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May 31, 2005

Scottish Radio Holdings set to buy Highland Radio for €7m

Filed under: Archived,Economy and business,Europe,Ireland,Scotland — admin @ 5:00 am

Scottish Radio Holdings set to buy Highland Radio for €7m

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Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Media group, Scottish Radio Holdings (SRH), has reached an agreement to purchase Donegal’s popular Highland Radio for around €7 million (USD $8.6 million). The Broadcasting Commission of Ireland has approved the deal in principle; but both the Competition Authority and the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment still are entitled to block the deal.

Highland Radio, which broadcasts in north Donegal, Ireland, first hit the airwaves in 1990. It is based in Letterkenny. SRH is a major player in the Irish media market; already owning both Today FM and FM104. Apart from operating radio stations, SRH is also a major player in the weekly newspaper market in the UK and Ireland, owning 45 titles.

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Natalie Glebova is elected Miss Universe

Natalie Glebova is elected Miss Universe

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Tuesday, May 31, 2005

The 23-year-old Canadian delegate Natalie Glevoba was elected on Tuesday morning as the new Miss Universe, in a ceremony held at Bangkok’s Impact Arena.

Glevoba is a professional model, height 1.79 m (5’11”), who received her Bachelor of Commerce in Information Technology Management and Marketing at Ryerson University. Born in Russia, she emigrated to Toronto at the age of 11. She beat four Latin American delegates in semifinals: Cynthia Olavarria (Puerto Rico), Renata Soñe (Dominican Republic), Laura Elizondo (Mexico) and Mónica Spear (Venezuela), as well as another 75 delegates from the same number of countries.

Chananporn Rosjan, from Thailand, won the Best Costume Award, while Gionna Cabrera, from Philippines, was chosen as Miss Photogenic and Tricia Homer, US Virgin Islands delegate, became Miss Congeniality.

Billy Bush and Nancy O’Dell co-hosted the ceremony.

Glebova received the Mikimoto crown, valued in 250,000 dollars, from Australian Jennifer Hawkins, Miss Universe 2004. Besides, Natalie will live in New York for one year, in one of the Trump Towers, with other several prizes. The first time a Canadian was elected Miss Universe was in 1982, when Karen Baldwin won the pageant.

Colombian designer Miguel De La Torre, who designed Glebova’s wardrobe, declared that “Canadian beauty contestants have always been quite classical. It’s the first time a Latin designer is chosen. (…) At the very first days, Natalie was quite low-key, because being too noticed is not good. To be with her is the best thing has ever happened in my professional life. Furthermore, to come here for the first time with two delegates (Glebova and Daniela Clerk from Nicaragua) and two gown dresses was a dream come true”.

Glebova visited Colombia in April 2004 in order to take part in Miss Maja World pageant, held in the northern town of Corozal, Sucre, where she was the second runner-up, and went back there a few months ago to try the dresses designed by De La Torre. The Colombian designer has never participated at his country’s national beauty pageant.

Thailand’s prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra said the pageant was very positive for his country’s tourism reactivation, after the tsunami tragedy. Thailand spent 6.5 million dollars in the pageant and used locations at Phi-Phi and Phuket beaches for the previous footages with delegates.

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Live 8 concert plans announced

Live 8 concert plans announced – Wikinews, the free news source

Live 8 concert plans announced

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Tuesday, May 31, 2005

A poster for Live 8

In a press conference held at 13:00 UTC on Tuesday, Bob Geldof, Elton John, and Harvey Goldsmith announced Live 8, a set of simultaneous free concerts to be held in Philadelphia, London, Paris, Rome, and Berlin on July 2, 2005, to raise awareness of Make Poverty History, a campaign to get the richest nations to cancel debt and increase aid to developing countries. The concerts are scheduled to occur just before the G8 Summit in Gleneagles, Scotland, from July 6 to July 8.

“20 years ago, at the time of the original Live Aid concert, I was a self-obsessed drug addict.”, began Elton John. “I’ve grown up since”. He then described the aim of the concerts to raise awareness in the richest countries of the world of the plights of the poorest, and how his work on global AIDS awareness had impressed upon him the lack of awareness and ignorance that exists. “The Prime Minister of South Africa thinks that AIDS is something that is caused by poverty. I wish!”

Bob Geldof thanked the corporations who had already come forward to sponsor the event, including the BBC and AOL. In mentioning AOL he said that “20 years ago, almost nobody had a mobile ‘phone”, hinting at the possibility of AOL broadcasting the concerts to mobile telephones. Geldof also thanked The Prince’s Trust, which had already booked Hyde Park for July 2, for stepping aside in favour of Live 8.

Line-up

Although the line-up is not finalized, the presence of several artists was announced.

In London

  • PINK FLOYD
  • U2
  • The Rolling Stones
  • Paul McCartney
  • Coldplay
  • Madonna
  • Sting
  • Robbie Williams
  • Dido
  • Elton John
  • Keane
  • Annie Lennox
  • Mariah Carey
  • Muse
  • Scissor Sisters
  • Joss Stone
  • Stereophonics
  • REM
  • Velvet Revolver
  • Bob Geldof
  • The Killers
  • The Cure
  • Snow Patrol


In Berlin

  • Crosby, Stills and Nash
  • Lauryn Hill
  • Brian Wilson
  • A-ha
  • Bap
  • Die Toten Hosen
  • Peter Maffay


In Philadelphia

  • Will Smith (Host)
  • Bon Jovi
  • Dave Matthews Band
  • Stevie Wonder
  • P. Diddy
  • Maroon 5
  • Jay-Z
  • Sarah McLachlan
  • Rob Thomas
  • Keith Urban
  • 50 Cent
  • Kaiser Chiefs


In Paris

  • Jamiroquai
  • Youssou N’Dour
  • Yannick Noah
  • Placebo
  • Craig David
  • Andrea Bocelli
  • Calo Gero
  • Kyo
  • Axelle Red
  • Johnny Halliday
  • Manu Chao
  • Renaud


In Rome

  • Duran Duran
  • Faith Hill
  • Tim McGraw
  • Irene Grandi
  • Jovanotti
  • Nek
  • Laura Pausini
  • Vasco Rossi
  • Zucchero


Sources

Wikipedia
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Former FBI Second-In-Command says he was \’Deep Throat\’

Former FBI Second-In-Command says he was ‘Deep Throat’

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Tuesday, May 31, 2005

In an interview by John D. O’Connor for the American magazine Vanity Fair, it was revealed that W. Mark Felt, a former associate director of the FBI during the Nixon Administration, was the anonymous informer called “Deep Throat”. “Deep Throat” helped journalists Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein bring down then-president Richard Milhous Nixon through the exposure of the Watergate scandal.

Previously bound by a pledge not to reveal “Deep Throat’s” identity until after his death, Woodward and Bernstein at first refused to confirm the Vanity Fair report. However, in a story posted late today on the Washington Post website, they verified that Felt was “Deep Throat.”

However, one of Richard Nixon’s biographers, Jonathan Aitken, believes that at least one of “Deep Throat’s” tips could not have been known by Felt. The Post first reported on the famous 18 1/2 minute gap in a crucial tape at a time when only six people were aware of its existence — none of them Felt. This raises the possibility that “Deep Throat,” though mainly based on Felt, may be a composite character.

Felt has been mentioned as a leading candidate for “Deep Throat” by many that have tried to solve the mystery. An article published in the American Journalism Review last fall claimed Carl Bernstein’s son once exposed Felt as the mysterious informer. But until now, Felt, Woodward, Bernstein and the Post’s former editor Ben Bradlee have all denied it.

Felt, 91, has reportedly been in poor health in recent years. His family says Felt admits to being the source and described him as feeling proud of his role in history and having “a big grin” when told of the Vanity Fair article.


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Dominique de Villepin to replace resigning French PM

Dominique de Villepin to replace resigning French PM

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Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Dominique de Villepin

President Jacques Chirac of France has accepted the resignation of prime minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin and has named Dominique de Villepin in his place.

The resignation of Mr. Raffarin comes shortly after the resounding refusal of the ratification of the treaty establishing the European Constitution in a referendum. (See France votes no in EU referendum). While Mr. Raffarin was initially popular with the French citizens (polled at 60% of trust in 2002), he gradually lost support from the population, up to record levels; according to polls, only 22% of the population trust him (including only 2% who trust him strongly).

The prime minister has responsibility for the day-to-day running of the French government.

There are questions whether Mr. de Villepin, who has never held elected office and has ascended mostly as a Chirac aide, will be well-received by the population and by the parliamentary majority. His nomination was immediately criticized by left-wing politicians, as well as by the center-right Union for French Democracy, a junior partner in the ruling coalition, as a continuation of the same failed policies; Mr. Villepin was himself criticized as being out-of-touch with respect of the daily needs of the population. The Union for a Popular Movement, the party created for backing Chirac, has now rallied behind Nicolas Sarkozy, whose reciprocal distaste for Chirac and Villepin is well-published.

Jacques Chirac announced that Nicolas Sarkozy would be Minister of State (a honorific rank) in the government; it is yet unknown what his attributions will be, but it is rumored that he will become Minister of the Interior, a position whose main function is law enforcement and which he also held from 2002 to 2004. According to polls, Mr. Sarkozy is France’s most popular politician. It is also well-known that Mr. Sarkozy and Mr. de Villepin see each other as a hostile competitor, particularly in the perspective of the 2007 presidential election.

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Retired U.S. vets sue Donald Rumsfeld for excessive service cutbacks

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

Retired U.S. vets sue Donald Rumsfeld for excessive service cutbacks

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Tuesday, May 31, 2005

One thousand residents of the Defense Department-managed Armed Forces Retirement Home in Washington, D.C. filed a class-action lawsuit on May 24, asserting that the cut-backs in medical and dental services imposed by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld are illegal. The operating budget for the home was reduced from $63 million in 2004 to $58 million for 2005. The residents cite cuts in on-site X-ray, electrocardiogram, physical and dental services, and the closing of the home’s main clinic and an on-site pharmacy.

Chief Financial Officer Steve McManus responded that the changes not only save money but also achieved improved efficiencies. “We’re really trying to improve the benefits to our residents,” he said.

Most of the home’s costs are paid for by a trust fund and monthly fees paid by residents. By law, the Armed Forces Retirement Homes are required to fund, “on-site primary care, medical care and a continuum of long-term care services.”

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May 30, 2005

UK and U.S. bombing raids against Iraq increased in 2002

UK and U.S. bombing raids against Iraq increased in 2002

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Monday, May 30, 2005

B-52 Stratofortress

New information surfaced on Saturday, 28 May, that suggest that the US and UK increased air strikes against Iraq in mid 2002. The Ministry of Defence figures, provided in response to a question from Sir Menzies Campbell, the Liberal Democrat foreign affairs spokesman, show that allied aircraft doubled the rate at which they were dropping bombs on Iraq beginning in May of 2002.

This apparent escalation in the number and intensity of air strikes was initiated prior to the passage of UN Resolution 1441 in November 2002 and prior to the US Congress authorizing the use of force against Iraq in October 2002. Critics claim that this was an attempt to provoke Saddam Hussein or soften his military infrastructure in preparation for a more comprehensive military campaign, and that it reaffirms their assertions that the Bush administrations was determined to go to war long before the official decision was made.

In August 2002, allied commander Tommy Franks admitted that this operation was designed to “degrade” Iraqi air defences in the same way as the air attacks that began the 1991 Gulf war, but according to legal guidance appended to the Downing Street memo (dated 23 July 2002) the allied aircraft were only “entitled to use force in self-defence where such a use of force is a necessary and proportionate response to actual or imminent attack from Iraqi ground systems”.

According to military documents shown to the Sunday Express in 2002, the Allies invaded Iraq from Turkey on August 8th, 2002, after an air strike on the 6th that took out a crucial air defence system.

Pentagon officials initially denied there had been any military action or incursion, but when challenged with specific military details a spokesman called back two hours later issuing the terse statement: “We can’t comment on current or future operations.”

The evidence seems to corroborate information in the Downing Street memo:

CDS said that military planners would brief CENTCOM on 1-2 August, Rumsfeld on 3 August and Bush on 4 August.
The two broad US options were:
(a) Generated Start. A slow build-up of 250,000 US troops, a short (72 hour) air campaign, then a move up to Baghdad from the south. Lead time of 90 days (30 days preparation plus 60 days deployment to Kuwait).
(b) Running Start. Use forces already in theatre (3 x 6,000), continuous air campaign, initiated by an Iraqi casus belli. Total lead time of 60 days with the air campaign beginning even earlier. A hazardous option.
The US saw the UK (and Kuwait) as essential, with basing in Diego Garcia and Cyprus critical for either option. Turkey and other Gulf states were also important, but less vital. The three main options for UK involvement were:
(i) Basing in Diego Garcia and Cyprus, plus three SF squadrons.
(ii) As above, with maritime and air assets in addition.
(iii) As above, plus a land contribution of up to 40,000, perhaps with a discrete role in Northern Iraq entering from Turkey, tying down two Iraqi divisions.
The Defence Secretary said that the US had already begun “spikes of activity” to put pressure on the regime. No decisions had been taken, but he thought the most likely timing in US minds for military action to begin was January, with the timeline beginning 30 days before the US Congressional elections.”

In light of these revelations, Representative John Conyers has sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfield. A draft of the letter is available here.

In Conyer’s draft, he states:

“The allegations and factual assertions made in the May 29 London Times are in many respects just as serious as those made in the earlier article. If true, these assertions indicate that not only had our nation secretly and perhaps illegally agreed to go to war by the summer of 2002, but that we had gone on to take specific and tangible military actions before asking Congress or the United Nations for authority.”
Thus, while there is considerable doubt as to whether the U.S. had authority to invade Iraq, given, among other things, the failure of the U.N. to issue a follow-up resolution to the November 8, 2002 Resolution 1441, it would seem that the act of engaging in military action via stepped up bombing raids that were not in response to an actual or imminent threat before our government asked for military authority would be even more problematic from a legal as well as a moral perspective.
As a result of these new disclosures, I would ask that you respond as promptly as possible to the following questions:
1) Did the RAF and the United States military increase the rate that they were dropping bombs in Iraq in 2002? If so, what was the extent and timing of the increase?
2) What was the justification for any such increase in the rate of bombing in Iraq at this time? Was this justification reviewed by legal authorities in the U.S.?
3) To the best of your knowledge, was there any agreement with any representative of the British government to engage in military action in Iraq before authority was sought from the Congress or the U.N.? If so, what was the nature of the agreement?
In connection with all of the above questions, please provide me with any memorandum, notes, minutes, documents, phone and other records, e-mails, computer files (including back-up records) or other material of any kind or nature concerning or relating thereto in the possession or accessible by the Department of Defense.”

Related news

  • “Citizen groups ask Congress to file formal “Resolution of Inquiry” against Bush” — Wikinews, May 29, 2005
  • Secret Downing Street Memo leaked” — Wikinews, May 14, 2005

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Huge Gay Pride parade held in Brazil

Huge Gay Pride parade held in Brazil – Wikinews, the free news source

Huge Gay Pride parade held in Brazil

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2004 Gay Pride Parade in Brazil. The number of participants increases every year.
Photo:Rose Brasil – ABr

Monday, May 30, 2005

In what may possibly be the largest Gay Pride parade in the world, hundreds of thousands of people marched along the streets of São Paulo, Brazil today in the Parada do Orgulho GLBT de São Paulo. Many marchers were demanding the legalization of same-sex marriage.

Brazil is the largest Roman Catholic country on Earth, and the Roman Catholic Church has consistently opposed the legalization of same-sex marriage in the country. The National Congress of Brazil has debated legalization for 10 years, and such civil marriages are currently only legal in Rio Grande do Sul. The original bill was drafted by former mayor of São Paulo, Marta Suplicy. The proposed legislation, after being amended, is now in the hands of Roberto Jefferson. Protesters hope to collect a petition of 1.2 million signatures to present to the National Congress in November.

People carrying flags and banners, some dressed in lavish carnival costumes, walked and danced in the ninth annual Gay Pride parade, stretching for 3.5 kilometres along Avenida Paulista. Traffic was diverted throughout most of the city, and drinks and snacks vendors took advantage of the barriers across many streets. Prominent people joining the parade were the actor Sergio Mamberti, representing the Culture Minister Gilberto Gil, and senator Eduardo Suplicy.

Comparative attendance figures
Event Venue Attendance
Gay Pride parade San Francisco in the 10,000s
Christopher Street Day Berlin 200,000 – 500,000
Gay Pride Week parade Toronto 400,000

Organizers stated that 2.5 million people attended, and police stated that there were 1.9 million — figures which would make the event the largest of its kind in the world — including 700,000 visitors from other cities and countries. This was an increase from 2004, when police stated that 1.5 million people attended.

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Amnesty International urges investigations of top U.S. officials

Amnesty International urges investigations of top U.S. officials

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Monday, May 30, 2005

On Thursday, May 26, Amnesty International urged foreign governments to investigate high-level U.S. government officials for human rights violations committed in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. William Schulz, the executive director of the U.S. branch of Amnesty International, said that governments have an obligation under international law to conduct investigations into alleged human rights violations.

Amnesty International released a list, which Schulz read in his speech: Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, former CIA Director George Tenet, Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller, former commander of US forces in Iraq and current commander of the Joint Task Force Guantanamo, and Douglas Feith, the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy.

Schulz said:

“The refusal of the U.S. government to conduct a truly independent investigation into the abuses at Abu-Gharib and other detention centers is tantamount to a white-wash, if not a cover-up of these disgraceful events. It is a failure of leadership to prosecute only enlisted soldiers and a few officers while protecting those who designed a deliberate government policy of torture and authorized interrogation techniques that constitute torture or cruel and degrading human treatment. The government investigation must climb all the way to the top of the military and civilian chains of command. If the U.S. government continues to shirk their responsibility, Amnesty International calls on foreign governments to investigate senior U.S. officials. If those investigations support prosecution, the governments should arrest any official who enters their territory and begin legal proceedings against them,”

In 1998, General Pinochet of Chile was arrested in London after a Spanish judge issued an international arrest warrant. Schulz claims that similar measures could apply to members of the current U.S. administration such as Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld or Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan has described recent criticisms of the United States regarding alleged human rights abuses as “unsupported by the facts.”

President Bush, in a press conference on Tuesday, was asked about Amnesty International’s report. The president said:

“I’m aware of the Amnesty International report, and it’s absurd. It’s an absurd allegation. The United States is a country that is — promotes freedom around the world. When there’s accusations made about certain actions by our people, they’re fully investigated in a transparent way. It’s just an absurd allegation.

“In terms of the detainees, we’ve had thousands of people detained. We’ve investigated every single complaint against the detainees. It seemed like to me they based some of their decisions on the word of — and the allegations — by people who were held in detention, people who hate America, people that had been trained in some instances to disassemble — that means not tell the truth. And so it was an absurd report. It just is.”

Sources

 
Human Rights
Related news
  • Ireland legalises same-sex marriage
  • German journalists detained in Qatar while investigating controversial 2022 FIFA World Cup hosting win
  • Scottish Parliament approve same-sex marriage
  • Alan Turing given posthumous pardon

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Polish writer Tomasz Pacyński dies

Polish writer Tomasz Pacyński dies – Wikinews, the free news source

Polish writer Tomasz Pacyński dies

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Monday, May 30, 2005

File:Pacynski.jpg

Tomasz Pacyński in 2004
(Image missing from commons: image; log)

Tomasz Pacyński – Polish fantasy and science fiction author – was found dead in his garden by his family on May 30, 2005. The cause of death is presumed to be either heart inflammation or myocardial infarction.

Pacyński, born on February 4, 1958, was one of the founders and the main editor of Fahrenheit, the first Polish Internet science fiction fanzine. He published short stories in such magazines as Science Fiction, SFera, and Fantasy, and in Internet fanzines such as Fahrenheit, Esensja, Fantazin and Srebrny Glob. He also wrote articles published in SFera and Science Fiction. He debuted as a fantasy writer with his 2001 novel Sherwood, based on the Robin Hood legend. He published four novels – the Sherwood fantasy trilogy and Wrzesień (September) – a post-apocalyptic political fiction novel, as well as numerous short stories. His humorous stories about Ded Moroz were published in 2005 in Linia ognia (Line of Fire) collection.

Pacyński will be buried at the Powązki cemetery in Warsaw on Tuesday, June 7, at 10 a.m.

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