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Saturday, November 5, 2005

The Seabourn Spirit, a cruise ship sailing off the coast of Somalia, narrowly escaped an attack by gunmen believed to be pirates.

The pirate attack occurred on Saturday, when two boats approached the ship and began firing automatic weapons and rocket propelled grenades, injuring one crew member.

The crew took evasive action and escaped safely by employing an acoustic bang which caused the gunmen to flee believing they were under fire.

302 passengers and crew, mostly from the United States, Canada, and Australia, were onboard when the gunmen opened fire. The attack took place 160km (100 miles) off the Somali coastline, which has a reputation for pirate activity.

Deborah Natansohn, president of the Seabourn Cruise Line told CNN Radio, “The occupants of those boats did not succeed in boarding the ship and eventually turned away … our captain and crew did a terrific job taking responsive action.”

Edith Laird, from Seattle, told the BBC, “My daughter saw the pirates out our window. […] There were at least three RPG that hit the ship, one in a stateroom four doors down from our cabin.”

According to Mike Rogers, a passenger from Vancouver, the captain opted not to sound the alarm and instead announced the attack over the speakers, fearing the sound would drive people to the deck and place them in the line of fire.

Natansohn has stated that the company will re-evaluate future trips to the area.

The Seafarers Assistance Program (SAP) is planning on highlighting the incident and its potential costs for tourism on Monday.

Pirate attacks have been an increasing problem in the area, with 23 hijackings and attempted seizures recorded by the International Maritime Bureau (IMB). Two of the attacks were on ships carrying aid for the United Nations World Food Program. One attack involved a ship carrying 935 tons of rice for Asian tsunami victims. The crew had been held for three months before being released. According to the IMB, the pirates – mostly made up of the Horn of Africa’s former navy as well as former fishermen – represent a serious threat to commercial shipping.

Somalia has been a volatile area since the ousting of former dictator Mohamed Said Barre. The country has been operating without a central administration since 1991 and is now controlled by warlords.

Australian media has speculated that the attack on the ship may be an act of terrorism rather than one of piracy.

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Certifications

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Positive Reputation

The firm you hire should have a reputation for providing quality service at an affordable price. If they aren’t known for fully representing their clients, then they may not be able to provide the support you need through your tax woes. Ask around and find out what their past clients have to say about their experience with using them for tax resolution in Astoria, NY.

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Monday, May 2, 2016

According to a report from the Red Cross today, about 60 people were still missing after a house collapsed during a heavy rain storm on Friday in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya.

Ten were known dead on Saturday, and a surviving man was dug out of the house after ten hours. The house was reportedly just two years old and had at least six floors. Local building has widespread problems with poor materials and not following Kenyan construction rules.

Interior Minister Joseph Nkaissery said on Saturday, hospitals had treated 80 people.

Another seven people reportedly died in the storm. Kenya’s Red Cross said the flooding affected more than 800 homes.

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.

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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.

Thursday, June 8, 2006

The head of al-Qaeda in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, has been killed in an air strike on a building north of Baqubah city, according to the Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki.

“Today [sic] Zarqawi has been terminated,” he said Thursday, and suggested the man the United States had placed a $25 million price tag on for death or capture was located through intelligence.

“What happened today is a result of co-operation for which we have been asking from our masses and the citizens of our country,” he said.

The leader of coalition forces in Iraq, General George Casey said al-Zarqawi was killed in a two-storey safehouse about 8 km north of the city in Diyala province.

Several aides also died with him in the Wednesday evening raid by U.S. F-16 warplanes, including his key lieutenant and spiritual adviser Sheik Abdul Rahman. Some analysts believe a US counter-terrorism unit, Task Force 145, was involved in the attack.

Al-Zarqawi’s body, recovered after two 500-pound bombs had blown through his cover, was identified through fingerprint, tattoo and scar analysis and head likeness. Al-Zarqawi, whose real name was Ahmed Fadhil Nazzal al-Khalayleh, was believed to be in his late 30s when he died of injuries while US forces gave medical aid.

The first munition exploded at 6:15pm was a GBU-12 laser-guided bomb that was shortly followed by the newer GBU-38; both carried 500lb of explosives for total cost of $40,000.

The self-proclaimed frontman for Osama Bin Laden’s activities in Iraq, al-Zarqawi, a Jordanian national, is said to have been involved in the beheading of foreigners, hundreds of suicide attacks, and an insurgency against coalition forces after the Iraq war in 2003.

It had been reported Al-Zarqawi’s most recent campaign was to create problems between Shi’ite and Sunni groups in Iraq with ethnic killings.

For the Iraqi government the killing of the wanted murderer is what they sought but it remains unknown what effect the removal of this known figurehead of the Iraq insurgency will have on levels of violence in the country. Al-Zarqawi was not the only person to oppose the US-backed Iraqi government.

“Zarqawi didn’t have a number two. I can’t think of any single person who would succeed Zarqawi…In terms of effectiveness, there was no single leader in Iraq who could match his ruthlessness and his determination,” was the view of Rohan Gumaratna at the Institute of Defense and Strategic Studies in Singapore.

Applause was heard as Mr Maliki, with U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad and U.S. Gen. George Casey, by his side, told news reporters “al-Zarqawi was terminated.”

Sources claiming to be Al-Qaeda in Iraq later confirmed that al-Zarqawi had been killed and said that they would fight the United States and the interim Iraqi government despite his death.

United States President George Bush spoke to journalists in the White House Rose Garden about al-Zarqawi’s death. “Zarqawi’s death is a severe blow to al-Qaeda. It’s a victory in the global war on terror, and it is an opportunity for Iraq’s new government to turn the tide of this struggle,” he said.

The US military also confirmed that six people were killed in the strike, including al-Zarqawi, and his spiritual adviser Sheikh Abd-al-Rahman The death toll is reported at three men, three women.[1] Some reports had said al-Zarqawi’s wife and daughter died. However U.S. officials state that there is no evidence confirming the death of al-Zarqawi’s wife and daughter.

A compilation of brief news reports for Wednesday, March 28, 2007.

Contents

  • 1 US to seek less than 20 years for Hicks
  • 2 Global stock markets are lower
  • 3 Gunmen kill 50 overnight in Sunni district in Iraq
  • 4 UK releases GPS data in dispute with Iran
  • 5 First black airmen in US Airforce to be honored

The United States will reportedly seek a jail sentence of less than 20 years for Australian David Hicks. He pleaded guilty to providing material support for terrorism, but not an act of terrorism. Hicks may be sentenced by the end of the week. He could be returned to Australia to serve out his sentence, with credit for the years at Guantanamo Bay.

Related news

  • “Guantanamo detainee David Hicks pleads guilty to providing “material support”” — Wikinews, March 27, 2007
  • “US charges Australian David Hicks” — Wikinews, March 26, 2007

Sources


US stocks fell on Tuesday starting another round of global selling, as worries about the US housing market and weaker consumer confidence. Lennar Corp., one of the largest US home builders reported that profits fell 73%. Wednesday, Asia markets opened steady to higher, but fell as rising oil prices and the geopolitcal standoff between Britain and Iran made investors seek the safety of government bonds. European and North American markets are trading lower in the Wednesday trading session.

Sources


In an apparent reprisal for bombings in Shi’ite areas, gunmen went on a rampage in a Sunni in Tal Afar, Iraq, killing about 50 people. There have been reports that the gunmen included police.

Sources


The United Kingdom has made public GPS data that it says proves that the 15 navy personnel were well inside Iraqi waters when they were seized by Iran. Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said the dispute would be solved “based on rules and regulations” and that the female sailor would be released soon.

Related news

  • “UK prepared to go ‘into different phase’ if sailors and marines not released by Iran within days” — Wikinews, March 27, 2007
  • “British sailors detained by Iran “to be tried for espionage”” — Wikinews, March 25, 2007
  • “15 Royal Navy sailors captured at gunpoint by Iranian guards” — Wikinews, March 23, 2007

Sources


Surviving members of the 332d Air Expeditionary Group and 99th Pursuit Squadron, widely known as the Tuskegee Airmen, will be honored on Thursday by President Bush at a ceremony at the US Capitol. They will receive the Congressional Gold Medal for fighting both the Nazis abroad and racial segregation at home.

Sources

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Thursday, April 17, 2008

Eric Bogosian is one of America’s great multi-dimensional talents. “There’s sort of three different careers, and any one of them could exist by itself, on its own two feet. There was that solo stuff, and then I started writing plays in the late seventies.” Although his work has spanned genres, most readers will recognize Bogosian for his acting, which has included a memorable performance in Woody Allen‘s Deconstructing Harry to co-writing and starring in the Oliver Stone movie Talk Radio (based upon his Pulitzer Prize-nominated play) to playing the bad guy in Under Siege 2 to his current role in Law & Order: Criminal Intent as Captain Danny Ross. They may not know, however, that he had collaborated with Frank Zappa on a album, worked with Sonic Youth, and was a voice on Mike Judge‘s Beavis & Butthead Do America. He started one of New York City’s largest dance companies, The Kitchen, which is still in existence. He starred alongside Val Kilmer in Wonderland and his play Talk Radio was recently revived on Broadway with Liev Schreiber in the role Bogosian wrote and made famous.

Currently at work on his third novel, tentatively titled The Artist, Bogosian spoke with David Shankbone about the craft of writing and his life as a creative.

Contents

  • 1 Bogosian’s view of his work
  • 2 How Bogosian approaches his writing
  • 3 How Bogosian works himself into his writing
  • 4 The future of the narrative
  • 5 Collaborations with Steven Spielberg and Frank Zappa
  • 6 Source

Sunday, August 21, 2005

A robotic system at Stanford Medical Center was used to perform a laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery successfully with a theoretically similar rate of complications to that seen in standard operations. However, as there were only 10 people in the experimental group (and another 10 in the control group), this is not a statistically significant sample.

If this surgical procedure is as successful in large-scale studies, it may lead the way for the use of robotic surgery in even more delicate procedures, such as heart surgery. Note that this is not a fully automated system, as a human doctor controls the operation via remote control. Laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery is a treatment for obesity.

There were concerns that doctors, in the future, might only be trained in the remote control procedure. Ronald G. Latimer, M.D., of Santa Barbara, CA, warned “The fact that surgeons may have to open the patient or might actually need to revert to standard laparoscopic techniques demands that this basic training be a requirement before a robot is purchased. Robots do malfunction, so a backup system is imperative. We should not be seduced to buy this instrument to train surgeons if they are not able to do the primary operations themselves.”

There are precedents for just such a problem occurring. A previous “new technology”, the electrocardiogram (ECG), has lead to a lack of basic education on the older technology, the stethoscope. As a result, many heart conditions now go undiagnosed, especially in children and others who rarely undergo an ECG procedure.

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