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August 15, 2007

Yasser Arafat may have had HIV

Yasser Arafat may have had HIV – Wikinews, the free news source

Yasser Arafat may have had HIV

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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Reports are surfacing that say former Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) leader Yasser Arafat had HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, present in his blood stream when he died. A number of reports say the virus had been injected to him prior to death and the actual cause of death was a separately administered poison that HIV was intended to mask.

The claims come from Doctor Ashraf al-Kurdi, a former doctor for Arafat and former member of the Health Ministry located in Jordan, who says the virus was injected into Arafat’s blood stream just before his death; but al-Kurdi also stated that Arafat’s death was not caused by the virus. Doctor Ashraf al-Kurdi also states that Arafat’s wife prevented him from attending to Arafat while he was dying.

CNSNews.com claims that Arafat may have been a homosexual and that syphilis was the cause of his death. CNSNews.com also claims that Israel caused his death by poisoning him.

Ion Mihai Pacepa, an ex-head of Romanian intelligence, and Terry McAuliffe, an aide to Bill Clinton, have unrelated claims that Arafat was homosexual.

It has been alleged that the PLO’s leader may have contracted HIV as the result of risky homosexual behavior in the years preceding the AIDS scare of the late 1980s. Arafat’s sexual proclivities may have been largely ignored by Arab, and indeed other, state leaders.

Arafat died on November 11, 2004 at Percy hospital in Paris. French officials never fully explained the cause of death, but instead transferred his medical records to his nephew Nasser al-Qudwa, his next of kin.

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Tropical storm Erin forms in Gulf of Mexico

Tropical storm Erin forms in Gulf of Mexico

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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Tropical storm Erin has formed in the Gulf of Mexico. It expected to make landfall Thursday near Corpus Christi, Texas, forecasters have stated.

At 11:00 a.m. EDT today, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration measured winds over 40 mph which is the mark of a tropical storm.

At 11:30 a.m. EDT, the storm was about 250 miles east of Brownsville, Texas, and about 295 miles east-northeast of La Pesca, Mexico, with sustained winds of 30 mph.

Texas Governor Rick Perry is warning that many areas in the projected path of the storm could be facing severe flooding, saying “Because storms have saturated much of our state this summer, many communities in this storm’s projected path are at high risk of dangerous flash flooding.”

Therefore, Governor Perry has an estimated 30 vehicles and 60 National Guard members in the area on standby in case of severe flooding. Also, Texas’ disaster response team has been mobilized. There are also members of the Texas Task Force One, who have been trained in urban search and rescue techniques, on standby. Corey Ricketson with Texas Task Force One said, “We’ve got food, water, we’ve got shelters, we’ve got showers, beds, everything that we need right here in order to go to a remote location and be self-sufficient as a unit.”

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Three men arrested under suspicion of organising dog fights in southern Finland

Three men arrested under suspicion of organising dog fights in southern Finland

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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

File:240-dogFighting.jpg
File photo of two dogs fighting

Three Finnish men have been arrested as part of an investigation by the Finnish National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) into apparent illegal dogfights in various locations in the south of the country.

Dog fights, in which two dogs are pitted head-to-head for the entertainment of spectators and for gambling, is illegal in Finland, and is covered by Finland’s animal protection laws, as dogs often sustain severe or even fatal injuries. It is believed this case also involved gambling, thus rendering the suspects, if convicted, in breach of gambling laws also.

The investigation was started in July after the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) forwarded information to the NBI, claiming that during an investigation of its own for a programme it was making into dog fighting in the United Kingdom, they had uncovered connections to comparable activity in Finland.

“We are trying to find out when the activity has started and how widespread it has been. Apparently, just a small gang of people has been involved.” said Detective Chief Inspector Göran Wennqvist, adding that “We are now trying to find out whether or not this is part of a larger international organisation or just local criminal activity.”

It is believed the dogs went through training fights to test if they were suitable for fighting prior to actual events. A number of animals thought to have been used for fighting have been examined by a veterinarian to determine the types of injuries sustained by the dogs.

Despite the fact that dog fighting is known to have occurred in various countries – including countries close to Finland, such as Sweden, Norway, and Russia – neither the police or the Finnish Kennel Club were aware of any previous incidents occurring in Finland, although chairman of the board of the Finnish Kennel Club Martti Mannersuo told reporters that he recalled a rumour “many years ago” of domestic dog fights occurring in Finland, although this went unconfirmed. Wennqvist, however, independently told YLE “In other Nordic countries, they have seen incidents of dog fighting since the 90’s, but I haven’t come across any cases in Finland in 32 years,” although it is unclear if this was a confirmed case or if it were linked to the rumour Mannersuo had reported.

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Reports: US to label Iran\’s Revolutionary Guard as \’terrorist organization\’

Reports: US to label Iran’s Revolutionary Guard as ‘terrorist organization’

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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

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The United States will be labeling Iran’s Revolutionary Guard as a “specially designated global terrorist” organization according to U.S. White House officials.

According to reports, U.S. President George W. Bush will label the group under Executive Order 13224 which “provides a means by which to disrupt the financial support network for terrorists and terrorist organizations by authorizing the U.S. government to designate and block the assets of foreign individuals and entities that commit, or pose a significant risk of committing, acts of terrorism.”

“Anyone doing business with these people will have to re-evaluate their actions immediately. It increases the risks of people who have until now ignored the growing list of sanctions against the Iranians. It makes clear to everyone who the IRGC and their related businesses really are. It removes the excuses for doing business with these people,” said an unnamed U.S. official.

U.S. officials say that Iran’s growing involvement in terrorist acts in Afghanistan, Iraq and their support for Middle Eastern Muslim extremists are some of several reasons officials are considering the move. It is reported that Iran’s continuing involvement in nuclear activities is another cause for the addition.

If the U.S. labels Iran’s military as a terrorist organization, it would be the first time that any country has added an armed forces unit of any sovereign government to its list of terrorist groups. Iran has been on the U.S. list of state sponsored terrorism since 1984.

Iran continues to deny that their nuclear program is being used to build nuclear bombs, saying that their program is for “peaceful purposes.”

“This kind of news is within the propaganda and psychological activities of the US statesmen against the Islamic Republic of Iran and it is professionally worthless,” said an unnamed Iranian official.

Iran’s Revolutionary guard controls the air force, navy and ground forces and was created in 1979.


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Mathematical summer school in Turkey closed for \”teaching without a permit\”

Filed under: Archived,Asia,Education,Europe,Politics and conflicts,Turkey — admin @ 5:00 am

Mathematical summer school in Turkey closed for “teaching without a permit”

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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Black board cordoned off by police tape at Prof Nesin’s banned math summer school
Image: Alexandre Borovik.

A mathematical summer school in Turkey run by mathematics professor Ali Nesin has been closed by the authorities apparently for “teaching without a permit” and “founding an illegal institution”. The attention of the international scientific community was attracted to this action on the blog of a mathematics professor at Manchester. Alexandre Borovik’s “Mathematics under the microscope” blog had previously written in glowing terms about the summer camp at which he also taught. The story was broken with a photo of a “Blackboard under arrest” and carried a photograph of a board covered with advanced mathematics surrounded by police tape. Borovik arrange a petition to the Turkish government signed by numerous mathematicians and scientists around the world, and reported in the Turkish media.

On 10th August 2007 police removed the seals from the doors of the School and it was reopened. But earlier, on 7th August, Professor Nesin was summoned to the prosecutor’s office for interrogation on the charge was “education without permission”. The prosecutor told Professor Nesin’s lawyer that he will open a trial against him in few days under Article TCK 263 of Turkish Criminal Code:

Persons who open or run illegal educational institutions can be jailed from 3 months to 1 year.

Professor Nesin still faces prosecution however he plans to challenge the ruling on the basis of the 27th article of the Turkish Constitution which guarantees the freedom to teach and learn arts and sciences:

Article 27 Freedom of Science and Arts
(1) Everyone has the right to study and teach freely, explain, and disseminate science and arts and to carry out research in these fields.

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Former US Speaker of the House Hastert planning to retire

Former US Speaker of the House Hastert planning to retire

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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Republican officials announced today that Rep. Dennis Hastert of Illinois will be leaving the United States Congress when his present congressional term concludes at the end of next year.

Hastert has served in Illinois’ 14th district since 1987 and his time as Speaker makes him longest serving Republican Speaker in history. Party officials have scheduled a formal announcement of Hastert’s retirement for Friday, August 17.

Hastert’s decision has been expected since the Republicans lost the elections last November and he was removed as Speaker. For eight years, he’s been second in line of presidential succession behind only the vice-president.

The party officials who discussed his planned retirement did so on condition of anonymity because there had been no public announcement yet.

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Former NBA ref surrenders to charges he bet on games he officiated

Filed under: Archived,Basketball,North America,Sports,United States — admin @ 5:00 am

Former NBA ref surrenders to charges he bet on games he officiated

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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Tim Donaghy, an ex-NBA referee, surrendered today for an appearance in a Brooklyn federal court. Law enforcement officials said that Donaghy allegedly placed his own bets, and also released confidential information to others, including referees’ schedules. Today, Donaghy pleaded guilty to ‘conspiracy to engage in wire fraud’ and ‘transmitting wagering information to other individuals’. These two charges could result in up to 25 years in jail.

Tim Frank, a NBA spokesman, told the Associated Press the league was informed yesterday that Donaghy would plead today but was not given any further information.

Both John Lauro, Donaghy’s attorney, and federal prosecutors did not comment. But, NBA commissioner David Stern said a month ago that the ex-referee’s lawyer told the league Donaghy was contemplating a plea. The plea was made official early today.

Donaghy has been reportedly cooperating with prosecuting attorneys who together are building a case against other people to whom Donaghy may have provided inside information to. It has also been reported that Donaghy had a biased view against the Detroit Pistons, therefore making bets against them, and then calls against them as well

Donaghy today told the court that he had a gambling problem. However, he also said that he was receiving treatment for it.

The Associated Press reports that no other NBA officials or players are suspects in this case.

The FBI contacted the NBA on June 20, 2007 to talk about a referee who was allegedly gambling on games. The FBI and the NBA officially met on June 21. Donaghy resigned from his position July 9, after over ten years as a referee


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Big Island residents prepare for arrival of Flossie

Big Island residents prepare for arrival of Flossie

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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Residents of the Big Island completed their emergency preparations in expectation of the worst winds and rain of Hurricane Flossie to arrive Tuesday evening.

As of 8:00 p.m. HST Tuesday (0300 Wednesday UTC), the center of Flossie was located at 17.5N, 155.9W, 95 miles south of South Point (the southernmost tip of the Big Island) and 305 miles south-southeast of Honolulu, moving west-northwest at 10 mph. Maximum sustained winds were 85 mph (160 km/h), making it a Category 1 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale. The hurricane is expected to weaken over the next 24 hours. Reconnaissance aircraft show that the eye of the hurricane has disappeared.

Tropical storm force winds of about 40-50 mph with higher gusts are expected to reach the Big Island this evening.

Hawaii County Mayor Harry Kim declared a state of emergency on Monday in preparation for the approach of Flossie, and Governor Linda Lingle signed an order giving Maj. Gen. Robert Lee, state adjutant general, the ability to activate National Guard units.

All public and private schools, the University of Hawaii at Hilo, and both campuses of Hawaii Community College were closed on Tuesday. Schools are expected to remain closed on Wednesday.

Local branches of Wal-Mart temporarily provided 24 hour service to allow residents to prepare for Flossie.

About 116 people have voluntarily evacuated to emergency shelters set up by the Red Cross.

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