Category:May 26, 2010

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Today on Wikinews : The Jamaican government's efforts to extradite Christopher "Dudus" Coke turns violent; a suspected serial killer in the UK has been detained by police; Iraqi Airways contemplates dissolving the airline to avoid paying Kuwati war reparations and, in history, Alse Young becomes the first person executed for witchcraft in America's original thirteen colonies.

Today is Wednesday, May 26th, 2010. I'm Dan Harlow and this is Wikinews.


Attack occurs in Stavropol, Russia; at least six dead (0:40)

A radio-controlled bomb exploded in the city center in the southern Russian city of Stavropol earlier today, killing at least six and injuring more than 40, according to initial reports.

The explosion occurred at 6:45pm Moscow time in front of the Stavropol Trade-Union Sport and Culture Palace as a performance by Chechen dance ensemble "Vainakh" was about to begin. Security officials haven't dismissed a possible connection between the concert and the attack.

According to Boris Skripka, the head of the civilian defense and emergency situation administration, "several of those that were hospitalized are now in intensive care. The wounded have shrapnel wounds. Their conditions are considered critical or medium-critical".

Stavropol is included in the newly-created North Caucasian Federal District of Russia and the country has seen violence from rebel groups recently: on March 29, suicide bombings at the Moscow Metro killed at least 40 people and wounded over 100.

Jamaica: Violence kills at least 30 (1:41)

Authorities in Jamaica say that gunfights in the capital Kingston have left at least 30 people dead, as hundreds of troops and police search for an alleged drug kingpin wanted by the US. At least 25 people were injured as well.

The violence has been triggered by the Jamaican government's efforts to extradite Christopher "Dudus" Coke, the alleged leader of the "Shower Posse" group. Armed security forces stormed the Tivoli Gardens slum of western Kingston on Monday in an effort to locate Coke, who has not been found. Last week, Coke's supporters barricaded the area in an attempt to thwart his arrest.

The trouble has forced the closure of schools and businesses across the capital, and the government has appealed for blood donations for the wounded. A state of emergency is in effect for parts of Kingston.

The US has issued a travel alert to warn citizens against visiting the island nation. Jamaican Prime Minister Bruce Golding has promised "strong and decisive" action to restore order.

Plane crashes into Toronto office building (2:42)

A Cirrus SR-20 single engine aircraft crashed into an office building in Markham, a town near Toronto, at 12:30 p.m. local time yesterday. Both people on board were killed.

The aircraft, which crashed into the roof of the two-story building at Woodbine and Hooper streets, was engulfed in flames. Witnesses say that it looked as if the pilot was trying to find somewhere to land and that the aircraft was trailing smoke and rolled before it crashed.

First reports state that the pilot and passenger were killed on impact, however the 14 employees at Thinkway Toys manufacturing escaped the two-story building and explosions from the crash.

The crash site is near Buttonville airport where many amateur and flight training courses occur.

UK police announce arrest of suspected serial killer (3:30)

Police in the United Kingdom have arrested a 40-year-old man on suspicion of being a serial killer. The man is being questioned over the death of one prostitute and the disappearances of two others in Bradford, West Yorkshire, England.

The man was arrested on Monday after 36-year-old Suzanne Blamires vanished on Sunday. Body parts believed to be hers were found floating in the River Aire in nearby Shipley by a member of public at 2:00 p.m. yesterday afternoon.

The man, who lives in Bradford's red-light district, is also facing questioning over the April 26 disappearance of Shelley Armitage, 31, and the June 2009 disappearance of Susan Rushworth, 43. This morning a magistrate granted West Yorkshire Police extra time to question the man, which will expire tomorrow evening.

Rushworth was last seen on a double-decker bus heading to Thornton Road. She had three children, was addicted to heroin and suffered from epilepsy. Armitage was last seen on CCTV in the red-light district. She lived just three streets from Blamires and the two knew each other.

The area is being examined by forensics experts, crime officers and police divers. West Yorksire Police's homicide and major enquiries team is conducting the investigation. Police dogs have been used to search a drainage culvert and undergrowth on Thornton Road, and black bags from skips behind nearby halls of residence have been examined. Members of the police underwater search unit were also at work. Previously, separate searches have been held for Rushworth and Armitage.

Assistant Chief Constable Jawaid Akhtar said the remains from the river are of a single unidentified woman. He said that all three woman's families are being assisted by family liaison officers. Speaking at an on-scene press conference at the junction between Dockfield Road and Otley Road in Shipley, he described the investigation as "a very thorough and painstaking inquiry into three missing women, all of them sex workers, with all the necessary resources and expertise devoted to it."

Some British media has compared the case to the serial killer Peter Sutcliffe, often referred to as the Yorkshire Ripper. Sutcliffe lived in Bradford and killed three of his thirteen victims there; he also attempted to murder seven more people before his 1981 conviction. Most of his victims were prostitutes.

Oil spill in Alaska closes 800 miles of pipeline (5:56)

800 miles of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System were closed down following a spill of thousands of barrels of crude oil south of Fairbanks, Alaska. A power failure following a routine fire-command system test caused relief valves to open and crude oil overflowed near Fort Greely pump station 9.

The valves opening allowed a pressure release for the system and oil flowed on a pad to a tank that can hold 2.3 million gallons. As of Wednesday afternoon, the tank vents were still leaking probably from thermal expansion inside the tank. Another secondary containment area below the tanks capable of holding 104,500 barrels was not yet filled to capacity.

The spill coordinator for the Department of Environmental Conservation, Tom DeRuter, said that the oil spill contamination should be confined to the graveled oil containment liner. DeRuter explained that "Safety is their No. 1 objective right now."

40 people had been evacuated from the Fort Greely site, and the Prudhoe Bay station has been reduced by 84%. "We're going to take as long as we need to make sure the site is safe before we start back up," said Alyeska Pipeline Service Company spokesperson Michele Egan. There is capacity in reserve tanks for 48 hours during this slow down of production.

About 650,000 barrels per day run through the Trans-Alaska Pipeline between Prudhoe Bay to the Port of Valdez oil tankers. The majority of shares in Alyeska are held by BP Exploration, Alaska (BPXA) which is also currently addressing the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

BP addressed a 267,000 gallon crude oil spill in Prudhoe Bay, Alaska in 2006 resulting in a lawsuit against BP Exploration.

Oil spilled after ships collide in Singapore (7:48)

Around 2500 tonnes of oil were spilled into the Strait of Singapore yesterday after two ships collided.

The two ships involved in the collision were the oil tanker MT Bunga Kelana 3 and the bulk ship MV Wally, which collided around thirteen kilometers south of Singapore. The tanker received an estimated ten meter gash on its left side, while the bulk ship sustained only minor damage. After the incident, both ships moved away from the spill and are now anchored.

The oil slick has moved north, and is now now encompassing an estimated four square kilometers around six kilometers south of Singapore. Emergency teams from both Singapore and Malaysia have been mobilized, and around twenty vessels are taking part in the clean-up operations. Both containment booms and chemical dispersant are being used to clean up the oil.

The spill is not expected to have any major effects on shipping; Victor Shum, an official from a consulting firm in Singapore, said that "[i]f it is contained within an oil retaining booms, it may not disrupt shipping traffic." Shum also expressed environmental concerns, saying that "certainly the concerns are there. Even if it is contained, it will take some time to clean up."

Iraqi Airways drops flights to United Kingdom and Sweden (9:02)

Iraqi Airways have announced that they are to drop all flights to the United Kingdom and Sweden. The announcement comes after a row with Kuwait over war reparations.

Iraq and Kuwait are in dispute over billions of dollars of reparations; this includes around $1.2bn in aircraft and parts seized beginning in 1990 by Saddam Hussein. The airline's director general was stranded in the United Kingdom on the basis of a High Court court order obtained by Kuwait Airways last month, but his passport was returned and he was allowed to leave after he informed the court of all the airline's assets in the UK.

Amer Abdul-Jabbar, the Iraqi Transport Minister released a statement saying that "We will announce whether or not we will dissolve the company." The cancellations were announced by the director general of Iraqi Airways, Kifah Jabar Hassan.

Hassan spoke about the plans to dissolve the company, saying that "[w]e can establish another airline company and put an end to this case. With this, the Kuwaitis will get nothing”.

On April 25th, Iraqi Airways sent its first jet to the United Kingdom in twenty years. The flight had been delayed for over a year and was met with further restrictions for nine days after the volcanic ash crisis in Europe. The aircraft was impounded by London High Court and no further flights to the UK have been made.

Irish Senator Kieran Phelan dies at age 60 (10:27)

Irish Senator Kieran Phelan has died suddenly at the age of 60. Phelan died after falling ill in his hotel in Dublin this morning, shortly before a meeting due to be held by the upper house of the Irish parliament.

Phelan, who was a member of the Fianna Fáil party, sat on the Industrial and Commercial Panel and had been a Senator since 2002. He was also a Laois County councilor and was elected council chairman in 1998.

As a mark of respect, Leader of the House Donie Cassidy proposed that the house be adjourned until June 1st.

Mexican cartoonist Gabriel Vargas dies at 95 (11:03)

One of Mexico’s most successful cartoonists, Gabriel Vargas, died yesterday at the age of 95. His death was announced by the National Council of the Arts and Culture. Vargas had been ill for several years before his death, but no cause of death has yet been given.

Vargas’s most successful comic strip was “La Familia Burron” which he started in 1937. The strip looked at a low-income family struggling with everyday life. It sold up to 500,000 copies per week until the 1970s.

Later in his career he won several awards for his work, including Mexico’s National Journalism Prize in 1983 and the National Sciences and Arts prize in 2003.

There was a memorial viewing for Vargas at a funeral home in Mexico City yesterday.

Rollover on Illinois Route 59 in Naperville injures one (11:51)

A motorist was injured during a collision that resulted in a rollover in the city of Naperville, Illinois, United States. The accident occurred at about 8:15 am (13:15 UTC) on the interchange of Illinois Route 59 and Interstate 88.

Naperville police reported that Pavitra Durgam, a 26-year-old from Chicago, was traveling southbound on Route 59 and tried to turn left onto the ramp to Interstate 88. In doing so, she cut in front of a car heading north on Route 59. The other, currently unidentified driver swerved to avoid her, hit a curb, and collided with her car anyway.

Northbound traffic on Route 59 north of Diehl Road, including the entrance into eastbound Interstate 88, was blocked as crews cleaned up the area of the collision. The unidentified motorist complained of back pain and was thus sent to nearby Edward Hospital. Durgam received a citation for failing to yield to oncoming traffic as she turned.

Turkish shopkeeper saves falling toddler (12:51)

A four year old Istanbul toddler was saved from serious injury by quick-thinking shopkeeper Ali Arapi, who caught the boy as he fell the thirteen feet from the floor above. CCTV security cameras caught images of both the child riding on the outside of the escalator and Ali Apari's sure-handed catch.

Noticing that the child was dangling from the handrail Apari ran below the boy as the four year old neared the railing at the top of the shopping center escalator. As the boy fell, Apari positioned himself to catch the toddler as he fell off eight feet above him.

Arapi said later, “Children believe the escalators are playgrounds, the families are irresponsible. The families should take better care of their children.” Arapi had just had a brain operation a month before this incident, and Arapi could have been badly injured himself, if the child had hit his head instead of his arms.

However this is not the first incident of a child falling from riding an escalator at the shopping mall. Four days earlier in imitation of older children, a two-year old had to be rushed to hospital after falling from halfway up the escalator. After these falls the shopping mall has attempted to thwart attempts to ride the outside of the escalators by impeding access with flower pots. In 2006 a sixteen-year old and a three-year old died falling from escalators in Turkey.

Volunteers collaborate in reconstruction of Lolol, Chile (14:14)

Over this past Sunday, which was the day of National Monuments of Chile, a group of volunteers from Santiago traveled to Lolol, a town located in the O'Higgins Region. Lolol, named National Monument of Chile in October 2003, was severely damaged after the major February earthquake; the Church of the town, widely known as one of the oldest in Chile, is currently being restored.

Previously, 35 students of Tourism in the Technical Formation Center of the Los Leones Institute, were working in Lolol between April 30 and May 1, helping to clean up the damage caused by the earthquake.

The famous musical group, Bafona, also visited Lolol, as well as a few other towns that were damaged by the earthquake.

Executive Clerk of the National Monuments Council of Chile, Óscar Acuña, said of the volunteers that "Their attitude is a clear sample of the conscience and love of the Chileans with their legacy and patrimony, especially after the earthquake,"

On this day in history (15:16)

In 1647, Alse Young became the first person executed for witchcraft in America's original thirteen colonies in the state of Connecticut.

Very little is recorded of Alse Young; her existence is only known through her reputation as a witch. She is believed to have been the wife of John Young, who bought a small parcel of land in Windsor in 1641, sold it in 1649, and then disappeared from the town records. She had a daughter, Alice Young Beamon, who, sadly, would also be accused of witchcraft in nearby Springfield, Massachusetts, some 30 years later.

Like many similar cases of witchcraft, Alse Young was a woman without a son when the accusation was lodged, which implied that she would be eligible to receive through inheritance her husband's estate. Historical record hints at the possibility that there may have also been some sort of epidemic in the town of Windsor in early 1647.

Alse Young was hanged at the Meeting House Square in Hartford, Connecticut, on what is now the site of the Old State House and the second town clerk of Windsor, Matthew Grant, recorded the execution with a May 26, 1647 diary entry, stating simply "Alse Young was hanged."

Witchcraft became punishable by death in the Connecticut Colony in 1642, and this capital offense was backed by references to the King James version of the Bible: Exodus (22:18) saying, "Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live" and Leviticus (20:27) stating, "A man also or woman that hath a familiar spirit, or that is a wizard, shall surely be put to death: they shall stone them with stones: their blood (shall be) upon them."

In Connecticut, the crime of witchcraft was listed as a capital crimes until as late as 1750 when it was finally removed from the law.


And those are the top headlines for Wednesday, May 26th, 2010

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