News briefs:May 03, 2010
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From Wikinews, the free news source, this is the Audio Wikinews Brief for Monday, May 3rd, 2010. I'm Dan Harlow and here are today's top stories:
Aviation authorities in Ireland have said that a temporary ban on flights coming in and out of the country will be implemented tomorrow, due to potential risks from volcanic ash from an Icelandic volcano. The restrictions would apply from 07.00 to 13.00 local time.
The Irish Aviation Authority is concerned that Irish airports may be impacted by the drift south of the volcanic ash cloud caused by north easterly winds based on the safety risks to crews and passengers. IAA noted that flights over the UK and mainland Europe wouldn't be affected by the restrictions.
Last month, many flights to and from Europe were canceled for almost a week, over fears that volcanic ash could cause jet engines to fail. The decision to close the airspace had stranded thousands and cost the already struggling European airline industry billions of dollars.
Stormy weather in Bangladesh left at least 23 people dead over the weekend and thousands more homeless. Most of the deaths were said to have occurred when farmers harvesting rice paddy fields were struck by lightning. The storms, which are common between April and June, swept over the Mymensingh area and the Bangladesh Meteorological Department has issued warnings for continued severe weather.
The British oil company BP has said it will pay the costs of cleaning up after the Deepwater Horizon oil well ruptured on April 20th killing eleven workers and creating a large oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. In a statement on its website posted earlier today, BP pledged it would pay what it called "legitimate and objectively verifiable" compensation for claims of damage or injury.
BP chief executive Tony Hayward appearing on the American TV show Good Morning America, claimed the company was not at fault for the collapse of the oil rig itself, whose equipment was provided by another company, Transocean.
Transocean spokesman Guy Cantwell responded to BP's statement saying they will await all the facts before drawing any conclusions.
Eurozone approves Greece bailout, Protests in Greece over proposed budget cuts, Wikinews interviews spokesman for Greek far-left party Xekinima (2:32)
The European Union and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have agreed to provide the ailing Greek economy with 110 billion euros (US$146 billion) worth of loans over three years. Finance ministers from the sixteen countries that use the euro – known as the eurozone – approved the plan on Sunday.
According to the plan, the EU is to provide 80 billion euros of the loans, and the IMF the other 30 billion; it is aimed at preventing Greece from defaulting on debt.
Before being fully implemented, however, the proposal must be individually approved by all fifteen other countries in the eurozone.
The Greek government yesterday predicted that the country's gross domestic product would drop by four percent this year; it also forecast the national debt, currently at 115% of GDP, will increase to 149% in 2013, before going down.
In response to efforts by the Greek government to cut spending in order to reduce the severe debt crisis, demonstrations were called by three separate political groups in Athens to protest against government plans to cut major portions of the national budget in order to receive 110 billion euros in aid from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund.
During the protests, small groups of youth broke windows of several buildings, set a government press van on fire, burned trash barrels in barricades and threw rocks and firebombs at police officers. Riot police arrested at least fourteen people and sprayed tear gas to disperse crowds. Seven policemen and two demonstrators were reported to be injured.
The reductions in spending are expected to cut both pensions and salaries to public service workers, while raising consumer taxes. Greek unions have opposed the measures and were a major part of the protests. A nation-wide strike in protest of the budget cuts is planned on May 5th.
For more insight into this story, visit wikinews.org and read Iain Macdonald's exclusive interview with Petros Tzomakas, a Greek far-left politician and spokesperson for Xekinima, which is the Greek division of the Committee for a Workers' International.
The Maoist opposition political group in Nepal has begun a nationwide strike after Nepal's Prime Minister, Madhav Kumar Nepal refused demands of the Maoists to resign on Sunday. The Maoists say that the ruling government is not supported by Nepal's citizens, as it has been unable to draft a constitution for the country or made any effort to continue the peace process in the country. The Maoists, which have a majority in Nepal's parliament, are advocating to lead a national government.
After the Prime Minister's refusal to step down, a strike was immediately called and thousands of protesters descended on Nepal's capital, Kathmandu. Most businesses across the country have been closed for the strike and emergency vehicles are the only traffic allowed to move in the streets. Protesters say they are peaceful, although police claim to have confiscated weapons and explosives. Although so far no violence has broken out, and the mood in the streets is described as festive, the government has deployed additional police in the capital, and security forces are on high alert.
5.9 magnitude earthquake in Pichilemu, Chile revives fears of new tragedy, Chilean earthquakes in the O'Higgins Region: photoessay, Wikinews interviews Juana Bustamante, Chilean earthquake survivor from Paniahue, Wikinews interviews Diego Grez, Chilean earthquake survivor (5:56)
Another strong aftershock hit Chile early Sunday morning. The aftershock reached a magnitude of 5.9 with the epicenter located 19 kilometers west of Pichilemu, according to the University of Chile Geological Survey.
The aftershock comes after a 6.2-magnitude aftershock struck a large part of central and southern Chile on April 23rd, reviving fears of new tragedy in the country which suffered an 8.8 magnitude earthquake on February 27th, killing nearly 500 people.
For a look at the impact of the earthquake in Chile and to see how people living in the area have reacted to the devastation, visit wikinews.org for our own reporter Diego Grez's photo essay of the aftermath. Diego has been on-scene reporting on events as they happen and also has an interview with Juana Bustamante, a Chilean earthquake survivor from Santa Cruz, who lost her home.
Australian rules football: Traralgon, Maffra two games clear on top of 2010 Gippsland Football League ladder (6:57)
Traralgon and Maffra sit atop the 2010 Gippsland Football League ladder after convincing wins over Sale and Morwell respectively.
Traralgon kept Sale to five goals and fourteen behinds for the first three quarters while scoring eleven goals and eleven behinds, a lead of thirty three points. In the end they ran out 40 point winners, 17-15 (117) to 10-17 (77).
Maffra ran out forty-four point winners over early ladder leaders Morwell. They led by four goals at half time only to extend their lead to eight goals at the end of the third quarter. Maffra won the match 18-14 (117) to Morwells 12-11 (83)
For more wikinews exclusive articles, please visit wikinews.org for reporter Peter Coti's interview with the administrator of the United States Pirate Party, Brittany Phelps. In the interview, Brittany speaks with Peter about her job, the goals of the Pirate Party and her greatest concerns in regards to making changes in the government.
On this day in history (7:58)
In 1915, the poem In Flanders Fields was written by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, a Canadian physician, after he witnessed the death, and presided over the funeral, of his friend, 22 year old Lt. Alexis Helmer. It became one of the most notable poems written during World War I and was first published on December 8th of that year in the London-based magazine Punch.
The poppies referred to in the poem grew in profusion in Flanders in the spoiled earth of the battlefields and cemeteries where war casualties were buried and thus they became a symbol of Remembrance Day, Armistice Day and Veterans Day.
In Flanders Fields John McCrae
In Flanders fields the poppies blow Between the crosses, row on row, That mark our place; and in the sky The larks, still bravely singing, fly Scarce heard amid the guns below. We are the Dead. Short days ago We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow, Loved, and were loved, and now we lie In Flanders fields. Take up our quarrel with the foe: To you from failing hands we throw The torch; be yours to hold it high. If ye break faith with us who die We shall not sleep, though poppies grow In Flanders fields.
(music credits : Taps on bugle)
And those are the top headlines for Monday, May 3rd, 2010
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