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January 29, 2006

World celebrates Chinese new year

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

World celebrates Chinese new year – Wikinews, the free news source

World celebrates Chinese new year

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Sunday, January 29, 2006

Hong Kong Island with Fireworks and Laser Show in 2004

New Zealand Chinese community celebrating their New Year in Auckland, New Zealand

Millions of people celebrated the arrival of the Chinese Year of the Dog throughout the world’s time zones.

Chinese families spent New Year’s Eve cleaning their houses to get rid of bad luck from the past year, before celebrating with reunion dinners.

Throughout China and the world’s Chinatowns, dragon dancers danced and fireworks went off to mark the arrival of the new year.

In the Chinese lunar calendar, the Chinese Year of the Dog ends on February 17, 2007, making it 385 days long, or 13 months. The last time a Chinese year was this long was in 1944.

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Tarja Halonen wins the 2006 presidential election in Finland

Filed under: Archived,Elections,Europe,Finland,Politics and conflicts — admin @ 5:00 am

Tarja Halonen wins the 2006 presidential election in Finland

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Sunday, January 29, 2006

The flag of the Finnish President

Helsinki, Finland – The second round of presidential elections in Finland have concluded, with incumbent Tarja Halonen of left wing parties gaining 51,8% of the vote (with 100% of all votes tallied), and former finance minister, Sauli Niinistö of the national coalition party gaining 48,2%. Pre-election studies indicated a close match with both candidates gaining approximately 50% support in polls. Halonen got 53,9% of the advance votes, while Niinistö got 46,1%. Both candidates got close to 50% of election-day votes (January 29). The total turnout in the end was 74,0%, or 3,163,096 voters. These results are to be confirmed by Wednesday. In Comparison, Halonen won the second round against Esko Aho in the year 2000, with approximately the same percentage. Total turnout then was 80,2%.

Halonen failed to win an outright majority in the first round, resulting in a second round against Niinistö, the runner-up in the first round.

A major talking-point in the elections was the possibility of Finland becoming a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Halonen upholds the current Finnish policy of non-alignment and a reliable, independent defensive force, but does not outrule the possibility of Finland becoming a member sometime in the future. Co-operation with NATO will continue and be expanded on, despite the fact that the majority of Finns oppose outright membership.

Halonen will be inaugurated on March 1 for her second term, becoming the 19th president of Finland.

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Corby\’s star witness convicted of rape

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

Corby’s star witness convicted of rape – Wikinews, the free news source

Corby’s star witness convicted of rape

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Sunday, January 29, 2006

John Patrick Ford, the Australian prisoner who testified at Schapelle Corby’s Bali drug trafficking trial, has been convicted of 11 charges relating to the rape and assault of a woman.

Ford’s trial was postponed to allow him to travel to Bali in the custody of Australian Federal Police officers to testify that he had overheard a jailhouse confession. Ford alleged he had heard another prisoner claim ownership of the marijuana found in Corby’s possession. He told the Balinese court that Corby was the victim of an Australian domestic inter-airport drug-smuggling operation. She is currently serving a 20-year prison term after being convicted in that case.

In December 2005, a County Court jury convicted Ford of 11 charges, including rape, intentionally causing injury, threatening to inflict serious injury, false imprisonment, aggravated burglary, burglary, making threats to kill and stalking, but a suppression order issued by the court prevented publication of the convictions until the pre-sentencing hearing on Friday, January 27, 2006.

Ford’s lawyer, Tom Danos, told the hearing that Corby had written to Ford thanking him for risking his own welfare by agreeing to testify. Danos urged the court to be lenient in sentencing Ford, claiming that his victim had effectively forgiven him for his crimes and that he deserved a lighter sentence for co-operating with authorities investigating the Corby case.

Ford has been attacked twice in jail since testifying at Corby’s Bali trial. Since returning from Bali in March, 2005, Ford has remained in protective custody, to prevent further attacks. Danos claimed that this would make any jail sentence particularly difficult for his client.

County Court Judge Margaret Rizkalla adjourned the pre-sentencing hearing to a date yet to be set.

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Bob Woodruff injured by improvised explosive device in Iraq

Bob Woodruff injured by improvised explosive device in Iraq

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Sunday, January 29, 2006

Bob Woodruff with fellow World News Tonight co-anchor Elizabeth Vargas

ABC News anchorman Bob Woodruff and his camera operator Doug Vogt have been seriously injured in an explosion. Early reports indicate that both men sustained head injuries in the blast.

Woodruff was evacuated to the Balad Airbase, 68 kilometers north of Baghdad and is currently undergoing surgery. “Bob and Doug are in serious condition and are being treated at a U.S. military hospital in Iraq,” ABC said in a statement.

Reports say Woodruff was taping a report inside an Iraqi mechanized military vehicle near Taji, Iraq when the vehicle ran over and detonated an improvised explosive device. ABC also reports that exchanges of small arms fire took place shortly after the explosion. MSNBC reports that Woodruff and Vogt were wearing body armor and helmets when the explosion occurred, measures that may turn out to have saved their lives. The Associated Press is reporting that the two men were standing in the hatch of the vehicle at the time of the explosion, and that no other people were injured.

Woodruff and Vogt had been embedded with the 4th Infantry Division that was accompanying an Iraqi Army unit.

ABC also said that both Woodruff and Vogt were wearing body armor and helmets.

The U.S. military headquarters in Baghdad has confirmed the attack took place. However, no further information has been made available.

Vogt, a 46-year-old Canadian based in France, is an Emmy-award winning cameraman for ABC News with 25 years of experience.

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, 61 journalists have been killed in the line of duty in Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003.

Woodruff became the permanent co-anchor of ABC’s World News Tonight, with Elizabeth Vargas on January 3, 2006, replacing the late Peter Jennings.

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Australian government hopes to establish triage by phone

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Australian government hopes to establish triage by phone

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Sunday, January 29, 2006

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The Australian federal government hopes to slash hospital emergency department waiting queues by setting up a 24-hour national medical hotline.

A government source said that the National Health Call Centre Network would be manned by registered triage nurses 24-hours a day, 7-days a week. Triage nurses would perform a diagnosis over the phone based upon the description given by the patient. The patient would then be referred to the nearest emergency department, their local GP or pharmacy – as determined by the nurse.

The issue is expected to be discussed at next month’s Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting in Canberra. It is believed that the states and territories are supportive of the system.

If agreed upon by COAG, the service will be jointly funded by state/territory and the commonwealth governments at a cost of $40 million a year. The service would take 18 months to set up.

The service will be ran from a centralised call centre and be managed by a private contractor.

Julia Gillard, the opposition’s spokeswoman for health said any national call service needed to be linked with local GPs and medical services.

Gillard claims that under a Labor government, an after-hours “Pizza Hut” style service would be implemented, with a single national number connecting to a local call centre.

“You would be talking to people in the locality you are in and who know the local services,” she said

The Australian Medical Association, an organisation representing more than 27,000 doctors in Australia has slammed the proposal saying it will only deter people from seeking appropriate medical treatment.

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Amélie Mauresmo wins Australian Open

Filed under: Archived,Australia,Oceania,Sports,Tennis — admin @ 5:00 am

Amélie Mauresmo wins Australian Open – Wikinews, the free news source

Amélie Mauresmo wins Australian Open

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Sunday, January 29, 2006

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French tennis champion Amélie Mauresmo yesterday won her first Grand Slam title at the Australian Open in Melbourne. Mauresmo was winning 6-1 2-0 when her opponent, Belgian player Justine Henin-Hardenne, retired, citing a stomach complaint.

After winning a rally in the second game of the second set, Henin-Hardenne approached the umpire and complained of feeling unwell. She then consulted her trainer before returning to the court. After losing two points, she approached the net and told Mauresmo she was too ill to continue, ending the game in 52 minutes.

Henin-Hardenne apologized to her opponent, the tournament organisers and a disappointed crowd of 15,452 people. “I’m feeling very disappointed for sure to end the tournament this way. I am feeling very sick and couldn’t stay longer and continue,” she said.

She later told a press conference that she believed anti-inflammatory medication she had been taking for a shoulder injury had made her feel ill and left her with no energy. “I felt it when I woke up, but I tried. I knew at the beginning of the match that I could not win it,” she said.

Henin-Hardenne’s retirement gave Mauresmo her third victory by default in the tournament. She reached the fourth round after Dutch player Michaella Krajicek retired with heat exhaustion. In the semi-final, Mauresmo was again the beneficiary of a retirement when Belgian player Kim Clijsters retired with an ankle injury.

Until now, 26-year-old Mauresmo was the only former world no.1 to never have won a Grand Slam title. She said in a post-match interview that when she returns home to her base in Geneva, Switzerland, she will toast the win with a bottle of 1937 Château d’Yquem wine which she has been saving to celebrate her first grand slam title.

“I bought a bottle about three or four years ago. Very good one. Very old one also. I keep it. I thought, “You know, this one is going to be for my Grand Slam, my first Grand Slam title,”” she said.

Mauresmo’s win comes seven years after the then unseeded player reached the 1999 Australian Open final, the last time she has reached a Grand Slam final. She lost to Martina Hingis and was berated by the press and several players for her muscular build and for acknowledging her then partner, Sylvie Bourdon, believing if they were open about their relationship, people would be less inclined to gossip. At the time, Lindsay Davenport complained that playing Mauresmo was like playing against a male player. While Martina Hingis accused her of being “half a man.”

Henin-Hardenne’s retirement is the first time a player has retired from a women’s Grand Slam final since Brazil’s Maria Bueno retired in 1966 during a final against Australia’s Margaret Smith Court.

Mauresmo is now ranked world no.2 and is the first Frenchwoman to win an Australian Open since Mary Pierce won in 1995. Mauresmo takes home the Australian Open trophy and prize money of $AU1,220,000, while Henin-Hardenne walked away with the runner-up prize money of $AU610,000.

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Rare snow storm in Portugal

Filed under: Archived,Environment,Europe,Lisbon,Portugal,Weather — admin @ 5:00 am

Rare snow storm in Portugal – Wikinews, the free news source

Rare snow storm in Portugal

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Sunday, January 29, 2006

Today an uncommon snow storm covered much of Portugal. Apart from mountainous regions, snow is usually a rare vision in this south European country because flat terrain and a Mediterranean climate. However, January 2006 saw a cold wave sweeping across Europe, and since early morning snow fell in seaside towns like Figueira da Foz, in central Portugal, and the storm reached record south locations such as Algarve.

Lisbon, the Portuguese capital, received snow for the first time in 52 years. Other towns with a record snowfall were Leiria, Santarém, Évora, Setúbal, Portalegre, Sesimbra, Palmela, Fátima, Pombal, Abrantes, Torres Novas and Ourém.

Highways and roads were closed in much of central and south Portugal. In Montejunto, one hundred people were evacuated from their vehicles. The storm caused electricity to be cut in Elvas and other parts of the Alentejo region. A number of car accidents and fallen trees were reported to have only resulted in minor injuries. In Lisbon, the city government demanded subway stations to remain open overnight, so that homeless people could find shelter.

At 1500 GMT, phone companies saw a record level of calls and text messages due to surprised people contacting and warning each other.

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Firefighters find burning body parts in oil drums

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

Firefighters find burning body parts in oil drums

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Sunday, January 29, 2006

New South Wales Rural Fire Service officers called to extinguish a small bushfire in the Tomerong State Forest, about 210 kilometers south of Sydney, discovered two oil drums containing burning body parts.

The firefighters called nearby Nowra police who established several crime scenes in the area. It is believed the drums contained the remains of two people who police believe lived in the area.

NSW Police Superintendent Kyle Stewart told the ABC that officers were confronted with an horrific scene. “[It was a] fairly horrific scene, the two bodies were on fire at the time, or the barrels in which they were located, were on fire when the RFS responded and certainly that doesn’t add to the pleasantness of the situation,” he said.

A 27-year-old man and a 36-year-old woman have presented themselves to police. Police say they are assisting detectives with their inquiries.

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This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

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