News briefs:May 20, 2010
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Today on Wikinews : Pakistan blocks YouTube over images of Mohammed, art thieves get off with €100 million in paintings in France, Chile hosts a major surfing competition, and in history, Sultan Osman II gets squeezed in the most "sensible" part of his body.
- Sound Effects Credit Grunts : Sruddi1
Today is Thursday, May 20th, 2010. I'm Dan Harlow and this is Wikinews.
The Pakistani government has blocked access to Youtube, the popular video-sharing website, citing "growing sacrilegious" content. The move comes after a Pakistani court ordered a temporary block of social networking site Facebook on Wednesday, when a row unfolded concerning a group urging users to draw pictures of the Prophet Mohammed.
The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, the government agency responsible for the operation and maintenance of Pakistani telecommunications, ordered all internet service providers to "completely shut-down" all access to Facebook and YouTube from the interior of Pakistan. According to a spokesman, the agency only did so after "all possible" options had been exhausted.
The spokesman, Khoram Ali Mehran, said that they were "just following the government's instructions and the ruling of the Lahore High Court", and that "if the government decides to unblock it, then that's what we will do".
The Facebook user who created the group, entitled "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day", said that she had got the idea for the group after watching an episode of South Park on the television channel Comedy Central, in which a line involving the Prophet had been 'bleeped out'. The site was blocked the day before the event was scheduled to take place.
YouTube was blocked in Pakistan in 2008, when material deemed "offensive to Muslims" led to restrictions.
Five paintings, including pieces from Picasso and Matisse, in total valued at almost €100 million, were stolen from the Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris overnight on Wednesday.
The thief is believed to have entered the museum by climbing through a window and the museum is investigating how the theft took place despite the presence of guards and a complex security system. The Paris prosecutor's office said that a single masked man was captured on CCTV walking away with the works, which had been removed from their frames with care rather than being sliced out.
Christophe Girard, deputy mayor of Paris with responsibility for culture, told a press conference: "This is a serious crime to the heritage of humanity", adding that the perpetrator or perpetrators were "obviously organised". It is thought that the paintings are too well known to be easily sold and there has been speculation that they will be used as "currency" by criminal gangs, as opposed to having been "stolen for hire" on behalf of a collector. Investigators are questioning museum staff after speculation that the perpetrator may have had assistance from somebody on "the inside".
The museum itself has been closed and cordoned off and the theft is being investigated by an elite French police unit.
- Music Credit Penetration (Acoustic)
The Surf Championship Competition, "Ceremonial Quiksilver Pichilemu 2010", took place on Wednesday in the Chilean city of Pichilemu, which is nicknamed "Capital of the Surf". Waves nine meters high or larger were predicted in Punta de Lobos, 6 kilometers from the urban center of Pichilemu.
Some of the most important surfers were in the championship including the South African Grant "Twiggy" Baker, Hawaiians Jamie Sterling and Mark Healey, as well as the Chilean Ramón Navarro, who won the Master Drop award last December.
"Many of the surfers there have never seen waves like the ones of this 2010 Championship", said Ramón Navarro to La Nación, some minutes before the competition started. He added "I'm prepared and anxious,"
From the 24 surfers in the competition, just six contested in the finals. Chilean Cristián Merelló took top prize and the Peruvian Gabriel Villarán obtained second place. Meanwhile the most-known surfer, Ramón Navarro, just managed to reach semifinals. Diego Medina, also Chilean, received the Big Drop and Surf Spirit awards as recognition given by the other competitors.
More than a thousand people went to Punta de Lobos to attend the championship, including the Mayor of Pichilemu, Roberto Córdova
The competitors accorded to donate US$15,000 (almost 16 million pesos) from the final prize of US$30,000 to help people affected in the Pichilemu area after the February 27 earthquake.
The tour will continue as the surfers now head to the beaches of California, Peru, South Africa and Hawaii.
On this day in history (5:30)
- Music Credit Chaiti Dun
In 1622, Sultan Osman II, also known as Osman the Young, died after ruling as Sultan of the Ottoman Empire after a reign of only 4 years.
Osman II had been born in Istanbul and because his mother paid a lot of attention to his education, he became a known poet and had mastered many languages, including Arabic, Persian, Greek, Latin and Italian. He ascended the throne at the early age of 14 as the result of a coup d'état against his uncle Mustafa I.
Despite his youth, Osman II soon sought to assert himself as a ruler and he personally led the Ottoman invasion of Poland during the Moldavian Magnate Wars. However, during the Battle of Khotyn against the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth's army, Osman II was unable to advance any further and by October 9th, due to lateness of the season and after sustaining heavy losses in several assaults on the fortified Commonwealth lines, he was forced to abandon the siege. The battle ended in a stalemate and a treaty was signed which in some sections favored the Ottomans and others the Commonwealth.
Osman II returned home to Istanbul in shame, blaming the cowardice of the Janissaries, who were infantry units that formed the Ottoman sultan's household troops and bodyguards.
Osman II probably became the first Sultan to identify and attempt to tackle the Janissaries as a praetorian institution doing more harm than good to the modern empire, and he closed their coffee shops which were the gathering points for conspiracies against the throne. He started planning to create a new, loyal and ethnic Turkic army consisting of Anatolian, Mesopotamian and Egyptian Turks and Turkmens. The result was a palace uprising by the janissaries, who promptly imprisoned the young sultan.
On May 20th, an executioner was sent to strangle him but when the cord was thrown over his neck, Osman 'had the presence of mind to slip it with his hand, and knock down the principal executioner; on which his grand vizier, Davut Pasha, seized him by the most sensible part of his body and when Osman fainted with pain he was strangled. Compression of the testicles was a mode of execution reserved by custom to the Ottoman sultans.
And those are the top headlines for Thursday, May 20th, 2010
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- Sound Effects Credit Grunts : Sruddi1