Israel evicts two Palestinian families from their homes
June 11, 2019 · Uncategorized · (No comments)

Monday, August 3, 2009

Two Palestinian families who have been living in East Jerusalem since 1956, were evicted from their homes on Sunday after an Israeli court rejected their appeal filed against the eviction. The eviction comes after increasing international pressure on Israel to stop settlement activity and end home evictions.

Israeli security forces entered the homes at 6:00 a.m. (local time) and forcibly removed the family and international activists who were also living in the homes. At least 19 children were among those removed. Al Jazeera reports that a family was beaten with batons as they tried to get back into their house. JTA reports that Jewish families moved into the homes shortly after the Palestinian families were evicted.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has laid biblical claim to the areas of East Jerusalem and has stated that Jews have the right to live anywhere in the city. Although Jerusalem is internationally recognized as occupied territory, Israel continues to evict Palestinians and instead build Jewish only apartments in the area, an action which is considered to be illegal under the Fourth Geneva Convention. Israel has plans for 350 new apartment buildings in East Jerusalem. U.N special coordinator for Middle East Peace, Robert Serry, condemned the evictions as “totally unacceptable”.

The international community, including the United States, has called on Israel to stop settlement activity and allow for the creation of a Palestinian state.

Thailand’s fugitive ex-PM sentenced to two years for corruption
June 8, 2019 · Uncategorized · (No comments)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Ousted, and a fugitive seeking political asylum in the United Kingdom, Thailand’s ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra now faces a two year jail sentence if, or when, he returns to the country. The Thai Supreme Court found him guilty of corruption in a 5-4 ruling by the Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions section of the court and issued the sentence over a land deal. The court acquitted his wife who was the purchaser of the land. The contentious package of land was taken over by Thailand’s Financial Institutions Development Fund (FIDF) in 1995, following the collapse of the Erawan Trust in an effort to counter the trust’s losses.

In reading the court’s verdict, one judge stated, “Thaksin violated the article of the constitution on conflict of interest, as he was then prime minister and head of government, and was supposed to work for the benefit of the public, … He is sentenced to two years in jail.”

Despite his wife, Potjaman Shinawatra, having escaped sentencing in the Ratchadaphisek land deal case, she still faces jail time on return to Thailand. During July she was convicted of tax evasion and a warrant is outstanding for her to face three years in jail for that conviction. The Ratchadaphisek case centred around approximately thirteen acres of land in central Bangkok that was sold to her in 2003 for a knock-down price of 772 million baht (US$ 22.5 million).

With the law in Thailand barring ministers and their partners from doing business with government agencies, groups who protested for the removal of Thaksin are pleased with the result. People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) supporters were reportedly shouting, “We’ve won!” at the announcement of the verdict. They had watched a live telecast of the court’s ruling, hailing activist Veera Somkwamkid who filed the case as a hero.

Should the government more actively pursue Thaksin’s extradition from the UK?
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Somchai Wongsawat, the country’s current Prime Minister and Thaksin’s brother-in-law, has given assurances that the current government will not interfere in the court’s ruling. In speaking to journalists after the ruling was handed down he stressed that the case only covered violation of the National Counter Commission Act barring government officials from involvement where they may have oversight. This was seen as the reason for Thaksin’s wife, Potjaman escaping prosecution in this case.

The case’s chief prosecutor has called on Britain to speedily extradite ex-PM Thaksin so he may begin his jail term. A number of other warrants for his arrest remain outstanding from additional cases brought over his time in office.

News briefs:February 27, 2008
June 7, 2019 · Uncategorized · (No comments)


  • 1 Wikinews News Brief, February 27 2008 0430 UTC
    • 1.1 Introduction
    • 1.2 Events of worldwide notability, military action, disasters etc.
      • 1.2.1 Kenya peace talks put on hold
      • 1.2.2 Jersey child abuse case ‘was not covered up’
      • 1.2.3 Nigerian election result will not be annulled
      • 1.2.4 Iraq demands immediate withdrawal of Turkish troops
    • 1.3 Non-disastrous local events with notable impact and dead celebrities
      • 1.3.1 Massive blackouts hit Florida
      • 1.3.2 Thousands protest privatisation of Australian electricity industry
      • 1.3.3 Pakistan’s ban on YouTube lifted
      • 1.3.4 Minor earthquake shakes England
    • 1.4 Business, commerce and academia
      • 1.4.1 Seeds placed in Norwegian vault as agricultural ‘insurance policy’
      • 1.4.2 Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch to be auctioned off
      • 1.4.3 Microsoft Network users experience international outage
      • 1.4.4 Video hosting website Stage6 to shut down
    • 1.5 Arts and culture
      • 1.5.1 N.Y. orchestra helps forge relations with North Korea
    • 1.6 Footer


Frog-killing fungus spreads across Panama Canal towards South America

Frog-killing fungus spreads across Panama Canal towards South America
June 5, 2019 · Uncategorized · (No comments)

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

South America, the current hot-spot for describing new frog species, may be in danger of seeing population declines due to an epidemic. A recent scientific paper has found the mysterious fungal disease, chytridiomycosis, has begun to establish into eastward Panama, heading across the Panama Canal boundary towards Colombian amphibian populations. The publication predicts that at the current rate, the fungus will spread into Tortí (Panamá Province) before 2012. The chytrid fungus is believed to be the leading cause of population mortality of amphibians. Species like the common rocket frog (Colostethus panamensis) are succumbing to the effects of the pathogen at an alarming rate. For the last 30 years, the infection has decimated amphibian communities, mostly because of increased temperatures resulting from climate change.

The culprit skin fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, is still not fully understood. It can be transmitted by touch, including contact with other amphibians and even rocks and water. Not only has it decimated frogs, salamanders and caecilians in the Americas, but has affected tropical Australia and Asia as well. Scientists think that the fungus may have come from an African clawed frog (Xenopus sp.), because of its worldwide popularity in the pet trade.

Captive breeding programs, like Amphibian Ark are preparing for the worst. There are still many species in the jungles of Central and South America that have not been properly documented, and could be fated to be studied after extinction.

Skeletons found under home in Hertfordshire

Skeletons found under home in Hertfordshire
June 5, 2019 · Uncategorized · (No comments)

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Catherine McGuigan, a resident in South Mimms, Hertfordshire, UK, found skeletons from over a century ago buried under her dining room.

She had hired builders for an extension for her cottage, where she has lived for eleven years, and at the beginning of April they found human bones in the ground.

Her cottage was built over a burial ground; from 1697 to 1820 the land was owned by the Religious Society of Friends. In the 1600s, members of the society, better known as Quakers, were persecuted for their beliefs and so were not allowed to be buried in consecrated church grounds. Instead burials, which were also sometimes for others not recognised as parishioners – such as homeless people, often took place in the countryside.

The Daily Mail states in its April article that the Religious Society of Friends have advised McGuigan that she “must cremate” the bodies, however Quakers have written an open letter to the Daily Mail, informing that for Quakers, there is “no specific advice on the disposal of bodies”, and that they had never expressed an opinion on how the discovered skeletons should be buried.

The cremation was rumoured to cost up to £32,000 – an £800 quote for cremation of a single body multiplied by 40, however as yet only ten bodies have been discovered.

The builders originally thought the bones were pieces of pipe, and McGuigan has now ordered coffins and is looking to holding a mass cremation or a burial in a nearby field.

Baby dies after being found abandoned behind shop in Gwent, Wales

Baby dies after being found abandoned behind shop in Gwent, Wales
May 27, 2019 · Uncategorized · (No comments)

Saturday, March 20, 2010

According to an announcement from Gwent Police, a baby boy has died after being found abandoned behind a convenience store in Gwent, Wales. The boy, who has not yet been identified, was found behind a Spar convenience store in the town of Cwmcarn at 1815 GMT on Tuesday. The baby was found to be wrapped in a towel which was in a plastic shopping bag. Bystanders who were walking past the scene mistakenly believed that the bag had been unintentionally left there by a person who had visited the gym that is located next to the store.

A 14-year-old boy, who is the son of the man who owns the convenience store, then examinied the bag and discovered the baby. He made a phone call to the emergency services, however, when the baby was taken to Royal Gwent Hospital, it was pronounced dead on arrival. The baby was younger than one day old at the time of his death. A post-mortem examination proved to be indeterminate. Gwent Police have now launched an investigation to try and determine the identity of the baby’s mother.

Gursewak Singh, the father of the person who discovered the baby and the owner of the shop, explained: “We asked friends and colleagues what the bag was doing there, but it didn’t belong to anyone. A boy who works with us said it was just a towel in there and he didn’t open it. In the evening I went out to it and opened it, only saw a towel on top and didn’t look thoroughly. I just thought it was clothes underneath and didn’t want to root through them. I picked it up and hanged it on the gatepost so someone walking by might see it and recognise it as theirs. At about six o’clock there was a power cut and my 14-year-old son went out and picked up the bag and opened it and saw a little head in there. He called his uncle and said: ‘It’s not clothes, come and look’. They came over and saw the baby in there.” Singh commented that this incident “was shocking. We were all devastated. I wish we had checked earlier. If we had gone through the bag we could have made a difference. I’m worried what sort of condition the person who left the bag is in. We are so concerned about her. Other people saw the bag, but nobody thought about it. There could be a baby still alive. I wish we had checked straight away.”

Gwent Police member Superintendent John Burley stated about this case: “We are extremely concerned about the health and wellbeing of the mother of the baby and are appealing for her to come forward to receive any medical treatment she may require. This is a tragic incident which will sadden the local community and our priority at the moment is finding the mother of the baby. I would appeal to anyone who may have been in the vicinity of the Spar store on Thursday morning or afternoon who may be able to offer any information to assist our inquiry.”

Notre Dame in Paris catches fire

Notre Dame in Paris catches fire
May 27, 2019 · Uncategorized · (No comments)

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

The roof of Notre Dame cathedral in French capital Paris caught fire yesterday. The spire and at least part of the roof, and at least part of the wooden frame, collapsed. According to officials, the two bell towers were saved.

The fire reportedly started at about 19:00 local time (1700 UTC). Reportedly over 400 firefighters participated in extinguishing the blaze and were still working as of midnight. Not only did they put out the fire but they continued to cool the structure after the fire was gone to reduce the possibility of further damage.

Officials cleared the area around the cathedral.

The French Civil Security service said water bombing by aircraft was disallowed as it might have caused additional damage to the monument.

As of late yesterday, the fire’s cause had not been officially stated. President Emmanuel Macron cancelled an address he was to have given during the evening and instead went to the scene.

Renovation work was ongoing in the building before the fire began. The world-famous cathedral, completed in the 13th century, is one of the most well-known monuments in France.

Controversy erupts over German Anarchist Pogo Party’s campaign ad

Controversy erupts over German Anarchist Pogo Party’s campaign ad
May 27, 2019 · Uncategorized · (No comments)

Thursday, September 8, 2005

The German Anarchist Pogo Party ran a campaign ad (Download hereNSFW) which, instead of discussing the party’s politics, featured various party scenes set to a heavy metal soundtrack. The spot included revellers smashing furniture, pouring beer down each other’s throats, and women dancing topless. The spot ends with the proclamation: “My vote for the rubbish”.

The ARD refused to air the ad because it “violates the human dignity” and showed only a heavily censored version at an earlier airtime. The Party then sued the station and got an injuction by an appeal court in Münster only minutes before the next ad was due, forcing the ARD to air the spot uncensored, right before their evening news flagship.

The ad has offended a number of people, but has likely gained the party nationwide attention among its younger demographics who could access campaign websites online (appd.de). The Hamburg-based APPD and every other party is entitled by law to free television airtime on Germany’s public TV Station ARD and ZDF for its advertisements because it is an officially registered political party competing for the upcoming federal elections. Its next ad is scheduled for Monday night, although broadcasting authorities may again censor the ad.

The party has a membership of approximately 750 — German newspapers posit that the ads will have little impact on the upcoming election.

Thai police to wear ‘Hello Kitty’ armbands as punishment

Thai police to wear ‘Hello Kitty’ armbands as punishment
May 27, 2019 · Uncategorized · (No comments)

Monday, August 6, 2007

Thai police officers are being punished by being forced to wear large, bright pink Hello Kitty armbands.

The armband, which features Hello Kitty sitting on top of two hearts, will be worn by police officers who commit minor offences. These include littering, lateness and parking in a prohibited area. The officers will also be forced to stay with the deputy chief all day in division office and will be forbidden to disclose their offences. However, police officers caught breaking the law will still be subject to the same penalties and fines as ordinary members of the public.

Police Colonel Pongpat Chayapan said, “Simple warnings no longer work. This new twist is expected to make them feel guilt and shame and prevent them from repeating the offense, no matter how minor. (Hello) Kitty is a cute icon for young girls. It’s not something macho police officers want covering their biceps. This is to help build discipline. We should not let small offences go unnoticed.”

Hello Kitty was created by the Japanese Sanrio Company in 1974. The character has been admired by both children and adults. It features on stationery, T-shirts, lunch boxes, Fender guitars and jewelry. Famous people known to have been spotted with Hello Kitty products include Britney Spears, Paris Hilton and Mariah Carey.

US Nationwide Pollution Permit Restrictions Upheld

US Nationwide Pollution Permit Restrictions Upheld
May 26, 2019 · Uncategorized · (No comments)

Wednesday, October 4, 2006

The US Army Corps of Engineers decision to place restrictions on issuance of nationwide pollution permits has been upheld by a federal court. In National Association of Home Builders v. Army Corps of Engineers, the District Court for the District of Columbia found that the Corps of Engineers had not acted in an “arbitrary” or “capricious” manner in changing the terms and conditions for issuance of a national pollution permit, including reducing the size of area into which pollutants may be discharged from 10 acres to 1 acre, raising the threshold for requiring additional permits from 1 acre to 1/10 acre,

A nationwide permit allows an organization to engage in certain industrial activities on a national basis (such as mining and construction), reducing the amount of paperwork and filings needed for otherwise minor environmental impacts, as opposed to an ordinary permit for a specific location which will engage in activities which generate water pollution.

Due to concerns over the amount of discharge taking place in waterways, the Corps of Engineers began in the 1980s to reduce the authority granted by nationwide permits and to bar use of the permits in certain ecologically sensitive areas.

Some industry groups, including the plaintiff in the above case, The National Association of Home Builders, sued the Corps of Engineers in 2000 over the change in an attempt to block its implementation. Environmental groups, including the Sierra Club, were given permission to intervene in the case in support of the actions of the Corps.

Environmental groups were pleased with the decision, but are concerned over other actions of the Bush Administration, such as the attempts to weaken provisions of the 2002 Clean Water Act to allow additional dumping of construction and mining waste into waterways as fill material.