Wikinews Shorts: November 12, 2008

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A compilation of brief news reports for Wednesday, November 12, 2008.

Three US Senate seats still undecided

Incumbent senior Senator Ted Stevens leads his race in Alaska

Counting continues today, as candidates in three states await the outcome of races to become United States senators.

Alaska plans to count 50,000 of its remaining 90,000 ballots later today. In Minnesota, an automatic recount is expected, as the margin is one-hundredth of one per cent. A run-off election between Georgia's two leading candidates has been scheduled for December 2.

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British economy is probably in recession according to Bank of England

The Bank of England
Image: Adrian Pingstone.

The Bank of England today stated, in its quarterly inflation report, that the British economy is probably in a recession. "The economy probably entered recession in the second half of 2008 and output is likely to contract further," warned the bank.

The report also predicted that the UK economy could shrink by 2% during the next year.


Google launches website to track flu based on searches

Larry Brilliant, the director of
Image: Robert Scoble., the philanthropic arm of search engine Google, has launched a new web page which aims to estimate flu levels in all US states by analyzing search patterns for flu related terms.

"Our team found that certain aggregated search queries tend to be very common during flu season each year," said Google in a blog post on the topic. "We compared these aggregated queries against data provided by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and we found that there's a very close relationship between the frequency of these search queries and the number of people who are experiencing flu-like symptoms each week."

The data will be passed on to the Centers for Disease Control, in the hope that Google figures will detect a flu outbreak earlier than the traditional government figures.


Same sex marriages begin in Connecticut

Same sex marriages today started in Connecticut
Image: Jeffpw.

Following a decision made last month by the Connecticut Supreme Court, same sex marriages today started in the US state of Connecticut.

Bennett Klein of GLADD, the gay rights organization that fought for approval by the Supreme Court, stated that the decision "does mark the end of a very long journey toward equality."

"Today, Connecticut sends a message of hope an inspiration to lesbian and gay people throughout this country who simply want to be treated as equal citizens by their government," he continued.