Category:January 11, 2008

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Wikinews News Brief 01-11-2008 01:20 UTC

Introduction

[Opening music] This is Wikinews News Brief, summarising the current news on Friday the 11th of January 2008 at 01:20 hours UTC. I’m Nicholas Turnbull.

Events of worldwide notability, military action, disasters etc.

At least 24 killed in suicide bombing in Pakistan

At least 24 people have been killed and more than 60 were injured in a suicide bomb attack outside a courthouse in the Pakistani city of Lahore. The bomb exploded at approximately 0700 UTC, and is thought by Lahore police to have been aimed at police offers stationed at the courthouse in preparation for an anti-government protest by lawyers. The scene pictured on local television was one of chaos, showing the road outside the courthouse littered with the dead and injured in the aftermath of the attack.

Alabama father throws children in river

A 37-year-old shrimp fisherman named Lam Luong, from Irvington in Alabama, has confessed to throwing his four children off an 80-foot-high bridge following an argument with his wife the previous day. Luong has been charged with four counts of capital members; an extensive search using divers, dogs and helicopters is currently being undertaken in a 100-square-mile area to locate the children's bodies, involving a total of 70 people working on the search. Luong appeared at court yesterday in the first hearing relating to the charges against him. Family members had initially feared that Luong had traded the children to fund an alleged drug habit although also commented that Luong and his wife, Ngoc Phan, had been fighting extensively prior to the incident. According to Associated Press, the authorities believe that the Dauphin Island Bridge was the site of the murder. The investigation and court proceedings continue.

British troops may have received contaminated blood from American donors

The British Ministry of Defence has confirmed that 18 personnel wounded on active service in Afghanistan and Iraq who needed emergency blood transfusions were given unscreened blood from emergency front-line donors. The recipients of this blood consequently may be at risk of infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS, although the Ministry of Defence described the risk as being "low". The armed forces personnel who were transfused with this blood are currently being tested for infectious diseases. The Ministry of Defence, in a statement, argues that the unscreened transfusions were necessary to keep these patients alive.

George Bush arrives in Middle East

United States president George W. Bush arrived in Israel on Wednesday, his first location on his tour throughout the Middle East intended to further peace negotiations between the Israeli and Palestinian governments, and to increase unity relating to Iran. Israeli leaders greeted Mr. Bush at Ben Gurion airport on his arrival, which is Mr. Bush's first visit to Israel in his presidency. Mr. Bush spoke of providing pressure on the issues should it be necessary and of the strong ties between the United States and Israel being through a shared belief in human freedom.

Pentagon releases video of incident involving Iranian ships in Persian Gulf

A video has been released by the Pentagon, the headquarters of the United States Department of Defence, of an incident where Iranian high-speed boats attempted to surround at least three United States warships passing through international waters in the Persian Gulf on January the 7th. The video, shot from the USS Hopper, runs for four minutes and shows the speedboats racing towards the United States naval vessels. On Tuesday, US president George W. Bush called the actions of the Iranian military a "provocative act".

China has plan to obtain North Korea's nuclear weapons

According to a report by the Centre of Strategic and International Studies in Washington, the People's Liberation Army of China has plans to seize North Korea's nuclear arsenal should it become necessary. This is on the basis of dialogue between the centre and Chinese military researchers who claimed that the Chinese military would be dispatched to obtain the weapons stockpiled by North Korea and that China would try to coordinate its efforts with the international community, primarily with the United Nations. Richard Spencer, of the Daily Telegraph, considers the plan to indicate a major change of attitude in China's government towards neighbouring North Korea.

Hezbollah network Al-Manar available to wider international audience

Thaicom, a Thai satellite television broadcasting company, has begun airing television network Al-Manar, run by Shi'a Islamic political and paramilitary organisation Hezbollah, which is based in Lebanon. As a consequence, Al-Manar can now be viewed in Asia, Australia, Africa, the Middle East and most of Europe. Hezbollah is considered a terrorist organisation by the some countries including the United States and Israel. This is considered something of a blow to Israel, who is currently trying to fight Hezbollah's activities in the Gulf region. Some fear that this will increase support of Hezbollah and aid its recruiting efforts. The station was launched by Hezbollah in 1991 with the aid of Iranian funds. Thaicom considers the decision to air the network as an entirely business-related decision with no political basis and has not yet offered a formal reaction to news reports.

Non-disastrous local events with notable impact and dead celebrities

Moderate earthquake strikes off the Oregon coast, US

The United States Geological Survey announced that an earthquake of preliminary magnitude 6.4 on the Richter scale has struck off the coast of Oregon in the United States on Thursday morning at 01:37 hours UTC, its epicentre being located northwest of Barview registering a depth of 10 kilometres. No reports of damage, injuries or deaths have yet been issued, nor is a tsunami feared, although there is a chance that small waves could be generated locally by possible landslides.

Hollywood "Mayor" Johnny Grant dead at 84

Jonny Grant, honorary mayor and civic personality of Los Angeles, died at 84 on Wednesday evening. Grant often presided at the installation of new stars at the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and lived in the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, being found dead in his bed by members of his staff.

China bans free plastic bags

In an effort to reduce the usage of plastic bags in China, estimated at three billion per day, the People's Republic of China has banned free plastic bags, the ban taking effect from June the 1st this year. The State Council has also stated that the manufacturing, sale and use of very thin plastic bags under 0.025 milimetres in thickness will also be banned, companies who violate this risking the possibility of a fine. It is hoped by the government that the ban will help reduce the amount of crude oil used for plastic packaging, estimated at five million tonnes per year. China is not the first to implement such a ban, which is similar to that implemented by Uganda and South Africa.

John McCain and Hillary Clinton win New Hampshire primaries

In the United States 2008 presidential elections, John McCain has won the New Hampshire primary election for the Republican party with 88,447 votes, according to media reports. It is also reported that New York Senator Hillary Clinton, wife of former United States president Bill Clinton has won the New Hampshire primary election as the Democratic party presidential candidate with 112,238 votes.

Canupa Gluha Mani speaks about Lakota Oyate, Lakota freedom

In an interview with Wikinews, Canupa Ghula Mani, the head of the Cante Tenza (translated in English as the Strong Heart Warrior Society), the paramilitary force of the Native American Lakota tribe, has endorsed the statements made by Lakota Freedom Delegation liason that the recent attempt by spokesperson Russell Means to withdraw treaties between the tribe and the United States Government were not reflective of the opinions of the Lakota people. He did, however, view the ensuing furore as a lack of communication and expressed love for his uncle Means despite the apparent rift. Means, in a four-person delegation allegedly acting on behalf of the tribe, submitted a motion to the United States State Department to withdraw the treaties; this action has been disowned by the Bureau of Indian Affairs-recognised tribal governments, and the furore continues.

Business, commerce and academia

Singapore Airlines bid for China Eastern Airlines unsuccessful

A bid made by Singapore Airlines for a 24% stake in China Eastern Airlines was turned down by minority shareholders on Wednesday. Talks between Singapore Airlines and China Eastern Airlines about a possible deal began in March 2007, and continued throughout the year, both companies suspending trading of their shares on the 21st of May 2007. The vote as to whether to conduct the sale took place at a shareholder meeting in Shanghai, and the rejection is said to be bad news for management at China Eastern Managers who were in support of the takeover by Singapore Airlines. The Singaporean government owns a 55% stake in Singapore Airlines via Temasek Holdings. A bid by Air China for the company is likely tobe larger than that of Singapore Airlines and may be supported by Cathay Pacific, who are in a cross-shareholding relationship with China National Aviation Corporation, the parent company of Air China.

Apple to lower UK iTunes prices

The European Commission has forced Apple Inc. to lower its prices in the United Kingdom iTunes online music store. The prices will be reduced to an average of £0.74 GBP per song from the current £0.79 GBP, and average album prices will be reduced from £7.99 GBP per album to £7.48. This is to match prices charged elsewhere in the European Union, as an investigation by the European Commission found that Apple are presently charging customers up to 10% more than in other EU countries. According to The Register, Apple will be passing this reduction in price onto record labels as a consequence of this forced price cut.

Arts and culture

Global premiere of Lordi horror movie Dark Floors next month in Oulu, Finland

In cinema, the global premiere of a horror movie by Finnish theatrical hard rock band Lordi, Dark Floors, is to take place on the 8th of February at the Oulun Energia Areena, in the Finnish city of Oulu according to a recent announcement. The film is based on an original concept by director Pete Riski, who directed all of Lordi's music videos, in collaboration with the band's frontman and lead vocalist. Riski himself has directed the film, which has been shot in the United Kingdom. The dialogue is in English, and has a largely British cast, with the exception of Lordi themselves who appear in their characteristic monster costumes playing a group of monsters terrorising a group of people trapped in a hospital.

Frivolities and trivia

Fourteen days left to send National Geographic your shoe for world record

National Geographic Kids, a magazine by the National Geographic Society, has been collecting used running shoes from across the United States in an attempt to create the world's longest chain of shoes. The organisers welcome shoes of any type and size, so long as they have laces and are meant for humans. The collected shoes will be sorted afterwards, and the Nike Reuse-a-Shoe programme will take and recycle them. Donations of shoes can be sent until the 22nd of January.

Dr. Phil's consultation meant to be private: Spears family

A spokesperson for the parents of Britney Spears, Lou Taylor, spoke out against television psychologist Dr. Phil McGraw on The Today Show regarding his release of information following Spears' consultations with McGraw. The family of Spears feels that McGraw has exploited the family's trust by making public statements about Spears' mental health. The Spears family feels that McGraw was consulted as a medical professional and not as a television personality and was asked to keep information relating to Ms. Spears' mental health confidential. Rumours had circulated that the family would appear on McGraw's television show Dr. Phil but Taylor told interviewer Meredith Viera that the family had never discussed such plans. Spears was hospitalised after being deemed a safety risk to herself, but was released within 24 hours as opposed to the normal 72 hours.

Footer

Thank you very much for joining me, Nicholas Turnbull, for this Wikinews News Brief. [Intro music] Wikinews is a project of the Wikimedia Foundation, and can be accessed at the following URL: http://en.wikinews.org. This recording is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Generic License, available at http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5/. Goodbye. [Outro music] [END]

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