus, Ohio and Northeast Philadelphia. State troopers counting the cash became ill, and one was hospitalized. The cash is believed to be drug money.

Sources told CBS 3 tests on the cash counter revealed the presence of a toxin derived from the bacteria staphylococcus. There is speculation the contamination may have been deliberate to prevent the money being tampered with in transit.

FBI Spokesperson Jerri Williams said, “This is under investigation and we have no information to provide to the public at this time.”

A warning has been issued recommending that officers should take extra precaution and wear protective masks when handling suspected drug money.

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Carly Fiorina ousted from HP

Carly Fiorina ousted from HP – Wikinews, the free news source

Carly Fiorina ousted from HP

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Wednesday, February 9, 2005 New York – Carly Fiorina was ousted by the board of directors of HP yesterday, much to the delight of Wall Street. Ms Fiorina’s resignation was the result of a disagreement with the board over the future of the company. Often cited as America’s most powerful businesswoman, Ms Fiorina presided over the multi-billion dollar merger between Hewlett Packard and Compaq Computers in 2002.

The move comes after several months of intense speculation about her future with the company. Having promised billions in annual savings to the company from the 2002 merger, the combined company failed to keep pace with competitors such as Dell, or to deliver any significant increases in profits, particularly in the personal computer market. A recent investigation by Fortune magazine highlighted the fact that the firm’s highly profitable printer business supported the lower-margin computer business.

After the announcement, HP shares surged 10% on Wall Street against a generally poor performance by the major indices.

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