Wikinews Shorts: May 4, 2007

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A compilation of brief news reports for Friday, May 4, 2007.

Newspaper accuses Ahmadinejad of indecency

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been accused of "indecency and violating religious values" for embracing and kissing the hand of an elderly woman - his former schoolteacher - to express his gratitude.

The Iranian Hezbollah newspaper issued a statement saying, "The Muslim Iranian people have no recollection of such acts contrary to Shariah law during Islamic rule." The Iranian government instituted Shariah law soon after the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Ahmadinejad has been criticised in the past for his objections to the enforcement of hijab and for permitting women to attend soccer matches.

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Campaigning drawing to a close for French presidential candidates

Ségolène Royal (Socialist Party) and Nicolas Sarkozy (UMP) made their final appeals to voters today.

Campaigning is not allowed tomorrow or on the day of voting, which will take place on Sunday, May 6.

Royal, who has been falling behind in the polls, said, "It is my responsibility today to alert people to the risk of [his] candidature with regards to the violence and brutality that would be unleashed in the country [if he won]," specifically referring to the type of violence seen in the 2005 civil unrest.

Sarkozy responded in a radio interview with Europe 1: "She's not in a good mood this morning. It must be the opinion polls... She's finishing in violence, in a certain state of feverishness. When I hear her remarks, I wonder why a woman of her qualities carries such violent feelings. It adds nothing to the debate."

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Scottish elections: SNP gains 20 seats

Scottish Parliament Building
Please also see a full article at: Party supporting Scottish independence from UK wins elections

Following yesterday's parliamentary election, the Scottish National Party (SNP), led by Alex Salmond, became the largest party in the new Scottish Parliament. The SNP is committed to hold a referendum on Scottish independence by 2010.

After a confusing day, in an election marred by many thousands of rejected ballot papers, the party has a 1 seat advantage over the Scottish Labour Party (SLP) who have controlled the Executive for the last 8 years.

For Salmond to become take the position of First Minister from SLP's Jack McConnell he needs to gain the support of another party. Only the Scottish Conservative Party and the Scottish Liberal Democrats (the current junior partner of the SLP) are large enough.

The parliament election was held on a combined 'first past the post' and Party List system, at the same time as local council elections, (which do not have the same constituencies) and used, for the first time, a Single Transferable Vote system. This appears to have confused many voters and led to a high number of spoilt papers.

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