Wikinews Shorts: December 6, 2008

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A compilation of brief news reports for Saturday, December 6, 2008.

BMW vehicle sales lower by a quarter

BMW logo sign in Düsseldorf

The global monthly sales of German car maker BMW have fallen by more than a quarter, as consumers are spending less due to the economic slowdown.

According to the company, BMW sales have fallen 26.2% in November from a year ago, whilst sales of its Mini subsidiary, which is based in the United Kingdom, were 20.8% lower. Sales in November for BMW's luxury Rolls-Royce branch were also down 18.5%.

From the period of January to November, the company sold 1.32 million cars, 1.8 percent fewer than last year, when it sold 1.34 million vehicles.

Sources


NASA delays Mars mission

Artist's conception of the Mars Science Laboratory

The United States space agency NASA has put off the launch of Mars Science Laboratory rover mission. It was scheduled to fly next year, but the mission has been delayed by testing and hardware problems.

According to agency officials, the launch of the rover would be postponed until 2011. The delay could add US$400 million to the cost of the mission, which is likely to be higher than $2 billion.

"We will not lessen our standards for testing the mission's complex flight systems, so we are choosing the more responsible option of changing the launch date," said Dough McCuistion, the director NASA's Mars program.

Sources


Number of Canadian soldier deaths in Afghanistan reaches 100

Flag of the Canadian Forces

Three Canadian soldiers were killed by a bomb in southern Afghanistan Friday, bringing the number of Canadian military casualties in the war to 100.

Canada's top commander in Afghanistan, Brigadier General Denis Thompson, said that his troops were bringing "peace and stability" to the country. 2,500 Canadian troops are based in southern Afghanistan as part of NATO's mission to defeat the Taliban.

Canada's military presence in Afghanistan is due to end in 2011.

Sources


Record jewelery heist in Paris, France

Armed robbers pulled off a record jewelery heist in Paris, France when they on Thursday robbed the Harry Winston store near Avenue des Champs-Élysées.

Four male thieves, two of whom where dressed as women, stole most of the inventory of the high-profile boutique. The loot has been valued at 85 million (US$107 million).

The robbers brandished firearms and forced fifteen customers and staff into a corner of the store. No shots were fired and no one is reported hurt. Police have no immediate leads.

Sources



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