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December 31, 2006

Bombings reported in Bangkok

Bombings reported in Bangkok – Wikinews, the free news source

Bombings reported in Bangkok

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Sunday, December 31, 2006

Victory Monument, the scene of one of the blasts

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At least seven bomb blasts occurred early on New Year’s Eve in Bangkok. Two people were killed and dozens injured.

Four explosions went off almost simultaneously in different parts of Thailand’s capital city, at around 6:00 p.m. local time (1100 GMT).

The first blast was in a bus-stop shelter at Victory Monument, which is a busy hub for public transportation. Another blast occurred nearby. Five people were injured, and one of them died later at a hospital.

Another fatal attack was in the Khlong Toei port district near the Na Ranong intersection, where a bomb hidden in a trash can near a Chinese spirit shrine exploded and injured seven people, one of them a 10-year-old girl. Another was a 61-year-old man who later died at a hospital. The blast caused a secondary explosion to some nearby cooking-gas cylinders.

Seventeen people were wounded in a blast at a police box near a Big C supermarket at the Saphan Kwai intersection. A witness there said a man dropped a grenade from a pedestrian bridge.

Another blast was at a police box on Sukhumvit Soi 62. There were no injuries.

A blast was reported at a police box in Nonthaburi Province on the northern outskirts of Bangkok. There was another explosion at a Tesco Lotus store in Prachachuen, while another was planted in a trash bin at Seacon Square, a shopping mall in suburban Bangkok’s Prawet district. A bomb squad was able to defuse the device without mishap.

Other suspicious packages are being investigated by police at locations throughout the capital, the iTV network in Thailand has reported. The New Year’s countdown at CentralWorld was held at around 9:00 p.m. with police and Bangkok Governor Apirak Kosayothin then urging the thousands of gathered revelers to “go home and stay in peace.”

The attacks are unprecedented in Bangkok. However, Thailand has had a turbulent year, with a coup d’état on September 19 in which the military ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra. Since then, there have been a number of schools burnt by suspected Thaksin sympathizers in various parts of the country.

There is also the ongoing violence by Muslim separatists in the , which has left 1,900 people dead since 2004.

It was not immediately clear if the bombings had anything to do with the coup or the southern insurgency.

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Belgian peacekeepers wounded in Lebanon

Belgian peacekeepers wounded in Lebanon – Wikinews, the free news source

Belgian peacekeepers wounded in Lebanon

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Sunday, December 31, 2006

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Two Belgian soldiers, part of the UN peacekeeping force in Lebanon, were wounded Friday after stepping on a cluster bomb during a mine-clearing operation in southern Lebanon. One of the two soldiers stepped on a cluster bomb while clearing a minefield near the village of Majdel Silim. Their injuries were “serious but not life-threatening”, a UNIFIL spokesman said, however this was denied by the cabinet of the Belgian Minister of Defence, André Flahaut. One soldier was wounded at the neck, the second was wounded at the foot.

One of the deminers has already left the hospital and was repatriated to Belgium on Saturday. He was first transported to the military hospital at Neder-over-Heembeek, but was later allowed to return home. The other soldier was taken to the hospital of Saida for further examination. He will have to undergo surgery to stabilise his condition before he can be repatriated early next week, minister André Flahaut stated.

The wounded soldiers are part of the units from Meerdaal and Poelkappele, but their identities were not revealed.

There are 374 Belgian soldiers serving with the UN force, known as UNIFIL, stationed near Tibnin in southern Lebanon, 12 kilometers from the Israeli border. Their main tasks are demining, medical support and reconstruction.

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Iowa falls to Texas in Alamo Bowl

Filed under: Archived,Football (American),North America,Sports — admin @ 5:00 am

Iowa falls to Texas in Alamo Bowl – Wikinews, the free news source

Iowa falls to Texas in Alamo Bowl

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Sunday, December 31, 2006

The Iowa Hawkeyes (6-6) came into the Alamo Bowl as underdogs to the Texas Longhorns (10-3), 18th-ranked and defending national champions. It probably came as a surprise to the entire Alamo Bowl record crowd of 65,875 as Iowa ran out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter. Iowa almost extended their lead to 21-3 just before the half, but for a touchdown pass called back for an illegal receiver who lined up on the Iowa line of scrimmage.

Texas quarterback Colt McCoy, who began the season as a red-shirt freshman, capped the Texas comeback in the 3rd quarter with a 72-yard pass to tailback Jamaal Charles to take the lead at 20-14.

Tate connected again with Brodell to put Iowa back in the lead, 21-20. Brodell led the Hawks in offence with 6 receptions for 159 yards.

In the fourth quarter, Selvin Young capped a Texas drive by rushing 2 yards to make it 26-21, as the Longhorns failed to make the 2-point conversion. Iowa then marched downfield and Kyle Schlicher kicked a 38-yard field goal to pull Iowa within two points at 26-24 with 11 minutes left in the game.

With just a field goal needed and nearly five minutes to go, Iowa was given a gift when a short 19-yard punt put Iowa in possession near midfield. Iowa coach Kirk Fernetz then tried a bit of trickery which doomed Iowa’s hopes. Texas safety Marcus Griffin tackled Dominique Douglas for a 9-yard loss on a reverse wide-receiver pass on first down. Iowa could not convert and had to punt three plays later, and Texas successfully ran out the clock to win the game.

Coach Ferentz immediately claimed the blame for the risky play call. “It’s totally my fault. I’m sick over it,” Ferentz said. “Guys competed that long and that hard and that put us in a bad situation.”

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French agency CNES to release UFO archives on the Internet

Filed under: Archived,Europe,France,Gendarmerie (France),Space,UFO,Wackynews — admin @ 5:00 am

French agency CNES to release UFO archives on the Internet

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Sunday, December 31, 2006

The French Space Agency will publish its UFO archive online by late January or mid-February. Most of the 6,000 reports have been filed by the public and airline professionals. Jacques Arnould, an official for the French Space Agency, said that the data had accumulated over a 30 year period and that they were often reported to the Gendarmerie.

Often they are made to the Gendarmerie, which provides an official witness statement … and some come from airline pilots – Jacques Arnould

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December 30, 2006

Saddam Hussein executed by hanging

Saddam Hussein executed by hanging – Wikinews, the free news source

Saddam Hussein executed by hanging

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Saturday, December 30, 2006

Saddam Hussein

Saddam Hussein
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Saddam Hussein, deposed president of Iraq, was executed shortly after 6:00 a.m. Saturday morning local time (0300 GMT) after he was sentenced to death by an Iraqi court for crimes against humanity

Three Iraqi television channels first reported that Saddam Hussein was executed by hanging as ordered after a U.S. judge refused to stop the execution in a last-ditch attempt by the defendant late Friday.

Saddam had been found guilty of killing more than 148 members of the Shiite population. Witnesses to the execution gathered at the execution site, Baghdad’s “Green Zone.” BBC News 24, however, has reported that the execution took place outside the “Green Zone”, at a building known to the US Army as “Camp Justice”.

“Saddam’s body is in front of me,” said an official in the prime minister’s office. “It’s over.” The witness reported that celebrations broke out after Hussein was dead and that there was “dancing around the body.”

Iraqi state television has shown Saddam going to his death and then his lifeless body after his death.

The executions of Hussein’s half-brother Barzan Ibrahim Tikriti and Awad Hamed al-Bandar, president of the Revolutionary Iraqi Court, were postponed to a later date. Iraqi National Security Adviser Mowaffak al-Rubaie announced this move, saying, “We wanted to have this day to have a historic distinction.”

On CNN, Saddam’s defence attorney alleged that the trial was “unfair” and that he and his co-counsel would fight for justice in Iraqi courts.

Tikrit, the town Saddam hid out in until his capture in late 2003 is under lockdown for 4 days due to the threat of violence. Coalition forces within Iraq are on high alert for possible retaliation attacks. On Sunday, Hussein was buried in the village of Ouja right outside of Tikrit.

US President George W. Bush released a statement commemorating the former dictator’s death but also warned that roadside bombs and other routine acts of violence will not suddenly end with his execution: “Bringing Saddam Hussein to justice will not end the violence in Iraq but it is an important milestone on Iraq’s course to becoming a democracy that can govern, sustain, and defend itself, and be an ally in the War on Terror.”

Meanwhile, many European nations appreciated Hussein facing justice but deplored the death penalty. “The European Union has a very consistent stand… on opposing the death penalty and it should not have been applied in this case either, even though there is no doubt about Saddam Hussein’s guilt over serious violations against human rights,” said Erkki Tuomioja, Finnish Foreign Minister and the current President of the European Union. Britain, France, Germany, and Russia, among others, also voiced a similar sentiment. The Vatican said that capital execution is always tragic news, even if it is about a person who has been guilty of grave crimes.

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Reasons for Litvinenko\’s conversion to Islam revealed

Reasons for Litvinenko’s conversion to Islam revealed

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Saturday, December 30, 2006

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Exiled Chechen emissary Akhmed Zakayev revealed that although dissident Russian ex-spy Alexander Litvinenko had converted to Islam on his deathbed, he had been considering such a move for a long time. FreeMediaOnline.org reported that Mr. Zakayev comments on Mr. Litvinenko’s conversion to Islam were made in an interview for the Voice of America (VOA) Russian program which aired Friday.

Mr. Zakayev said that Mr. Litvinenko grew up in the North Caucasus among Muslims and was always interested in their religion. According to Mr. Zakayev, Mr. Litvineko was ashamed of Russia’s actions in the Chechen war and this also influenced his conversion. Mr. Zakayev told VOA that Mr. Litvinenko wanted to show that not all Russians behave the same way as those responsible for atrocities in Chechnya.

Mr. Zakayev was granted political asylum in Great Britain and the British government has refused Moscow’s requests for his extradition. The Russian authorities accuse Mr. Zakayev of foreknowledge of terrorist attacks and other crimes involving hundreds of killings and captures of Russian servicemen during the separatist wars in Chechnya. He has denied these accusations.

Alexander Litvinkenko died in 2006 after a three-week struggle with effects of radiation poisoning. Before his death, Litvinenko accused Russian president Vladimir Putin of ordering his death. Since then, British and Russian investigators have found numerous traces of a rare radioactive element that caused Litvinenko’s death, although no connection to Putin has been found.

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Putin\’s critic dismisses Kremlin\’s accusations in Litvinenko\’s case as \’science fiction\’

Putin’s critic dismisses Kremlin’s accusations in Litvinenko’s case as ‘science fiction’

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Saturday, December 30, 2006

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Exiled Russian businessman and President Putin’s critic Boris Berezovsky dismissed the latest accusations by Moscow in the Litvinenko poisoning case as moving beyond absurd into the realm of science fiction.

Mr. Berezovsky was reacting to the Russian Prosecutor-General’s Office announcement on Wednesday that it suspected Israel-based former Russian oil billionaire Leonid Nevzlin might be involved in the death of Alexander Litvinenko, who died in a London hospital on November 23 from exposure to the highly toxic radioactive substance polonium-210.

Mr. Nevzlin dismissed allegations by Moscow and said he had co-operated with the British authorities investigating the London murder of the dissident Russian ex-spy. The Russian government has unsuccessfully sought Mr. Nevzlin’s and Mr. Berezovsky’s extradition on charges of fraud. The Russian authorities have also accused Mr. Nevzlin of involvement in contract killings. Both men dismissed these accusations as politically motivated. Mr. Nevzlin, who lives in Israel, is now believed to be on a visit to the United States. Mr. Berezovsky received political asylum in Great Britain.

In the Voice of America interview, Mr. Berezovsky said that the US government would not have allowed Mr. Nevzlin into the country if Washington gave the slightest credence to Moscow’s accusations. “I know him personally, and these accusations have absolutely no basis in fact,” Mr. Berezovsky told VOA.

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Hepatitis scare at New Zealand McDonald\’s restaurant

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Hepatitis scare at New Zealand McDonald’s restaurant

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Saturday, December 30, 2006

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McDonald’s is asking everyone who ate at a McDonald’s restaurant located in Greenlane, Auckland, New Zealand, in December 15, 2006, to go to their doctor after a worker tested positive for Hepatitis A.

Doctor Greg Simmons, medical officer of health in Auckland, said that it is possible for the food handler worker to have passed on the disease during 7:00 p.m. (NZDT) and 2:00 a.m. as he would have been in the most infectious stage of Hepatitis A and was not wearing gloves. According to a spokeswoman from McDonald’s, Joanna Redfern-Hardisty, food handlers are not required to wear gloves but are required to have thoroughly washed their hands with antimicrobial soap. However Dr Simmons says that the infected worker usually wore gloves.

The shift the worker worked was the only one the worker handled food when he was infectious with Hepatitis A.

It is unknown how many people could have come into contact with food that the infected worker had prepared as Friday night is usually a busy night, according to Ms Redfern-Hardisty.

Dr Simmons says that if someone has been infected with Hepatitis A then they will currently be showing early symptoms. Those symptoms include being tired, no appetite, nausea and skin and eyes will show a yellowish colour.

Ms Redfern-Hardisty, spokeswoman for McDonald’s, confirmed that no more risk is being posed to customers. She said that it is currently unknown where the worker caught Hepatitis A but has stated that it was from an external source.

The worker has been suspended from work.

If you ate at the McDonalds located in Greenlane, Auckland, on late December 15, early December 16, then please either visit your doctor or ring the Auckland Regional Public Health Service on 096234600.

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Explosion hits Madrid Airport\’s terminal 4

Explosion hits Madrid Airport’s terminal 4

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Saturday, December 30, 2006

ETA incidents
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Euskadi Ta Askatasuna, or ETA, is a Basque nationalist paramilitary organization active in Spain and France. The organization’s goal is sovereignty for Basque Country and it uses both political and violent means to further its cause.

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Smoke rising from Barajas Airport.

Around 9:00 a.m. local time (0800 UTC) today, an explosion occurred at Barajas International Airport, in Madrid, Spain.

A car bomb exploded in the Level-D Parking Garage of the recently completed Terminal 4. A Spanish official declared that the police first received a telephone call warning them about the bomb, and then a second call with the type of vehicle. The second caller claimed the attack for the Basque nationalist group ETA. Thanks to the telephone call, the police could evacuate most of the area. One man is reported missing after the explosion, and 26 people including two police officers were reported to be injured in the blast. The terminal sustained serious damage, and the situation in the airport became chaotic on one of the busiest days of the year.

Arnaldo Otegi, spokesman of ETA’s political wing Batasuna, did not condemn the attack, but said the peace talks are not interrupted by the explosion. The Spanish Interior Minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba condemned the attack, saying that it “breaks nine months without violence on the part of ETA, which breaks the permanent ceasefire.” Only in June, the Spanish President José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero announced peace talks with ETA. But tonight, Zapatero ordered the suspension of all dialogue, because “with violence, there can be no kind of dialogue.”

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  • “Zapatero announces peace talks with Basque separatists, ETA” — Wikinews, June 29, 2006

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2006 Madrid Barajas International Airport bombing
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Christmas Island preparing for New Year

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Christmas Island preparing for New Year – Wikinews, the free news source

Christmas Island preparing for New Year

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Saturday, December 30, 2006

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Christmas Island, also known as Kiritimati, is preparing for the new year while only hours are left. The island, which is home to about 5,100 people, is the first country in the world to welcome the new year.

Christmas Island will kick off the new year at UTC+14 (05 am ET). Just 15 minutes later, clocks on Chatham island of New Zealand will hit midnight.

Later, at UTC+13 (06 am ET), mainland New Zealand; Tonga; McMurdo, Antarctica and several other small stations on the South Pole, will celebrate the new year.

American Samoa is the last country to enter 2007. That will happen at UTC-11 (6 am ET, Monday morning).

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