News briefs:January 04, 2008
- 1 Wikinews News Brief January 04, 2008 23:35 UTC
- 1.1 Introduction
- 1.2 Israeli troops kill 9 in Gaza
- 1.3 Georgian President faces election challenge
- 1.4 US unemployment hits two-year high
- 1.5 Israel plans crackdown on West Bank settlement outposts
- 1.6 Transaven Airlines plane carrying 14 people crashes off Venezuelan coast
- 1.7 Sportswriter Milt Dunnell dies at 102
- 1.8 2007 was particularly good year for aviation safety
- 1.9 U.S. Senator Dodd bows out of presidential race
- 1.10 Intel ends partnership with One Laptop Per Child program
- 1.11 British Investigators arrive in Pakistan to join Bhutto investigation
- 1.12 Disgorge bassist Ben Marlin dies from cancer
- 1.13 Egypt lets 2000 pilgrims through Rafah
- 1.14 Launch of Space Shuttle Atlantis once again delayed
- 1.15 Study suggests hospitals are not the best place for cardiac arrest treatment
- 1.16 US dollar no longer accepted at Taj Mahal and other Indian historical sites
- 1.17 Footer
Wikinews News Brief January 04, 2008 23:35 UTC
- Revision: Publication
- Script by: User:NicholasTurnbull
- Read by: User:NicholasTurnbull
- Link to recording: ‘’Currently in progress’’
‘’Please note: this transcript may differ slightly from the associated spoken recording.’’
[START] This is Wikinews News Brief, summarising the current news on January the 4th 2008 at 2335 hours UTC. I’m Nicholas Turnbull. [Intro music]
Israeli troops kill 9 in Gaza
At least four gunmen and five civilians have been killed during Israeli air and ground raids in Gaza. Israeli troops moved in to the Khan Younis area early on Thursday morning. The majority of the military action was comprised of clashes with militants. According to reports, the deadliest attack by a tank shell killed five family members. Medics later announced that two more Palestinians were killed when Israeli troops called in an air strike. Later tank fire injured three children, one of whom is said to be in critical condition. Israel launched the offensive strike after a Katyusha rocket fired from the Gaza Strip penetrated 17 km (10 mi) into Israeli territory and landed in the city of Ashkelon. The rocket blast in Israeli territory did not cause any injuries, although Israeli officials fear the rocket's potential range of 19 miles could potentially target 250,000 Israelis. The Islamic Jihad and the Popular Resistance Committees both claimed responsibility for the attack, released a joint statement threatening further strikes. The fighting comes one week before United States President George Bush arrives in the region to discuss Israeli-Palestinian relations with governmental officials. Israeli troops also stormed the city of Nablus in the West Bank where at least nineteen people have been injured. The attacks follow previous operations in Gaza on Wednesday which killed at least six people.
Georgian President faces election challenge
Georgia will hold a snap presidential election on Saturday in which six candidates are challenging incumbent president Mikhail Saakashvili, who is accused of rigging the process in his favor. The Georgian presidential election is being held less than two months after President Mikhail Saakashvili set the date in response to mass demonstrations against his government in early November. Riot police used force to break up the protests, and Mr. Saakashvili declared a state of emergency, which included the closing of independent media. Candidates challenging Saakashvili from the New Rights Party and the United Opposition Party have stated that lack of time and limited media access have prevented them from being able to conduct extensive campaigning. Opposition parties have also claimed that Saakashvili has used money from Georgia’s national budget for his campaign. Several opposition leaders warn that there will be protests if the election results are rigged. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe has monitored the Georgian campaign and has observers throughout Georgia for the election. I LOVE YOU! WHO EVER IS READING THIS!
US unemployment hits two-year high
Unemployment in the United States rose sharply last month and government figures released late Friday show the number of new jobs was at its lowest level in four years. merican unemployment rose to five percent last month, the highest rate since 2005 and new employment statistics released Friday show the U.S. economy added only 18,000 new jobs in December, far fewer than most economists expected. The president says that consumer spending is still strong and core inflation is low, but home values are declining and commodity prices are rising. US President George W. Bush is considering an economic stimulus package that could include more tax cuts. In a Thursday interview with the Reuters news service, Mr. Bush said that he and his economic team are considering all their options, adding that he will probably not decide whether to act until his State of the Union address later this month. Democratic Senator Charles Schumer is urging the president to take action to avoid what Schumer considers could be the economy tumbling into recession.
Israel plans crackdown on West Bank settlement outposts
Israel is planning measures to curb settlement activity in the occupied West Bank territories in response to pressure from the United States. Vice Premier Haim Ramon told Israel Radio that he expects the government to take action against the outposts during and after the visit of President Bush to Israel and the West Bank next week. The outposts are often built on West Bank hilltops, and usually consist of a few trailers or makeshift structures. Israel is obliged to dismantle approximately 100 outposts under the internationally backed "Roadmap" peace plan, which forms the basis of new negotiations with the Palestinians. However, most of the outposts remain in place despite past pledges by Israel to remove them. The new pledge by Mr. Ramon appears to be a response to American pressure. On Thursday, President Bush described Jewish settlements as an "impediment" to the peace process, and said the outposts should be dismantled. The settlers accuse the Israeli government of betrayal, accusing the Israeli government of caving in to the dictates of the Unites States. Settlement activist Nadia Matar promises fierce resistance if soldiers and police try to remove the outposts.
Transaven Airlines plane carrying 14 people crashes off Venezuelan coast
A dual-engined Let L-410 aeroplane, owned and operated by Transaven Airlines has crashed into the sea off the coast of Venezuela carrying at least 14 passengers. 8 of the passengers were Italian, five were Venezuelans, and one passenger is thought to be either a citizen of the United States or Switzerland. The aeroplane had departed from Simon Bolivar International Airport near Carcas and subsequently crashed into the ocean aproximatly 24 miles (39 km) from the Los Roques Archipelago, according to General Antonio Rivero, emergency management director for Venezuela. However, Bloomberg reported that it had left the airport at Los Roques prior to the accident. Reuters reported that the crash was initially noticed when the plane failed to arrive at the Los Roques, according to air rescue worker Caleb Castro. Rivero told Reuters that four extra passengers had boarded at the last minute, bringing the total on board to 18. Search and rescue teams are using boats and helicopters to search for any survivors. Luis Diaz, operations director for civil protection, said that the plane had reported engine trouble shortly before contact was lost. Although weather is not presently considered a likely cause in the accident due to good conditions at the time of the flight, rains and high waves have developed and are hampering search efforts.
Sportswriter Milt Dunnell dies at 102
Milt Dunnell, Canadian sportswriter who was known chiefly for his work at the Toronto Star, has died at the age of 102. Born on December 24, 1905 in St. Marys, Ontario, Dunnell entered journalism with the Stratford Beacon Herald in the 1920s, later becoming the Herald’s sports editor. He joined the Star as a sportswriter in 1942, becoming sports editor in 1949. He wrote on almost all sports during his career, which lasted more than fifty years, although his productivity declined somewhat in later years. In the 1990s, he was still writing three columns per week until the age of 94. Amongst other events, Dunnell covered the Olympic Games from 1952 through 1968, Stanley and Grey Cup events, and the Kentucky Derby. He also wrote extensively on baseball for the Toronto Star, even well before the city received a Major League team in 1977. In 1988 Dunnell received the Jack Graney Award for his contribution to baseball in Canada. Dunnell was inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame and the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame in 1991. The city of Toronto named a baseball diamond after Dunnell on June 10, 2006 at Bond Park in a ceremony attended by Dunnell.
2007 was particularly good year for aviation safety
Statistics supplied by a survey from the Geneva-based Aircraft Crashes Record Office (ACRO) and by aviation insurance specialist Aon suggest that 2007 was an unusually good year for safety in the aviation industry. The ACRO reports that fatal aircraft accidents involving planes carrying over six people were at their lowest since 1963, while Aon reports that fatal accidents on commercial airliners totaled 23, which Flight International reports to be an all-time low. According to Ronan Hubert, aviation accident historian and head of ACRO, the highest number of accidents recorded in an individual country was 34 in the United States, followed by Canada, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Colombia and Indonesia. However, he defended US air safety, pointing out that North America accounts for most of the world's air traffic and therefore it was to be expected that there would be a high level of accidents there. Hubert criticised African air safety, which is so poor that most African airlines are on the list of air carriers banned in the European Union.
U.S. Senator Dodd bows out of presidential race
United States Senator Christopher Dodd left the US Presidential race last night, thanking campaigners and supporters for their efforts and passion. Dodd ended the night with just one state delegate's support in the Iowa Democratic caucuses. Dodd's campaign began last year, at the Old State House in Connecticut, the location where the first written constitution guaranteeing the right to representative government was enacted. Dodd admitted that he was aware that his campaign would be difficult and that he would be running against poor odds.
Intel ends partnership with One Laptop Per Child program
Microprocessor company Intel Corporation has left the board of directors for the One Laptop Per Child Association (OLPC), a non-profit organization that aims to provide children in developing countries with inexpensive laptops. An Intel spokesman cited a "philosophical impasse" as the reason for the split. Intel joined the OLPC board in July 2007, agreeing to give financial and technological support to the project. Development began on a new laptop using an Intel processor rather than the current processor made by AMD, a rival of Intel. A prototype of this machine was expected to be unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show in Les Vegas, Nevada, which begins in a few days. According to Intel spokesman Chuck Mulloy, OLPC had repeatedly asked Intel to abandon its support for the Classmate PC, a similar laptop designed for children in developing countries, and focus entirely on the OLPC program. OLPC President Walter Bender said in an interview that Intel's resignation will have "no impact" on the program. He criticized Intel for a "seemingly half-hearted effort" in developing the new laptops and for using the agreement to make "marketing statements".
British Investigators arrive in Pakistan to join Bhutto investigation
A small team from Britain's Scotland Yard has arrived in the Pakistani capital to help with a government investigation into last week's assassination of opposition leader Benazir Bhutto. Pakistani officials say the Scotland Yard team will lend forensic and technical expertise to the investigation, which is being carried out by the government as controversy swirls around the death of Bhutto. Supporters of Bhutto, along with her family and her political party, the Pakistan People's Party, say that the former prime minister was shot and killed by a gunman while leaving a political rally in her car. Television footage shows a man firing three shots at the back of Ms. Bhutto's head. She slumps down into the car, and then a suicide bomb goes off. Her aides say they saw a bullet wound in her head after the attack. The Pakistani government advances a different course of events, stating that Bhutto was killed when she ducked the blast of the suicide bomb that followed the gunshots, cracking her skull on the sunroof of her car. President Pervez Musharraf denied Thursday that a security lapse on the government's part was to blame for the assassination. He blamed Ms. Bhutto for standing in the open and waving to her supporters when she knew there was a danger of an attack. The government says al-Qaida is responsible for Ms. Bhutto's assassination. Her supporters accuse the government of at least partial responsibility, by failing to provide adequate security, while others believe Musharraf’s government carried out the assassination. Bhutto’s political party, the Pakistan People's Party, is demanding a United Nations investigation into her murder, saying that will be the only way to get at the truth.
Disgorge bassist Ben Marlin dies from cancer
Ben Marlin, bassist for American brutal death metal band Disgorge, died Wednesday at 31 years old following a lengthy battle with cancer. San Diego-based Disgorge announced his death in a statement today, expressing their sorrow at his death and thanking Ben Marlin for his friendship.
Egypt lets 2000 pilgrims through Rafah
Egypt has allowed approximately 2,000 Palestinian pilgrims through the Rafah Border Crossing, a move which Israel says violates an understanding between its Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. Egypt initially denied the pilgrims entrance, insisting that they enter via an Israeli-controlled route, but finally gave clearance after three Palestinians died while being retained in border camps for five days. Hamas spokesperson Taher al-Nounou praised the move, saying that the issue was "a Palestinian-Egyptian affair and Israel has nothing to intervene in." Among the 2000 pilgrims were senior Hamas officials who Israel fears may have smuggled money to the government. The pilgrims were allowed to leave through the crossing by Israel in late December for the annual Islamic Pilgrimage to Mecca.
Launch of Space Shuttle Atlantis once again delayed
NASA has announced that the launch of Space Shuttle Atlantis, mission STS-122, will once again be postponed, this time until late January or early February. The reason behind the delay is believed to be a faulty connector that caused erratic fuel sensor readings during the previous two launch attempts in December. Space shuttle program manager Wayne Hale gave January 24 as the earliest possible launch date, but stated that February would be a more realistic expectation. The initial launch date for the shuttle was December 6, but a fuel gauge failure in the external tank forced the launch to be moved to December 9. The fuel sensors are part of a system to prevent the shuttle from running on an empty tank, which could cause pumps in the engine to break and possibly trigger a disastrous explosion in the spacecraft. When the problem reoccurred, NASA ran a fuel test, which led them to believe the problem lied in the faulty connector. The connector was then removed from the tank and taken to Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, where it is currently undergoing extensive analysis and modification. The new connector is scheduled to be installed by January 10. The main objective of mission STS-122 is to deliver the European science laboratory Columbus to the International Space Station.
Study suggests hospitals are not the best place for cardiac arrest treatment
Suffering from cardiac arrest while staying in a hospital might be more deadly than receiving such a fit at a crowded airport, according to a new study. The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, states that in about a third of cardiac arrest cases inside hospitals in the United States, doctors and nurses do not respond quickly enough, thus increasing the risk of brain damage and death. The researchers concluded that delayed defibrillation is common and is associated with lower rates of survival after in-hospital cardiac arrest.
US dollar no longer accepted at Taj Mahal and other Indian historical sites
Due to the declining value of the US dollar, tourism officals in India have decided to no longer accept the American currency at the site of one of the seven wonders of the world, the Taj Mahal, and 120 other Indian historical sites. The monument has refused to take dollars since November. Tourists wishing to visit the white domed marble mausoleum of Mughal emperor Shah Jahan for his wife Mumtaz Mahal will pay over 500 Indian rupees (12.80 US dollars at the current exchange rate) to be allowed in and additionally receive a free bottle of water. The decision came as a result as part of the continuing decline of the American dollar, falling 11 percent in 2007 and now valued around 39 rupees.
Thank you 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]