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July 17, 2009

Wikinews interviews Mike Lebowitz, chairman of the U.S. Modern Whig Party

Wikinews interviews Mike Lebowitz, chairman of the U.S. Modern Whig Party

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Friday, July 17, 2009

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According to the Pew Research Center, a non-advocacy organization that evaluates issues, attitudes and trends shaping the political landscape of the United States, centrism is on the rise in America. According to Pew, the number of Americans identifying themselves as independents has reached the highest level in 70 years.

Recently 36% of Americans say they are independents, 35% identify as Democrats, while 23% see themselves as Republicans. Some people are abandoning the major parties, re-registering as independent or joining third parties.

One of these third parties are the Modern Whig Party (MWP), who have enjoyed phenomenal growth over the past year; from just 3,000 members last summer to 30,000 now. With the Party’s commitment to “fiscal responsibility” and “bold social progression”, several conservative Democrats and centrist Republicans have been attracted to it.

Wikinews reporter Joseph Ford recently spoke with the Modern Whig Party’s chairman, Mike Lebowitz, about the MWP’s history, present state and future prospects. “Our membership is comprised of people from all parts of the mainstream political spectrum,” Lebowitz explains. He says that the MWP has “pragmatic, realistic, and mainstream” approaches to the numerous issues facing America today.

“A number of print and broadcast media outlets have even gone so far as to proclaim that the Modern Whig Party is “potentially viable,” and “makes sense”,” Lebowitz points out. “We are building this organization realistically, methodically and gradually in an effort to get this right.”

He went on to say much more — including why he thinks you should consider leaving the GOP or the Dems for the MWP — in the interview below.

Interview

Wikinews

In a nutshell, what does the Modern Whig Party stand for?

Wikinews waves Left.pngChairman LebowitzWikinews waves Right.png Founded by Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, the Modern Whig Party represents a movement toward common sense, rational solutions ahead of partisan bickering and ideology.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.pngIs the MWP on the left or right end of the political spectrum?

Wikinews waves Left.pngCLWikinews waves Right.png The general principles of the Modern Whig Party relate to fiscal responsibility, strong national defense and bold social progression. Looking a bit deeper into our detailed vision, the organization takes pragmatic, realistic, and mainstream approaches to areas such as energy independence and tax disbursement that take into account the needs of corporate America along with everybody else. To this end, our membership is comprised of people from all parts of the mainstream political spectrum. This tells us that we may be on the right track for developing that elusive formula where voters of all political stripes can find common ground with one political movement.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.pngHow old is your party? Who founded it and why?

Wikinews waves Left.pngCLWikinews waves Right.png The historic Whig Party was a dominant political force that included such luminaries as Abraham Lincoln. So in that regard, the Whigs are one of the oldest political movements in the nation. The modern revival was conceived by American soldiers serving in Iraq, who in turn communicated via the Internet such ideas with fellow soldiers in Afghanistan. In Iraq and Afghanistan, soldiers have a lot of time to reflect. We watched how common sense rationality was being abandoned in favor of partisan bickering and decisions based solely on ideology. We noticed how the partisan fighting and ideological focus trumped common sense on not just military issues, but most other issues as well. This included traffic, education, trade, scientific development, fiscal soundness, energy independence, etc. Upon our return in 2006, we initially revived the Whig Party as a military advocacy organization on behalf of soldiers, veterans and military families. By 2008, we had attracted a group of military and non-military supporters to the point where we became a mainstream political organization. The historic Whigs represented a moderate, common sense movement focused on improving US infrastructure and education. In this regard, we found the Whigs to be an excellent fit in our modern context.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.pngOver the past few months, the Modern Whig Party has been steadily increasing in membership. Around this time last year, the MWP had under 5,000 members. Today, that number has grown to nearly 30,000. In your opinion, what is the reason for the MWP’s sudden and rapid increase and popularity? Do you expect it to continue growing at this pace?

Wikinews waves Left.pngCLWikinews waves Right.png As the word continues to get out about our organization, we do expect the Modern Whig Party to maintain its steady growth. A number of print and broadcast media outlets have even gone so far as to proclaim that the Modern Whig Party is “potentially viable,” and “makes sense.” Another outlet stated that this organization is the “fastest growing political movement in the nation.” Perhaps the main reason we continue to gain traction is that these media outlets are recognizing that the Modern Whig Party is attractive to moderate Democrats, independents and disenchanted Republicans. At the same time, we are building this organization realistically, methodically and gradually in an effort to get this right.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.pngHow exactly does the Modern Whig Party differ from America’s two largest political parties; the Republican and Democratic?

Wikinews waves Left.pngCLWikinews waves Right.png One important difference between the Modern Whig Party and the other two parties is that we look beyond partisan rivalry and will absolutely support a candidate or elected official from a different party if that person subscribes to a doctrine of common sense and rational solutions rather than ideology. We realize that most people are not limited to one distinct ideology and instead pick and choose based on specific issues.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.pngIs your party running any candidates for federal or statewide office in the 2010 midterm elections?

Wikinews waves Left.pngCLWikinews waves Right.png Our strategy is to refrain from trotting out as many candidates as possible just to lose. Instead, we are diverting our resources and focus to a relatively small group of initial candidates who bring quality and viability to the table. We are continuing the vetting process for our potential candidates. So far, we have two announced candidates running for office. A well-qualified candidate named Gene Baldassari is running for the New Jersey State Assembly in the 14th District. That election is November 2009. In addition, Paul McKain is running for Congress in Florida’s 2nd Congressional District. Paul McKain is a prominent entrepreneur, retired firefighter and recognized child-safety advocate who brings a wealth of down-to-earth experience and qualifications.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.pngCurrently, are there any elected officials in the United States that are members of the Modern Whig Party?

Wikinews waves Left.pngCLWikinews waves Right.png We have some prominent members who have signed onto this organization to include military generals, former GOP county/state officials and current/former elected officials on the local level. However, we do not have any elected officials on the Whig ticket as we still are a newly constituted political organization. In fact, many of our members remain on the GOP and Democratic rolls, which again, is something that we have no problems with as we continue to build.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.pngWhile the Modern Whig Party’s moderate standings are similar to those of many Americans, the majority of voters are wary of joining or supporting third parties. This is largely due to the massive – and often spectacular – failures of the Libertarian, Green, Constitution and Reform parties. None of these were ever able to gain mainstream notoriety and/or longevity. How do you plan to prevent the MWP from following the same path to destruction that these parties did?

Wikinews waves Left.pngCLWikinews waves Right.png The Modern Whig Party is essentially rewriting the book on building a viable, rational and realistic political movement. Third parties are actually similar to the GOP and Democrats in that they follow their own ideologies and remain unabashedly antagonistic toward opposing political organizations. In contrast, the Modern Whig Party will continue to focus on common sense, rational solutions ahead of such partisan bickering and ideology. At the same time, we are realistic as to the tough road ahead and understand that we are not entitled to members. This approach, along with our roots among our veterans, has proven to offer voters of all political stripes a viable, rational and non-fringe political home.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.pngBy the time of the next presidential election, do you expect the Modern Whig Party to be a major player in the American political arena?

Wikinews waves Left.pngCLWikinews waves Right.png You never know how events are going to develop. But nothing ever came out of doing nothing and we will continue to build and grow.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.pngRight now – more than any time in recent history – Americans are disgusted with both the Republican and Democratic parties. Many feel that the GOP went too far in their attempts to legislate morality and that the Democrats are plunging the nation into fiscal crisis. Why should the Modern Whig Party be considered a viable alternative to both of these?

Wikinews waves Left.pngCLWikinews waves Right.png When people take a look at what the Modern Whig Party has to offer, a lightbulb seems to go off. So it is clear that people want a political party that places common sense, realistic, and rational solutions ahead of partisan bickering and ideology. Our job now is to get the word out and show people that it is ok to sign on and support what we are working to build. There is a profound desire for a non-fringe political movement that caters to independent-minded people in a rational manner. Founded by Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, this organization is realistic and continues to catch on based on our recent history and political mentality.



Sources

Wikinews
This exclusive interview features first-hand journalism by a Wikinews reporter. See the collaboration page for more details.
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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.

French workers use threats in compensation demand

French workers use threats in compensation demand

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Friday, July 17, 2009 Following similar threats by workers at New Fabris and Nortel, workers at JLG in Tonneins, France, threatened to blow up several platform cranes. The JLG factory announced in April 2009 that it will fire 53 of its 163 workers by the end of 2009, while the remaining 110 jobs will not be secure over the next 2 years.

JLG Tonneins was acquired in 2006 with its parent JLG Industries, a maker of aerial work platforms, by the U.S.-based Oshkosh Corporation. Despite being hugely profitable in the past, production has been much reduced since 2008 with the contraction of the construction industry and lower demand for its products. Despite excellent past results the new American management demanded sweeping cuts at the company.

In the view of locals, “the company’s actions are a disgrace given the expensive perks, such as official cars, for its corporate fat cats, compared to the sacrifice, silence, and dignity demanded by the company of those it has made redundant.”

The management offered severance pay of € 3,000 (US $4,200), however the workers demanded a severance package commensurate with “the wealth that their labor has generated.” Worker’s delegates requested a “supra-legal” payment of € 30,000, on Thursday 16 of July the management responded with a counter offer of € 16,000. On Thursday night the worker’s actions secured the € 30,000 settlement initially demanded.

Interview:

A JLG Tonneins worker who wished to stay anonymous spoke to Wikinews.

Wikinews

Can you explain what inspired the workers at JLG to make these threats?

Photograph of the threatened machines, Tonneins, France. (Photo credit:Public domain photograph provided by a Tonniens worker)

Wikinews waves Left.pngJLG workerWikinews waves Right.png After four months of negotiations with very little progress, we saw the need for a media coup in our dispute. Similar threats in recent disputes, reported by the mainstream media, have proven to be productive. We were spurred on by redundancy pay of 3,000 Euro, derisory in view of the wealth that our labour has generated in previous years and the threat that these lay-offs pose to our families. Responsibility must also lie with the refusal by the management, these last four months, to negotiate an appropriate severance package; the movement in our company has therefore resorted to the media with a visually striking example. Machines designed and built at our workshops were therefore surrounded by two and four canisters of gas. The visual effect was created.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.pngYou have demanded a large severance payment. In the context of the crisis in the building industry, can JLG afford it?

Wikinews waves Left.pngJLG workerWikinews waves Right.png JLG is part of the Oshkosh Corporation, the group brought JLG in 2007 because of its very good economic health, 2006 was a very good year, and the fiscal year of 2007-2008 was excellent for JLG, our best figures ever. So yes, with regards to the figures for 2007-2008 the results to come 2009, 2010 are very poor. But only in comparison with exceptionally profitable years! The crisis appears to be a belt-tightening one. This is not the optimal solution, almost exclusively the solution chosen is to lay off technicians and employees at the sites, when they are the least expensive [part of the work force]. Yes, JLG France has other ways to better manage this crisis. This would require that all tighten their belts, which does not appear to be the strategy chosen by the management. Hence the accumulation of tension in the company.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.pngWhat is your take on the present situation and the rising tensions, is it morally justified?

Wikinews waves Left.pngJLG workerWikinews waves Right.png The experience of these lay-offs is of punishment, while those who have made mistakes at higher levels are always protected. Executives with high salaries unfortunately seem to be more concerned with their own careers, to satisfy instructions from abroad, then with efficiency and pragmatism. The perception of supine obedience to directives from the U.S. is difficult to accept.

Things must change in the future, in order for the course to be corrected to ensure the good health of the JLG company, we are well aware of it. The changes involved, the massive dismissals, give the semblance of a brutal and symbolic pruning of the wage bill of the company, without touching and reducing costs or increasing the efficiency of the better-paid.

The best paid ten at JLG France obtained a 17% increase [in salary] for the year of 2008. The case of an expensive car park facility, that it is not planned to be reduced, is another strange case given the current crisis. Bizarrely, on the part of the technicians and employees on site, we are not offered similar increases: we are offered redundancies with a € 3,000 payoff.

While this is legal, it is not morally acceptable. A company is an organism, it is not just legal contracts and wages that ensure the loyalty of employees, but also the moral contract, of good governance, equity, efficiency. These moral conditions do not seem to have been offered to us. The proposal for a € 3000 payoff was ridiculous. There is a willingness on the part of employees to work, and behind these to-be dismissed employees, families who want to continue to progress, to educate their children, to continue living in their homes, to live with dignity.

The tension created is deplorable. We would all have preferred an amicable agreement from the beginning of the dispute. The tensions are the result of two forces, both equally responsible:

  • The knowledge, by we the employees, of the wealth created by our labour in recent years, and our pride;
  • Refusal of the French management in the context of the dislocation of the company to ensure an [equitable] distribution of this wealth.

We are pleased that the situation defused that night with dignified exits and fairness to all.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.pngHad you considered other forms of pressure, are others in the movement you are in contact with as “hardball” as you are?

Wikinews waves Left.pngJLG workerWikinews waves Right.png Yes, for sure! But we are trapped in a situation of general apathy, low unionisation, and the psychology of a media who are interested only in the spectacular! We first tried 3 months of negotiations in which we achieved almost nothing. In a second step, we embarked on 3 weeks of strikes and a blockade of the premises with calm and without overspill, however we did not achieve much more, all this has driven up tensions

As a last resort, we surrounded 4 machines with canisters of gas…and alerted the local media. That the cannisters were empty or full is of no importance: the visual effect was there. Radio and television (and the law) were on the spot within 45 minutes. The big boss in the United States was on the phone within an hour, for three months he had not wanted to hear of French labour movements. That evening, Thursday, 16 July, negotiations resumed and were finally resolved on the night of Thursday-Friday 16-17 July, instead of the original € 3000, an agreement for a redundancy payment of € 30,000 was signed. This will cover our backs.

I repeat, achieving it this way is really silly and a pity. But negotiations resumed and an appropriate agreement was signed on the night of Thursday to Friday. Within the circle of leaders of the company, the faction advocating negotiation finally prevailed. It is a great relief to us all.

It is to be noted that no political party or trade union has supported or have hijacked our movement, all employees have remained united behind our DSU representative.

Latest developments

According to AFP, the French authorities, after its threat of sending in the police, has announced that it “understands the plight of employees affected by this recession…” and suggests that the recent tactics are a radical media stunt rather than a real threat. In an Asiaone.com article Amadio Christian, leader of the labour movement at JLG Tonneins is reported as saying “It is ridiculous that we have had to come to this to get this result.”

The police checked the gas cylinders to ensure that they were all empty.



Sources

Wikinews
This exclusive interview features first-hand journalism by a Wikinews reporter. See the collaboration page for more details.
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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.

Delayed Endeavour carries Japanese lab to International Space Station

Delayed Endeavour carries Japanese lab to International Space Station

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Friday, July 17, 2009

Commander Mark Polansky checks the fit of his helmet before heading to Launch Pad 39A (Photo:NASA/ Kim Shiflett, 15 July, 2009).

Space Shuttle Endeavour launched on a mission to finish construction of a new science lab at the International Space Station on July 15.

The seven astronauts aboard Endeavour began their journey Wednesday evening to deliver the third and final segment of the Japanese Kibō science laboratory. NASA commentator Mike Curie counted down to the liftoff from Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

“We have main engine start, and four, three, two, one. Booster ignition and liftoff of Endeavour, completing Kibō and fulfilling Japan’s hope for an out-of-this-world space laboratory,” he said.

Endeavour liftoff from Kennedy Space Center (Video: NASA, 15 July, 2009).

The Endeavour was supposed to have launched last month, but a hydrogen leak forced officials to postpone while technicians fixed the problem. A series of thunderstorms caused further delays this week.

The Endeavour crew will spend nearly two weeks at the station to install the Kibō lab and perform other maintenance tasks, such as swapping out batteries in the station. The Kibō module will expand work space on the station and allow astronauts to conduct experiments that involve exposing materials to the vacuum of space.

Astronaut Timothy L. Kopra will replace Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata, who has been living aboard the station since March.

While the shuttle is docked to the station, there will be 13 astronauts working in space at one time – the highest number in the station’s history.

After Endeavour returns to Earth, only seven shuttle missions will remain before NASA plans to retire the fleet next year.



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Chicago\’s Sears Tower renamed Willis Tower

Chicago’s Sears Tower renamed Willis Tower

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Friday, July 17, 2009

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On July 16, 2009, the largest skyscraper in Chicago, Illinois was officially renamed Willis Tower. Willis Group Holdings became a major tenant of the building in March, 2009. As part of the deal whereby they agreed to lease 140,000 square feet of the building, they were given the naming rights to the tower, which had been known as the Sears Tower since its opening in 1973. It is the largest skyscraper in the United States and was for a time the largest skyscraper in the world; though it has since been surpassed.

Willis Tower in Chicago, formerly the Sears Tower. Picture taken in 1998 by Soakologist.

Sears, Roebuck and Company owned the building from its conception until it sold it in 1994. It is currently owned by American Landmark Properties of Skokie, Illinois. Sears had mostly moved out of the building by 1992, and closed its last offices there by 1995. However, they retained the naming rights until 2003. Since no deal had been worked out to rename the building by that date, it retained the Sears Tower name until Willis Group Holdings negotiated the naming rights as part of their lease on the building. The naming rights did not cost Willis any additional money, and they will retain those rights until at least 2024.

Willis Group Holdings is a London-based insurance company, incorporated in Bermuda. They are leasing 140,000 square feet of the building at a rate of $14.50 per square foot, and are consolidating their five Chicago-area offices to the new space.

Though lettering on the building had been changed on July 15, the official change did not occur until July 16, during a private ceremony involving 500 Willis employees and invited guests. The date and time name change was kept quiet until the actual lettering was changed, though the change was anticipated for several months. The tourist areas to the building, which includes a 103rd floor observation deck, will retain its current name, Skydeck Chicago.

The renaming has received some criticism from columnists in local papers, such as the Chicago Tribune, as Willis has almost no name recognition in the Chicago area. Several local residents have expressed their displeasure in the renaming, including one who started the website www.itsthesearstower.com. Chicago Historical Society senior curator John Russick has stated of the name change, “The Sears Tower has been an icon here for the last quarter of a century. For the generation that grew up calling it the Sears Tower, it’ll be hard for people to shift and start calling it something else.”



Sources

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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.

Chicago’s Sears Tower renamed Willis Tower

Friday, July 17, 2009

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Location of United States

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To write, edit, start or view other articles on United States, see the United States Portal

On July 16, 2009, the largest skyscraper in Chicago, Illinois was officially renamed Willis Tower. Willis Group Holdings became a major tenant of the building in March, 2009. As part of the deal whereby they agreed to lease 140,000 square feet of the building, they were given the naming rights to the tower, which had been known as the Sears Tower since its opening in 1973. It is the largest skyscraper in the United States and was for a time the largest skyscraper in the world; though it has since been surpassed.

Willis Tower in Chicago, formerly the Sears Tower. Picture taken in 1998 by Soakologist.

Sears, Roebuck and Company owned the building from its conception until it sold it in 1994. It is currently owned by American Landmark Properties of Skokie, Illinois. Sears had mostly moved out of the building by 1992, and closed its last offices there by 1995. However, they retained the naming rights until 2003. Since no deal had been worked out to rename the building by that date, it retained the Sears Tower name until Willis Group Holdings negotiated the naming rights as part of their lease on the building. The naming rights did not cost Willis any additional money, and they will retain those rights until at least 2024.

Willis Group Holdings is a London-based insurance company, incorporated in Bermuda. They are leasing 140,000 square feet of the building at a rate of $14.50 per square foot, and are consolidating their five Chicago-area offices to the new space.

Though lettering on the building had been changed on July 15, the official change did not occur until July 16, during a private ceremony involving 500 Willis employees and invited guests. The date and time name change was kept quiet until the actual lettering was changed, though the change was anticipated for several months. The tourist areas to the building, which includes a 103rd floor observation deck, will retain its current name, Skydeck Chicago.

The renaming has received some criticism from columnists in local papers, such as the Chicago Tribune, as Willis has almost no name recognition in the Chicago area. Several local residents have expressed their displeasure in the renaming, including one who started the website www.itsthesearstower.com. Chicago Historical Society senior curator John Russick has stated of the name change, “The Sears Tower has been an icon here for the last quarter of a century. For the generation that grew up calling it the Sears Tower, it’ll be hard for people to shift and start calling it something else.”


Sources


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.

Explosions kill eight in Jakarta

Filed under: Asia,Indonesia,Jakarta,Politics and conflicts — admin @ 5:00 am

Friday, July 17, 2009

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Eight people have been killed and many more injured in two explosions at around 7.50 am local time in the Indonesian capital of Jakarta. Reports from local news cite a Canadian, an American, and a Swedish citizen as being among the dead. Most of the wounded have been taken to local hospitals for treatment.

The explosions are at two luxury hotels, the Marriott and Ritz-Carlton, popular with foreign businessmen in the business district and are reported to have occurred in the hotel restaurants during breakfast. The two hotels are connected by an underground tunnel.

Indonesian security were at first unwilling to confirm that this was a terrorist attack, however later reports revealed the attack to be the work of two suicide bombers.

Several amateur videos of the site after the bombing, taken by local residents, show large amounts of smoke; the two explosions took place only two minutes apart. The near simultaneous detonation of devices at multiple targets frequented by foreigners is a hallmark of the Indonesian terrorist group Jemaah Islamiyah.

A third explosion took place in Muara Angke, North Jakarta. The police have declared this event to be unrelated to the other explosions, stating it was simply a car accident that lead to a tire burst and engine short circuit.

If this is indeed a terrorist attack, this will have been the first successful bombing in some years. This same Marriot was previously the target of a terrorist car bomb in 2003.

An additional, unexploded, bomb was later found and defused at the Marriot.

Jakarta, capital and largest city of Indonesia


Sources

Wikipedia
Wikipedia has an article about 2009 Jakarta bombings.


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.

Explosions kill eight in Jakarta

Explosions kill eight in Jakarta – Wikinews, the free news source

Explosions kill eight in Jakarta

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Friday, July 17, 2009

Indonesia
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Eight people have been killed, including the two suicide bombers, and many more injured in two explosions at around 7.50 am local time in the Indonesian capital of Jakarta. Reports from local news cite a Canadian, an American, and a Swedish citizen as being among the dead. Most of the wounded have been taken to local hospitals for treatment.

File:JW Marriott Hotel-Jakarta.JPG
The J.W. Marriott in Jakarta.
Image: Lofor .

The explosions were at two luxury hotels, the Marriott and Ritz-Carlton, popular with foreign businessmen in the business district and are reported to have occurred in the hotel restaurants during breakfast. The two hotels are connected by an underground tunnel.

Indonesian security were at first unwilling to confirm that this was a terrorist attack, however later reports revealed the attack to be the work of two suicide bombers.

A bomber and five victims died at the Marriott. At the Ritz-Carlton one person was killed in addition to the bomber.

According to police, the dozens of wounded included citizens of Indonesia, Australia, South Korea, the Netherlands, Italy, the United Kingdom, Canada, Norway, Japan, India, and the United States.

Several amateur videos of the site after the bombing, taken by local residents, show large amounts of smoke; the two explosions took place only two minutes apart. The near simultaneous detonation of devices at multiple targets frequented by foreigners is a hallmark of the Indonesian terrorist group Jemaah Islamiyah.

An additional, unexploded bomb was later found and defused at the Marriott.

This has been the first successful bombing in some years. The same Marriott was previously the target of a terrorist car bomb in 2003.

A third explosion took place some hours later, in Muara Angke, North Jakarta. The police have declared this event to be unrelated to the other explosions, stating it was simply a car accident that lead to a tire burst and engine short circuit.



Sources

Wikipedia
Wikipedia has more about this subject:
2009 Jakarta bombings
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Explosions kill nine in Jakarta

Filed under: Asia,Indonesia,Jakarta,Politics and conflicts — admin @ 5:00 am

Friday, July 17, 2009

Other stories from Indonesia
Location of Indonesia

A map showing the location of Indonesia

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

At least nine people have been killed and many more injured in two explosions at around 7.50 am local time in the Indonesian capital of Jakarta. Reports from local news cite a Canadian, an American, and a Swedish citizen as being among the dead. Most of the wounded have been taken to local hospitals for treatment.

The explosions are at two luxury hotels, the Marriott and Ritz-Carlton, popular with foreign businessmen in the business district and are reported to have occurred in the hotel restaurants during breakfast. The two hotels are connected by an underground tunnel.

Indonesian security were at first unwilling to confirm that this was a terrorist attack, however later reports revealed the attack to be the work of two suicide bombers.

Several amateur videos of the site after the bombing, taken by local residents, show large amounts of smoke; the two explosions took place only two minutes apart. The near simultaneous detonation of devices at multiple targets frequented by foreigners is a hallmark of the Indonesian terrorist group Jemaah Islamiyah.

A third explosion took place in Muara Angke, North Jakarta. The police have declared this event to be unrelated to the other explosions, stating it was simply a car accident that lead to a tire burst and engine short circuit.

Jakarta, capital and largest city of Indonesia

If this is indeed a terrorist attack, this will have been the first successful bombing in some years. This same Marriot was previously the target of a terrorist car bomb in 2003.

An additional, unexploded, bomb was later found and defused at the Marriot.


Sources

Wikipedia
Wikipedia has an article about 2009 Jakarta bombings.


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.

Former Iranian president Hashemi Rafsanjani leads Friday prayers

Friday, July 17, 2009

Other stories from Iran
Location of Iran

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Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani
Image: Mesgary.

Hashemi Rafsanjani, the Iranian cleric, former president of Iran, and current head of the Expediency Council, has given his first Friday prayer service in Tehran since the disputed June 12 Iranian presidential election.

In the sermon, which was held at Tehran University and twice disrupted by loud chanting from demonstrators, Rafsanjani first discussed the earliest days of Islam and Mohammed’s lessons of the importance of human rights for all people and unity among all Muslims. He then made reference to Ja’far al-Sadiq, an 8th century C.E. Islamic leader who, while assisting a rebellion against the Umayyad caliphate, preferred to keep his own views on the conflict to himself.

In his first direct reference to current news events during the sermon, Rafsanjani called upon Chinese leaders to stop their [[w:July 2009 Ürümqi riots|violent suppression of unrest among the largely-Muslim Uyghur people of Xinjiang.

Turning to the disputed June 12 presidential election, Rafsanjani stated that “what happened after the election was not what we expected it to be.” The people’s participation was to be lauded, he said, and to not listen to the people’s voice is against the advice of Ayatollah Khomeini. Rafsanjani first called for the government to obey the rule of law:

We all need to follow the law. And I’m talking about the government, the parliament, the Islamic Courts and the security forces. We need to follow the laws. All problems can be solved if we only follow the framework of the laws. We need to create an environment where all sides could come together and discuss their issues. We need to be able to sit down like brothers and sisters and talk about our differences.

Rafsanjani listed several specific “proposals” for restoring unity and trust, all aimed at the government, and making particular reference to the Guardian Council’s certification of the election results, which many have termed fraudulent:

Unfortunately, The chance that was given to the Guardian Council of five days to get people together and regain their trust was not used. […] We shouldn’t imprison our own people, we should let these people return to their homes, we shouldn’t let our enemies laugh at us because we’ve imprisoned our own people. We should sit together with mourners, And we should console them, And bring them back closer to the system. We should not be impatient now. Please do not censor media outlets that have legally obtained permits. Let them do what they want to do legally.

Rafsanjani did not specifically mention any current Iranian political figure by name.

Rafsanjani’s speech was not broadcast by any Iranian state media outlet, in contrast to the usual practice of broadcasting the Friday prayers live. [[File:IRIB east gate 2.JPG|thumb|left|IRIB headquarters
Image: Zereshk. Loud chanting was occasionally audible in the speech, with large crowds reportedly present around Tehran University. Unconfirmed reports say that after the sermon ended, a large crowd began moving toward the w:Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB)’s headquarters on Vali Asr Avenue. According to an update to Mir-Hossein Mousavi‘s Facebook page posted last night, the candidate is among the crowd today.


Sources

Wikinews
This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.


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.

Former Iranian president Hashemi Rafsanjani leads Friday prayers

Friday, July 17, 2009

Other stories from Iran
Location of Iran

A map showing the location of Iran

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

Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani
Image: Mesgary.

Hashemi Rafsanjani, the Iranian cleric, former president of Iran, and current head of the Expediency Council, has given his first Friday prayer service in Tehran since the disputed June 12 Iranian presidential election.

In the sermon, which was held at Tehran University and twice disrupted by loud chanting from demonstrators, Rafsanjani first discussed the earliest days of Islam and Mohammed’s lessons of the importance of human rights for all people and unity among all Muslims. He then made reference to Ja’far al-Sadiq, an 8th century C.E. Islamic leader who, while assisting a rebellion against the Umayyad caliphate, preferred to keep his own views on the conflict to himself.

In his first direct reference to current news events during the sermon, Rafsanjani called upon Chinese leaders to stop their [[w:July 2009 Ürümqi riots|violent suppression of unrest among the largely-Muslim Uyghur people of Xinjiang.

Turning to the disputed June 12 presidential election, Rafsanjani stated that “what happened after the election was not what we expected it to be.” The people’s participation was to be lauded, he said, and to not listen to the people’s voice is against the advice of Ayatollah Khomeini. Rafsanjani first called for the government to obey the rule of law:

We all need to follow the law. And I’m talking about the government, the parliament, the Islamic Courts and the security forces. We need to follow the laws. All problems can be solved if we only follow the framework of the laws. We need to create an environment where all sides could come together and discuss their issues. We need to be able to sit down like brothers and sisters and talk about our differences.

Rafsanjani listed several specific “proposals” for restoring unity and trust, all aimed at the government, and making particular reference to the Guardian Council’s certification of the election results, which many have termed fraudulent:

Unfortunately, The chance that was given to the Guardian Council of five days to get people together and regain their trust was not used. […] We shouldn’t imprison our own people, we should let these people return to their homes, we shouldn’t let our enemies laugh at us because we’ve imprisoned our own people. We should sit together with mourners, And we should console them, And bring them back closer to the system. We should not be impatient now. Please do not censor media outlets that have legally obtained permits. Let them do what they want to do legally.

Rafsanjani did not specifically mention any current Iranian political figure by name.

Rafsanjani’s speech was not broadcast by any Iranian state media outlet, in contrast to the usual practice of broadcasting the Friday prayers live.

IRIB headquarters
Image: Zereshk.

Loud chanting was occasionally audible in the speech, with large crowds reportedly present around Tehran University. Unconfirmed reports say that after the sermon ended, a large crowd began moving toward the w:Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB)’s headquarters on Vali Asr Avenue. According to an update to Mir-Hossein Mousavi‘s Facebook page posted last night, the candidate is among the crowd today.


Sources

Wikinews
This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.


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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