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Benazir Bhutto buried; violence erupts in assassination aftermath

Friday, December 28, 2007

Former Prime Minister of Pakistan Benazir Bhutto, who was killed in a suicide attack yesterday, has been buried in her ancestral home in the village of Garhi Khuda Bakhsh. Meanwhile, violence has erupted across the nation in protest to the 54-year-old opposition leader’s death.

The Pakistani government has claimed to have evidence to suggest that al Qaeda were responsible for attacking her at the end of her address to an election rally. One spokesperson for the Interior Ministry said “We have intelligence intercepts indicating that al Qaeda leader Baitullah Mehsud is behind her assassination.” Mehsud, believed to be in Pakistan near the border with Afghanistan, is one of Pakistan’s most wanted criminals.

Mustafa Abu al-Yazid, a head of al Qaeda in Afghanistan, told the Asia Times by telephone that the group had indeed been responsible, saying “This is our first major victory against those who have been siding with infidels in a fight against Al Qaeda and declared a war against mujahideen,” and that anti-Shi’ite militant group Lashkar-i-Jhangvi carried out the attack on al Qaeda’s behalf.

United States federal bodies are attempting to verify that al Qaeda were responsible. One official told the Associated Press that a bulletin circulated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Homeland Security to law enforcement groups mentioned several Islamist websites posting claims of responsibility. Director of National Intelligence spokesman Ross Feinstein commented that they were “in no position right now to confirm who may have been responsible.”

Unrest in Sindh, Bhutto’s home province, was to the extent that the military has been called in to the area. According to officials, unrest since her death has resulted in 32 deaths, including those of four police officers. 23 of the deaths were in Sindh. It is feared that recent events could cause Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf to postpone an election intended to place Pakistan back under civilian rule, which is currently planned for January 8.

Soldiers were told to shoot to kill violent protesters on sight, as scores of people set up roadblocks and torched hundreds of cars, trucks and buses. Other areas also saw violence; an election meeting in the Northwest suffered a bomb attack that killed a candidate for Musharrif’s party and seven others, whilst one was killed in the city of Lahore.

Thousands lined the way as Bhutto’s coffin, draped in the tricolor of the Pakistan People’s Party, was transported the 7km to the family mausoleum, accompanied by Bhutto’s husband Asif Ali Zardari. She was laid to rest alongside the body of her father, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, himself a former Prime Minister hung after a military coup. Zardini prayed at the site alongside their three children, son Bilawal, 19, and daughters Bakhtawar, 17 and Aseefa, 14. Bhutto’s two brothers, whose deaths remain officially unexplained, are also buried at the site, which she had herself arranged the construction of.

Reuters reported that many at the scene chanted slogans in opposition to Musharraf and to the United States, who for many years have supported Musharraf. “Shame on the killer Musharraf, shame on the killer U.S.,” the news agency quoted the mourners as saying. Meanwhile, one farmer told them “Bhutto was my sister and Bhutto was like my mother… With her death, the world has ended for us.”

Musharraf, a former army general, seized power in an armed 1999 coup. For many years he has had US support in the hope that he can keep control in the unstable country, which is afflicted with Islamic extremist violence.

Economics in the country have also been much affected, Koichi Ogawa, chief portfolio manager at Daiwa SB Investments, commented that “Unrest in Pakistan is eroding the market sentiment dramatically as Pakistan, unlike North Korea or Iran, is known to really have nuclear weapons.” Although the affect was generally to decrease values, lower risk investments, such as gold, went up in demand.

India has reacted to the violence by ordering immediate suspension of all cross-border bus and rail services with Pakistan amid fears that violence will spread. Extremists are known to attack trains, including one attack in February where 68 people died on an Indian train heading for Pakistan. Indian border forces have been put on alert, although no specific threats have yet been identified. Relations between the two countries are peaceful but tense, and Indian border forces regularly go on alert at times of crisis in Pakistan.


Spelbound declared winner of Britain’s Got Talent 2010

Monday, June 7, 2010

An acrobatic group known by the name of Spelbound has been declared as the winner of Britain’s Got Talent 2010, a televised variety talent show competition broadcast on ITV in the United Kingdom. As the winning act of the show, Spelbound have won £100,000 (US$144,580, €120,313, A$175,079) and a place at The Royal Variety Performance, an annual gala evening that is attended by senior members of the British Royal Family.

In no particular order, the top three acts were revealed to be two dancers known by their stage name of Twist and Pulse, gymnastic group Spelbound and Kieran Gaffney, whose act involves playing on the drum kit. After Kieran Gaffney was revealed to be in third place, Anthony McPartlin, who hosts Britain’s Got Talent with Declan Donnelly, said to Kieran: “Well done Kieran. Kieran, you’re a star, you came back, you got all the way to the final. I know you’ve loved this. You’ve loved this, haven’t you?” In response to this, Kieran Gaffney stated: “Thank you very much. Thank you, everyone for supporting me. Thank you.”

Shortly afterwards, on the episode that was broadcast live on ITV1 on Saturday, Anthony announced: “After tens of thousands of auditons, five semi-finals and an amazing final, this…this is it. One of you is about to walk away with £100,000 and a place at this year’s Royal Variety Performance. The winner of Britain’s Got Talent 2010 is…Spelbound!” Glen Murphy from Twist and Pulse commented about finishing in second place, stating: “Yeah, it’s amazing. I can’t even believe it. I can’t believe it at all.”

Alex Uttley, a 24-year-old member of Spelbound, commented on the gymnastic group’s victory, commenting: “Oh, my god. This is unbelieveable. We just want to say thank you to everyone out there. It just shows that all our hard work has paid off.” One of the coaches of Spelbound, named Neil Griffiths, stated about Spelbound: “Oh, they’ve worked so hard over the last few weeks. Um, since the semi-final, we…we really had to pull out the stops to try and up the game. They’ve not known they’ve worked in the gym from six in the morning till twelve…twelve o’clock of the night. I couldn’t have asked for more. Um, it’s a team of coaches. I don’t take all the credit myself. There’s, uh, two people up there that know who they are who’ve been fantastic.”

Spelbound consists of 24-year-old Alex Uttley, Nicholas Illingworth, aged 24, Adam Buckingham, aged 21, 20-year-old Adam McAssey, 19-year-old Douglas Fordyce, 18-year-old Edward Upcott, 18-year-old Leighanne Cowler, 17-year-old Katie Axten, 17-year-old Lauren Kemp, 15-year-old Jonathan Stranks, Abigail Ralph, aged 15, 13-year-old Hollianne Wood and Amy Mackenzie, aged 12. Bookmakers had previously predicted that Spelbound would be the most likely act to become the winner of the series.

The running order for the final started with Twist and Pulse. The second act to perform was Liam McNally, a 14-year-old singer. The running order subsequently continued with 40-year-old impressionist Paul Burling, singer Christopher Stone, aged 28, Tina & Chandi, a woman and dog dancing act, Connected, a five-piece singing group, Kieran Gaffney, aged 12, 22-year-old Tobias Mead, a dancer, 80-year-old singer Janey Cutler and Spelbound in that particular order.

Earlier on in the final, Britain’s Got Talent judge Amanda Holden has stated to Spelbound: “We are hosting the 2012 Olympics and I think ‘what a brilliant opening act’.” Fellow judge Piers Morgan also commented that “[t]he purpose of this show is to identify hidden great British talent. You are that act.” After Spelbound won in the final, another judge, named Simon Cowell, stated that “the right boys and girls won on the night” and that he could “only say on live TV that that was one of the most astonishing things I have ever seen. Seriously.”


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National Hockey League news: February 28, 2008

Thursday, February 28, 2008

There were 6 games played in the National Hockey League on February 27, 2008. Colorado finishes their three-game road trip in eastern Canada against the Canucks, Minnesota tries to break a 4 game losing streak in an out-of-conference game against the Lightning, and the Maple Leafs try to pick up their fifth win in 6 games.


  • 1 Game summaries
    • 1.1 Nashville Predators @ Buffalo Sabres
    • 1.2 San Jose Sharks @ Columbus Blue Jackets
    • 1.3 Minnesota Wild @ Tampa Bay Lightning
    • 1.4 Toronto Maple Leafs @ Florida Panthers
    • 1.5 Phoenix Coyotes @ Chicago Blackhawks
    • 1.6 Colorado Avalanche @ Vancouver Canucks
  • 2 Wikinews Player of the Day
  • 3 Other news
  • 4 Sources

Fire kills eleven at oil worker housing in Alkhobar, Saudi Arabia

Monday, August 31, 2015

A fire in the eastern Saudi city of Alkhobar tore through a housing complex for oil workers yesterday, killing eleven, according to civil officials.

The Radium complex is rented by oil firm Aramco for their employees. According to nearby resident Mohammed Siddique the fire broke out early in the morning. Siddique says the building contains locals, as well as Westerners and Asians. The cause is unclear but the civil defence ministry tweeted “Cars and furniture caught fire in the basement of one of the towers”.

Over 200 people were injured. Firefighters scaled the burning tower on ladders, and helicopters were on-scene. Other towers in the complex were evacuated. Thick smoke from the blaze complicated rescue efforts.

Aramco CEO Amin H. Nasser said the firm is “deeply saddened to learn of the fatalities and injuries. We offer heartfelt condolences to the families. Our immediate priority is to provide full support to those affected by this tragic incident.” Aramco, which produces and exports more crude oil than any competitor worldwide, say the fire is under investigation.


Eight year old Victoria Stafford of Ontario missing since Wednesday

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Victoria Stafford, eight years old, was sighted leaving her Woodstock, Ontario school on Wednesday afternoon with an unknown woman caught on video camera. She has not been seen since.

Victoria (Tori) attended grade 3 at Oliver Stephens Public School, and the video is from the College Avenue secondary school as Victoria and the unidentified woman walked along Fyfe Avenue.

“I’ve had a lot of problems come up in my life and stuff like that, and I haven’t always been there for my kids, but this is my baby girl and it’s absolutely hurting now,” her father Robert Stafford said, “It’s killing me, [I want to] let her know that I love her and I’ll see her soon. One way or another I’ll see her soon.”

Police teams from Oxford, Waterloo and London have assembled together with rescue dogs and trained search and rescue personnel to find the child.

Police have called the search a criminal investigation, but have not yet issued an Amber alert as there has been no report of an abduction.

150 volunteers joined search efforts and to pass out flyers on the 10th. Police say they have no need of more volunteers at this time, however they would appreciate any tips or calls from anyone who may have seen either Victoria or the woman.

The unidentified woman seen in the video is described as between 19 and 25 years old with straight long black hair. She weighs about 120 to 125 pounds and was wearing a white coat and black jeans in the video. Victoria was wearing a green shirt with a black pleated skirt. She was wearing black and white shoes and carried a purple and pink Bratz purse. She had on a black Hannah Montana jacket which had a white fur lined hood.

“I think what’s happening with members of the public is an expression of their emotions, their concern for this child. And I think that’s good in terms of the willingness of this community to step up,” said Michael Harding, Mayor of Woodstock.

Volunteers are making and handing out purple ribbons, Tori’s favourite colour. A candlelight vigil will be held in the evening on Easter Sunday.



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Pfizer and Microsoft team up against Viagra spam

Sunday, February 13, 2005

New York –”Buy cheap Viagra through us – no prescription required!” Anyone with an active email account will recognize lines like this one. According to some reports, unsolicited advertisements (spam) for Viagra and similar drugs account for one in four spam messages.


Spamming remains one of the biggest problems facing email users today. While users and systems administrators have improved their defenses against unsolicited email, many spammers now insert random words or characters into their letters in order to bypass filters. The Wikipedia article Stopping email abuse provides an overview of the various strategies employed by companies, Internet users and systems administrators to deal with the issue.

Ever since pharmaceutical giant Pfizer promised to cure erectile dysfunction once and for all with its blue pills containing the drug sildenafil citrate, spammers have tried to tap into male anxiety by offering prescription-free sales of unapproved “generic” Viagra and clones such as Cialis soft tabs. Legislation like the U.S. CAN-SPAM act has done little to stem the tide of email advertising the products.

Now Pfizer has entered a pledge with Microsoft Corporation, the world’s largest software company, to address the problem. The joint effort will focus on lawsuits against spammers as well as the companies they advertise. “Pfizer is joining with Microsoft on these actions as part of our shared pledge to reduce the sale of these products and to fight the senders of unsolicited e-mail that overwhelms people’s inboxes,” said Jeff Kindler, executive vice president at Pfizer.

Microsoft has filed civil actions against spammers advertising the websites CanadianPharmacy and E-Pharmacy Direct. Pfizer has filed lawsuits against the two companies, and has taken actions against websites which use the word “Viagra” in their domain names. Sales of controlled drugs from Canadian pharmacies to the United States are illegal, but most drugs sold in Canada have nevertheless undergone testing by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. This is not the case for many of the Viagra clones sold by Internet companies and manufactured in countries like China and India. While it was not clear that CanadianPharmacy was actually shipping drugs from Canada, Pfizer’s general counsel, Beth Levine, claimed that the company filled orders using a call center in Montreal, reported the Toronto Star.

For Microsoft’s part, they allege that the joint effort with Pfizer is part of their “multi-pronged attack on the barrage of spam.” As the creator of the popular email program Outlook, Microsoft has been criticized in the past for the product’s spam filtering process. Recently, Microsoft added anti-spam measures to its popular Exchange server. Exchange 2003 now includes support for accessing so-called real-time block lists, or RTBLs. An RTBL is a list of the IP addresses maintained by a third party; the addresses on the list are those of mailservers thought to have sent spam recently. Exchange 2003 can query the list for each message it receives.


Christian church leader kidnapped in Pakistan

Friday, December 14, 2007

On the eve of December 7, 2007 Dr. Reginald Humayun, a Christian doctor working for Pennell Memorial Christian Hospital in Bannu, Pakistan, was kidnapped along with his driver while returning from a trip to Dera Ismail Khan.

The doctor, a medical superintendent at that hospital, was also the General Secretary of the Church of Pakistan. The All Pakistan Minority Alliance, the Church of Pakistan and the Christian community as a whole have appealed to the Government to expedite efforts for the doctor’s safe recovery.

Dar Ali Khatak, leading the investigation by the Bannu Police has expressed deep concerns and vows to find the hostages though until now no progress has been seen. With the recent state of politics in Pakistan, it is becoming increasingly difficult for those who are providing humanitarian services.


Ted Koppel to step down from ‘Nightline’

Saturday, April 2, 2005

Ted Koppel announced he plans to quit as host of the ‘Nightline’ television program after his contract runs out December 4, 2005.

Executives at ABC are considering canceling the Nightline program after his departure or possibly changing the show to a live, hour-long format.

Nightline has fallen behind in rankings compared with programs such as “Meet the Press” and “Face the Nation”. Network news in general is losing ground in recent years to cable news, talk shows and the Internet. Television anchormen who have left in the past several months include Tom Brokaw of NBC and Dan Rather of CBS. The only other major television anchorman of the past few decades who remains in his chair is Peter Jennings, who has been on ABC’s “World News Tonight” since 1982.

Koppel began working for ABC in 1963, serving as a foreign correspondent for the network. He started working for the Nightline program in March 1980. The program, started in 1979, was created to provide nightly news updates on the Iran hostage crisis.

Koppel is 65 years old and has a daughter named Andrea Koppel, who is the CNN correspondent to the Department of State. He says he has no plans to retire, but he is looking into other projects. Koppel received numerous awards for journalism, including 41 Emmy awards.