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June 8, 2007

Worst storm in thirty years hits Newcastle, Australia

Worst storm in thirty years hits Newcastle, Australia

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Friday, June 8, 2007

The corner of King and Steel Street in the Newcastle CBD. This picture showing several cars floating in the middle of the normally busy intersection.

Up to eight people may have died after Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia experienced its worst storm in thirty years.

NSW Premier Morris Iemma made the declaration at 9.30pm on the 8th June, as people waded through waist-deep water in the centre of the city. Authorities have had to call off the search for a family of five, who were lost when the Old Pacific Highway sank into a thirty-metre deep chasm underneath them. The bodies of an adult and two children were found in the car this morning.

Police are also looking for an elderly couple missing in the Hunter Valley, and a Newcastle man who was swept down a storm water drain in the northern part of the city.

Authorities also fear a “potentially major environmental disaster”, as bulk carrier Pasha Bulker is grounded on a reef in Nobby’s Beach. The vessel contains over 700 tonnes of fuel and shows some signs of breaking up. Twenty-two crew members were rescued earlier in the day. Two other vessels, the Sea Confidence and the Betis required assistance from tugs with the Sea Confidence coming within 700m of the shore.

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology has issued further flooding and severe weather warnings; they expect the weather to continue overnight easing during Sunday for the area.

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Wikinews attends appearance by Bob from Sesame Street, at Sesame Place

Wikinews attends appearance by Bob from Sesame Street, at Sesame Place

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Friday, June 8, 2007

Bob sings at the theme park, before appearing in the daily parade.
Image: Lloyd David Photography.

“Bob from Sesame Street”, actor and singer Bob McGrath, visited Sesame Place this Sunday for singing and book reading. One of the last remaining cast members from the 1969 first season, he is an accomplished singer with six children’s albums to his credit, he performs family pop concerts and has appeared with more than 100 symphony orchestras in the U.S. and Canada. McGrath has authored eight books including Uh-Oh Gotta Go and Oops, Excuse Me Please.

Sesame Place opened for the season in May, adding Abby Cadabby to its cast of life-size Muppets. The park offers a variety of wet and dry rides, as well as stage attractions. Christy Carlson Romano performed at the park four times over last weekend, as well as riding in its daily Rock Around the Block Parade. Previously this season, Christy had four concerts at the park.

Wikinews is sending Lloyd David Photography to many of the concerts and Sesame Street cast meet-and-greets that are happening this year at the park. David specialises in headshots, models, event, and wedding photography.

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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.

Wikinews Shorts: June 8, 2007

Wikinews Shorts: June 8, 2007 – Wikinews, the free news source

Wikinews Shorts: June 8, 2007

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A compilation of brief news reports for Friday, June 8, 2007.

Space shuttle Atlantis has launched

Space Shuttle Atlantis ready for launch

After a three-month delay, space shuttle Atlantis has launched. The reports say that there were no major technical problems with the shuttle and forecasters predicted good weather for this evening. The shuttle launched this evening at 7:38:04 p.m. ET (22:38:04 UTC) to continue the construction of the International Space Station. The crew members plan to stay 11 days in orbit and their goal is to carry out the two missions that were left incomplete from the previous flight due to broken and jammed equipments. During the flight, the shuttle and its seven astronauts will deliver a new segment and will install energy-producing solar panels to the International Space Station. Sources


British police officer banned from driving

Town center of Beverly in Yorkshire

A British police officer has been banned from driving after drinking over the limit of alcohol. PC Andy Walker, 51, drank a glass of wine and two glasses of beer at a “family party”. When a police officer stopped his car to investigate, after Walker was having trouble parking his car Sunday morning, he found that his fellow officer’s blood alcohol level was 61 micrograms, while the limit is 35 micrograms. At a court hearing today, Walker admitted the charges and has been since banned from driving for 16 months.

“I made a monumental mistake in my judgement when I decided I was fit enough to drive,” Walker admitted.

Walker has been active in many anti-drinking-and-driving campaigns throughout the years.

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Turkish armed forces agitating to fight PKK

Map of Iraqi Kurdistan

The prime minister of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said that the parliament won’t block if the Turkish Armed Forces ask for authorization to attack. The armed forces had an exercise today at Cizre, Turkey, 10 kilometers away from the Turkish-Iraqi border. After a series of attack by the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), Turkey has commenced large scale exercises and operations within Turkey. Local news also reports that many troops and artilleries have been delivered from Diyarbakir, Turkey to the Turkish-Iraqi border regions.

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Bus bombing kills one, injures 10 in Philippines

Map showing the location of Cotabato province.

A bomb aboard a bus parked at a public market in Cotabato on Minandao in the southern Philippines exploded today, killing one person and injuring 10 people.

Earlier in the week, the U.S. Embassy in Manila had issued a warning about such attacks in the region.

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US President George W. Bush falls ill during G8 Summit

US President George W. Bush falls ill during G8 Summit

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Friday, June 8, 2007

US President George W. Bush at the G8 meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

United States President George W. Bush has fallen ill and has missed the morning session of the G8 Summit, but has returned to the day’s events.

“The President had a good rest this morning. He’s feeling better, not 100 percent, but he feels good enough to rejoin the meeting. He just left his suite a short while ago, so we are back on schedule,” said a spokesman for the White House, Tony Fratto.

Earlier Dan Bartlett, the White House counselor stated that Bush was dressed and ready for the meeting when he began to feel sick and that his condition is likely a “stomach virus, a light touch of food poisoning or something else” and called the situation “not serious.”

“Not sure if it’s a stomach virus yet or something like that, but (he’s) just not feeling well in the stomach, and guess he didn’t want to follow in the footsteps of his father in Asia,” added Bartlett.

Despite being ill, Bush still taped his weekly radio address to the people of the U.S., and managed to meet with Nicolas Sarkozy, the newly elected president of France, but only on a private level and in Bush’s hotel room.

“I have just come out of a meeting with president Bush who is slightly unwell. He will join the working session when he can,” said Sarkozy to reporters as he was leaving the meeting with Bush.

The illness did not change the travel plans Bush has for the day, but doctors “are still keeping an eye on him,” added Bartlett, who also said that “he [Bush] feels terrible about any disruption he may have caused.”

George H. W. Bush, a former President of the U.S. and the father of the current President, threw up and collapsed during a dinner with Japanese Prime Minister Kiichi Miyazawa at the Prime Minister’s residence in 1992.



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Spain arrests Basque leader Otegi

Spain arrests Basque leader Otegi – Wikinews, the free news source

Spain arrests Basque leader Otegi

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Friday, June 8, 2007

ETA incidents
Location of Basque Country, an autonomous community in Spain.
Locator map of Basque Country.png
ETA
Background
ETA.jpg

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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  • Profile: ETA

Spanish police arrested the politician Arnaldo Otegi, a Basque leader of the outlawed party Batasuna on Friday, in the northern Basque city of San Sebastian, shortly after the Supreme Court, in Madrid, upheld a lower-court’s conviction of him last year for “glorifying terrorism” at a memorial in December 2003 for a dead ETA leader.

His arrest comes three days after ETA announced the end of its 15-month unilateral cease-fire. During this cease-fire, Otegi was claimed as a key interlocutor in potential peace talks, but if the government and courts appeared to take a soft-glove approach toward Otegi during the cease-fire, the mood quickly shifted following ETA’s announcement in a statement Tuesday that it was ready to resume attacks “on all fronts.”

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One killed, 28 injured in south Thailand bombing

One killed, 28 injured in south Thailand bombing

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South Thailand insurgency
Related stories

The involved provinces and surrounding area of Thailand and Malaysia The involved provinces and surrounding area of Thailand and Malaysia

Wikipedia has articles on
  • Thailand
  • South Thailand insurgency
  • 2005 Songkhla bombings
  • Patani United Liberation Organization

and the involved provinces,

  • Pattani
  • Narathiwat
  • Yala
  • Songkhla
See also

Friday, June 8, 2007

One person was killed and at least 28 injured in a bomb attack today by suspected Muslim insurgents at a crowded tea shop in southern Thailand.

The bomb, placed inside a bag in a telephone booth near the shop in the provincial capital Yala, exploded at about 8 p.m. local time (1300 UTC).

The dead woman was a 24-year-old Buddhist, police said. The religions of the other victims were not immediately known. Among the injured, at least five were hurt seriously.

“Two men on a motorcycle placed a bomb inside the phone booth. Immediately after they left, the bomb exploded,” Police Colonel Poompetch Pipatpetchpoo was quoted as saying by Agence France-Presse.

Another officer said the bombing came at a peak hour for the tea-shop trade in southern Thailand.

“The assailants seized an opportunity to stage an attack when police and soldiers were taking a rest,” Police Lieutenant Colonel Jirasit Lomae was quoted as saying by Associated Press. He said security personnel had been standing guard at a trade fair in the province.

Drive-by shooting, roadside bomb, schools burned

In neighboring Narathiwat Province, a government official and another man were killed and a third injured in a drive-by shooting.

Hami Wani, 45-year-old deputy headman of Ban Salo village, was fatally shot at around 1 p.m. (0600 UTC) as he was driving home. An assistant was also killed, and another injured.

Also in Narathiwat, two Royal Thai Army soldiers were injured in a roadside bombing. The soldiers were part of a six-man teacher-protection unit.

Overnight in Krong Pinang, Yala Province, a school was burned by a group of around 20 men who came onto the grounds and overpowered 10 volunteers assigned to guard the school. It was the second school burned in an arson attack in a week in Yala.

Train service resumes

The State Railway of Thailand resumed train service today on its southern lines after repairs were made to tracks that were sabotaged earlier in the week. Security has been beefed up, with plainclothes and uniformed officers on trains, in stations and patrolling the railbeds and trestles. Railway officials said ridership was down following the attacks.

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National Park Service covers donation box at United Airlines Flight 93 memorial

National Park Service covers donation box at United Airlines Flight 93 memorial

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Friday, June 8, 2007

On June 7, Mike Svonavec, the owner of the land in Somerset County, Pennsylvania where United Airlines Flight 93 crashed on September 11, 2001 has a US$10 million price tag for his property which is sought by the group, Families of Flight 93 and the United States National Park Service, (NPS) for building a memorial dedicated to those on the plane. Svonavec also placed a box on the crash site temporary memorial, where visitors can leave a “donation” to pay for his asking price for the land as well as the cost of providing security at the site.

The NPS has covered the donation box with a trash bag and told Svonavec in a letter to remove it by the end of Friday June 8, but Svonavec said that he will not remove the box.

“I have no intentions of removing the box from my property. My only plans are to try to cooperate with the Park Service with regard to the sale of the property,” said Svonavec.

Svonavec accused the NPS of trying to take over his property after they placed the bag over the box.

“It’s just unbelievable to my mind that that’s the direction they would take, taking control of the property like a guest would at your house,” added Svonavec.

“The bottom line is we feel the National Park Service can’t effectively carry out our mission without exercising the exclusive use and control of the site as provided for in our agreement with the property owners,” said Joanne Hanley who is the Superintendent of the memorial.

Although NPS tour guides are telling tourists and others who visit the memorial, they are shocked to learn that the money they donate is going to Svonavec and not the memorial. “They’re alarmed that they may have given their money to something that they didn’t want to give their money to,” said one of the 43 guides who volunteer at the memorial, Donna Glessner.

The land is currently under contract with the NPS and the memorial is allowed to be on the land according to an act of the United States Congress who in 2002 authorized the memorial to be placed on the land.

Currently, the U.S. National Park Service only owns approximately 60 acres of the land. PBS Coals Inc. owns 864 acres of the land and Svonavec owns 273 acres. The entire field is nearly 2,000 acres.

Related News

  • “Owner wants $10 million for Flight 93 crash site land” — Wikinews, June 7, 2007

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Judge orders Paris Hilton to return to jail

Judge orders Paris Hilton to return to jail

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Friday, June 8, 2007

File photo of Paris Hilton
Image: Peter Schäfermeier.

A day after being released to house arrest, Paris Hilton was brought back into court today in handcuffs, and ordered to serve out her sentence in jail.

Upon the judge ordering her to serve out the remainder of her full 45-day sentence in jail, Hilton was escorted from the courtroom screaming and crying. “It’s not right!” she shouted. “Mom!” she called out to her mother in the gallery.

Hilton was ordered to reappear in court as prosecutors and the judge who sentenced her expressed outrage that Sheriff Lee Baca released her from jail. A Los Angeles County spokesman said Hilton was released “due to a medical condition.” She was to be allowed to serve out her sentence at her home on King’s Road, fitted with an ankle bracelet, under house arrest.

But Judge Michael T. Sauer specifically said that Hilton was not to be placed under house arrest, and prosecutors are considering holding Baca in contempt of court.

“The decision whether or not Ms. Hilton should be released early and placed on electronic monitoring should be made by Judge Sauer, and not the Sheriff’s Department,” said Chief of the City Attorney’s Criminal Branch in Los Angeles, California, Jeffrey Isaacs.

A motion to have Hilton return to jail was filed by prosecutors just hours after her release yesterday. The hearing was scheduled to take place at 9:00 a.m. PT.

Sheriff’s deputies brought Hilton to the courtroom in handcuffs. She wore no make up, her hair was unkempt and she wore a gray sweatshirt over slacks. She cried all during the proceedings, her body shaking, and she would turn around to face her parents in the gallery and mouth the words “I love you.”

Reports first indicated Hilton would attend the hearing, but then was reported that she would be there by telephone. In the end, a court spokesperson clarified, saying that Hilton had been ordered to appear.

Hilton’s attorney, Richard Hutton, asked for a hearing in the judge’s chambers, in which testimony would be offered about Hilton’s medical condition. Sauer did not respond to that suggestion. Her attorneys also argued that it was up to the sheriff’s department to run the jail and decide how prisoners were to be housed.

Papers documenting Hilton’s medical condition were scheduled to be delivered to the court, but never appeared, with Judge Sauer noting the time during the proceedings and saying the papers still hadn’t arrived.

Related news

  • “Paris Hilton released under house arrest” — Wikinews, June 7, 2007

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Journalists for U.S. government radio admit past communist spy links

Journalists for U.S. government radio admit past communist spy links

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Friday, June 8, 2007

Two more Voice of America journalists have admitted privately they had spied for the communist intelligence service in Poland but claim that they did not harm anyone by their activities, FreeMediaOnline.org reported today.

Henryk Grynberg, a Polish-Jewish writer who is now an American citizen and had worked at VOA in the 1970s, claimed in an earlier interview with a Polish newspaper Zycie Warszawy that he had been forced into cooperating because he feared for the safety of his family and wanted to obtain a passport to leave Poland. He also claims that he had not provided any damaging information and ceased his spying relationship after emigrating from Poland.

He told a Polish newspaper interviewer that he had informed the FBI about his former association with the Polish security services. Journalists working with Grynberg at VOA, however, were not aware of his past connections with the spy agencies.

An article posted today on FreeMediaOnline.org web site reveals that two other former VOA Polish service journalists also claim to have been recruited under similar circumstances. They also claim that they had ceased their cooperation well before starting work at the Voice of America in the 1980s. Their names appeared on the list of former communist era secret police informants, the so-called Wildstein’s List, which has been leaked to the Polish media in 2005 and is now available on the Internet. Grynberg’s name was not on the list, but the contents of his file have been leaked to the Polish media.

Ted Lipien, a former director of VOA Polish Service who now runs FreeMediaOnline.org, reported that none of the journalists now suspected of having links with the communist secret police and intelligence services revealed their former spy connections to their colleagues at the Voice of America in the 1980s. Lipien expressed concern that any kind of cooperation with intelligence services creates risks of undermining journalistic independence. He stated, however, that the journalists in question did not have control over political program content at VOA.

A former VOA Polish service broadcaster was reported earlier to have admitted to similar cooperation with the communist secret police and intelligence services.

FreeMediaOnline.org is a San Francisco-based nonprofit organization whose web site promotes freedom of the press and independent journalism worldwide.

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G8 reaches deal on African aid for health issues

G8 reaches deal on African aid for health issues

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Friday, June 8, 2007

G8 leaders in Heiligendamm, Germany on Thursday, June 7, 2007

G8 leaders at the 33rd G8 summit have announced a deal pledging US$60 billion in aid to Africa. The deal, to which all the leaders agreed, called “Growth and Responsibility for Africa” is a commitment to fighting AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria on the continent. It is similar to the pledge made at the G8 at Gleneagles two years ago.

The communique says the G8 will “implement a package for HIV prevention, treatment and care” to achieve “as close as possible to universal access to treatment for all those who need it by 2010.”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said, “We are aware of our responsibility and we will honour our commitments.”

Critics have noted, however, that the document, “Growth and Responsibility for Africa,” estimates that it will “support life-saving anti-retroviral treatment through bilateral and multilateral efforts for approximately five million people.” The United Nations says that 9.8 million people need such care, 7 million of whom live in Africa.

Groups advocating for Africa aid say it falls short of United Nations targets. “While lives will be saved with more money for AIDS, this represents a cap on ambition that will ultimately cost millions more lives,” said Steve Cockburn of the Stop AIDS Campaign.

“Do they think we can’t read or count?” asked musician/activist Bono. “We are looking for accountable language and accountable numbers: we didn’t get them today.”

Related news

  • “Post-Kyoto agreement is subject of G8 debate” — Wikinews, June 7, 2007

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