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November 18, 2006

Socialist Ségolène Royal launches campaign for French presidency

Socialist Ségolène Royal launches campaign for French presidency

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Saturday, November 18, 2006

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Royal could be France’s first female president

François Hollande—partner and party leader

Royal is now a leading candidate to succeed Jacques Chirac in May 2007. She was elected yesterday by over 100,000 activists after a moderate, and some say Blairite, campaign.

In the early hours of Friday morning, the result of a vote by members of the French Socialist Party (Parti Socialiste, PS) was announced, with centrist Ségolène Royal leading the poll to become their candidate in next year’s election for President of the Republic.

While many parties contest the presidential elections, the winner is expected to be an official candidate of one of the two main parties, the Socialists and the conservative Union for a Popular Movement (UMP). Speaking on French television tonight, François Hollande, leader of the PS and Royal’s partner, announced a party recruitment drive to reinforce Royal’s campaign against the larger UMP.

“Ask what you can do for your country”

Royal spent Friday in her home town of Melle, Deux-Sèvres, where she addressed the world’s press, and spoke with supporters, before returning to Paris.

The selection has kept columnists and editorial writers busy. In her Friday press conference, she spoke directly to the French people; her words, “Gather, mobilise, ask what you can do for your country,” reminding John Lichfield (The Independent, London) of John F. Kennedy. The Manchester Guardian’s Martin Kettle used Royal’s success as an opportunity to criticise Tony Blair for appearing to back Nicholas Sarkozy of the UMP.

The UMP, the leading conservative party, plans to select its candidate in January. This is the first French presidential campaign where the party candidates are selected by a ballot of the mass membership.

French presidential elections traditionally involve a number of candidates (last elections in 2002 saw the French people choosing between 16 candidates.) One of the questions is now the ability of Royal to unite the French left. Traditionally, parties on the parliamentarian left (MDC, Les Verts, Parti Radical de Gauche, Parti Communiste) have been involved in a number of coalitions, most recently before the 2002 elections. Unity in government does not reflect in the polls as the governing majority was represented by four candidates in 2002: Lionel Jospin (PS), Robert Hue (PC), Noël Mamère (Les Verts), Jean-Pierre Chevènement (MDC). The division of the left in the first round of the elections in 2002 is one of the given explanations for the surprise second round opposing Jean-Marie Le Pen (FN) and Jacques Chirac.

France is a parliamentary democracy, where the President is the Head of State, but independent of both the National Assembly (legislature) and the executive, which is led by the Prime Minister. The presidency is a high profile and influential role, currently filled by conservative-aligned veteran statesman, Jacques Chirac, whose second term expires in May 2007.

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New Zealand Qantas Television Awards announced

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New Zealand Qantas Television Awards announced

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Saturday, November 18, 2006

New Zealand
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The 2006 QANTAS New Zealand Television Awards were announced tonight (NZDT). The winners and their respective categories follow.

Best comedy finalists were pulp sport, bro’Town and The Unauthorised History of New Zealand with Pulp Sport taking out the prize.

The best observational reality (non format) show out of Snotties, The Zoo and Tough Act was Snotties.

Best reality (format) show finalists were Downsize Me!, Sensing Murder and Shock Treatment. The winner being Sensing Murder.

Best current affairs report finalist were Alex Teka, Detox Diary, Not Fit to Practise and Turning the Tide. The winner was Detox Diary.

Best news or current affairs presenter of the year finalists were Shane Taurima, Willie Jackson, John Campbell and Susan Wood. Winner was John Campbell, the prize was awarded to him by his producer, Carol Hirschfield. Mr Campbell was “stupidly proud.”

No finalist was for the award of TV journalist so the winner was Mike McRoberts and the first thing he said when he arrived on stage was: “Crikey dick.”

Peter Day was awarded for current affair camera. Current affairs reporter was Hadyn Jones. The best news or current affairs editor was Shahir Daud.

Lifestyle and information programme finalists were House Trap, Target and The Living Room. The winner was Target.

The best popular documentary section finalists were Give My Children Back, Earthquake and Million Dollar Tumour (all of which aired on TV3). The winner was Million Dollar Tumour.

The best arts/festival documentary was Artsville.

The best factual camera was awarded to David Stipson. Paul Sutorius was the best factual editor.

Geoff Husson got the award for the best non-drama director.

The winner of favourite female, as voted by the public “by a country mile”, was Hillary Barry.

Public voted favourite male was Simon Dallow taking the award, who was “lost for words…truly shocked…”

The favourite programme nominees were Shortland Street, Outrageous Fortune, NZ Idol, Sensing Murder, Downsize Me!, Dancing With The Stars, Target and bro’Town. The winner was, as voted by the public, Shortland Street.

Grey’s Anatomy won the best international programme as voted by the public.

Best sports or event coverage out of Na Ratou Mo Tatou, V8 Supercars Pukekohe or 3 News election night was Na Ratou Mo Tatou (ANZAC day coverage).

Best entertainment nominees were What Now; the Gunge and Run Awards, Dave Dobbyn; One Night in Matata and Snatch out Booty and the winner was Dave Dobbyn; One Night in Matata.

The best non factual script writer went to David Brechin-Smith.

Fred Renata, best camera non factual, and best editing for non-factual went to Bryan Shaw.

The best drama director went to Brendan Donovan.

Finalists were for best news report team are, “David-Benson Pope” on 3 News, “Robert Hewitt” on One News and “Gaza” on 3 News. Winner was 3 News for “Gaza”.

“The most important category.” Best current affairs show finalists were Fair Go, Sunday, Campbell Live. Winner was Campbell Live, when on stage Mr Campbell said: “Bloody Stoked.”

Best news finalists were 3 News and One News and the winner was One News.

Bruce Adams was awarded with best news camera.

Best news reporter was given to Michael Holland.

Best children/youth programme winners was Let’s Get Inventin’.

Best actress finalists were Kate Atkinson, Robyn Malcolm and Kate Elliot. The award was awarded to Kate Elliot.

Best actor finalists were Antony Starr, Ryan O’Kane and Scott Wills and the winner was Ryan O’Kane.

The last award, best drama, the finalists were The Insiders Guide to Love, Doves of War, Outrageous Fortune. The winner of best drama was The Insiders Guide to Love.

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New Zealand National party rejects waterfront stadium

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New Zealand National party rejects waterfront stadium

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Saturday, November 18, 2006

New Zealand
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  • 15 June 2014: Annual Japanese whaling campaign kills 30 minke whales
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The New Zealand National party is rejecting the government’s ambitions to build a new stadium on Auckland, New Zealand’s waterfront for the 2011 Rugby World Cup final instead it is backing the option of an upgrade of Eden Park.

Yesterday, Friday, Member of Parliaments (MP) from the National party met with Trevor Mallard, sports minister, to discuss the possibility of a waterfront stadium but National remain unmoved. Deputy leader, Gerry Brownlee, said: “If it was a new car I wouldn’t buy it.”

It was reported that John Key, Gerry Brownlee, Katherine Rich and Murray McCully were all present at the meeting with Mr Mallard. And all of those MPs threw a lot of questions at Mr Mallard.

Mr Mallard said: “I actually thought it was a very positive meeting. I thought Catherine Rich and John Key’s level of understanding increased and their enthusiasm was very positive.”

Mr Brownlee said: “The [NZ]$385 million Eden Park costings seemed relatively certain against the $500 million waterfront estimate, where the price would not be known till it’s built.”

The reason for the debate is because to host the Rugby World Cup the venue which is used for the final game has to have 60,000 seats, all of New Zealand’s stadiums are currently under that minimum.

Mr Mallard confirmed that North Harbour Stadium is also being considered as a “very good back-up option.” This is mainly because it can begin upgrading of its stadium before Eden Park or the waterfront stadium. “North Harbour could be called on if you ran into problems with the other options,” Mr Mallard said, “There are consenting issues there with buildability and there would still be a lot of transport issues getting people there and there’s not a lot of infrastructure around it.”

The decision of which stadium will be the venue of the grand final of the 2011 Rugby World Cup final will be made this Friday by the Auckland City Council and Auckland Regional Council, which is asking for the public’s opinion to help them with their decision. The council’s decision is the one the government will go with according to Mr Mallard: “There’s no way the Government would override the councils’ decisions.”

Mr Mallard added: “I love Eden Park, and my gut feeling for a long time was to upgrade it. If you like I’ve got a romantic attachment, so for me if Aucklanders decide that’s their approach I will back them.”

The International Rugby Board also announced the Rugby World Cup will be played around September. 2011 instead of around the June period.

Related news

  • Christchurch can host 2011 Rugby World Cup final” — Wikinews, November 14, 2006
  • “New stadium in Auckland for 2011 rugby world cup preferred by NZ government” — Wikinews, November 10, 2006
  • “Possible new stadium in Auckland for 2011 rugby world cup” — Wikinews, November 7, 2006

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Indian Army to preserve British-era architecture

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Indian Army to preserve British-era architecture

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Saturday, November 18, 2006

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The Indian Government is planning to introduce legislation to ensure that cantonments, churches and cemeteries built by the British during the Raj are preserved as heritage structures.

There are 62 cantonments and 650 military stations in the country, some of which are in disrepair. The new law will ensure that the Army does its bit to prevent other such structures from becoming dilapidated.

One example is the St. Martin’s Church which was founded in 1929 by Field Marshall Sir William Birdwood of the British Indian Army. The plaster has peeled off the structures cracked walls, and heavy seepage has damaged the dome. The church also serves as a makeshift school-cum-storehouse for local residents.

Conservation Architect Ratish Nanda said the move is significant because it will not only protect heritage in the cantonments but also areas around it, adding that cantonments will “show the way forward”. Urban Designer K T Ravindran said, “This law means that areas where we have built heritage will not fall into the hands of open market.”

Some of the main aims of the law are to ensure that:–

  • The Indian Army follows schemes of restricting construction and development plans in the cantonment area.
  • Preemptive measures are taken to protect heritage.
  • Construction that affects heritage buildings is carried out only after permission is obtained from the Cantonment Board.
  • Any construction disfiguring a heritage site can be challenged in a court of law.
  • The Cantonment Board conserves and maintains ancient and historical monuments.

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Brad and Angelina\’s bodyguards arrested after allegedly saying racial slurs to parents

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Brad and Angelina’s bodyguards arrested after allegedly saying racial slurs to parents

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Saturday, November 18, 2006

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s bodyguards have been accused of saying racial slurs to parents of an Islamic school in south Mumbai, India. The parents have told the media that the bodyguards said “YOU BLOODY INDIANS AND YOU BLOODY MUSLIMS” when they came to pick up their children from the school. The 3 bodyguards were arrested and later released on surety of Rs 25,000.

Brad Pitt appeared in an interview with NDTV and denied all charges on the bodyguards. He said that the bodyguards were fathers too and would never say such a thing. Pitt also said that he would have never even chosen bodyguards who weren’t tolerant towards other religions. “I have to say that we are horrified by these allegations,” Pitt said in an interview for NDTV, which will broadcast tonight.

The incident occurred when the gates of the school, in which they were filming, were opened up to allow parents to pick up their children.

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Blair agrees Iraq is a disaster

Blair agrees Iraq is a disaster – Wikinews, the free news source

Blair agrees Iraq is a disaster

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Saturday, November 18, 2006

Iraq War
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  • Wikipedia article about the Iraq War

The UK Prime Minister was seen as the key foreign ally of Bush in the 2003 invasion of Iraq

Veteran broadcast journalist Sir David Frost recently interviewed British Prime Minister Tony Blair for Al Jazeera English.

In the first episode of “Frost over the World”, a series of weekly interviews broadcast on Al Jazeera English in Britain by Sky TV, Frost asserted that “Iraq had been pretty much of a disaster from the start”.

Responding, Blair said difficulties arose from “a deliberate strategy with al-Qaeda with Sunni insurgents on one hand, Iranian-backed elements with Shia militias on the other, to create a situation in which the will of the majority for peace is displaced by the will of the minority for war”.

In response, a Downing Street spokeswoman said that the Prime Minister had been misrepresented, and that, in responding to Frost, he had merely been acknowledging the question, not agreeing that Iraq was a disaster. She said it would be “disingenuous to portray that as an admission”. Despite that, several broadsheet papers headlined the remark as an admission that Iraq had been a disaster and Sir Menzies Campbell, leader of the UK Liberal Democrat Party, demanded that Blair should now apologise.

Less than 24 hours later a Downing Street spokesman claimed Mr. Blair’s “tongue had ‘slipped'”, and that Mr. Blair did not think Saddam Hussein’s removal nor the invasion was a disaster.

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Anant Gupta returns after spending 5 days with his abductors

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Anant Gupta returns after spending 5 days with his abductors

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Saturday, November 18, 2006

India
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Anant Gupta who was kidnapped from the elite locality of Sector 14, Noida, India has returned home. He was kidnapped on November 13, 2006 and released by his abductors yesterday morning. The police have made an arrest in the city of New Delhi. The other two accused are absconding. The boy claimed that he was kept in a jungle and was treated nicely by the three men.

At a press conference the police claimed that they had identified the kidnappers within 10 hours of the kidnapping. Police said that the three year old Anant was kept at a house in New Delhi and later shifted to Mathura. The kidnappers had threatened the family with dire consequences if their demands were not met.

A day after insisting that no ransom was paid the police finally admitted that a sum of Rs. 5 million was paid to the criminals. The ransom amount was later recovered from the home of the accused.

In a fresh twist to the story, the grandfather of the boy told the media that it was an autorickshaw driver who brought his grandson home and not the police. The Uttar Pradesh police had claimed that the boy was rescued on Friday by the Special Task Force near the state border.

There were several raids conducted in the western regions of the state and several people were detained for questioning even though there are a few loose ends that need to be bridged.

This was one of the first instances of kidnapping cases involving an executive of high-profile software company in the recent times. Stories of abduction are common in the states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

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“Son of MNC CEO kidnapped in Noida, India” — Wikinews, November 14, 2006

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Islamic Jihad considers halting rocket-fire into Israel

Islamic Jihad considers halting rocket-fire into Israel

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Saturday, November 18, 2006

Mahmoud Abbas visiting the US, in 2003.

The Palestinian group Islamic Jihad may stop firing rockets into Israel, following a request to that effect by President Mahmoud Abbas. Mr. Abbas met leaders of the group and urged them to halt the violence. “Abbas said the truce is a national necessity. We said the truce must be mutual … and part of a national consensus.” said Khedr Habib, an Islamic Jihad leader in Gaza.

The group’s website quoted Khaled al-Batch, another leader of the group, as saying the proposal was “worth studying.” While Islamic Jihad is not the only group to fire rockets across the border, it has repeatedly rejected calls to cease its actions. An Israeli woman was killed by a Qassam rocket in the town of Sderoth three days ago. Over 400 Palestinians, including many civilians, have been killed by attacks since June, which Israel says are aimed at Palestinian fighters.

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Chinese Wikipedia publishes 100,000th article

Chinese Wikipedia publishes 100,000th article

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Saturday, November 18, 2006

Wikimedia-logo.svg This article mentions the Wikimedia Foundation, one of its projects, or people related to it. Wikinews is a project of the Wikimedia Foundation.

With the title “Pedder Street Clock Tower” the Chinese edition of Wikipedia has reached its 100,000th article. With this milestone reached the Chinese Wikipedia becomes the 12th largest Wikipedia currently developed, and the second largest Asian language Wikipedia just after its Japanese counterpart.

The Chinese Wikipedia was created in October of 2002 and currently supports about 120,000 users. New articles for this growing encyclopedia are being made at a rate of 200 per day.

The Chinese Wikipedia community has been organized and active even in the face of what could be seen as a challenging environment. The first Chinese Wikimedia Conference, for example, was held in Hong Kong in August 2006. Additionally, Wikimania 2007 will be held in Taipei, Taiwan.

The government of China, however, instituted a year-long ban on the Chinese and English versions of Wikipedia in October of 2005 out of concerns regarding various articles about Tibet, Taiwan, and other subjects. In October, 2006 Beijing unblocked the English version of Wikipedia, and in early November the Chinese version was unblocked as well. Then, on 15 November both versions were again blocked with no warning or explanation.

The aim of the various Wikipedia sites is to provide a high-quality information source in as many languages as possible.

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“Darfur a powder keg” says UN Head of Humanitarian Affairs

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Darfur region in western Sudan

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Speaking in Khartoum today, Jan Egeland, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator of the United Nations, said “this is the moment of truth. We are playing with a powder keg”. This followed disagreement about the role that UN would play in providing a force to help deal with the crisis in Darfur.

Kofi Annan, retiring UN Secretary General, yesterday announced agreement of African, Arab and European leaders to provide a 20,000 force to supplement the 7,000 African Union peacekeepers trying to cope with the situation that had resulted in 240,000 being killed and 2.5 million being displaced during three years of conflict in the western region.

Annan—disagreement over joint peacekeeping force

However, Lam Akol, the Sudanese foreign minister, said: “What we agreed upon in Addis Ababa was the African Union (AU) force assuming full command, while the UN role would be confined to providing technical and logistical assistance to the AU mission.” No dates had been agreed for the deployment of the UN forces.

Egeland said that the delay would cause the situation to become infinitely worse and would prevent the ingress of humanitarian aid to the millions affected.

Contents

New violence

The African Union is reported as saying that Birmaza, a northern village, has been attacked by the Sudanese government troops and Janjaweed militia with air support. 70 dead are reported. The Sudan government has denied that it supports the Janjaweed.

Darfur conflict threatens to spread

Chad Prime Minister Pascal Yoadimnadji says that “mercenaries in the pay of the Sudanese” have invaded towns in northeast Central African Republic. He said troops would be sent to help the Republic resist these incursions. Sudan continues to deny supporting the mercenaries.

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