News briefs:January 06, 2008
Wikinews News Brief 06 Jan 07 1800 UTC 
[Opening music] This is Wikinews News Brief, summarising today’s top stories on Sunday 6th January 2008 at 19:32 hours GMT. I’m Nicholas Turnbull.
Nevada, Northern California struck by massive storm 
A ruptured canal has flooded approximately 800 homes in the western U.S. state of Nevada. According to local authorities, a nine-meter section of the Truckee Canal broke early on Saturday morning, sending a nearly one-meter high flood into the small town of Fernley. It is thought that more than 3,000 people have been affected by the flooding; many have been evacuated to a local school. No reports of any injuries or fatalities have yet been issued. Neighbouring California has suffered winds of up to 240 kilometres per hour brought by the fierce Pacific storm system, leaving more than one milion people without power on Friday. The Sierra Nevada mountain region has been hit particularly hard, the storm turning into an arctic blizzard at its highest points. Weather forecasters estimate two to three metres of snow will fall in the region by Sunday. It is also thought that 25 centimetres of rain may fall in parts of southern California, which could trigger flash floods and mudslides in areas burned in last year’s extensive wildfires. Officials have ordered a mandatory evacuation of thousands of home near Los Angeles.
2008 Dakar Rally cancelled over terrorist threat 
The 2008 Dakar Rally, due to start yesterday, has been cancelled due to reported threats of attack by terrorist group al-Qaida. The Dakar Rally is an annual off-road motor vehicle race that runs from from Lisbon in Portugal to Dakar in Senegal, traversing the Sahara Desert, and is the world’s biggest off-road rally. More than 500 vehicles were to participate in the race, the 30th since the rally’s inception. It has been reported that specific threats have been made against the rally by al-Qaida. It is thought that al-Qaida were responsible for the murder of a French family of holidaymakers in Mauritania on Christmas Eve, and the rally was due to spend eight days in Mauritania. The Mauritanian government had promised a security force of 3,000 personnel to protect the competitors; however, it is thought that the remote location of the desert and scrubland would have rendered this security effort ineffective. Event organisers had initially stated that the event would take place as planned regardless of the threats, but pressure from the French government is thought to have lead to Friday’s decision to cancel the event this year.
Baby attacked by dog in New York 
In Brooklyn, New York, an eight-month year old boy named Andrew Stein was mauled to death yesterday by a pet dog whilst being babysitted by his grandmother. The dog, a three-year old Doberman pinscher, was shot with a tranquillizer and impounded after a neighbour removed the dog from Andrew and attempted to rescuscitate him whilst awaiting assistance from the emergency services. Despite medical professionals operating on Andrew for nearly an hour, the attack proved fatal, the boy dying at 2006 hours UTC. Police have stated that the baby’s head was severely disfigured by the attack and that the boy’s skull had been broken. The city’s Department of Health is investigating the incident.
Former Indonesian president, Suharto in critical condition 
The former president of Indonesia, Suharto, aged 86, is in a Jakarta hospital in critical condition as a result of heart problems. The former president was admitted to a hospital on Friday with swelling throughout his body, and it appears that his heart and kidneys are deteriorating. Mr. Suharto is accused by the anti-corruption organisation Transparency Internation of embezzling over $15 billion USD from Indonesia’s government; Mr. Suharto has vehemently denied these accusations. He stepped down from Indonesia’s presidency following demonstrations and rioting during the Asian economic crisis of 1998, ending 32 years of uninterrupted rule.
President Bush urges progress on Palestinian state; Israel to welcome President Bush with 'open arms' 
United States President George W. Bush is due to visit the Middle East next week in an effort to encourage dialogue between Israeli and Palestinian authorities towards creating an independent Palestinian state. Mr. Bush is intending to keep Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert [ehood-all-mert] and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas focused on the main agenda, despite the considerable obstacles present towards establishing Palestinian independence. Mr. Olmert says that Israel will welcome the arrival of Mr. Bush warmly. Mr. Bush leaves on Tuesday for Israel and the West Bank, where he will hold separate talks with Palestinian and Israeli leaders prior to visiting Kuwait, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Dubai, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt.
Extremist group claims responsibilty for killing of American diplomat in Sudan 
A previously unknown militant group, which names itself Ansar al-Tawhid (Companions of Monotheism), claimed responsibility for killing United States Agency for International Development diplomat John Granville and his Sudanese driver Abdel Rahman Abbas in the Sudanese capital of Khartoum on New Year’s Day. The name of this militant group has been used by other groups in the past. The claim was posted on a Web site used by Islamic fundamentalists. The claim has not yet been authenticated. Granville was being driven home from a New Year’s Day party when another vehicle blocked the road ahead of his car, and the assailants opened fire. It had previously been suggested that Abbas and Granville had been killed accidentally in crossfire, but this is no longer thought to be true. Sudan’s foreign ministry has stated that the shooting was an isolated incident with no political connotations.
Lakota Freedom Delegation says spokesman Russell Means 'hijacked' organization 
The Lakota Freedom Delegation (also known as “Lakotah Oyate”), an organisation of activists campaigning for the Sioux Indian Nation to withdraw all treaties with the United States, has been “hijacked” by its spokesman Russell Means according to Naomi Archer, a liason of the organisation. A letter was hand-delivered to the United States States Department claiming a declaration by the Lakota Indian Tribe to cancel all treaties between the tribe and the United States on December the 19th by Means and other members of the delegation.
In an interview with Wikinews, Ms. Archer claims that Means took control of the organisation and its official website and that this declaration is not representative of the views of the Lakota people. Ms. Archer added that the Lakota Freedom Delegation is not a government entity, does not make decisions for the Nation, and that the actions of the Lakota people are not determined by one person alone.
Kucinich suggests tonight's Democratic debate unfair, files FCC charges versus ABC 
A complaint has been filed with the United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC) against tonight’s Democratic party broadcast on the US television station ABC. The complaint has been filed by the “Kuchinich for President” campaign, which claims that the exclusion of Kuchinich from the public debate is in violation of ABC’s obligation to operate in the public interest. However, Mr. Kuchinich did not contest the inclusion rules when they were announced. An ABC spokesperson refused to comment on the basis that she had not yet read the FCC filing at the time of interview.
Childhood pneumonia can be cured at home 
A new study of children suffering from pneumonia in Pakistan carried out by researchers of Boston University's School of Public Health has shown that children with severe pneumonia can be effectively treated at home and do not need to be hospitalized. Current World Health Organisation guidelines recommend that pneumonia should be treated in a hospital with injectable antibiotics. Over 2,000 children infected with pneumonia were examined across Pakistan, half of which were given antibiotics to take at home and half were given intravenous antibiotics in hospital. Both groups recovered with equal progress. This finding is hugely significant for developing countries where children cannot be brought to a hospital easily or where no hospitals exist.
Queen voted Britain's greatest band 
In entertainment, British rock band Queen have been voted Britain's greatest band by BBC Radio 2 listeners. More than 20,000 people voted for the band, which was one of five finalists selected by listeners over the previous week. DJ Mark Goodier then hosted a three-hour live show on New Year's day to discuss the five contenders. Votes were cast via e-mail, text message and telephone, with Queen competing with The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Take That and Oasis. It was then revealed live on air that Queen were the winners, with iconic band The Beatles just 400 votes behind their score.
London Knights trade Steve Mason to Kitchener Rangers 
In Canadian sport, ice hockey goal keeper Steve Mason has been traded by the Ontario Hockey League’s London Knights to the Kitchener Rangers, receiving a telephone call informing him of the agreement whilst at the 2008 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships. Mason stated that he had enjoyed playing for the London Knights but also that he sees a bright future playing for the Kitchener Rangers.
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]