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October 18, 2009

Wikinews Shorts: October 18, 2009

Wikinews Shorts: October 18, 2009 – Wikinews, the free news source

Wikinews Shorts: October 18, 2009

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A compilation of brief news reports for Sunday, October 18, 2009.

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Family shot dead in South Africa

Map highlighting location of Gautang.
Image: Htonl.

At least three people, all part of the same family, are dead after their bodies were discovered in their home in Centurion, Gauteng, South Africa. All died as a result of gunshot wounds.

The dead include a mother, who was a police officer for Pretoria, her three-month-old baby, and 12-year-old son. The son managed to survive the incident, but died earlier Saturday while undergoing treatment at a local hospital.

Police say the ex-husband discovered the bodies at around 1:00 p.m. local time. The officer’s gun was found next to her body. An investigation is ongoing, but burglary has been ruled out.

Update: It has been confirmed, double murder, suicide.

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Botswana Democratic Party claims victory in elections

Map highlighting location of Botswana.
Image: Rei-artur.

Botswana’s Democratic Party (BDP) is claiming to be the winner in the nation’s elections. Ian Khama is likely to be reelected as leader of the nation and will serve a five year term. This was his first election since he was appointed in April, replacing Festus Mogae.

The BDP needed to win at least 29 out of the 57 seats to choose Khama as the nation’s president.

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UK Royal Mail to hire 30,000 more workers

A Royal Mail vehicle.

The UK Royal Mail has announced that 30,000 temporary workers are to be recruited. The move comes as the Communication Workers Union plan to have two nationwide strikes over the course of next week. With Christmas also approaching, the amount of mail that the Royal Mail receives will be rapidly increased, and the amount of workers at this time of year that will be recruited is 30,000 – twice as many as there were last year. The Royal Mail had said that 85,000 people had applied for temporary work.

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UN claims over a quarter million human trafficking victims in EU

UN claims over a quarter million human trafficking victims in EU

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Sunday, October 18, 2009

The logo of UNODC

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) claims there could be nearly 270,000 victims of human trafficking in the European Union (EU) — over thirty times the last estimate from 2006. The UN’s figures in the Trafficking in Persons; Analysis on Europe report highlights this and, taking advantage of European Anti-Trafficking Day, they are calling for greater efforts to combat the illegal trade.

Today’s announcement aims to bring awareness to the plight of victims, often forced to work illegally in prostitution or labour jobs after being smuggled across borders. Antonio Maria Costa, UNODC executive director, highlighted that few human traffickers are caught, blaming police for not acting sufficiently.

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In the six years since the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children came into force, the majority of EU countries have taken measures to criminalise trafficking both for sexual exploitation and forced labour.

Costa highlighted that around one in 100,000 people were convicted for human trafficking in Europe, noting that this figure was less than “for rare crimes like kidnapping.” Only 9,000 victims were reported in 2006.

“Perhaps police are not finding the traffickers and victims because they are not looking for them,” said Costa.

UNODC asserts the majority of victims are women, forced into prostitution; men are forced to work on building sites or farms, and ten percent of the victims of human trafficking in Europe are children, up from four percent in 2003.

“Lives should not be for sale or for rent on a continent that prohibits slavery and forced labour, and prides itself on upholding human dignity”, Costa asserts.



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Suicide attack hits Iranian Revolutionary Guard commanders

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Suicide attack hits Iranian Revolutionary Guard commanders

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Sunday, October 18, 2009

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Iran’s state-sponsored Fars news agency report at least twenty killed, including senior members of the Revolutionary Guard, and another forty wounded, by a suicide bombing in Pishin, a city in the country’s south-eastern Sistan-Baluchistan province.

The emblem of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards

According to the agency, terrorists killed both local tribal heads and senior army officers. “In this terrorist act, General Nur-Ali Shushtari, deputy commander of the Revolutionary Guards land army, General Mohammad-Zadeh, commander of the Revolutionary Guards in Sistan-Baluchestan province, the Guards’ commander for the town of Iranshahr and the commander of the Amir al-Momenin unit died.” According to IRNA, the state news agency, Rajab Ali Mohammadzadeh, the Guard’s chief provincial commander, is among those killed.

The commanders were meeting with tribal leaders of Sunni and Shiite communities in the region.

This is the biggest attack against the Revolutionary Guards in recent years. Parliamentary speaker Ali Larijani condemned it live on state radio, and the announcement to parliament was broadcast on television; “[w]e express our condolences for their martyrdom. The intention of the terrorists was definitely to disrupt security in Sistan-Baluchistan Province.”

A Revolutionary Guard statement on TV claimed “foreign involvement”; “[s]urely foreign elements, particularly those linked to the global arrogance, were involved in this attack.”

The region is predominantly made up of the Sunni Baluchi ethnic group. Some are strongly opposed to the mainly Shiite Iranian government and Shia rule.

In the past, Iran has accused the Jundallah (Soldiers of God) of carrying out terrorist activities in the province, which borders Afghanistan and Pakistan. Although, no clearly identified group claims responsibility for such.



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Philippines prepares for new typhoon

Philippines prepares for new typhoon – Wikinews, the free news source

Philippines prepares for new typhoon

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Sunday, October 18, 2009

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The Philippines has stockpiled emergency supplies and put rescue teams on a standby in preparation for Typhoon Lupit, which is expected to hit the country by Wednesday. It comes only weeks after several other typhoons, which killed almost a thousand people and displaced millions.

The government weather service announced that the outer areas of the storm could affect Luzon, the country’s main island, and have winds up to 175 kilometres per hour.

Lupit’s eye remained in the same area for several hours on Sunday, about 1,000 kilometres from the eastern shores of Luzon; however, meteorologists predict the storm could move closer to the Philippines.

A weather service chief said that areas vulnerable to flooding should be evacuated. “Those in critical areas should be evacuated now that there is still time. It would be more difficult to rescue people in the middle of a typhoon,” said Prisco Nilo.



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IBEX satellite releases first all sky map

IBEX satellite releases first all sky map

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Sunday, October 18, 2009

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The IBEX Satellite.
Image: NASA.

NASA’s IBEX (or Interstellar Boundary Explorer) satellite, released into orbit last October, has provided the data for the first “all sky map” showing the boundary between the Solar System and Interstellar Space. IBEX mapped the sky using two sensors, gathering information about the particle structure within the Milky Way. This map should help researchers better understand relationships between the Sun and our Galaxy.

The particles which IBEX looks for are energetic neutral atoms, atoms with a neutral charge that release large amounts of energy in most directions. The best place to find these particles is in the Sun’s Heliosphere, where forces from outside our solar system interact with the Sun’s magnetic field, causing these particles to become highly energetic. Two sensors on IBEX detect and catalog this. After six months of repeating this cycle over the entire night sky, IBEX acquired enough data to create the all sky map.

The all sky map IBEX created.
Image: NASA.

This map goes beyond the capacities of the Voyager missions, giving an insight into the Sun’s interaction with the rest of the galaxy. As Cosmic rays approach the solar system, the heliosphere prevents them from crossing into the heart of the solar system, thereby effectively stopping these harmful rays from reaching Earth. This new energy is released from electrically neutral atoms, and when scientists look at the energy given off by these atoms they have a general view of what energy is coming from what area.

Knowing the place in the galaxy where certain rays come from help scientists understand the way our galaxy functions, from star positioning to globular clusters. “For the first time, we’re sticking our heads out of the sun’s atmosphere and beginning to really understand our place in the galaxy,” said David J. Comas of NASA.



Related news

  • “NASA mission to map the boundary of solar system” — Wikinews, October 19, 2008

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Hurricane Rick becomes Category 5 storm

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Hurricane Rick becomes Category 5 storm – Wikinews, the free news source

Hurricane Rick becomes Category 5 storm

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Tropical cyclones – 2009

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Sunday, October 18, 2009

Satellite image of Rick

Hurricane Rick in the Eastern Pacific became an extremely powerful Category 5 hurricane on Saturday, the first in the region since 2002’s Hurricane Kenna. Rick had winds of 180 mph (285 km/h), making it the second-strongest East Pacific tropical cyclone on record, but has since weakened slightly.

The storm is currently situated about 500 miles south-southeast of Cabo San Lucas, and is moving west-northwestward. Forecasters say Rick will eventually take a turn towards the northeast, bringing it towards the southern Baja California Peninsula of Mexico. Officials advise residents throughout the region to keep a close eye on the storm’s progress over the coming days.

The storm formed just a few days ago, and quickly grew to an extremely dangerous Category 5 cyclone. “Rick is probably going to go into the record books as one of the most rapidly intensifying hurricanes,” said Hugh Cobb, a National Hurricane Center forecaster.

Rick is the seventeenth named storm of the 2009 Pacific hurricane season.



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Gun battle between gang members and police kills 12 in Rio de Janeiro

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Gun battle between gang members and police kills 12 in Rio de Janeiro

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Sunday, October 18, 2009

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Two policemen were killed after gang members shot down their helicopter during a battle with police in Rio de Janerio, Brazil. Twelve people were killed on the ground, including two civilians. Ten of those are said to have been gang members.

According to military police commander Mario Sergio Duarte, the pilot was shot in the leg by a gang member from the ground. The pilot then attempted an emergency landing, but lost control crashing into a football field, setting the helicopter ablaze. The pilot and one other policemen were able to escape the wreckage with minor injuries.

Officials say the fighting started on Saturday when a gang from the Morro do São João Favela attempted to invade and seize control of the neighboring favela Morro dos Macacos. The Comando Vermelho gang attempted to take the neighboring favela, a territory operated by the Amigo dos Amigos gang when police intervened.

At least 100 police officers and Special Police Operations Battalion troops continued the gunfight with the alleged gang members on the ground after the helicopter crashed. The alleged gang members then set as many as nine buses ablaze in response to police intrusion. Fabio Nascimento, a bus driver who had his bus set on fire, said to Agence France-Presse that as many as 15 armed masked men forced him and the passengers to leave the bus, yelling at them to “get out, get out, we are going to light it on fire!”

Officials say that Saturday’s battle was the worst in Rio since the city was named the host city of the 2016 Olympic Games two weeks ago. In Rio, an estimated 6,000 people were killed in 2008 due to gang-related violence. At least one person was arrested in connection with Saturday’s violence.

In an effort to help curb the gang violence in Rio, the Justice Ministry made an offer to Sérgio Cabral, Governor of Rio, to send national guard troops to the city, but the governor denied the request. Cabral said that the city is properly equipped to handle the violence.



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Democratic Republic of Congo: UN expert accuses soldiers of killing 50 Hutu refugees in North Kivu

Democratic Republic of Congo: UN expert accuses soldiers of killing 50 Hutu refugees in North Kivu

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Sunday, October 18, 2009

Map of Africa highlighting location of Rwanda.
Image: Vardion.

Soldiers of the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC) allegedly killed 50 Rwandan, Hutu refugees and kidnapped some 40 women who were victims of gang rape, according to a United Nations special report on extrajudicial executions.

The FARDC allegedly attacked a makeshift camp for Rwandan Hutu refugees on April 26, 2009 at Shalio in North Kivu, reported Philip Alston of the UN during a press conference in Kinshasa. The FARDC surrounded the camp, shot and beat to death at least 50 refugees and burned the camp.

“A small group of 10 [women] who escaped described being gang raped, and had severe injuries — some had chunks of their breasts hacked off,” said Alston. The military operation conducted by the FARDC, with the support of the UN Mission in DRC (MONUC) against Rwandan Hutu rebels, has been « une catastrophe, un désastre en matière des droits de l’Homme » (“a catastrophe, a disaster in terms of human rights,”) he added.

The statement comes as the High Commissioner of UN for Refugees António Guterres and Deputy US Secretary of State for Humanitarian Affairs Eric Schwartz are visiting the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.



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Bull moose shot by police in Alaska

Filed under: Alaska,Animal rights,Archived,United States — admin @ 5:00 am

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Bull moose shot by police in Alaska

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Sunday, October 18, 2009

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File photo of a bull moose.
Image: US Government.

University of Alaska Anchorage campus police shot a bull moose on Thursday after it became entangled within fencing material.

The animal was reportedly in an “agitated state” when it got its antlers stuck in a fence used to support young trees. Attempting to free itself, the moose struggled as it began moving towards the campus’s Fine Arts Building. Police blocked off the area and alerted the Alaska Department of Fish and Game before they shot the bull as it became an “imminent threat”.

Police chief Dale Pittman said that the preferred method of taking down the animal was with tranquilizers, but the university’s police are not trained to use such drugs.

Pittman said, “In order to keep our community safe, UAA Police made the decision to put the animal down rather than risk injuries or human death as a result of a moose-human encounter”. He added, “We do not like having to use deadly force, even on animals”.



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