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July 31, 2006

U.S. says Israel has agreed to suspend air strikes for 48 hours after deadly strike on Qana

Filed under: 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict — admin @ 5:00 am

U.S. says Israel has agreed to suspend air strikes for 48 hours after deadly strike on Qana

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Monday, July 31, 2006

After one of its raids killed at least 56 civilians, Israel agreed on Monday to suspend its aerial activities in south Lebanon for 48 hours. The announcement came after extended meetings between Condoleezza Rice, the US secretary of state, and Ehud Olmert, the Israeli prime minister.

Adam Ereli, a US state department spokesman in Jerusalem, said “Israel has agreed to a 48-hour suspension of aerial activity in south Lebanon to investigate today’s tragic incident in Qana,”

The aerial ceasefire began after midnight on Sunday but fighting on the ground continues as Israeli forces aim to create a ‘security zone’ inside Lebanon along the Israeli border. Lebanon has no air force nor air defences.

Gadi Eisenkaut, army operations chief General, said “By Wednesday we are going to establish a two-kilometer (one-mile) wide ‘security zone’ in which there will be no infrastructure or sign of Hezbollah’s presence”

Related news

  • “Red Cross claim more than 50 civilians killed by Israeli airstrike, Qana” — Wikinews, July 30, 2006

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Security Council sets deadline over Iran nuclear program

Security Council sets deadline over Iran nuclear program

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Monday, July 31, 2006

The United Nations Security Council passed a resolution today demanding Iran halt all “enrichment-related and reprocessing activities, including research and development” before August 31. The resolution was passed under Article 40, Chapter VII of the UN Charter, which sets the stage for possible economic sanctions if Iran does not comply with the resolution, but does not authorise military action. Iran’s envoy to the UN has rejected the move.

The resolution, number 1696, was drafted by the permanent five members of the council and was passed by a 14-1 vote, with Qatar, the only Arab member of the council voting against.

The resolution expressed “serious concern” at Iran’s non-compliance with the IAEA‘s demand to halt enrichment and other activities and asked the IAEA director to report on Iran’s compliance by the end of August. This is the first legally binding demand on Iran to halt enrichment work, and the first to suggest possible sanctions. The resolution says that “appropriate measures” will be taken if Iran does not comply, but does not explicitly state any threat of sancions.

Iran’s ambassador to the UN, Javad Zarif told the Reuters news agency, “Iran’s peaceful nuclear programme poses no threat to international peace and security and therefore dealing with this issue in the Security Council is unwarranted and void of any legal basis or practical utility,”

Valery Churkin, Russia’s ambassador to the UN said the deadline was meant to meet Iran’s request to allow it to consider an offer made in June by the permanent five and Germany, offering Iran a “package” of sops in return for giving up enrichment activities.

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New Zealand\’s new small change

New Zealand’s new small change – Wikinews, the free news source

New Zealand’s new small change

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Monday, July 31, 2006

File:5centcoin.jpg
The old 5-cent coin

Today New Zealand’s new coins have been released. The new coins replace the 10, 20 and 50 cent coins, while the 5-cent coin is being removed from circulation for good.

The new coins retain the same design as before but the 10-cent coin is now copper coloured. All coins except the 10-cent are now made from plated steel and nickel, making them lighter and cheaper to produce. The 10-cent coin is made from plated steel and copper.

Brian Lang, Reserve Bank of New Zealand Currency Manager, said: “The introduction of smaller, lighter coins is one of New Zealand’s biggest currency changes since the introduction of decimal currency on 10 July 1967.”

The Reserve Bank reports that they have issued 1,037 million coins since the introduction of decimal currency.

However, people can still use their old change between now and 1 November 2006, when the old coins will cease being legal tender.

A survey conducted by ACNielsen, on behalf of the Reserve Bank, in January 2004 shows that 51% liked the idea of the new coins initially.

The ANZ Bank are asking for people to donate their old 5-cent coins to Plunket in their ‘5s for under fives’ appeal.

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Israeli jets attack southern Lebanon despite partial halt to air strikes

Filed under: 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict — admin @ 5:00 am

Israeli jets attack southern Lebanon despite partial halt to air strikes

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Monday, July 31, 2006

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2006 Lebanon War
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Israeli jets have carried out strikes in southern Lebanon, despite agreeing to halt air attacks for 48 hours. An army spokesman has confirmed the action saying that the plane was intended to support ground troops in the area and was not targeting anything specific.

Meanwhile Israeli Defense Minister Amir Peretz addressed parliament saying that an immediate cease was not planned and that military action in Lebanon would continue.

He said “It’s forbidden to agree to an immediate cease-fire, Israel will expand and strengthen its activities against the Hezbollah.”

Related news

  • “Israel suspends air strikes after deadly strike on Qana” — Wikinews, July 31, 2006

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Obrador supporters block streets in Mexico City

Obrador supporters block streets in Mexico City

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Monday, July 31, 2006

Andrés Manuel López Obrador

Tents began sprouting in Mexico’s capital Sunday afternoon after leftist presidential candidate Andres Manuel López Obrador called on his supporters to set up camp on the capital until a recount is ordered by the Federal Electoral Tribunal.

The encampments are to be placed along a 4.6-mile stretch of the city. As of now, the number of people in the camps is unknown but the encampments themselves are expected to block most of the streets in the city, an expectation made much more believable by the fact that in Sunday, only hours after Obrador’s message, one of the capital’s major avenues was blocked for miles. This was only the latest action in a series of protests after the controversial elections that took place in July 2, when Felipe Calderón beat López Obrador, the candidate considered most popular, by less than a percentage point. López Obrador stated he will only back down if the recount is made and a winner is re-chosen, subsequently the protests are not expected to stop until the Federal Electoral Tribunal makes a decision upon the disputed election.

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Mel Gibson makes anti-semitic statements while drunk

Mel Gibson makes anti-semitic statements while drunk

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Monday, July 31, 2006

Mel Gibson’s mugshot from his July 28, 2006 arrest for DUI

Mel Gibson made anti-semitic remarks after being pulled over for drunk driving, having a blood alcohol level of .12. After being pulled over, Gibson berated the police, calling them ‘motherfuckers’ and saying he would ‘fuck them’. The police report also said “Gibson almost continually [sic] threatened me saying he ‘owns Malibu’ and will spend all of his money to ‘get even’ with me.” Gibson went on to say “Fucking Jews… the Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world,” and then he asked the deputy: “Are you a Jew?” He also is reported to have referred to a female police officer as “sugar tits”.

On Saturday, Gibson released this statement. [1]

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Mel Gibson DUI incident


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Lesbians lose High Court marriage bid

Lesbians lose High Court marriage bid – Wikinews, the free news source

Lesbians lose High Court marriage bid

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Monday, July 31, 2006

Today’s hearing took place at the Royal Courts of Justice in London.

Two lesbians who married lawfully in Canada have failed in their High Court bid to have their matrimony accepted under law in the United Kingdom.

Sue Wilkinson and Celia Kitzinger married in Vancouver in 2003, and they now live together in North Yorkshire. But they say the UK’s failure to accept the legality of their vows infringes a fundamental human right; under Article twelve of the Human Rights Act, it is stated that everyone has a right to marry.

But Sir Mark Potter, the President of the High Court Family Division, ruled today that their union should be accepted as a civil partnership instead of marriage. He emphasised that marriage is a relationship between a man and a woman designed for creating and bringing children up: “It is apparent that the majority of people, or at least of governments, not only in England but Europe-wide, regard marriage as an age-old institution, valued and valuable, respectable and respected, and as a means not only of encouraging monogamy but also the procreation of children and their development and nurture in a family unit in which both maternal and paternal influences are available in respect of their nurture and upbringing.”

The judge also said same-sex laws in England are in no way inferior as they are recognised as civil partnerships which give gay and lesbian couples the same rights as married couples on many issues. However, the two women say civil partnerships are not good enough for gay couples.

After the hearing, Ms Wilkinson said she and Ms Kitzinger were deeply disappointed by the judge’s decision. She said they had been stripped of their marriage by a judge who believes the traditional notion of marriage as being between a man and a woman so they can create children. “It perpetuates discrimination and it sends out a message that lesbian and gay marriages are inferior,” she commented. The couple are now seeking financial help so they can mount an appeal. “This judgement will not stand the test of time. We are looking forward to the day when there is full equality of marriage, not just for us but for all same-sex couples,” Ms Wilkinson added.

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Landis asks for additional test

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Landis asks for additional test – Wikinews, the free news source

Landis asks for additional test

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Monday, July 31, 2006

MADRID, Spain — Floyd Landis requested the testing of his backup urine sample today.

“We’ve sent the fax to the UCI this afternoon.” “Now we’ll have to adjust to their calendar,” said Jose Maria Buxeda, one of Landis’s two Spanish lawyers, of the Swiss-based International Cycling Union. Landis’s lawyers say they fully expect the backup test to confirm the original finding.

Oscar Pereiro of Spain, who finished second overall in the Tour de France, would be declared the winner if Landis loses the title.

Results will be revealed during the week.

Related news

  • “Landis’ fate to be announced Monday” — Wikinews, July 28, 2006
  • “Landis fails drug test; could lose Tour title” — Wikinews, July 27, 2006

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July 30, 2006

ICRC: 28 bodies, 19 children, pulled from rubble after Israeli airstrike, Qana

Filed under: 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict — admin @ 5:00 am

ICRC: 28 bodies, 19 children, pulled from rubble after Israeli airstrike, Qana

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Sunday, July 30, 2006

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2006 Lebanon War
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In the deadliest single incident in the ongoing Israel-Hezbollah conflict, an Israeli air strike apparently demolished a three-story building in the village of Qana in southern Lebanon, and according to the Red Cross, killed at least 28 displaced civilians, including 19 children, most of whom handicapped or mentally ill, who were sheltering there. The Lebanese police reported at least 56 fatalities, including 37 children.

One rescue worker said “The victims all seem to be civilians, women and children”. Abu Shadi Jradi, a civil defence official, said the bodies of at least 27 children were found in the rubble. A few wounded men had been evacuated to ambulances in the aftermath, as seen on CNN and FoxNews footage.

Villager Mohammed Ismail said “We want this to stop. May God have mercy on the children. They came here to escape the fighting. They are hitting children to bring the fighters to their knees.”

Jim Muir, a BBC correspondent, said “The three storey building where families have been sheltering in the basement was crushed sideways into an enormous crater by the Israeli bomb strike”. He added “Elsewhere in Qana and along the road up from Tyre, many buildings had been similarly crushed.”

About nine out of ten residents are estimated to have left Qana, which has been heavily bombarded by Israeli forces in the current conflict. Those without cars, petrol and other means to leave are left behind. According to Jim Muir who had travelled to Qana along the road from Tyre, the route had been pitted with bomb craters.

Later, Israel agreed to a 48-hour halt in military activities while it investigated the bombing of Qana, while claiming there had been no direct attack on the building at the time of collapse. However, the Israeli military said it would launch counterattacks in Lebanon if Hezbollah fired more rockets at Israel in the 48-hour period.

Lebanese reactions

Anger spread across Lebanon and the Arab world, several thousand Shiite Muslim protesters gathered in front of the United Nations headquarters in Beirut and some smashed their way into the building. The protesters chanted “Death to Israel, Death to America”.

Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora called it Israel’s “heinous crimes against civilians”, and called off a scheduled meeting with US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice saying “There is no place on this sad morning for any discussion other than an immediate and unconditional ceasefire as well as an international investigation into the Israeli massacres in Lebanon now.”

The Lebanese Defence Minister Elias Murr commented on the Israeli statement on the Qatar-based al-Jazeera TV station, “What do you expect Israel to say? Will it say that it killed 40 children and women?”

Israeli reactions

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert expressed “deep regret” for the air strike, but said Israel would not declare a cease-fire until it had reached the targets it had set at the beginning of the war. Olmert, responding to harsh international criticism on the strike, said that Hezbollah had used Qana as a base for launching hundreds of rockets at Israel.

A senior air force commander said Israel had dropped a bomb on the building in Qana on the assumption it was sheltering Hezbollah crews and was unaware civilians were there. The commander said “Had we known there were that many civilians inside, especially woman and children, we certainly would not have attacked it”.

According to the Israeli military, the building collapsed eight hours after the attack.

Brigadier General Amir Eshel, Head of the Air Force Headquarters told journalists at the Defence Ministry in Tel Aviv “the attack on the structure in the Qana village took place between midnight and one in the morning. The gap between the timing of the collapse of the building and the time of the strike on it is unclear”.

Eshel and the head of the IDF’s Operational Branch, Major General Gadi Eisnkot said the structure was not being attacked when it collapsed, at around 8:00 in the morning.

The Israeli military believes that Hezbollah explosives in the building were behind the explosion that caused the collapse: “It’s possible that inside the house, something or other was being stored that caused an explosion – something that we didn’t succeed in blowing up in the attack and that perhaps was left over there,” Brigadier General Eshel said. “I say this very cautiously, because I currently don’t have the faintest idea what the explanation for this gap could be.”

Eshel added that Hezbullah rocket launchers were hidden in civilian buildings in the village. He proceeded to show video footage of rocket launchers being driven into the village following launches.

Qana villagers refute IDF claims building fell hours after strike

Witnesses at the scene said that the strikes on the building was carried out around 1:00 A.M. After the first strike, some of the building’s residents run out to survey the damage. A few minutes later, IAF planes struck the building once again, causing the walls to collapse on the residents who still remained inside, killing most of them them in the process. The building was located in the Hariva neighborhood of Qana.

Arab world reactions

Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said “I think Israeli officials and some American ones should be tried for these sorts of crimes”.

Hezbolla leader Hassan Nasrallah said “We will now rig up the fire and retalliate with a venegance. We will send rockets and death to the Zionist enemy, who will pay for this crime. We will hit the US and Britain for supporting this massacre”.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said “The massacre committed by Israel in Qana this morning shows the barbarity of this aggressive entity. It constitutes state terrorism committed in front of the eyes and ears of the world,”

The Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said “The Arab Republic of Egypt is highly disturbed and condemns the irresponsible Israeli attack on the Lebanese village of Qana, which led to the loss of innocent victims, most of which were women and children,” a statement from the presidency said.

King Abdullah of Jordan said: “This criminal aggression is an ugly crime that has been committed by the Israeli forces in the city of Qana that is a gross violation of all international statutes.”

Reactions from around the World

The French president Jacques Chirac, released a statement “The president learnt with concern about the act of violence which cost the lives of numerous innocent victims, notably women and children in Qana.” “France condemns this unjustified action, which demonstrates more than ever the need for an immediate ceasefire without which there will only be other such incidents.”

United Kingdom Prime Minister Tony Blair has said the “tragedy” in Qana shows the situation in the Middle East “simply cannot continue”.

Foreign Secretary of the United Kingdom, Margaret Beckett, called the strikes “absolutely dreadful” and “quite appalling”. She said “We have repeatedly urged Israel to act proportionately,”

Pope Benedict said “In the name of God, I call on all those responsible for this spiral of violence so that weapons are immediately laid down on all sides.”

Potent symbol

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1996 shelling of Qana

Qana became a potent symbol of Lebanese civilian deaths by Israeli military bombings after an earlier incident in April 1996, when Israeli shelling killed more than 100 civilians sheltering at the base of U.N. peacekeepers in the village during Israel’s “Grapes of Wrath” campaign.

Related news

  • “Israel suspends air strikes after deadly strike on Qana” — Wikinews, July 30, 2006

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Gay teens assaulted and fined by police in Romania

Filed under: Archived,Europe,LGBT,Romania — admin @ 5:00 am

Gay teens assaulted and fined by police in Romania

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Sunday, July 30, 2006

Even though homosexuality is fully legal and protected under anti-discrimination laws, homophobia and violence against LGBT people remains widespread in Romania and is seldom investigated

Two gay teens were fined and assaulted by police on 27 July at around 23:30 after cuddling, holding hands and kissing in a public park in Bucharest, Romania. According to their report, the two were subject to humiliation and physical assault by the officers and park guardians, who had approached them on the pretext of checking their identification cards. After beating up the two, one of the officers allegedly said that, “I should tie you up with chains and fuck you until you are cured of your sickness”. The two teens were each fined 500 lei (approximately €140 or USD179) for “disturbing the public peace”, the other alternative being a criminal record for the same offence. They consider this charge to be ungrounded and an act of discrimination against sexual orientation, considering that a heterosexual couple were not prosecuted for engaging in similar acts a few metres away. One of the teens stated that:

I will never forget the hypocrisy with which they said they only wanted to see our ID’s, that they were only doing their job, when at 10 metres distance, a girl and a boy were having sex in the bushes.

Additionally, the police officers threatened the teens that they would beat them again, with “no witnesses”, when they were off duty.

Homosexuality, including public manifestations of it, was decriminalised in Romania in 2001, when Article 200 of the Penal Code was fully repealed. Since 2000, the country has an anti-discrimination law which explicitly prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. However, despite this, social attitudes remain conservative and discrimination remains widespread and rarely reported and investigated, with the 2006 Bucharest GayFest, held in early June, provoking a violent reaction from many passers-by, even if it took place successfully due to heavy police protection. Gay rights organisations have also complained that when the anti-discrimination law is applied, fines are too low (the average fine for an employer discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation is about 300 lei, or less than €100 or $128).

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