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April 27, 2007

Wikinews Shorts: April 27, 2007

Wikinews Shorts: April 27, 2007 – Wikinews, the free news source

Wikinews Shorts: April 27, 2007

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A compilation of brief news reports for Friday, April 27, 2007.

Stephen Hawking goes weightless

Stephen Hawking in 2006

65-year-old scientist Stephen Hawking took a ride on the “Vomit Comet”, an airplane producing weightlessness by following a parabolic flight path. He did this to show awareness for space exploration. The flight took off and landed at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Hawking, who is confined to a wheelchair due to a degenerative disease, was unstrapped from it while the plane made eight free-fall maneuvers that simulate zero-gravity to those on-board. Hawking told reporters he enjoyed the zero-gravity part of his flight and other people with him said he “didn’t want to come back”.

Hawking made the flight to draw attention to the importance of space exploration. “I believe the human race has no future if it doesn’t go into space,” he said.

Sources


Saudi Arabia arrests 172 militants

Satellite image of Arabian peninsula

Saudi police have arrested 172 militants planning to attack Saudi Arabia’s oil fields. They also planned to free inmates and use an aircraft.

“They had the personnel, the money, the arms. Almost all the elements for terror attacks were complete except for setting the zero hour for the attacks,” said Brig. Mansour al-Turki, a Ministry of Interior spokesperson. “They had reached an advanced stage of readiness and what remained only was to set the zero hour for their attacks.”

Sources


Abdullah Gül does not get presidency in first round

Abdullah Gül in Brazil in 2005

Turkey’s Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül failed the first round of voting in parliament on Friday. He received 357 votes; 367 votes are required to win. Opposition parties asked the Constitutional Court to stop the voting. If the Constitutional Court rules in favor, a general election could be called.

A second round will be on May 2. If Gül doesn’t pick up the additional ten votes then, the process will move on to a third and if necessary a fourth round. During those rounds, only a simple majority is needed so Gül seems assured of getting the presidency.

Related news

  • “Turkey’s governing party names Abdullah Gül as presidential candidate” — Wikinews, April 24, 2007

Sources


Chinese cat reportedly gives birth to ‘poodle’

A Poodle

A cat in Zhengzhou, China gave birth to four kittens of which one reportedly looks like a white poodle, says owner Zhang Qiming. People from around the city are making visits to the house where the cat gave birth.

“It looks very different from the other kittens, and its mouth, nose and paws are all dog-like,” said owner Zhang Qiming. “Also, its tail is one centimetre shorter than that of the other three kittens.”

There appears to be no proof other than the owner’s statements that “kitten” is a dog or that the cat in fact gave birth to it.

Sources


Top al-Qaeda operative reported in US custody

Abdul Hadi al Iraqi

Bryan Whitman, a spokesperson for the US Department of Defense, said today that the United States has captured Abdul Hadi al-Iraqi, whom it says has worked directly with the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Whitman said al-Iraqi was captured when trying to enter Iraq, presumably for the purposes of taking over al-Qaeda operations there. He was taken to Guantanamo Bay about a week ago.

A US State Department website described al-Iraqi as “being a skilled, intelligent, and experienced commander and is an extremely well-respected al-Qaeda leader.”

Sources



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One killed in clashes over World War monument in Estonia

One killed in clashes over World War monument in Estonia

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Friday, April 27, 2007

Protests on 26 April

Photo from the protest last night.
Image: Leena Hietanen.

File:Tõnismäe monument 1999.jpg
The Bronze Soldier of Tallinn.

One man was killed and 44 hurt in clashes between demonstrators and police in Tallinn, Estonia last night after authorities removed a controversial Soviet monument.

The Bronze Soldier of Tallinn is seen as a reminder of Soviet occupation by Estonian nationalists, while veterans and Russian-speaking Estonians view the monument as a symbol of the liberation of Eastern Europe from Nazism. Police special units were used to force away the pro-monument protesters, screaming “Disgrace to Estonia!”.

Police clashed with protesters during the night riots, some cars were burnt, and store front windows in the center of Tallinn were broken by the demonstrators.

Russian authorities, who often supported the monument as a symbol of victory over fascism, denounced Estonian police actions and the monument removal. Sergey Mironov, Russia’s parliament speaker, threatened to break the diplomatic relations with Estonia.

According to Russian radio station Echo of Moscow the number of casualties has increased to three.

Sources



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Funeral held for two Lebanese youths found slain

Funeral held for two Lebanese youths found slain

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Friday, April 27, 2007

Lebanon
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Location of Lebanon

A map showing the location of Lebanon

To write, edit, start or view other articles on Lebanon, see the Lebanon Portal
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Lebanese mourners held a funeral on Friday for two Sunni Muslims slain this week in an attack linked to sectarian tensions.

The two Lebanese youths were abducted on Monday, and their bodies were later found on the field on Thursday. Ziad Qabalan, age 25, and Ziad Ghandour, age 12, were kidnapped and shot in the head and their bodies. Police found the two lying dead in a field in Jadra, an area between south Beirut and Sidon on Thursday evening.

Qabalan had been a member, along with Ghandour’s father, of the pro-government Progressive Socialist Party (PSP), led by the Druze leader Walid Jumblatt. It is suspected that Shi’a Muslims abducted the boys in revenge of the killing of Adnan Shamas, a Shi’a Muslim, back on January 25 of this year, during clashes between supporters of the government, which has Sunni backing, and the opposition, which includes Lebanon’s main Shi’a groups.

The Lebanese Prime Minister, Fouad Siniora, condemned the assassination and asked for calm. In a telephone interview with the Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation (LBC) he said,

Cquote1.svg This act aims at dragging the Lebanese toward civil strife. We are in need of calm, patience and discipline. Cquote2.svg

Sources



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Strong 6.3 earthquake reported in Sumatra, Indonesia

Strong 6.3 earthquake reported in Sumatra, Indonesia

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Friday, April 27, 2007

6.3SumatraQuake4.27.07.jpg

According to the United States Geological Survey, a magnitude 6.3 earthquake has been recorded in northern Sumatra, Indonesia at 3:02 p.m. local time [08:02 (UTC)].

The epicenter was approximately 83 kilometers [51 miles] WSW of Banda Aceh, Sumatra, at a depth of 30 kilometers [18.6 miles].

There are no reports of damages, injuries or deaths, according to the Jakarta geophysics agency, but the USGS does report that there is a potential for “light to moderate damage” on the northwest end of the island.

No tsunami warning has been issued, and according to the Jakarta geophysics agency, no tsunami warning will be issued because the quake did not meet the magnitude 6.5 requirement. Despite there being no tsunami threat, residents started to panic and began to leave their businesses and homes.

In 2004, a massive tsunami struck the island after a magnitude 9.2 quake rattled the region killing over 200,000 people.

Sources

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Arrest warrant issued for Richard Gere for kissing actress Shilpa Shetty

Arrest warrant issued for Richard Gere for kissing actress Shilpa Shetty

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Shilpa Shetty
(Image credit: Fayyaz Ahmed)

Friday, April 27, 2007

American actor Richard Gere, 51, kissed Indian actress Shilpa Shetty, 31, on the cheek several times during an AIDS awareness event in Delhi, India. A court has issued an arrest warrant for both Gere and Shetty for public obscenity.

Gere, who starred in an American remake of the original Japanese version Shall We Dance, was doing a ballroom dancing act with Shetty.

“He especially told me to tell the media that he didn’t want to hurt any Indian sensibilities,” Shetty said.

The act came to issue when a local lawyer complained to a court in Jaipur, Rajasthan. It is being called “an obscene act” by the court in Jaipur, Rajasthan. In India, showing affection in public is frowned upon. People in India protested against the act saying it went against their culture.

Gere appeared in an interview with Jon Stewart on The Daily Show last night. “Me kissing the girl on the cheek was nothing,” he said. “To be honest, this recent media storm has taken me by complete surprise. End the circus around this episode.”

They are scheduled to appear in court on May 5. If convicted, Gere could be fined or sent to jail for three months.

Sources

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This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

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