News briefs:October 24, 2007
|Audio Wikinews News Brief for October 24, 2007|
|Recorded by: Davumaya
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This is the Audio Wikinews Brief for October 24, 2007.
Turkey launches airstrikes against Kurdish rebels
According to reports, Turkey has today launched airstrikes against Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) bases near the border to Iraq. F-16 fighter jets and helicopter gunships are said to have bombed targets on both sides of the border.
Turkish officials said that a major incursion was not implemented at this time to give diplomacy a final chance. An Iraqi delegation, headed by defense minister Qadir Obeidi (aka Abdel Qader Jassim), is scheduled to visit Turkey on Thursday.
7.1 earthquake strikes Indonesia
According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS) a magnitude 7.1 quake struck Sumatra in Indonesia just after 4:00 a.m. local time.
The epicenter was located 135 kilometers (85 miles) west of Bengkulu, Sumatra, Indonesia in the Indian Ocean, with a depth of 30 k.m. (18.6 miles).
The NOAA issued a tsunami alert that was later lifted saying "no destructive widespread tsunami is expected," but that "local tsunamis can affect locations no more than 100 kilometers from the epicenter." They also state that lack of "sea level data" may delay the center's determination of whether or not a tsunami was generated.
The USGS states that damage may be "light to moderate" but so far there are no reports of injures, deaths or damage.
China launches space probe to the moon
At 18:00 hours local time (10:00 UTC) the rocket Chang'e 1 lifted off from Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwestern China. The name of the probe refers to the Chinese goddess of the moon.
The 2350 kg probe is expected to enter a lunar orbit on November 5. On its year-long mission, Chang'e 1 will obtain threedimensional images of the Moon's surface and gather information related to the chemical and physical properties of the lunar soil. It will do so circulating at about 200 kilometers above the lunar surface. On its way to the Moon the spacecraft will register data regarding the solar winds, or space weather, on the way there. It will also broadcast 30 patriotic Chinese songs when orbiting the Moon.
Bush says missile shield needed to counter Iranian threat
In a speech on Tuesday, U.S. President George W. Bush said that deploying a missile shield in Europe is necessary to counter an emerging nuclear threat from Iran. The planned missile shield is strongly opposed by Russia, which sees it as a threat to its security. In his speech, Bush emphasized the threat posed by the range of Iran's missiles. He warned that, with "continued foreign assistance", Iran could develop an ICBM capable of reaching the United States by 2015.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has suggested that the United States and the West could rely on Russian-operated early warning radar in Azerbaijan to counter missile threats from Iran.
The U.S. missile defense plan includes 10 ground-based interceptors in Poland and a radar system in the Czech Republic. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said previously that the shield was seen a "potential threat" by Russia and that Russia could take measures to "neutralize" it. In his speech, Bush said that the missile shield was not designed to intercept missiles from Russia and "would be easily overwhelmed by Russia's nuclear arsenal."
1,000,000 flee homes in California due to wildfires; over 500,000 ordered to evacuate
Reports say that the amount of people fleeing from their homes in California located in the United States due to wildfires has reached the 1,000,000 mark as the fires continue to grow. More than 500,000 people have been ordered to evacuate areas of Southern California as firefighters have began to realize that they may not be able to put all the fires out.
45 people have been injured, 21 of those being firefighters battling the blazes. At least one person was reported to have been killed earlier, but so far those reports cannot be confirmed.
Yesterday, U.S. President George W. Bush declared a state of emergency in California, clearing the way for the state to begin receiving federal aid assistance.
The Santa Ana Winds have been blowing for three days and they are not forecast to stop for the next day or so.
Close to 2,000 homes are burned to ashes and nearly 70,000 more are believed to be at a high risk of catching fire. Almost 400,000 acres of land have been scorched with 18 fires burning.
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