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April 4, 2006

Waikiki beaches reopen after sewage spill

Filed under: AutoArchived,Environment,Hawaii,North America,United States — admin @ 5:00 am

Waikiki beaches reopen after sewage spill

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Tuesday, April 4, 2006

One and a half weeks after a broken sewer line in the Waikiki district of Honolulu spilled 48 million gallons of raw sewage, health officials for the state of Hawaii removed warning signs today from Waikiki beaches after water samples taken yesterday indicated that bacterial levels had returned to normal.

The sewage spill into the Ala Wai Canal forced the closure of Waikiki beaches when bacterial levels from the spill reached hazardous levels. Officials credit improved weather and the return of trade winds for the rapid dissipation.

Beaches in nearby Ala Moana Park near the mouth of the Ala Wai Canal remain closed for the time being. Water quality at the spill site on the Ala Wai continues to improve, and the bacterial levels in the canal are expected to return to normal within a week.

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Third of Thais vote \’none of the above\’

Third of Thais vote ‘none of the above’ – Wikinews, the free news source

Third of Thais vote ‘none of the above’

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Tuesday, April 4, 2006

Thailand 2006 Party ballot. The box at the bottom right can be marked with an ‘X’ to register ‘no vote’.

According to unofficial estimates by the Thai News Agency (TNA), 10 million voters chose the “none of the above” option in Sunday’s election. These estimates put the party-list vote for incumbent Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra’s Thai Rak Thai (TRT) party at 16 million. (Thai Rak Thai means, literally, “Thais Love Thais” [1].) Shinawatra cited a total vote of 28 million, compared to 32 million in the previous general election.

Reporting the PM’s appearance on national television, TNA quoted him as saying he might resign to achieve better national unity. “I’m ready to have a break in politics if …”. His offer is conditional on the return by major players in the anti-Thaksin People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) to their prior roles, and on the participation of opposition parties in the next general election.

Choosing to emphasise Thaksin’s claim of victory, an article in the Thai publication The Nation, written in the English language, included passages portraying the PM less favourably. “Tell me how the country would be better off without me”, Thaksin challenged at a party meeting. “The 16 million should be told how the country will be reconciled if I step down.”

Sunday’s poll passed fairly peacefully, although three bomb blasts injuring six persons were reported in Narathiwat, one of the southern provinces where Malay separatist tensions have seen over 1,000 killed since January 2004.

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Thailand\’s Prime Minister announces resignation

Thailand’s Prime Minister announces resignation

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Tuesday, April 4, 2006

Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra

Thailand’s prime minister, Thaksin Shinawatra, announced his resignation in a national telecast on Tuesday, April 4, 2006. His statement included an apology to his supporters and a hope that his resignation will help heal divisions in the country — “Our house is broken and it needs to be put back together.” He will not continue as prime minister when Parliament reconvenes; however, he will continue as a member of Parliament and as Thai Rak Thai (TRT) party leader. The process to select his successor will begin in the first new session of Parliament.

Only the previous day, Monday, Thaksin had expressed his intention to continue as Prime Minister, following his party’s election win. The reversal came after an audience with King Bhumibol Adulyadej (pronunciation) (sometimes written Adulyadej Bhumibol). The King intervenes in Thai politics only on rare occasions. June, 2006 will mark 60 years as king for Bhumibol Adulyadej, the world’s longest-serving head of state. “Now everyone has made their voices heard,” said Thaksin. “There are 60 days left; there is no more time to argue. People coming from all over the world will wonder about all these rallies.”

Although Thaksin’s TRT party won the April 2nd election, the results were disappointing, with over one-third of voters choosing ‘none of the above’. After the election there had been continuing calls for his resignation.

Thaksin’s standdown will likely end months of calls for the dissolution of his government which has been charged by protesters of corruption and misuse of authority. In October 2005, he sued Sondhi Limthingkul’s newspaper, the Phujatkarn Daily, over corruption allegations. Sondi’s move to open-air shows where he detailed further corruption allegations grew into the PAD (People’s Alliance for Democracy) and following the Shin Corp sale, PAD protests forced Thaksin to call a snap election.

Related news

  • “Third of Thais vote ‘none of the above'” — Wikinews, April 4, 2006
  • “Thais head to the polls for snap election” — Wikinews, April 2, 2006
  • “Turn up and don’t vote, urge anti-Thaksin activists” — Wikinews, March 28, 2006
  • “Thaksin rebuffs resignation calls while elite call for appointed PM” — Wikinews, March 6, 2006
  • “Opposition may boycott Thai election; demonstrators want Thaksin out” — Wikinews, February 26, 2006
  • Thai snap-election set for April 2, 2006” — Wikinews, February 24, 2006
  • “Leader of 1992 pro-democracy uprising joins calls for Thaksin’s resignation” — Wikinews, February 20, 2006

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Flooding Danube threatens thousands

Flooding Danube threatens thousands – Wikinews, the free news source

Flooding Danube threatens thousands

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Tuesday, April 4, 2006

Just 400 meters from the building of the Legislature of Hungary in Budapest, the Danube Pest is under water

The Danube River, running from Germany to the Black Sea in Romania, is currently at 859 cm (28 ft 2 in) higher than its normal level in Budapest, Hungary. Climatologists are predicting that the river will crest as high as 865 cm (28′ 5″). This places the crest higher than in 2002, when floods swept across all Europe. The Danube crested at 860 cm (28′ 3″) high then.

The Danube has caused widespread flooding in Budapest

According to officials, 11,000 buildings are in danger of flood damage, and 172 hectares (475 acres) of land are currently under water. Officials also placed the country under a Level 3 Alert (on a 3 level scale).

Margit Island is completely under water, with 3500 sandbags giving it protection. The riverside is no less under water, and the underground number 2 (M2) is currently in danger of being closed since one of its stations, Battyány tér, is flooded.

The Danube has caused widespread flooding in Budapest

According to Hungarian Water engineers, a flood of this magnitude hasn’t occurred since 1838 when ice coming down the river blocked the Danube, creating a natural dam which caused the water to flood everything behind it.

General elections are on Sunday in Hungary. The election is heated with MSZP and FIDESZ in a virtual dead heat with polls rating both at 45%. Other smaller parties are voicing concern about gaining a 5% toe-hold to gain a seat in Parliament. It is not yet clear how the flood will impact the final campaign.

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Judge throws out petition case against Patrick Murphy in PA Congressional race

Judge throws out petition case against Patrick Murphy in PA Congressional race

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Tuesday, April 4, 2006

On Friday, Judge Robert Simpson Jr. threw out a petition challenge brought by Jane Faust against Patrick Murphy, a candidate for the 8th Congressional District in Pennsylvania. Josh Nanberg, Murphy’s campaign manager, stated, “We won.”

The case centered on objections to Murphy’s nominating papers. The judge threw the case out due to a part of the law which requires that any objections must be raised at least seven days prior to the court case to allow the defendant time to collect evidence. The objections in this case were brought the day of the trial.

Jen Paski, a spokeswoman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee said, “We were very distressed by this challenge and we are absolutely thrilled that it failed.”

The lawyer who filed the challenge on behalf of Faust has stated that he will continue the case, and will attempt to bring it to the state Supreme Court, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

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Iran tests its second missile

Iran tests its second missile – Wikinews, the free news source

Iran tests its second missile

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Tuesday, April 4, 2006

Iran has successfully tested the Kowsar land-to-sea missile, and a “flying boat”, Iran state media report.

According to the country’s state television service, “A super-modern flying boat was successfully tested in the ‘Great Prophet’ war game in Persian Gulf waters. Because of its hull’s advanced design, no radar at sea or in the air can locate it. It can lift out of the water. It is wholly domestically built and can launch missiles with precise targeting while moving.”

Iran says that the Kowser missile can be used to sink enemy ships in the Gulf. Iran also announced that the missile’s onboard systems could not be scrambled by enemy action.

Brian Whitman, a spokesman for the Pentagon in the United States, said, “We know that the Iranians are always trying to improve their weapons system by both foreign and indigenous measures. It’s possible that they are increasing their capability and making strides in radar-absorbing materials and technology. [However] the Iranians have also been known to boast and exaggerate [in] their statements about greater technical and tactical capabilities.”

On Friday, Iran tested its Fajr-3 missile, which Iran says can evade radar and can carry many warheads. On Monday, Iran tested in the Straits of Hormuz a torpedo that the country claims can evade sonar.

It is estimated that at least 1500 ships and aircraft, and at least 17,000 Iranian Revolutionary Guard troops, are participating in a week-long war games exercise in the Gulf.

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Berlusconi in trouble over use of bad word

Filed under: AutoArchived,Europe,Italy,Politics and conflicts — admin @ 5:00 am

Berlusconi in trouble over use of bad word

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Tuesday, April 4, 2006

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has found himself under fire for using the word “coglioni” to describe his opponents during the run-up to the general election in Italy. Roughly translating to “idiot”, “cretin”, or “fool” in English, it is Italian slang for “testicles”, it is as rude as the term “prick-head”.

Romano Prodi, former European Union Commission President and opponent of Berlusconi, was quick to criticize his use of the term, stating, “With all the respect I have for (Berlusconi’s) voters I would never use that anatomical term we heard today used about us.”

Berlusconi later defended himself, stating that his comments were supposed to be “ironic” and that his opponents were manipulating what he said.

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