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December 31, 2009

Shooting in Finnish mall leaves four dead

Filed under: Archived,Disasters and accidents,Europe,Finland — admin @ 5:00 am

Shooting in Finnish mall leaves four dead

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Thursday, December 31, 2009

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Interior of the Sello shopping centre

A lone gunman dressed in black opened fire in a Finnish shopping mall in the city of Espoo, near the capital Helsinki. Four people have been confirmed dead following the incident, and others have been injured. Police have now stated that the gunman and his girlfriend have also been found dead; it is believed he committed suicide.

According to the state broadcaster, YLE, three women and one man were among the dead. Several ambulances and police officers arrived at the mall.

Kari Harjula, an eyewitness, told YLE, “I started to hear a lot of shouting from the outer doors of Citymarket and Sello, telling everybody to get out. The customers and employees were wondering what was going on. Soon some police ran in with riot shields and serious expressions on their faces. They yelled at everybody to get out; that the shopping centre was being evacuated. The situation was chaotic; there were a lot of police inside and outside. From a layman’s point of view, it looked like a massive operation.”

Finland has one of the largest private firearms ownership and has seen several attacks in the recent past. In September 2008, a gunman killed nine students as well as a teacher before committing suicide, while in November 2007, another student killed eight, and ultimately shot himself dead.



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Afghan attack kills five Canadians

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Afghan attack kills five Canadians – Wikinews, the free news source

Afghan attack kills five Canadians

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Thursday, December 31, 2009

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The blast of an improvised explosive device (IED) in Kandahar, Afghanistan killed four Canadian soldiers and one journalist, while also injuring a civilian and four other soldiers.

The group was travelling as part of a provincial reconstruction team when the attack, which took place at 4PM local time, when the armoured vehicle they were travelling in struck the IED approximately 1,500 metres from the Dand district centre, which Canadians had helped rebuild after a suicide attack in April. This attack comes on the same day as an attack that killed eight US civilians and one week after the death of Lieutenant Andrew Nuttall. The Taliban has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Brigadier General Daniel Ménard has stated Dand continues to be a “safe area” and stated confidence the attack was an isolated incident.

Those injured in the attack were moved to the field hospital at Kandahar Airfield and are expected to survive. No further details on the injured, including their names and conditions are expected to be released.

The deceased soldiers were identified as Sergeant George Miok, Sergeant Kirk Taylor, Corporal Zackery McCormack and Private Garrett Chidley. The journalist was identified as Michelle Lang, 34, of Calgary, a reporter with the Calgary Herald, on secondment to the Canwest News Service for a six week tour with the Canadian Forces in Kandahar. The US Ambassador to Canada, as well as Governor General Michaelle Jean have issued statements expressing condolences for those lost in the incident.

To date, 138 soldiers and four civilians have died in the war-torn country. Lang is the first Canadian journalist to die in the conflict, with seven journalists from other countries also having died.



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  • “Afghanistan suicide bomb leaves eight Americans dead” — Wikinews, December 31, 2009

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December 30, 2009

UK hostage Peter Moore released in Iraq

UK hostage Peter Moore released in Iraq – Wikinews, the free news source

UK hostage Peter Moore released in Iraq

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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

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Satellite photograph of Baghdad from 1996.
Image: NASA.

Peter Moore, a British IT consultant and computer programmer who was taken hostage by Iraqi militants during a May 2007 militant raid on the finance ministry in Baghdad, has been released alive and in good health.

He is the only known survivor of a group of five hostages, consisting of himself, three bodyguards, and Alan McMenemy, a security guard from Glasgow. The bodyguards (Alec Maclachlan, Jason Swindlehurst, and Jason Creswell) were later shot and killed, and their bodies have been returned to Britain. McMenemy is believed to have met the same fate. The last time Moore was known to be alive was when a DVD showing him was handed to Iraqi authorities earlier this year.

The five men were captured by a group of approximately forty men disguised as Iraqi policemen in May 2007, who are believed to belong to the Islamic Shia Resistance, an obscure militant organisation also known as the Righteous League. Moore is now in the British Embassy in Baghdad, and is to be reunited with his family as soon as possible, according to Milliband.

United Kingdom foreign secretary David Milliband said that he was “absolutely delighted at his release” after two and a half years of “misery, fear and uncertainty”. He claimed to be in a “remarkable frame of mind” after a “very moving” conversation with Moore. He also asked for the release of McMenemy’s body. He said that no “substantive concessions” had been made by the British government, instead praising Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki for his government’s process of reconciliation.

Cquote1.svg remember the families of British hostages who have been killed in Iraq and elsewhere Cquote2.svg

—Gordon Brown

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown issued a statement in which he said he was “hugely relieved by the wonderful news that Peter has been freed”, calling for the British people to “remember the families of British hostages who have been killed in Iraq and elsewhere.” He continued with a pledge that the government would “continue to do everything [it] can to bring British hostages back to their loved ones, including the remaining hostage of the group in Iraq, Alan McMenemy”. He said, “I demand that the hostage takers return him to us.”

Moore’s father, Graeme, said he was “over the moon” about his son’s release, saying, “We are so relieved and we just want to get him home, back now to his family and friends. I’m breaking down, I’m just so overjoyed for the lad. It’s been such a long haul. I know that there have been one or two people working in the background to get Peter released. Peter is a very resilient lad and he always has been because of his background.” He said the British Foreign Office had been “obstructive” with regards to his son’s release.



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Twenty dead after double suicide bombing in Iraq

Filed under: Archived,Disasters and accidents,Iraq,Middle East — admin @ 5:00 am

Twenty dead after double suicide bombing in Iraq

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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

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Two suicide bombers in Ramadi, Iraq have killed 20 people, and injured several others.

According to police, the attack targeted the governor of the Anbar province of western Iraq. Iraqi police said that the attack commenced when a suicide car bomb detonated a car bomb near provincial governor Qassim Mohammed al-Fahdawi’s office.

The second bomb exploded when the governor along with other officials arrived to inspect the spot of the first attack. This attack was carried out by a bomber on foot. The deputy police chief died in this incident, while the governor, as well as several others, were injured.

Also, an Iraqi judge and his wife were wounded by gunmen late Tuesday in the city of Kirkuk, northern Iraq.



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Times Square shuts down due to suspicious vehicle

Times Square shuts down due to suspicious vehicle

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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Photo of suspicious van
Image: Cocoaguy.

Times Square was shut down today due to a suspicious vehicle parked on 42nd Street and Broadway in New York. Police cordoned the area surrounding the white 1992 Dodge van to investigate the auto. The van has temporary license plates and tinted windows with tarps covering them.

Photo of the van from the back with doors open
Image: Cocoaguy.

The nearby NASDAQ building was evacuated, and reports from CBS said the Conde Nast building had been partially evacuated.

The investigation disrupted preparations for the New Year’s eve ball drop atop One Times Square, although it still appears that the celebration will continue unaffected.

The investigation comes a day after police commissioner Raymond Kelly was interviewed by local TV outlet, WNBC, about how the city is after recent terrorist activity. “Reality is that New York is the number one target in this country […] But it has been doing more than any other city in America and probably the world,” he said on the topic that New York had adequate counter-terrorism procedure. Wikinews contacted the New York City Police Department, but they had no comment about the specific issue at this time.



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Oldest duck in UK dies at age 22

Filed under: Archived,Europe,Obituaries,United Kingdom — admin @ 5:00 am

Oldest duck in UK dies at age 22 – Wikinews, the free news source

Oldest duck in UK dies at age 22

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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

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A duck named Edwina, believed to be the oldest recorded living duck in the United Kingdom, has died at the age of 22.

Map of England with Hampshire highlighted in red

The mallard was first discovered by Ian Knight and Christine Christopher in a lake near their residence in the market town of Ringwood in Hampshire, England. Edwina, as she was later called, had been attacked by her family and abandoned by her own mother. Ian helped the duck to recover its health and, after a failed attempt to release the creature back into the wild, the duck was adopted as a family pet. She was originally given the male name Edward; however, when — to the shock of Christopher and Knight – it was discovered that she had the ability to lay eggs, her name was changed to Edwina. Some of the habits of the duck included drinking tea and swimming in a sink.

The creature gained popularity upon her 22nd birthday when the British Trust for Ornithology rendered Edwina the oldest recorded mallard in the United Kingdom. The Trust said that the oldest recorded age for a creature of that type in the wild in the country was 20 years and 5 months.

Edwina died peacefully on Monday inside her pen. Ian Knight commented, “She hadn’t been well over Christmas. Her legs were a bit wobbly and we were concerned that she wasn’t her normal self. We had been planning to take her to the vet’s when we discovered that she had passed away. It might sound silly to some people but 22 years is a long time to have a pet and we are heartbroken to have lost Edwina.” Knight also explained that “[s]he had become a bit of a celebrity and, after we appeared on television on her 22nd birthday, someone recognised me at Palma Airport in Majorca.”



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Gary Megson sacked as manager of Bolton Wanderers F.C

Gary Megson sacked as manager of Bolton Wanderers F.C

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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Reebok Stadium

Football manager Gary Megson has been sacked as manager of Bolton Wanderers Football Club. Megson, who joined the club in Oct. 2007 was relieved of all managerial duties effective immediately, according to a statement released by the club. His dismissal comes after fans called for him to be sacked after a 2-2 draw to Hull City F.C. Bolton are currently 18th in the Barclays Premier League and are in a high chance of relegation. Megson has previously saved the side from relegation twice.

Before managing Bolton, Megson had previously managed West Bromwich Albion and Nottingham Forest F.C. Fans reacted angrily at the appointment of Megson in 2007. He is the third Premier League manger to lose his job this season. Manchester City F.C manager Mark Hughes and Portsmouth’s Paul Hart were both sacked due to poor results.

Bolton Wanderers have released a statement through their website saying that “[a]ssistant Manager Chris Evans and first-team coach Steve Wigley will take charge of first team matters for the interim period”.



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Canadian Parliament suspended until March

Canadian Parliament suspended until March

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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

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Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has received approval from Governor General Michaelle Jean to prorogue the Canadian Parliament for about two months, up until the end of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, the Prime Minister’s Office has announced today.

Under the prorogation, Parliament will resume on March 3, as opposed to January 25, when it was originally scheduled to return from the holiday break. The move to prorogue will strike any currently proposed legislation off the order paper, including the anti-crime bill that was proposed by the Conservatives as part of their election platform.

The move, which has drawn sharp criticism from the opposition, would allow the Conservatives to gain a majority in Senate committees, while also dodging criticism stemming from allegations of the abuse of Afghan detainees.

Parliament was prorogued once before in 2008, causing a coalition of the opposition Liberals, NDP and Bloc Québécois to collapse, and seeing then Liberal leader Stéphane Dion replaced with current leader Michael Ignatieff.



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California congressman George Radanovich to leave office

California congressman George Radanovich to leave office

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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

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California Republican congressman George Radanovich announced Tuesday that he is leaving office in 2010 to spend time with his wife, who is battling ovarian cancer. He has asked that state senator Jeff Denham replace his seat in the state’s 19th congressional district, although former congressman Richard Pombo is also considering the position. Radanovich has held the post since 1994 and is a member of the Committee on Energy and Commerce.

Rep. Radanovich
Image: US congress.

Radanovich released a statement: “My family needs me, and I intend to be by their side to win this battle. It is for this reason that I have decided to not seek reelection to Congress in 2010.” He said that even when he is out of office he will continue “to fight to unite our valley in helping us get the water we need to save our state’s No. 1 industry — agriculture.”

Although Radanovich said that he would like Denham to succeed him, Richard Pombo and others are vying for the seat in Congress. “I haven’t made my mind up on it at all, but it is something that I am considering.” Pombo said Tuesday.



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Airline bombing suspect spent months in Yemen

Filed under: Nigeria,Politics and conflicts,Shia Islam,United States,Yemen — admin @ 5:00 am

Airline bombing suspect spent months in Yemen

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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

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Authorities in Yemen say the Nigerian man accused of trying to destroy a U.S. airliner last week lived in Yemen during a four-month period earlier this year.

The Yemeni Foreign Ministry and it’s Minister, Abu Bakr al-Qirbi says 23-year-old Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab lived there between early August and early December. The ministry says the Nigerian was granted a visa to study Arabic at an institute in the capital Sana’a. Security officials say they approved the visa for Abdulmutallab because he was granted visas by several friendly countries, and still held a valid visa to the United States.

Abdulmutallab is charged with trying to detonate a bomb while flying aboard Northwest Airlines Flight 253 traveling from Amsterdam to Detroit. Authorities say he unsuccessfully tried to set off explosives attached to his body as the plane was approaching Detroit.

A group known as al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula claimed responsibility on Monday for the failed attack. In an Internet statement, the group says the attack was in retaliation for U.S. support for operations against the group in Yemen. The claim could not be independently verified.

Yemen has recently begun operations with U.S. support against al-Qaeda due to concerns that the country is becoming a training ground for militants. al-Qirbi said to BBC’s Radio 4, that al-Qeada remains a top priority despite the Yemeni government having to deal with two insurgencies, one in the north by Shi’a rebels and one in the south by separatists.

al-Qirbi said the Yemeni government needs more support, “We need more training. We have to expand our counter terrorism units and this means providing them with the necessary training, military equipment, ways of transportation – we are very short of helicopters. The United States can do a lot, Britain can do a lot, the European Union can do a lot in that regard.”

He also believed there 200 to 300 members of al-Qaeda in Yemen, however, that is a rough estimate. He added, “Of course there are a number in Yemen and they may actually plan for attacks as in Detroit.” However, he called some statements made by U.S. officials overstated and “exaggerated in some media.”

U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States will use all resources to find and hold accountable those responsible for the terrorist plot.

The president on Monday ordered a full review of air safety regulations and the terrorist watch-list system, in an effort to prevent future attacks. He vowed to use every element of U.S. power “to disrupt, to dismantle and defeat” extremists in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia or elsewhere, who might want to attack the United States.

Abdulmutallab’s name was listed in a U.S. government intelligence database, but he was not on the government’s so-called “no-fly list,” which would have banned him from flying on a U.S. airline.

His father, a prominent banker and former Nigerian government minister, had warned the U.S. embassy in Nigeria about his son’s extremist views.



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