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February 29, 2012

Three students killed in Ohio school shooting, others injured

Three students killed in Ohio school shooting, others injured

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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Crime and law
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Authorities have confirmed that three students have died following a shooting which occurred at an Ohio school early on Monday. The third, Demetrius Hewlin, died Tuesday morning, according to media sources. The alleged gunman is identified as T.J. Lane, a sophomore at the high school in the town of Chardon, population about 5,000. Witnesses report the event began in the school’s cafeteria around 7:40am on Monday.

School officials placed the school on lockdown during the incident, according to a witness. Reportedly a teacher acted to protect one injured student by dragging him into his classroom. The alleged gunman’s family stated through an attorney their sorrow over the events. They also extended their condolences to the other students’ families.

The town’s police chief said the gunman’s motives are unclear. Prosecutor David Joyce told reporters he does not anticipate the case remaining in the juvenile court system. The school is set to resume classes again on Friday, after staff, students and parents have had opportunity to receive counseling.


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Maine Senator Olympia Snowe announces she won\’t seek reelection

Maine Senator Olympia Snowe announces she won’t seek reelection

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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

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Olympia Snowe, three-term moderate Republican United States Senator from Maine, announced yesterday that she will not seek election to a fourth term in the 2012 elections.

Official photo of Sen. Olympia Snowe, 2009.
Image: Office of Senator Olympia Snowe.

In her announcement, Snowe cited the “atmosphere of polarization and ‘my way or the highway’ ideologies” as a reason for not seeking reelection to another term in the U.S. Senate. The announcement, which was released by Snowe’s campaign office this afternoon, was later confirmed by Justin Brasell, the Senator’s campaign manager.

According to a campaign aide to Snowe, Sharon Miller, the senator had been considering the decision for several weeks; “She was really struggling with it. But her timing is the same as Sen. George Mitchell and Sen. Bill Cohen, who also made their decisions very close to the deadline”.

Snowe served in the United States Congress for 33 years. Fellow Maine Senator Susan Collins said the announcement was a “complete surprise”, and that it “devastated” her.

Snowe’s decision not to seek reelection to her Senate seat has energized Democrats, who have a chance at winning the seat this fall, helping to defend their 51 seat to 47 seat majority in the body.

The announcement also took Senate Republican leadership by surprise; minority leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and National Republican Senatorial Committee chairman John Cornyn of Texas reportedly were informed of Snowe’s decision yesterday. According to one Republican, Snowe had sent a fundraiser invitation out on Monday.

Those mentioned as possible contenders for Snowe’s Senate seat include 2002 Republican gubernatorial candidate Peter Cianchette, Snowe’s husband and Republican former Maine Governor Jock McKernan, and Democratic Representatives Chellie Pingree and Mike Michaud.



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February 28, 2012

U.S. Army identifies remains of last U.S. soldier unaccounted for in Iraq

U.S. Army identifies remains of last U.S. soldier unaccounted for in Iraq

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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

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The remains of United States Staff Sergeant Ahmed K. Altaie of Ann Arbor, Michigan, were identified on Saturday. Although Army officials provided no details surrounding his death, the military’s mortuary in Dover, Delaware positively identified Altaie’s remains. Altaie was the last missing United States service member unaccounted for in Iraq.

Altaie was born in Iraq and moved to the United States during his teenage years. He served as a translator for the U.S. Army when he was abuducted on October 23, 2006, having joined the Army Reserve two years before.

Altaie took a motorcycle trip from Baghdad’s Green Zone to visit his Iraqi wife when three abductor’s pulled up, handcuffed the 41 year old, and left with him. Iraqi officials offered a $50,000 reward for information leading to Altaie.

In February 2007, a ten-second video posted on a militant Shiite website appeared to be of Altaie.

Hathal Altaie, the man’s brother, told McClatchy, “We’ve been waiting for five years, suffering, not knowing if he’s alive or dead. This was not the news we wanted, of course, but it’s better than staying like that, without ever knowing what happened to him.”


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Australian women\’s water polo team takes test series against Great Britain

Australian women’s water polo team takes test series against Great Britain

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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Bruce, Canberra — Australia’s Stingers, the women’s national water polo team, completed their five-game test series in Canberra, Australia winning all five matches against Great Britain. The test is part of preparations for the team’s 2012 Summer Olympics appearance.

Moments during the of the first test series match
Image: Laura Hale.

man and women sitting in chairs watching a water polo game

Great Britain water polo players on the bench at AIS Aquatic Centre during the second series against Australia.
Image: Bidgee.

women in swim suits sitting on chairs

The third of a five game test series against the Great Britain women’s national water polo team on 25 February 2012. Australia won 15–6. On the far left is Bronwen Knox, then Zoe Arancini, Melissa Rippon, Rowena Webster, Hannah Buckling.
Image: LauraHale.

woman in water lunging for the ball

An Australian lunges for the ball during the fourth test
Image: Laura Hale.

woman in water with a ball

Melissa Rippon passes the ball in the fifth game
Image: Laura Hale.

With comfortable wins in all five matches, showing an advantage of at least six goals in each game, the test series was the first time Australia’s women competed against Great Britain in six years. The series results have implications for the squad composition; of the seventeen players brought into the Australian training camp running this test series, only thirteen of them can expect an opportunity to travel to London to compete in the Olympics.

Australia dominated the series with precision passing from the team’s goalkeepers who enabled the game to quickly move down the pool, and the ability of the team’s goal scorers to get the ball on target. In contrast, through out the series, the UK lacked a quality long passing game and instead relied on short passes from the perimeter of play where they were faced with less one-on-one coverage. The last game of the series also saw several turn overs and poor shooting on the part of the UK, with many shots going above or to the side of the net, or the shot clock running out.

Australia won all of the games of the test series, with scores of 13–5 in the first test last Tuesday, 14–4 in the second test last Thursday, 15–6 in the third test on Saturday, 14–8 in the fourth test yesterday (Monday) and 14–3 in the last test match today. In the first match, the scorers for Australia were Ashleigh Southern with four goals, Rowie Webster and Bronwen Knox with three goals each, and Gemma Beadsworth, Melissa Rippon, and Holly Lincoln-Smith each contributing a goal. In the second test match, the scorers for Australia were Hannah Buckling and Rippon with three goals, Knox and Beadsworth with two goals each, and Kate Gynther, Zoe Arancini, and Glencora Ralph each contributing a goal. For the third test, Australia’s goal scorers were Jane Moran, Webster, and Nicola Zagame with three goals each, Lincoln-Smith with two goals, and Beadsworth, Buckling, Rippon, and Sophie Smith with one goal apiece. In Australia’s fourth test match, Gynther and Zagame scored three each, Southern and Ralph scored two goals apiece, and Webster, Smith, Lincoln-Smith, and Moran each scored a goal. In the last game, Southern and Ralph scored three goals, Webster and Zagame had two goals each, and Beadsworth, Lincoln-Smith, Knox, and Buckling each scored a goal.



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February 27, 2012

Wikinews interviews former Congressman Virgil Goode, Constitution Party presidential candidate

Wikinews interviews former Congressman Virgil Goode, Constitution Party presidential candidate

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Monday, February 27, 2012

Official congressional photo of Goode.

Former Congressman Virgil Goode of Virginia spoke with Wikinews reporter William S. Saturn about his newly announced 2012 presidential campaign. Goode is currently seeking the nomination of the Constitution Party, a U.S. third party.

Goode served in the Virginia State Senate for twenty-three years. In 1996, he was elected to represent Virginia’s Fifth U.S. congressional district as a Democrat, and was re-elected two years later. Goode left the Democratic Party before his second re-election campaign in 2000, and ran as an Independent. He joined the Republican Party ahead of the 2002 election, and was re-elected three additional times until his defeat in 2008. Since then, Goode has joined the Constitution Party, and has served on its executive committee.

The Constitution Party was founded in 1991 as the U.S. Taxpayers Party. Eight years later, it changed to its current name. The party advocates states’ rights, gun rights, limited government, protectionism, and non-interventionism. It strongly opposes abortion and illegal immigration. In terms of voter registration, it is the third largest U.S. political party with 367,000 members. Pastor Chuck Baldwin won the party’s 2008 presidential nomination, and appeared on 37 state ballots receiving 199,314 votes (0.15%).

Goode had been speculated to make a run for the party’s presidential nomination since last year. In fact, the executive committee passed a resolution last spring to convince him to run. Goode filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) on February 10, and announced his candidacy to the Daily Caller six days later.

The 2012 Constitution Party National Convention will be held in April. Other candidates seeking the nomination include former Savannah State football coach Robby Wells. National chairman Jim Clymer described Goode last summer as the frontrunner for the party’s nomination.

To Wikinews, Goode affirmed his credentials for the presidency and shared his view on the Obama administration. Among other issues, he addressed immigration, spending, energy, and foreign policy.

Interview

Wikinews waves Left.pngWilliam S. SaturnWikinews waves Right.pngFirst, I’d like to get some background. What are your proudest political accomplishments?

Virgil Goode: I served in the Virginia State Senate from December 1973 to January 1997. 23 years. Then I was in the United States House of Representatives from January 1997 to January 2009.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngWhat exactly did you do during those years?

Goode: Well, in the Virginia Senate, I served on a number of different committees, and became familiar with the operation of the Virginia State government. And then the U.S. House of Representatives where I served twelve years, I became familiar with the operation of the federal government. I was on the Appropriations Committee for several congresses, and that helped with the understanding of the budget and the need that we have to make a serious cut in order to achieve balance.
One of my main points is to achieve a balanced budget, sooner not later, not five years down the road, not ten years down the road. We need to do that now.
I also understand the need for secure borders. And I am the only candidate that is in favor of totally stopping illegal immigration, and reducing legal immigration. Immigration costs this country billions of dollars. We should not be bringing in more green card holders while our unemployment rate is between eight and nine percent. We need jobs in America, and U.S. citizens first, and not bring in so many from other countries that take jobs from U.S. citizens.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngWhy did you decide to join the Constitution Party and seek its nomination?

Goode: I have been going to the National Committee meetings. I am a member of the National Committee of the Constitution Party, and I’ve attended about ten meetings. The Constitution National Committee, unlike the Republican National Committee and unlike the Democratic National Committee, was willing to take a stand and support the Arizona legislation to counteract illegal immigration. I think the federal government should be supportive of the efforts of states to deal with the problems, and of course the current administration does not. And the Republican National Committee did not do a resolution supporting Arizona like the Constitution Party National Committee.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngIf you win the nomination, are you concerned you will take votes away from the Republicans and help re-elect Barack Obama?

Goode: No. I think I’ll take votes from Obama. I just talked to the guy that filled my tanks with gas. I’ve known him for many years. He’s gonna vote for Obama — he was — but he says now, he’s gonna vote for me. So I think I’ll take as many votes from Obama as I will from the Republican.
I think when people focus on our campaign, we’re gonna get a lot of votes from both Democrats and Republicans. My campaign is only taking donations of $200 and less. That’s a grassroots campaign. Running a grassroots campaign should be very appealing to Democrats who do not favor the big money that’s backing President Obama. He’s lowering the ethics with big PAC donations , and he has maximum limit donations, which I believe is about $10,000 per couple now. Our limit is $200, so I think we’ll take votes from President Obama and with those who really want to balance the budget right away will vote with us too.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngIf you were elected in 2008, what would you have done differently than Obama?

Goode: I would not have pushed for Obamacare. I would have secured the borders, stopped illegal immigration, reduced legal immigration, done away with diversity visas, supported legislation to stop automatic birthright citizenship for those born of illegals that come into this country. And I would not have adopted the stimulus bill that he approved with all deficit spending. There are many areas that need to be cut. When I was in Congress, I was often among the lowest spenders of the Congressional expense money. We need to do that across all levels of the federal government. Instead of expanding government, we need to have less regulation, and encourage the private sector.
I also would have supported drilling off the coast. For example, I’m from Virginia. The Virginia General Assembly has passed resolutions indicating its support of drilling off the coast of Virginia. I would have allowed that instead of blocking it like President Obama. I will also support the Keystone Pipeline, which he is opposing. We need to have lower energy costs. Lower energy costs would do most to enhance jobs, and most little small initiatives done by the president in other areas.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngWould you have ordered the killing of Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen?

Goode: I don’t know if the president ordered that. Our national defense forces found him and he was fought in parcel with Osama bin Laden, and I think they did the right thing in taking out Osama bin Laden.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngBut was it right to take out Anwar al-Awlaki?

Goode: Let’s make sure we’re taking about the same one. Is that the guy in Yemen?

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngYes, the internet al-Qaeda leader.

Goode: I would want more intelligence than I have available to me right now.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngWell he was an American citizen, so do you believe that we should treat American citizens overseas that are considered to be dangerous differently than others?

Goode: Well let me ask you this: Did President Obama order his killing?

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngI believe he did.

Goode: Well I want to know more facts before I say yes or no. Did he do an act that effectively renounced his citizenship? He may have and may have committed treason. So to answer that precisely, I would have to have more. I would have to be privy to the intelligence briefings that president Obama had and that the members of the House and Senate intelligence committees had. And I would like to also get the opinions of the members of the intelligence committee of the House and the Senate. And I would want to ascertain whether he was truly a citizen of the United States. Was he a dual-citizen? You don’t know that do you?

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngI don’t know for sure.

Goode: Yeah, I don’t either so I want to know more facts before I could say flat out one way or another.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngOkay, let’s talk more about foreign policy. In 2002, you voted to authorize the Iraq War and you supported the troop surge in 2007. However, the Constitution Party platform opposes undeclared wars, and supports a non-interventionist foreign policy. Do you stand by your previous votes?

Goode: Now if I was voting on that situation in 2008, 2009, 2010, I would have said we shouldn’t go forward unless Congress debates the issue and declares war.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngAs president, how would you address the nuclear situation in Iran?

Goode: Well again, I would want to have more intelligence than I have about the status of their situation. And I don’t think the United States should commit an act of war unless Congress authorizes it.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngHow will you turn around the American economy?

Goode: Much greater energy exploration in this country, more drilling, the Keystone Pipeline, and hopefully bringing us independence with a surplus of energy production like that of Canada. Canada’s economic situation has improved significantly since they are producing so much oil, and they are going forward with that. And it has significantly helped Canada’s economic situation. And I believe that we need to be energy independent and we cannot do it by waving off so much oil from many areas of the United States and off the shores for exploration. We’ve got to go forward with that. And I also support alternative energies like wind and solar, and reduce regulations on them. But we can’t do what has been done recently because of the budget deficit in making loans and grants in seeking alternative energy forms.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngMy last question is what necessary freedoms are currently lacking in American society?

Goode: Give me an example of a necessary freedom, and I can answer your question.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngSuch as any of our natural human rights.

Goode: What’s a natural human right? I believe we need freedom of the press, freedom of religion, freedom of speech…

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngBut do you believe any of those are being hindered right now in the United States?

Goode: I’m sure there are instances where they are, but I believe that our Constitutional rights as set forth in the bill of rights and in the amendments to the Constitution need to be preserved and protected.



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Orkney, Scotland crash kills two

Orkney, Scotland crash kills two – Wikinews, the free news source

Orkney, Scotland crash kills two

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Monday, February 27, 2012

Disasters and accidents

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The Northern Constabulary says two women have been killed in a road traffic accident on Orkney, Scotland. A third person was seriously injuried.

Three vehicles were involved in the incident near the town of Kirkwall at approximately 2145 UTC yesterday. The Highlands and Islands Fire and Rescue Service had to release three people from the wreckage, two were already dead. A third person freed by the rescue workers survived the accident with serious injuries and was transported to Balfour Hospital in Kirkwall.

In a statement, the Northern Constabulary confirmed the road on which the accident occurred “will be closed until further notice, with local diversions in place while police carry out investigation[sic] into the circumstances”. No further details about those involved in the incident have been publicly divulged thus far. The force has encouraged any potential witnesses to contact them.

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If you know of any information regarding this incident, contact Orkney Police Station: 01856 872241



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February 26, 2012

Two United States officers killed in Afghan ministry

Two United States officers killed in Afghan ministry

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Sunday, February 26, 2012

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Two senior United States military officers were shot and killed inside the Afghan Interior Ministry in Kabul, Afghanistan yesterday. The Taliban has claimed responsibility. The attacks appear to be motivated by US troops burning copies of the Quran in a rubbish disposal pit early in the week.

In response, NATO removed all members of the International Security Assistance Force from Kabul-area Afghan ministries. The decision to remove the personnel from Afghan ministries came from General John R. Allen who is the commander of coalition forces in Afghanistan.

The US military has yet to release the identities of the troops killed, although their ranks are said to be lieutenant colonel and major.

US Defense department press secretary George Little said Afghan minister of Defense General Abdul Rahim Wardak had apologized to US Defense secretary Leon Panetta for the attack and offered his condolences.

Protests throughout Afghanistan sparked by the Quran burning resulted in the deaths of at least 25 Afghans over the past few days. Two US troops were also killed in the protests.



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February 23, 2012

Buddy Roemer ends Republican presidential bid to seek Reform Party nomination

Buddy Roemer ends Republican presidential bid to seek Reform Party nomination

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Thursday, February 23, 2012

Roemer speaks to the Reform Party of New Jersey in December 2011.
Image: Greenguy89.

Former Louisiana governor Buddy Roemer ended his campaign for the Republican Party (GOP) presidential nomination yesterday to seek the backing of the Reform Party of the United States of America. He plans to make the official announcement at a press conference later today, and also reaffirms his quest for the Americans Elect nod.

Roemer, who limits campaign contributions to $100.00 and does not accept money from Political Action Committees, has made campaign finance reform a centerpiece of his run. He announced his candidacy last July, but was unable to make headway in presidential polls. As a result, he was not invited to any GOP debates.

Last December, Roemer announced that he would seek the nomination of Americans Elect, an independent organization hoping to field a nonpartisan presidential ticket. Later that month, he addressed the Reform Party of New Jersey, fueling speculation that he would seek the party’s nomination. However, after the meeting, campaign manager Carlos Sierra told Wikinews that Roemer “does not intend to seek their nomination”. He now says that Roemer changed his mind after “[n]ot getting into any of the GOP debates.”

Industrialist Ross Perot founded the Reform Party in 1995. As the party’s first presidential nominee in 1996, he received over eight percent of the popular vote, the highest percentage for a third party candidate since. After this, the party was plagued by infighting, and decreased in prominence. In 2008, Ted Weill was nominated for president, but appeared on the ballot in only Mississippi, receiving 481 votes. Since then, the party has revived somewhat, and has already attained ballot access in four states.

Wikinews held a forum in January for the candidates seeking the party’s presidential nomination. All three then-candidates participated, including former college football coach Robby Wells, Earth Intelligence Network CEO Robert David Steele, and small business owner Andre Barnett.

Since then, Steele ended his campaign, and Wells dropped out to seek the Constitution Party nomination. For now, Roemer will face Barnett, as well as economist Dick McCormick, who recently announced his candidacy.

Roemer plans to make his announcement today in Santa Monica, California. His campaign manager looks forward to the next stage, explaining, “we believe we can form a powerful coalition of Americans who are tired of the status quo.”



Related articles

  • “Former Congressman Virgil Goode enters race for Constitution Party presidential nomination” — Wikinews, February 18, 2012
  • Wikinews holds Reform Party USA presidential candidates forum” — Wikinews, January 3, 2012
  • “On the campaign trail, December 2011” — Wikinews, January 1, 2012
  • “Campaign manager: 100 percent chance Buddy Roemer will run for Americans Elect presidential nomination” — Wikinews, December 1, 2011
  • “Wikinews interviews Buddy Roemer, U.S. Republican Party presidential candidate” — Wikinews, October 30, 2011
  • “Former Louisiana governor Buddy Roemer announces run for president” — Wikinews, July 22, 2011

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February 22, 2012

Writs issued for 2012 Queensland election

Writs issued for 2012 Queensland election

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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

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Queensland voters will go to the polls on March 24.

The 2012 Queensland election has been officially set as Premier Anna Bligh advised Governor Penelope Wensley to issue the writs — the formal announcement of the election.

“Absolutely looking forward to it, the 24th of March,” Ms Bligh told reporters, referring to the date of the election.

To lose the ability to govern in its own right, the currently governing Australian Labor Party (ALP) would need to lose sevens seats in Queensland’s unicameral legislature.

The Current Parliament

Australian Labor Party — 51
Liberal National Party — 31
Independents — 5
Katter’s Australian Party — 2

Total seats — 89

The ALP, of which Ms Bligh is leader, holds 51 seats. The opposition Liberal National Party (LNP), being lead in this campaign by the yet-to-be-elected Cambell Newman, currently holds 31 seats. Two seats are now held by the Katter’s Australian Party (KAP). Five independents make up the 89 Members of Parliament.

Preferences

The KAP does not plan to direct preference to the major parties, but to consider for individual seats amongst independents and minor parties. “We will look at the merits or otherwise of their policy positions and what they believe in,” said Aidan McLindon.

While the Greens haven’t announced any preference directions, they point out that it is up to the voter how to direct preferences. “If I’m unsuccessful [in being elected in Mt Coot-tha], their vote flows at full value to their second preference,” Greens candidate Adam Stone said. 

The leaders

Local government elections

The selection of March 24th as the election date drew criticism because it ultimately forced the rescheduling of local government elections — originally scheduled for March 31.

“Why are 73 local government elections around Queensland being pushed back? That adds more months of uncertainty when she has had a year to separate out the two elections,” said Leader of the Liberal National Party, Campbell Newman. Newman will have to win the seat of Ashgrove if he is to become premier.

Local government elections are now scheduled for late April.

 



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DISCLOSURE: This article’s primary contributor, Patrick Gillett, is a member of the Queensland Greens, one of the parties contesting this election.



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Tameside Council seek to ban English Defence League rally

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Tameside Council seek to ban English Defence League rally

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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

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A masked protestor and a police officer at an English Defence League march in Newcastle.
Image: Gavin Lynn.

In response to a plan by the English Defence League to hold a march next Saturday, the leader of Tameside Council, Kieran Quinn, has said the council will be requesting that the Home Office ban the EDL from marching through the town of Hyde, near the city of Manchester.

Councillor Quinn described the EDL as a “hate-filled group wishing to come to Hyde to try and incite hatred”.

The EDL march was started in response to an attack on February 4 against two 17-year-old males in Hyde, Daniel Stringer-Price and Kavan Brown. The teenagers claim they were attacked by a gang of Asian men, and the police are investigating it as being a racially-motivated crime. Daniel’s mother, Cheryl Stringer, has said she does not want the EDL rally to be held: “The EDL have decided to do this and it’s go nothing to do with us whatsoever. We don’t want this march to go ahead. It’s not going to change anything – it won’t make anything better it will just cause more problems.”

Peter Fahy, the Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police, said that the police were concerned “that there could be a threat to peace and order”. Fahy went on: “The attack was an awful crime but I’m not sure we need outsiders coming in, and clearly the fear is that they are just exploiting the situation.”



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