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January 31, 2006

West Papuan refugees may face death if deported

West Papuan refugees may face death if deported

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Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Wikinews Australia has in-depth coverage of this issue: 43 West Papuans seek asylum

Refugee rights advocates and Australian Parliamentarians on Christmas Island have expressed alarm at the Indonesian Government’s direct request to Prime Minister John Howard for the return of 43 Papuan asylum seekers, who arrived on Cape York by boat on January 18th. Rob Wesley-Smith from Australians for a Free West Papua said the asylum seekers escaped because their lives were threatened, and would certainly face death if forced to return.

The Australian Government’s Christmas Island Immigration Detention Centre

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has assured Mr Howard that the group will not be prosecuted if they are returned.

The West Papuan asylum seekers are currently being detained in an Australian Immigration Detention Centre on the remote Christmas Island, 2,600 kilometres off Perth, Western Australia. The group claims genocide at the hands of the Indonesian Government.

The Federal government flew the 36 adults and seven children to Christmas Island, where the families were put into immigration department housing and the single men in the detention centre.

Rob Wesley-Smith says the asylum seekers should be dealt with according to Australian law.

“The people have escaped… because their lives are at risk,” he said. “Their fathers have been killed, one of them was in jail for a number of years himself, and this is the reality of the situation in West Papua – so no way should they go back – they’d be killed.”

Supporters of the “West Papuan 43” say that the West Papuans “are entitled to the support of community groups and their fellow country people. They should also have easy access to translators, medical care and independent legal assistance.”

The Indonesia Human Rights Committee has called on the Government to plea for the immediate release of the asylum seekers into the Australian community, and for their claims to be processed fairly and as expeditiously as possible.

Immigration Minister Senator Amanda Vanstone said it was not always possible to keep women and children out of detention.

The New Zealand Green Party has called for some of the asylum seekers to be processed in New Zealand.

Case for asylum

Mr Wesley-Smith says they have legitimate claims for refugee status. “There’s evidence that some have been mistreated and tortured and they’re a cohesive group and strongly politically motivated, and that there is no way that they would be seen as a group to be sent back – that that’s just a preliminary assessment,” he said.

The 43 asylum seekers told of graphic, disturbing accounts of beatings and torture by Indonesian military, during interviews with Immigration officers over the past week.

According to The Melbourne Age newspaper, an Immigration source said the refugees had a “very strong case” for refugee status. “Some of what has come out of the interviews has been absolutely heart-wrenching,” the source said. The group described accounts of vicious bashings while in prison and attacks on villages and livestock in retaliation for the Papuans agitating for independence.

Despite human rights organisations and academic reports, detailing thousands of deaths and even “genocide”, Indonesia says “abuses no longer occur in West Papua.”

Under the control of the Indonesian military an estimated 100,000 West Papuans have lost their lives over the last four decades. Two days after the West Papuan refugees arrived in Australia, Indonesian troops opened fire in the Paniai district, killing a 13-year-old and wounding two others.

West Papuan leaders and academics say that the indigenous people may be wiped out because of new threats such as an HIV/Aids epidemic and the unchecked environmental devastation caused the exploitation of forestry and mineral resources.

Australian government responses

The Australian government have yet to make a decision on the asylum seekers, the general affairs counsellor of the Australian Embassy said in Jakarta.

“There is no decision yet, not at all,” Elizabeth O’Neill said. She said verification and interviews by Australian authorities were “standard procedure” and valid for anybody arriving in the country without official documents. The process, she said, was in line with United Nations Conventions and Australian laws.

She said the two governments have had good relations since the Bali bombing in October 2002 and the tsunami in December 2004. Reports in Jakarta media say John Howard has given assurance to Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono that the handling of the West Papuan group, who’s territory is under Indonesian authority, would not disturb the relation between the two countries.

“Prime Minister Howard has even reiterated his support that Papua is part of the Indonesian sovereignty, and promised to have close communication both at the high level, ministerial and official levels to handle the case without disturbing our relation,” said a spokesman.

A Department of Immigration spokesman said lawyers were currently interviewing the West Papuans on Christmas Island about their asylum claims.

Background: Australia’s Pacific Solution

The Papuans’ boat was only the third boat of asylum seekers to arrive on the mainland since 2001. Asylum seekers who arrive by boat are sent to remote detention centres for processing, in what the Howard Government calls the Pacific Solution.

Australia’s borders are protected by mandatory detention legislation. The Australian government detains all persons entering the country by boat without a valid visa, including children. Since the late 1990’s unathorised arrivals have been transferred to one of the Australian immigration detention facilities on the Australian mainland, or to Manus Island, Nauru or Christmas Island as part of the Pacific Solution. Mandatory detention remains a very controversial aspect of Australian immigration policy.

A High Court decision in 2005 means that detention can also be indefinite – the Court ruled that the government had the right to keep a Palestinian asylum seeker in detention, even without any prospect of release.

Greens senator Kerry Nettle visited Christmas Island at the weekend and talked with some of the Papuans. She called on the Government to move the group to the Australian mainland, where there is an established West Papuan community.

Sources

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Virginia takes action against Zebra Mussels in private pond

Filed under: Archived,Environment,United States,Virginia — admin @ 5:00 am

Virginia takes action against Zebra Mussels in private pond

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Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Zebra mussel

In a first ever effort in the United States to eliminate the presence of Zebra mussels in a large body of water, the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) announced on Monday that a private pond in Prince William County, Virginia is undergoing water treatment using a chemical potash of potassium chloride in concentrations high enough to kill invasive and native shellfish species.

The pond at the Millbrook Quarry will undergo treatment for three to four weeks in an effort to eliminate an infestation of zebra mussels, a condition of its waters that was confirmed by state environmental officials in 2002. The treatment is not expected to pose a threat to non-molluscan aquatic wildlife, vegetation, or land-dwelling creatures at the site. Officials expect the one-time treatment process will provide protection from the possibility of future infestation for 33 years.

The entire body of water will be treated with potassium chloride to a level of 90 ppm, well below the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) standard of 250 ppm for potable water. There are no expected health risks for humans, or contamination of drinking water wells in the immediate vicinity.

The freshwater Zebra Mussel species is a threat to native mussels of the region because of their high reproduction rate and their ability to attach themselves in clusters to native mussels, which kills them since they are prevented from opening and closing their shells to feed or burrow. Bottom-dwelling marine species are often covered by the Zebra Mussel.

Measures to prevent the spread of zebra mussels vary by region where the species is present. In Maryland, boat owners who launch water craft on reservoirs that serve as sources of drinking water are required to register their boat for use only on those reservoirs, to reduce chances of the mussel being transferred from other waters. Drinking water treatment and power production facilities where the mussels are present must regularly treat their systems to keep them clear of decaying debris that fouls intake pipes.

Zebra mussels were first discovered in North America in 1988, in Lake Saint Clair, a lake between Lake Erie and Lake Huron. By 1990 they appeared in all of the Great Lakes. It is believed that the mussels were accidentally brought over from Europe on the hulls of ships.

Sources

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U.S. Senate confirms Supreme Court nominee Alito

U.S. Senate confirms Supreme Court nominee Alito

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Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Samuel A. Alito Jr.

After several weeks of at times contentious deliberation in the Senate Judiciary Committee, the United States Senate confirmed Judge Samuel A. Alito, Jr. to the Supreme Court with 58 votes in favor and 42 against. Only one Republican, Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island, voted against confirmation. Four Democrats, including former Senate Majority Leader Robert Byrd of West Virginia, voted for confirmation. Alito was sworn-in later in the day.

Alito had been nominated by President George W. Bush following the withdrawal of his original Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers, a criminal lawyer and close associate of Bush since before his tenure as Governor of Texas from 1994-2000. Miers, facing harsh criticism of her qualifications for a position on the high court, along with growing opposition from members of the conservative movement, elected to withdraw in October 2005.

Alito was nominated shortly after Miers’ withdrawal, and faced the Judiciary Committee in January 2006.

With the Bush Administration facing poor approval ratings following the withdrawal of Miers, Senate Democrats put forth a strong offensive to the confirmation of Alito. They questioned Alito extensively of his record on abortion, exercise of executive authority, his opinions on various legal issues while studying at Princeton University and his membership in the CAP group there.

Following the Judiciary Committee’s party-line vote approving Alito, efforts were spearheaded by ranking Judiciary Committee member Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA) and Sen. John F. Kerry (D-MA) to filibuster Alito’s confirmation. However, the motion to end debate on Alito ended with a 72-25 cloture vote; Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) acknowledged that a filibuster was not a realistic option to stop Alito’s confirmation.

Alito is the second judge to be appointed and confirmed to the Supreme Court by President Bush. His first appointee, Judge John Roberts, was confirmed by the Senate in the autumn of 2005. Following the death of Chief Justice William Rehnquist, Roberts was immediately selected to fill Rehnquist’s post.

Alito will be replacing Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, who was a crucial swing vote in an ideologically divided Court. With the appointment of Alito, the Court will most likely experience a shift to the political right. How much of a shift cannot be precisely determined, as it remains to be seen how Alito will rule in cases involving critical social issues.

Wikipedia
Wikipedia has more about this subject:
Samuel Alito Supreme Court nomination

Alito earned a bachelor’s degree in law from Princeton University, and did his graduate work at Yale Law School. Most of his bench experience has come at the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, where he has served as a justice since 1990, when President George H.W. Bush nominated him for the post. He follows current Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia as the second Italian-American member of the high court.

Reactions

Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) told the AP that the United States would “be better and stronger and more unified if we were confirming a different nominee, a nominee who could have united us more than divided us”.

Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) said he is concerned with Alito’s “philosophy of the Constitution [and] his great effort of many years to expand presidential power at a time when there are real serious questions about the powers the president has”.

Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said there are no doubts about Alito’s “qualification in terms of education, professional career and his service on the court of appeals.”

And in a written statement, President Bush called Alito a “brilliant and fair-minded judge who strictly interprets the Constitution and laws and does not legislate from the bench. He is a man of deep character and integrity, and he will make all Americans proud as a Justice on our highest court.”

Related News

Bush nominates Alito to U.S. Supreme Court” — Wikinews, October 31, 2005

Sources



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Steve Kubby, co-author of California Proposition 215, grows dangerously ill in US custody

Steve Kubby, co-author of California Proposition 215, grows dangerously ill in US custody

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Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Steve Kubby who was facing extradition from Canada, returned to California, was arrested, and is now in custody in Placer County, California Jail, pending a hearing today. He is a medical cannabis patient who relies on the drug to regulate the symptoms of malignant phenochromocytoma, a cancer of the adrenal gland which can cause the level of adrenaline in his system to fluctuate out of control. If left unregulated, this can result in sudden, fatal heart attack, stroke, pneumonia, and a variety of other conditions.

Kubby was arrested on arrival at San Francisco International Airport Thursday night on behalf of the Placer County Sheriff’s Department, having exhausted his extradition appeals in Canada. He was taken to San Mateo County Jail, pending transport to Placer County Jail. While at San Mateo County Jail, he was reportedly denied access to medication and sufficient bedding. On arrival at Placer County Jail, his blood pressure was dangerously high, and so was given Marinol, a THC synthetic.

Communication with Kubby is highly restricted. According to his wife, Michele, Kubby has been placed in solitary confinement, denied access several times to sufficient bedding to keep him warm, and denied access to the cannabis which, according to several experts on his universally fatal condition, has been solely responsible for keeping him alive for decades. The Marinol he is being given partially mitigates his symptoms, but does not completely control them. He now grows dangerously ill.

In particular, he relates how he was ordered by prison medical staff to take beta-blockers for his blood-pressure. Due to the episodic nature of the adrenaline spikes causing the high blood-pressure, according to all of his doctors, the beta-blockers would likely kill him once the spikes dropped. In an interview by phone with journalist Pat McCartney over the weekend, Kubby reported that, for refusing the beta-blockers, he was coerced into signing a waiver absolving the prison of liability, and has since been refused all care, including even Tylenol for pain management.

Activists concerned with medical marijuana, human rights and prison reform will hold a rally at noon today in front of the Placer County Superior Courthouse, where Steve Kubby is scheduled to be arraigned on violation of probation charges.

Kubby was a co-author of California’s Compassionate Use Act of 1996, also known as Proposition 215. He fled to Canada in 2001 to escape the possibility of incarceration for an extended period without access to cannabis, a possibility which, in both his and expert medical opinion, would certainly prove fatal.

Sources

Wikipedia
Wikipedia has more about this subject:
Steve Kubby

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Nominations announced for 78th Academy Awards

Nominations announced for 78th Academy Awards

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Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Poster for the 76th Academy Awards.

Oscar®-winning actress and Academy member Mira Sorvino and Academy President Sid Ganis announced the nominees for the 78th Annual Academy Awards in the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater.

Today, the nominees for the 78th Academy Awards were announced in Los Angeles, California.

Best Picture nominees this year are Brokeback Mountain, Capote, Crash, Good Night, and Good Luck., and Munich. The director of each of these films received director nominations. Nominees include George Clooney (Good Night, and Good Luck.), Paul Haggis (Crash), Ang Lee (Brokeback Mountain), Bennett Miller (Capote), and Steven Spielberg (Munich). This is the first time since 1981 that every Best Picture nominee also received a nod for Direction.

Brokeback Mountain leads this year’s Oscar pack overall, with eight nominations. Brokeback is followed by Crash, Good Night, and Good Luck., and Memoirs of a Geisha, who each earned six. Capote, Munich, and Walk the Line each received five nominations. King Kong, Pride and Prejudice, and The Constant Gardener picked up four nominations, while Cinderella Man, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, and War of the Worlds pick up three. A History of Violence, Hustle & Flow, Mrs. Henderson Presents, North Country, Syriana, and Transamerica each received two nods each.

Best Animated Feature Film nominees are Howl’s Moving Castle, Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride, and Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit. None of these films used primarily CGI-animation, the first year this can be claimed, since the 2001 creation of the award category. Corspe Bride marks both Tim Burton and Mike Johnson’s first nominations. Wallace & Gromit’s Steve Box is celebrating his first nomination, while co-producer Nick Park has three Oscars for Best Animation Short, a fourth nomination, of which he lost to himself in 1990. Hayao Miyazaki won the Best Animated Feature award in 2002, for Spirited Away.

Uniquely neither animation powerhouse, Disney or DreamWorks, is directly nominated in the category. Disney’s Buena Vista Entertainment distributes Miyazaki film Howl’s Moving Castle, while DreamWorks distributed Wallace and Gromit, animated by Aardman Animations.

Best Foreign Language Film nominees include Italian film Don’t Tell, France’s Joyeux Noël, Palestine’s Paradise Now, Germany’s Sophie Scholl – The Final Days, and South Africa’s Tsotsi. Italy has been up for an Oscar 27 times, France 34 times, and Germany has had six nominations. This is only South Africa’s second nomination, with the first coming last year, and Palestine’s first ever Academy Award nomination.

Nominees for Best Documentary Feature are Darwin’s Nightmare, Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, March of the Penguins, Murderball, and Street Fight. March of the Penguins, produced in France, actually grossed more than any of the Best Picture nominees, the first time in history such an occurrence has happened.

The top 19 films in box office received a total of only 14 nominations, with a majority of these in the categories of Visual Effects, Sound Mixing and Sound Editing.

Perhaps one of the most interesting stories for Hollywood as a whole, is the tremendous success of Participant Productions in its first year of operation. eBay founder Jeff Skoll’s movie house produced nominees Good Night and Good Luck. (6), North Country (2), Syriana (2), and Murderball (1). The company aims to fund feature films and documentaries that promote social values while still being commercially viable.

The 78th Academy Awards presentation will be held on Sunday, March 5.

Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role

Nominee Heath Ledger in Brokeback Mountain.

  • Philip Seymour Hoffman – Capote
  • Terrence Howard – Hustle & Flow
  • Heath Ledger – Brokeback Mountain
  • Joaquin Phoenix – Walk the Line
  • David Strathairn – Good Night, and Good Luck

Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role

  • George Clooney – Syriana
  • Matt Dillon – Crash
  • Paul Giamatti – Cinderella Man
  • Jake Gyllenhaal – Brokeback Mountain
  • William Hurt – A History of Violence

Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role

  • Judi Dench – Mrs. Henderson Presents
  • Felicity Huffman – Transamerica
  • Keira Knightley – Pride & Prejudice
  • Charlize Theron – North Country
  • Reese Witherspoon – Walk the Line

Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role

  • Amy Adams – Junebug
  • Catherine Keener – Capote
  • Frances McDormand – North Country
  • Rachel Weisz – The Constant Gardener
  • Michelle Williams – Brokeback Mountain

Adapted Screenplay

  • Brokeback Mountain
  • Capote
  • The Constant Gardener
  • A History of Violence
  • Munich

Original Screenplay

  • Crash
  • Good Night, and Good Luck
  • Match Point
  • The Squid and the Whale
  • Syriana

Nominee David Strathairn in Good Night, and Good Luck.

Achievement in Art Direction

  • Good Night, and Good Luck
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
  • King Kong
  • Memoirs of a Geisha
  • Pride & Prejudice

Achievement in Cinematography

  • Batman Begins
  • Brokeback Mountain
  • Good Night, and Good Luck
  • Memoirs of a Geisha
  • The New World

Achievement in Costume Design

  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
  • Memoirs of a Geisha
  • Mrs. Henderson Presents
  • Pride & Prejudice
  • Walk the Line

Best Documentary Short Subject

  • The Death of Kevin Carter: Casualty of the Bang Bang Club
  • God Sleeps in Rwanda
  • The Mushroom Club
  • A Note of Triumph: The Golden Age of Norman Corwin

Achievement in Film Editing

  • Cinderella Man
  • The Constant Gardener
  • Crash
  • Munich
  • Walk the Line

Achievement in Makeup

  • The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
  • Cinderella Man
  • Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

Achievement in Music Written For Motion Pictures (Original Score)

  • Brokeback Mountain
  • The Constant Gardener
  • Memoirs of a Geisha
  • Munich
  • Pride & Prejudice

Achievement in Music Written For Motion Pictures (Original Song)

  • In the Deep – Crash
  • It’s Hard Out Here For a Pimp – Hustle & Flow
  • Travelin’ Thru – Transamerica

Nominated short One Man Band.

Best Animated Short Film

  • Badgered
  • The Moon and the Son: An Imagined Conversation
  • The Mysterious Geographic Explorations of Jasper Morello
  • 9
  • One Man Band

Best Live Action Short Film

  • Ausreisser (The Runaway)
  • Cashback
  • The Last Farm
  • Our Time is Up
  • Six Shooter

Achievement in Sound Editing

  • King Kong
  • Memoirs of a Geisha
  • War of the Worlds

Achievement in Sound Mixing

  • The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
  • King Kong
  • Memoirs of a Geisha
  • Walk the Line
  • War of the Worlds

Achievement in Visual Effects

  • The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
  • King Kong
  • War of the Worlds

External links

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Internet Explorer 7 beta released to the public

Internet Explorer 7 beta released to the public

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Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Screenshot of Internet Explorer 7.

How IE7 fares with the Acid 2 CSS test

(source: Wikinews reporter Achille)

The screen shot above shows several renderings of the Acid 2 CSS test, used to identify web page rendering flaws in web browsers and HTML authoring tools:

  • Green — Optimal (Konqueror)
  • Yellow — Firefox 1.5
  • Red — Internet Explorer 7

The long awaited Internet Explorer 7.0 beta preview was released to the public on January 31.

Large amounts of the architecture, including the security framework, have been completely overhauled. Partly as a result of these security enhancements, the browser will be a stand-alone application, rather than integrated with the Windows shell.

The final Beta 2 is scheduled by Microsoft to be released in April, with the full version scheduled for the Summer of 2006.

According to Microsoft’s announcement, the beta will only run on Windows XP Service Pack 2 systems, but the final release version is intended to be able to run on Windows Vista, Windows XP Professional x64 Edition, and Windows Server 2003 as well.

New features

Version 7 includes a number of new features.

  • Improved rendering engine – Internet Explorer’s rendering engine, codenamed Trident has been completely rewritten to compete with the faster rendering engines of Opera and Firefox.
  • Tabbed Browsing – users can now have several web pages in the same window via “tabs”.
  • Quick Tabs – enables users to view thumbnail images of all open tabs in one view.
  • Tab Groups – enables users to organize multiple tabs in the same category as a single Tab Group that can be saved as a Favorite and the user can open all the sites in the Tab Group with a single click on the arrow to the right of the folder.
  • Page zoom – enables users to increase or decrease the page size for easier viewing.
  • IDN support
  • RSS Support – Version 7.0 now supports RSS, which allows users to gather “news feeds” from web sites that have RSS support. Microsoft implements RSS in a shared library, known as a DLL, so that third party developers can develop their own RSS-enabled applications.
  • Alpha transparency – Version 7.0 now has native support for PNG alpha transparency. This allows certain image (PNGs) to have opaque areas that can blend in with other images and text.
  • OpenSearch Extensions – Users of version 7.0 can now use search engines by typing in search terms directly from the browser’s toolbar.
  • Administration improvements – All previous and new features are manageable via Group Policy, including the Phishing Filter and all browser add-ons.
  • Improved CSS support – Version 7.0 has improved CSS support, which means Internet Explorer will now render pages closer to the method defined by the W3C, a standards body for World Wide Web technologies. This means web page designers and developers will have an easier time designing web sites and applications to look the same on all web browsers.
  • Improved AJAX functionality – Applications that use a web development technique called AJAX to make interactive web applications will run more efficiently because Microsoft has included support for its main component, the XMLHttpRequest Object, into the browser. Previous versions of Internet Explorer required a helper application, called an ActiveX Object to implement this functionality (a good example of an AJAX application is Google’s popular Google Maps application.
  • Enhanced security – Microsoft has attempted to fix a number of security issues with how Internet Explorer behaves. This includes:
    • Protected Mode – In Protected Mode, Internet Explorer 7 in Windows Vista is completely unable to modify user or system files and settings.
    • Internet Explorer 7.0 is a stand-alone application, rather than integrated with the Windows shell like version 6.0. This means that you can no longer open a folder, type in a URL and get a web page.
    • URL Handling Protections.
    • Protection Against Cross-Domain Scripting Attacks.
    • Anti-Phishing and Anti-Spoofing filters.
    • Security Status Bar – color-coded visual and icons cues to the safety and trustworthiness of a Web site.

Early Release

The current release is intended for compatibility testing by developers and IT professionals, and is not aimed at the general public.

Sources

Wikinews
This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.

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Coretta Scott King passes away

Coretta Scott King passes away – Wikinews, the free news source

Coretta Scott King passes away

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Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Coretta Scott King, wife of slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. has died at the age of 78. Coretta King, tireless crusader for civil rights, died in her sleep.

Mrs. King, who had been diagnosed with terminal ovarian cancer, died late on Monday in Mexico, where she had been seeking treatment, a spokeswoman for the family told Reuters.

Coretta Scott King in 1979, seated 2nd from right

“Mrs. King was in Mexico for observation and consideration of treatment for ovarian cancer,” the spokeswoman said. “She was considered terminal by physicians in the United States. She and the family wanted to explore other options.” King died at Hospital Santa Monica, a holistic health center in Mexico.

News of her death led to tributes across Atlanta, including a moment of silence in the Georgia Capitol and piles of flowers at the tomb of her slain husband. Flags at the King Center – the institute devoted to the civil rights leader’s legacy – were lowered to half-staff.

Dubbed the “first lady of the civil rights movement,” Mrs King suffered a debilitating stroke and heart attack in August. She was last seen on January 14 at a dinner marking the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, where she received a standing ovation.

As she recalled in her autobiography My Life With Martin Luther King Jr., Mrs. King felt she had to step fully into the civil rights movement after her husband’s assassination.

After graduating from Antioch College in Ohio in 1951, she enrolled in the graduate program at Boston’s New England Conservatory of Music. It was there she met her future husband, a young preacher and doctoral student at Boston University. They were married in 1953.

Mrs. King had an influence on the civil rights movement for over half a century. She pushed and goaded politicians to have her husband’s birthday observed as a national holiday. Following her husband’s assassination in 1968, she fought to bring national recognition to King Jr. For over a decade, she lobbied to make King’s birthday a federal holiday, and in 1983 the bill was signed into law. Three years later, the USA observed the first King holiday.

She created a memorial and a forum in the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change in Atlanta. The center has archives containing more than 2,000 King speeches.

Coretta Scott was born April 27, 1927, near Marion, Alabama. “It was awful,” she said of living in Marion. “Every Saturday we would hear about some black man getting beat up and nothing was done about it.”

The Rev. Jesse Jackson, who in 1968 broke the news of King’s death to Coretta, described her as a “freedom fighter”. “She walked with her husband during the ordeal of the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Their home was bombed, she endured the hate and violent anger toward their family. And she had to endure the constant knowledge that each time he left their home, he might never return,” said Jackson. “She was the part of him that made him complete.”

In 1969 she founded the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change in Atlanta and used it to confront hunger, unemployment, voting rights and racism. “The centre enables us to go out and struggle against the evils in our society,” she often said.

She also accused movie and TV companies, video arcades, gun manufacturers and toy makers of promoting violence. Coretta King has became a symbol in her own right of her husband’s struggle for peace and brotherhood.

In his State of the Union Address, US President George W Bush remembered Mrs King, saying her “lasting contributions to freedom and equality have made America a better and more compassionate nation.”

Mrs. King is survived by her four children, Yolanda, Martin III, Dexter and Bernice. The family issued a statement thanking the public for an outpouring of support.



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Al-Jazeera airs new video of Ayman al-Zawahri

Al-Jazeera airs new video of Ayman al-Zawahri

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Tuesday, January 31, 2006

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The Qatar-based Arabic language television network al-Jazeera has aired a new tape of al-Qaeda‘s second-in-command, Ayman al-Zawahri. In his first video appearance to mention the Peshawar province missile attack in Pakistan, Al-Zawahri refers to the alleged strike on himself and calls United States President George W. Bush, a “butcher” and a “failure”.

On the tape, al-Zawahri says he survived an American air strike targeting him in eastern Pakistan on January 13. The air strike killed 13 villagers and led to widespread demonstrations in Pakistan for the alleged deaths of civilians. The U.S. has made no official claim of responsibility for the cross-border attack from Afghanistan.

“Butcher of Washington, you are not only defeated and a liar, but also a failure. You are a curse on your own nation and you have brought and will bring them only catastrophes and tragedies,” Zawahri said, referring to President Bush. “Bush, do you know where I am? I am among the Muslim masses.”

Ayman al-Zawahiri

al-Zawahri also threatened the citizens of Britain and the U.S.A. in the tape; “The lion of Islam, Sheik Osama bin Laden, may God protect him, offered you a decent exit from your dilemma. But your leaders, who are keen to accumulate wealth, insist on throwing you in battles and killing your souls in Iraq and Afghanistan and — God willing — on your own land.”

A U.S. counterterrorism official said to AP reporters on condition of anonymity, that the message broadcast by al-Jazeera indicates that al-Qaeda believed it was important to show that al-Zawahri is alive. The U.S. official also noted that the video was delivered quickly, demonstrating al-Zawahri’s ability to get his message out even faster than bin Laden. As al-Zawahri make a reference to Osama Bin Laden’s offering of a truce, it appears this tape is recorded not more than 12 days ago, which make a very short time according to al-Qaeda standards.

It has been widely reported, but not confirmed, that some al-Qaeda operatives were killed by the U.S. airstrike on the village of Damadola in Pakistan.

Related news

  • “No evidence of dead terrorists in US bombed Pakistan village” — Wikinews, January 23, 2006
  • “Al Jazeera airs new Osama Bin Laden tape” — Wikinews, January 19, 2006
  • “U.S. airstrike targeting Ayman al-Zawahiri leaves 18 dead in Pakistani village” — Wikinews, January 14, 2006

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Americans spent more than they earned in 2005

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 5:00 am

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Americans are spending more than they are earning, pushing the national savings rate to lows not seen since the Great Depression. The Commerce Department released a report saying that personal savings fell to a negative 0.5% in 2005.

This means that people spent everything they earned and more. This is the third time that the savings rate has been negative, the previous two times were both during the Great Depression in 1932 and 1933. The savings rate has been declining since 1984 when it stood at 10.8%, in 2004 it was 1.8%.

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January 30, 2006

Two people charged over burning bodies in drums

Filed under: Archived,Australia,Crime and law,Oceania — admin @ 5:00 am

Two people charged over burning bodies in drums

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Monday, January 30, 2006

A man and a woman have been charged with the murders of two people whose bodies were found burning in oil drums in the Tomerong State Forest, about 210 kilometers south of Sydney on Sunday.

The bodies were found by New South Wales Rural Fire Service officers who were called to extinguish a small bushfire. The firefighters notified the local Nowra police who established several crime scenes in the area. The crime scenes are believed to include an area surrounding a burnt out vehicle believed to belong to the victims, a house where the murders are thought to have occurred, and areas in the State Forest.

27-year-old Stacey Lea-Caton voluntarily attended Nowra Police Station and told officers he had witnessed a man and woman being tied up in a house in Nowra and he feared they were about to be murdered by another man and woman.

Police then attended a property in Calymea Street, Nowra, where 36-year-old Kim Leanne Snibson agreed to accompany them to the station for questioning.

Lea-Caton and Snibson have both been charged with two counts of murder and faced Nowra Local Court today.

Magistrate Doug Dick issued a suppression order on the identities of the victims, but refused Snibson’s request for a suppression order on her identity to protect her children who attend a local school, saying the court processes must be transparent.

Lea-Caton appeared briefly in the court dock but Snibson refused and remained in the cells.

They did not apply for bail and both were remanded into custody to appear in court on April 10.

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