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April 24, 2007

Wikinews Shorts: April 24, 2007

Wikinews Shorts: April 24, 2007 – Wikinews, the free news source

Wikinews Shorts: April 24, 2007

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A compilation of brief news reports for Tuesday, April 24, 2007.

74 killed in raid on oil field in Ethiopia

Location of Ethiopia

65 Ethiopians and 9 Chinese were killed in their sleep Tuesday in a predawn raid on an oil field in Abole, a small town in southeast Ethiopia’s Somali state. Seven Chinese were kidnapped.

The Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF), a separatist group, claimed responsibility for the attack on the field which is run by a Chinese firm.

At a news conference, Prime Minister Meles Zenawi said: “Such an outrage, the cold-blooded murder of people who were building roads and engaged in other development activities, is a measure of the level of barbarity involved.”

Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson, Liu Jianchao, condemned the attack, which he said involved more than 200 gunmen.

Sources


Armed wing of Hamas declares end of truce

Location of Palestinian Territories

In response to weekend raids by Israel, the armed wing of Hamas, Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, declared and end to a 5-month old truce and fired rockets into Israel. The rockets caused some damage, but no injuries were reported.

The Hamas-led Palestinian Authority (PA) urged calm. “The government is interested to keep the ceasefire and the calm and we are trying, through consultation and discussion with the Palestinian factions, to take a position in order to protect our people,” PA spokesperson Ghazi Hamad said.

PA President, Mahmoud Abbas who is a member of Fatah, said: “The violation of the truce is an exceptional event that will not last.”

The Defense Minister of Israel, Amir Peretz warned against further attacks, but so far Israel has not made an armed response.

Sources


Mexico City legalizes abortion

Location of México

México City, the capital of the world’s second-largest Catholic country, Mexico, voted today to legalize abortion.

City lawmakers passed legislation that legalizes abortion during the first three months of pregnancy. Hitherto, abortions were only legal in cases of rape, if the woman’s life is in danger, or if there are signs of severe defects in the fetus.

The legislation passed in the face of pressure from Mexican bishops who spoke out against the law. Opinion polls indicated that Mexico City residents were fairly evenly split on the issue.

Sponsors of the bill argued that the deaths of some 1,500 women during illegal abortions over the last ten years showed the need to legalize it.

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Thailand orders Ample Rich directors to pay US$616 million taxes

Thailand orders Ample Rich directors to pay US$616 million taxes

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Tuesday, April 24, 2007

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Thailand’s anti-corruption body, the Assets Examination Committee (AEC) has instructed the country’s tax authorities to issue a tax bill to the company set up by ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. The amount is US$616 million, or 20.89 billion baht.

The company Ample Rich is registered in the British Virgin Islands, however the AEC stated the company could not evade corporate tax due to their operations taking place within the Kingdom of Thailand.

With two of Thaksin’s children on the board of directors of the company, and earlier rulings on tax liability, the Bangkok Post reports that the total tax liability for the Shinawatra family has now risen to 27.44 billion baht.

The main reason given by the AEC for the tax bill is the underpriced selling of Shin corporation shares to the Thaksin children at 1 baht per share only days prior to the sale of the company to Temasek holdings. The actual sale of Shin Corp. sparked street protests in Bangkok as the then-Prime Minister was accused of profiting from selling a national asset after changing the law to allow the sale to be tax-free.

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Newly discovered extra-solar planet may be Earth-like

Newly discovered extra-solar planet may be Earth-like

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Tuesday, April 24, 2007

File:Gliese 581 c in the habitable zone.svg
A range of theoretical habitable zones with stars of different mass (our solar system is at the centre, a red dwarf similar to Gliese 581 at the bottom).

A planet 50% greater in radius and with about 5 times earth mass orbiting the red dwarf Gliese 581 has been discovered inside the constellation of Libra.

A 2005 search revealed that the star Gliese 581 possessed a Neptune sized planet, prompting astronomers to take a closer look.

Gliese 581 c, as the planet is aptly named, has an estimated surface temperature between 0 and 40°C (32 and 104°F). Scientists claim the planet is likely to have an atmosphere and liquid water.

Artist’s impression of the planetary system around the red dwarf Gliese 581.
Image: European Southern Observatory.

A second planet, about 8 times the mass of earth, was also discovered not too far from Gliese 581 c.

A team of scientists from France, Switzerland and Portugal discovered the planets using the ESO 3.6-m telescope from the High Accuracy Radial Velocity Planet Searcher or HARPS, located at the European Southern Observatory (ESO) in La Silla, Chile.

“The separation between the planet and its star is just right for having liquid water at its surface,” said team spokesperson Stephane Udry of the Observatory of Geneva in Versoix, Switzerland. “That’s why we are a bit excited.”

“Liquid water is critical to life as we know it and because of its temperature and relative proximity, this planet will most probably be a very important [focus] of future space missions dedicated to the search for extra-terrestrial life. On the treasure map of the Universe, one would be tempted to mark this planet with an X,” added Xavier Delfosse, from Grenoble University in France.

The newly discovered planet is 20.5 light-years away from the Earth.

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Inmates take over Indiana prison, two employees injured

Inmates take over Indiana prison, two employees injured

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Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The skyview of New Castle, Indiana looking east.

A prison riot occurred at the New Castle Correctional Facility near Indianapolis, Indiana. The incident began at about 2:00 pm and order has since been restored. Two prison employees have sustained injuries.

Local newspaper reports also say for a short time inmates took over the prison. Inmates also set fires and the fire department was called. Police have been trying to get all inmates back into their housing rooms. They used tear gas to disperse the prisoners and no shots were fired. Tear gas is used to loosen crowds, especially during large protests. It can cause irritation or disabling physical effects.

Cquote1.svg “We are quickly collaborating with local law enforcement to properly handle the New Castle Correctional Facility situation. We will keep the public updated as more details unfold.” Cquote2.svg

—Commissioner J. David Donahue

The Mayor of New Castle, Indiana, Tom Nipp, dispatched all of the city police officers to the prison to protect the safety of the residents. State Police were also called in by prison officials to assist in putting down the riot.

“We are quickly collaborating with local law enforcement to properly handle the New Castle Correctional Facility situation,” said Commissioner J. David Donahue. “We will keep the public updated as more details unfold.”

Nipp called the disturbance, “A full scale riot.”

Within the last 24 hours prior to the uprising, new inmates from Arizona had been transferred into the facility. Recently, the states of Indiana and Arizona reached an agreement in which Indiana would house prisoners from Arizona in its prison system to decrease overcrowding in Arizona prisons. The prison was built in 2002 and can house about 2,200 inmates. It currently has about 1,000 from Indiana and 600 from Arizona.

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Football: Manchester United defeat AC Milan in Champions League

Filed under: AutoArchived,England,Football Match Reports,Italy — admin @ 5:00 am

Football: Manchester United defeat AC Milan in Champions League

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Tuesday, April 24, 2007

UEFA Champions League
2006/07
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A stoppage time goal by Wayne Rooney lifted Manchester United to a 3-2 win over AC Milan at Old Trafford in Manchester. United have never defeated Milan over two legs, having lost twice to them in semi-finals, and once in the round of sixteen previously. With injuries mounting for United, they were forced to play an extremely altered back line, with John O’Shea and Gabriel Heinze in the centre of defense. Milan had a boost before the match as keeper Nelson Dida proved fit enough to play. United opted for only one striker in Wayne Rooney, while Milan did the same fielding Alberto Gilardino. The game also featured two of the best young midfielders in the world currently, with Cristiano Ronaldo for United and Kaka for AC Milan.

Manchester had a dream start to the match when Ronaldo opened the scoring after only five minutes. Dida was caught out of net as Ronaldo headed towards goal, and after slapping twice at the ball, it eventually found its way into the net. United, and Ronaldo in particular, continued to threaten the Milan goal, but the next chance fell to Michael Carrick whos stinging shot was saved well by Dida. Milan then equalized through a high qualty goal from kaka . Kaka as he received a through ball from Seedorf, and the Brazilian sprinted past the defense and slid the ball past Van Der Sar. United continued to threaten, but nothing came of chances for both Giggs and Rooney. A curling shot by Ronaldo almost fooled Dida, but he managed to palm it away. Kaka then had a solo effort to lift Milan into the lead, as he managed to beat out three defenders, two of which collided with each other, and curl the ball past Van Der Sar. Milan continued to pressure and Kaka nearly had a hat-trick off a 30-yard drive, but Van Der Sar saved well.

United started brightly in the second half, clearly not wanting a home loss in the Champions League, and Carrick should have done better as he volleyed wide off a corner from Giggs. Kaka continued to threaten for Milan, but could not get his attempts on target. Paul Scholes then played a cheeky scooped ball into Rooney within the box, and after controlling it on his chest, the Englishman slid the ball under Dida to tie the match. United pushed for the winning goal, and they eventually earned it in stoppage time as a through ball by Giggs found Rooney, and his first time strike flew past an out of position Dida to earn Rooney the brace, and give United the advantage for the second leg.

Milans next match comes this Saturday against Torino in the Seria A as they try to clinch a Champions League berth for next season, while United take on Everton at Goodison Park, as they are in a tight race with Chelsea for the Premier League title. The second leg between the two will take place on May 2 at the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza in Milan.

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Entire fossilized forest found in Illinois, USA

Entire fossilized forest found in Illinois, USA

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Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Image from a part of the forest. Photo Credit: Howard Falcon-Lang.

A 300 million-year-old fossilized rain forest has been found, in its entirety, outside Georgetown, Illinois, United States. Coal miners called in scientists to look at a vast and dense seam of fossils they found in a mine. It is the largest fossilized forest ever to be found. It is about the size of San Francisco, California or 10,000 hectares [10 km by 10 km] and is said to be the first rain forest ever to exist on Earth.

“The forest is composed of a bizarre mixture of extinct plants: abundant club mosses, more than 40 metres high, towering over a sub-canopy of tree ferns, intermixed with shrubs and tree-sized horsetails. Nowhere elsewhere on the planet is it possible to (literally) walk through such an extensive swathe of Carboniferous rainforest,” said a press release by the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom.

In forests, over time, the leaves, branches and other material will build up, layer after layer with the oldest layer on the bottom, and the youngest layer at the top. The scientists observed the layers on the top of the mine shaft.

“It was an amazing experience. We drove down the mine in an armored vehicle, until we were a hundred meters below the surface. The fossil forest was rooted on top of the coal seam, so where the coal had been mined away the fossilized forest was visible in the ceiling of the mine. The fossilized forest was preserved following a major earthquake 300 million years ago,” said Howard Falcon-Lang, paleobotanist with the University of Bristol, who observed the fossil.

The forest was estimated to contain trees that were more than 130 feet high. It also contained a variety of smaller trees, shrubs and ferns. One fossil was shaped like an asparagus stalk, but was the size of a small tree.

It is believed that the forest was buried in nearly a flash after the land was pushed downward, below sea level, after a massive earthquake burying the forest “forever.”

“The fossilized forest was preserved following a major earthquake 300 million years ago. The quake caused the whole region to drop below sea level whereupon the forest became buried in mud, preserving it forever,” added the press release.

The forest is dated to have been alive in the Carboniferous period.

Related stories

  • “380 million year old fossilized trees found in New York, USA” — Wikinews, April 19, 2007

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Canada\’s Liberals put forward Afghanistan motion

Canada’s Liberals put forward Afghanistan motion

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Tuesday, April 24, 2007

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The Liberal Party of Canada have put forward a motion to re-ensure Canadian soldiers will be pulled out of Afghanistan two years from now in February.

Liberal defence critic Denis Coderre says the Liberals “just don’t believe them [the Conservatives] when they say the deadline is February 2009” and if Canadian soldiers were to be pulled out they “will still be there for development and diplomacy.”

The NDP, who support an immediate withdrawal, say they will not support the motion. The Bloc Québécois are expected to support the motion.

In May of 2006, the Conservative government received approval by parliament to extend the mission in Afghanistan until February 2009, by a slim margin of four votes. Thirty Liberals supported the extension but the majority of them opposed. The NDP and Bloc Québécois ordered their members to vote against the extension.

The Conservatives argue that the length of the Afghanistan mission is not within the purview of Parliament in any case.

Coderre also states the government have been buying military equipment and that could mean extending the mission. The Conservative government have recently said they want to stay in the country until the job is done and that could mean a longer extension.

The Liberal motion was defeated in parliament, Tuesday afternoon, by a vote of 150 to 134, with both the Conservatives and NDP voting against.

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Turkey\’s governing party names Abdullah Gül as presidential candidate

Turkey’s governing party names Abdullah Gül as presidential candidate

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Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Abdullah Gül in Brazil in 2005
Image: Jose Cruz/ABr.

Abdullah Gül, current deputy prime minister and foreign minister of Turkey, has been named as the new presidential candidate by his party, the Justice and Development Party (AKP).

In Turkey, the parliament votes to elect the new President of Turkey. The AKP has 353 of the 550 seats in Grand National Assembly of Turkey. While Gül may not get elected in the first or second round, when a two-thirds majority is needed, their votes are enough to elect the new president at the third or fourth rounds of the election process, when a simple majority is needed. The first round will take place on Friday.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced Gül’s selection on Tuesday. The decision comes in the wake of a very large demonstration aimed at dissuading Erdoğan from running himself. Erdoğan said that Gül was “the person who emerged at the end of our evaluations as the candidate to become Turkey’s 11th president.”

Both the current president, Ahmet Necdet Sezer, and the influential head of the Turkish Armed Forces, General Yaşar Büyükanıt have stressed that the new president must defend Turkey’s secular values. To that end Gül said: “the president must be loyal to secular principles… The president must be bound by the basic principles of the constitution… If I am elected I will act accordingly.”

The main opposition party, the Republican People’s Party (CHP), hinted that it may nominate its own candidate to challenge Gül.

Related news

  • “Pro-secular Turks rally against Erdogan’s possible presidential candidacy” — Wikinews, April 15, 2007

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