Lockerbie convict Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi buried after dying at Libyan home

Filed Under (Uncategorized) by 5C6bgX on 15-05-2019

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Abdelbaset al-Megrahi has been buried in the town of Janzur, west of the Libyan capital Tripoli. He was the only individual convicted in association with the Lockerbie bombing of 1988. He died at his residence Sunday, aged 60.

The bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 from London to New York resulted in 270 fatalities, including all 259 of the airplane’s occupants and eleven individuals on the ground. 189 of those who died in the incident were US citizens. The death toll for this terrorist incident is larger than that for any other which has occurred in the United Kingdom thus far.

Abdelbaset al-Megrahi was placed on trial in May 2000 in the Netherlands alongside Al Amin Khalifah Fhimah. While Fhimah was found not guilty on all charges placed against him, al-Megrahi was found guilty of his and sentenced to at least 27 years imprisonment. Having been initially placed in HM Prison Barlinnie, al-Megrahi was transferred to Greenock in 2005.

In 2002, an appeal against his conviction was unsuccessful. Five years later, senior judges in Scotland were to review his case, but he dropped the appeal. Due to suffering from prostate cancer, he was granted a compassionate release from Scottish prison two days later.

Current UK Prime Minister David Cameron commented on his belief that al-Megrahi “should never have been released from prison” and said his death was an occasion “to remember the 270 people who lost their lives in what was an appalling terrorist act”. According to Alex Salmond, First Minister of Scotland, the investigation into the Lockerbie bombing is ongoing. Salmond also called for remembrance of those killed. Prosecutors, he said, had always thought there were others besides al-Megrahi involved in the attack.

US citizen Susan Cohen, the mother of one of those killed in the Lockerbie bombing, thought of al-Megrahi as “a mass murderer” who “deserved to die”, adding to CNN: “I feel no pity around him. He got to die with his family around him. My daughter [Theodora], at age 20, died a brutal, horrible death”. However, UK citizen Jim Swire, father of another victim of the bombing, believes al-Megrahi was not guilty. He described al-Megrahi’s death as “a sad time”, telling the BBC he was “satisfied for some years that this man was nothing to do with the murder of my daughter”.

Abdelbaset al-Megrahi has consistently denied responsibility for the attack. In his final recorded interview in December 2011, he insisted he was “an innocent man” who was “about to die and I ask now to be left in peace with my family.” His brother Mohammed al-Megrahi claimed “[t]here never was exact proof” and said al-Megrahi’s “pain is over now – he is with God”.

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Animated reconstruction of Pan Am Flight 103 just before explosion Image: Anynobody.

Animated reconstruction of flight at time of explosion Image: Anynobody.

Animated reconstruction of plane disintegrating just after explosion Image: Anynobody.

Memorial at Dryfesdale Cemetery in Scotland Image: StaraBlazkova.

Memorial at Syracuse University, Syracuse, in the US state of New YorkImage: Newkai.

Hillary Clinton’s song contest reaches final round

Filed Under (Uncategorized) by 5C6bgX on 11-05-2019

Friday, June 1, 2007

U.S. Democratic Party presidential candidate Senator Hillary Clinton has been asking webizens to vote on her official campaign song. Campaign Manager Patti Solis Doyle sent an email today to previous voters, urging them to choose a song in the second and final round of voting.

Clinton, as many of the other candidates, have been using “Web 2.0” applications like YouTube, Flickr, MySpace, Facebook, and blogs to try and engage young voters.

The top five songs in Round One were “Suddenly I See” by KT Tunstall, “Rock This Country!” by Shania Twain, “Beautiful Day” by U2, “Get Ready” by The Temptations, and “I’m a Believer” by Smash Mouth. Five top write-ins were also added to the list of round 2 nominees: “Are You Gonna Go My Way” by Lenny Kravitz, “Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now” by McFadden & Whitehead, “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic” by The Police, “You and I” by Celine Dion, and “The Best” by Tina Turner.

Many of the nominated songs are from international artists; Tunstall is Scottish, Twain is Canadian, and U2 are Irish.

46 illegal Afghan immigrants suffocate in truck in Pakistan

Filed Under (Uncategorized) by 5C6bgX on 09-05-2019

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

 Correction — Nov 1, 2013 The article below claims each passenger paid 4000 to 8000 USD. Each paid 30,000 Rupees, equivilent at the time to about US$375. 

The bodies of 46 Afghan illegal immigrants who suffocated to death in a container truck Saturday near Quetta, Pakistan, returned home Tuesday.

The Edhi Foundation placed the victim’s bodies into coffins to transport them back to Chaman. Funeral prayers were said before victims left Quetta hospital. “We are taking these dead bodies to Spin Boldak and later these will be flown to Kabul by helicopter. We are thankful to Pakistan government for every help,” said Afghan consul general Daud Mohsini.

Afghan officials received the bodies from The Edhi ambulances and Pakistan police escorts at the Pak-Afghan border Bab-e-Dosti (Friendship Gate). Security was high and traffic was backed up at the border crossing. The bodies were taken to Kandahar then to Kabul before they were laid to rest in their home towns.

Hamid Karzai, President of Afghanistan dispatched aircraft to Pakistan to bring home the 46 victims. Poor weather grounded the planes, and the bodies were driven back across the border.

Pakistan police found a locked truck packed with approximately 111 Afghan illegal immigrants around 20 kilometers (12 miles) south of Quetta on Saturday. The driver had fled the scene where 62 people were initially pronounced dead. Police said that from the strong smell emanating from the truck, the victims may have died days before they were discovered.

45 other people were found unconscious and taken directly to the hospital. At hospital two more migrants died. “The death toll is 46,” said Ghulam Dastagir, a police official.

Wazir Khan Nasir, a senior police official said, “We have been able to talk to some of the people, who were trapped in the container. They were all Afghans in the container and the container was going to Iran, When the condition of people inside the container deteriorated, the driver fled, leaving the container.”

Survivors have reported that a human smuggling racket locked 64 Kabul residents and 37 Spin Boldak residents in the truck container Friday afternoon. The truck’s air conditioning unit stopped working causing the locked passengers to cry out for help which was unheeded by the truck’s driver, and they fell unconscious. However, the loud ruckus caused by the trapped people inside did alert police and local residents to their plight.

The trip had cost each illegal immigrant US$4,000 to 8,000 for the trip. Gul Zameen, a survivor said, “We are all poor and wanted to find jobs in Quetta and Iran.”

The survivors have been charged under the Foreigners Act and some have been detained. Karzai has ordered an investigation and “demanded people avoid dangerous illegal migration and not be deceived by smugglers.” “We’ll go to Pakistan and talk to the survivors to find out what had exactly happened. The culprits will be brought to justice,” said Moheeddin Baluch head of the investigating delegation.

Pakistan’s Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) is also investigating. Five suspects believed to be involved in running the human smuggling racket have been arrested.

Van Canto’s Stefan Schmidt on a capella metal, Wacken, Nightwish, piracy & more

Filed Under (Uncategorized) by 5C6bgX on 09-05-2019

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

“Five singers, one drummer. No guitars, no bass, no keyboards but nevertheless an unbelievable melodic metal experience.”

That’s how the official website of van Canto describes the band. Hailing from Germany, van Canto are what is called an a capella metal band, the pioneers of this new genre.

The band released their debut, A Storm to Come, in December 2006. Exactly a year later, van Canto announced a global signing to Gun Records/Sony BMG, and their debut was released worldwide on December 14.

Van Canto are now experiencing considerable success. They recently provided support for Finnish symphonic power metal band Nightwish, as well as receiving a slot at the internationally famous Wacken Open Air festival in Germany. The prestigious event sees them sharing the bill with acts such as Hatebreed, Sonata Arctica, As I Lay Dying, Soilwork, Children of Bodom, Nightwish, Lordi and headline act Iron Maiden.

Van Canto’s second album will be recorded across this month and next, with famed producer Charlie Bauerfeind, although no release date has yet been confirmed.

In light of recent events, van Canto member and founder Stefan Schmidt has given the band’s first interview in English, all previous interviews being in German or Italian. Wikinews now exclusively brings you that interview below.

Contents

  • 1 Interview
    • 1.1 On the early days
    • 1.2 On the new album
    • 1.3 On Wacken Open Air
    • 1.4 On the future of metal

Jawbone found in Aruba is not Natalee Holloway’s

Filed Under (Uncategorized) by 5C6bgX on 09-05-2019

Thursday, November 25, 2010

A jawbone found in Aruba is not that of missing American Natalee Holloway, who was a recent high school-graduate at the time of her disappearance. Officials confirmed the news after Dutch scientists completed tests on the bone. The jawbone, which also had a wisdom tooth with it, was found by an American tourist close to the Phoenix Hotel. A second bone had also been found by another tourist earlier this month.

The bone was sent to the Netherlands Forensic Institute where scientists completed tests. They compared the bone to dental records given to them by Natalee’s father, from which they confirmed the the bone was not that of Natalee, although it was human. It was said to be unlikely that the bone was Holloway’s as there is no physical evidence that she was murdered.

Beth accepts the forensic conclusions, is emotionally exhausted from the inexplicably long wait, and deeply disappointed in the time and manner in which she learned of the results.

Taco Stein, the Aruban Solicitor General, released a statement after the announcement was made. He commented on the speed of the identification; he said that they had quickly ruled out Holloway because her records had shown that she had her wisdom teeth previously removed.

Tim Miller, the Director of the Texas EquuSearch, released a statement after talking to Natalee’s father. He said “Dave [Natalee’s father] has been in contact with Aruban authorities and spoke with FBI this morning, the agent working the case. Dave believes it is Natalee.”

An attorney for Natalee’s mother, Beth Twitty, released a statement saying “Beth accepts the forensic conclusions, is emotionally exhausted from the inexplicably long wait, and deeply disappointed in the time and manner in which she learned of the results.” He commented on the Aruban authorities saying that “Apparently Aruban prosecutors were more sensitive to media concerns than the painful vigil of a mother.”

Natalee Holloway disappeared on the island in 2005 while on a school trip. She was last seen leaving a nightclub with three men, one of which was later identified as Joran van der Sloot. Van der Sloot was detained twice by police but has never been charged with Holloway’s disappearance. He is currently in Peru facing a different murder charge. Aruban authorities have said that they are checking neighboring islands to find a match for other missing persons.

Long-running TV clown marks 50 years since debut

Filed Under (Uncategorized) by 5C6bgX on 08-05-2019

Friday, February 15, 2008

Star of one of the longest-running shows in television history, 79-year-old Chris Wedes is celebrating half a century since he became “Julius Pierpont Patches”.

From 1958 to 1981, CBS affiliate KIRO-TV produced The J.P. Patches Show. The show featured J.P., the Mayor of the City Dump, who lived in a shack with multiple characters visiting. Virtually the entire supporting cast, male and female, human or non-human, was played by the versatile Bob Newman.

The character itself is more than 50 years old.

J. P. Patches was created at NBC-affiliate WTCN by Daryl Laub. When he left for KSTP-TV, also in Minnesota, the character was taken over by Wedes. (Wedes was then an actor, DJ, and kids TV cook.) In 1958, Wedes moved to Seattle, to become the first floor director at KIRO-TV, bringing The J.P. Patches Show with him. (Laub, meanwhile, created T. N. Tatters at another station.) The show aired twice a day for 13 years, and once on Saturdays, for 8 more years just in the morning, and for the final two years only on Saturday morning. In total, an estimated 12,000 shows made the air, all of them live, with next to no budget.

Wedes told the Everett Herald that: “I’m still amazed at the longevity of the character. When I go on appearances, I get hugs, I get tears, I get laughter. The people are so in love with J.P. Patches. I can’t believe it that it has hung on that long.”

Businesses paid Wedes and the station to appear in character at grand openings, appeared at a Boeing Christmas party with an audience of 55,000, and appeared on Darigold milk containers, Sunbeam bread bags, and Dankens ice cream lids. Even still, the image has been licensed for bobble heads and an action figure. The book “J.P. Patches: Northwest Icon” was published in 2002.

While the cartoons were airing, Wedes’ Patches would greet guest children; the waiting list was for a while six months long. Children who stopped by include now-billionaire Bill Gates, and former Washington Governor Gary Locke.

Celebrities appearing on the show included politicians, Olympic medalists, comedian Steve Allen, Burt “Robin” Ward of Batman, folk singer Tiny Tim, actress Debbie Reynolds, oceanographer Jacques Cousteau, and Colonel Harland Sanders, the founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken.

Some parents objected to KIRO-TV dropping the national series Captain Kangaroo, three years into its run, to put in Patches.

A minor controversy erupted when a local newspaper photographed Wedes, being taken in an ambulance when involved in a car crash, not of his own fault. The official site reads that “The picture distressed many local children and would remain an embarrassment to the local media if they actually had any shame.”

There are still enough “Patches Pals”, fans of the show, that a statue is planned for Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood. To be completed this summer, the fundraiser is just $55,000 away from the $165,000 needed for the sculpture of Patches with Gertrude, the character’s girlfriend.

They’ve so far donated $110,000 of $165,000 to cast a bronze statue of J.P. Patches and his sidekick Gertrude to be placed in the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle. More money is still needed for the statue, being made by a Sultan sculptor and completed this summer. Any money raised that isn’t needed for the statue, coordinated by the local chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, goes to the Children’s Hospital and Regional Medical Center in Seattle; the statue itself will have a slot to collect money for the hospital. Billboards around the region track the fundraising progress.

Wedes was diagnosed in October with a controllable but incurable blood cancer, “acute myeloma“. He had to avoid public appearance until recently, due to the told of dialysis. He made seven county fair appearances in 2007, and 30 other gigs. Newman often joins him to perform, despite have multiple sclerosis for the past 20 years.

The two will appear in “An Evening With JP Patches & Gertrude: The Men Behind The Makeup”, April 5 at The 7th Street Theatre in Hoquiam.

[edit]

Kosovo declares independence from Serbia

Filed Under (Uncategorized) by 5C6bgX on 05-05-2019

Sunday, February 17, 2008

At 15:00 GMT today, Kosovo announced its independence from Serbia. Prime Minister Hashim Thaçi declared that Kosovo would become a democratic country and would respect the rights of all its communities. It is expected that several countries, including the United Kingdom, the United States and most members of the European Union, will recognise its independence on Monday. Serbia and Russia are against an independent Kosovo. Approximately 10% of Kosovars are of Serbian descent, the majority is Albanian.

The declaration was passed unanimously by the Kosovar parliament, who subsequently signed it. The Prime Minister told MPs that “We have waited for this day for a very long time”, and that “the independence of Kosovo marks the end of the dissolution of the former Yugoslavia”. He also said that Kosovo would be working to follow the plan drawn up by former Finnish president Martti Ahtisaari, and the United Nations. MPs have also selected a new flag (pictured on the right), showing the shape of the country in gold, on a blue background, with six white stars.

The Serbian Prime Minister, Vojislav Kostunica said that the declaration made Kosovo a “false state”. Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic had this to say about the declaration:

Let me be very clear. The Republic of Serbia shall never accept any violation of its territorial integrity. We shall never recognise Kosovo’s independence. We shall not waiver, we shall not yield, should this cowardly act proceed unchecked. Not now. Not in a year. Not in a decade. Never.

He had previously said that if Kosovo were to declare independence, “we shall undertake all diplomatic, political and economic measures designed to impede and reverse this direct and unprovoked attack on our sovereignty.”

United Future announces tax cuts in 2008 for New Zealand

Filed Under (Uncategorized) by 5C6bgX on 04-05-2019

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The leader of the government’s political partner, United Future and Revenue minister, Peter Dunne has announced that there will be personal tax cuts to go along with the confirmed business tax cuts in 2008.

Peter Dunne’s newsletter, sent yesterday, said: “The business tax reduction proposals I announced with Michael Cullen in the Business Tax Review in July will go ahead from April 2008, and they will be accompanied by personal tax adjustments as well, just as we foreshadowed.” They would be “the first major cuts by either government since 1996.” Peter Dunne was the Revenue minister in 1996 as well.

Finance minister and deputy Prime Minister, Doctor Michael Cullen, said: “Mr Dunne is clearly involved in an important branding exercise for United Future and nothing has changed.”

The Prime Minister, Helen Clark, did not comment.

Before Peter Dunne announced the tax cuts, the Government had denied any tax cut proposals until November/December when they could see a clearer picture.

Dunne said that the tax cuts would come in the form of rate cuts and threshold movements.

Cullen said that if tax cuts were offered then they will be for everyone, including those in the low to middle income ranges.

New Zealand First, another political partner of the government, claimed credit in its annual convention on Sunday that they were the ones who convinced Labour the value of tax cuts and changing the personal thresholds.

Cullen last week said, when he announced the surplus; “We are engaged in a business taxation review that will almost certainly produce proposals for tax cuts in the business area to come into force on 1 April 2008 . . . and that may have implications for personal tax rates and thresholds, but I can’t give you more information because [it is] not available.”

The business tax is dropping three cents to NZ$0.33.

Gunman kills self and hostage in Texas NASA building

Filed Under (Uncategorized) by 5C6bgX on 01-05-2019

Friday, April 20, 2007

Around 1:40 p.m. CDT, NASA employees reported that two shots were fired in the NASA Building 44 in the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. A SWAT team later reported that Bill Phillips, a contract engineer with Jacobs Engineering, had killed David Beverly as well as himself, leaving a female hostage physically unharmed.

Phillips entered a conference room with gun drawn and ordered all but one person out. Phillips barricaded himself on the second floor of the two-story building, with David Beverly and another female hostage. The building was evacuated and police were summoned. NASA security, Houston police and a SWAT team were on the scene.

Houston news reported at 5:22 p.m. CDT that Bill Phillips, the gunman, and David Beverly, the hostage, were both dead. Police reported that the SWAT team heard one shot and decided to engage, but before they reached the room they heard another shot. When SWAT reached the scene, the male hostage was dead from a bullet to the chest, the gunman was dead from a bullet to the head, and the female hostage, Fran Cranshaw, was gagged and bound to a chair with duct tape, but was otherwise unharmed.

All NASA employees had first been warned to stay in their buildings but were later told by NASA they were free to go home if their working day was over. Mission Control locked its doors during this incident, as this is a standard procedure in such situations. No NASA Mission has been affected by this incident, according to NASA.

In the first press conference, police said that communication to the gunman had not yet been established, but that negotiators had already tried it two times unsuccessfully.

The motive of the hostage-taking, and whether the three people had any connection to each other, is currently under investigation.

The Houston Chronicle reports that last month Phillips had received one e-mail from his employer, Jacob engineering Inc., “describing problems with his work and offering suggestions on improvement.” Jacobs printed that e-mail on March 18, the same day he bought the 38-caliber gun that police suspect was used in the shooting.

Despite reassurances by Cranshaw and Beverly, Phillips would not believe that management was not going to fire him, according to Cranshaw. During the 3-hour standoff, Phillips used a dry-erase board in the room indicating he was tired of being called “stupid,” police said last Saturday.

Michael Sampson, the co-manager of the space agency’s Electronic Parts and Packaging Program, who had known Beverly for ten years, described him as friendly, peaceful person, with a positive attitude to his co-workers.

Relatives describe Phillips as a loner who always kept to himself. He had lost his father in 2003, but had decided not to return to his hometown in Tennessee. Smith, a cousin of Phillips, remarked that in the Christmas card he had received from him last year, Phillips said that he was feeling lonely and without family, but nothing in the card suggested anything so tragic.

Several groups seek to purchase Saturn auto brand

Filed Under (Uncategorized) by 5C6bgX on 01-05-2019

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Penske Automotive Group, Inc., an Ohio-based investment group and Telesto Ventures have indicated separately that they are interested in purchasing the Saturn auto brand from General Motors (GM).

According to The Wall Street Journal, Nissan-Renault is interested in purchasing Saturn. Bloomberg, however, indicated that Nissan-Renault may be a partner of Penske’s potential bid. If Penske acquired the brand, they would distribute Saturn vehicles and outsource the assembly.

GM revealed that the Saturn brand along with Saab and Hummer were up for sale when unveiling their restructuring plans to Congress for governmental loans. While the Pontiac brand was originally to be a niche brand, GM had changed their plans recently and decided to eliminate the brand.

Telesto Ventures is an investment group that includes private equity firm Black Oak Partners LLC of Oklahoma City and several Saturn dealerships. Initially, Telesto will purchase Saturn branded cars from GM then act as a general retailer for foreign brands. Telesto is in talks with several foreign manufacturers.

The Ohio group includes many former senior auto company managers plus private financial backers, chemists and engineers who live in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana and Florida. This group plans to initially purchase cars from GM then purchase existing but closed plants due to automaker restructuring. Additionally, one of the partners indicated a willingness to accept some “legacy” cost in relation to the United Auto Workers. The Ohio group is also pursuing possible loans or other support from national and state governments.

GM is reviewing several offers for Saturn. GM has contracted with S.J. Girsky & Co. to advise them on the sale.

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