News briefs:October 15, 2007

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The time is 5:00 UTC and this Audio Wikinews Brief for Monday, October 15, 2007.

Death toll, vehicle count rise in California truck pileup[edit]

So far, three people (including a baby) have been confirmed killed, and at least 10 others were injured when two semi trucks collided in a tunnel on Interstate 5 between Los Angeles and Santa Clarita California in the United States. The incident occurred last Friday evening, setting off a chain reaction pileup that involved more than 29 vehicles, six being semi trucks and one passenger car. The wreck caused a massive fire that burned for over six hours. It was previously believed that only 13 semi trucks were involved.

As a result of the crash, the Governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger issued a declaration of a state of emergency for Los Angeles County.

The debris has been removed and officials say that a full inspection will have to be done on the tunnel before it can be used again because the structure of the tunnel has been compromised. The tunnel passed inspection in June of 2006 and a full investigation is being conducted into what caused the crash.

More allegations filed against Oral Roberts University[edit]

Last Friday three fired professors filed more charges in their lawsuit against Oral Roberts University, University president Richard Roberts, and his wife, Lindsay Roberts. In addition to previous allegations of illegal political contributions, financial wrong-doing, and wrongful firings, the plaintiffs also added the ORU Board of Regents to the lawsuit claiming regents did not oversee the university and its president Richard Roberts. One example cited in the lawsuit was that ORU allowed a man with three convictions of sexual abuse to mentor ORU college students.

In addition the report attached to the lawsuit contained fresh allegations that Lindsay Roberts, 51, stayed overnight nine times with an "underage male" at a ORU "guest home". The filing also said she was photographed alone with that boy after Tulsa curfew and includes a picture of her and the boy smoking at the ORU guest house

Previously on October 9th, Roberts and his wife appeared on Larry King Live, and denied all the accusations.

Putin warned of assassination plot[edit]

Russian President Vladimir Putin has received information from his special services regarding a possible plot to assassinate him during his visit to Iran later this week, say Kremlin officials.

A "credible" source within the Russian national security services told the Russian Interfax news agency that multiple security agencies have received reports from various international sources warning of assassination attempts by several terrorist groups including suicide-bombings.

Russia has sold weapons to Iran in the past, despite the U.S. protesting. The Russian government is currently helping to build a nuclear power facility at Busehr, Iran, on the Persian Gulf.

Analysts say that delays in finishing the Bushehr power station are an indication that, regardless of what it says publicly, the Kremlin is uncomfortable with the Ahmadinejad administration. Moscow says the delays have been caused by technical problems.

Mohammed Ali Hosseini, the Iranian foreign ministry spokesman, denied the reliability of the reports.

US Crude Oil reaches new high[edit]

Over the weekend, oil prices in the United States briefly hit a new all-time high at US$84.05, but later fell to just under that to $83.69. Brent Crude also rose to $80.55, up 40 cents in the United Kingdom.

The high prices are amid fears that Turkey is planning to attack Iraqi Kurdish militants that killed 13 Turkish soldiers last Sunday. 60,000 Turkish troops are stationed at the Iraq-Turkey border.

Report says Israeli air strike targeted Syrian nuclear reactor[edit]

Israel's air strike on Syria last month was an attempt to knock out a partially constructed nuclear reactor, according to officials with access to American and Israeli intelligence reports, The New York Times reported on Sunday. Syria's President Bashar al-Assad previously said that Israeli jets had dropped bombs on an unused military building.

Although Syria has signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, it has a legal right to build a nuclear reactor for the purposes of generating electricity, and it is not obligated to disclose work on such a reactor during the early stages of construction.

The attack is reminiscent of a 1981 Israeli raid that destroyed the Osirak nuclear reactor in Iraq shortly before it was scheduled to come online. Bush administration officials have stated that the 1981 attack set back Iraq's nuclear program by many years.


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