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January 15, 2007

Saddam\’s co-defendant decapitated while being hanged

Saddam’s co-defendant decapitated while being hanged

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Monday, January 15, 2007

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Barzan Ibrahim al-Tikriti.

Saddam Hussein’s half brother and former chief of the Iraqi secret police, Barzan Ibrahim al-Tikriti, along with the former chief judge of the revolutionary court, Awad Hamad al-Bandar were hanged today in Baghdad at approximately 3:00 a.m. local time for their role in the 1982 killing of 148 Shiite Muslims in the village of Dujail.

Although efforts were taken to prevent a repeat of the controversy surrounding the perceived impropriety that followed the cellphone video of last week’s execution of Saddam Hussein, including confiscation of reporters’ cellphones and requiring all individuals present to sign a statement that they would not engage in Shiite chants and taunting, outrage is already being heard from many quarters over an apparent miscalculation by the executioner resulting in al-Tikriti’s decapitation by the noose.

Shaken by the mishap, officials waited seven hours before announcing the execution and waited another six before showing to reporters a three minute official video of the hangings, who were told that it would not be shown again.

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New Zealand Commerce Commission investigating Australian company

Filed under: Archived,New Zealand — admin @ 5:00 am

New Zealand Commerce Commission investigating Australian company

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Monday, January 15, 2007

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The New Zealand Commerce Commission is investigating Australian-based lottery competition company, TMG Asia Pacific Pty Limited, under alleged breaches of the Fair Trading Act after quite a few text-based lottery competitions have been running on New Zealand television.

To enter the competitions, the entrants must answer a simple question and then text the answer to a special text number, 8555. The competitions are shown during advertisements on New Zealand television stations, and include possible prizes of televisions, game consoles, exercise equipment, and more.

The Commerce Commission said that they have received around 180 complaints regarding the text competitions and the charges they incur on their mobile phones. The charges are when a person texts the correct answer to 8555 they are agreeing to sign up to their subscription based services which charges them NZ$3 for each text message received. A maximum of $15 is charged a month unless the special keyword to stop receiving text messages: STOP is texted. The Commerce Commission said that the complaints reflect that the entrants do not know about the subscription, even though the advertisements briefly state in fine print that the competition is a subscription competition, how much a received text costs, etc at the bottom of the ad.

An employee of TMG Asia Pacific Pty Limited questioned about the subscription charges claimed that the majority of the charge for each text message sent to competition entrants goes to Telecom New Zealand, and a fraction is paid to them.

The director of Fair Trading for the Commerce Commission, Deborah Battell, said: “[180 complaints] is an exceptionally high number of complaints for a single issue.”

“The Commerce Commission is investigating whether the disclosure of the terms and conditions of these promotions was adequate,” Ms Battell said.

In November of 2006 the Commerce Commission had contacted TMG Asia Pacific to discuss their concerns over their promotions. Ms Battell said: “The company has been made well aware of our concerns. The Commission has now asked the company to respond by 4pm, Thursday, 18 January 2007.”

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Internet pirates want their own nation

Internet pirates want their own nation – Wikinews, the free news source

Internet pirates want their own nation

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Monday, January 15, 2007

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Picture of Sealand.

Location of Sealand.

The Pirate Bay, a file-sharing website based in Sweden, seeks to purchase its own island nation in an attempt to escape copyright laws. A group of people has launched a campaign to collect money via the Internet to acquire a former British sea platform situated in the North Sea, six miles (9.6 kilometers) off the British coast.

The Pirate Bay states that the platform, named Sealand, will give users an easy way of sharing files protected by copyright in other nations. According to the statement made on the website, those who invest in purchasing Sealand will receive citizenship in it.

The platform was occupied in 1967 by the associates and family members of Paddy Roy Bates, a former radio broadcaster and former British Army Major, who now form its royal family. Prince Roy and Princess Joan Bates and their son Prince Regent Michael are willing to sell the platform for £65m. The royal family claims that it is independent and outside of any country’s jurisdiction.

The sovereign status of the platform is disputed. The Government of the United Kingdom extended the territorial waters from 3 to 12 nautical miles after 1987, placing Sealand in its jurisdiction. However, Prince Roy simultaneously expanded the territory of Sealand and claimed continued independence. (See Sealand on Wikipedia.)

Hired estate agents from Spain estimate the price of the floating island to be about 504 million pounds. The Swedish website mentioned that it was looking for alternatives to acquire Sealand. It also mentioned that if the “Internet-pirate” community is not able to buy Sealand, it will look for another small place to claim as its own.

The Pirate Bay website was closed for some time in May 2006 due to Swedish police raids. The site was later re-opened from the Netherlands before moving back to Sweden.

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Hydrofoil collides with cargo ship near Sicily

Hydrofoil collides with cargo ship near Sicily

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Monday, January 15, 2007

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Satellite image of the Strait of Messina

A hydrofoil and a cargo ship have entered into collision this evening, at around 18:15 Italian local time (17:15 UTC) near the harbor of Messina, Sicily, Italy.

The hydrofoil, named “Segesta jet”, was doing a regular passenger service from Reggio Calabria to Messina, carrying 151 passengers and 6 crew members.

The cargo ship is reported to be the “Susan Borchard”, registered in Antigua and Barbuda.

The number of people dead or injured is not currently established, but during the night the number of fatalities rose to 4.

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Bollywood stars Aishwarya Rai and Abhishek Bachchan engaged

Filed under: Archived,Asia,Culture and entertainment,India — admin @ 5:00 am

Bollywood stars Aishwarya Rai and Abhishek Bachchan engaged

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Monday, January 15, 2007

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Former Miss World Aishwarya Rai

Legendary Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan has confirmed that his son Abhishek and former Miss World Aishwarya Rai were engaged last evening at a private ceremony at the Bachchans’ residence in Mumbai.

It is believed that the younger Bachchan proposed to his bride-to-be in New York, soon after the Toronto premiere of his new movie Guru. The media had been following the romance between the two closely for some time past, but this is the first time they have come out in the open about their relationship. Rumours that the couple were planning to spread the know began to spread in November last year, when they visited the Sankat Mochan Temple together, with some even saying that they had already been married even earlier at the Meenakshi temple in Madurai

According to one daily, the wedding will take place either on February 19 or March 7 at the Hyatt Mumbai. “The children have decided. We are very happy and thought we should go ahead with the ‘roka’ ceremony. It was held in the evening.”, Amitabh Bachchan said of the ceremony, which was attended by the family’s close friends, including Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh, Aishwarya’s parents, and industrialist Anil Ambani and the latter’s wife Tina Ambani. The couple have now flown to Ujjain to take a holy dip in the Ganga.

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Arnold Schwarzenegger to visit Canada

Arnold Schwarzenegger to visit Canada – Wikinews, the free news source

Arnold Schwarzenegger to visit Canada

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Arnold Schwarzenegger, best known for his role in The Terminator and being the Govenor of California (which earned him the nickname The Governator), has been invited by the Prime Minister’s Office to visit Canada.

Schwarzenegger is reported to have higher expectations for reducing greenhouse gas emissions than Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

“I hope it means they are serious about taking the kind of actions that Arnold Schwarzenegger is taking in California on climate change,” said Green Party of Canada leader Elizabeth May.

Environment minister John Baird said he and the Canadian government are concerned about the climate.

“We’re concerned about the huge climate change challenges,” said Baird. “The erratic weather we’ve had this winter is a huge wake-up call.”

The Canadian PM and “The Governator” first met when they went to Mexico for the inauguration of Felipe Calderón, the president of Mexico.

No date has been set as to when the meeting will happen.

This story has new developments.

Updated information can be found here.

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