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November 23, 2006

UK radio broadcaster Nick Clarke dies

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UK radio broadcaster Nick Clarke dies – Wikinews, the free news source

UK radio broadcaster Nick Clarke dies

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Thursday, November 23, 2006

Nick Clarke, the UK radio broadcaster, died today from cancer at the age of 58.

He had worked for the BBC for over 20 years, and won the Broadcasting Press Guild Broadcaster of the year award in 2001, but was best known for presenting the Radio 4 news show, The World at One.

He is survived by his wife and five children.

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Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation instant scratch tickets under scrutiny

Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation instant scratch tickets under scrutiny

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Thursday, November 23, 2006

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The CBC has raised new security concerns over the instant scratch tickets sold by the OLGC. CBC’s the fifth estate reported in a special investigation on October 25 the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation’s (OLGC) tickets are not being given to lottery winners and are claimed more often by the retailers who sell them averaging at CAN$500,000.

The report investigated several aspects of the lottery retail trade, including a report that tickets were stolen by the clerks of convenience stores. One reported case involved a convenience store clerk who, after checking the ticket bought by a customer who brought suit, said he did not win.

Retailers appeared to win prizes more often than the general public. However it also appeared that retailers were a core audience of the lottery games and due to that, statistically, could be expected to win more than the general public. The study found that the retailers were winning about 2.5 times more than the general audience and spending almost twice as much on their tickets. Retailers spent CAN$23.30 over the past four weeks. The average person spends CAN$12.30.

“We are here to make sure that all of our players have confidence in our process,” OLG chief executive Duncan Brown said. “Lottery retailer means, in our broad definition, anybody that works for a lottery retailer or is related to a lottery retailer. That’s 140,000 people … in Ontario….What was missing from the fifth estate’s numbers was the frequency of play by the retailers.”

There were 30 complaints referring to the instant scratch tickets from 1999 to 2006. Only once ware charges laid by police. Nine cases had special investigations, winnings totaling at CAN$3,629.

Retailers could, in a process called “pin pricking,” attempt to uncover codes printed on the instant scratch tickets under a latex coating that show which card is the winner.

In the wake of earlier allegations, OLG devices were installed for anyone who wanted to check their own tickets, for security reasons.

“Any time someone connected with the OLG tries to claim a prize we conduct a higher level of investigation than what we would do with somebody who is not associated with OLG. And this includes looking at the tickets very carefully, especially in the case of scratch tickets,” Teresa Roncon, a spokeswoman for the OLGC said.

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New Zealand National Party leader, Don Brash, resigns

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New Zealand National Party leader, Don Brash, resigns

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Thursday, November 23, 2006

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New Zealand National Party leader, Dr. Don Brash has resigned as the leader of opposition. Dr Brash made the announcement at press conference held in parliament, stating that ongoing media speculation about his leadership was damaging the party’s reputation. Brash will officially step down on Monday, where the party will vote for a new leader and deputy-leader.

“For some weeks now I’ve been giving consideration to the right time and the right way to announce this decision. I’ve held off because I’ve been keen to have two untidy matters dealt with before my departure,” Dr Brash said.

The decision came after a Goods and Service Tax error in last year’s election made by the party, “Although this had nothing to do with me personally it was a source of embarrassment and I was very keen indeed to get the matter resolved before my resignation.” And recent news of Brash’s emails making their way into “outsiders’ hands” was also a factor in his decision to leave. The emails were the subject of a book published by Nicky Hager, which is expected to be released to the public tomorrow morning. Dr Brash said: “The announcement of Mr Hager’s book almost caused me to defer my resignation as leader. I deeply resent the lies and distortions which seem to have been included in his book and I intend to vigorously contest those allegations.” Dr. Brash denied media questioning regarding Nicky Hager’s book’s influence on his decision to resign from leadership.

It seems that John Key will be the next leader, with a recent Auckland poll showing Key only 1.4 points behind Brash. Nicky Hager has claimed the information in his book may be damaging to John Key as well. Brash’s decision came with the Nationals ahead in the poll. Dr. Brash mentioned that he would remain in politics for the National Party if the new leader would provide him with a senior position following the Monday when he steps down from the post. The decision has left the party in crisis, set for their fifth leader in 9 years. Prime Minister Helen Clark said the National Party are having an identity crisis and is unstable.

Dr Brash regrets that he will not be able to lead National into the next election which will take place in 2008.

Michael Cullen, deputy Prime Minister, said: “Brash’s resignation was inevitable. This continued instability in the National Party is a sign of a party still nowhere near ready to govern. Dr Brash’s resignation was inevitable. But it solves little. By all accounts Mr Key, the likely successor, was deeply involved in all the events that have eventually led to Dr Brash’s downfall.”

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Nepal civil war ended by peace deal

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Nepal civil war ended by peace deal – Wikinews, the free news source

Nepal civil war ended by peace deal

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Thursday, November 23, 2006

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Nepal’s 10-year civil war has come to a peaceful conclusion with the signing of a historic accord between Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala and Prachanda, leader of the Maoist rebel faction that had been fighting for political change. The deal was signed in Kathmandu on Tuesday.

The deal would allow the Maoists into the Nepalese government, and place both Maoist and government weapons under UN scrutiny. The Maoists had been observing a ceasefire since its declaration more than six months previously.

Prachanda said that the peace agreement would end the 238-year old feudal system. He added that his party would work with new responsibility and make new strong Nepal.

Meanwhile, Koirala said that the deal ended the politics of terron and violence and started the politics of co-operation. He thanked Prachanda to find out a peaceful solution in the country.

The government and the Maoist rebels were accused of human rights abuses in fighting that killed more than 13,000 people.

Nepalese king Gyanendra Singh has welcomed Tuesday’s peace deal between the government and the Maoist rebels.

by ensuring sustainable peace, a prosperous Nepal can now be built with the collective efforts of all Nepalese people through multi-party democracy

– Gyanendra Singh, King of Nepal

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Injunction fails to stop decision on waterfront stadium in New Zealand

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Injunction fails to stop decision on waterfront stadium in New Zealand

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Thursday, November 23, 2006

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Today an injunction that was filed in the High Court yesterday to stop the Auckland City Council and Auckland Regional Council from telling the Government which stadium they prefer has failed. The decision is over a new stadium located on the waterfront of Auckland, New Zealand or an upgrade of the already existing, Eden Park, Auckland. The stadium is for the final of the Rugby World Cup 2011, which New Zealand is hosting.

The injunction was filed by a group of five Aucklanders who believe that the decision is being rushed. The injunction was filed in the name of a private citizen to represent a group of five Aucklanders. Rodney Hide, leader of the ACT party and Member of Parliament (MP) and MP for the Green party, Keith Locke, are helping the fight for the injunction as they believe the Aucklanders have a strong case.

Justice John Priestley said that the group did not need this injunction because they could fight the stadium decision in the future by different means. A second injunction has already been filed for two days, starting December 11.

Mayor of Auckland, Dick Hubbard, said: “The council’s advisors have informed that processes have been proper and appropriate.”

Rodney Harrison, Queens Counsel (QC), said: “The group that lodged the injunction were Auckland ratepayers, residents and concerned citizens but none of whom could be called high profile. I have no idea what those decisions might be. Exactly how the defendants (local government) react to central Government requests or pressure is a matter for them.”

ARC chairman, Mike Lee attacked his own counsel Brian Latimore for failing to follow instructions at today’s High Court injunction hearing. The instruction were “not to oppose any injunction, merely to assist the court by explaining what was going on and leave the argument to the judge and the other parties.”

Mr Lee said: “We were there as peacekeepers not combatants and it seems this guy has gone in and opened fire.”

Patrick McGuire, one of the five Aucklanders who had sought the injunction, said that Mr Hide had introduced all of them to each other after they each wrote a letter to him with their concerns. Mr McGuire said it requires “public input”.

Mr Hide said that he “had acted as a middle-man, arranging for the members of the group to meet with lawyers.” Mr Locke and Mr Hide are working together because they are concerned the legal processes of the decision over which stadium will be chosen and how the decision will be made. Mr Hide said he did not like the waterfront stadium, “I’m not a lawyer but the legal advice we have had is that the injunction has a high chance of succeeding.”

The two councils, Auckland City and Auckland Regional, have been consulting the affected groups to see which decision they should go with. The Auckland City Council is currently in a meeting discussing the stadium decision and the Regional Council will do it tomorrow.

If the waterfront stadium was chosen then the stadium will be located on Ports of Auckland land and they want a guarantee that their running of the ports will not be affected. Denis Carlisle, president of the local Maritime union, said: “The Ports of Auckland are asking for guarantees that they will not suffer any financial loss from the stadium project, and likewise the Maritime Union will be seeking compensation for our members for any loss of work. The issue was about safeguarding Port of Auckland’s role as a major working port.”

“[The Ports of Auckland] is one of the key gateways between New Zealand and the global economy.”

Related news

  • “New Zealand National party rejects waterfront stadium” — Wikinews, November 18, 2006
  • 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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Harper to recognize Quebec as nation within Canada

Harper to recognize Quebec as nation within Canada

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Correction — November 29, 2006
 

There has been confusion if Harper is calling Quebec a nation or the people a nation. Editors offer this clarification:

Harper also said that he is using the “cultural” and “sociological” sence of the word “nation”. Harper is referring to the people and culture in Quebec as a nation.
 

Thursday, November 23, 2006 File:Stephen Harper voa.jpg

Stephen Harper
(Image missing from commons: image; log)

The Prime Minister of Canada, Stephen Harper, announced at 3:00 p.m. Wednesday that he will recognize Quebecois as a nation within Canada, despite a similar Bloc Quebecois’ motion.

The separatist Bloc Quebecois (BQ) opposition party originally introduced the motion to recognize Quebec as a nation, without specifying in or out of Canada. But Harper said that he will only recognize the Quebecois as a nation within Canada.

Quebeckers know who they are, they know they’ve participated in the foundation, in the founding of Canada and its development and in its greatness. They know that they’ve protected their language and unique culture but they also promoted their values and interests within Canada.

The real question is straightforward: Do Quebeckers form a nation within a united Canada? The answer is yes.

Do Quebeckers form an independent nation from Canada? The answer is no and it will always be no!

I say to my federalist colleagues and I also say to the separatist side that we here will do what we must, what our forefathers have always done to preserve this country, Canada, strong, united independent and free.

– Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada

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The Bloc, led by Gilles Duceppe is, by tradition, dedicated to separating Quebec completely from Canada. This has never passed.

“I would say we’re devoted to this country with its boundless potential and dedicated to building Canada which includes Quebec while the Bloc is dedicated to destroying Canada,” interim Liberal leader Bill Graham in response to Harper’s speech. “We are fundamentally opposed to breaking up of Canada … On this point we must clearly and fundamentally disagree and fundamentally fight for the rights of Canada and the whole of Canada.”

Mr. Duceppe opposed the prime minister’s position on Quebec.

“It isn’t up to the prime minister to decide what Quebeckers will choose as an option,” Bloc leader Gilles Duceppe said. “It’s up to Quebeckers … to decide what their future will be … not as long as they remain within Canada that is supposedly united. They are not a nation as long as they are a country …Never will I accept the only condition to be a nation is to recognize the right to remain in Canada. We are what we are, full stop.”

The Conservatives have ten elected MPs in the province.

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Exxonmobil burns off excess fuel in Jurong Island, Singapore

Exxonmobil burns off excess fuel in Jurong Island, Singapore

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Thursday, November 23, 2006

Jurong Island is an artificial island southwest of the Singapore mainland

As of 9 am this morning, flaring is still being carried out by ExxonMobil at Jurong Island, Singapore.

This is the 3rd day flaring works are being carried out by the company to burn off excess fuel from the refinery plant.

The flame, according to Ms Eva Ho, Communications Manager of ExxonMobil, is dying. ExxonMobil wishes to assure members of the public that no health risk is posed as water and carbon dioxide are produced as a result of the flaring.

Meng Yew Choong, Assistant Director of Corporate Communication at the National Environment Agency also clarifies:

“The hydrocarbon gases are burnt safely into water vapour and carbon dioxide, both harmless gases. Hence, there are no health concerns.”

Regular STOMP contributor Mike Muk shot a video of the flaring as well and he sent it in to Stomp.

STOMPer NZSheep also sent a picture to a website, offering the closest look of the flaring activity, taken just outside the security fences surrounding Jurong Island.

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Bangladesh election chief stands down

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Bangladesh election chief stands down – Wikinews, the free news source

Bangladesh election chief stands down

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Thursday, November 23, 2006

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The Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) of Bangladesh, Justice MA Aziz has agreed to step aside for three months, the country’s president and chief advisor to caretaker government, Iajuddin Ahmed announced in a television address to the nation late last night.

The Awami League-led alliance accused Aziz of bias towards the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), led by former Prime Minister Begum Khaleda Zia, who ended her five-year term in October 2006.

President Ahmed said that Justice Aziz has agreed to go on leave for three months in order to untangle himself from the present crises over the 2007 parliamentary elections. The President has decided to appoint two more election commissioners under article 118(1) of the Bangladeshi constitution.

The alliance parties resumed their agitation against Justice Aziz for the third time on Monday and said that they would continue the indefinite stir until he quits the office.

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Auckland City Council supports waterfront stadium in New Zealand

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Auckland City Council supports waterfront stadium in New Zealand

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Thursday, November 23, 2006

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  • 15 June 2014: Annual Japanese whaling campaign kills 30 minke whales
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The Auckland City Council in New Zealand has approved the proposed NZ$700 million+ waterfront stadium in 13-7 (yes-no) vote in a marathon session lasting nearly 5 hours on Thursday night instead of an upgrade of Eden Park costing around $400 million. However they have called for the stadium to be location “substantially east” of the central government’s preferred Marsden Wharf/Captain Cook site. The proposed stadium has been dubbed “Stadium New Zealand” by the media.

Two weeks ago Trevor Mallard, sports minister, said that the two councils had two weeks to come up with a decision on whether or not to support a waterfront stadium or Eden Park.

It is now falls on the Auckland Regional Council to approve the stadium plans or propose something else, which is supposed to happen tomorrow, Friday. Based on both these decisions, the central government will then make a decision on whether to construct the new Stadium New Zealand or upgrade the current Eden Park, located also in Auckland, which site will also be chosen. It is intended that this stadium will be used for the 2011 Rugby World Cup final.

Dick Hubbard, Mayor of Auckland, said: “In the past Auckland had missed too many opportunities. We can’t get it wrong, we cannot bypass this opportunity. Controversy is a good sign, a healthy sign – all the major projects around the world have had controversy. Today it’s not about rugby, it is about boldness and vision against caution.”

As long as the waterfront stadium is moved then they have a “strong and absolute preference” towards the stadium. Neil Abel, councillor, had tried to remove the “strong and absolute” remark because he believes that Aucklanders did not get an opportunity to indicate that the decision is absolute.

Christine Caughey, councillor, said that the pressure that was put upon them for their decision by Mr Mallard was like “putting a gun to your head.”

Other councillors also said that there wasn’t enough time given for Aucklanders to have their say and to make their decision. They also said that some of their questions about the costs and transport, etc were left unanswered.

Despite those setbacks the majority did agree that the design of the stadium should be “bold, iconic and reflect our first city of the Pacific aspirations”.

If the government cant make a deal with the Ports of Auckland, which owns the land the waterfront stadium is to be located, the regional council, other stakeholders, to move the stadium then the ACC will withdraw their support and support their second favoured, an upgrade of Eden Park.

Related news

  • “Injunction fails to stop decision on waterfront stadium in New Zealand” — Wikinews, November 23, 2006
  • “New Zealand National party rejects waterfront stadium” — Wikinews, November 18, 2006
  • “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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Michigan coaching icon Bo Schembechler dies

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Michigan coaching icon Bo Schembechler dies

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Thursday, November 23, 2006

Renowned University of Michigan college football coach Bo Schembechler, died Friday at the age of 77.

Schembechler collapsed at the studios of WXYZ-TV after taping a TV show on the eve of the Wolverines’ No. 1 vs. No. 2 showdown with perennial rival Ohio State. He was taken by ambulance to the hospital where he died at 11:42 a.m. “The electrical part of the heart was working fine but the mechanical part was not working,” said Dr. Shukri David, the head of cardiology at Providence Hospital. “The heart was sending signals to the heart muscle to contract. The muscle was not responding.”

Schembechler had a heart attack on the eve of his first Rose Bowl in 1970 and another one in 1987. He had two quadruple heart-bypass operations, and doctors implanted a pacemaker to regulate his heartbeat after he became ill during a taping at WXYZ on Oct. 20.

“This is a tremendous shock and an irreplaceable loss,” University of Michigan president Mary Sue Coleman said at a news conference at Providence Hospital in Southfield, where the coach died.

The seven-time Big Ten coach of the year compiled a 194-48-5 record at Michigan from 1969-89. Schembechler’s record in 26 years of coaching was 234-65-8.

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