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December 4, 2008

Wikinews Shorts: December 4, 2008

Wikinews Shorts: December 4, 2008 – Wikinews, the free news source

Wikinews Shorts: December 4, 2008

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A compilation of brief news reports for Thursday, December 4, 2008.

Toronto, Canada bans bottled water in city facilities

Bottled water

On December 2, the Toronto city council voted in favor of banning the sales and distribution of bottled water on city property. The council also agreed to provide public drinking fountains on their properties, as well as on a measure that would make shoppers pay at least five Canadian cents for plastic grocery bags and force business owners to offer reusable bags and carry-out containers.

“Toronto’s decision to ban the bottle and turn on the tap sends a clear message that bottled water’s 15 minutes are up,” said Polaris Institute’s campaign coordinator, Joe Cressy.

All of the city’s facilities should be following the water ban by 2011, while businesses will have to implement their bag fees by 2010. Toronto has become the largest city in the world to ban bottled water on government property.

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Patrick Swayze denies reports that he is near death

Image credit: Alan Light

On Tuesday, American actor, Patrick Swayze, who suffers from pancreatic cancer, denied reports that he was near death. American tabloid National Inquirer reported on November 28 that Swayze’s cancer had spread to his liver and that he was preparing for his death.

“The only thorn in my side being that many tabloids have been consistently reporting lies and false information about me and those close to me,” said Swayze in a statement to the press who also added that he knows he is in “the fight for his life,” but that it is a fight that he “is winning.”

“I’m one of the lucky few that responds well to treatment,” added Swayze.

Swayze has starred in over a dozen films, including the 1987 hit film Dirty Dancing.

Related news

  • “Wikinews Shorts: November 28, 2008” — Wikinews, November 28, 2008

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Somalia in danger of famine

Filed under: Africa,Archived,Disasters and accidents,Health,Somalia — admin @ 5:00 am

Somalia in danger of famine – Wikinews, the free news source

Somalia in danger of famine

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Thursday, December 4, 2008

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Heavy violence, drought, and soaring food prices mean that half of the population of the African country of Somalia is in immediate need of food aid in order to prevent a famine, according to a new study.

Every sixth child under the age of five is acutely malnourished, and three and a quarter million people are in need of immediate aid, a number 77% higher than last year, according to the Food Security Analysis Unit (FSAU), which is based in Nairobi, Kenya.

Few aid agencies are able to operate in Somalia, due mainly to the high levels of violence there: almost one hundred ships being seized by pirates in Somali waters this year, and 23 aid workers have been killed in the country, with a further 18 abducted, in 2008 alone. Most international humanitarian staff have been forced to leave the country, and even Somali staff are finding it hard to function.

“The escalating conflict, civil insecurity, and instability in Somalia is now fueling an economic crisis that is beginning to have a wider and more devastating impact on the broader population,” said FSAU’s chief technical advisor, Cindy Holleman.

Alexandre Liebeskind, The International Red Cross’s East African division head, said that this crisis is comparable to the 1992 Somalia famine, in which between 202,000 and 238,000 people died of starvation. The Red Cross has called for the country’s borders to be opened, and for its residents to be allowed to cross and flee from the impending disaster.



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Lashkar-e-Toiba implicated in Mumbai attacks

Lashkar-e-Toiba implicated in Mumbai attacks

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Thursday, December 4, 2008

Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT), a militant Islamic fundamentalist group based in Pakistan, has been implicated in last week’s Mumbai attacks in India.

Rakesh Maria, a commissioner with the Mumbai Police, said that the sole surviving attacker, whom he identified as Mohammed Ajmal Kasab, has admitted spending three months in a Lashkar-e-Toiba camp preparing the attacks. Kasab, who is reported to be 21 years old, told police that he spent a total of eighteen months training at various LeT camps.

Some of the aftermath of the attacks
Image: Vinukumar Ranganathan.

Meanwhile, John Michael McConnell, the United States Director of National Intelligence, indirectly implicated LeT. In a speech at Harvard University, he said that the same group responsible for the 2006 Mumbai train bombings was behind last week’s attacks. LeT has also been blamed for the attack on the Parliament of India in late 2001

“The same group that we believe is responsible for Mumbai had a similar attack in 2006 on a train and killed a similar number of people,” said McConnell without naming LeT. “If you examine the groups we think are responsible, the philosophical underpinnings are very similar to what Al-Qaeda puts out as their view of how the world should be. It is a continuation.”

Commissioner Maria said that the training took place in Muzaffarabad, Pakistan, near the disputed Kashmir region. Kasab received very specific instructions, according to Maria.

Sites of the attacks in Mumbai

“He was told things like, ‘You’ll come in through this door, then go over here, then go out through that door,'” Maria told CNN’s Nic Robertson. “Very, very detailed, explicit instructions. The gunmen were hand-picked, but there were no examinations per se.”

India has also said that Kasab named known LeT leader, Yusuf Muzammil, as the mastermind behind the attacks.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice visited the Indian capital of New Delhi on Wednesday.

“Pakistan needs to act with resolve and urgency and cooperate fully and transparently,” said Rice. “That message has been delivered and will be delivered to Pakistan.”

Analysts cited by Reuters are saying that India will not resort to a military response over the Mumbai attacks.

“The military option has never been an option, because the military can’t guarantee you an outcome,” said Manoj Joshi, an editor at the Mail Today. “We have been there, done it, and it doesn’t work.” In 2002, India threatened military action after the parliament attack.

“If you want a solution to Afghanistan, you have to lean on Pakistan to shut down all jihadist operations,” said Siddharth Varadarajan, an editor at The Hindu. “You have to tackle the root cause, which is the attitude of the Pakistani military. That is the silver bullet.”



Related news

  • India’s Home Minister quits as first political fallout of Mumbai attacks” — Wikinews, December 1, 2008
  • “Mumbai sieges come to an end” — Wikinews, November 29, 2008
  • “Wikinews Shorts: November 28, 2008” — Wikinews, November 28, 2008
  • “Standoffs remain after Mumbai attacks” — Wikinews, November 27, 2008
  • “Multiple extremist attacks in Mumbai, India kill dozens, injure hundreds” — Wikinews, November 26, 2008

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Congressional panel concludes Gulf War Syndrome a legitimate condition

Congressional panel concludes Gulf War Syndrome a legitimate condition

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Thursday, December 4, 2008

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A study by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs presented to a Congressional panel on November 17, has confirmed that Gulf War Syndrome is a legitimate illness contracted by soldiers who took pyridostigmine bromide pills in order to counter the effects of nerve gas during the First Gulf War in Iraq. Several other factors likely contributed to Gulf War Syndrome, including excessive exposure to pesticides, mainly Permethrin and DEET, and chemical weapons residue caused by the American demolition of the Iraqi munitions depot in Khamisiyah.

The report estimates that about 1 out of every 4 veterans of the Gulf War are affected by this illness; this could mean anywhere between 175,000 and 210,000 soldiers are affected by the syndrome. The report also concluded that veterans exposed to the toxins spread by the destruction of the munitions depot have died of brain cancer at double the rate of other Gulf War veterans. Other problems associated with the condition are: fatigue, headaches, joint pain, rashes, breathing difficulty, forgetfulness, circulation problems, and cardiac troubles.

Gulf War Syndrome has been the focal point of veterans rights groups since the illness first became noticed in the early 1990s. The United States and British governments claimed that the illness was merely psychological trauma from war misinterpreted as an illness, and veterans could not receive medical coverage for the illness.

“I feel vindicated, but I’m angry. This is so long overdue,” said Denise Nichols, an advocate for veterans’ rights and a nurse who served during Operation Desert Storm. The National Gulf Veterans and Families Association (NGVFA) said that many veterans committed suicide after learning that the government did not recognize their illness as real.


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Canadian Parliament suspended

Filed under: Canada,North America,Politics and conflicts,Stephen Harper — admin @ 5:00 am

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Stephen Harper, official portrait

The Parliament of Canada has been suspended until January 26, 2009 by Prime Minster Stephen Harper. On Thursday, Harper obtained the consent of the Governor General, Michaëlle Jean, to prorogue, a parliamentary procedure which suspends the legislature without dissolving it. This prevents the Parliament from overthrowing the government and calling a new election.

Michaëlle Jean, file photo
Image: Agência Brasil.

A coalition of the Liberal Party of Canada and the New Democratic Party had looked ready to overthrow the Conservative Party of Canada‘s minority government led by Harper.

“The first order of business will be the presentation of a federal budget,” Harper told reporters outside of the Governor’s Rideau Hall residence. “Let’s get on with actually working on a package. That’s what I think Canadians want us to do, is work on the economy and work together, work together in the interest in Canada.”

Stéphane Dion, file photo
Image: ycanada_news.

Stéphane Dion, the leader of the Liberal Party, who was positioned to become the new Prime Minister, said the coalition would still seek to replace Harper barring a “monumental change” in his policies.

“For the first time in the history of Canada, the prime minister of Canada is running away from the Parliament of Canada,” Dion said. He said Harper has “placed partisan politics ahead of the interest of all Canadians.”


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Wikipedia
Wikipedia has an article about 2008 Canadian parliamentary dispute.
This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

Solar car travels the world

Thursday, December 4, 2008

On December 4, 2008, a solar car — developed by scientists at Swiss universities — ended its journey of traveling around the world at the United Nations climate talks in Poznań, Poland. Yvo de Boer, the Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, rode into Poznań in the vehicle.

The two-seat car, which carried schoolteacher Louis Palmer, began its journey 17 months ago in Lucerne, Switzerland. Carrying solar cells on a trailer, the car sent the message that global warming can be stopped and there are better alternatives.

“This is the first time in history that a solar-powered car has travelled all the way around the world without using a single drop of petrol,” said Palmer. “These new technologies are ready. It’s ecological, it’s economical, it is absolutely reliable. We can stop global warning.”

Many people have been carried by the solar car, including New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

Solar car travels the world
It’s ecological, it’s economical, it is absolutely reliable. We can stop global warning.
Solar car travels the world

—Louis Palmer

The conference in Poznan seeks to draft a new climate treaty that would replace the Kyoto protocol, which is set to expire in 2012. The delegates hope to finalize the treaty by December 2009, when the UN reconvenes on the climate in Copenhagen, Denmark.

“Here at the conference, we are talking about reducing emissions by 10 or 20 per cent,” Palmer said. “I want to show that we can reduce emissions by 100 per cent — and that’s what we need for the future.”


Sources

  • The Associated Press “Solar car completes 1st round-the-world trip”. CBC News, December 4, 2008
  • “Solar car completes 1st ever round-the-world trip”. Yahoo! News, December 4, 2008
This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

8th Philippine journalist killed this year

Thursday, December 4, 2008

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Leo Luna Mila, 35, a news anchorman and commentator of Radyo Natin, was gunned down Tuesday in Sitio (sub-village) Napiris, Barangay (village) Zone 3, Catarman, Northern Samar. Mila, who bore 12 gunshot wounds, is the 8th journalist murdered this year and the 62nd since 2001, when President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo came to power. As publisher of the local magazine Peryodista and host of another radio program “Bungkaras” (Wake Up), he had been critical of the New People’s Army’ forced taxation, having received threats through text messages last September.

The Philippine Daily Inquirer reported that Mila is the 8th journalist killed in the Philippines this year bringing to 122 the number of media people murdered since President Cory Aquino’ administration overthrew the Marcos dictatorship in 1986. The 7 other journalists slain this year are: Benedicto Acabal (April 7); Marcos Mataro (3 weeks later); Bert Sison (June 30); Dennis Cuesta (August 4); Martin Roxas (August 7); Ronaldo Julia (August 15); Aristeo Padrigao (November 17).

Meanwhile, the Department of Justice (Philippines)‘s Undersecretary Ricardo Blancaflor, chairman of the Task Force 211 – Against Political Violence and Extrajudicial killings and forced disappearances in the Philippines announced sending a probe team to Northern Samar: “I can assure you that the confidentiality of the information you will give will not be disclosed.”

Meanwhile, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) released its statement: “It is time for the central government, as well as local authorities, to promptly address the climate of impunity that is facilitating rising violence against Philippine journalists. Mila’s murder is a reminder that police throughout the Philippines must respond immediately with investigations and protection when journalists are threatened for their work.


Related news

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  • Romie A. Evangelista “Radio man killed in Samar”. Manila StandardToday (Philippines), December 4, 2008
  • Noel Alamar, dzMM “Hard-hitting radio commentator slain in Samar”. Abs-Cbn News (Philippines), December 4, 2008
  • Alexa Villano “LOCAL NEWS: IFJ: RP most dangerous country in Asia-Pacific for radio broadcasters”. Philstar.com (Philippines), December 4, 2008
  • Abigail Kwok, Rachel Arnaiz, Joey A. Gabieta “Broadcaster slain in N. Samar”. Inquirer.net (Philippines), December 3, 2008
  • “NY-based group prods RP to act on latest killing of journalist”. GmaNew.TV (Philippines), December 4, 2008
  • “Filipino radio journalist gunned down”. IHT (Global edition of NYT), December 3, 2008
  • “Radio journalist brutally killed in Philippines”. GulfNews (United Arab Emirates), December 3, 2008
  • “Radio commentator shot dead”. CPJ Press Freedom Online (New York, USA), December 3, 2008
  • Inquirer Research “[ 8 journalists killed this year]”. Philippine Daily Inquirer, Page A5, December 4, 2008
This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

Sunshine Coast Council ratifies McDonalds development

The 24 hour McDonalds at Mooloolaba

December 4, 2008

Sunshine Coast, QueenslandSunshine Coast Regional Council has formally ratified the rejection of the 24 hour McDonalds in Minyama. The decision comes after council rejected the proposal earlier this week at a general committee meeting.

Local member of federal parliament Peter Slipper has said that any new development be given serious and honest consideration to the various potential impacts on the community.

“This is important as society strives to balance the need for development with the need to support the lifestyle choices and wishes of residents,” said Mr Slipper.

Local residents who had opposed the development had support from local councilor Chris Thompson

“We already have a 24-hour McDonald’s at Mooloolaba, only one kilometre away, and there are already [anti-social] issues at that site,” said Councillor Chris Thompson.


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  • This article contains original reporting by Wikinews user RockerballAustralia. The reporting took place primarily on December 4, 2008 at Maroochydore, Queensland. Further details can be found on this talk page. If the user is accredited, you can verify their credentials.
  • “[ ]”. Sunshine Coast Daily,
  • Press Release: “[ ]”. [[w:|]],
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