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December 9, 2008

Wikinews Shorts: December 9, 2008

Wikinews Shorts: December 9, 2008 – Wikinews, the free news source

Wikinews Shorts: December 9, 2008

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A compilation of brief news reports for Tuesday, December 9, 2008.

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US media group Tribune files for bankruptcy protection

Tribune Company logo.png

The United States media group Tribune Company has filed for bankruptcy protection on Monday as it struggled to sort out its US$13 billion debt. It is the second-largest newspaper publisher in the United States, responsible for the Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times, among others.

The firm has been hit hard by the industry-wide slump in newspaper advert revenues this year. Sam Zell, the billionaire who owns Tribune, took out large loans in order to buy the firm back in June of 2007.

The United States Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection law states that a company can continue trading whilst it sorts out its finances.

Sources


Quebec votes in general election

Quebec

The Quebec general election is underway in the Canadian province of Quebec. Premier Jean Charest called the elections, saying he needed a majority to guide Quebec through a period of economic difficulties caused by the worldwide financial crisis.

Polls indicate that the Charest may obtain a majority, with support for his Quebec Liberal Party increasing to 45%, while support for the Parti Québécois remains at around 30%.

The polls will close at 01:00 GMT (20:00 local time), and the results will probably come in soon after that.

Sources


Bailout for US automakers nears agreement

Ford headquarters

The United States government is reportedly close to an agreement for a US$15 billion bailout plan for the country’s three largest auto firms.

According to a draft obtained by the Associated Press, the deal would give loans to Detroit’s struggling Big Three automobile manufacturers — Ford, General Motors, and Chrysler — but under the condition that the auto industry restructures itself to survive. Another condition is that the incumbent US President, George W. Bush, would appoint an overseer to supervise the effort.

Analysts suggest that the agreement could be signed into law by the end of this week.

Sources



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US Supreme Court dismisses appeal on Obama\’s citizenship

US Supreme Court dismisses appeal on Obama’s citizenship

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Tuesday, December 9, 2008

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The United States Supreme Court on Monday denied “without opinion” an emergency appeal or certiorari case filed by applicant retired attorney Leo Donofrio, an East Brunswick, New Jersey voter who raised the legal issue on whether president-elect Barack Obama was a “natural born” American at the time of the election. He alleged that Obama had dual nationality at birth, because of his Kansas-born mother and his Kenyan-born father, who was a British subject at the time. Obama’s birth certificate states he was born in Hawaii in August 1961, two years after the Hawaii Admission Act.

United States Supreme Court building

In November 2008, Donofrio’s injunction application was filed with the Supreme Court of New Jersey. The applications then went to the Supreme Court but it was denied by Justice David H. Souter. The petition was refiled and assigned to Justice Clarence Thomas, who submitted the case to the Court for Conference on December 5.

The United States Constitution’s 14th amendment clearly defines the law on American citizenship: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.” Statutes passed since the constitution are more detailed about who is a citizen at birth. Those born “inside the United States, or in a US possession if one parent is a citizen and lived in the United States for at least a year, or outside the United States to at least one US-citizen parent who has lived in the US for a minimum of five years” are deemed US citizens. However, according to the Constitution, only natural born citizens are eligible for the Presidency.

Amid more pending lower courts cases, two other lawsuits were appealed to the US Supreme Court, though neither is yet scheduled for conference. The Boston Globe reported that a federal judge in Philadelphia threw out a lawsuit in October, for lack of legal standing. Lafayette Hill, Pennsylvania voter Philip J. Berg alleged “that Obama was born in Kenya, not Hawaii as Obama says and Hawaii officials have confirmed; and that Obama also may be a citizen of Indonesia, where he lived as a boy.” Federal courts in Ohio and Washington state have dismissed similar citizenship cases against Obama.” In “Philip J. Berg v. Barack Obama, et al.”, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit’s Justice Souter denied the injunction on December 9.

In the new case of “Cort Wrotnowski v. Susan Bysiewicz, Connecticut Secretary of State,” Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg denied Wrotnowski’s injunction application, which was thereafter refiled and assigned to Justice Antonin Scalia. The case was distributed for Conference of December 12. The Washington Times reported that Wrotnowski, a prodigious author and a health-food store owner in Greenwich, Conn. raised the issue of “whether the British citizenship of Mr. Obama’s father makes the president-elect ineligible to assume the office.”



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Two-plane crash in Florida kills four

Two-plane crash in Florida kills four – Wikinews, the free news source

Two-plane crash in Florida kills four

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Tuesday, December 9, 2008

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Four people were killed on Saturday when two small planes collided in midair over the Florida Everglades.

Broward County Sheriff’s Office is reporting that the dead include Bryan Sax, 37, of Aspen, Colorado, Andrew Marc Rossignol, 21, of Stuart, Florida, Stuart Brown, 25, of Pembroke Pines, Florida, and Edson Jefferson, 30, of Miramar, Florida.

The accident happened Saturday afternoon 2.7 miles southwest of Everglades Holiday Park, according to Broward Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Veda Coleman-Wright.

A Cessna 172, similar to one of the planes involved in the accident.
Image: Arnaud 25.

Both planes took off from their respective airports at 3:30 PM Eastern Time (20:30 UTC). Rossignol and Sax were flying in a 1979 twin-engine Piper PA-44 Seminole, from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, which was headed to a practice area near Opa-locka Airport, when they collided with Brown and Jefferson, who were flying a 1997 single-engine Cessna 172R that had departed from North Perry Airport.

Kathleen Bergen, a spokeswoman for the Federal Aviation Administration, has stated that neither pilot filed a flight plan, which was not required, because the planes were flying under visual flight rules, meaning that pilots were responsible to watch for other planes.

The owners of the two planes reported them missing early Sunday after they failed to return. Florida state officials were made aware of the accident, and the search began. A Coast Guard Dolphin search-and-rescue helicopter discovered three separate debris fields at 8:00 AM, according to Coleman-Wright. Following this discovery, the Sheriff’s Office deployed air boats into the area due to accessibility issues.

The bodies were recovered and identified by Monday morning, much to the relief of some relatives. Rohan Brown, cousin of Stuart Brown commented that “the whole family is thankful for that.”

Both Brown and Jefferson were originally from Jamaica, and Brown aspired to fly for his country’s airline.

Sax, taking advanced flight training, was the passenger in the Piper.

Piloting the Piper was Rossignol, who grew up in Biddeford, Maine, and was following in the family profession as his father, Richard Rossignol, is a commercial airline pilot for Continental Airlines.

His brother Matt Rossignol said that “he loved flying because my father’s a pilot. He wanted to become a commercial airline pilot and sit next to my dad, as co-pilot.”



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IWF reverses censorship of Wikipedia

IWF reverses censorship of Wikipedia – Wikinews, the free news source

IWF reverses censorship of Wikipedia

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Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Wikimedia-logo.svg This article mentions the Wikimedia Foundation, one of its projects, or people related to it. Wikinews is a project of the Wikimedia Foundation.
Internet
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On December 7, Wikinews first reported that some Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in the United Kingdom, were filtering access to an image and an article on the popular, free online encyclopedia Wikipedia, amid allegations that they contain child pornography. The filter was brought into play by the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF), which has stated that today they have removed the ban.

Users attempting to access the page on the Virgin Killer album, or the image itself, have been subjected to it not loading, 404 pages, or messages explaining the block.

The IWF said, in a statement on its website, that “the decision has been taken to remove this webpage from our list.” However, the organization does maintain that “the image in question is potentially in breach of the Protection of Children Act 1978.”

At approximately 19:45 UTC, the ban was removed for customers of Virgin Media, who were previously unable to access the Virgin Killer article or the associated image.

The image and article in question is that of the 1976 album Virgin Killer, a studio album by the Scorpions, a German rock band. The controversy began after the image of the album’s original cover, which depicted a naked prepubescent girl, was reported to the IWF in early December. Wikinews first discovered the controversial image in May 2008 after there were several attempts to delete it on Wikipedia. The image had been blocked because the IWF considered it to be “potentially illegal”. As a result, the IWF have contacted authorities in the United States and in the UK.

British visitors to Wikipedia can now see the full article and the associated image
Image: Wikipedia.

The measures applied redirect Wikipedia-bound traffic from a significant portion of the UK’s Internet population through a small number of servers which can log and filter the content that is available to the end user. A serious side-effect of this is the inability of administrators on Wikimedia sites to block vandals and other troublemakers without potentially impacting hundreds of thousands of innocent contributors who are working on the sites in good faith.

Contributors or individuals attempting to view an affected image or file, depending on their ISP, may get a warning saying, “we have blocked this page because, according to the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF), it contains indecent images of children or pointers to them; you could be breaking UK law if you viewed the page.”. Other ISPs provide blank pages, 404 errors, or other means of blocking the content.

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Governor of Illinois arrested on suspicion of corruption

Filed under: United States — admin @ 5:00 am

Governor of Illinois arrested on suspicion of corruption

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Tuesday, December 9, 2008

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The Democratic governor of Illinois in the United States, Rod Blagojevich, 51, along with his chief of staff John Harris, 46, were arrested Tuesday morning by the FBI on federal corruption charges.

Rod Blagojevich.
Image: United States Congress.

The Chicago Tribune reports that federal agents raided Blagojevich’s home this morning and took him into federal custody. The arrest comes after a three-year investigation into Blagojevich’s “pay-to-play politics.”

Specifically, the Department of Justice alleged that Blagojevich attempted to sell the Senate seat previously held by President-elect Barack Obama. Blagojevich, as governor, has the sole authority to appoint someone to complete Obama’s term. Authorities believe the process to select a new senator was tainted after authorities secretly recorded several of Blagojevich’s conversations. They believe that he was attempting to sell the seat in exchange for financial benefit for himself and his wife.

Documents from the FBI and from U.S. attorney Patrick Fitzgerald identify the people whom Blagojevich was considering as Senate Candidates 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5. According to Fitzgerald’s press release, Blagojevich told an advisor that he wanted to “get some (money) up front, maybe.”

In Illinois, a new state ethics law will take effect on January 1, 2009, so Blagojevich was trying to embezzle as much money as he could before that date, said Fitzgerald.

Authorities also believe that Blagojevich was trying to withhold state financial assistance from the owner of the Tribune, the Tribune Company, which recently filed for bankruptcy protection. They allege he was trying to get members of the editorial board of the Chicago Tribune fired by threatening to complicate the sale of Wrigley Field by Tribune Company.

On December 8, Blagojevich responded to the reports that federal authorities had wiretapped his phone conversations, saying that “I should say if anybody wants to tape my conversations, go right ahead, feel free to do it. I can tell you that whatever I say is always lawful and the things I’m interested in are always lawful.”

If convicted, Blagojevich could face up to 30 years in prison and $500,000 in fines.

This is not the first time in Illinois history that a governor has been arrested for corruption charges. In 2006, George Ryan was indicted and is now serving a 6½-year prison term.



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Alleged 9-11 conspirators will confess and plead guilty

Alleged 9-11 conspirators will confess and plead guilty

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Tuesday, December 9, 2008

In proceedings by the Guantanamo military commission at the United States Guantanamo Bay Naval Base on Monday, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four alleged co-conspirators stated that they will confess and plead guilty to the charges they face in the planning and execution of the September 11 attacks in 2001.

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed shortly after his capture in 2002.

The four that stand accused with Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged mastermind, are Mustafa al-Hawsawi, Ramzi Binalshibh, Ammar al-Baluchi (aka Ali Abd al-Aziz Ali), and Walid bin ‘Attash. They have all been at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp for at least two years.

The defendants announced their intentions in court, with Stephen R. Henley reading their filing.

The judge asked if they would plead guilty. “Yes,” said Mohammed, “we don’t want to waste time.” He also said it was “our earnest desire” to admit guilt and said he wanted the proceeding to end because “I do not trust Americans.”

Mohammed also expressed displeasure that it took over a month for the court to address his filing requesting “an immediate hearing session to announce our confessions.” In court he said, “I don’t know — are the military commissions using carrier pigeons or what?” speaking in English.

New York City on September 11, 2001.

The judge would not accept pleas from Binalshibh and al-Hawsawi, ordering mental competency hearings for the two.

Al Hawsawi objected and told the judge he decided to plead guilty “with all my complete mental capacity and voluntarily.”

However, Mohammed told the judge they would not enter their pleas without Binalshibh and al-Hawsawi, “We want everyone to plead together.”

“Our plea was based on joint strategy,” al-Baluchi told the judge. “All of these decisions are undertaken by us without any pressure or influence by Khalid Sheikh [Mohammed],” he further said. “What was said or will be said by Khalid Sheikh will be repeated by us, also.”

After the competency evaluations, another hearing will be held, where the five may enter their pleas. Presiding Officer Stephen Henley asked for briefs from prosecutors on whether the military commission can “accept a plea of guilty to a capital offense.”

Monday’s hearing was unusual in that, in addition to the press, the families of five 9/11 victims were also in attendance.



Related news

  • “Five of six accused over 9/11 to be tried; charges against ’20th hijacker’ dropped” — Wikinews, May 13, 2008

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Quebec\’s Liberal premier Jean Charest wins third term

Quebec’s Liberal premier Jean Charest wins third term

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Tuesday, December 9, 2008

File:Charrest.jpg

Jean Charest.
(Image missing from commons: image; log)

In the Quebec general election held in the Canadian province of Quebec on December 8, 2008, premier Jean Charest was elected for his third mandate, and formed a majority government of Quebec.

This is the first time since the 1950’s, Maurice Duplessis and the Union Nationale that a party and/or leader has been elected to a third consecutive mandate, and the first for the Liberals since the 1920’s and Premier Taschereau. The ruling Liberals have won a slim majority, taking 66 of the provincial legislature’s 125 seats, while the separatist Parti Quebecois (PQ), led by Pauline Marois, finished second, and took 51 seats.

John James Charest, PC MNA, is a Canadian lawyer and politician from the province of Quebec and a former leader of the federal Progressive Conservative Party (1993–1998), the current leader of the Quebec Liberal Party, and the 29th and current Premier of Quebec. In November 5, 2008, seeing a chance to win a majority, Charest called a snap election for December 8. His party captured a slim majority of seats in the election.

Meanwhile, Action democratique du Quebec leader Mario Dumont announced that he will be leaving politics: “You will not be surprised to hear me tell you that I will not be at the head of my party during the next general election in Quebec. It is with much passion that I have served Quebec for more than 14 years as an MNA and more than 20 years as a party activist. I have loved what I did, but the time has come for me to turn the page.”

Parti Quebecois leader Pauline Marois claims that the PQ is a big winner, for she greatly improved on the party’s 2007 disastrous performance: “Today we form the strongest Official Opposition since the Quiet Revolution. Tonight we have been reminded that the Parti Quebecois is a great party. It is a party that has rediscovered its fire […] Even if we are a little disappointed tonight, the great dream we have for Quebec is very much alive.”



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US Supreme Court dismisses appeal on Obama’s citizenship

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

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The United States Supreme Court on Monday denied “without opinion” an emergency appeal or certiorari case filed by applicant retired attorney Leo Donofrio, an East Brunswick, New Jersey voter who raised the legal issue on whether president-elect Barack Obama was a “natural born” American at the time of the election. He alleged that Obama had dual nationality at birth, because of his Kansas-born mother and his Kenyan-born father, who was a British subject at the time. Obama’s birth certificate states he was born in Hawaii in August 1961, two years after the Hawaii Admission Act.

In November 2008, Donofrio’s injunction application was filed with the Supreme Court of New Jersey. The applications then went to the Supreme Court but it was denied by Justice David H. Souter. The petition was refiled and assigned to Justice Clarence Thomas, who submitted the case to the Court for Conference on December 5.

The United States Constitution’s 14th amendment clearly defines the law on American citizenship: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.” Statutes passed since the constitution are more detailed about who is a citizen at birth. Those born “inside the United States, or in a US possession if one parent is a citizen and lived in the United States for at least a year, or outside the United States to at least one US-citizen parent who has lived in the US for a minimum of five years” are deemed US citizens. However, according to the Constitution, only natural born citizens are eligible for the Presidency.

Amid more pending lower courts cases, two other lawsuits were appealed to the US Supreme Court, though neither is yet scheduled for conference. The Boston Globe reported that a federal judge in Philadelphia threw out a lawsuit in October, for lack of legal standing. Lafayette Hill, Pennsylvania voter Philip J. Berg alleged “that Obama was born in Kenya, not Hawaii as Obama says and Hawaii officials have confirmed; and that Obama also may be a citizen of Indonesia, where he lived as a boy.” Federal courts in Ohio and Washington state have dismissed similar citizenship cases against Obama.” In “Philip J. Berg v. Barack Obama, et al.”, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit‘s Justice Souter denied the injunction on December 9.

In the new case of “Cort Wrotnowski v. Susan Bysiewicz, Connecticut Secretary of State,” Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg denied Wrotnowski’s injunction application, which was thereafter refiled and assigned to Justice Antonin Scalia. The case was distributed for Conference of December 12. The Washington Times reported that Wrotnowski, a prodigious author and a health-food store owner in Greenwich, Conn. raised the issue of “whether the British citizenship of Mr. Obama’s father makes the president-elect ineligible to assume the office.”


Sources

  • Tom Ramstack “Justices to mull Obama citizenship again”. The Washington Times (DC), December 10, 2008
  • Stephanie Salter “Endless line of lawsuits challenges Obama’s natural born-ness”. The Tribune-Star, December 9, 2008
  • “Cort Wrotnowski v. Susan Bysiewicz, Connecticut Secretary of State (No. 08A469)”. www.supremecourtus.gov/docket, December 9, 2008
  • “Philip J. Berg v. Barack Obama, et al. (No. 08-570)”. supremecourtus.gov/docket, December 9, 2008
  • “US Supreme Court refuses to take up Obama citizenship case”. Agence France-Presse, December 9, 2008
  • Robert Barnes “Supreme Court Declines To Hear Challenge”. The Washington Post, December 9, 2008
  • “Supreme Court turns down appeal on Obama’s citizenship”. The Boston Globe, December 9, 2008
  • Michael Doyle “Challenge to Obama is rejected, Justices declined to take citizenship case”. The Philadelphia Inquirer, December 9, 2008
  • “Docket for 08A407, Leo C. Donofrio, Applicant. v. Nina Mitchell Wells, New Jersey Secretary of State”. Supreme Court of the United States, December 8, 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.

Quebec’s Liberal premier Jean Charest wins third term

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

In the Quebec general election held in the Canadian province of Quebec on December 8, 2008, premier Jean Charest was elected for his third mandate, and formed a majority government of Quebec.

This is the first time since the 1950’s, Maurice Duplessis and the Union Nationale that a party and/or leader has been elected to a third consecutive mandate, and the first for the Liberals since the 1920’s and Premier Taschereau. The ruling Liberals have won a slim majority, taking 66 of the provincial legislature’s 125 seats, while the separatist Parti Quebecois (PQ), led by Pauline Marois, finished second, and took 51 seats.

John James Charest, PC MNA, is a Canadian lawyer and politician from the province of Quebec and a former leader of the federal Progressive Conservative Party (1993–1998), the current leader of the Quebec Liberal Party, and the 29th and current Premier of Quebec. In November 5, 2008, seeing a chance to win a majority, Charest called a snap election for December 8. His party captured a slim majority of seats in the election.

Meanwhile, Action democratique du Quebec leader Mario Dumont announced that he will be leaving politics: “You will not be surprised to hear me tell you that I will not be at the head of my party during the next general election in Quebec. It is with much passion that I have served Quebec for more than 14 years as an MNA and more than 20 years as a party activist. I have loved what I did, but the time has come for me to turn the page.”

Parti Quebecois leader Pauline Marois claims that the PQ is a big winner, for she greatly improved on the party’s 2007 disastrous performance: “Today we form the strongest Official Opposition since the Quiet Revolution. Tonight we have been reminded that the Parti Quebecois is a great party. It is a party that has rediscovered its fire […] Even if we are a little disappointed tonight, the great dream we have for Quebec is very much alive.”


Related news

Sources

  • Amy Luft “Quebec’s Liberal premier wins third term”. AFP, December 9, 2008
  • “Quebec Liberals win re-election”. BBC, December 9, 2008
  • Graeme Hamilton “Charest Liberals Win Slim Majority”. National Post, December 9, 2008


Image:Top-left-corner.png Canada Image:Top-right-corner.png
Location of Canada

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Other Canadian stories
…More articles here
 

 

 

 

To write, edit, start or view other Canadian articles, see the Canadian Portal  


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.

Quebec’s Liberal premier Jean Charest wins third term

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Other Canadian stories
…More articles here
Location of Canada

A map showing the location of Canada

Portal:Canada
To write, edit, start or view other Canada articles, see the Canada Portal

In the Quebec general election held in the Canadian province of Quebec on December 8, 2008, premier Jean Charest was elected for his third mandate, and formed a majority government of Quebec.

This is the first time since the 1950’s, Maurice Duplessis and the Union Nationale that a party and/or leader has been elected to a third consecutive mandate, and the first for the Liberals since the 1920’s and Premier Taschereau. The ruling Liberals have won a slim majority, taking 66 of the provincial legislature’s 125 seats, while the separatist Parti Quebecois (PQ), led by Pauline Marois, finished second, and took 51 seats.

John James Charest, PC MNA, is a Canadian lawyer and politician from the province of Quebec and a former leader of the federal Progressive Conservative Party (1993–1998), the current leader of the Quebec Liberal Party, and the 29th and current Premier of Quebec. In November 5, 2008, seeing a chance to win a majority, Charest called a snap election for December 8. His party captured a slim majority of seats in the election.

Meanwhile, Action democratique du Quebec leader Mario Dumont announced that he will be leaving politics: “You will not be surprised to hear me tell you that I will not be at the head of my party during the next general election in Quebec. It is with much passion that I have served Quebec for more than 14 years as an MNA and more than 20 years as a party activist. I have loved what I did, but the time has come for me to turn the page.”

Parti Quebecois leader Pauline Marois claims that the PQ is a big winner, for she greatly improved on the party’s 2007 disastrous performance: “Today we form the strongest Official Opposition since the Quiet Revolution. Tonight we have been reminded that the Parti Quebecois is a great party. It is a party that has rediscovered its fire […] Even if we are a little disappointed tonight, the great dream we have for Quebec is very much alive.”


Related news

Sources

  • Amy Luft “Quebec’s Liberal premier wins third term”. AFP, December 9, 2008
  • “Quebec Liberals win re-election”. BBC, December 9, 2008
  • Graeme Hamilton “Charest Liberals Win Slim Majority”. National Post, December 9, 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.
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