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September 29, 2014

New Afghan President Ashraf Ghani sworn in

New Afghan President Ashraf Ghani sworn in

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Monday, September 29, 2014

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Today Ashraf Ghani, a former Afghan finance minister and World Bank official, was sworn in as President of Afghanistan following a months-long dispute over election results.

Ashraf Ghani in July 2011
Image: US Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan.

The transfer of power from former President Hamid Karzai marks the first democratic leadership transition in Afghanistan’s history, and follows a power sharing agreement with Ghani’s fellow Presidential candidate, Abdullah Abdullah. Both men had previously claimed victory in the election last June, with the United Nations overseeing a recount of the ballot.

As part of the agreement between the two sides, Ghani’s first presidential act was to create the position of chief executive, filled by Abdullah, with Prime Minster-like powers.

The new Government already faces many challenges, made worse by the months of political uncertainty.

Afghanistan has already requested $537 million from international donors to help pay the country’s bills to year’s end, with an official of the Finance Ministry admitting October civil service salary payments have had to be delayed.

The government also have to deal with the security threat posed by the Taliban and Hezb-i-Islami, two loosely allied Islamist factions. Most international troops, present in the country since 2001, are expected to leave by year’s end, with Karzai previously unwilling to sign security agreements allowing others to stay. The government is to sign one such agreement with representatives from the United States embassy tomorrow, US officials said.



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September 26, 2014

Chicago air traffic facility evacuated for basement fire

Chicago air traffic facility evacuated for basement fire

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Friday, September 26, 2014

Aviation

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A Chicago, Illinois air traffic facility was evacuated early this morning due to a fire. The fire occurred in a telecommunications room in the basement. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) grounded all metropolitan Chicago flights and transferred airspace responsibilities to nearby facilities to accommodate affected air traffic.

FAA Seal.

Authorities, including a spokesman for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, said they suspected an FAA contractor set the basement on fire, but did not believe him to be a terrorist. He was later hospitalized for a self-inflicted wound. Another employee was treated for smoke inhalation.

Flights already en-route to the Chicago metropolitan area were still allowed to either continue more slowly or divert to another unaffected airport. The FAA said passengers in the area and surrounding airports and possibly airports around the region, might experience flight delays or cancellations, causing long lines at airports, and encouraged them to check flight information with their carriers.

The incident is being investigated by the FAA, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the Aurora Police and Fire departments.



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September 23, 2014

Tropical storm Fung-wong makes landfall in Eastern China

Tropical storm Fung-wong makes landfall in Eastern China

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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Fung-wong on September 20th approaching Taiwan.
Image: NASA.

Tropical Storm Fung-wong made landfall in Ningbo, Zhejiang Province, China, at about 7:35 p.m local time (1135 UTC) yesterday, bringing with it reportedly 100kph (60mph) winds and heavy rains.

China prepared for the storms by recalling nearly 33,000 ships and boats to port, and the preemptive evacuation of over 250,000 people from vulnerable areas. Fung-Wong was moving inland, northwards and eastwards, and as it did so wind speeds and the possibility of wind damage should diminish however it should continue to present a flooding risk. The storm was expected to hit Shanghai today, and around 100,000 people were placed on standby to deal with possible flooding. Fung-wong should also lead to heavy rain in Japan and South Korea bringing with it the threat of flash floods.

Prior to hitting China, Fung-wong had previously landed in Taiwan and the Philippines, leading directly to one death in Taiwan. Philippine officials said flooding and strong winds caused a minimum of ten deaths in the Philippines, with about 200,000 people displaced from their homes.



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September 19, 2014

Students protest against police action in Jadavpur University, Kolkata

Filed under: Archived,India — admin @ 5:00 am

Students protest against police action in Jadavpur University, Kolkata

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Friday, September 19, 2014

35 students of Jadavpur University, Kolkata, India protesting against an August 28 sexual assault case in the university, were arrested by police in the early morning of Wednesday. The arrests and alleged baton charge on students led to further protests on Wednesday, including a rally attended by around 3500 people in the evening.

The protesting students demanded a fresh probe into a molestation incident in which a female student of the university was allegedly sexually abused by male university students who had dragged her to a men’s hostel. The students ‘gheraoed‘ — encircled — the vice-chancellor, Abhijit Chakrabarti, over the incident, demanding a new probe committee be set up and the internal probe committee be dissolved. According to students, the current internal probe committee include people who they alleged ‘harassed the victim’. The gherao continued for about ten hours by Chakrabarti’s account, preventing the vice-chancellor and the registrar from leaving the campus. Students claim they were peacefully protesting and that they had not obstructed any official.

At around 2am local time (0730 UTC) on Wednesday, police escorted Chakrabarti from the Aurobindo Bhavan administrative building of the university. According to Chakrabarti, he “was forced to call police” as he “would have died at [the protesters’] hands had the police not come”; after escorting him out, they arrested 35 students from the campus, including one female student. Police said they later released all the arrested students on personal bond. Students allege police turned the lights off and assaulted them, dragging them and charging them with batons. They also state there were very few women police, and male officers assaulted female students. At least three students were confirmed to have been admitted to the nearby KPC Medical College and Hospital with pain. The students lodged a complaint against certain university and police officials, including Chakrabarti and Additional Commissioner of Police Debasish Roy, on Wednesday morning. The complaint alleged “goons from a reputed political party walked over bodies of the women after switching the lights off”.

Police deny the students’ allegations, claiming there were about 40 female police officers, and that students had not been manhandled or assaulted. State education minister Partha Chatterjee, of the West Bengal ruling Trinamool Congress party, “condemned” the agitation, suggesting students “were trying to create trouble on the campus.” Leaders of other parties criticized the incident and the vice-chancellor’s actions. The vice-chancellor stated the students damaged the lights in the campus and he “saw students trying to attack me” when police escorted him out of the building.

In protest of the alleged police assault, a rally was organized for 4pm on Wednesday, beginning from the campus and ending at Golpark. Around 3500 people participated in the rally, including students from other colleges and universities of the city. Actor-director Koushik Sen and painter Samir Aich were also present in the rally. Students of Jadavpur University have decided to indefinitely boycott classes starting from Wednesday. They demand the vice-chancellor’s apology and resignation or removal, and the state education minister’s explanation. Protests continued on Thursday with certain student unions calling for a student’s strike, by all college and Class X to XII students.



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Fifteen people killed in attack on Nigerian college

Filed under: Archived,Boko Haram,Nigeria,Politics and conflicts — admin @ 5:00 am

Fifteen people killed in attack on Nigerian college

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Friday, September 19, 2014

Nigeria
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Officials said at least fifteen people were killed in an attack on a teachers training college in the Northern Nigerian city of Kano by a group of armed gunmen on Wednesday. Over 30 others were wounded.

News agencies have reported while there has been no claim of responsibility, suspicion will likely fall on the Islamist extremist group Boko Haram. The group has previously targeted Western-style schools within the country, including past attacks on secondary schools.

According to official reports, police first approached the group in the area of the school, concerned about their unusual activity, and the attackers engaged police in a firefight. The attackers gained entry to the school and started throwing bombs.

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan described the incident as a “dastardly attack”. He has already declared a state of emergency in three northern states, and is being criticized along with the country’s armed forces for failure to prevent extremist attacks.

A police spokesman said police killed two attackers at the scene.



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September 18, 2014

Chinese President signs multiple trade deals with India

Chinese President signs multiple trade deals with India

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Thursday, September 18, 2014

Politics and conflicts
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On the second day today of a three day visit to India the President of the People’s Republic of China, Xi Jinping, has signed multiple economic deals with India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

File photo of Xi in October 2013
Image: Antilong.

China would set up two industrial parks in India, one in Gujarat and one in Maharashtra. The deals encompass Chinese investment of US$20 billion in infrastructure projects, modernisation of the Indian railways, and agreements on trade, space exploration, and civil nuclear energy. China has also committed itself to opening its markets to Indian pharmaceuticals and farm products. A final settlement of the unresolved dispute over the Chinese–Indian border in the Himalayas is also to be sought; the dispute, over which the Sino-Indian War of 1962 was fought, arises over where the border should be.

In a message to Chinese journalists on Tuesday, Indian Prime Minister Modi used the slogan “Inch towards Miles”, (standing for “India and China towards Millennium of Exceptional Synergy”) to express his hopes as to the future direction of the two nations’ bilateral ties. The Indian Prime Minister further emphasised the shared history and culture of the two nations which could be further enhanced for a brighter shared future.

The Chinese president’s visit comes amid tension over Chinese territorial claims in the South China Sea, clashing with claims of several other countries, including Japan. In a five day visit to Japan in the beginning of this month, Modi said “The world is divided in two camps. One camp believes in expansionist policies while the other believes in development.” Modi and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe also came to an agreement which would see Japanese investment in India rise to US$33.6 billion in the next five years.

Another unresolved tension between the two nuclear powers India and China is continued Chinese support of India’s rival Pakistan.

Xi’s visit to India, which began yesterday following visits to Sri Lanka and the Maldives, is part of an initiative Xi likens to the creation of a 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.



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  • “India urges peaceful settlement of disputes at South China Sea” — Wikinews, August 13, 2014

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September 17, 2014

Texas man alive after floating in Gulf of Mexico for 31 hours

Filed under: Archived,North America,Original reporting,Texas,United States — admin @ 5:00 am

Texas man alive after floating in Gulf of Mexico for 31 hours

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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

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A Texas man was rescued earlier this week after being adrift at sea for 31 hours, according to media reports on Monday. Joey Trevino, 37, was stranded along with three other men after their boat quickly sank off the coast of Port O’Connor, Texas.

With only their life jackets as support, the men floated in the water, unsure if they would be rescued. Reportedly, the boat sank before the men could radio for help. Trevino told reporters he could see the right-most engine at the rear of the boat sinking as the front of the boat rapidly elevated.

Three of the men were rescued by a supply boat about 24 hours after the sinking. The US Coast Guard was then notified that Trevino was still lost at sea. He was rescued 7 hours later, when a passing freight ship heard his cries for help. Reportedly, Trevino floated about 50 miles before being rescued. A Coast Guard spokesman stated that water temperatures in the mid-80’s was a positive factor in Trevino’s survival.

To maintain strength, Trevino told reporters, “You’re looking at the clouds, you’re looking at whatever.” He also stated he spoke to his wife, and to his children in hopes they could feel him speaking to them. Trevino stated he did wonder to himself, “Wow, should I just take off this jacket, and let it be over?” His courage was bolstered when he was bumped by a porpoise. “He kind of bumped me and I kind of rubbed him and he kind of changed my attitude right there,” Trevino told media.



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Five hundred migrants alleged killed in deliberate sinking in Mediterranean

Filed under: Archived,Palestine — admin @ 5:00 am

Five hundred migrants alleged killed in deliberate sinking in Mediterranean

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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Palestine
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The International Organization for Migration (IOM) said on Monday about 500 migrants may have been killed in a deliberate sinking in the Mediterranean Sea last week. The unverified claim comes after IOM debriefed two Palestinian survivors.

In a statement, IOM said, “If this story, which police are investigating, is true, it would be the worst shipwreck in years”. The organization added, if the story would be revealed as true it would be “not an accident but a mass murder, perpetrated by criminals without scruples or any respect for human life”.

IOM Spokesperson in Italy Flavio Di Giacomo told AFP, “Two survivors brought to Sicily told us that there had been at least 500 people on board. Nine other survivors were rescued by Greek and Maltese ships, but all the rest appear to have perished”.

According to the two survivors, the boat, which departed on September 6 from Damietta, Egypt bound for Malta, sank in the Mediterranean Sea last Wednesday when people smugglers rammed it; drowning the vast majority of its 500 plus passengers, including refugees from Egypt, Sudan, Syria and Palestine. They said the smugglers had become angry when the passengers refused transfer to a smaller vessel that they doubted could carry them.

The Palestinian ambassador to Malta, Jubran Tawil, said three Palestinians who had been on board the boat have been rescued with aid from Panamanian ships and flown to Malta by a Maltese helicopter together with some of the dead.

According to UN data, this year the number of migrants by sea to Europe exceeds 130,000, up by 50,000 from last year. Many people from North Africa and the Middle East attempt to reach Europe on overcrowded, unsafe boats. Over 2,500 people on this journey have drowned or disappeared this year, 2,200 of them since June.



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September 15, 2014

Libya accuse Qatar of intervening on side of rebels

Libya accuse Qatar of intervening on side of rebels

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Monday, September 15, 2014

Libya
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Libyan Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni yesterday accused Qatar of interfering in his country’s affairs by sending three military planes loaded with weapons to an airport in Tripoli under the control of Islamist rebels.

Abdullah al-Thinni
Image: White House.

The Libyan leader told the United Arab Emirates (UAE)-based Arab TV channel Sky News his country would consider “breaking off relations if this interference into Libya’s internal affairs continued.” He also reiterated previous accusations against Sudan of also trying to supply the rebels.

Last month the US said Egypt and the UAE were involved in airstrikes against militants as they were in the process of capturing Tripoli.

Qatar has previously backed the Muslim Brotherhood, a group reported to have ties with the militants in Tripoli. Other countries, including Egypt and UAE, are reportedly worried about the spread of radical Islam.

Three years after the removal from power of Muammar Gaddafi, Libya now has two competing governments, one in Tripoli, and one in Tobruk where the most recently elected parliament has moved to escape the violence. Rival militias fight each other, and a renegade general is reportedly confronting the Libyan army.


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  • “Libya accuse Sudan of arming ‘terrorist group'” — Wikinews, September 7, 2014
  • “US says Egypt and UAE responsible for air attacks on Tripoli” — Wikinews, August 28, 2014

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September 14, 2014

Noosa win 2014 Sunshine Coast Rugby Union premiership

Noosa win 2014 Sunshine Coast Rugby Union premiership

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Sunday, September 14, 2014

September 13, 2014
Noosa 10
University 9
Sunshine Coast Stadium
Bokarina, Queensland
Australia
Attendance: 2000 approx.
Referee: Gavin Hawkins

Noosa are Sunshine Coast Rugby Union premiers in 2014. They defeated University 10–9 yesterday in the Grand Final at Sunshine Coast Stadium in Bokarina, Australia.

Last time they met
In 2014 — Major Semi Final
Noosa 13 defeated University 0

In a grand final — 2011
University 12 defeated Noosa 9

Noosa got to the premiership decider after finishing on top of the standings and winning the Major Semi Final at Sunshine Beach. University finished second, lost the Major Semi Final to Noosa and defeated Toads at the University of the Sunshine Coast.

The two teams last met in a grand final in 2011. University were victorious 12–9.

Grammar v Brothers.JPG Grammar played Brothers in the Under15/16 Grand Final – the only game of the day not featuring a Noosa team.
Image: Patrick Gillett.

Noosa enter the playing arena.
Video: Patrick Gillett.

University enter the playing arena.
Video: Patrick Gillett.

SCRU 2014 Grand Final kick off.JPG University kicked proceedings off.
Image: Patrick Gillett.
Uni penalty goal 2014-09-13.JPG Daniel Nethenry kicked all of University’s penalty goals in the first half
Image: Patrick Gillett.
Mel Volker 2014-09-13 16.10.43.JPG Touch judge Mel Volker during the game.
Image: Patrick Gillett.
Steve Ryan 2014-09-13 17.34.25.JPG Touch judge Steve Ryan during the game.
Image: Patrick Gillett.
Grand Final Crowd 2014-09-13 17.01.05.jpg The Grand Final crowd.
Image: Patrick Gillett.
Noosa player injured 2014-09-13 17.25.43.jpg Noosa player injured during the game.
Image: Patrick Gillett.
Noosa premiers 2014-09-13 18.00.51.jpg Noosa are SCRU premiers in 2014 after Davi Harold scored a penalty goal and converted a Keith Strajnar try.
Image: Patrick Gillett.
SCRU Grand Final final score 2014-09-13 18.02.29.jpg SCRU Grand Final final score on the scoreboard.
Video: Patrick Gillett.

Noosa are once again to have their name engraved on the premiership trophy. File video from August 2013
Video: Patrick Gillett.



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