News briefs:July 26, 2010
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Today on Wikinews : Two NATO soldiers are captured in Afghanistan; BP CEO Tony Hayward is set to resign and "get back to his life"; British snooker player Alex Higgins is found dead at age 61 and, in history, Arizona Governor John Howard Pyle orders the raid of a polygamist Mormon fundamentalist community.
Today is Monday, July 26, 2010. I'm Dan Harlow and this is Wikinews.
While the media and the average citizen sifts through and comes to terms with the nearly 90,000 leaked documents concerning the ongoing war in Afghanistan,
The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), the NATO forces organization in Afghanistan, has announced two forces members have failed to return from a vehicle patrol to their Kabul City compound.
ISAF did not report the nationalities of the missing soldiers, but US officials have confirmed to the Associated Press the soldiers are United States military.
Sky News reported a Taliban spokesperson as saying three soldiers were captured, but one has since died. A ground and air search is being conducted for the missing troops, who are believed to be in Logar province.
In June 2009 Pfc Bowe Bergdahl was captured by Taliban forces in Paktika province. His whereabouts are still unknown, though the Taliban have released three videos of him, most recently in April 2010.
US military tensions also escalated this weekend in
North Korea [who] threatened "powerful nuclear deterrence" on Saturday in response to military drills supported by the U.S. and held by South Korea.
The National Defense Comission of North Korea, headed by their leader Kim Jong-il, declared that they would "counter with their powerful nuclear deterrence the largest-ever nuclear war exercises to be staged by the U.S. and the South Korean puppet forces" in a "retaliatory sacred war." Ri Tong-il, an official with North Korea’s delegation to the ASEAN security forum, had said earlier that they would show a "physical response" to the drills. Though Japan sent four military observers in apparent support of the drills, China criticized the plans.
Tensions had recently become especially high in both sides of Korea after the sinking of the warship Cheonan in South Korean waters, killing over 40 people. An international investigation concluded that the warship was sunk by a North Korean torpedo. North Korea still strongly denies any involvement in the incident, calling the results "fabricated" and refusing to apologize. "If anyone should apologize," said Ri Tong-il, "it should be South Korea, responsible for driving the situation on the Korean peninsula to the brink of an explosion."
Despite this, on 25 July 2010, the US and South Korea began their major military drills together in the Sea of Japan.
Border relations have also come to a head in South America when
Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez declared that the National Army is on maximum alert along the Colombian border, after he broke relations with that country on Thursday. The declaration comes in the wake of the Colombian Secretary of State's claim before the Organization of American States (OAS) that the FARC has a "consolidated," "active" and "growing" presence in Venezuela, with some 1500 guerrilla fighters in 87 camps.
Venezuela's Secretary of Defense, Carlos Mata, told the media that his forces have been mobilized since Thursday morning, and are awaiting the orders of their Commander in Chief, the President.
Chávez announced the breaking of diplomatic ties on behalf of the Venezuelan government after Colombia released documents allegedly showing the active presence of FARC on Venezuelan territory at the Washington headquarters of the OAS, demanding a special inquiry to investigate the matter. Relations between the two countries had previously been strained, after the Venezuelan government voiced its opposition to new US military bases being set up in Colombia.
The Colombian ambassador has been given 72 hours to vacate his offices in Caracas.
BP Chief Executive Anthony Bryan "Tony" Hayward is negotiating the terms of his departure and will stand down from the company; effectively taking responsibility for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, according to journalists. The New York Times cites an anonymous source "close to the board", and the BBC's business editor makes a similar analysis. It is expected that President and CEO of the company's Gulf Coast Restoration Organization Bob Dudley, a Mississippi native, member of the Board of Directors, and most senior American executive of BP, will replace Tony Hayward as Chief Executive.
A report by the BBC World Service said a BP press release asserted that, "[Hayward] has the full confidence of the Board." The resignation, and change of leadership, at the multinational UK-based oil firm is expected to be discussed by the company's Board of Directors on Monday; potentially being ratified as early as Tuesday.
Hayward's position was, essentially, undercut when United States President Barack Obama said he "would have fired him."
While BP cleans up the Gulf Coast and its management team,
the Open Rights Group, a pressure group pursuing reform of intellectual property law in the United Kingdom, held its first "ORGCon" yesterday at City University London. Approximately 100 delegates took part in six hours of panel discussions and workshops on a wide range of topics in intellectual property, discussing such subjects as "How To Talk To Your MP" and "ACTA: A Shady Business", in what ORG billed as a "crash course in digital rights" designed to inspire campaigning on intellectual property issues.
Cory Doctorow, a fiction author and digital rights activist, led the keynote panel discussion "Thriving in the Real Digital Economy", which opened the conference. Doctorow called for a "reframing" of the digital rights slogan "information wants to be free". "The most important thing" about digital rights, he noted, "has nothing to do with art. We are refitting the information network with lots of control." Digital rights management (DRM) technologies, Doctorow warns, build in limitations on how consumers exchange information and "abuse the market". John Buckman of Magnatune followed up Doctorow's comments, noting that DRM is "unsustainable" but that the public needed to "pressure companies into" open-source solutions.
A keynote speech by James Boyle compared the current age to the age just before application of the theories of Adam Smith and other early capitalist economists began breaking down the entrenched monopolies of mercantilism. Boyle called on the audience to come up with a "jaw droppingly simple" idea for a reformed copyright system; he gave his speech in front of a projection of the twitterfall as audience members commented on his words.
Boyle, like most of the conference, took a pro-reform but anti-piracy position, saying "It is a tragedy that an entire generation has lost the notion that breaking the law is wrong". While several members of the Pirate Party UK, wearing matching t-shirts, attended the conference and held a fringe meeting during the last session, none spoke in the keynote sessions either as panelists or in the discussions.
Among the many workshops which comprised the last three hours of the day, Open Rights Group held a session on student groups and committed itself to establishing Open Rights Group Youth societies at universities across the United Kingdom. Young activists, such as Wikipedian Jdforrester, also dominated the "Your Shout" session in which any and all delegates could give three-minute speeches on any intellectual property subject which interested them.
The organization hopes to host a second ORGCon in 2011.
Another gathering, this time in Germany, ended tragically when
a stampede at the entrance of the German music festival Love Parade killed nineteen people and injured around a hundred more.
The incident apparently took place due to overcrowding at the entrance to the grounds of the event, located in Duisburg, Germany, which more than a million people were reported to have attended. Despite warnings by police of overcrowding, more people tried to enter the grounds. There is speculation that the panic may have begun when people fell after trying to cross a barrier, and subsequently spread.
Witness Udo Sandhoefer said that people "climbed up the walls and tried somehow to get into the grounds from the side, and the people in the crowd that moved up simply ran over those who were lying on the ground."
Emergency responders apparently encountered difficulties in reaching those in need of assistance due to the number of people in the area. Officials also decided not to evacuate the grounds of the event, citing concerns that a larger panic would be sparked if more people knew of the deaths.
A woman attending the event said that "[t]here were piles of injured on the ground, some being resuscitated, others dead and covered with sheets. It was way too full in the afternoon, everybody wanted to get in."
A statement from president Christian Wulff said that "[i]t is terrible that such a catastrophe brought death, suffering and pain to a peaceful festival full of happy young people from many countries."
The mayor of Duisburg, Adolf Sauerland, said that security measures at the event were sufficient, and that an investigation into the incident was already under way.
- Music Credit "beeKoo mix" by Lasswell
Snooker player Alex Higgins, nicknamed "Hurricane", was found dead in his apartment in Donegall Road, Belfast, Northern Ireland on Saturday. He was aged 61 and had been suffering from throat cancer since 1997.
Born in Belfast on March 18, 1949, Higgins became the champion of the World Snooker Championship at the age of 23 in 1972. He reached the same achievement again in 1982. Higgins' final title victory was in the Irish Professional Championship in 1989.
During 1986, he received a fine and was banned from five tournaments after headbutting a director of a tournament. He was also banned from playing for one year in 1990 after threatening to have Dennis Taylor, another snooker player, shot.
Recently, Higgins lost all his teeth as the result of having treatment for his cancer. In May 2010, a charity dinner took place in Manchester, England that raised approximately £20,000 (US$30,997, €23,859, A$34,363, C$31,961) so as to allow surgery for new teeth for him to occur. However, Higgins was considered to be too unhealthy to have the surgery in Marbella, Spain.
Dennis Taylor, now a snooker commentator at the BBC, stated that "[t]here was just something about the way he played the game - there was a little bit of [John] McEnroe in there. I don't think you'll ever see a player in the game of snooker like the great Alex Higgins."
Philip Studd, another commentator of snooker for the BBC, has described the late snooker player as being "snooker's original troubled genius" and that Higgins was "[c]harismatic, flash, fast, unpredictable, combustible - you just couldn't take your eyes off the 'Hurricane'." Studd continued to explain that "[w]hile he could never match the consistency of Steve Davis or Stephen Hendry, Higgins on his day was the greatest of them all. He touched the heights in 1982 when he won his second world title. He pipped Jimmy White to the final thanks to a break still widely regarded as the finest ever made. His tears of triumph after beating Ray Reardon - wife and baby in arms - remains one of snooker's most iconic moments. Without Alex 'Hurricane' Higgins snooker would never have become one of the most popular television sports in the 1980s and beyond."
And finally, in what has become the most popular sport here at Wikinews,
Australian rules football: 2010 Gippsland Football League round 15 - Leongatha v Traralgon (13:09)
for the second time this season, Leongatha defeated the Gippsland Football League heavyweights Traralgon. Playing at home, they went on to win by sixteen points.
The Gippsland Football League, officially the Gippsland League, is the only major Australian rules football competition in the Gippsland region according to the Victorian Country Football League.
Scores are quoted as goals(worth six points), behinds(worth one) and then the total of the two.
Leongatha lead at every change, first by 31 points, then 25 points and 51 points. They kicked five goals, two behinds to a single behind in the first quarter and four goals, three behinds to one behind in the third.
The final quarter saw Traralgon fight back and come within three goals of taking an unlikely victory. They managed to kick seven goals to Leongatha's, one goal, one behind to end the day losing by 16 points.
Around the grounds, Drouin defeated Sale 20-13 (133) to 17-8 (110); an inaccurate Maffra defeated a dismal Warragul 13-26 (104) to 1-3 (9) and Moe traveled to Morwel to defeat the hosts 17-13 (115) to 11-17 (83).
On this day in history (14:31)
Just before dawn on July 26, 1953, 102 Arizona state police officers and soldiers from the Arizona National Guard entered a polygamist Mormon fundamentalist community located in Short Creek, now known as Colorado City, Arizona.
Arizona Governor John Howard Pyle initially called the raid "a momentous police action against insurrection" and described the Mormon fundamentalists as participating in "the foulest conspiracy you could possibly imagine" that was designed to produce "white slaves." More than 100 reporters had been invited by Pyle to accompany the police to observe the raid. However, the raid and its tactics attracted mostly negative media attention.
The community, which was composed of approximately 400 Mormon fundamentalists and led by Joseph White Musser, had been tipped off about the planned raid and were found singing hymns in a schoolhouse while the children played outside. The entire community was taken into custody, including 263 children. One hundred fifty of the children who were taken into custody were not permitted to return to their parents for more than two years, and some parents never regained custody of their children.
- Music credit Rift
In the same week that the Korean War ceasefire was achieved, the raid achieved notoriety in media across the United States, including articles in Time and Newsweek, with many media outlets describing the raid as "odious" or "un-American." One commentator has suggested that commentary of the raid was "probably the first time in history that American polygamists had received media coverage that was largely sympathetic.
One of the few media outlets to commend the raid was the Salt Lake City-based Desert News, which was owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). The News applauded the action as a needed response to prevent the fundamentalists from becoming "a cancer of a sort that is beyond hope of human repair." When the paper later editorialized its support for separating children from their polygamist parents, there was a backlash against the paper and the church by a number of Latter-day Saints, including Juanita Brooks, a Mormon historian and author, who complained that the church organ was approving of "such a basically cruel and wicked thing as the taking of little children from their mother." The Short Creek raid was the last action against polygamous Mormon fundamentalists that has been actively supported by the LDS Church.
One year later, in 1954, Governor Pyle lost his bid for re-election to Democratic candidate Ernest McFarland with Pyle blaming the fallout from the raid as having destroyed his political career and Joseph White Musser, leader of the Short Creek fundamentalists died causing a split between fundamentalists who believed he was a Mormon prophet and those who instead chose a new leader.
After the Short Creek raid, the fundamentalist Mormon polygamist colony at Short Creek eventually rejuvenated. In 1991, the Mormon fundamentalists formally established the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS Church).
- Music credit Stand Off
The members of the sect did not face any prosecutions for its polygamous behavior until the late 1990s, when isolated individuals began to be prosecuted. In 2006, FLDS Church leader Warren Jeffs was placed on the FBI Ten Most Wanted List and was arrested and convicted in 2007 of being an accomplice to rape for performing a wedding between a 19-year-old man and his 14-year-old cousin.
On 3 April 2008, following allegations of physical and sexual abuse by an unidentified caller who claimed to be a 16-year-old girl, law enforcement officers raided a FLDS compound Jeffs had founded in Texas called the YFZ Ranch and authorities removed a total of 416 children. While former member of the FLDS Church, Carolyn Jessop, stated her opinion that the action in Texas was unlike the Short Creek raid, others, however, have drawn direct connections between the two events.
And those are the top headlines for Monday, July 26, 2010
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