News briefs:May 29, 2010

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Today on Wikinews : Guatemala's Pacaya Volcano erupts, the US Supreme Court rejects Rob Blagojeviches motion to delay his corruption trial, Malawis president pardons a jailed gay couple and American Dennis Hpper dies.

Today is Saturday, May 29th, 2010. I'm Patrick Gillett and this is Wikinews.

Script[edit]

Pacaya volcano erupts; "state of public calamity" decreed[edit]

The Pacaya Volcano has erupted on Friday. The volcano is located 50 kilometers south of the capital of Guatemala, Guatemala City. Throughout the evening and night, volcanic ash has fallen in the municipalities of Amatitlán, Villa Nueva, and Guatemala City.

President Álvaro Colom's government has decreed a State of Public Calamity in the Escuintla, Sacatepéquez and Guatemala departments, for 15 days or more, so the authorities can do their job correctly. The emergency response is being coordinated by the National Coordination for Disaster Reduction.

The eruption was followed by several tremors. All flights in and out of Guatemala City's La Aurora International Airport, have been suspended. The eruption has caused many casualties, among them the death of Aníbal Archila, NOTI7's reporter, who was one of the first reporting the event.

US Supreme Court rejects Blagojevich motion to delay Illinois corruption trial[edit]

The US Supreme Court has denied Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich's request to delay his corruption trial after receiving a statement from the federal government in opposition.

The trial is set to begin on June 3, and many of the charges Blagojevich faces are based on a federal honest-services fraud law. He challenged the constitutionality of this law and argued that the trial should be delayed until the high court decides the issue. The request had already been denied by judges in the lower courts.

The Obama administration argued that there was no need to delay the trial pending the Supreme Court's decision. Shortly afterwards, Justice John Paul Stevens rejected the motion.

Malawi President pardons jailed gay couple[edit]

Bingu wa Mutharika, President of the African country of Malawi, granted pardons to a gay couple who had been sentenced to 14 years in jail for sodomy and indecency charges. Mutharika, who has in the past dismissed homosexuality as alien, stated that he was releasing the couple on humanitarian grounds.

On Thursday, the President of South Africa condemned the decision of the Malawi courts in a rare dissenting statement stating, "We have condemned the action taken to arrest people in terms of our constitution," in response to questions about the Malawi arrests.

In December, Steven Monjeza, 26, and Tiwonge Chimbalanga, 20, were arrested following a personal engagement ceremony. The men were charged with gross indecency and unnatural acts, based on laws imposed during the British colonial period in Malawi.

US actor Dennis Hopper dies at age 74[edit]

American actor, director, and artist Dennis Hopper has died today at the age of 74. He was known to suffer from prostate cancer since October 2009.

He was born Dennis Lee Hopper on May 17, 1936 in Dodge City, California. As a young man, Hopper became interested in acting and eventually became a student of the Actors Studio. He made his first television appearance in 1955, and appeared in two films featuring James Dean, Rebel Without a Cause (1955) and Giant (1956). Over the next ten years, Hopper appeared frequently on television in guest roles, and by the end of the 1960s had played supporting roles in several films. He directed and starred in Easy Rider (1969), winning an award at the Cannes Film Festival and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay as co-writer of the film's script.

Hopper was unable to build on this success for several years, until a featured role in 1979's Apocalypse Now brought him attention. He subsequently received critical recognition for his work in Blue Velvet and Hoosiers, with the latter film garnering him an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor. Hopper's more recent work includes a leading role in the television series Crash

On this day in history[edit]

On this day in history, New Zealand explorer Edmund Hillary and Nepalese Sherpa mountaineer Tenzing Norgay became the first people to reach the summit of Mount Everest. Their accomplishment was achieved through their being part of an expedition lead by John Hunt.

Using open circuit oxygen, and as the expeditions final attempt, the pair reached hte summit at 11:30am local time.

Outro[edit]

And those are the top headlines for Monday, May 17th, 2010

This has been the Audio Wikinews brief. To receive the latest news, please visit wikinews.org, presenting up-to-date, relevant, newsworthy and entertaining content without bias. Wikinews is a free service and is funded by your generous donations. Click on the donate link on our homepage to learn how you can contribute. This recording has been released under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 License.