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Today on Wikinews : A state of emergency declared in Kingston, Jamaica; the black boxes from the airliner that crashed in India have been recovered; North and South Korean tensions heat up; and a 13 year old summits the highest peak on Earth.

Today is Monday, May 24th, 2010. I'm Dan Harlow and this is Wikinews.


State of emergency declared in Kingston, Jamaica (0:30)

A state of emergency has been declared in Kingston, the capital of Jamaica, after gunmen besieged and fired at police stations, injuring at least two police officers and a civilian, killing another man. Rioters have erected barricades in the city and one police station was set on fire when it was abandoned after officers ran out of ammunition.

The violence comes after the Jamaican authorities announced that they would extradite Christopher Dudus Coke, an alleged drug lord, to the United States on drugs and firearms charges. However Coke is seen by members of the impoverished Tivoli Gardens neighborhood as a "godfather" like figure, who fulfills roles that the government does not, and his supporters have vowed to protect him, one demonstrator stating "we are willing to die for Dudus,".

The Jamaican police accuse the alliance of gunmen from communities across the island state of a desire to "launch coordinated attacks on the security forces" and urged citizens to evacuate the Tivoli Gardens and Denham Town areas of the city.

Jamaican Prime Minister Bruce Golding called the attacks "a calculated assault on the authority of the state" and promised that "[t]he criminal element who have placed the society under siege will not be allowed to triumph".

"Black boxes" pulled from Air India plane wreckage (1:50)

The black boxes from an Air India flight that crashed into a valley near the southern Indian city of Mangalore Saturday, killing 158 of the 166 on board, have been found by investigators. The flight data recorder was recovered late yesterday and the cockpit voice recorder was located today.

At the end of Sunday, 146 of the 158 bodies have been identified, and all have been recovered.

According to reports, the plane touched down at Mangalore's Bajpe airport, overshooting the touchdown point by several thousand feet with one tire not hitting the runway at all. This was followed by sudden braking occurred, the airliner's wings hitting a neighboring cliff, and the plane careening into a heavily forested ravine where it then burst into flames.

The black boxes record communication data, technical information such as speed and altitude, as well as conversation in the airplane cockpit, which could help investigators determine why the jet crashed. This data is, according to one investigator's statement, "vital in finding information about key details like the last moments of the flight and whether there was any error from the pilot's side. The box will be brought to the accident lab of the Director General of Civil Aviation in the national capital where it will be opened and to find out what exactly went wrong,".

The Air India Express Boeing 737-800, which had departed from Dubai of the United Arab Emirates, was bound for Mangalore in the southern Indian state of Karnataka. The Bajpe airport has a "tabletop" runway which means it is set atop a hill surrounded by a deep gorge. The airport, which was constructed in 2006, has seen over 32,000 successful landings since opening.

Tensions between North and South Korea are heating up.

US and South Korea to conduct naval exercises in response to warship sinking (3:43)

Following a report blaming North Korea for the sinking of a South Korean naval vessel in March, the United States and South Korea plan to hold joint naval exercises "in the near future."

The exercises are planned to focus on anti-submarine patrols, as well as improving both country's ability to detect shipments of nuclear material, which are currently banned. According to analysts, the patrols are not intended to serve to intimidate North Korea; rather, they are considered a gesture of support towards the South. The announcement marks the first response from the US military to the incident, although economic measures were announced earlier today.

Several hours before the announcement of military patrols, South Korean President Lee Myung-bak announced economic measures against North Korea in response to the attack. The measures, endorsed by the US government, include the following:

   * Ending trade between the two Koreas;
   * Preventing North Korean vessels from entering South Korean ports or waterways;
   * The resumption of a Cold War tactic known as "psychological warfare," including propaganda broadcast at the border and the dropping of leaflets from balloons;
   * Requesting the intervention of the United Nations

The moves are considered the most aggressive steps South Korea could take short of war. In a statement, President Lee said that "[w]e have always tolerated North Korea’s brutality, time and again. But now things are different. North Korea will pay a price corresponding to its provocative acts. Trade and exchanges between South and North Korea will be suspended."

The United States has not said what measures it will take in response to the incident beyond the announced naval patrols. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is to meet with President Lee on Wednesday, after which she will announce the US response.

North Korea has continually denied its involvement in the warship's sinking, and the country's military released a statement warning that "[i]f [South Korea] sets up new tools for psychological warfare such as loudspeakers and leaves slogans for psychological warfare intact, ignoring our demands, we will directly aim and open fire to destroy them."

A North Korean military commander told the state newspaper that "[m]ore powerful physical strikes will be taken to eradicate the root of provocation if [South Korea] challenges to our fair response."

Body cemented in barrel found in Toronto harbour (6:13)

In Toronto, Ontario, police are currently investigating human remains which are encapsulated in concrete and found in Lake Ontario. A barrel holding the concrete-encased body was found offshore at the Toronto waterfront.

Detective Justin Vander Heyden stated that the barrel holds "a victim of murder, encased in concrete", and that he has "a good idea of who's in the barrel" but conclusive information should be forthcoming by Tuesday from the coroner's office.

Ontario provincial police (OPP) are also investigating two other bodies. Human remains were found in a construction area near Barrie and a body was found near Huntsville in a roadside ditch.

Ontario security has been increased for the June 26-27 G20 summit at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre and the G8 summit in Huntsville in preparation for the ensuing arrival of international leaders and delegations.

Nicolaus Copernicus buried again (7:12)

Polish astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus was buried for the second time yesterday, in the Catholic church of Frombork, Poland. Copernicus is considered the founder of modern astronomy, and known for declaring that the Earth revolved around the Sun. In his time, Copernicus was considered a heretic due to his theory, which was published shortly before his death.

His body was discovered and exhumed in 2005 by Polish archaeologists in a nameless tomb in the same church. After the extraction, the body was sent for DNA testing, which confirmed it was Copernicus, who died in 1543.

British ventriloquist Ray Alan dies at age 79 (7:51)

British ventriloquist Ray Alan has died at the age of 79 in his sleep, according to his agent.

Alan was best known for his sketches with his puppet, Lord Charles and he received the majority of his fame in the 1950’s and 60’s appearing on several children's television shows including the serial The Good Old Days. Later in his career he worked as an entertainer on the QE2 Cruise ship and he stopped work in 2008 due to ill health.

Peter Pritchard, Alan’s agent for 30 years, released a statement saying that “Technically he was regarded as Britain’s top ventriloquist."

In 2006, Alan spoke to the BBC about his puppet stating that “I'm not one of those ventriloquists who thinks he's real. When I finish my work I put it back in the tool box and I don't take it out again until the next job.”

California teen becomes youngest to conquer Everest (8:44)

Jordan Romero, a thirteen-year-old alpinist from Big Bear Lake, California, is the youngest person to have summited Mount Everest, according to reports circulated by the Associated Press quoting a spokesman based in the United States. The expedition included the boy's father, stepmother, and three Sherpa guides.

Romero ascended 8,850 meters (29,035 feet) breaking the record for the youngest climber on Everest previously set by a 16 year old from Nepal.

"It's something I've always wanted to do before I die — I just happen to be doing it at this age. I happen to be going for a world record. But I just want to climb it," Jordan told AFP reporters before embarking on the trek. On the same day, mountaineer Apa Sherpa, from Nepal, scaled Everest for the 20th time breaking a personal record.

It is anticipated that additional information will become available once the summit team returns to camp on the Tibet side of the mountain.

Finally, in sports and continuing our coverage of Australian Rules Football,

Australian rules football: 2010 VCFL Country Championship - Bendigo vs. Gippsland (9:41)

the Gippsland Football League's representative team traveled to Bendigo to play the hosts as part of the Victorian Country Football League Country Championships over the weekend. The match was part of a double header with Murray Football League playing Bellarine Football League in the curtain raiser.

The VCFL's Country Championships is an inter-league competition where each of the sixteen major leagues as well as the Mallee, Horsham & District, Geelong & District and Heathcote-District leagues are ranked from one to twenty. A league is promoted if they win, demoted if they lose.

Kane Fraser (Sale), Kal Killoran (Maffra) and Tim Aitken (Traralgon) were called into the Gippsland team after injuries and illness to Sale forward Brenton Martin, Morwell coach Adrian Cox and Traralgon's Micheal Geary.

Scores are quoted as goals-behinds (total). Goals are worth six points, behinds are worth one.

Inaccurate goal kicking from Gippsland cost the visitors the match as Bendigo won 15–11 (101) to Gippsland's 12–20 (92). Had three of Gippsland's behinds gone through the goals, they would have won by one goal (six points).

Dwayne Holt with five goals and Chris Dunne with two goals were the only multiple goal kickers for the visitors. For Bendigo, Justin Maddern with four goals and Grant Weeks and Steven Stroobants with two goals each were the multiple goal kickers.

On this day in history (11:17)

In 1930, Amy Johnson lands in Darwin, becoming the first woman to fly solo from England to Australia after beginning her journey on May 5th for the 11,000 mile flight.


And those are the top headlines for Monday, May 24th, 2010

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