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April 30, 2011

Swiss mountaineer Erhard Loretan dies in climbing accident

Swiss mountaineer Erhard Loretan dies in climbing accident

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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Mount Grünhorn
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Acclaimed Swiss mountaineer Erhard Loretan died Thursday on his 52nd birthday when he fell in a climbing accident.

According to Swiss police, Loretan was climbing with a client to the summit of Gruenhor, a 4,043 meter peak in the Bernese Alps, when both fell for unknown reasons from a height of around 3,800 metres. He was killed immediately while his client was hospitalized in serious condition.

Loretan, originally from Fribourg, was eleven years old when he began climbing. In 1982, he climbed his first 8,000-meter peak, Nanga Parbat in Pakistan. He was the third person to summit all fourteen of the world’s 8,000-meter peaks, which he accomplished by the age of 36. This confirmed his reputation as one of the world’s top mountain climbers. In 1986 he ascended Mt. Everest in 40 hours without using supplementary oxygen, a feat that astonished other mountain climbers.

Saying that he was essentially a solitary person, he told a Trento film festival in a video posted on its web site last year, “First of all I’d like to thank the mountains, for almost 40 years they have allowed me to climb, and with this passion I’ve lived an extraordinary life up to now, that’s why I’d like to thank them.”

He added, “I now want to share this passion more with others, and it’s because of this that being a mountain guide is a good profession because you can help someone who dreams about climbing mountains. This is something very beautiful.”

In 2001 his personal life was marred by a manslaughter charge for shaking to death his seven-month old son to stop him from crying. He plead guilty in 2003 and received a four-month suspended sentence. The case ignited a debate in Switzerland over shaking babies.


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Sixteen killed in Marrakech, Morocco bomb blast

Sixteen killed in Marrakech, Morocco bomb blast

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Saturday, April 30, 2011

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Jemaa el-Fnaa square, location of the café
Image: AlexandrDmitri.

At least sixteen people are reported killed in a terrorist bombing in the city of Marrakech, Morocco. The bombing occurred in the busy Argana café before lunch time, Thursday. The café, located in the popular Jemaa el-Fnaa square, is within what is known as the old city. The square, a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the country’s top tourist attractions, draws many foreign visitors.

Early reports blamed a gas can catching fire. Witness reports indicate the blast destroyed the entire second floor of the café, blasting off the terrace and roof demolishing the front of the building.

Photographer Tarek Bozid reported, “Everything was covered in blood. The scene was horrifying. Tables were broken and glass was shattered.”

Marrakech highlighted on a map of Morroco.

Ten of the victims were foreign, including six French nationals and one Briton. Half of the dead are reported to be women; and, at least 20 other people were critically wounded including a number foreigners. Two Swiss nationals, two Russians, two Tunisians and two Dutch tourists are reported to be amongst those injured.

Although the blast was at first considered an accident, the Interior Ministry confirmed it was an intentional act. “Analysis of the early evidence collected at the site of the blast confirms the theory of an attack,” he said in a statement issued through the official Maghreb Arabe Presse (MAP) news agency.

Medics said nails, often used in suicide bombs, were found in the bodies of most victims.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has expressed his outrage, considering it to be “heinous, cruel and cowardly”. The act has been condemned by leaders internationally. French foreign minister Alain Juppe stated he is unaware of any particular threat to France in Morroco, once a French protectorate.

This is the first major attack on Morocco since the 2003 Casablanca bombings, which killed 45 and injured more than 100.


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Egyptian politician ElBaradei says ousted President Mubarak must stand trial

Egyptian politician ElBaradei says ousted President Mubarak must stand trial

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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Egypt
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Hosni Mubarak in Rome in 2009.
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Egyptian politician Mohamed ElBaradei said that ousted President Hosni Mubarak must stand trial. His statement follows the recent ratification by Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil El Araby of a statute that ensures Egypt will join the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court (ICC). If ElBaradei assumes power in the coming October/November 2011 elections, Mubarak and other former high-ranking corrupt Egyptian officials could potentially be tried in The Hague.

In an interview with the Islam Times, ElBaradei cited reasons as to why the trial of Hosni Mubarak will be necessary to undertake if he chooses to run for Egypt’s top job. “Mubarak allegedly issued the order to shoot at the protesters. [That should] have been reason enough to arrest him immediately…The Military Council has no other option than to try Mubarak and bring everyone else to justice who is responsible for human rights violations or corruption,” he said.

ElBaradei’s previous statement to CNN during the 2011 Egyptian Revolution which began on the 25th of January, according to The Jerusalem Post, was that a trial was unnecessary and that what primarily needed to be done was for Mubarak to hand back money, speculated to be as much as $70 billion, which Mubarak illegally took over the course of his 30 year reign and now owes to the Egyptian people in order for economic progress to emerge.

ElBaradei has stated he believes Egypt should be run by ‘institutions’ rather than ‘individuals’ and has said, “I want to come up with a renaissance project for Egypt and not an electoral program for ElBaradei”.



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Sixteen killed in Marrakech bomb blast

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 5:00 am

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Other stories from Morocco
…More articles here
Location of Morocco

A map showing the location of Morocco

To write, edit, start or view other articles on Morocco, see the Morocco Portal
Flag of Morocco.svg

Jemaa el-Fnaa square, location of the café
Image: AlexandrDmitri.

At least sixteen people are reported killed in a terrorist bombing in the city of Marrakech, Morocco. The bombing occurred in the busy Argana café before lunch time, Thursday. The café, located in the popular Jemaa el-Fnaa square, is within what is known as the old city. The square, a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the country’s top tourist attractions, draws many foreign visitors.

Early reports blamed a gas can catching fire. Witness reports indicate the blast destroyed the entire second floor of the café, blasting off the terrace and roof demolishing the front of the building.

Photographer Tarek Bozid reported, “Everything was covered in blood. The scene was horrifying. Tables were broken and glass was shattered.”

Marrakech highlighted on a map of Morroco.

Ten of the victims were foreign, including six French nationals and one Briton. Half of the dead are reported to be women; and, at least 20 other people were critically wounded including a number foreigners. Two Swiss nationals, two Russians, two Tunisians and two Dutch tourists are reported to be amongst those injured.

Although the blast was at first considered an accident, the Interior Ministry confirmed it was an intentional act. “Analysis of the early evidence collected at the site of the blast confirms the theory of an attack,” he said in a statement issued through the official Maghreb Arabe Presse (MAP) news agency.

Medics said nails, often used in suicide bombs, were found in the bodies of most victims.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has expressed his outrage, considering it to be “heinous, cruel and cowardly”. The act has been condemned by leaders internationally. French foreign minister Alain Juppe stated he is unaware of any particular threat to France in Morroco, once a French protectorate.

This is the first major attack on Morocco since the 2003 Casablanca bombings, which killed 45 and injured more than 100.


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April 29, 2011

Steve Jobs denies \’location-gate\’

Steve Jobs denies ‘location-gate’ – Wikinews, the free news source

Steve Jobs denies ‘location-gate’

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Friday, April 29, 2011

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Apple Inc. CEO Steve Jobs announced on Wednesday that iPhone technology is not being used to monitor the location of its customers. The scandal arose from concern that data collected by Apple would make it possible for anyone with access to a person’s private computer to retrieve information about their movements.

Jobs acknowledged that while iPhones keep a database of Wi-Fi and cell tower hotspots these do not reveal anything about individual users’ location. “That’s what people saw on the phone and mistook it for location”

In a separate statement, Apple clarified the device is merely caching data in order to improve the speed of locating users in the future.

Jobs confirmed during the interview that Apple would testify before the United States Congress. “They have asked us to come and we will honour their request, of course.”

Apple have since made plans to release software updates that will cut the size of the wireless hotspot location database stored on its iPhones.

The data scandal, coined ‘Location-gate’ has overshadowed news of Apple’s announcement for sales of the delayed white iPhone 4 which will begin shipping from Thursday.



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Prince William marries Kate Middleton—live updates

Prince William marries Kate Middleton—live updates

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Deadly tornadoes rip through southern US, killing over 300

Deadly tornadoes rip through southern US, killing over 300

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Friday, April 29, 2011

Disasters and accidents

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NOAA tornado probability map for April 27, 2011

A huge thunderstorm system spawning massive tornadoes ripped through the south-eastern US Wednesday evening and early Thursday morning, killing at least 306 people in six states and causing wide spread property damage. Some 173 tornadoes have been reported from New York to Texas. In the worst hit state of Alabama, at least 210 are confirmed dead, including 36 in Tuscaloosa alone.

Cquote1.svg In terms of the ground-up damage and quite possibly the insured damage, this event will be of historic proportions. Cquote2.svg

—Jose Miranda, EQECAT

Deaths also were reported in Mississippi, Tennessee, Georgia, Virginia and Kentucky.

Up to one million people in Alabama were without power. A nuclear power plant was shut down in Alabama after it lost power to its three units, an operation of the plant’s safety systems.

Seven states have declared a state of emergency, and federal aid is being sent to Alabama. Governor Robert J. Bentley said he was activating 2,000 Alabama National Guard personell to aid in search and rescue. President Barack Obama, who plans to visit Alabama on Friday to view the destruction, sent a message of condolence to the governor:

“Michelle and I extend our deepest condolences to the families of those who lost their lives because of the tornadoes that have swept through Alabama and the southeastern United States. Our hearts go out to all those who have been affected by this devastation, and we commend the heroic efforts of those who have been working tirelessly to respond to this disaster. I just spoke to Governor Bentley and told him that I have ordered the Federal Government to move quickly in our response and informed him that I approved his request for emergency Federal assistance, including search and rescue assets. While we may not know the extent of the damage for days, we will continue to monitor these severe storms across the country and stand ready to continue to help the people of Alabama and all citizens affected by these storms.”

Preliminary estimates of the tornado hitting Tuscaloosa suggest it tore along the ground for 176 miles and contained winds up to 200 miles per hour. The devastation included residential and commercial areas, as well as the city’s infrastructure and civic buildings.

Cquote1.svg I don’t know how anyone survived. … But when you look at the path of destruction that’s likely 5 to 7 miles long in an area half a mile to a mile wide … it’s an amazing scene. There’s parts of the city I don’t recognize, and that’s someone that’s lived here his entire life. Cquote2.svg

—Walter Maddox, Mayor of Tuscaloosa

“I don’t know how anyone survived,” said Mayor Walter Maddox of Tuscaloosa. “We’re used to tornadoes here in Tuscaloosa. It’s part of growing up. But when you look at the path of destruction that’s likely 5 to 7 miles long in an area half a mile to a mile wide … it’s an amazing scene. There’s parts of the city I don’t recognize, and that’s someone that’s lived here his entire life.”

Officials did not want to give specific numbers for death toll and destruction in specific states, as the extent of the damage and human injury and death is not completely known. According the the Los Angeles Times, “Mississippi officials reported 32 dead, Tennessee raised its report to 29, Georgia reported 13, Virginia said it had eight deaths and Kentucky reported at least one death. The number of injured was in the hundreds, with that number also expected to rise.”

“In terms of the ground-up damage and quite possibly the insured damage, this event will be of historic proportions,” Jose Miranda, from EQECAT, a catastrophe risk modeling firm,

The severe weather warning has been continued through Thursday, and includes parts of New York, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida.

This outbreak of tornadoes is considered the deadliness since 1974 when more than 300 were killed in a tornado outbreak. On March 18, 1925, 695 people died in a storm.

Greg Carbin, meteorologist at the National Weather Service, said, “May is usually the most active tornado month. Will it maintain the activity of April, we just cannot say.”



Related news

  • “Tornadoes damage hundreds of Missouri homes, force closure of airport” — Wikinews, April 24, 2011
  • “New Year’s Eve tornado slams northwest Arkansas, killing three” — Wikinews, January 1, 2011

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April 28, 2011

US Federal Reserve Chairman gives first news conference

US Federal Reserve Chairman gives first news conference

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Thursday, April 28, 2011

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A meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee

On Wednesday, at the first live public news conference ever given by the Federal Reserve (Fed), Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke explained the US central bank’s recent policy to a small group of reporters and answered some questions.

The conference was conducted two hours after the release of a report by the Fed’s policymaking committee, the Federal Open Market Committee outlining its policies decided the day before. Until 1994 the Fed gave no information about the policy decisions made in its meetings pertaining to short-term interest rates and other policies. The public was left to guess what decisions were. In 1994 the Fed began issuing brief reports.

Unlike the US, the central banks in Europe, Japan, Canada and other countries have regularly meetings with the press after making such policy decisions.

The public has increasingly been aware of the secretive practices of the Fed, especially after its unprecedented intervention with massive bailouts of large financial institutions during the recent financial crises.

At Wednesday’s meeting, it was decided that the Fed would maintain near-zero interest rates to stimulate the economy. It announced that it plans to end its program of buying back treasury bonds by the end of June, a program receiving criticism from Republicans concerned about the budget deficit.

Bernanke’s exchange with reporters, called “historic” by the Los Angeles Times, was the first of a series of regular news conferences planned to be held quarterly by Bernanke to provided the Fed with more transparency. He was cautious in his remarks. He made no news but explained in general terms the Fed’s policy.

He said the Fed is attempting to revive the US economy by creating jobs and keeping inflation low.

“The trade-offs are getting less attractive at this point,” Bernanke said. “Inflation has gotten higher … it’s not clear we can get substantial improvements in payrolls without some additional inflation risk.”

Cquote1.svg Unfortunately, the reason we use this vaguer terminology is we don’t know with certainty how quickly response will be required. Cquote2.svg

—Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke

During the conference, Bernanke said he recognized that the average American was unhappy with the increasing inflation and the slow job growth, but said the Fed projected that long-term inflation will remain stable while he acknowledged the effects of the short-term price increases which he said were driven largely by the increase in the price of oil.

“There’s not much the Federal Reserve can do about gas prices, per se, at least not without derailing growth entirely, which certainly is not the right way to go,” Bernanke said. “After all, the Fed can’t create more oil.”

When asked by reporters to explain his vague answers, he gave general replies. For example, when asked to clarify the Fed’s intention to maintain near-zero interest rates for an “extended period” he said the wording suggested this period would probably continue through a couple more policymaking meetings at least.

“Unfortunately, the reason we use this vaguer terminology is we don’t know with certainty how quickly response will be required,” he said.

Diane Swonk, chief economist at Mesirow Financial, said of Bernanke’s performance at the press conference, “He was well-prepared and did exactly what he wanted to do – do no harm.”



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Afghan pilot kills nine Americans

Afghan pilot kills nine Americans – Wikinews, the free news source

Afghan pilot kills nine Americans

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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Afghanistan
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Eight American troops and one contractor were shot and killed by an Afghan National Army Air Force pilot Wednesday. Five Afghan soldiers were also wounded in the attack, for which the Taliban has claimed responsibility.

The incident, which began around 10 a.m. Afghan time (0530 UTC), occurred in the operations room of the Afghan Air Force in Kabul International Airport. The shooter, Ahmad Gul Sahebi, was killed by NATO forces.

“Suddenly, in the middle of the meeting, shooting started,” said Afghan Air Corps spokesman Colonel Bahader. “After the shooting started, we saw a number of Afghan army officers and soldiers running out of the building. Some were even throwing themselves out of the windows to get away.”

The shooter’s brother, Hassan Sahebi, said, “My brother was a little depressed recently, but he had served with Afghanistan’s national army for 20 years. He loved his country and his people. He was a good man.” He also said that his brother was facing financial troubles, but was not connected with the Taliban. A spokesman for the militia group, however, described Ahmad Gul Sahebi as an informant and sleeper agent who began planning the shooting five months ago.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai quickly condemned the attack and offered condolence to the victims and their families. He also said that the police and military would investigate the matter. Wednesday’s incident is the seventh this year in which NATO or Afghan forces have been killed by rogue Afghan troops or insurgents dressed as troops.


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April 27, 2011

U.S. President Barack Obama releases original birth certificate

Filed under: United States — admin @ 5:00 am

U.S. President Barack Obama releases original birth certificate

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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

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Cquote1.svg We’re not going to be able to solve our problems if we get distracted by sideshows and carnival barkers. Cquote2.svg

—President Barack Obama

The long form birth certificate released by the White House.
Image: The White House.

The White House today released a detailed Hawaii birth certificate in an attempt to put to rest the issue of President Barack Obama’s legitimacy to hold the office of president. Shortly after the unexpected release, the president spoke live on national television, explaining, “We do not have time for this kind of silliness.”

President Obama noted that the issue of his birthplace began during his campaign. “I have watched with bemusement, I’ve been puzzled at the degree at which this thing just kept on going,” he said, and blamed media culture for perpetuating the controversy. The president did not answer reporters’ questions nor explain why the document was not released until now.

“We’re not going to be able to solve our problems if we get distracted by sideshows and carnival barkers,” he said, noting the severe problems the nation faces and the importance of the decisions that need to be made. Obama said the problems could not be resolved “if we are distracted.”

The U.S. Constitution states that only a “natural born” citizen of the country can become president. Some have contended that Obama was born overseas and is thus disqualified from holding the office. Although a recent poll by CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll showed that most Americans believe Obama was “definitely or probably born in the United States”, according to CNN, 40 percent of Republicans doubted Obama is a natural born citizen eligible to be president.

The newly released document, signed by the obstetrician and Obama’s mother, shows that Obama was born in Honolulu on August 4, 1961 of a Caucasian mother born in Kansas and and an African father born in Kenya. It was signed on August 7 and 8.

Prominent businessman Donald Trump has been highlighting the question of Obama’s birthplace recently as he mulled over whether to run for the presidency himself, and took credit for its release today. “He should have done it a long time ago,” he told journalists. “I am really honored to play such a big role in hopefully, hopefully getting rid of this issue.”



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