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September 5, 2005

Vladimir Putin dismisses head of Russian Navy Admiral Vladimir Kuroyedov

Vladimir Putin dismisses head of Russian Navy Admiral Vladimir Kuroyedov

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Monday, September 5, 2005

Vladimir Putin

Vladimir Putin has relieved from power Admiral Vladimir Kuroyedov, the head of the Russian navy. This comes a month after an incident where 7 Russian sailors became trapped in a submarine, and had to be rescued with help from abroad.

No reason was given for Kuroyedov’s dismissal, although Admiral Eduard Baltin speculated on Moscow Radio that it may be because of the navy chief’s poor health. According to Reuters, he told Ekho Moskvy: “He has been lying in hospital for two months, he had a complicated operation.”

Admiral Kuroyedov was in charge of the navy during the Kursk disaster of 2000, in which 118 sailors died when their submarine sank. Kuroyedov is being replaced by Vladimir Masorin, who was previously serving as the Chief of staff for the Russian Navy.

In remarks Putin made about this leadership change and referring to Masorin, he said “The recent exercises, including those I have attended, show that the navy is developing and that is certainly your merit to a large extent.” Putin also added “at the same time, there were difficult events, tragedies, but I would like to underline once again that with all these problems, all these tragedies, the main thing is that the Navy is undergoing a revival.”

Masorin added while in a hall at the Admiralty, “One thing is clear — to continue in the condition which we are in and do nothing is simply not possible. I have been given the task of stopping the navy shaking public opinion. I am not experiencing euphoria at being appointed head of the navy. I understand the level of responsibility on my shoulders.”

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U.S. classifies record number of documents in 2004

U.S. classifies record number of documents in 2004

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Monday, September 5, 2005

OpenTheGovernment.Org, a coalition of conservative and liberal nonprofit groups, released a 2005 report (PDF, 12 pages) saying that all branches of the U.S. Federal Government are being significantly more secretive, and spending significantly more money on document secrecy. In 2004, federal officials classified 15.6 million new documents, which is 81 percent more than in 2001. Over the same period, the cost of classifying those new documents rose from $4.7 billion to $7.2 billion. These figures do not include documents classified by the CIA, as that agency’s information is itself secret.

The report is also critical of the fact that only $48.3 million was spent on declassifying old documents in 2004. They concluded that for every dollar spent on declassification, the federal officials spent $148 creating and storing new secrets, more than in any previous year. It is estimated to cost $460 to classify one document.

The state secrets privilege allows the executive branch to classify federal court hearings and documents. On average, the Bush administration has used this privilege 33 times more per year than cold war administrations (1953-1976), and nearly three times the 1977-2001 average. The report sees other measures of government secrecy, such as the number of secret patents on the rise as well.

The report does not explore the larger economic impact of the increase in secrecy per se. However, it observes that taxpayer savings due to whistleblower activity is on the rise despite the elimination of traditional whistleblower protections.

It also notes that 64% of advisory meetings were closed to the public. Such meetings provide lawmakers with advice on scientific and technical matters which are supposed to be free of special interest. Legislation covering such meetings states or assumes that they are open to the public, but some agencies, like the Department of Defense, have traditionally been permitted to hold closed meetings. Once such agencies are excluded, the report finds a threefold increase in closed meetings since 2001.

The report is critical of poor funding for processing Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, with which the majority of federal agencies surveyed can not keep up. There is concern that more of the financial burden for such requests may be being born by those organizations making the requests, instead of the agencies holding the classified documents. FOIA requests increased by 25% between 2003 and 2004, to 4 million, while funding for processing such requests increased by only 5%.

How much of this secrecy directly relates to various current events, such as the War in Iraq or terrorism, is unclear. In 2004, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court approved 1,754 requests from law enforcement officials last year to conduct surveillance on foreign nationals within the United States, double the number issued four years ago.

The report is also critical of the rise of “sensitive but unclassified” information, as well as new state based secrecy initiatives.

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Tsunami nations give relief advice to U.S.

Tsunami nations give relief advice to U.S.

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Monday, September 5, 2005

The nations hard hit by last year’s devastating tsunami are now lending advice to the United States on how to cope with the Katrina crisis.

Nopadol Somboonsub, the head of tsunami corpse identification in Thailand noted that the U.S. needs to “…examine the bodies slowly and put all the data into a computer,” and added that “It’s very important to get it right. You cannot assume that this or that body is the right body simply because a relative identified it.”

Somboonsub noted that life insurance and identity theft fraud are all matters to consider when dealing with body identification. Somboonsub speaks from a position of experience, his team having dealt with the identities of 5,395 corpses of various ethnicities in Thailand.

In India too, experts have advice for the U.S. For instance, one unnamed Indian official said that nations should not be arrogant when it comes to handling disasters. He also stated that “In India, for all its vastness, we have a very easily operable contingency plan for disasters at the grassroots level. It is not a highly complicated national response system.”

He emphasized that relief is most important on the local level: “A person at the grassroots level knows that sandbags have to be organized, identifies likely places of breaches, plans clearing debris and setting up relief camps and cooking centers.”

In Aceh, in Indonesia, Budi Atmadi, head of relief operations, said that humanitarian concerns must come first.

“In that period, the blame game is rampant because one person will always say the relief has been slow while another says there are so many limitations. The blame game will always be there so your ears need to be thick,” Atmadi stated, along with “The important thing is to stay committed and put humanitarian concerns at the top.”

The United States has so far only accepted help from other countries in the form of monetary aid and oil.

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President Bush nominates John Roberts as Chief Justice of the U.S.

President Bush nominates John Roberts as Chief Justice of the U.S.

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Monday, September 5, 2005

In a statement made at approximately 12:00 UTC Monday, U.S. President George W. Bush nominated Judge John G. Roberts, Jr. as Chief Justice of the United States to succeed the late William H. Rehnquist.

Bush said that it is in the best interest of the nation that Roberts will be confirmed by the U.S. Senate within one month, before the Supreme Court reconvenes. He said “It is fitting that a great chief justice be followed in office by a person who shared his deep reverence for the Constitution, his profound respect for the Supreme Court and his complete devotion to the cause of justice.”

John Roberts ( l.) with George W. Bush

Roberts went on to reply, saying, “I am honored and humbled by the confidence that the president had shown in me, and I’m very much aware that, if I am confirmed, I would succeed a man that I deeply respect and admire, a man who has been very kind to me for 25 years.” Roberts had been a law clerk in the U.S. Supreme Court working directly for William Rehnquist during 1980 and 1981.

Before this nomination Roberts was due to fill the Associate Justice slot left vacant by Sandra Day O’Connor’s retirement. Bush now must consider other candidates for nomination as Associate Justice.

Roberts is considered to have largely conservative views and faced resistance during his nomination to succeed O’Connor from Civil rights groups like the ACLU, NAACP and pro-choice organizations like NARAL, which sponsored an ad against his nomination and had to retract it due to the liability for some of the claims they were making of him supporting terrorists.

Roberts’ confirmation is set to begin next Monday.

It is suspected that with the Republican Senate, the Democrats will need an extensive filibuster if they want to prevent Roberts’ confirmation.


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  • Wikipedia-logo-v2.svg John G. Roberts, Jr.

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Jetliner crashes in Indonesia

Jetliner crashes in Indonesia – Wikinews, the free news source

Jetliner crashes in Indonesia

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Monday, September 5, 2005

A Boeing 737 jetliner operated by low-cost airline Mandala crashed approximately one minute after taking off from Polonia International Airport in the Indonesian city of Medan on the island of Sumatra.

The airport is surrounded by a very densely-populated residential area. Local TV showed images of dozens of homes and cars destroyed by the impact.

Reports are still varying on the number of fatalities within the plane. 14-16 people sitting in the rear of the plane survived. 47 people on the ground and 101-103 of the 117 people aboard were killed.

The Boeing 737 plane was nearly 25 years old, but was not due to be retired for another 11 years. It received a full service in June this year.

It has been reported that the flight, bound for Jakarta, was carrying several local politicians, including Rizal Nurdin, the governor of North Sumatra, and one of his predecessors.

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Islamic political party seeks registration in Australia

Islamic political party seeks registration in Australia

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Monday, September 5, 2005

A political party has formed in Australia to represent Muslims. The Best Party of Allah issued a press release on September 5 announcing that they would seek registration in the Australian Capital Territory. The president and founder of the party, Mr Kurt Kennedy, said that the party will respect the laws of Australia, but will also be seeking to implement laws that are consistent with the teachings of Allah.

“We acknowledge that as Australian citizens, we will abide by its civil laws and the rule of law. And as Believers in Allah we also have a commitment to the rule of Allah’s laws in our personal lives,” Mr Kennedy said.

“These laws are found in the Noble Qur’an and on the whole are not inconsistent with the best laws that Australian parliaments has to offer,” he added.

The party is seeking registration in the ACT, however Mr Kennedy said that its goal is to be registered at the national level. The press release said that Australia’s 500,000 Muslims were enough to elect four members to the Federal Parliament.

Mr Kennedy said that he was inspired to form the new party after the emergence of Christian parties such as Family First.

Mr Kennedy explicitly rejected extremism.

“We totally reject people who would kill people indiscriminately, you know, as violence for its own sake and that’s the story, that’s the end of it,” he said.

The party’s website reveals that it is opposed to the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq, of which Australia took part.

“See how Iraq and Afghanistan were invaded and occupied because they were weak countries with substantial resources? The invaders gave the reason for invasion based on a fear of emerging Islamic militancy but were actually based on greed for oil and greed for markets,” the website said.

The registration has been reported as far away as Iran, appearing on the Iranian Quran News Agency website.

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Crosswords/2005/September/5

Filed under: Archived,Culture and entertainment,Games — admin @ 5:00 am

Crosswords/2005/September/5 – Wikinews, the free news source

Crosswords/2005/September/5

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Monday, September 5, 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 7
8           9          
  10                
11           12 13   14   15
  16     17   18      
19   20       21        
  22                
23             24        
    25              
26             27   28  
      29 30   31      
32 33   34   35     36      
    37              
38               39      
      40          

Across

2. Tolerated, struggled with (7)
8. One who operates a system (4)
9. Trainspotter (UK sl.) (6)
10. Irritated (7)
11. Snake sound (4)
12. Flowering shrub (6)
16. Event in the Christian calendar (6)
19. Astral body (4)
21. Number divisible by only itself and 1 (5)
22. Ear bone (7)
23. Opposite to solo (5)
24. Volcano action (5)
25. One who wants to ascend a 24 ac. (7)
26. Said to go with anything (5)
27. Division of 38 ac. (4)
29. Preceding rinsing and repeating (6)
32. To regard (6)
36. Australia’s largest lake (4)
37. Cleaning fluid (7)
38. Monetary unit (6)
39. Cleaning solid (4)
40. Wrap (5)

Down

1. Help (6)
2. Used to remove pencil marks (6)
3. Sandhills (5)
4. Poetic convention (5)
5. Poetic/artistic movement (4)
6. Couch (4)
7. Rescue (4)
13. Fastener (6)
14. Describing activities for relaxation (7)
15. Awake, aware (5)
17. Simple (mathematical) (7)
18. Grilled cheese (UK common term) (7)
20. Entice (7)
22. A communist symbol (6)
23. Flat surface on legs (5)
27. Fold (6)
28. Perpendicular; common (6)
30. Having weaponry (5)
31. Indian hand decoration (5)
33. What the musical direction Lento means (4)
34. Long slender fish (4)
35. Grade (4)

Answers on next puzzle.

Previous solution

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



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Court rules in favour of record labels, Kazaa found illegal

Court rules in favour of record labels, Kazaa found illegal

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Monday, September 5, 2005

Kazaa’s logo

Sharman Networks, owner of the popular Kazaa peer-to-peer software, lost against a coalition of record labels in an Australian federal court. The court ruled that Kazaa infringed on artists’ copyright and facilitated piracy. The list of plaintiffs included EMI, Sony BMG, Warner, Festival Mushroom and Universal.

The court has ordered Sharman to modify the software within two months to prevent further piracy. While this order is only valid in Australia, Sharman is incorporated in the country and thus the effect of the ruling will be felt in the peer to peer community worldwide. Sharman was also ordered to pay 90% of the plaintiff’s legal fees, with damages to be considered at a later date. Sharman has said it will appeal.

It is unclear whether this will have a significant effect on preventing piracy in the music industry. Surveys have shown that users have already abandoned Kazaa, which used to be the dominant peer to peer program used for sharing files, in favour of newer networks such as eDonkey and BitTorrent. This trend amongst users was also observed to happen with Grokster and Napster, two legacy peer-to-peer networks which faced similar suits.

This is not the first case in which Sharman has had to defend itself: in a related case in the U.S. Supreme Court which concluded two months ago, the court ruled that file sharing networks could be held responsible for the actions of their users in some circumstances. This may have influenced this most recent case, where the court found the Kazaa website encouraged visitors to feel ‘cool’ about breaking copyright law and downloading illegal music.

Kazaa, or other versions of it, has been estimated to be installed on up to 300 million computers worldwide.

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Canada increases oil production to assist U.S.

Canada increases oil production to assist U.S.

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Monday, September 5, 2005

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The Alberta Energy and Utilities Board of Alberta, Canada, will increase oil output by between 18,000 and 30,000 barrels a day to help the U.S. in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. This is being done by temporarily suspending limits on oil production. The increase was requested by Alberta’s Premier, Ralph Klein.

The comparatively small size of the increase has led industry analyst Peter Linder to call the increase “more of a token gesture” and a “drop in the bucket” by comparison to normal production levels.

The increase in production levels is temporary, but no date has been set for when the output levels might again be capped. Analysts say that 10% of the U.S. Gulf States’ oil production was affected by the hurricane.

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Brazilian Vote Buying parliamentary commission present first joint preliminary report

Brazilian Vote Buying parliamentary commission present first joint preliminary report

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Wikipedia has more about this subject:
Brazilian vote-for-cash scandal

Brasília — The Post Office and Vote Buying parliamentary commissions of investigation. Photo: José Cruz/ABr.

Monday, September 5, 2005

Brazil — The Post Office and Vote Buying parliamentary commissions of investigation unanimously approved on Thursday (1) their first joint preliminary report of activities. The text was prepared by their redactors, Osmar Serraglio (PMDB) and Ibrahim Abi-Ackel (PP), from Post Office and Vote Buying commissions respectively.

The deputies cited in the report are: Carlos Rodrigues (PL-RJ), José Janene (PP-PR), Pedro Correia (PP-PE), Pedro Henry (PP-MS), Sandro Mabel (PL-GO), João Magno (PT-MG), João Paulo Cunha (PT-SP), José Borba (PMDB-PR), Josias Gomes da Silva (PT-BA), Paulo Rocha (PT-BA), Professor Luizinho (PT-SP), Romeu Queiroz (PTB-MG), Vadão Gomes (PP-SP), Vanderval Santos (PL-SP), José Mentor (PT-SP), Roberto Brant (PFL-MG), José Dirceu (PT-SP) and Roberto Jefferson (PTB-RJ).

The report indicts 18 Brazilian deputies and the former deputy Valdemar Costa Neto [who resigned on August 1]. They are accused of illegal campaign finance activities, of placing cronies in strategic positions in government enterprises and getting kickbacks from them, and of receiving cash payments in exchange for voting in line with the government in the Brazilian Congress.

The redactors called the allegation made by some parliamentarians that the resources were used to settle debts with electoral campaigns a “lame excuse”. According to them it is “perfectly plausible” that the loans taken by the businessman Marcos Valerio at the Banco Rural and the BMG for the ruling Workers’ Party (PT) were false and created to make the illegal funds seem legal.

In regards to the denunciations done by deputy Roberto Jefferson (PTB) the report says:

  • Everything which he said that could be investigated showed to be true, including confessions against himself .
  • Everything that must be compared to other testimonies showed a great degree of truth. As a matter of fact, all of who, hurriedly, questioned him, saw their defenses collapse, before the successive discoveries.

According to the report, the businessman Marcos Valério is a not reliable person because of his contraditory testmonies.

The report says that several documents were identified and reviewed proving that large sums of money were withdrawn from agencies of the Rural Bank, in Brasilia and Belo Horizonte, as well as from bank accounts of the enterprises SMPB and DNA Propaganda. According to the documents the beneficiaries were federal deputies who received the money in person or through relatives, advisers, or persons nominated by Marcos Valério.

The report affirms that it is possible that some payments were made on a monthly basis, and others more or less frequently. Nevertheless, according to the report the periodicity of the payments is the less important fact.

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