News briefs:January 17, 2008

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Wikinews News Brief [Date][edit]

Introduction[edit]

[Opening music] This is Wikinews News Brief, summarising the current news on [Day] [Date] [Month] 2008 at [HH]:[MM] hours UTC. I’m Nicholas Turnbull.

Events of worldwide notability, military action, disasters etc.[edit]

Nearly two dozen people killed in bomb blast on bus in Sri Lanka[edit]

In Butthala, Sri Lanka, a bomb exploded on a civilian bus on Wednesday the 17th, killing at least twenty-three people and wounding a total of seventy. Approximately fifty people were travelling on the bus, the majority of whom are said to be school-children; the additional casualties were caused by those in proximity to the vehicle on detonation of the weapon. According to a spokesman from Sri Lanka's defence ministry, all of the wounded were civilians; the spokesman further added that terrorists are becoming desperate in the area where the attack took place thus changing their focus to attacks on civilian targets. No claim of responsibility has yet been made by any terrorist groups for the bombing, and Sri Lankan police are yet to place blame on any specific party; however, some unnamed sources within Sri Lanka have speculated that the rebel group known as the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, or LTTE, may have carried it out. This follows shortly after a cease-fire agreement between the LTTE and the Sri Lankan government was terminated by Sri Lanka on the grounds that it had become meaningless.

Japanese detain two anti-whaling activists, deny abuse claims[edit]

Two Sea Shepherd Conservation Society anti-whaling activists were detained in the Southern Ocean on Wednesday the 15th at 0600 hours UTC by a whaling ship belonging to the Japanese Institute of Cetacean Research, a Government-operated organisation that undertakes limited whaling activities ostensibly for the purposes of conducting scientific research. Japan's scientific whaling activities have been under severe criticism by activists such as those from the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, who state that such whaling is illegal and is in fact for commercial purposes. The activists, who were on the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society's vessel Steve Irwin, appear to have attempted to board the Yushin Maru No. 2, claiming that they were attempting to deliver a letter to the Japanese whalers asking them to leave the Antarctic. They admit, however, to having thrown stink bombs onto her decks. The two men are currently under detention by Japanese authorities, who state that they will release the men only if the activist organisation agrees to conduct no further protests. The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society claims that their men were subjected to severe physical abuse at the hands of the Japanese authorities, including being strapped to a mast in extremely cold conditions; a Japanese spokesperson strongly denies these allegations. The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has stated that they are not prepared to negotiate with the Japanese authorities and demand unconditional release of their personnel.

George Bush completes his Middle East tour[edit]

United States president George W. Bush completed his tour of the Middle East, in which he sought to encourage Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations. Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak demonstrated endorsement for Mr. Bush's claimed cause, saying that he supports Israel's efforts to reach agreement on the creation of an independent Palestinian state. Bush, speaking at a joint apparance in front of reporters at the end of consultations between himself and Mubarak, expressed his optimism that an agreement can be reached through the support of both the Israeli and Palestinian governments towards a two-state solution, and further affirmed his endorsement to the goal that the peace process will be completed by the end of the year. Bush's tour continued amid demonstrations and angry press coverage throughout Egypt, describing this reaction as a vivid display of freedom of speech in Egypt.

Taliban attacks hotel in Kabul, seven killed[edit]

US to sell precision-guided bombs to Saudi Arabia[edit]

Non-disastrous local events with notable impact and dead celebrities[edit]

American actor Brad Renfro dies at age 25[edit]

Tom Cruise Scientology promotional video leaked to the Internet[edit]

'Tom Cruise: An Unauthorized Biography' released, $100 million lawsuit in planning stages[edit]

UFO sightings reported in Texas town[edit]

Business, commerce and academia[edit]

Sun to acquire MySQL AB[edit]

Naked News to create international language editions[edit]

Arts and culture[edit]

Frivolities and trivia[edit]

Cricket: Australia vs India 3rd test - Day 1[edit]

Footer[edit]

Thank you very much for joining me, Nicholas Turnbull, for this Wikinews News Brief. [Intro music] Wikinews is a project of the Wikimedia Foundation, and can be accessed at the following URL: http://en.wikinews.org. This recording is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Generic License, available at http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5/. Goodbye. [Outro music] [END]