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June 30, 2008

Three murdered, one injured in axe attack in Australia

Filed under: Australia,Oceania — admin @ 5:00 am

Three murdered, one injured in axe attack in Australia

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Monday, June 30, 2008

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The manhunt for John Walsh, a father of a police officer in his late 60s, has ended without further incident at a motel on the Mid-Western Highway near Hay, New South Wales in Western NSW. The Toyota sedan which he was thought to be driving was found in the motel carpark and has been seized for examination by forensics.

The manhunt began after an axe attack which left police officer Shelly Walsh injured and left her elderly mother thought to be in her late 60s and two children, a boy thought to be aged 7 and a girl also thought to be aged 5 years old, dead in the small New South Wales town of Cowra.

New South Wales Police originally thought he was heading to Newcastle, New South Wales or Canberra, Australian Capital Territory and was believed to be driving in a silver Toyota Avalon.



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South Korean police clamp down on protests against US beef

South Korean police clamp down on protests against US beef

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Protesters hold a candlelight vigil against U.S. beef imports on May 3.

Monday, June 30, 2008

South Korean authorities are refusing to allow more protests against the government’s decision to allow beef imports from the United States, after hundreds of people were injured in clashes with riot police overnight Saturday.

Around 300 police buses blocked protesters from entering the plaza in front of Seoul City Hall on Sunday, where a candlelight vigil was scheduled for that night. Any rally held after sunset without police permission is considered illegal. Nevertheless, the daily vigils have continued for weeks, with as many as 80,000 in attendance.

After the plaza was sealed off, a group of about 1,700 protesters gathered in nearby streets, chanting slogans that urged President Lee Myung-Bak to cancel his decision allowing U.S. beef imports. Around 70 people were detained by police for illegally occupying roads, South Korean news agency Yonhap reported, but no major clashes occurred.

Over 200 protesters and police officers were injured in Saturday’s protests. The demonstration turned violent when some protesters tried to drag away police buses used to prevent entry into Cheongwadae, the President’s house. Riot police responded by spraying water cannons and fire extinguishers at the protesters, who threw stones, water bottles and eggs at police.

Cquote1.svg The candle-lit vigils, which were initially peaceful, have mutated into violent protests organized by a small faction. Cquote2.svg

—Kim Kyung Han, Minister of Justice

Government officials said they would not tolerate violent, illegal demonstrations. “The candle-lit vigils, which were initially peaceful, have mutated into violent protests organized by a small faction,” said Justice Minister Kim Kyung Han. He vowed to “chase those who instigate violent protests” and “bring them to justice”. Kim warned that the government might begin using water laced with tear gas against protesters, even though tear gas has been banned since 1999.

In April, President Lee Myung-Bak agreed to resume the importing of U.S. beef, which was banned in 2003 after the United States discovered its first case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or mad cow disease. Lee has faced a major backlash from this decision, amid fears of the possible spread of this sometimes fatal disease. He was forced to publicly apologize, and all but one of his top advisers were fired.

Jang Dae-hyun, a spokesman for the protesters, suggested that the police should stop using harsh tactics against protesters, which he says would lead to less violence. “We’ve been supporting peaceful rallies, but the police crackdown is too harsh,” Jang said. One protester, Kim In-seok, stated, “We are just here to express our opinions. I can’t understand why this government tries to ban our rally.”

On Monday, police raided the offices of two civic groups that have led the rallies. Documents, computers, pickets, flags, and other materials relating to the demonstrations were confiscated, and the leader of the group AntiMadCow was arrested on charges of staging illegal rallies, Yonhap reported.



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President Bush signs $162 billion war funding bill

President Bush signs $162 billion war funding bill

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Monday, June 30, 2008

Bush delivers a statement in the Oval Office after signing the bill. With him from left are: John Negroponte, Robert Gates, James Peake, and John P. Walters.

United States President George W. Bush today signed a bill providing $162 billion for the war efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan, which intends to fund the wars for the rest of Bush’s term and well into the first year of the new President’s term.

In addition to war funds, the bill includes educational benefits for young troops and veterans, a 13-week extension of unemployment benefits, $2.7 billion in emergency relief for victims of the Midwest floods, and billions of dollars for items such as international food aid, anti-drug enforcement, and repairs of Louisiana levees.

At a ceremony in the White House’s Oval Office, Bush praised the legislation as a necessary product of bipartisanship. “I appreciate that Republicans and Democrats in Congress agreed to provide these vital funds without tying the hands of our commanders, and without an artificial timetable of withdrawal from Iraq.” Bush said. “This bill shows the American people that even in an election year, Republicans and Democrats can come together to stand behind our troops and their families.”

Although not mentioned by Bush in his statement, the bill also waives an older law that restricted America’s capacity to finance the removal of nuclear weapons in North Korea. “The absence of the waiver could have led to an embarrassing situation where progress on dismantling North Korea’s nuclear program would have been delayed because of a technicality,” said Leonor Tomero of the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation. North Korea was recently removed from a U.S. list of countries that sponsor terrorism, as a reward for turning over all documents relating to the country’s nuclear program.

For months, the Democrats and Republicans in Congress had argued over the bill, forcing several compromises to be made in the form of amendments. One of these amendments, the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2008, can be described as a modern version of the World War II-era G.I. Bill. It provides lower college tuition costs for war veterans, which was originally opposed by Bush and Senate Republicans, including Presidential candidate John McCain. The Republicans conceded after Democrats agreed to add “transferability” to the bill, which allows veterans to transfer the benefits to family members.

Senate Democratic majority leader Harry Reid commented on the bill, saying, “At a time when 2 million men and women have fought in Iraq and Afghanistan and when our troops have had to endure multiple deployments … and an unclear strategy, giving them the opportunity to fuel our future economy is the least we can do.”

With the passing of this bill, Congress has provided $650 billion for the Iraq War effort, and nearly $200 billion for war operations in Afghanistan.



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Man auctions his life on eBay, is disappointed at sale price

Man auctions his life on eBay, is disappointed at sale price

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Monday, June 30, 2008

eBay headquarters in San Jose, California.
Image: Denis Grgečić Valput.

After auctioning off his entire life on eBay for A$399,300 (€244 912.148) Ian Usher says he is “a little bit disappointed” at the final selling price.

The 44-year-old British immigrant living in Perth, Australia, put all of his worldly belongings up for sale on the popular auction website, including his three-bedroom house and all its contents, his car, motorcycle, jetski, skydiving gear, and his job at a rug store, for which he offered a two week trial period. He even offered introductions to his friends living in Perth.

Usher made the decision to sell his life after his five-year marriage suddenly ended. On his website, alife4sale.com, he explains that “despite my life being busy and fulfilled, I still miss my wife so much. Everything in my home is a reminder of the wonderful past we shared. So, after a year in this house I decided that it is time to sell it and move on.”

Cquote1.svg It was as much about moving on as it was about selling it for as much as I could get. Cquote2.svg

—Ian Usher

During the 7 day auction, which ended on Sunday, there were several bogus bids which brought the sale price as high as A$2.2 million, but the final price ended up at A$399,300, which was around A$100,000 less than Usher had hoped for. “I’m a little bit disappointed, but I’m still excited. It’s still enough to move forward and do what I said I was going to do, which is move on to the next part of my life,” Usher said. “It was as much about moving on as it was about selling it for as much as I could get.”

According to Reuters, the winning bidder, whose username is “mslmcc”, also lives in Australia, and has a 100 percent feedback rating. Usher says he hasn’t yet been able to figure out who the buyer is, because of the TV crews lined up in front of his home. “I’m trying to find some time to get on the computer and check it out … I haven’t looked (up) anything about them yet,” he said.

Usher now plans to go off in search of a new life. His initial plan, as he describes on his website, was to just walk out his front door with just his wallet and a passport and board a train, with no idea of where to go. He has since launched 100goals100weeks.com, which will document his attempt to complete 100 of his life goals in a span of 100 weeks. Some of these goals include getting a pilot’s license, climbing the Eiffel Tower, learning to play the didgeridoo, and shaking hands with billionaire Richard Branson.

“I was pretty aimless when I started this, and I had a vague notion of adventure, but I’ve come up with a much more solid plan, which is still very adventurous,” Usher says. He invites anyone who is interested to join him on his adventures.



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Kenyan Prime Minister calls for suspension of Mugabe from African Union

Kenyan Prime Minister calls for suspension of Mugabe from African Union

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Monday, June 30, 2008

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Raila Odinga, the Kenyan Prime Minister, has said that Robert Mugabe should be suspended from the African Union until he allows free elections to take place in his country.

He has said that the AU “should suspend him [Mugabe] and send peace forces to Zimbabwe to ensure free and fair elections.”

Odinga continued, “[The] African Union will be setting a dangerous precedent if Mugabe is allowed to participate in its meetings,” he said. “Right now Mugabe is a crisis, they have no president with legitimacy to run the country.”

Robert Mugabe was recently under a large amount of pressure to postpone the election after the main opposition candidate, Morgan Tsvangirai, pulled out due to fears of violence. For example, Ban Ki-moon, secretary general of the United Nations, yesterday called for the election to be postponed. He said that he “strongly supports the statement of the Chairman of SADC (Southern African Development Community) that conditions do not exist for a run-off election to be held at this time and that they should be postponed.”

Mugabe yesterday claimed the current results show that he will have a ‘sweeping victory’ in the unopposed presidential run-off elections. He announced his victory on one of the state run television networks. “The returns show that we are winning convincingly, that we have won in all the 26 constituencies in Harare, an MDC stronghold where we won in only one constituency in March.”

As an African Union summit began in Egypt today, Mugabe took his seat among other African heads of state hours after declaring victory in the election. His appearance at the summit generated different reactions, from being hailed as a “hero” by the President of Gabon, to U.N. Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro‘s remarks calling the situation in Zimbabwe “an extremely grave crisis”.

Mugabe, now in his sixth term as President, arrived in the Egyptian city of Sharm el-Sheikh on Monday. Despite criticism from the African Union’s election observers, who said the election fell short of their standards, Mugabe was reportedly warmly received at the summit. One delegate, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Mugabe was seen hugging other African leaders after the opening session.

Delegates at the convention discussed the elections, but largely avoided direct criticism of Mugabe or the government. Jakaya Kekwete, the Tanzanian President chairing the summit, said, “We would like to congratulate the Zimbabwean people for their successes but we would also like to express our commiserations for their suffering.” A draft resolution being considered for adoption on Tuesday calls for negotiations and an end to violence, but also does not directly criticize Mugabe or the election.

George Sibotshiwe, a spokesman for Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change, said he hopes that the summit would take stronger measures during Tuesday sessions. “I would hope that the nature of what happened in Zimbabwe warrants a strong response and a lot of the leaders are taking our problems into consideration,” he said.



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Iran building collapse kills 19

Iran building collapse kills 19 – Wikinews, the free news source

Iran building collapse kills 19

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Monday, June 30, 2008

Iran
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A building in Iran’s capital Tehran collapsed today and killed at least 19 people. The fate of a twentieth person is unknown.

The victims were all labourers living inside the building, which is reported to have been in a seriously unstable condition for a month, with occupants refusing to comply with evacuation requests. The early morning disaster in the Sa’adatabad district reduced the building to rubble in seconds.

The seven story building was described by The Canadian Press as ‘dilapidated’.

Five people have been arrested, including the owner and contractors. Iranian state media promised that those responsible would be dealt with severely.



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Five die in New Mexico single-engine plane crash

Five die in New Mexico single-engine plane crash

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Monday, June 30, 2008

A file photo of a typical 206

A small plane has crashed at a New Mexico airport killing five people. The Cessna U206F (tail number N2905Q) had just taken off when it crashed at the Santa Rosa Route 66 Airport.

The plane caught fire after the crash. It was a single-engined private aircraft headed for Chicago and Federal Aviation Administration records show it was registered in Gilbert.

The deceased have been taken to the New Mexico Office of the Medical Investigator in Albuquerque. Their names have not been released until they are formally identified.

Investigations are ongoing.



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Euro 2008: Germany vs. Spain

Euro 2008: Germany vs. Spain – Wikinews, the free news source

Euro 2008: Germany vs. Spain

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Monday, June 30, 2008

June 29, 2008
Germany Flag of Germany.svg 0 – 1 Flag of Spain.svg Spain Ernst Happel Stadion, Vienna
Attendance: 51,428
Referee: Roberto Rosetti
Kevin Kurányi Booked
Michael Ballack Booked
Scored after 33 minutes 33′ Fernando Torres
Fernando Torres Booked
Iker Casillas Booked

Spanish fans are getting excited in Vienna’s “fan zone”.

Spain has won its first UEFA European Football Championship since 1964 by defeating Germany in the final match.

Fernando Torres scored the lone goal of the match in the 33rd minute. The match started at 19:45 UTC, and although the score was only 1-0, BBC Sport has reported that Spain dominated the match.

Germany got close to scoring at some points in the game, one shot by German captain Michael Ballack missed the goal by a narrow margin.



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Boeing 767 cargo plane seriously damaged by fire at San Francisco

Boeing 767 cargo plane seriously damaged by fire at San Francisco

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Monday, June 30, 2008

A file photo of a typical 767 fitted out for passenger flights

A Boeing 767 cargo jetliner (tail number: N799AX) has been seriously damaged by a fire that broke out Saturday evening shortly after 22:00 PDT (UTC-7). It took two hours to extinguish the fire on board the Airborne Express aircraft, which was parked at a mail processing area of San Francisco International Airport in California, United States.

Airborne Express Flight 1611 had arrived earlier and since then was parked at an area that a Federal Aviation Administration described as “far away from regular traffic,” known as Plot No. 11. The fire broke out behind the cockpit, which contained two pilots at the time who were able to escape the fire.

Roads around the airport were closed for ten minutes while crews responded, and 100 people were evacuated from a nearby building. The fire was described as intense and producing thick amounts of black smoke. Airport Duty Manager Lilly Wang said of the damage, “You can actually see through the top of the aircraft. It spread all the way through.”

An investigation into the cause is underway. It is unclear if there was cargo on board at the time. No injuries were reported.



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Arizona helicopter collision kills six

Arizona helicopter collision kills six – Wikinews, the free news source

Arizona helicopter collision kills six

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Monday, June 30, 2008

Health
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Two medical helicopters en route to Flagstaff Medical Center reportedly crashed into each other near Flagstaff Arizona, United States, leaving six of the seven passengers dead, and one, a nurse, seriously injured.

A Bell 407 helicopter on land

At least one passenger of three on a Bell 407 helicopter operated by Air Methods Corp. was reported to be a patient. The other helicopter, also a Bell 407, operated by Classic Helicopters, Ltd., carried four passengers who are all dead except for one with serious injures. Spokesperson Matt Stein of Classic Helicopters said that the patient on board the helicopter they operated was being lifted from a medical emergency on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.

The helicopters collided at about 3:45 pm PDT (22:45 UTC), according to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and crashed about half a mile (800 metres) from the hospital. The helicopters crashed into a forested hillside, igniting a fire that burned about ten to fifteen acres (four to six hectares) of land, but was contained quickly by rescue workers.

Two medical rescue workers were released from a hospital after an explosion of one of the helicopters on the ground. Reuters was told by Sergeant Tom Boughner that “They were treated for minor burns injuries and were released from the hospital in good condition”.

Downtown Flagstaff, Arizona

Flagstaff is a city near the centre of Arizona in the United States. The surrounding areas north-east, west, and south-west are lined with hillsides. The city is just south-east of the popular tourist attraction, the Grand Canyon.

Classic Helicopters states that their pilot had over 10,000 hours of experience and this is the first fatal incident they’ve had. The FAA is performing an investigation of the incident.


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