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December 22, 2009

US Senate advances health care reform bill

US Senate advances health care reform bill

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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

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The US Senate has voted by 60 to 40 votes to close debate on landmark health care reform legislation backed by President Barack Obama but unanimously opposed by Republican lawmakers. Now, the divided chamber appears to be heading towards a vote to pass the bill on Thursday.

All 100 senators were gathered in the Capitol building for a key procedural vote on health care reform legislation. All 58 Democrats in the Senate, plus the two independents who normally vote with them, voted for cloture, which limits the length of debate. All forty Republicans unanimously opposed the cloture.

The bill would extend health insurance coverage to 30 million US residents who currently lack it, and forbid insurance companies from practices such as denying coverage due to pre-existing conditions. Most residents would be required to purchase health insurance for the first time, with subsidies provided to those who cannot afford it.

“We’ll get this [bill] passed before Christmas and it will be one of the best Christmas presents this Congress has ever given the American people,” said Democratic senator Tom Harkin.

“This country, the greatest and richest the world has ever seen, is the only advanced nation on earth where dying for a lack of health insurance is even possible,” said Senate Majority leader Harry Reid.

Most Republicans, however, said they believed the bill is too expensive and would not correct the current problems with the US’s health care.

If the bill passes in the Senate, that version will have to be merged with a more liberal version passed by the House of Representatives which includes a government-run alternative, not included in the Senate version.



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UK Wikinews Shorts: December 22, 2009

UK Wikinews Shorts: December 22, 2009 – Wikinews, the free news source

UK Wikinews Shorts: December 22, 2009

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A compilation of brief news reports for Tuesday, December 22, 2009.


Man appears in court case involving murder of woman in Glasgow, Scotland

Map of Scotland with Glasgow highlighted in dark blue.

A man has appeared in a court case regarding the murder of a woman from Glasgow, Scotland. Khalid Mamoun Sarwar, aged 28, appeared at Glasgow Sheriff Court on charges of theft and murder. The charges relate to the death of 54-year-old Nasim Jamil. She was an agony aunt who worked as a presenter on Awaz FM, an Asian community radio station. She was killed in her apartment on Byres Road in Glasgow. The radio host’s body was discovered by her daughter on December 9. Sarwar, who is from the city, was not making any declarations or pleas during the court trial. The man was subsequently remanded in custody.

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Man jailed for murder of ex-girlfriend in Lancashire, England

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A man has been jailed for the murder of his ex-girlfriend in Lancashire, England, after a trial in Preston Crown Court. 52-year-old Alan Entwistle admitted the murder of his ex-girlfriend and mother of two Claire Atkinson, who came from Elm Street in the town of Fleetwood. The court heard how he had been planning the murder for several weeks since the relationship between him and Claire had broken down. A month before the killing he had been charged with kidnap and using a knife to threaten her but was released on bail. It was said that the former bouncer had been stalking Atkinson on the day of her murder and that he had managed to coax her into his blue Hyundai Getz. He then stabbed Claire 13 times, with her heart being infiltrated by seven of the wounds from the knife. After the murder, which occurred on April 17, 2009, Alan drove around with the body of the victim in the passenger seat of the car before deliberately crashing the vehicle into the back of a Land Rover. Alan Entwistle was sentenced to a minimum of 20 years in prison. Judge Anthony Russell QC described him with the words “manipulative man”.

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Two people killed in car crash in East Yorkshire, England

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Two people, a man and a woman, have both been killed as the result of car crash in East Yorkshire, England. The two accident victims have been identified as 20-year-old Rebecca Robinson and 22-year-old Liam Normington. Both came from Hull. They were travelling along the A1079 towards Hull in their silver Citroën C2 car when they collided with a silver Volkswagen Passat which was moving in the other direction. The Citroen slid across the road and the two vehicles collided with each other. The Citroen then went off the road and rolled down a large embankment, resulting in the vehicle going onto its roof. The collision occurred at around 1420 GMT on Sunday between the market towns of Beverley and Market Weighton. Both died at the scene of the accident after sustaining fatal injuries. The road conditions were icy however Humberside Police have not yet confirmed that this was indeed a factor in the accident. North Yorkshire Police are now asking for any people who witnessed the collision to contact them.

A spokesperson for the police has said: “They were in a silver-coloured Citroen C2, travelling eastbound towards Hull when the car is believed to have veered to the other side of the road causing it to collide with a silver -coloured Volkswagen Passat travelling in the opposite direction. The Citroen then left the road and went down a very large embankment coming to a rest on its roof. As a result Liam and Rebecca sustained fatal injuries and sadly died in the incident.”

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Man dies after being found unconscious in garden in Western Isles, Scotland

A satellite image of the island of Lewis (top) and its neighbouring island, Harris.

A man has died after being found unconscious in the back garden outside his house in Western Isles, Scotland.

35-year-old Donald Martin was found unconscious by one of his neighbours outside his house, located on Kennedy Terrace in Stornoway on the island of Lewis, at around 1300 GMT on Saturday. He was taken to Western Isles Hospital and placed in a high dependency unit, however the man died later that day. It is believed that the man froze to death as a result of sub-zero temperatures in the area. The man was working as an electrician and was not married. What was to be the last time he was seen was when he was returning to his house from a night out in the town centre of Stornoway, it is understood.

A spokesperson for the Northern Constabulary, the police service in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, has released a statement saying: “Despite their best efforts the man was pronounced dead some hours later. A post mortem will be carried out to establish cause of death and a report will be submitted to the Procurator Fiscal. There do not appear to be any suspicious circumstances.”

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Serbia to apply to join the EU

Serbia to apply to join the EU – Wikinews, the free news source

Serbia to apply to join the EU

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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

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Serbian President Boris Tadić
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Serbia is to file a formal application today to join the European Union according to officials. President Boris Tadić is to fly to Stockholm to submit the application to Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt.

“President Boris Tadic will go to Stockholm on Tuesday to submit the application for EU membership,” announced Serbian presidency spokeswoman Jasmina Stojanov.

Reinfeldt called the announcement “a historic step”. In a statement he welcomed the bid, saying “I look forward to receiving President Boris Tadic in Stockholm on Tuesday, December 22, when he officially hands over the application.”

Along with Montenegro and Macedonia, visa-free entry to the 27-country bloc came into affect for Serbia’s citizens on Saturday, and a free trade agreement, frozen in April, was also reinstated this month, after the United Nations chief prosecutor accepted that the country was making serious attempts to arrest the two remaining people indicted for war crimes by The Hague’s International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).

According to diplomats, the bid for membership has some support, with Italy and Greece favourable, but the Netherlands and the United Kingdom more cautious.



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Scottish nurse loses appeal in murders of four patients in England

Scottish nurse loses appeal in murders of four patients in England

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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

St James’s Hospital in Leeds, UK

A man from Scotland who killed four elderly women and attempted to murder a fifth while working as a nurse in England has lost his appeal. Colin Norris, 33, from Glasgow, gave his victims overdoses of insulin which sent them into comas.

Norris, who was struck off the nursing register following his convictions, was convicted in March last year of murdering Doris Ludlam, 80, Bridget Bourke, 88, Irene Crookes, 79, and Ethel Hall, 86, as well as the attempted murder of 90-year-old Vera Wilby. Only Wilby ever awoke from her coma. He was convicted by a majority verdict at Newcastle Crown Court and sentenced to thirty years to life in prison.

William Clegg QC, defending, told the Court of Appeal in London that the deaths at the General Infirmary and St James’s Hospital in Leeds could have been caused by “severe spontaneous hypoglycaemia” causing “naturally raised insulin levels” in the patients. He said this possibility had never been properly investigated.

Clegg also challenged Mr Justice Griffith Williams’ summing up to the jury in the original trial. However, having also heard arguments from the prosecution, given by Robert Smith QC, the panel of judges did not agree. Lord Justice Aikens stated that the judges directions “cannot validly be criticised” and went on: “We reject both grounds of appeal. The case against the appellant was very strong indeed. We are quite satisfied that the convictions… on all five counts were safe. The appeal is dismissed.”



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Mexico City legalises gay marriages

Mexico City legalises gay marriages – Wikinews, the free news source

Mexico City legalises gay marriages

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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

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Lawmakers in the municipality of Mexico City, the capital of Mexico, became the first to approve gay marriage in Latin America yesterday, despite opposition from conservative groups and the Catholic Church.

“It was approved overall by 39 votes in favor and twenty against, with five abstentions,” said a spokesman for David Razu, the bill’s chief sponsor. Razu proposed the bill to allow same-sex couples to have the same access as heterosexual married couples to social security and other benefits.

Some cities in countries in Latin America, such as Argentina, Colombia and Ecuador permit homosexual civil unions, Uruguay permits civil unions throughout the country as well as adoption, and last month a court in Argentina blocked a bill proposing gay marriage; the country’s Supreme Court has yet to make the final ruling.

Spokesman Oscar Oliver said that the next step for the capital’s lawmakers was to use a measure in the bill intended to permit adoption for same-sex married couples.



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Clashes between herders and farmers in Nigeria kill thirty

Filed under: Africa,Crime and law,Nigeria,Politics and conflicts — admin @ 5:00 am

Clashes between herders and farmers in Nigeria kill thirty

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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

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According to reports, at least 30 people have been killed in fighting between farmers and cattle herders in the central Nasarawa State of Nigeria.

Member of parliament Mohammed Baba Ibaku said that the incident began on Friday, when armed herders raided the farm village of Udeni Gida. He commented that scores of homes were set on fire during the attack, and added that the herders were from the neighboring Kogi and Taraba states. The violence had occurred after a few weeks of tension between the two, mainly due to competition for land, which is becoming scarcer because of desertification.

Some reporters in the village said that they had seen at least fifty bodies of people killed in the violence. The town has now been placed under police control.

A clash similar to this one erupted two weeks ago, after herders led their cattle into rice fields. One farmer was killed during that incident.

Nasarawa State police commissioner Shehu Babolola confirmed the farmers and herders clashed again on Friday, but declined to give casualty figures.



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China and Indonesia hail deal of Copenhagen summit

Filed under: China,Indonesia,United Kingdom,United States — admin @ 5:00 am

China and Indonesia hail deal of Copenhagen summit

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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

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Before the Copenhagen summit Barack Obama and Yang Jiechi met 12 March 2009 in the White House

China and Indonesia, two of the giants of Asia, have welcomed the UN Climate Change Conference outcome.

The Chinese foreign minister and Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, the 6th President of Indonesia, appreciated the result of the UN Climate Change Conference. Obama defended the Copenhagen Accord and was the medium between the main new powers. The consensus didn’t adopt the accord in the Copenhagen summit.

The 193-nation conference ended last Friday in Denmark. Richard Black, who is a journalist of BBC environment says the tipping point is the 2 degrees Celsius. The UN scientists says to avert the climate crisis we have to stay under 3.6F (2C).

Yang Jiechi, who is the 10th Foreign Minister of the People’s Republic of China said: “Developing and developed countries are very different in their historical emissions responsibilities and current emissions levels, and in their basic national characteristics and development stages. […] Therefore, they should shoulder different responsibilities and obligations in fighting climate.”

Yang Jiechi thinks the summit was the beginning of a new chapter fight against of global warming. IPCC’s leader, who shared a Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore Rajendra Pachauri said “We will have to make sure it moves quickly”.

The UN Climate Change Conference will be organized in Bonn, Germany. There will be other Climate and Atmosphere conferences in the future, for example the Fortaleza conference in Brazil, which start 16 August 2010.

The Copenhagen Accord is based on a proposal tabled by US, China, India, Brazil and South Africa.



Related news

  • “Copenhagen climate conference ends with “meaningful agreement”” — Wikinews, December 19, 2009

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