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December 21, 2009

Yemen rebels accuse Saudi forces of killing 54 people

Yemen rebels accuse Saudi forces of killing 54 people

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Monday, December 21, 2009

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The Yemeni rebels of the Shi’ite Zaidi group have accused Saudi armed forces of killing 54 people in air strikes on a town in northern Yemen. The group stated warplanes carried out the raids yesterday, destroying five houses in the town of Razeh in the mountainous Saada province. They added that women and children were among the dead.

“The town of al-Nadeer was targeted by air-strikes and 54 civilians, including women and children, were killed,” said a spokesman for the group, to the Agence France-Presse news agency. They also posted additional information about the alleged attacks on their website.

There was no immediate comment from Saudi Arabia on the allegations, and, because the media and aid workers have limited access to the area, there has been no independent confirmation of the incident.

Saudi forces launched an offensive against the rebels, also known as Houthis, last month after the rebels killed two Saudi guards in a cross-border raid.



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Winter wonderland: the recent U.S. blizzard in photos

Filed under: Weather — admin @ 5:00 am

Winter wonderland: the recent U.S. blizzard in photos

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Monday, December 21, 2009

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A recent blizzard that paralyzed parts of the U.S. East Coast Sunday has left many areas buried under feet of snow. When all was said and done, the storm, a severe nor’easter, had affected everywhere from North Carolina to New England and Nova Scotia in Canada. Among its effects were at least five fatalities, as well as large-scale traffic delays.

The storm originated in the Gulf of Mexico, as nor’easters usually do, and grew to be a powerful cyclone as it moved northeastward. Often described as the worst winter storm to strike the area in years, Long Island bore the brunt of the blizzard. There, crippling snow, amounting to as much as 24 inches, heavily disrupted travel. Cities like Philadelphia had one of their worst storms in recorded history.

Hundreds of thousands of residents were without power as the storm swept across the region. Some areas declared snow emergencies, and strongly encouraged people not to travel and to remain at home. In Virginia, the National Guard rescued several hundred motorists who became stranded due to the heavy snows. A twenty-mile traffic backup on Interstate 81 was also reported.

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Second day of snow in UK, disruption continues

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

Second day of snow in UK, disruption continues

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Monday, December 21, 2009

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A second day of winter weather and snow has caused further disruption in the UK.

At 15:13 GMT last Saturday, one Wikinews contributor in West Lothian described the conditions there as ‘white-out’, although later conditions were reported to have improved.

Forecasters had indicated further snow in Scotland later into Saturday evening, with some higher ground experiencing as much as 15 centimetres into Sunday. Heavy snow for parts of Northern England had also been forecast.

In South of England the wintry weather has also affected cross channel services, with Operation Stack being brought into effect due to issues at the Port of Calais. Eurostar and Channel tunnel services were also disrupted for an extended period, when trains broke down temporarily stranding at least 2000 passengers according to both BBC and Guardian reports. The cause is still under investigation, but it has been suggested, temperatures changes on entering the Channel tunnel may have been responsible.

Traffic around both Dover and Folkstone was reported as heavy, with Chief Superintendent Matthew Nix(Kent police) making an appeal for “[…] everyone to consider whether their journey is really necessary. Because of the problems with the Channel Tunnel and the Port of Calais, it will take a considerable time to clear the backlog […]”

In addition to transport disruption, a number of sports have been affected. At least twenty football fixtures across the UK have been postponed, with some rugby matches also affected. Race meetings at Haydock, Newcastle were cancelled due to the conditions, a planned meet at Ascot having been abandoned earlier. A National Hunt meeting at Carlisle yesterday was also abandoned.



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Mortar exchange kills thirteen in Somali capital

Filed under: Africa,Archived,Mogadishu,Politics and conflicts,Somalia — admin @ 5:00 am

Mortar exchange kills thirteen in Somali capital

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Monday, December 21, 2009

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Somali officials have said that an exchange of mortar fire today has killed at least fourteen people in the capital, Mogadishu. At least 28 other people were wounded in the shelling between Islamist insurgents and pro-government forces.

The incident apparently started after the insurgents started firing mortars at soldiers, who responded by throwing shells.

“Fourteen civilians died and 28 others were wounded on Saturday night and Sunday morning in mortar shell exchanges in Mogadishu. Most of these people died this morning after an exchange of heavy shelling,” said the vice chairman of Mogadishu’s Elman Peace and Human Rights Organization, Ali Yasin Gedi, to the Reuters news agency.

Islamist rebels are in control of large parts of the capital and southern Somalia after a nearly three-year insurgency; they have said they plan to overthrow Somalia’s current government.

Somalia’s weak transitional government is under growing pressure to take tough measures against rebels, especially the al-Shabab group. Fighting in the Horn of Africa country has killed about 19,000 civilians and displaced another 1.5 million since the beginning of 2007.



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Man killed in harbour car crash in Cornwall, England

Man killed in harbour car crash in Cornwall, England

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Monday, December 21, 2009

A man has been killed after a car accident in Cornwall, England. The collision involved a vehicle driving off a quay in Porthleven, near the town of Helston in the county and into the sea at around 2100 Greenwich Mean Time on Friday, according to reports from members of the public made to the police and the coastguard.

A major rescue operation was launched with contributions from the harbourmaster, the ambulance service, the police, the fire crews, a helicopter and the Royal National Lifeboat Institution. After roughly two hours, a harbour crane lifted the vehicle out of the water that it had crashed into. It transpired that the man was the only occupant of the vehicle. It is believed that no other vehicles were involved in the incident. The man was taken to the Royal Cornwall Hospital, which is situated in Truro, by ambulance. However, on arrival, he was pronounced dead.

Now tributes are being paid to 20-year-old Jamie Hocking after his death. The family of the man have said that he will be “truly missed by all who knew him”, describing Jamie with the words “loveable rogue”. The family also expressed their thanks to people offering sympathy messages and support from others, as well as the emergency services who assisted at the scene of the accident. Devon and Cornwall Constabulary are now asking any people who know of any information relating to the incident to contact them as soon as possible.



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Madagascar leader names army officer as prime minister

Madagascar leader names army officer as prime minister

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Monday, December 21, 2009

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Andry Rajoelina

Madagascar’s leader, Andry Rajoelina, has named a high-ranking army officer as the country’s new prime minister, and announced he is abandoning a power-sharing deal with the opposition.

Mr. Rajoelina’s office announced Sunday that Colonel Camille Albert Vital would serve as the new prime minister, replacing Eugene Mangalaza, who was supposed to be prime minister under the deal. Previously he had been expected to make Cecile Manorohanta the new prime minister. He also abolished the posts of co-president.

In a nationally broadcast address, Colonel Vital said that organising elections and increasing security were his priorities. He called on the people of Madagascar, including political rivals, to work with his government.

Mr. Rajoelina took power in a coup last March. On Wednesday, he appeared on national television to announce that parliamentary elections would take place March 20 next year. He made no mention of presidential elections.

International mediators have brokered several power-sharing agreements in recent months, but all have been unsuccessful. The African Union and other regional bodies have refused to recognize Mr. Rajoelina’s presidency.



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Macy\’s flagship store in New York evacuated due to fire

Macy’s flagship store in New York evacuated due to fire

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Monday, December 21, 2009

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Macy’s flagship store in Herald Square, New York City, was evacuated due to a two-alarm fire on Sunday. The fire started in an escalator and smoke began to spread throughout the department store. Nobody was seriously injured, however thick smoke was present. The fire was reported at 16:00 EDT (21:00 UTC) and the store reopened at around 18:00 EDT (23:00 UTC) and will stay open until 18:00 EDT Christmas eve, according to Macy’s spokesperson Elina Kazan.

The Macy’s store in Herald Square
Image: PlusMinus.

“Real smoky, you could hardly breathe on the third floor […] everybody had to wear masks.” shopper Raysha Oliver said to the local CBS affiliate. Oliver also said that those without masks had to cover their faces with cloths. Customers were still attempting to complete purchases “I got some already, but had to put the rest of it aside,” Oliver said.

New York City Fire Department officials estimate that about 5000 customers were displaced during the fire, although some waited the two hours for the store to reopen. Shopper Stanley Rafal said that “it’s going to kill a lot of business.” Macy’s executive Patti Lee said that she could not estimate the financial toll which the fire took and that “We’re just pleased no one was hurt”.


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