News briefs:May 08, 2010
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Today on Wikinews : 65 people killed in China during torrential rains, Spain closes airports because of Iceland's pesky volcano and President Harry S Truman announces that Germany has surrendered and the war in Europe is over.
- Sound credit The Internet Archive.
Today is Saturday, May 8th, 2010. I'm Dan Harlow and this is Wikinews.
At least 65 people have been killed and 9,900 houses destroyed in southern China after torrential rainstorms hit the area over the past week. Fourteen people are missing, and 2.55 million people have been affected by the rains.
According to meteorologists, the inclement weather is expected to continue and China's state news agency reports that as much as 157 millimeters of rain fell throughout the region from Wednesday evening to Thursday afternoon.
The rains started when a heat wave in the southern part of the country mingled with a cold front from the north.
Weather is also playing havoc in Europe as Spanish authorities have closed nineteen airports, including Spain's second largest airport at Barcelona, due to an ash cloud from the volcano in Iceland which has been erupting since last month.
The closures are forecast to affect nearly 40,000 people, and over 400 flights are to be canceled. Limited traffic into the affected airports will be allowed to resume at 02:00 local time Sunday morning. Authorities warned, however, that the cloud had the potential to affect air travel into next week.
The cloud of ash causing the latest closure is 1,200 miles long, the result of recently intensifying eruptions from the volcano. Ash is rising up to 30,000 feet into the air, although Eurocontrol said the risk of ash contamination was particularly high up to 20,000 feet.
Passengers who were not traveling by air, but rather on water, ran into trouble today in New York and more tragically in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
At least eighty people in DR Congo are feared dead after a boat capsized on the Congo River.
The boat was carrying 125 people when it turned over on Wednesday evening near the city of Kindu, the capital of the eastern Maniema province; 45 people were rescued from the waters, but the rest are missing, and some reports say twenty people were already confirmed dead. Rescue efforts are still ongoing.
It wasn't immediately clear why the accident happened; however, boats in the DRC frequently are overcrowded as they are a popular means of transport.
Halfway around the globe, in New York City. according to the New York Police Department, New York City's Staten Island Ferry has crashed into a passenger terminal, causing over 60 injuries.
No life-threatening injuries have been reported, although a few of the passengers were transported by the NYFD to local city hospitals. The accident is still under investigation by the NYPD. In all, 252 passengers were aboard the ship, along with eighteen various crew members.
According to some of the passengers that were on the ship, the boat sped up right before hitting the dock, when it should have actually been slowing down so that it could let passengers on from the station. An early report of the investigation is that the captain of the ship mistakenly lost engine control.
The Staten Island Ferry is a major form of transportation between the two New York city boroughs of Manhattan and Staten Island. Five different ships carry approximately 60,000 passengers each day across the New York Harbor.
The ship, the Andrew J. Barberi, was also involved in another crash in 2003, where it crashed into the same dock and killed eleven people.
Violence, once again, has flared up in Darfur where two peacekeepers from Egypt, working for the joint United Nations-African Union mission, were killed and three others injured by gunmen in an ambush yesterday. The incident happened near Edd al-Fursan in South Darfur. Nobody has, as of yet, claimed responsibility for the attack.
Darfur and the surrounding region are prone to violence, caused by a civil war; with these deaths, 24 peacekeepers have been killed since deploying to the area two years ago.
Following the elections in the UK, The British National Party has lost all 12 of its councilors in Barking & Dagenham, London. The new local council will be composed entirely of councilors from the Labour Party, with no BNP candidate placing higher than fourth in any of the authority's 13 wards.
Before the election, it had been considered possible that the BNP might control Barking & Dagenham Council, giving the party, which believes that immigrants, Muslims and non-whites represent a threat to the United Kingdom, control of a local authority for the first time in its history.
The BNP has no MPs but party leader Nick Griffin, as well as party member Andrew Brons, represent regions of northern England in the European Parliament.
Many anti-far right groups such as Unite Against Fascism, Searchlight and Hope Not Hate had been involved in campaigning in Barking & Dagenham, with marches, rallies and door-to-door canvassing taking place daily in the lead-up to the election.
The BNP also suffered from internal dissent late in the election, with its former webmaster launching a scathing attack on the party's internal operations and accusing it of corruption the day before voting booths opened. The party's finances are also under investigation by the Electoral Commission.
Finally, in the world of sports,
Falkirk were today relegated from the Scottish Premier League, after they failed to beat Kilmarnock away from home in their final game of the season. The teams fought out a 0–0 draw at Rugby Park in a game which only saw nine shots on goal the entire game. It is the first time Falkirk have been in the second tier of Scottish football since 2005.
This was Steven Pressley's first season as a manager of Falkirk and he was questioned on his experience in the role stating : "I love it. It's been an emotional day today, but in terms of my three months in charge, it's been a terrific experience. I very much enjoy it here and hopefully we can certainly build for next season."
Falkirk will be replaced in the Scottish Premier League next season by the Caley Jags, who bounced straight back into the top flight after their relegation in 2009.
Still holding out a sliver of hope in the sport of hockey,
The Detroit Red wings beat the San Jose Sharks 7–1 in the fourth game of the quarter final match in the 2010 Stanley Cup playoffs on Thursday night, reducing San Jose's series lead to three games to one and keeping the Wings playoff hopes alive. Game 5 of the series will be hosted by San Jose this evening.
The winning team in this best of 7 series will advance to the Conference Finals of the Western Conference, where they'll meet either the Chicago Blackhawks or the Vancouver Canucks. The Canucks are currently leading that series, 3 games to 1.
On this day in history (7:17) 
In 1945, Allied forces in Europe formally accepted the unconditional surrender of the armed forces of Nazi Germany and the end of Adolf Hitler's Third Reich. The act of military surrender was signed on 7 May in Reims, France, and ratified on 8 May in Berlin, Germany.
In the United States, President Harry Truman, who turned 61 that day, dedicated the victory to the memory of his predecessor, Franklin D. Roosevelt, who had died of a cerebral hemorrhage less than a month earlier, on 12 April. Flags remained at half-staff for the remainder of the 30-day mourning period, which ended on May 12.
Here is Harry Truman announcing Germany's surrender:
- Sound credit The Internet Archive.
More than one million people celebrated in the streets to mark the end of the European part of the war. Many hardships remained, however, including continued rationing of food and clothing, which lasted even longer in peacetime than it had during the war.
And those are the top headlines for Saturday, May 8th, 2010. As a public service to all of our listeners, remember that tomorrow is Mother's Day, so don't forget to celebrate mom as much as the world celebrated the end of WWII!
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