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May 31, 2012

Indonesians retrieve missing recorder from crashed Russian jet

Indonesians retrieve missing recorder from crashed Russian jet

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Thursday, May 31, 2012

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Villagers assisting recovery efforts for a Russian passenger jet that crashed in Indonesia have found the aircraft’s missing flight data recorder. All 45 on board were killed when the Sukhoi Superjet 100 crashed during a demonstration flight earlier this month.

Sukhoi’s first-ever Superjet 100 on display, from file. Credit:Marina Lystseva

The cockpit voice recorder was found several days after the plane hit Mount Salak, West Java on May 9. A landslide triggered by the impact had concealed the flight data recorder, but it was uncovered today after recent rains removed some of the soil it was under. “It seems to be intact,” said Ketut Purwa, who is leading the recovery. It was sent to Jakarta for examination.

The recorder was found in a ravine 30 metres from the tail, which was also located by villagers. It contains a log of technical data from the 40-minute demonstration, which aimed to attract Indonesian airlines to buy Superjet 100s.

Tatang Kurniadi, head of the National Transportation Safety Committee, explained “The FDR emits a signal for up to a month but only if it’s underwater. It doesn’t work on land”. In addition to the Indonesian investigation, Russian authorities have launched a criminal probe. The dead include eight Russians. Kurniadi also said work to complete an Indonesian translation of the voice recorder transcript is nearing completion.

The aircraft had asked for permission to descend to 6,000 feet shortly before the crash. It then hit the 7,200-foot mountain near Jakarta. In the midst of an Asian tour, Sukhoi had placed an experienced pilot in charge of the plane.

The Superjet 100 is intended to reinvigorate the Russian aviation industry, and is the nation’s first new airliner since the Soviet era. With a maiden flight in 2008, it entered service last year and Sukhoi boasts 200 orders. The twin-engine jet seats around 100 and costs buyers US$31.7 million.



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May 30, 2012

Charles Taylor gets 50 years for war crimes

Charles Taylor gets 50 years for war crimes

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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

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Charles Taylor, the former President of Liberia, has been today handed a 50-year sentence for war crimes in neighbouring Sierra Leone. The court previously held he financed a war which left an estimated 50,000 dead.

A school destroyed by RUF rebels.
Image: Laura Lartigue.

Taylor, 64, is considered likely to remain incarcerated for life if the sentence stands, but his legal team has vowed to appeal. The prosecution sought an 80-year sentence. Taylor’s is the first conviction of a head of state by an international tribunal since the fallout from World War Two, when the Nuremberg trials were underway.

The Special Court for Sierra Leone, which is operating from the Netherlands to avoid unrest if Taylor were tried in Africa, spent more than a year deliberating before convicting Taylor last month. Acquitted of ordering crimes or of acting in a joint enterprise to conduct them, he was nonetheless convicted of aiding and abetting the offences. There were 94 prosecution witnesses and 21 for the defence.

The allegations date to civil war in Sierra Leone, which ran from 1991 to 2002. Taylor, who had been a warlord since the ’80s, backed the rebel Revolutionary United Front (RUF). Taylor was elected Liberian president in 1997 after a different civil war concluded.

Six years later he was ousted when an arrest warrant was issued and fled to Nigeria. He was arrested there in 2006 whilst again trying to flee and went on trial later that year. Taylor, who had been facing a rebellion against him since 1999 in Liberia, received training from late Libyan ruler Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s regime.

Testimony included claims that Taylor-backed fighters adorned roads with human intestines and ate human flesh. One claimed to have seen Taylor himself eat human liver, something Taylor denied. One described asking RUF rebels to sever his only hand in exchange for his young son’s life.

Further allegations said teenage children were involved in the fighting and that Taylor sold illegally mined diamonds to finance arms purchases for the RUF. Western celebrities Naomi Campbell, a model, and Mia Farrow, an actress, described an incident at a charity dinner held by Nelson Mandella, then South Africa’s head, in 1997. Campbell and Farrow said Taylor gifted Campbell a number of diamonds. Taylor is claimed to have ordered seizure of Sierra Leone’s diamond deposits by RUF soldiers.

It was claimed in court that child soldiers were used in conflict, as diamond mine guards, and to carry out amputations. Allegations of forced amputation were made. Taylor was convicted in late April of aiding and abetting forcing amputation, as well as rape, murder, child soldier recruitment, sexual slavery, and pillaging.

The court’s panel of judges, presided over by Judge Richard Lussick, heard a 30-minute address by Taylor at an earlier sentencing hearing. “I express my sadness and sympathy for crimes suffered by individuals and families in Sierra Leone,” said Taylor, adding he acted “with honour” and as a peacemaker, asking for “reconciliation, not retribution” in sentencing. Taylor also gave evidence at his own trial, spending seven months of testimony saying he strove for peace in the region.

Lussick noted the panel felt 80 years to be excessive given that Taylor was cleared of directly carrying out offences. However, the court found other factors aggravated the case: In particular, he was a head of state. “Leadership must be carried out by example by the prosecution of crimes, not the commission of crimes,” Lussick said in court. “The special status of Mr. Taylor as a head of state puts him in a different category of offenders for the purpose of sentencing,” the judge said, with the convict “in a class of his own”.

“[His] positions both as president of Liberia and within the west African regional bodies distinguish him from any other individual that has appeared before this court,” Prosecutor Brenda Hollis said at a sentencing hearing. “Taylor’s abuse of his authority and influence is especially egregious given that west African leaders repeatedly entrusted him with a role to facilitate peace.” She had claimed “No significant mitigating circumstances exist in this case.”

Lussick also told the court today Taylor stood convicted of “aiding and abetting, as well as planning, some of the most heinous and brutal crimes recorded in human history”. “The lives of many more innocent civilians in Sierra Leone were lost or destroyed as a direct result of his actions.” These were, the court said, crimes of the “utmost gravity in terms of scale and brutality”. The prosecution had claimed Taylor followed no more motivation beyond simple greed and power lust. Lussick said today the judges were unanimous in imposing a term of 50 years.

The defence had called for a sentence that gave Taylor a realistic prospect of eventual release. They also noted he is set to be sent to the United Kingdom to serve sentence. The defendant would be “culturally isolated”, facing a “punishment within a punishment”. At least one war crimes convict has been attacked in prison in the UK, and it is anticipated Taylor will end up in a high-security prison after the UK Foreign Office has promised to uphold an agreement to imprison him there made by ex-Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett.

“The sentence is clearly excessive, clearly disproportionate to his circumstances, his age and his health and does not take into account the fact that he stepped down from office voluntarily,” said counsel for the accused Morris Anya. The prosecution may also appeal the sentencing, and the verdict itself with intent to increase Taylor’s convictions beyond merely aiding and abetting. The defence also intends to appeal the verdict.

The appeals process means Taylor is likely to remain at The Hague for several months, where the court has been holding sessions in nearby Leidschendam. He is the last defendant to face trial before the Special Court, which has previously convicted and sentenced eight other prominent figures in the conflict.



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May 29, 2012

Short-haired bumblebees reintroduced to UK

Short-haired bumblebees reintroduced to UK

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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

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A short-haired bumblebee, from file.

A small population of Bombus subterraneus, the short-haired bumblebee, was reintroduced to the UK yesterday. The bee was declared extinct in Britain in 2000.

Around 100 queen bees were captured from Skåne, Sweden after the Nordic nation gave the go-ahead. After quarantine, around half of these were rejected to avoid introducing parasites alongside the bees. The rest have been released into a nature reserve in Dungeness, England.

“We’ve screened for four different parasite species,” explains biologist Dr Mark Brown of the University of London, where the bees spent two weeks at Royal Holloway. The parasites “can all damage bees in different ways.”

Work has been ongoing at Dungeness for years, establishing flowers the bees are known to like in meadows at the site, which, although rural, lies at the heart of an industrial area. Habitat loss is blamed for the bees’ extinction in the UK, with more intensive farming methods destroying meadows. South Sweden has less intensive farming, allowing the Swedish population to thrive. A normal survival rate of 20–30% is expected.

Organisations including the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, Natural England, and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) are involved in funding the project, with the reserve itself belonging to the RSPB.

The bees were last seen in Dungeness in the 1980s. The same spot lost the shrill carder bee at around the same time, but shrill carder bees have recently been rediscovered there.

It is the second attempt to reintroduce short-haired bumblebees to Britain, after an effort in 2009 using bees removed from New Zealand. British bees were introduced to New Zealand to aid pollination before they were threatened. The bees died in the UK and tests established they had low genetic diversity. There are plans to add more bees to the Dungeness programme to increase genetic diversity there.



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Korea growing as a global leading nation.

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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Template:Yeosu Expo 2012 is now holding in Yeosu,Korea. The character representing the expo is ‘Yeoni’ and ‘Suni’.

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  • “[ Yeosu Expo opened!]” — Joongangilbo,
  • “[ How about visiting Yeosu Exposition held in Korea?]” — Chosunilbo,

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FEC revisits statutes that led to super PACs and unlimited spending

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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

In 2010, in the wake of two U.S Federal court decisions commonly called EMILY’s List and SpeechNow.org, the U.S. Federal Election Commission (FEC) modified three key statutes that helped curtail unlimited individual campaign contributions. These changes led to a groups that have come to be known as super PACs. These groups are attributed with the dramatic rise in U.S. campaign spending and have accepted multimillion dollar contributions from individual contributors that were previously limited to a few thousand.

The statutes the FEC modified in the wake of EMILY’s List and SpeechNow.org are not the only ones recently modified. The FEC modified status in the wake of a case that is commonly called Wisconsin Right to Life. After this ruling, the FEC was accused of making it more difficult for voters to determine who originally paid for campaign messages to voters. This sparked a lawsuit in 2011 by Congressman Chris Van Hollen Jr. He won that suit and the Court concluded the FEC overstepped its bounds. This forced the FEC to revisit the changes it made to campaign laws concerning disclosure. However, the FEC did not stop there, it has realized that the laws it revised that led to the rise of super PACs are also questionable. Therefore, the FEC has announced the following agenda item for 2012.

Political Committees That Engage in Independent Spending

  • Several cases, including two cases decided by the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit – SpeechNow.org v. FEC and EMILY’s List v. FEC affect portions of the Commission’s regulations regarding contributions to, and disbursements by, certain committees not authorized by candidates. The proposed rulemaking would provide guidance to these committees on how to establish and maintain a separate account for their independent spending, how to allocate their administrative and fundraising expenses, and how to report their receipts and disbursements.

Depending on the outcome of the FEC’s rulemaking, the legal foundation that has allowed super PACs to stand may be shaken to the core.

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Australian adaptive rowers prepare as paralympics looms

Australian adaptive rowers prepare as Paralympics looms

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Horrie Training on the 1000m course, Lake Burley Griffin.
Image: Tim Collins.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Yarralumla, Australia — Members of the Australian Adaptive Rowing team, consisting of Kathryn Ross, Erik Horrie, and John Maclean, are currently finalising their Australian based training for the paralympics on the waters of Lake Burley Griffin, Canberra. Our reporters interviewed Erik Horrie, an arms and shoulder (AS) single scull competitor, who is moving towards his first paralympics. We asked about his preperations, and the sport in general.

Horrie , 32, says that he is hoping for strong results for the team in the preceding third rowing world cup mid June in Munich. 2011, Horrie’s debut year rowing at a national level after a background in wheelchair basketball, saw him place fourth in his first world cup event. In a Canberra winter, temperatures routinely remain sub-zero as athletes prepare, early morning, on the water. Horrie commented that despite conditions, a far cry from those found by his Queensland-based “Dragons” club, he trains six times a week, including strength sessions at the nearby Australian Institute of Sport [AIS] facilities, and cross training.

Horrie on the water, Lake Burley Griffin.
Image: Tim Collins.

Funding for the sport has increased significantly in Australia in recent years, especially since it’s introduction to the paralympics in Beijing. Horrie commented that competitive successes have seen a increase in funding toward the program. A substantial allocation allowed the AIS to host four athletes on site and secure a second fleet of boats for their European base. Rowing equipment comes at a substantial cost with an eight costing fifty five thousand dollars. Finding athletes is a primary focus, especially with the limited pool of disabled athletes to draw upon, and the AIS runs active talent searching programs.

Horrie told Wikinews reporters that despite increasing media attention his focus remains on fun.



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May 28, 2012

UN Security Council condemns violence in Houla, Syria

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Monday, May 28, 2012

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The United Nations Security Council has condemned the recent killing of civilians, including women and children, in the Syrian village of Houla.

The Security Council stated in a press release that it “condemned the killing of civilians by shooting at close range and by severe physical abuse”, and that the attacks “involved a series of Government artillery and tank shellings on a residential neighbourhood”. Referring to the Syrian Government and the armed opposition groups, the Security Council emphasized that all forms of violence by all parties in Syria must stop. It reaffirmed the Council’s “strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of Syria”.

The UN stated in a separate press release that “The circumstances that led to these tragic killings are still unclear”. The press releases by the UN or the Security Council have not directly accused any party, neither the Syrian Government, nor any of the various opposition groups, for this event.

The Syrian Government has denied any involvement in the killings. The spokesman for the Foreign Ministry, Jihad Makdesi, described a “tsunami of lies” against the Government, and said “We unequivocally deny the responsibility of government forces for the massacre”. He said this event was not characteristic “of the heroic Syrian army”. He further stated “terrorists” were responsible for the killings, as there were “no Syrian tanks or artillery in the vicinity [of Houla]”.

The United Kingdom, a nation strongly opposed to the current Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, blamed the massacre on the Syrian Government. Britain’s ambassador to the UN, Lyall Grant, said that “The fact is it is an atrocity and it was perpetrated by the Syrian government”, without elaborating specifically the evidence that led to this conclusion.

Russia, an ally of Syria, questioned the extent to which the Syrian Government was involved in the killings. Russia’s deputy ambassador to the UN, Alexander Pankin, said “There are substantial grounds to believe the majority of those who were killed were either slashed, cut by knives or executed at point-blank distance. It is difficult to imagine that the Syrian government would not only shell, but also use point-blank execution.”

Additionally, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov compared the Houla killings and Western blame of the Syrian Government to the early 1990 killings of 45 Albanians in the Kosovo village of Racak. The killings were used as a justification for NATO bombings of the former Yugoslavia. However, the pretext was not supported by international forensic experts, and the report produced by these experts was never released.

About 108 civilians, including 49 children and 34 women, are reported to have been killed in Syria in violence on May 25 and in the early hours of May 26. Hundreds of additional civilians are reported to have been wounded.



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BBC offers first glimpse at upcoming Ron Howard film, \’Rush\’

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Monday, May 28, 2012

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May 27, 2012

Miami police shoot, kill naked man chewing face of male victim

Miami police shoot, kill naked man chewing face of male victim

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Sunday, May 27, 2012

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Police in Miami, Florida fatally shot a naked male who appeared to be chewing off the face of his male victim. The attack happened yesterday, approximately around 2:00 pm EDT (18:00 UTC) on the NE 13th Street off-ramp of Miami’s MacArthur Causeway, where the headquarters of The Miami Herald newspaper is located. The shooting was captured on the Herald building surveillance camera, which police have requested.

Around 2:00pm, Miami Police were notified of the incident and responded. An officer came upon the two men fighting and found the naked attacker chewing at the face of the male victim who was also naked. The officer called over the loudspeaker of his police cruiser for the man to cease his attack, which the man failed to heed. The officer then shot the attacker once, who continued attacking the victim despite being shot. The officer fired additional shots at the attacker in what was described by various witnesses and sources as “a half dozen shots”. The victim was then brought to Jackson Memorial Hospital Ryder Trauma Center with critical to severe facial injuries and is reported to be in intensive care.

The camera footage from the Miami Herald building shows a police cruiser pulling up at the off-ramp, which is partly obscured by the overhead tracks of the Miami Metromover. The video then shows the officer getting out of the cruiser and apparently commanding the man to stop attacking. The officer then pulls his service weapon and appears to fire his gun. Afterwards, the camera zooms in and shows the lower body of one man lying motionless on the ground, while another appears to be rolling around in pain. The Herald edited the video to obscure the victim.

Detective Willie Moreno, spokesperson for the Miami Police, said, “During this confrontation an officer did discharge his weapon striking one of the individuals.” Moreno added, “That individual has lost his life right now.”

Police have not identified the attacker, victim, or officer involved in the shooting. However, Javier Ortiz, the spokesperson for the Miami lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police, said, “Based on the information provided, our Miami police officer is a hero and saved a life.”

A news release by the Miami Police stated, “As with all active investigations, there are many details that cannot be discussed until we have gathered all the facts. Detectives are still trying to gather details and urging any passersby who might have seen something to contact them.” According to the Herald, police believe the attacker may have been experiencing stimulant psychosis.



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Shouryya Ray solves 350 year old physical and mathematical problem posed by Sir Isaac Newton

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Sunday, May 27, 2012

Shouryya Ray, a 16 year old boy, who many claim a genius he does not acknowledge himself to be, has solved the problem Isaac Newton posed about 350 years ago about predicting the path of a bouncing ball after it hits a wall. The boy is very humble about this despite also exhibiting the skill to quickly learn German fluently, after moving from India to Germany at the age of 12.

‘I just asked myself, ‘Why not?’,’ said Shouryya when he was exposed to the mathematical problem. ‘I think it was just schoolboy naivety. I didn’t believe there couldn’t be a solution,’ he added.

The boy takes after his father, an engineer, who gave the child arithmetic problems to test his brain and he began solving complicated problems when he was 6. The boy refuses to acknowledge himself a genius possibly to maintain a respectful public image to ventilate one’s abilities. Despite his mathematical understanding, there are many things Ray wishes he was better at.

‘There are other things at school I wish I was better at – football for one,’he said. However, he finds, ‘intrinsic beauty’ in math.

Comments on this news show how even with him being humble and his success being a breakthrough people will be people and take it against him for that with such comments as the following sample:

Easy puzzles. Newton was average.

– Robert Crowe, Bristol, 27/5/2012 00:07

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2150225/Shouryya-Ray-solves-puzzles-posed-Sir-Isaac-Newton-baffled-mathematicians-350-years.html#ixzz1w3UBVbX4

All brains and no social skills, I know which will get your further in life…

– jc, london, 26/5/2012 6:23

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2150225/Shouryya-Ray-solves-puzzles-posed-Sir-Isaac-Newton-baffled-mathematicians-350-years.html#ixzz1w3UKDIQi

Still a nerd

– Apollo, Vesuvius, 26/5/2012 11:07 Click to rate Rating 353

Report abuse

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2150225/Shouryya-Ray-solves-puzzles-posed-Sir-Isaac-Newton-baffled-mathematicians-350-years.html#ixzz1w3UQbKIr

‘His solutions mean that scientists can now calculate the flight path of a thrown ball and then predict how it will hit and bounce off a wall.’ Well i can sleep easy tonight knowing the world is saved. – Matt, Scunthorpe, 26/5/2012 15:04

Obviously people use the protection of the net to show how mean they can be towards someone that has done them no evil and has done something hard to do, how envy makes people petty.



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