May 12, 2009
A US soldier has shot dead five of his colleagues at a base in the Iraqi capital Baghdad, the Pentagon says.
Two other people were hurt in the shootings and the gunman is in custody, Pentagon officials have said. An earlier military statement said the incident had happened at Camp Liberty near Baghdad’s international airport at about 1400 (1100 GMT).
The White House said US President Barack Obama was shocked by news of the “terrible tragedy”. The president planned to discuss it with Defense Secretary Robert Gates, said spokesman Robert Gibbs.
The shooting reportedly occurred at a clinic where troops receive help for personal issues or combat stress.
May 11, 2009
The Pope will spend the next five days visiting various holy sites in Israel and the West Bank. See the link below for details on their location and his itinerary.
- BBC News
April 22, 2009
PETROL is believed to have been introduced into the bilges of an asylum-seeker boat minutes before it exploded last Thursday, killing five of those on board.
As Kevin Rudd and Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono promised closer co-operation to stamp out people-smuggling yesterday, senior government sources told The Australian a strong build-up of petrol vapours was emerging as the likely cause of the fatal blast…
Yesterday, senior government sources told The Australian a naval boarding party aboard the doomed vessel, dubbed Suspected Illegal Entry Vessel 36, reported an “agitation” or disturbance on the boat about five minutes before the explosion occurred.
The report is consistent with a statement on Friday by the commanding officer of HMAS Albany, Lieutenant Commander Barry Learoyd, that naval personnel on the vessel had relayed a “high-threat” call five to six minutes after they boarded the boat. It is understood the smell of petrol vapour was detected by those on board.
The Defence Department last night released a 20-second video showing the burning vessel with a navy boat assisting asylum seekers who had been blown into the water. The navy rigid inflatable boat passes around the side of the boat and one of its crew appears to lean over the edge, apparently attempting to haul one of the passengers aboard…
Dozens of injured are now being treated in hospitals in Brisbane, Darwin and Perth. Burns surgeon Michael Muller said the nature of the burns suffered by those on board – so-called “flash burns” – were further indications petrol was the main source of the explosion.
A senior government source said investigators believed petrol was introduced into the boat’s bilges, rather than the deck, as has been widely reported. The bilges are a boat’s lowest compartment situated below the deck, an ideal place for a vapour cloud to form.
“It seems pretty clear it was a petrol explosion,” the source said.
“We believe it was a closed-deck, in-board explosion, possibly deliberate.”
April 14, 2009
One of Russia’s most famous statues of Vladimir Lenin has been bombed, leaving the Bolshevik revolutionary with a gaping hole in his rear.
The bronze statue, in the city of St Petersburg, was badly damaged before dawn on Wednesday, when the blast blew a hole in Lenin’s coat. No-one was hurt in the attack, the motive for which was unknown.
The statue, outside the Finland Station, marks the Bolshevik leader’s return from exile in April 1917.
“Today at 0430 [0030 GMT] there was an explosion at the Lenin monument at the Finland Station in the city centre,” a spokesman for the Saint Petersburg branch of the Russian emergency situations ministry told the AFP news agency.
“As a result of the explosion a crater of 80-100cm [31-39in] appeared on the monument,” he added.
Lenin gave a speech at the railway station after his return from exile. Later that year he would lead the revolution that overthrew the government and would take the Communists to power for more than 70 years.
- BBC News
April 3, 2009
South Africa’s ruling ANC party has condemned Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s criticism of the organisation, describing it as “sacrilege”.
The archbishop warned ANC leaders this week that “they are not God” and “one day you will get your comeuppance”.
The Nobel Peace Prize winner also said he was not looking forward to have ANC leader Jacob Zuma as president.
Mr Zuma is the strong favourite to become South Africa’s next leader after elections on 22 April. His campaign has been marred by corruption charges stemming from an arms scandal.
- BBC News
April 2, 2009
There’s a reason that British politicians don’t swan around in stretch limos …
Obama’s limo is nicknamed ‘The Beast’, and it seems it was designed for wide American roads.
In this video, officials struggle to park the Cadillac outside Downing Street for the President’s meeting with the Prime Minister, eventually managing an unwieldy three-point turn.
The £250,000 Beast is equipped with rocket-propelled grenades, a night-vision camera and pump-action shotguns. Built from titanium, it is capapble of withstanding a chemical attack, and its 5 inch glass windows are rocket-proof.
Should its tyres be punctured, the car can still drive at up to 60mph.
And it has the turning circle of an oil tanker. The Times has the footage. In these leaner, greener times I’d love to know what mileage it gets too…
April 2, 2009
The leaders of France and Germany delivered a stunning ultimatum to Gordon Brown tonight when they demanded binding reform of world financial markets as the price of their support at tomorrow’s G20 summit.
Nicolas Sarkozy and Angela Merkel made the comments at a joint press conference at which they promised that they would “speak with one voice” at the meeting in London’s Docklands.
Having already scuppered Gordon Brown’s plans for the summit to agree on a massive and coordinated fiscal stimulus, the two European heavyweights are demanding that it now move to do away with the “light-touch” Anglo-Saxon model of regulation blamed for the current economic crisis…
The Franco-German intervention came after a day marked both by Barack Obama’s international summit debut and by violent protests in the City of London.
Police made at least 24 arrests as anti-capitalist protesters tried to upstage the G20. They included 11 demonstrators trying to drive an armoured personnel carrier towards the Bank of England.
Can it still accurately be called an “Anglo-Saxon” model of regulation, when the two principal proponents are a Scottish Celt and an African-American?
March 14, 2009
Documents showing intelligence chiefs were urged to make a key dossier on the Iraqi threat as “firm” as possible have led to new calls for a war inquiry.
Intelligence head Sir John Scarlett was pressed in an e-mail to make analysis of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction as “authoritative” as he could.
Details of this e-mail were released under a freedom of information request.
The Conservatives said the evidence was “damaging”, while the Lib Dems said it showed the UK was “duped” into the war.
Critics of the war say the dossier, published in late 2002 as US pressure on Iraq was growing, was “sexed up” to press the case for military action against Saddam Hussein.
- BBC News
March 9, 2009
Brian Hungwe visits the scene of Friday’s car crash near Harare in which Zimbabwe’s Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai was injured and his wife Susan killed…
As the nation ponders on the latest tragedy, many questions are being asked – and concerns are being raised over the security of government officials.
How a convoy of three vehicles, with one in the middle carrying the second most important person in the land, got involved in a car crash, is what has perplexed many people.
The oncoming lorry, which apparently belonged to a partner of the US government aid agency USAID, is thought to have crossed into the prime minister’s path, sideswiping the right bumper of Mr Tsvangirai’s Land Cruiser, which then rolled off the highway.
“If you look at the circumstances surrounding the accident, they show that there is not as much security as one would have wanted, not that you can prevent an accident, but I’m sure it must give a lot of lessons about the security framework,” says Dr Lovemore Madhuku, chairman of a constitutional reform pressure group.
“It’s very depressing, I think happening within the first three weeks of the new inclusive government. It’s unfortunate that the public will find it unbelievable and that could threaten the whole framework of the new government,” Dr Madhuku said.
Already, Harare is awash with rumour and speculation. “People don’t want to believe it was an ordinary accident, even if you tell them President Mugabe visited Tsvangirai in hospital hours after the crash,” a taxi driver told me.
“Why did the oncoming vehicle target his vehicle, yet there are hundreds other cars that use the same road every hour, it’s a busy road?” he asked. “They wanted to kill him.”
- BBC News
March 5, 2009
Chris Broad has said he is extremely angrily about the lack of security in Pakistan after witnessing Tuesday’s terror attack in Lahore.
The former England batsman was match referee for the Pakistan-Sri Lanka third Test and was in a vehicle with other officials when they came under fire.
In a press conference Mr Broad described being shocked, saddened and angry shortly after arriving in Manchester.
The ICC official said he had been promised high-level security but officials were left like ‘sitting ducks’.
BBC News has the full press conference online.