News briefs:April 29, 2010
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From Wikinews, the free news source, this is the Audio Wikinews Brief for Thursday, April 29th, 2010. I'm Dan Harlow and here are today's top stories:
US Defense Secretary Robert Gates, along with Israeli defense minister Ehud Barak, issued a statement claiming that Hezbollah, the Shi'a Islamist political and paramilitary organization based in Lebanon, is in possession of more weapons than some governments.
Following a meeting with Barak, Gates said that both Syria and Iran were responsible for providing weapons of "ever increasing capability" to Hezbollah, although he declined to confirm that the group had gained possession of ballistic missiles called Scuds that are capable of striking targets across Israel. Gates said of Hezbollah's military capabilities, that they were "obviously destabilizing for the whole region.". Barak reiterated the sentiment of destabilization in the region, but does not foresee a military conflict over the current situation.
Syrian Prime Minister Muhammad Naji al-Otari denied arming Hezbollah and added that Israel is only trying to find an excuse for military action.
During the 2006 Lebanon War, Hezbollah launched thousands of missiles into Israel and according to an American report released last week, Hezbollah had indeed rearmed itself to higher levels than during the 2006 conflict.
There was more violence in Thailand today as protesters clashed with government police killing at least one soldier and wounding eighteen.
The conflict took place along a highway that a convoy of protesters was traveling along when Thai security forces, attempting to disperse the demonstrators, fired on protesters, apparently with both rubber bullets and live ammunition, which police had been authorized to use in self-defense.
The demonstrators have largely paralyzed the city of Bangkok for the past seven weeks in protests that have killed at least 26 people. Largely rural and urban poor, the protesters say they will not leave until the Thai prime minister, Abhisit Vejjajiva, resigns and new elections are held. Many support former PM Thaksin Shinawatra and believe they were deprived of their votes when he was ousted in a coup in 2006.
An estimated 18,000 New Jersey public school students walked out of classes Tuesday, in protest of Governor Chris Christie's proposed budget cuts. Spurred by a Facebook event calling on students to skip classes and picket their local school boards, the leader of the group, former student Michelle Ryan Lauto, said that she wanted to draw attention to the issue and show the govenor that students are not apathetic towards the quality of their education.
The state's largest teachers union, the New Jersey Education Association, said that the students should not walk-out on classes. The governor's office also responded to the protests stating that they hoped this was just a case of youthful rebellion and not a one sided view of the current budget crisis in New Jersey. The demonstration came soon after voters in 59% of the state school districts opposed a proposal to increase property tax levies to pay for schools.
UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown has caught himself up in a bit of a row, now being called "Bigotgate", when a live microphone caught him describing a voter he had talked to as being a "bigoted woman". The incident occurred after Brown, encouraged by his advisors to interact with ordinary people more often before next week's parliamentary elections, spoke with 65 year old Gillian Duffy. Duffy challenged him on topics such as health and education, before asking about immigration.
Unbeknownst to him, however, the Sky News microphone attached to his lapel was still turned on and picked up the conversation that followed inside his vehicle. Brown commented that the discussion was "a disaster" and he wondered aloud which of his advisors allowed Duffy to speak with him. When an aide asked what Duffy had said, Brown responded: "Everything, she was just a bigoted woman that said she used to be Labour".
Duffy, speaking to reporters immediately after having talked with the PM, described Brown as being "very nice", but later said she was "very upset" when informed of what Brown had said off-camera. The PM, upon being informed of what happened, returned to Duffy's home to personally apologize.
Some political analysts have said the gaffe may hurt Labour's chances in the upcoming elections having recently managed to narrow the Conservatives' lead in recent opinion polls.
A sixteen-year-old boy from Santiago, Chile has been charged with the murder of his brother after the pair got in a fight over whose turn it was to use their PlayStation 3. Police reported that the sixteen-year-old had stabbed his eighteen-year-old brother in the chest after he turned the PlayStation on without his younger brother’s permission. If convicted, the boy could face five years in prison.
The boys were home alone when the attack occurred; their guardian, a Belgian woman who adopted the pair after their birth mother abandoned them ten years ago, had been visiting her home country.
On this day in history (5:28)
In 1945, Heinrich Wicker, a German Non Commissioned Officer, formally surrendered the Dachau concentration camp to the 42nd Rainbow Division of the United States Army. Approximately 32,000 prisoners were liberated and 300 SS camp guards were taken into custody; some of whom were shot and killed after surrendering by American troops who were horrified upon seeing the conditions of the camp.
And those are the top headlines for Thursday, April 29th, 2010
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